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Amanda & Brad's World Tour!

Well it is time to finally start our travels, so Ka Kite Ano to those we are leaving in Aotearoa and Kia Ora to the world! This will be somewhere you can catch up with us and make sure we are still alive!

Diary Entries

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Welcome back!! It has been far too long since either of us have sat down and given a solid update for the dedicated few who still log on. Much has happened as time has ticked away in Europe.

Amanda finished up in Norway with a fantastic 3 week tour of the country with her host family- some amazing photos were taken and great memories for her to have for the 8 months she spent up there. What an overall experience and adventure, she thoroughly enjoyed her whole time up in Norway, learning a new language (although she won't admit she did), making great friends and immersing herself in a new culture! Highlights from the trip include taking the train up from Flam and cycling down again, meeting the rest of Tove’s lovely family, making more friends along the way, but mainly getting to be with the kids, Octavio and Tove while taking in some amazing sights and sounds. But time was up and although she was sad to leave there was much to look forward too!

For myself, finishing up in Devon was all a bit of a whirlwind- the past 10 weeks have been manic for me, working as much as I could in order to save the vital money needed for our summer holiday! I managed to play cricket in a local pub competition, which was a Sunday afternoon of 9% cider and many laughs! I also did some pre-season training with the local rugby team. I got asked to play in a 7s tournament which was great fun and we even ended up winning the competition - I am sure it was only because of the huge Maori side-step I threw into the mix!! Still leaving my home of the past 6 months was strange and will be missed - especially all my dogs!

I headed north to the big smoke of London to meet Amanda and have a couple of days being tourists around England’s capital. We jumped on the open top bus tour and cruised the streets taking in Big Ben, Westminster, London Eye, St Pauls, Buckingham Palace.... you get the picture!!! A day full of laughs followed by a night at the theatre- I surprised Amanda with tickets to Les Mis which was amazing and she is still singing the songs two weeks later!! Loren & Rangi joined us as well for a kiwi night out... although Rangi did say that there was slightly too much singing for his liking!! Loren may have forgotten to mention it was a musical…

Cutting out all the boring details, it was time to head off to North Africa and spend 2 weeks in Morocco. We had been so looking forward to our trip here, neither of us really knowing what to expect upon arrival. Well stepping off the plane to 42 degrees was the first shock for both of us and Amanda even complained that it was too hot- this one confused me because apparently when we go skiing it is too cold.... how can I win? Open to any suggestions on this one.......

We landed in Marrakech which just has to be seen to be believed. An amazing city of souqs, snake charmers, story tellers, mint tea and plenty of locals looking to make a Dirham or two from the tourists! We spent the first day wandering the streets and alleys getting lost through the souqs, convincing ourselves that we didn't need spices, tea pots or any rugs from the people forever enticing you into their store for 'no obligation look' to gaze at any given item that 'my sick father made with own hand'. Ah yes I read about this one somewhere in a book. Of course we had a look here and there at some beautiful different things and both knew that we would be making some purchases before the trip was over.

At night the Djemaa el-Fna, which is a huge square in the center of the Medina, comes to life. At dusk food stalls appear from no where and beautiful aromas begin to drift through the area, snake charmers, acrobats, musicians & story tellers take center stage and take the night away. We wandered through the hundreds of food stalls and picked out #22 to sit and eat our first Moroccan dinner. After struggling to read the menu (Arabic not being high on our list of languages we can read) we were served beautiful tajines, cous cous, olives and fresh bread. Just amazing. The evening was then spent watching the surrounding antics before retiring for a much needed sleep!

For the next few days we cruised the streets, taking in the Musee de Marrakech (the museum), Ali ben Youssef Mosque & the Koutoubia which is a 10m tall minaret which gives out the evening call of prayer and finally a visit to an old palace. After the madness of Marrakech we both knew that we needed a small village to relax in, preferably somewhere a bit cooler and less people, so we headed west to the Atlantic coast to a small fishing village called Essaouira. Having a much smaller medina meant that we got the feel of the place rather fast and settled into a more relaxed way of life! The food was still amazing, the beach was packed & windy and we even managed to squeeze in some culture with a visit to Skala du Port where the locals fight there way to meet arriving fishing boats to get the days freshest catches and a bargain or two. We stayed away from the masses here but still weaved our way through the boys making fishing nets, cleaning out their boats and children jumping from the rocks into the rather perilous looking sea.

After a few days it was time to move north towards Fes for our next major city, so after a night time bus, with half of Morocco’s population crammed into the isle we ventured to the Imperial capital hoping for something new. The first thing we both noticed was the hills and the green! Especially after the dry and hot Marrakech the hills in the medina were a shock to the system! We spent the first day getting our bearings and visited a Tannery - amazing thing to see… but the smell… there is nothing that you can compare it to - Amanda had never smelt anything like it before (which I took as a compliment). The smell literally stopped you in your tracks and you had to push yourself to keep going despite the stench. There were thousands and thousands of cow skins waiting to be dyed and treated- young men and boys up to their thighs in putrid pits of dirty brown water washing the skins. It was incredible and hopefully the photos portray some of the sights.

Unfortunately this is where the fun and games ended as my poor Amanda fell rather ill and had a wee trip to the hospital. She is doing much better now, but we had to have a quiet few days of staring at hotel walls while she recovered. With a long day of travel back to the UK and a much needed visit to an English Speaking doctor, our trip to Greece has had to be put on hold for a couple of weeks while the patient recovers fully! So we have set up camp at Amanda’s Grandma’s in north west London while my better half makes sure she is 100% before we move on!

The illness aside we absolutely loved Morocco and will keep many memories with us for a lot of years to come. Another amazing place to tick off the list!!

So for the short term we shall sit tight, but be sure too watch this space as we are now (hopefully) back to regular updates.

All our love and best wishes to you all,
Always thinking of you,

Bradley and Amanda


Wednesday, 02 July 2008

Location: Here and There, Norway

Well, I have no excuse now. I am up in the family’s cabin in Ringebu, we have five days of mountains, long-drop toilet, no shower, getting drinking water from the local shop which is a drive away, sleeping a solid ten hours each night – something to do with the mountain air, long day walks- luring Elise the whole way with chocolate bars, wandering sheep all over the place with bells around their necks, cabins with grass on the roofs and too many games of yatzee. So. Attempt at an update.

Things that stick out from the last six weeks are the end of the school year. I finished school a week ago- had various end of year celebrations and get together’s which was really nice to wrap everything up. The last day we had a lunch at school with all the teachers and my boss gave a lovely little speech about my six months at the school. It was sad leaving my wonderful colleagues and all the beautiful friends I have made at Hammerskole but I am so happy I got to experience such an amazing opportunity and got to be in such a great environment while I was here in Norway. The kids and the teachers a like where awesome to hang out with.

I have also helped out with AFS while I have been here, I went two hours out of Oslo to Halden, a cute little village for a Pre Orientation camp with 30 kids that are about to go overseas. It was heaps of fun, and a great experience to see how AFS works here in Norway. The ‘kids’ where heaps of fun and full of energy, and the leaders where fun to hang out with – good to be back in the AFS vibe again for the weekend.

Two weeks ago Tove had a week away with her University and Octavio was still in Brazil so I had a week alone with the kids! I have titled the corresponding photos as ‘Survivor’- but I’m not sure who were the lucky ones to survive…me or the kids…? It was heaps of fun, and they all behaved very well. We baked muffins for Grandma, visited the local petting zoo, went to the kids art museum in Oslo, had a picnic and went to the local lake for a swim. We ate way too many lollies and waffles but hey…but as Elise kept saying …’We won’t tell Mum’.

As I mentioned above, we are now at the family’s cabin. It is beautiful here and no sound except the wandering sheep. All the cabins are old school and have grass growing on the rooves, (roofs or rooves…god, will I ever be able to speak one lanuage properly!!?) apparently in the old days the old spinster women (budaya) that couldn’t find themselves a husband where employed over the summer to stay on the farms (zeter) with the sheep and goats making cheese, sour cream, cream and milk. Coincidently I tried Rømme Grøt yesterday (a kind of porridge thing with a base of sour cream) that takes a long long time to make. Despite the poor person that slaved over a hot stove making it, I couldn’t finish mine… it tastes as strange as it sounds and unfortunately (I am informed) it is an acquired taste.

Tomorrow we head south again to pick up Victor from band camp, then Thursday I head to the airport with Inger- Betsy and we are up to Trømso for three days! Looking forward to seeing the midnight sun, but taking my aeroplane eye mask with me so I can get to sleep in spite of the 24 hour daylight.

Bradley will have to update on his particulars, as far as I can tell he has been working his bum off down there in Devon…trying to pay for the next 4 months of travelling! He has had some amazing news though, and I’m sure he won’t mind me passing on the news to those of you who don’t know… He has been offered a job working in North Austria for the coming winter. It is an amazing opportunity and he will be working hard but the main point of taking the job is that he will be skiing during the day, everyday, on one of Europe’s best and most advanced ski fields. He is mega excited and means his Euro tour will be lasting 6 months longer than mine which makes me very jealous but in the same breath, I will be happy to go from Euro summer to NZ summer instead of winter to winter! This means I will be with Bradley John travelling until the start of December when he heads to Austria, where I will then spend two weeks with my family in the UK and then head home for Christmas.

This is a pathetic attempt at updating everybody on the last six weeks. I am having heaps of fun up here in Norway, reaping the benefits from working hard at my Norwegian and starting to see a bit more of the countryside as well. The next month is hard out travelling around Norway, and I won’t be in the house for more than a few days between now and 30 July when I leave. I hope to take lots of photos though, so at least if I can’t give you a running written commentary on what’s going on, you will be able to see the photos!

All our love to all of you,
Hope you are all happy and healthy,

Amanda and Bradley

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Location: Oslo, Norway

Hi all,

Yes, been a long time since I should have written..and not for lack of trying either...but I am just settling in to 'normal' life here in Norway and there don't seem many things to write about!

The days are getting a lot longer and the sun is starting to appear which is so nice. I have been getting a lot of extra hours at school and so am out during most of the days. Morning and nights I get to be with my little host brothers and sister who always keep me on my toes and who I just love being around. Life sort of flows at the moment, one week into the next and before I know it I will have to leave my host family so I am spending as much time with them as I can; whether it be taking them to kindergarten or jumping on the trampoline with them.

Bradley will be coming up to Oslo for ten days in May which we are both looking forward to. He will be here for 17th May which is Norway's Independence Day which is very much celebrated here. After that we have about two more months apart then The Bradley and Amanda Show is back in business! We are going to Morocco for ten days at the start of August which we can't wait for! After Morocco we will start out little Europe trip- we have decided want to do a few countries well, rather than flying from country to country taking photos and hopping back on a plane, we want to take our time through some countries that we really want to experience. WE THINK that the trip will probably consist of Greece, Italy, Croatia and Czech. We will probably take three weeks in each country which we will be able to use wisely and see as much as possible! After our Little Europe Trip we will probably start to make our way home. Obviously catch up with all the family before we leave the UK, by this time, it will probably be November. We hope to jet to Cananda from the UK to squeeze in Bradley's ski-fix for the year. I would love to visit Seattle to catch up with friends. We both love the idea of Cuba (if we aren't dirtiest of dirt poor by then) and then to Sydney then Auckland!

Those are the plans people, if you are going to be near us- please let us know we would love to see you,

Hope all is well, love to all,

Amanda XOXOXOXOX

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Location: Devon & Oslo (Denmark to come), Europe

A lovely English morning to all,

I am not going to offer apologies this time round- we are having far too much fun and enjoying the 'lovely' (please note the use of sarcasm) European weather. A few people have commented on the lack of updates, so thought we had better step up and finally do an update for those loyal readers out there.

Ladies first - Amanda is still loving being in Norway, her job is going well and of course she is loving having the children around (easier that way when you can give them back to the parents!!!!). She is playing a role between second mum and big sister, with a touch of english teacher thrown in there. So of course Tove and the family are loving having her there- I think it might be hard to pry her away come the summer! She has just been on a trip to Denmark to see some sights and sounds, but mainly to take the kids to Legoland (how jealous was I??????????) I haven't seen any photos yet as she only returned last night and all I got was a tired phone call letting me know she is safe. I shall get her A-into-G and get her to fill all in with the details of how the trip was.

As for me- life in Devon is great! The people I am staying with have gone away for 2 weeks on a holiday, so I am in sole charge of Heath Farm- 14 dogs, 3 horses & 2 cats to be precise. Pretty scary stuff really. Work is work and it gets me and and a-boot which is nice. I got a little car to charge around the country side in- so far so good. She is named Daisy and is a real head turner!!!! Weather has been lousy- lots of rain and wind and coldness... although Amanda tells me to harden up and I don't know what cold is!!!! I just remind her that she is the one complaining of our second winter in a row!!!!!!!!!

Nothing really to report on the travels front from me- just happy being in one place and trying to save a bit of cash for the next bit. Hope this finds everyone in good shape.

much love
Brad & Amanda

p.s. Amanda will write in the next couple of days.
p.p.s. English rugby is boring


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Recent Messages

From Inger Betsy
Hei Amanda!

Så mange flotte bilder! Moro å se igjen steder hvor jeg selv også har vært. Gleder oss til å se deg i Norge igjen i november. Hils Bradley!

Klem fra Inger Betsy
Response: Hei Tante! Takk for skriver! Vi sees snart! Gleder meg a se dere igjen! En stor klem til deg og Sverre,
Amanda =)
From Alana
What beautiful photos of a fantastic trip. It made me feel so happy to see you both having a wonderful time, looking so happy and sooo tanned.

Where to next??
Response: Spain in two days, Norway again then HOME! See you soon!
From Elizabeth
Great photos of your trip! And,as always, excellent commentary (well done Amanda) ....... certain notettes definitley made me chuckle!!!! I thought all the "foodie" shots were a neat idea ..... gave us all an in sight to the various local cuisines ...... and, I hasten to add, made my mouth water somewhat!!!

Your trip looks fantastic ..... I am completely jealous! Poor Richard, he will have to keep up his business travel and collecting the old airpoints as there are obviouosly lots more places for us to HAVE to visit!! I am so looking forward to hearing all about it over some nice southern hemisphere beverages!!

Enjoy your few weeks in the UK in preparation for the next adventure!

Love Ex

PS I didn't realise Demestica came in red ..... we only tried out the white ...... hope the red was a little more palatable!!!!
Response: Hi Mum, Glad you liked the photos - thought it was better than writing a whole long story of the trip! Domestica in red was.... mmmm... I think the word is drinkable, but that is where it ends! BJ xxx
From Loren & Rangi
See you in Athens soon babe!!!!

Greek smiles xxxx
From Tove
Nice photos from Morocco.
But I guess it's time for a haircut again, Bradley?
Response: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!
From Inger-Torill
Hei Amanda! Takk for sist - Pavlova smakte bra! Du har vært på "The top of the world" - Tromsø, men hvor er bildene herfra!
Klem
Response: Unskyld meg- har ikke hadt tid! Men bare vent, skal ta pa veldig snart! Klem klem fra London til deg, Tom og Martin =)
From Hege
Hahaha! Great 'surviving' with Amanda pictures!! =)
Victor is just toooo cute ;)
Response: That's what you would say if you didn't have to spend a whole week with him...HHAHAHAHA..no, I know..he is so photogenic as well...like, any photo you take of him, he looks gorgeous! See you soon Miss Bugge!
From Philippa
TIME FOR AN UPDATE PLEASE!!!
Response: Mother...I talk to you every week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will put up photos now!
From Loren
Hey gorgeous (oh, and Amanda) - JOKES! xxxx Your photos are great guys, love Oslo and the puppies are so cute! When the BA or AB team get it back into gear we will be keen on hooking up in Europe. Even talked about a few ideas, when you have your plans fleshed out a bit more let me know xxxxx
Love you lots xxxx Loz xxxxx
Response: We HAVE to meet up in Italy!!! Talk soon XOXOX
From Philippa
Delighted to see how good you are at painting Amanda, shall leave the bathrooms for you to do when you get home!! Hope Thea never decides she wants it back to wood!!
Hope the sun shines soon, how is it down in Devon Brad, enjoying the Spring down there? Lovely time of year in England. Winter has hit us today, wind, rain and a drop in temperatures - winter duvet on the bed now. Glad to hear you are both getting together again in May, won't be long now.
All my love Philippa/Mum xx
Response: Hi mum! Have had a brilliant sunny day here- first day of nice warm sun for the year- so nice! Hopefully our winter duvets will come off soon! Brad comes up on the 13th May so about three weeks now. Can't wait to see each other! All our love,
A XOXOXOX
From Alana
Brad are you doing the telecom virtual rugby for the Super 14. What's your player name if you are, I'd like to see how you're going. Mine is saskat and I'm pretty pleased with my efforts "for a girl"
Response: Hi! Have just added you- yes you are doing very well!! Better than me!!! hard to really follow it this side of the world, we hardly get any games and no news coverage! nzherald.co.nz is getting alot of usage from me! take care, good luck in the telecom virtual rugby! xx
From jay
yeah ill have double brimstone and chicken tenders with aoli please! keep up the cool pics : )
Response: What the #¤%&????
We love you too little brother!
From Karoli
Que envidia!
Las fotos están muy lindas y algunas muy chistosas ...
Mientras tu estás sobreviviendo al frío nosotros tratamos de aguantar unos ricos 32º C de calor.

Luego te envío más fotos de Brasil, pero no tengo muchas... =(
será.
un beso bien grande!!
Muchos saludos para todos!
TK

ai0s.
=)
Response: Que bueno q te gusto! lo estoy pasando super bien..aunque hecho de menos el calor del verano! Mandame fotos cuando tengas tiempo, besos de todos TQM =)
From Loren
Ahhh!! Your photos are incredible!! Brad you look so English on the farm, Rangi will be pleased to see the cheesecutter taking off, have some cool photos of Manda in one too. The snow and the mountain and everything look amazing.
Cant wait to see you both this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Response: Cheers see you soon!!!
From Philippa
Happy New Year both of you!!!
Good to see more photos, I have the same photo of me with the troll up the top of the ski slope in Oslo.
Delighted Amanda has found such a good job, what an experience, and of course Brad your new found profession of snow plougher looks just about as much fun as my job!! Have you managed to make a better snowman than Richard's and my attempt in the UK yet? Sorry to hear Austria is off but that's life. At least you have snow where you are. We spent New Year in Rotorua with the Collins' as usual, good, fun, relaxing week in SUNSHINE. How much longer you going to be in Norway Brad? It's great to be able to picture in our minds where you are this time.
Well hope the year continues to keep you both happy and healthy. Good luck Brad on your next leg, where ever it may be. Lots of love Philippa xxx
Response: Hi mummy! There was lotsof snow while we were away so might have to take on the snow man challenge in a day or two!
From beth
Am sitting in my office with the sun blazing outside and the aircon full bore! Cant imagine how cold you are!!Your adventures sound amazing -long may they never end!Alls well here-keep writing
Response: Ahhhh.. if only i could put my jandels on and go outside in the sun!!! loving the snow but missing that hot nz sun!
Lots of love!
From Elizabeth
Yes BJ, I am pleased to see you finally managed to find a barber in the UK, I know they are very few and far between ..... mind you I think your aunts and cousins will all be very dissappointed, apparently they all just loved your beautiful locks!!!

Sounds thouh you two are having a ball ... the photos are great, as always, and your diary, although sometimes a little slow between episodes, is always excellent reading!!

Hope you have enough warm clothing as the weather sounds far too cold for my liking, but I must say the scenery looks just gorgous so no doubt well worth any frostbite!

Please thank Tove and her family from us for lokling after our baby boy so well .... and yes, Chris is right, we do miss you (both), but are just thrilled that you are living your dream!! Continue to enjoy x

Take care, we'll speak to you soon.

Love Capt. P xx
Response: Hey Capt!
Glad you are enjoying to website!! Was lovely chatting this morning. Yes it is beautiful but the frostbite hasn't kicked in yet as we are wearing all of our clothes!!! Ha! much love talk soon bj & a xx
From chris and chloris an
Hi you too,

had a quiet drink with your family new years eve....everybody seems very well..!! and we hope this finds you the same..

however I get the vague feeling that your mother is missing you terribly and that you should come home to help us with baby sitting..


sound likes your having a great trip... enjoy those winter olympics you lucky ducks!!!


and happy new year!

from the baths
Response: Great to hear from you! We are doing great and really enjoying the travels so far. Missing the weather from home but enjoying the snow! take care - much love Amanda & Brad
From Nana & Granddad
Thanks for your E-Mail Nana is getting much better she has been to see our doctor and when he took the dressings off not one of the four cuts measured an inch and they can hardly be seen.
Hope you both have a nice time in Norway and then in Austria where are you going in Austria? I was stationed there for two years and loved it.
A Happy New Year to you both.

Love.
NANA & GRANDDAD
Response: Hi! Great to hear Nana is doing well. We are heading to Obertauern which is just South of Salzburg. Should be fantastic skiing and we are very much looking forward to seeing another country! Take care, see you at the wedding! love Bradley & Amanda x
From Nana & Granddad
We have just sat down and looked through your photo's and stories and loved them.
Give our love to Nana Cole,and wishing you all the best for 2008.
Things are going well for Nana and she is feeling a lot better every day.
Give our love to Amanda when you get in touch with her.
You now know what a real beer taste like at the right temperature not frozen coloured water.
Thanks for your cards.
Love,
NANA & GRANDDAD
Response: hi guys! great you managed to check the site. hope xmas was OK and you enjoy your b'days!! take care Bradley XX
From Philippa
Hi Amanda and Brad, I know you will be looking forward to seeing each other over New Year but have a lovely Christmas both of you and don't eat too many of those Christmas cookies!! We will raise a glass of champers to you both on Christmas morning here and be thinking of you. Lots of love from Philippa and Richard xx
Response: Thank you mummy!
Make sure you have some strawberries for us too! we won't be getting any here! Love to you, Dad and Jay!
Amanda and Bradley XOX
From Alana
Loved the pictures and the update. Looks like it's time for another hair cut.
Response: I know... isn't it great?? Not too sure what Amanda will think when I get to Norway........ X
From Elizabeth
BJ, how many times have I asked during your young life "are you sure that meat is cooked properly??!!" Not enough obviously!!!!! Still good to hear you are welll and trully over your funny tummy and safe with Natt in Bangkok. Your diary of your trip around SE Asia has made great reading .... look forward to seeing all the photos in March! Sounds like you have had a great time .... lets hope the Countries involved don't take too long to recover from your presence!!

Dad and I are packing up to leave the States this evening .... me to head home and dad to head over to meet up with you in the UK .... with your camera packed safe n sound! Have fun with him at Steve and Karen's and in the meantime, enjoy your Whanau in the South ... I know your cousins are hoping to lead you astray !!

Sorry, don't think we will be able to save you any moet or strawberries on Xmas day ... but we will certainly raise a glass to both you and Amanda!

Sorry, must get on with my packing!

Take care, travel safe and will speak to you when you get to Nana's.

Love from dad and I.

Capt.Px

PS Love the new photos ....
Response: They want to lead me astray?? Ha! Just packing my bag myself - time for the 12 hour flight!!! Should be ok as it is a night flight and after a few G & Ts - I should be sorted! Talk soon BJ X
From Loren
Hey you two! Amazing scenic photos Bradley - sorry to hear you're not well though! When do you land in the UK, and what are your plans? xx
Manda, love the photos of the bday party - so cute! Can you email me your phone contacts again coz I lost them :)
Lots of love to you both, we have to make New Years Eve plans soon!
Loren xxxx
Response: Hi!! i am here now, down in Devon until mid next week then i might be in London for a night or two but not too sure... whats your phone number and email?? Send it through to bradjguest@gmail.com and we can organise!!! XX
From Elizabeth
Hi BJ ...... great reading! Sounds like your dream is being fulfilled!! Enjoy Cambodia .... keep safe and I know you could quite easily stay longer in Asia, but be sure you get to Bangkok for your flight to the UK ...... dad is really looking forward to spending time with you in Devon .... I think you might need more than jandles there!!

Our love to Amanda, hope you are having a ball in Norway.

Cheerio for now.

Love mumx
Response: Hey Capt! Don't worry i will be on the flight! Just organised to head to Norway for NY which will be great :) Talk soon love you BJ X