Location: Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
In the lovely village of Cesky Krumlov which has looked the same for the last 100 years, minus a few cars.
Its so untouched and has cobbled tiny streets.
There is such a mix of architecture here.
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Well have had an absolutley awesome week in prague.
will give you a run down of my week.
guy called dave who came from a town in czech.
so anna kept in contact with him and we met him at the train station in prague.
Well prague has the most seediest train station i have seen in europe so far.
there are clusters of people who look homeless, but it may just be their hang out, and they are the ones to look out for pickpocketing.
anyway, we met a czech guy we were sittting next to on the train and he waited with us at the station for our czech friend dave and even called him for us - small language and currency barrier at that point, so that was really helpful.
dave was awesome., he had soo much organised for us and introduced us to some of his friends who were all absolutley lovely.
we had dinner in a tradition pub. (czech traditions are very similar to german, food esp)
then we went to the old square and it was SOOOOOOOOOO amazing. i LOVE prague, i completly dont want to leave.
then we went to even more tradition pub and met more czesky people and had such a good!!
so that was monday night.
then on tuesday dave showed us around th city, old square, new square, charles bridge, prague castle, a few churches etc etc. it was rather awesome.
on wednesday night, decided to go for a walk at 11 ish. found a lovely traditional restuarant and had some nice traditional desert!! then we decided to try to find the pub we went to on monday night with the czesky guys cos we loved it so much.
so that night was just before my birthday
and we initially went there because as i am the "finance manager" atm, i wanted to go over a bit, and we thought that it was a nice venue to do so, but we ended up leaving at 4.30am!!
then as midnight clicked over, anna dragged an old man over to our table to sing happy birthday. very nice of them.
then another 3 guys came over to us and said they wanted to buy brithday drinks for us. they bought us french schnapps, and italian champagne (which isn't even champagne btw).
the guys all work at this awesome tea shop which is just across the road from our favourite pub. Its middle eastern and so cool. so the pub and the tea room became our little hang out.
so that was absolutley amazing start to my birthday.
then on thursday, we went shopping and stuff then anna and i went to see this concert of vivaldi, mozart and handel and it was fantastic. such a nice way to spend my birthday.
prague is at its best at night btw. then we walked around the exciting streets of prague. i think its so exciting and beautiful at night. its nearly mystical.
went to so many resturants to decide wht to have and what was cheap.
the czech currency, krown or something, is so weird. 1000 krowns are worth only 24 pounds but everything is soo cheap but soudns so expensive. ie we didn't want to have a meal somewhere cos it was 200 krowns for a main. now that is less that 6 pounds!!!!
we ended up finding this pretty cool jazz bar and had a three course meal (and they were big servings), a bottle of wine and a few soft drinks for 1000 which is 24 pounds. that is sooooooo cheap for europe.
on our table alex from melb and nick from sydney were seated.
so we had such a fantastic night, reminising about aussie and the rest of the world.
we had a great night but ended up in a night club which is what everyone else wants to do and it is fun most of the time, but nightclubs are just not my thing.
but i had such a good birthday.
then on friday we were supposed to leave to meet monika (polish friend) but we couldn't get in contact with each other (long story) so we ended up staying another night in prague. but we love prague so that was cool!
we had a room mate called oscar from venezoula (in south america can't spell that) and he was going to berlin, but we arranged to meet him for a few hours before he went.
we took him to our favourite tea rooms as we did everyone we met on the way!
then later that night anna and i were like we have to sleep and do organising and stuff cos we hadn't any accom booked for the next week!!!
but as per usual, we got talking to other travelers near the internet rooms then went down to the bar until 5am.
we met people from aussie, usa, italian speaking swiss.
we had such a good night and there were heaps of aussies there and except for anna, i haven't really spent much time with any aussies since sept really, so for a moment there, it felt like home, just in the most beautiful city in the world!!
Off to Wroclaw in Poland tomorrow. I have been told its even cheaper than Czech (don't know how thats possible!!)
Location: Munich, Germany
Well New years Munich was interesting and fun.
we went to a friends for a lovely dinner and drank some traditional beverages.
then went to a house party where we saw in the new year.
it was a little scary actually because for nearly an hour the streets were completly lit up with people setting off fire crakers and fire works!
After midnight, we went into Munich city to a night club.
Not my thing but it was ok.
Off to Prague tomorrow.
Location: Munich, Germany
Well my euro trip started on monday 26th when i flew from liverpool to cologne.
in cologne i went into the cathedral where it is thought that the three wise men are buried in a tomb. the cathedral is amazing and is no wonder why it took over 600 years to build.
after waiting for 5 hours in cologne til midnight, i took 3 trains to kempten which is in south eastern in bavaria, to meet anna.
at this point i didn' know any german and couldn't even say thank you.
so when i arrived in kempten, i found a station without a platform, an office or any of the usual station features. i felt like i was in the an extremly isolated area of russia! (sxcept there was a few houses and industrial places in view)
i soon established that clearly i was at the wrong station (which btw said "kempten ost").
so due to my lack of german, i had got off at the wrong station. i later established "ost" meant east.
then with luck clearly not on my side, i attempted to send a message to anna to tell her where i was. but unfortunatly my phone conveniently ran out of battery.
so i ventured off to find a pay phone, hoping that if the minute possibility that if i found a person on the way that for one might speak english, and know where a phone was.
i did happen to ran into about 3 people but unfortunatly, not even my primitive form of sign language could make them comprehend what i wsa attempting to ask!!
eventually, after walking 15 minutes or so, i found a phone box!!
but, it only took phone cards!!! not happy jan!!!
i ended up seeing two more card only phones before i found a shop that was open to buy a phone card!
so everything was fine after that!
Kempten was absolutly beautiful. snow everywhere and lovely houses.
i stayed with a lovely family who had a lovely big german house!! and lovely german food!!
we went skiing on a mountain close by and went skiing through the most gorgeous forest.
after that we went to visit a friend in a little village in a gorgeous house.
while we were there, a mini brass band came to play which is a tradition in their village at christmas. the band eventually visit every house in the village.
then we went sleighing on a hill in the dark. but it was heaps of fun.
everything is soooo traditional.
anna and i then went to salzburg on the 28th for two nights.
had a great time there. visited the fortress and many places featured in the sound of music.
so now we are in munich where we will be spending new year.
here until sunday then off to prague.
Location: London, UK
Well i am still in London, but i am all packed and ready to leave!
on friday i am going to Liverpool where i am going to spend Christmas. Then on Boxing day i am jetting off to Cologne in Germany and making my way to the Bavarian mountains in south east Germany to meet Anna before we venture off to Salzburg for a few nights then to Munich for New Years!
Then we will be going to be in Prague for my 21st (not quite the 21st i had imagined, but i think it will be absolutly awesome to be there!)
We a then going to Poland to stay with Anna's house mate from England, who's family cannot speak a word of english, so it should be interesting!
Then to Vienna and on to Budapest.
After that, its a bit confusing cos we're not sure how long it will take to get to Rome.
But, we know our destinations from there.
i will write again soon from somewhere in Europe
Location: Salzburg, Austria
Well I have just returned back to the UK from Salzburg my favourrite place in the world!! It was also my first "independant Euro" trip without Anna & Bridie!!!
When i arrived it was snowing, which is something I haven't seen for ages!
I soon explored the city but there was a blizzard, but it was still really nice.
Went on a Sound of Music Tour which went through the city, looking at many buildings that were featured in The Sound of Music. Then we ventured out of the city into the Lakes District, through the mountains, it was soooooo beautiful!!
Went to Mondsee, a really cute little village, where I ate traditional strudel. Also visited a few other towns, including where Motzarts mother was born, by Lake Wolfgang.
That afternoon I went on a tour of the salt mines, which are about 15kms out of Salzburg, another lovely drive.
During the tour, I crossed (under ground) the German border and went on a lake, also underground.
On the top of the mountain where the entrance to the mines are, a Celtic village was discovered in the 1800's. There was some artifacts that were found on display and also a reconstructed village.
This was really interesting but this combined with the drive there and back was def the highlight, even though I spent 40 Euro on the tour! But everything was included in the price!
On the way back, we went through Germany and Bavarian Mountains. I also saw (although not up close!) Hitler's Eagle's Nest.
When I got back I met some other Aussies and the next day we went touring the city.
We went to Mozarts house, the cathedral, another gorgeous but not so extravagant chruch. Then we wanded around the Christmas markets which have traditional gorgeous Christmas decorations and food.
Later that day, after drinking hot red wine (cannot remember the name at this point in my loife soz) and eating the best pizza I have had in Europe, we climbed the hill to the Fortress and the Abbey. There was the most beautiful view from there.
Then we walked through the snow covered forest, it was sooo amazing.
Tht evening I went ice skating outside in the snow in the Mozart Piazzafor a few hours with about 5 other Aussies and had a ball before heading back home.
see you soon
Location: London, UK
Well today I have been to the Natural History Museum which was quite good.
I also went to the National Gallery which was definatley the hightlight. I saw The Virgin on the Rocks by Leonardo De Vinci, many of Van Gogh's work, some of Caravaggio's but nothing that caught my eye, Rembrandt's self portrait, Raphael, Michelangelo, Rubens, Botticelli etc.
I also discovered other great artists Gainsborough, Van Dyck and Canaletto. Canaletto painted many pictures of Venice.
There is a section within the gallery that has paintings as early as 1200. All very gold and religious.
Also walked around the rainy city of London. But its all fun!
Location: London, UK
Well the past few weeks I have been trying to see all the touristy places in London.
Last week I went to the Tower of London and saw the London Tower Bridge.
I found it really interesting and educational! I really wanted to see where the Prince Edward V and his brother Richard Duke of York, were kept before they were murdered. And also St. Thomas More along with many others.
The Tower Bridge was really lovely.
Today went to Westminster Abbey and that was amazing.
To see where Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, to name a few, were buried was really interesting. And I also saw the area which the coronation took place of William the Conqueror.
And of course the recent coronations - but they're not as old and interesting as that!
The architecture on and within the entire building is just so beautiful and some of the chapels within the Abbey are so complex and detailed.
I also went into one area of the houses of parliament, Westminster Hall. Which was the oldest part, 900 years. It survived the Great Fire of London and World War Two bombings (well most of it).
That was really interesting.
I also wondered around Soho, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Chelsea.
Location: Florence, Italy
Well this week I have been to Venice, FLorence and briefly Pisa.
I left the UK on Sunday morning after spending the night in Stansted airport where I flew out to Venice.
I met up with Anna, Bridie and Kate (other Gappers) and Phil who is a local lad from Liverpool.
The only really bad thing about Venice is that I checked what the weather would be online prior to going and it said it would be mid plus 20's deg, so i packed for that. But when we got there it was sooo cold, it was like Aus winter at night! Not happy Jan!
We stayed in a caravan park youth hostel for two nights and it was really good.
It was 15 minutes out of Venice, but we had our own bar, resturant and supermarket within the complex so it was great.
Venice was soooo lovely. All the canals and buildings are so beautiful.
We went to Piazza San Marco Square which was beautiful. The Basilica (church started in the 9th century) is magnificant.
Also went to the Rialto Bridge. And the Bridge of Sighs where prisoners were taken over from the prison to the court house and they would "sigh" as they went over.
We also took a waterbus down the main canal and got to see heaps, so that was great.
Ate lovely pizza and pasta in Venice, drank cheap but nice wine and had an absolute ball!! Spent
We then ventured on to Florence in Tuscany to find yet another lovely city. There we saw the Cathedral or Duoma of Florence and the Statue of David to name a few.
Bridie and I waited 2 hours in the rain for Dave, but it was well worth it! I cannot belive that someone actually did that, especially in that era. It is soooo detailed from the hair to the finger nails, muscles and viens. It is amazing that it can be done out of marble, no wonder it took Michelangelo 4 years!
The main bridge in Florence is also really nice, there are apartments and shops built into it.
Florence is such a beautiful city. Even though there was heavy rain most of the time, it was still really lovely.
Then I flew from Pisa back to the UK. Unfortunatley I didn't get to see the Learning Tower and the Cathedral there, but I did manage to see it as the plane took off! And it looked magnificant from the air, so it must look great from the ground!
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
We went to The Anne Frank House which was sooooo amazing to go to because I have wanted to go there since I was 10 or so. It was hard to fathom that they stayed there for so long with such a limitation of what to do, not knowing what was going on in the outside world (apart from the radio). But I suppose if you are trying to survive, anything is possible.
For diner that evening we were just going to have stuff from the supermarket and so Anna, Bridie and I ventured off to find one, leaving the guys in the city, but on the tram track to home.
But they decided to walk and conscequently got lost on the way! Evidently they had our room key, when we got back to the hostel, they were still not there for an hour, so we ate our dinner in the hall way! Good times.
Also visited the sex museum and the Red Light District. Found both quite disturbing but the Red Light District wasn't as seedy as I thought it would be.
Had a lovely dinner out in an English resturant. (how ironic)
There was a man doing a trapeeze (or however you spell that) thing on a mobile pole wearing ONLY a g-string. Leaving nothing to the imagination!!!!
We spent the last few days wandering around the canals and taking a boat around the main canals.