Location: Florence, Italy
We drove from Switzerland to Florence today via Pisa to see the leaning tower. Driving out of the Swiss Alps was so pretty, a little slippery though due to all the snow. We drove through a little mountain pass and I got some good pics from the front of the bus. We were all a little hungover from NYE celebrations but eventually got to Italy and passed a mountain range that looked like it was snow capped and it turns out it was white marble and this is where Michelangelo got his Marble from. We arrive in Pisa which is the Boondocks except for this amazing square called the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miricles) which has a Baptistery, cathedral and (of course) the leaning tower. The building of the leaning tower began in 1173 but almost immediately stopped as the soil underneath shifted. It leans a further 1mm per year and today it is almost 4.1 metres off perpendicular. That was the highlight of Pisa I bought a magnet got asked for money and people tried to sell me crap from hawkers and we left again onto Florence the home of the David.
Florence is a really pretty city. Famous for the 3 Ms, Michelangelo, Medici and Machiavelli, Florence was founded by Caesar in 59 BC. We went on a walking tour of Florence with our Italian guide with a very cool accent. The Ponte Vecchio Bridge is arguably the most famous part of Florence (bar the David) as in WWII all the bridges in Florence were bombed except this one. Also the Medici family built this bridge and added a walkway above it so they didnt have to walk with the commoners while commuting from their palace to work in the 14th century. The shops on the bridge were once butchers but because they were a bit smelly the Medicis broke all their tables and moved in gold and silver merchants. Breaking their tables in Italian is apparently where the term Bankrupt comes from see arent I learning lots!
The Duomo is probably the most impressive part of Florence though. Marble, marble and more marble. The Piazza Del Duomo is one of the largest cathedral in the world. It has an enormous octagonal dome (cupola) and it has a green, red and white marble façade and it is huge! Onto the Palazzo Pitti which is the 15th century palace bought by the Medicis in 1549 as their residence. The Galleria Dell Accademia is where the David is housed, Michelangelo carved this sculpture in 1504 from one piece of marble he believed that the piece of marble had the sculpture inside already and he had to get it out. Great city and one to come back to, but I had a bad cold so I dont think I appreciated it as much as I could have. Karaoke tonight (look out) then onto Rome in the morning.
Location: Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
So today we drove from Paris to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. Lauterbrunnen is this pretty little town at the bottom of the Jungfrau mountain which is the highest point in Europe that you can reach on a train (really high too I got altitude sickness 3571 metres or 11, 782 feetThe Swiss Alps are spectacular. Ive never seen anything like it. Lauterbrunnen is sort of in between two massive cliffs that had waterfalls but because of winter they had frozen (it looks like in mid flight down the cliff). I hope the photos will do it justice.
We had New Years Eve in Lauterbrunnen and as if on cue it starting snowing at about 9.00 pm. Half the people we are travelling with are Australian so we went a little bit nuts and made a snow man and danced around in it. ). They make the best beer here. Fledscholosschen I am going to import into Australia. I bought a Swiss Army knife from here and my brothers as well (you lucky buggers!). Off to Florence in the morning bring on Italy.
First day! Bee and I woke at sparrow fart to get to Hammersmith from Greenwich in time to catch the bus, just to drive past Greenwich Park about an hour and a half later, about 5 minutes from where we were staying!
From London we drove to the white cliffs of Dover and got on the ferry to get to Calais, France. We learnt a lot of French history on the way from our tour guide, from Charlemagne, the Louiss, Mary Antoinette, Charles De Gaulle, Napoleon, Joan of Arc, the French Revolution, the Storming of the Bastille, guillotines, German occupation - basically I'm an expert now!
From Calais to Paris and a quick dinner at our hotel and back on the bus for a driving tour of Paris at night. They call it the city of lights for a reason, especially at Christmas time. We drove past the Moulin Rouge, Monmarte Hill and went into the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Arc De Triomphe (commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to commemorate his victories) and the round about called the Place de LEtoile, that has no lanes but about 8 cars deep can drive around it crazy scary. Your insurance is null and void on the round about, there is a crash every 12 minutes. One of the streets off this round about is the Champs Elysees which is so pretty and its rent for shops is the most expensive in Europe Louis Vitton, Chanel and the like. On to the Place De La Concorde which has a massive Obelisk (3300 years old) which is from Luxor. The French say it was a present and the Egyptians say it was stolen?!?! This is also the area where all the guillotining got done in Paris Mary Antoinette lost her head here. On to the Musee Du Lourve which is so pretty. It was once a fortress old and beautiful with this amazing glass pyramid in the middle, controvestial but I like it. The French people dont like it and wanted it taken down but what do they know, they wanted to take the Eiffel Tower down as well (idiots!). Onto the Eiffel Tower which is bigger than I thought. They built it in 1889 for the World Fair and were planning to take it down a few years after luckily it was a great place for a communication tower which is why it is still standing today. The Germans nearly took it to pieces and used it for building ammo etc
lucky. We did a Fat Tyre Bike Ride which took us past all the major sights of Paris, saw the Thinker and Notre Dame as well. Seriously you have to see this building to believe it it is amazing. Its almost not fair that Paris has all this amazing stuff in one city definitely a city to come back to. Off to Switzerland tomorrow!
Location: Bristol, UK
Last day in Bristol!
Merry Christmas to all of my family and friends - hope you all have a great time where ever you are and whatever you are doing.
I leave tonight on the train from Bristol to London for a Christmas extravaganza in Greenwich, should be good.
Everyone at the hospital bought me presents which was so exciting and Brenda (the lady who's daughter is in Perth) gave me one of her old winter jackets to take to Europe and it is toasty warm - Thanks Brenda!
A few departure drinkie poo's tonight at the Hostel before I leave as well.
Love Dannnielle xxxxxxooooooo
Location: Bristol, England
Happy Birthday to Nanna for the 13th! Hope you had a good day, Mum said they took you out for dinner and a night out on the town in Trundle.
Jenny Robinson came to Bristol on Saturday for a visit. Was great to have a little touch of home. We rang Matt and Karen and talked to Harry as well which was nice. Anise was there as well and I thought she was Karen on the phone - woops, but that's another story. We talked to Harry who is getting a guitar from Santa and showed us over the phone how he plays guitar which was cute.
Went to the Bristol Walkabout for a couple then another little bar called 'The Mother's Ruin' for the rest of the night. Jenny has been travelling around everywhere and sounds like she's had a blast - her tour actually went to a lot of the same place that my tour is going (in 13 days time!!) so I got some good tips from her and picked her brain a little. She heads back to Australia in a couple of days which she is excited about and then I think moving to Perth with Jo. Went to the movies yesterday with an Aussie mate of mine - the Day the Earth Stood Still - don't watse the money, wait for it on DVD it's ordinary.
So I have 7 1/2 working days (9 actual days!) left here before I leave Bristol on Christmas Eve and head to London for 3 days and then the tour starts!! Can't wait - Just have to buy a coat.
OK - I will post some photos of Jenny and my night out on the town and the next ones will be from Paris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love Dannielle xx
Location: Bristol, UK
Happy 30th Birthday Andy Pandy!!! I think he enjoyed my phone call at 6.10am this morning/last night, he sounded chipper seeing as though he just got to bed after falling asleep on a bag of oats - that wouldn't be itchy at all mate!
I hope all the Ward/O'Bryan crew don't run a muck too much at Fifield this weekend for his party! Apparently the Dannielle head is coming out for a run again, so I'm sure I'll have a good time as well. Brace yourself Fifield (OK the 3 other people that live there!)
Don't have too much fun without me please......
Love Dannielle xx
Location: Cardiff, Wales
Kate and Jo arrived around 7.30 on Friday night just in time for the cocktail party. Because I am silly I had already had a few beers 4 in 10 minutes actually trying to get my name on the wall at the hostel wall for the fastest drinking of 4 beers the 4-10. The first beer went down well, but you have to pour the beers into a cup after you finish skulling so basically you drink a lot of froth. Fun though.
Coinage happened again
.woops. As Kate says It does bad things to good people, but all in all the cocktail party was lots of fun but went to bed a few hours after we should have. So next morning we were off to Cardiff at 9.15am about an hour on the train. Well we didnt quite make it to the castle in the morning, it was quite cold when we got there so we decided against going to the castle and headed for the closest pub with seats. A few hours later we headed for the stadium a little bit pissy but nothing outrageous. You would all know the score by now so there is no use re telling that much except that the last penalty was ridiculous and Steven Moore was sent off for no reason and what was the penalty count?? CMon! So then we caught up with Brennos and Biggsy (ex Albies boys) randomly ran into Barton Leech and Kath and Sarah again, apparently my mum has been speaking to Bartons mum to say hello so he tells me. Was supposed to catch up with Tori Moran as well but apparently she was calling Boy Wardy from Uni instead of me. Ooops.
Back to Bristol on the train and back for coinage - because once is never enough, although I wish I went straight to bed instead. So I woke up with a raging hangover and some severe Sunday remorse at being such a menace to society the night before. Sorry society.
Love Dan x
Location: Cardiff and Beyond, Wales
Welcome to Wales! Croeso i Gymru! Jane my Kiwi friend that I worked with in Edinburgh and Susi my German friend who used to live at the hostel and myself (we sound like the start of a joke huh?? A German, a New Zealander and an Australian walked into a bar
Well we set off from Bristol albeit a little hung over from a mean game of coinage the night before that got out of hand, Jane and I Susi picked up our little car Jazzy and set off. First stop was the Clifton Suspension Bridge as Jane hadnt seen it yet go some happy snaps and set off West for Wales with no map
Luckily we got on the main highway and crossed the Severn Bridge over the Severn River this bridge is crazy big, cant imagine how must it would have cost to build but they charge you £5.30 west bound to cross it so I think they are recouping their money. Then we were in Wales headed to Cardiff. The All Blacks played Wales in Cardiff on Saturday so it was really busy. Had a bit of a drive around getting lost then tried to find a park (which was fun!) finally found one and went to the walkabout to catch up with Gwysen who was bouncing their. Gwys is good hes lost about 20 kgs, still at Uni and working at the pub and playing rugby for the Uni. Cardiff is a beautiful city, the Castle and Millennium Stadium are right in the centre of town. Im heading back to Cardiff next weekend as I have tickets to watch the Wallabies play Wales so I will check out more of Cardiff next weekend.
So we hit the road again for Swansea as we couldnt find any accommodation in Cardiff on Saturday night, drove around for a while and then found a cute little B&B that cost about £18 each and a pub right next door. So we settled in and watch the All Blacks games and then the Australia V France game (which they didnt show
Next day we headed South West onto the Gower coast and the Mumbles which was a really lovely coast line. We also purchased a map that morning so we had a general idea of where we were going (thanks goodness!). We drove up some really small roads narrower than the Irish roads if you could believe that, but we saw some really pretty place along the way as well. We then headed north again to get on the motorway to go to the Brecon Beacons which are a mountain range north of Cardiff and ended up in a town called Abergavenny. The colours where stunning this time of year as it was all Autumny browns and yellows and reds I will post some piccies!
Then we headed back down to Bristol taking a slight detour (I accidently took the wrong turn off) but it turned out to be a really nice drive. Actually taking wrong turns was half the fun of the road trip at a few intersections we spudded off (scissor, paper, rock) to see if we went left or right. It all worked out OK in the end. Driving back into England it started raining quite heavily and the temperature was about 5 degrees
.brrrr. It was cold in Wales too but the sun was out for most of the weekend.
So a lovely time was had by all Im off to Cardiff again this weekend with Kate Hudson and Jo Ryan to watch the Wallabies. Can not wait! Also have a cocktail party at the hostel on Friday night so I will get some photos on here next week.
Location: Twickenham, England
Oh my goodness!!! It was surreal to be at the Rugby at Twickenham. The atmosphere was amazing.
When our national anthem was sung you couldn't really hear anyone (except maybe me singing) then the Poms sang God Save the Queen and I thought the stadium was moving, it was so loud. They also sang Swing Low Sweet Chariot which is really quite catching and it makes you want to sing it, and they sang Rule Britannia as well, there was a little band playing behind us.
We had awesome seats though 3 rows back just off half way, I could almost smell the sweat. We were in and amongst loads of Poms as well which was really funny good banter, very quite when they lose though. The bloke sitting next to me had this radio thing called ref link which basically means you can hear what the refs are saying - £5 I wish I got one, but it was awesome because sometimes they didnt replay penalties on the big screen so we would just all wait for him to hear what happened and re-tell all the people within a few rows of us.
So those of you who watched the game realised it was a bit boring really as they aren't playing the new laws that they play in the southern hemisphere and so every time the Poms gave away a penalty anywhere in their half Giteau kicked it kind of like Johnny Wilkinson would have done. Back fired for them though. They think we like to play it because we dont like scrums but really it just makes for a better game when it isnt won soley on penalty goals. The funny thing was that all the papers over here were bagging Australia especially the scrum and specifically Al Baxter so when the first scrum packed all the Poms were yelling at him and although the first few were scrappy we ending up getting the 2 full penalty because and we won their scrum twice Cop that poms! (Insert backward peace sign)
Second half was better a bit more running and a try by Adam Ashley-Cooper also Giteau made an awesome try saving tackle right near me I was literally 10 metres away from him. And Im pretty sure the George Smith heard me yell out when there was a line out right near our seats I yelled something like cmon Wallabies! and he gave a little knowing nod that said Thanks Wardy well win this line out for you!
All in all line outs were great, defence was awesome, Sharpe had a blinder and Steven Moore was even better and is the new Phil Kearns. Mortlock was great defensively and axed his opposition but wasnt great attacking and knocked on twice. Wycliff should be run on for sure hes a freak and as he walked around for the victory lap I yelled that out to him and he smiled. So they did a victory lap and thanked all the aussies
So then on to the pub for a hard earned beer actually cider as I was on it the night before. So Lauren and I and Emily (Lozs stropper friend) met up with Pisser, Barton Leech, Kath Nixon and Sarah Q and we had a couple of beers at the footy ground then headed into Fulham and randomly ran into Tori Moran. A great night was had by all (unless you were English), and we rocked home in the wee small hours. So that is one thing I can tick off my list of things to before I die!
The next day after missing the bus back to Bristol (Accidently on purpose old rubber arm had a beer and thought that was a better idea than going home) so I stayed another night and caught the bus back to Bristol this morning. So I am tired and hung over but still on a massive high because of our win
Off to Wales this weekend so watch this space for more updates.
Location: Bristol, England
So I'm off to London this afternoon after work to watch the Wallabies play England at Twickenham. The game is 2.30-3.00 pm so for you guys it would be on 1.30-2.00 am - Look out for me.
Catching up with Kath Nixon and Barton Leech, Pisser, Lauren De Witte and another Robb girl I think. Should be a good night.
So I will post some photos on Monday.