Location: Sydney, Australia
PAUL BRENNER REPORT!!!!!!
Well Ghetto fans, after not hearing news on Paul Brenner for over a month you all must be salivating to hear of his adventures. Two pages of PB photos have also been added so check them out!
After leaving the Ghetto tour back in mid July I headed to London for cricket, more cricket and even more cricket. Thanks to Ghettoettes Kerry and Debbie who scored me a ticket for a days play at Lords. Was great watching the Aussies whip those white English arses. Plenty of goodbyes were said over the two weeks in London before it was time for the USA.
First stop was New York city where former Cavendish Road resident Patrick was good enough to let me stay at his place for a few nights. New York was amazing. My kind of place, a massive city that goes on and on and on and on... In a busy two days I went to the top of the World Trade Centre, toured the NY Stock Exchange, walked down Wall Street, got lost in Central Park, saw the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, went inside the United Nations building, saw Times Square and of course.... ate one of those hot dogs from a street vendor.
After the hustle and bustle of New York what a better way to slow down than stay with the Greenewalds in sleepy Elizabeth, just outside of Pittsburgh. Dana Greenewald, old friend of PB had gotten herself a job teaching 10th grade biology in Seattle so now had to get her stuff and car over to the other side of the USA. What a trip, over 3000 miles and across 11 states. We drove through Chicago, saw Sioux Falls, visited the site of the battle of the Little Big Horn (Custers last stand), went through the Badlands national park and the Black Hills of South Dakota. We also visited Mount Rushmore, camped and spent a day in Yellowstone national park. Yellowstone was absolutely amazing, definitely one of my highlights of the past 3 months.
Final stop was Seattle, home of grunge music and the coffee shop on every corner. A very nice city, though a bit cold in the mornings. Then finally it was time for my trip from hell, 31 hours of five flights and airports before arriving home in Sydney, thus officially ending my time as a member of the ghetto. I already miss it. Long live the ghetto!
Location: Number 50 Massive, England
Well Ghetto people, its finaly over. This final update like the first one is coming to you from London. After Granada, we headed to a place called Almeria. Nice coastal town was the description. Not that nice really. We went there to get away from the tourists. We didn't succeed. Still, we didn't actually intend to go there, we wanted to go to Cabo de Gato, a National Park on the coast - but it was booked out. Instead we used Almeria as a base to travel from each day. The first day we went to the beach in Almeria. A mixed bag. On the edge of the desert its kind of wild and remote. The chimneys and hi-rise less so. Second day we took the bus to Cabo De Gata, a little town in the national park on the beach. Very nice beach. We enjoyed a peaceful day there apart from the rockets that were being let off every few minutes from behind the beach. Some kind of crazy Spanish thing. That night it was off for a night on the town. Although big, Almeria didn't have much to offer. We ended up in an 'English Style' pub that actually got very busy. We also ended up very drunk, talking Spanish to a Mexican chick. Early in the night a very seedy old British man sat beside us and another table and exclaimed 'Oh you speak English then!'. Both us and the other table tried our best to ignore him and his efforts to talk to us about the discotheque he was going to. In the end he told us (off the record of course) that we were the most unsociable Australians he'd ever met. Can you believe it? The Ghetto is sociable, but we have standards. Next day it was off to San Jose, for the last day on the beach. WE GOT SURF! We were very happy, it had been a very long time since we caught a wave. One Ghetto man forgot about the whole loose swimmers in the surf thing and nearly suffered shame. Only quick action saved the day. We left the beach to go and wait for the 3 o'clock bus, we waited an hour until someone came and told us it was a national holiday and there was no bus until 7. It had to happen once! The next day it was time to go home. What an effort, the longest bus ride ever to Malaga (never take a bus that is not marked directo). We got the best of the Costa del Sol, the plastic covered tourist coast. They grow these crops under plastic and have covered the land as far as you can see with plastic. Nice. The Eurotrash tourists take up the rest of the space. We were glad we didn't stop there. After the bus ride from hell we waited for the 1am EasyJet flight. Fun. Then the wait for the tube in London. A trying end to a fantastic journey.
So - now its over. Paul Brenner has just made it home to Oz, after jaunting across the states. The trip was an amazing experience, there is no doubt about it. Three month tours come with a Ghetto stamp of approval.
Location: Almeria, Spain
So, Madrid. We stayed an afternoon. Nice city and all, but a little bit too cultured for us. Maybe we´re just a little travelled out too. A certain Ghetto father was not impressed with Madrid being described as boring. So we got straight on that bus and headed for Granada. Much better. There's a big Muslim castle palace thingo here called Alambhra. It was number 50 massive and the islamic decorations made a refreshing change from the Catholic decorations we've been seeing for months now. We got up at 6:30am to join the queues for that one, it was still a mile long but well worth it. Granada is very hot. About 40 in the shade. Gotta love that!
Today we did a very scary thing. We booked a ticket to London. Oh my god it's nearly over, next Friday to be exact. But don't worry Ghetto fans we have a good dose of beach action in between to top up that tan to crispy.
And today we have a special celebration, thats right Ghetto junkies, we've been on tour for three months!!! Thats nearly a hundred days of fun in the sun. Okay so PB has already left, but we hated him anyway. Soon it will be time to put shirts back on (yes, sometimes we wear them) and get jobs. Bummer.
Location: Madrid, Spain
Spain is very crowded in August. That's the conclusion we have come to from our travels in Spain in the last few days. San Sebastian was nice, however the first day it rained. Not to be put off we went to the aquarium which was lots of fun. Have you ever seen a moonfish? They're quite silly looking. The next day the sun came out and we joined the bazillion other people that headed for the beach. We'd never seen anything like it. So many people. The water was awash with sunscreen. Still, we stayed the day and even rose to the challenge of the incoming tide that decreased the sand space to one tenth of its original size. The crush was phenominal. We decided not to be beaten by the tide and managed to extend our dry position by building large sand dams. We were assisted by a young Spanish kid who thought the idea was fantastico. The craze took off and soon there were dams popping up all over the place. Once again the trend is set by the Ghetto.
The next day we decided to leave San Sebastian for the town of Ribadessella on the North Coast of Spain. The plan was to canoe down this big river (Rio Sella). Its renowned canoe ride of about 20km. After a harrowing coach ride we arrived there to be told by the tourist office that there was no chance of accomodation anywhere on the coast or inland. Not ones to be scared by such a challenge we set out to remedy the situation. Okay, so you can't buy a tent in Ribadesella, and there is only one more bus after 6pm to a place called Oviedo. So we rang a hotel in Oviedo (80km away) and yes they had a room. So we got on the bus and arrived at 9pm. Of course the bastard hotelier had given our room away. He was not of course there to tell us this. For the next couple of hours we rang every hotel there and they were all full. Heading to MacDonalds for a night there we ran into a couple we'd seen at the first hotel. They spoke no English but managed to communicate to us that they knew a secret little Hostal that had a vacancy. It looked bad on the outside but was fantastic in. Lucky! so the next day we caught a bus into the top of the canoe ride and everything turned out okay!
The canoe ride was quite alot of fun. There were some minor rapids the whole way down and the scenery was fairly good. There were also at least a hundred thousand other people doing the same thing. We've decided that Spain has got to get over this idea that every one should go on holiday in August. We didn't see why the river was so popular, it was only average really, but avoiding hopelessly amateur tourists in canoes was kind of fun and the scenery and canoeing was well worth all the hassle of getting there.
Today we made the trek to Madrid, another chapter in the Ghetto tour book. We've heard from Paul Brenner, apparently he's livin it up in the US. We're all hoping just like you that he'll leave an update on the site.
Location: San Sebastian, Spain
Hola folks. Its been a while - we've been roughing it in remote Spain so of course no internet. Well we did go to Barcelona as well, but we were lazy there. The Ghetto tour went into outdoor overdrive of late with us first visiting Olot to go walking in a National Park that contained dormant volcanoes. We went for a nice 30km walk. The walk was pretty spectacular through nice forests and villages and even into the crater of an extinct volcano. Next Ghetto challenge is the crater of a live one, but that will be another tour. We got some really nice blisters from that one, just in time to hit Barcelona. Barcelona proved to be a bit difficult accomodation-wise, with everywhere being completely booked out for days. What the heck we thought and got on the bus anyway. We arrived to find that the best we could get was a four star hotel. Not quite within the Ghetto budget, but gees it was nice. For two nights we had aircon, yes aircon - total bliss. Since our accomodation costs were sky high, Barcelona was done in true toursit style. Early morning, walk all day (on blistered feet) and get more sights in at night. Barcelona was pretty cool. We went down La Ramblas, as we heard an Aussie tour guide explain to his flock of munters - 'Thats the main drag of Barcelona'. It was quite bizzare (pronounced bitharre in Spain), full of buskers and crowd pleasers and the like. We also saw a Cathedral designed by Spanish freak Gaudi, kind of like Dali doing architecture. Its still not fully built after one hundred years or so, but is quite a marvel to see. We liked it so much we thought we'd go and see some appartments that he designed as well. They were out there. Next we walked to a huge cable car that goes over Barcelona and looks decidedly unsafe. We survived and enjoyed the views. After dinner we went to Placa Espagne to see the bestest fountain we'd ever seen. That baby rocked. Now we're not usually big fans of your sound and light shows at the Ghetto, but this one was very good, better than a fireworks display (except your Sydney Harbour type displays but there are limits to everything).
After Barcelona, we travelled for two days to get to a place called Torla in Aragon. It was worth the travel. It's this picturesque town near the Pyrenees mountain range. We went into the most incredible national park we'd laid eyes on, well it was good anyway. Huge rocky cliffs and forest were the first thing we climbed, at one stage we had to use these pegs that were bolted into the side of a cliff a long way up. 'If you have an unshakeable head for heights' was the Lonely Planet description. Don't worry Ghetto folk we managed. At the top of the cliffs - low and behold a whole mountain range. In true form we decided we had to climb one, so we did. The ibex (deer like things) joined us for part of the way. We ate lunch and returned to Torla very tired.
After Torla we went to Huesca, a bit of a country town. Not much there to see, but we were more interested in getting bikes and riding out through the plains to this thousand year old castle. The ride was gruelling with the temps above thirty. There literally were vultures circling above us, thankfully we only felt dead. The castle was of course built on top of a hill that nearly killed us, but it was well worth the effort. It was an amazing castle in very good condition built to defend against Muslim invaders. The views from it were spectacular also. After a welcome lunch from a friendly Spanish guy we got on the bikes for the slog back to Torla which was much easier going down and with the wind. 65km ride left us tired, but happily the night before we'd found the best value restaurant in the world in Huesca so we ate there again and stuffed our faces.
Today we travelled to San Sebastian on the North Coast of Spain. There's a beach here. After all this exercise its time for some R&R again. Cool.
Location: Cadaques, Spain
Like a big sine curve the ghetto tour is gently easing back down off hyper touring and back to where it started with lazing on beaches. We kind of missed Paul Brenner briefly, but now he's but faded memory. No Pauly we don't mean it.
The Ghetto duo entered Spain the day Paul Brenner left and went straight to Figueres home of the Salvador Dali Museum. Geezus that man was strange. Oddly enough we've always been a fan of his art at the Ghetto. We feel strangely at home with his painting of Narcissus. The whole museum was way, way out there. Dare we say it better than any other gallery we saw in Europe. We spent the afternoon staring at long legged elephants, egg shaped people, flying boats and a disturbing amount of warped genetalia before working out just where it was that we were going to go on the coast and just stop.
Cadaques. Thats where we stopped. The brochure said village, but it's more of a town on the coast with okay beaches, but beautiful coastline. We arrived and it was pouring with rain, but never fear it hasn't since. Day two was get to know the beach again day, we stayed all day and made good friends. Pebble, rubble, dirt, sand cross was the surface. Interesting. We moved our lazy bodies once to go for a kayak which was very nice. That night we decided it was time to go out again and get the Ghetto (minus Paul) drunk. Drink we did, with two lovely Swedish girls for most of the night. Don't worry Ghetto fans it was all above board. We ended up getting home at dawn walking with a Spanish couple we're not quite sure where we met. They were nice enough and strangely language differences don't seem to be a problem if you get drunk and shout. They invited us to go for a night out with them in Barcelona which of course we will do. Next day of course was spent on the beach feeling very sorry for ourselves. The day after we walked out to the rocks of the coastline with a recently purchased snorkelling mask and did alot of gazing at the cool Mediterranean sea life. After this we rented bikes and rode to Cap de Cruz. Very nice. Today was superfantastic with a Scuba dive being in order. Tim having never dived was the novice. It's Lucky Nick is a qualified diver, because the instructors spoke no English. Tim is still alive and eager to go diving in Sydney. Very fun.
Well, we guess its probably time to get moving again so tomorrow we're leaving Cadaques. Into some volcanic mountains in Catalunya. Oh yes.