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Leesa & Susy's European Adventure

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Monday, 13 August 2007

Location: Edinburgh, UK

Realised just how incredibly slack I have got with this. Ok run down of the past few months as best as possible quickly. The first week I was here spent it hanging out with Sue, a guy called Sam and a bit with Stu and Jimmy. Went on lots of tours like Mary Kings Close (an underground close which used to be street level), the vaults (underground cave like things which is making use of the room under the bridges that they've built to tranverse the valleys, city of the dead (Edinburgh is one of the most haunted places in the world) to the Greyfriars graveyard and a really haunted area where hundreds of people have been bitten scratched etc or knocked unconscious or even died (2) over the years. Went up to Arthurs seat for a great view of the city and found out how good the night life is here. Stayed at a hostel called Brodies for about ten days before trying my luck at Budget Backpackers which is where I have found home.
Took me awhile to find a job so wasn't quite as socialable at first and the crew staying at the hostel seemed to have formed a pretty strong bond that was a little hard to break into.
Inbetween headed down to London to visit the family which was great cause it had been so long. Also got another chance to visit mum and dad in Belfast about a month later. Was able to show them the Crown Bar but unfortunatly they were doing work on it so no where near as nice as it normally is but they did get the idea. I've ended up with some great friendships in the hostel some with people who have lekt and some with those that are still there. Really happy working at Deacon Brodies, great crew to work with and nice and close to home. Heading out quite a lot becasue we get such great deals everywhere but also able to just hang at home with friends and always someone to chat with or to come for a walk or to have lunch with etc. Have had many friends come and go and there always seems to be someone leaving or it's someones birthday or something that turns into a big night out.
I'm in a double room now with my good mate Cat who works at the hostel. We are fortunate enough to be moving into the best room in the hostel in about a week cause the assistant manager is leaving and Cat called it for us. So much better than a dorm room and she is great to share with and it's quite good to have the company. She could actually get a room for herself if she wanted but prefers the company too. Good friends with the staff at the hostel so always getting a few benefits on the side.
Have gone on a few day trips after not leaving Edinburgh for quite some time. Firstly to a place called North Berwick which is meant to be a nice seaside town. Was quite a nice little place but we must have gone on the worst day so far this summer. It was freezing, a bit wet, foggy and unlike Scotland didn't change much for the day. We had a look around and ended up in a pub cause it was pretty horrible outside. Was a nice place we just had bad timing. The next trip was to Glasgow for the day. Was a good day just wandering around and checking out the place. Decided it was just was everybody says, good for shopping and going out. Realised that we definatly made the right choice in coming to Edinburgh so much of a prettier city with greater atmosphere, Glasgow just another city. Next trip we hired a car and heading west of Glasgow to a place called Kilburne. There is a castle there that has had a large part of the outside of it graffitied which looks really cool. It was pretty cool but was also surrounded by forest so we had a great time exploring the surrounding land. The next day trip we again hired a car and headed along the coast north to St Andrews. Wandered around there a bit, had some lunch and then went for a scenic drive a bit further north. We had to be back for 7pm cause we had organised a surprise birthday party for Cat so next time we want to head a bit further north right into the highlands. Scotland really isn't that big country so doesn't take too long to cover ground (especially when you don't take the scenic route)
It is currently festival time in Edinburgh and the place is crazy. So much stuff going on and so many people. The population of Edinburgh increases by a million in August (the normal population is 5 hundred thousand) and the place is buzzing. I live just near and work on the royal mile which is the centre of festivities during the day. It is impossible to walk down there without getting at least 10 fliers to different shows and all sorts of people are dressed up and performing in different ways. Some times to promote their shows sometimes buskers sometimes just crazy people going with the flow. There are thousands of shows on so heaps of venues and advertisment for all of them to encourage people to watch them.
I've tried to make the most of the early part of the festival where there have been lots of free and cheap tickets on offer cause they want people to come to their shows so word can spread. So far I've seen about 10 shows, worth over £100 and only spent £10. Two of them were pretty crap but all the others were really good and world class performers. The buzz around the place is amazing and there are places like Speigal (don't think that's how it's spelt) tent which is an outdoor garden area set up for performances but also just a really big beer garden and the Udderbelly (a giant upsidedown purple cow), another venue but also big beer garden.
My work is pretty crazy at the moment cause we are just down from the castle where the military tatoo is. Each night there is a crazy long line that forms so we get hit really hard for a few hours to the point where we have to stop people coming in. Being on the royal mile just near where the fringe strip is we are also quite busy anyway. I'm heading to the military tatoo in a couple of nights, was lucky enough that my friend had a spare one.
Going to get chucked off the computer soon so all I can say is the one bad thing about being here is definatly the weather. It rarely gets over 20 degrees and just about rains everyday (if it doesn't i'm usually working). Even the people here say that it is about the worst summer they have ever seen. You have to appreciate everytime the sun comes out and there is no guarentee that it will stay out for very long. We are in August though so hopefully we get some nice days (when I'm not working) and hopefully I can get somewhat of a tan!!

Monday, 04 June 2007

Location: Edinburgh

Sorry I haven't written in so long I really should have by now. Well I'm nice and settled in Edinburgh. I'm living in a hostel called budget backers and working in a bar called deacon brodies. Took me awhile to find work but I understand why now cause it seems everytime I work we have about 4 people a day coming in looking for work. Having an awesome time here and will be even better now I have a job and will have some money. It's a great atmosphere living in the hostel I'm in. The long termers stay in a different building to the short stay but we still use their building for stuff like cooking (their kitchens are better) and for pool comp and occasionally chill out room. We have a couple of chill out rooms in our building so usually there is someone around to talk to. There is a pool comp every Tuesday and Thursday night which is free and you can win beer. There is a pub crawl on every weekday night so if you feel like going out it will always be a good night. I tend to not go out on weekends anyway because a lot of the cheaper places throughout the week stop their specials on weekends and it also tends to be a bit too busy cause the area around us is so popular. We get really good discounts on the pub crawl and usually their is 5-30 longtermers going on any night on the pub crawl so your friends are always their. It has been hard having no money though so we just drink cheap (£1.50 for 2 litres) cider with blackcurrant cordial before going out and I've made a nice little practice of giving massages for drinks. Got a lot of free drinks last week being my birthday and all but I will tell you about that later.
The bar I work for is the same company that I worked for in Belfast and again is a well known touristy place. It is on the royal mile and about 3 minutes walk from the hostel. It is named after a guy called William Brodie who was a well respected man during the day. He was the deacon for cabinet makers and was a counciller for the city. At night time though he was a heavy drinker a gambler and a thief. He would make copies of his wealthy friends keys while he had access to their houses during the day and would rob them at night to pay off his gambling debts. Eventually he was hanged, ironically on the gallows he designed himself. There is a bit of debate alleging that he paid someone and was never actually hanged because when they opened his coffin it was empty. It's a pretty cool place to work. Everyone there seems to be pretty nice and you get good tips because there are so many tourist in there.
I have to go now but I will write more about what I have been up to soon

Friday, 20 April 2007

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Sorry I've been a bit slack putting an entry in but I've been busy and my time on the internet has been doing other stuff. Had a blast in Belfast. We went to the giants causeway and rope bridge which some how took like 9 hours to do but was still pretty cool. I had seen the causeway before but the bridge wasn't open when I went up there. We drove up the coast road which was pretty nice scenery but it did take a bit longer but hey when your listening to the Dubliners it just all seems right. We went to head out Saturday night but by the time we got into town it was after 11 and everywhere was closing early for easter, not even any upstairs at the Bot. We headed to Thompsons which was open but they wanted a 10er in and were only open till 3 anyway so we gave up (after first trying the Europa but no dice). On Sunday we went and saw the parade which was for the easter rising of 1916 so it was commemerating all the cathlics that have died for the cause over the years. We were a bit late and only caught the back end of it but it still kind of put a shiver through your spine. We weren't sure what to o after so we went to the nearest pub to decide. Tamara and Catherine wanted to join us on a black cab tour and there wasn't much point doing one for awhile anyway cause one of the main streets you go down was blocked by the parade anyway. We ended up staying at the pub for awhile and then decided to head to the Bot, which I warned was a fair walking distance and between the 4 of us it would be cheap to get a taxi anyway but we decided to walk. The first of the whinging came when everybody needed to go to the toilet and then after we'd been walking 45 mins they really started but I think they were just playing with me anyway. Tamara and Catherine met us at the Bot later and we ended up staying there all night and then headed to a house party. Ended up being a huge day and night and somewhere in the middle we didn't do our black cab tour. The next day I didn't get up till 2 and realised my phone had gone dead so when I plugged it in I had a few messages. I missed the easter parade in Bangor that my housemate was going to (apparently I didn't miss much) and I missed the others going on the black cab tour. I was feeling pretty rough anyway so not sure I could have convinced myself to do either anyway.
That night I caught up with Jodie and Andy who I had spent christmas with and Sue ended up joining us. Had a few drinks at Benedicts and then headed to the Wetherspoons for a meal. Couldn't beleive how busy it was and how dressed up everyone was (turned out the next day was a public holiday too). Jodie and Andy went home so we met up with Ben and went for a few more drinks.
The next day met up with Sue and caught the bus and ferry over to Scotland and to Edinburgh. Had to swap at Glascow so got a glimce of what the city is like. When we drove into Edinburgh I can underdtand why everybody says this is a much more beautiful city. There is a big castle up on a hill that overlooks the new town (built in 17 something so not really that new) and is an amazing sight. This whole city is really beautiful and I love it already. I've done a fair few tours and stuff and know a bit of history. Haven't got a job yet but had an interview yesterday. Will tell you more about my time here soon just running out of time on internet.

Saturday, 07 April 2007

Location: Belfast, UK

Back in Belfast for the weekend. I'm really annoyed because my camera screen is broken but I can still take photos so I've still been using it. The memory card was full so I had to keep erasing photos and I thought I was erasing old photos which have been put onto disk already but I've just discovered that I was erasing photos as I was taking them for the past couple of weeks. The result is I have hardly any of the photos that I took on my memory card. When I think about some of the stuff that I don't have pictures of I'm very disappointed.
After Galway I headed off to Donegal, more really nice scenery on the way. Donegal was a really nice small little town on a bay in off the ocean. It was a pretty place and felt a lot like a country town. I got a bit lost on the way to the hostel after some typical irish directions (send you in the wrong direction) but got helped out by a couple of guys walking by when I was out in the middle of nowhere and it had been 20 minutes not 5 (but you do need to allow this kind of difference in timing) and they sent me on a shortcut down a country lane which would have been a really nice walk if I wasn't carrying all my stuff. The lady at the hostel was quite a character. I took a wander into town along the sceneic route which took you along the bay and was really nice and tranquil. The town wasn't that big so didn't take long to check it all out so I headed into a pub. Met some nice locals one of which included the owner of the hostel, the husband of the lady who checked me in. Left pretty early cause I hadn't eaten yet. The next day I went for more of a wander around, went around the bay as much as I could and went into a few shops in town. Went down a few random roads and checked out some cute lambs. Didn't do too much that night just curled up in front of the fire and enjoyed some reading.
The next day I was going to head to a town along the coast a bit which was meant to have some nice scenery but when I went to the bus stop I realised the bus was only Tues/Thurs/Sat or running during peak season so I headed to Letterkenny instead. It was a much larger place than Donegal and has the longest main street I've ever seen. Went for a wander down that and then around some random roads and got myself pretty lost but saw some nice views. Found the tourist office which was right out of town and all it had in it was stuff advertising places around Letterkenny and not in the town itself, guess it's not a huge tourist draw. Went on a bit of a pub crawl with a couple of teachers from new york. After three unsuccessful tries we hit the jackpot and found the lively pub with live irish music. Met a couple of nice locals and continued on at there place till the early hours.
Then I headed off to Derry a walled city that has a big political past being on the border of the republic. I walked around the walls that had some pretty interesting information about the city which has a history going back a long way. There was a famous 105 day seige, the apprentice boys who locked up the city when they were about to be attacked and more recently it was the site of 'bloody sunday' where british soldiers shot and killed 14 unarmed marchers on Jan 30th in the 70s. The area where it happened has heaps of mureals which are really impressive and definatly provoke some emotion. Met some interesting American girls in the hostel who have been studying in Rome. Went to a traditional pub with live music with an Aussie couple who have been living in London for quite awhile. The pub was pretty full but shut up early on account of it being good friday the next day.
I headed here to Belfast yesterday and caught up with my housemate and the girl who moved into my room. They're letting me crash here for the weekend but my other housemate is away in London for her mum's wedding which is a bit disappointing that I don't get to catch up. Met up last night with Sue and took her on a bit of a guided tour through town. Took her to the Crown bar for a pint and then we went and got some pretty nice indian food. When I came home, Carmen who moved into my room was up drinking baileys so I joined her and we watched Trainspotting. Going to try and do the touristy things I didn't get a chance to do while I was here before I finally head off to Edinburgh.

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Recent Messages

From Janine
hey Sus sorry its been ages since ive writted but i just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday! Hope you have a good one!! Whats your email address again and ru on myspace?
Response: Cheers mate! Email is not on mysapce but considering it
From bron
hey havent chatted for a while, when are you coming home haha?
Response: not sure but not for awhile. What's been happening with you??
Response: Her name is Jenelle. Not sure but she was from WA and lived mainly country so may have boardered there???
From Janine
Response: cheers mate you too....that song still does it!
From bron
hmm id be happy to live around the corner to theguy with the red shirt
From Joe...from Copenhage
What's up guys, hope you're well. Get in touch if you're in the UK. J
Response: going pretty good. Will be nearing it soon but heading to Ireland. Let you know when in town
From Ree
Hey Lees, not sure if you will read this but hope you had a great birthday gorgeous girl!! Hope you are enjoying the UK...luv ya and miss ya xxx
From Ree
Hey Sus, if you get a chance you should check out some flamenco'd love it!
Response: did a bit of a class the other night at the hostel. Was going to see a show but was leaving that day.
From Lizzie Delfs
hey guys,
sounds like you are having a great time....and don't worry i felt equally stupid when i got to the brandenburg gate in berlin, and was like ummmmm yeah that sounds like something vaguely familiar i learnt in high school and then promptly forgot upon leaving....anway, sprecken zee deutch
From Ree
Hey guys, Greece sounds fantastic, especially Mykonos after the drama of getting there! Keep having lots of fun adventures!
Response: having lots of fun and certainly many adventures. Off to Italy now for more of it.
From Dani
oh, one last thing- stay clear of super fast cat ferries- they are bastards and cancelled on us. Tell everyone, you'll never get stranded on a big solid car ferry!!!
Response: we haven't had any problems so far. I think cause it's low season only the big main ones are running anyway
From Dani
Hi guys! You have picked the most awsome islands to go to! Hope you love them as much as we did. We really loved hiring a 4 wheeler in Santorini to get to all the best views of the caldera, and dont miss a sunset from on top the caldera- brings on tears! Paradise beach so suits you guys, have an awsome time partying! Look for the pelicans who try to steal your bread in the Mykonos town restaurants near little venice, they're adorable. PS LA is pretty cool.
Response: we had heaps of fun hiring the 4 wheelers did it both on Mykonos and Santorini. We came across one of those pelicans but didn't have any bread for it to steal, it was pretty adorable though. We caught one of those sunsets too. Found a really nice spot.
From bron
thanks for the post card. you are right I did appreciate the randomness. no one else found it funny but im used to that haha.
ps stupid eagles
Response: dont worry we found it very funny.
From Dani and Brett
Hey guys, sounds like you're running a muck! Isnt Cesky Krumlov spectacular! Glad you got there. Jealous of Croatia. American is larger than life, fell in love with New York, are you going back this way??
Keep living the dream, Love D
Response: yeah it was pretty nice I'm glad you recommended it. Croatia was definatley worth it and cheaper than I thought.
I'm gonna stay and work for awhile in UK don't know what I'll do after that
From Dave
Cheers for the birthday presents! The shirt is great and the bottle opener is awesome. I cracked a few crownies with it the other day - hmmm...good aussie beer - something you may or may not be missing.
Response: glad you like it. not really missing it too much, so much international beer to drink and most of it is all good, although wouldn"t mind a TED
From bron
yes suprisingly nomads won
Response: make sure you have a drink for me at Kal cup. Good work Nomads except we weren't doing that good when I left so I'm a bit worried now that they've won without me.
From bron
yes and you would have been in your netball grandfinal as well coz nomads knocked out rookies!
Response: go nomads!!!!! You'll have to let me know how they go
Response: ah don't know about that, they'd have to get past Freo wouldn't they
From bron
hey guys

what a week. If you guys havent heard both steve Urwin and Peter Brock have been killed (in seperate accidents) Sounds like you guys are having an awesome time and missing you both. And yes its time for us, faithful dockers supporters to come out in force. Go the dockers!!!!!
Response: finally we have something to gloat about and I'm not there to do it!!
Response: Good work, if it's dediated to me it has to sound bad.
From Dave
G'Day Suz and Lees

Jealousy factor is rising everytime I read this page. Seen any news from the AFL? Freo has won 9 in a row and flogged the eagles by 57 points. They finished third and now play Adelaide in the finals. Keep the messages and photos coming.
Response: yeah mum keeps giving me updates, wish there was somewhere we could watch it!!
From Andreas
Hey Ladies....

how are ya? Save in DK? THanks for your comment in hospitalityclub.
Enjoy Scandinavia and have fun @ the Oktoberfest.

Wish you all the best for de rest of your tour.
Response: Thanks for your comments too. We are having a great time here, no one to show us around though!!
From Nanny
Hi Susy, Great to hear all about your travels and all the fun your'e having. Wish I was about your age again. Sounds as if your'e having a great time.Lovely to hear from you.
Response: Thanks Nan we are having a great time