Location: Paris, Rome, England!, Europe
Apologies everyone for not having updated our diary for way too long. We have been very busy and a little bit lazy
but here is a bit of an update of what we have been up to over the past month or so. Since the last diary entry we have been to Rome and Paris, and spent a weekend with my distant cousin Roger.
[Paris] November 17-18
Bonjour. On the weekend of the 17-18th of November we ventured across the English channel to the city of love - Paris. Our journey began on the Friday night after work, catching the Eurostar train from central London to central Paris. The train was fantastic (as opposed to flying) as it was more comfortable, more relaxed (no need for metal detectors or baggage check-ins) and eliminated the hassle of getting to and from the airports. Anyway, onto Paris. Our hotel was a stones throw from the Eiffel Tower, so first thing Saturday morning we wandered over to check it out. It was fantastic, and definitely our highlight. After admiring its beauty from a distance we ventured inside, walking up about 20 flights of stairs and then catching a lift to the top. A clear blue sky allowed us to view the Paris landscape which was really good. The rest of Saturday we spent getting sore feet as we wandered our the streets admiring the beauty of the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees and the concorde
eating yummy pastries and chocolate tarts
and simply enjoying the beautiful sunshine (apparently while we were enjoying great weather it was cold, windy, rainy and even some parts of greater London were getting snow). On Sunday we found our way to the Louvre (a massive art gallery) where we spent a few hours admiring some of the most famous art pieces in the world (including the Mona Lisa). Lunch then allowed us to experience the nicest baguette and nutella crepe known to man! After that we made a quick stop in at the Sacre Couer (a well known church in the heart of Paris), before we jumped back on the Eurostar and back to reality! Au revoir.
[Rome] November 30-December 3
Boungiorno. Following on from our fantastic trip to Paris, there was a lot of expectation to live up to. Thankfully, Rome was by the far the highlight of our adventure so far. This time round we opted to use some of our annual leave and make a real go of it - having a 4-day weekend, Friday Monday. So, on Thursday night after work we caught the plane to Rome. After arriving at Leonardo Da Vinci airport at around midnight we then proceeded to have the most terrifying experience of our lives. We caught a taxi in Rome
it was raining, the roads were slippery and we were in a beat up piece of junk that the driver obviously thought was a rally car. We sat in the back and watched as the driver drove at speeds of 160+km without bothering to slow for the corners! I wasnt quiet sure I was going to live to see my 27th birthday!
Friday was spent walking around and seeing many of the main tourist attractions, including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, St Peters Basilica and numerous piazzas. Saturday we did a fantastic 3½ hour tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica, then trekked across town to the Spanish Steps (and quickly leaving after witnessing an attempted pick-pocketing incident!). Sunday was a day trip to the preserved ancient city of Pompeii. A city that was eliminated after a neighbouring volcano exploded. It was preserved for many years by tonnes of ash and therefore is extremely fascinating. Monday was spent enjoying the enormity and greatness of the most famous and celebrated stadium in history the Colosseum! My favourite movie of all time is Gladiator so you can imagine I found it quite astounding and breathtaking.
In addition to the tourist attractions we also had some fantastic experiences of both the Italian food and culture we tried to put our Italian lessons to good use. (1) [Alfredo & Ada] On the Friday night we went to a tiny Italian restaurant run by a couple of lovely old ladies and their son/nephew/grandson (we were not quite sure). Here there was no need for menus; you simply received whatever was being cooked that night truly Italian cuisine and this was also our first of several experiences of drinking wine from water glasses. (2) [Pizzeria Bafferto] Saturday dinner we went searching for a nice place and stopped at a tiny pizzeria down one of the little laneways. We new it was good cos there was a line of people waiting that extended out the door. When we finally got in we were bundled onto a table with 4 older male Italians. We then proceeded to have cheap, delicious pizza while we enjoyed and tried to converse with the locals! (3) The other interesting encounter occurred at a charming little bar on Friday night. We were the only ones in there, and after a little while the staff took an interest in us. We then proceeded to try and have a conversation with them using only Italian (as they new very little, if any English).
[Rogs in Southampton] December 8-9
This weekend we finally made it down to visit our distant cuz, Roger, in his hometown of Southampton (this is where the infamous Titanic left from on its fateful maiden voyage). We arrived in the middle of a down pour, and apart from a few sunny breaks we endured true British weather all weekend. However, that didnt dampen our spirits as we managed to see the sites and enjoy some of the local ales. We began the weekend with a delicious English feed at a traditional English pub (The Jolly Sailor Jim R we tend to agree with you
the best pub weve been to so far)! We then went into Southampton and managed to see the Queen Victoria, which had dropped in (obviously this area has an abundance of large famous boats). After dropping in at Rogs pad and checking out his extremely large TV (the pride of his house) we ducked back out and visited Winchester (the Toorak [or Dalmuir Court!] of South England). Sunday brought another traditional lunch this time a Sunday carvery, a trip through the New Forest (which extraordinarily has very few trees but many horses freely grazing) and then a drive to Portsmouth. Our appetite has now been sufficiently whetted, so come summer we know where to go to enjoy what sunshine comes our way!
Location: London, UK
Loz..... Well, it is now officially freezing cold here! Therefore another lesson learned yesterday- never go out in London without your scarf, umbrella and gloves! We trekked into the city for a spot of Xmas shopping yesterday.... it was quiet mild at home, however a 30 min train journey into town makes a big difference in terms of temperature, with it being around 6 degrees in the city.... we spent some time in the British Museum trying to warm up and learn something about ancient history- we saw some interesting mummies and old artifacts (boomerangs even!), however after an hour we were quiet bored, so gave up and rushed home to turn the heaters on! No loss though as it is free to enter most of the museums in London-yes, some things in this town are cheap!
We have now been here for 3 months.... the homesickness hasn't kicked in yet thank goodness, although that could have something to do with lot's of webcam action and Skype chat's on the weekend..... we are also really getting into our Italian, with our Rome trip now booked for H's birthday..... 4 sleeps until we go to Paris- yay!
Location: London, UK
Well, we first must apologise to all of you who have checked out our page lately and seen that we have done nothing! To be honest, we havent really done much over the past couple of weeks that warranted a diary entry- we are busy trying to save our money for a number of European trips planned for the next couple of months!
Having said that however, the beers have continued to flow, and dinners out are now a regular event. Work is going well for both of us; H is working quiet long hours as his project at work gets well underway. We have continued to check out the sights of London, visiting Portobello Road market (lots of antiques and food stalls), and dinner out in Brick Lane (a multitude of Indian restaurants on one street). This weekend was the annual fireworks and bonfire event, so we took a trip up to Primrose Hill, just north of London to view the fireworks over the city skyline- great views!
We are currently enjoying very mild Autumn weather, loving the sunshine while it is out as it is now getting dark by 5pm! The parks are beautiful this time of the year with golden tree leaves everywhere..... getting a bit worried about the diminishing sunlight though!
Our Italian lessons are going very well, with a waiter actually asking us if we spoke Italian after we ordered some coffees- quiet an amusing concept, a couple of aussies living in London learning Italian! We are going to do lots of homework before our trip to Rome for Hs birthday
apart from that there is no other goss, we are basically just enjoying not studying by watching a heap of TV (we are addicted to Friends at the moment), beers on a Sunday arvo and pubs crawls through random towns! Again, sorry for delay, and hopefully you are still enjoying our adventures- lots of exciting things coming soon!
.. we have just spent a fabulous weekend in Belgium, our first trip to Europe. We were up and raring to go at 4am for our bus trip to Dover. From there it was a 90 minute ferry ride to Calais, France, where we hopped back on the bus for about 2hr trip to our hotel in Ostend, Belgium. This is a nice little beachside resort town- lots of beachside restaurants, people with little dogs and people riding tandem bikes! We had brushed up on our French, only to arrive and realise that they dont speak French, but Flemish, a weird language that sounds Dutch- lucky for us a lot of people speak English, so we really didnt have any troubles ordering food and beer! Speaking of beer, our Saturday evening was spent at a place called Diksmuide, for their annual beer festival. The night consisted of beer (of course! I loved the cherry beer, which H hated!), dancing, crazy wigs, more beer, crazy hats, more beer- the photos really speak for themselves! Needless to say our coach had one massive hangover Sunday morning!
Sunday was spent in Brugge, a large city in Belgium about 45mins from our hotel. Brugge is an absolutely beautiful place, known as the Venice of the north for its many canals. The weather was perfect- clear skies and sun, which was nice after a few weeks of dreary overcast London. We did all of the Belgium touristy things here in the space of 4 hours- a canal ride, ate pomme frites with mayo, Belgium waffles, chocolates, lace
We took so many photos, it really is a postcard place! Lets just say that the atmosphere and culture of Brugge got H through his hangover with a smile! Back on the bus/ferry/bus, and home just after 10pm
. Although it sounds like a full-on trip it was actually really relaxing, we are so lucky that we can have an overseas holiday without taking any time off work!
Location: Cornwall, UK
. Ciao everyone! We started our Italian lessons this week, so have been madly learning the Italian numbers and basic greetings. Was a great class; however of the 16 or so students we and another girl are the only ones not to have visited Italy. Needless to say we have started planning our trip!
We have just returned from a weekend away in Cornwall, on the southwest coast of England. We hired a car and set on our merry way at 5.30am on Saturday for our 6 hr drive to Truro, a main town in Cornwall. On our way we drove past Stonehenge, however we were too early to go in. We decided that we would stop there on our way home and take some pics, however were too late coming home and was dark! Oh well, another day trip to plan! Our main reason for visiting Truro was the lure of a Food and Drink festival, however this turned out to be a fairly dreary event, with hardly any exhibitors and heaps of people
we stayed in a really lovely B&B, literally a room on the top floor of someones house! They were a lovely couple though, however a little too chatty for H at breakfast!
The highlight of the weekend was lunch at Jamie Olivers restaurant Fifteen, in Newquay, about 20mins drive from Truro. Had a fab lunch with awesome views of the beach
I had a three-course lunch (24.50 pounds mind you, much to Hs disgust but let me tell you it was worth every penny!)
. I was in my element was worth the drive
. We had a great drive home along the coast, before getting lost when I was driving and then hitting really bad traffic driving back past Stonehenge in the dark
lets just say we have now gotten the driving bug out of our system and looking forward to catching the train somewhere!
Location: Bath, UK
Loz...The highlight of this weekend was our trip to Bath, approx 2hrs drive from our place. We hired a car with friends Brendan and Elaine (was even just exciting being in a car after almost 2 months!)
Bath is an absolutely beautiful place- so much history. Most of our afternoon was spent at the Roman Baths- we followed an audio tour through the ancient baths, its just amazing that they have been there since Roman times. Check out the pics, they really do the place justice. The rest of the day was spent walking around the streets, amazed by the size of the Bath Abbey and beautiful river and bridges. Unfortunately we didnt have enough time to have a guided tour of the town, so will no doubt return for another trip.
(H) This week has been the most uneventful to date. I guess that means we are really starting to settle in. We spent Saturday at the pub to watch the Hawks. The only good thing that came out of that game is that we will now be able to get away from London on the weekends and do some of those trips weve been planning. On Sunday we went and checked out Colliers Wood
a little suburb 10mins walk away. The place itself was pretty unexciting, however Loz did manage to find a little market. Obviously it didnt compete with the Borough Market
there wasnt any food at this one!
What else is news
we have booked ourselves in to an Italian language course, and I have a new job, a 6 month contract at Birds Eye, which starts on Monday.
(Loz)- well we have really settled into our new life- commuting to work, working and commuting home from work (and getting very fit along the way with all the walking we are doing to the train station)! Have done some sightseeing over past couple of weekends- went to Borough Market, I was in food heaven, its like the Queen Vic market but 100 times better.. Apparently Jamie Oliver shops there, so I had a smile from ear to ear there. We have done a tour of the Tower of London, and went to the London Dungeon with Brendan and Elaine- was quiet scary, very dark and things popping out to scare you! Had a free fall drop ride which was really fun
we have spent quiet a bit of time at the Australian Shop, buying cheezels and green cordial (H was so desperate for green cordial that he carried 2 big bottles around all day in London, mind you he paid for it doubly, as it costs 6pound per bottle, he tells me it is worth it!).
During last week there was a massive Tube strike, basically most of the underline train lines went down for 3 days
luckily for H he catches the overland train, and I was able to catch my line into work
but it really stuffed up a lot of people, there were huge lines for buses and even some fights with people squashed in buses
great fun! We really couldnt believe the unions have enough power to basically shut down the whole system.
On Saturday we did a tour through Buckingham Palace (that was after h got out of bed at 4.30am to listen to the Hawks game- was well worth the effort!)- over August and September the public are allowed into the palace while the Queen is on holidays (like she does work any other time of the year!)- was very interesting, really extravagant as you can imagine. We saw the Queens wedding dress and jewellery, and an original Rembrandt painting
you wear a headset and listen to audio commentary, so basically go at your own pace. The rest of the weekend was spent in Wimbledon relaxing
Work is going quiet well for both of us, we have both had our temp contracts extended- H is currently in high demand, getting two calls today with job offers/interviews. And finally- the Chaser boys rock! They have made news over here, in both the newspaper and BBC news website- got a massive laugh out of it!