Location: Budapest, Hungary
Arriving in Budapest on the evening of the 20th we headed straight to the hostel. After spending the night before sleeping in the airport all we wanted was to shower and go to bed. On the morning of the 21st we walked from Pest across the bridge and into Buda. Buda is covered in old stuff just to our liking. On top of Castle Hill lies a beautiful Palace, huge Cathedral, and a very fairy tale like fishermans bastion. Then strolled across a different bridge to an island in the middle of the river that devides the town. Covered in parks and sporting facilities it makes for a nice place to waste some time. On the 22nd we hiked up a hill on the Buda side to a big monument. From here you could get a great view of most of the city, but it was really cold. On the 23rd we stuck to the Pest side and went to the city park, a massive park filled with lakes, castles, thermal baths, a zoo, museums and galleries. Just spent the day here and doing a bit of shopping before catching the night train to Prague.
Location: Northern France, France
On the 8th we hopped on a big boat and ferried our way to Normandy, France and what a beautiful place it is. After making it this far into our trip with out seeing any rain we were a little disapointed when we docked in Ouistreham to see the rain. Ouistreham, a quiet little port town, with a big sandy beach and loads of old cottages makes it perfect holiday destination but would be much nicer in the summer. The 9th we caught a bus to Caen then on the train to the amazing town of Bayeux. The first town to be liberated by the Allies in world war 2. The history that surrounds this beautiful town and how it survived so untouched makesit incredibly loveable. After spending the afternoon and evening of the 9th wondering the tiny little streets we thought that on the 10th it was time to get into some history. Being Dwaynes birthday we decided to spoil ourselves and do it the easy way. After visiting the town war cemetery we jumped on a guided mini bus and headed to Juno Beach and here we visted a musuem and saw the remains of the harbour. Then to some bunkers at Allemanda De Longues Sur Mer, just like you see in the movies. Some are still in reasonable condition. After trudging through the mud here for a little while we got back one the mini bus and went to American cemetery and to Omaha Beach. Last stop was Pointe-du-hoc, and deffinatly the highlight of the tour. The ground here has been left untouched since the war and the craters from the bombings remain as do the bunkers and trenches. Really freaky but still amazing to see. On the mornong of the 11th we walked in the rain to the museum in Bayuex and spent a couple of hours there before going to Ponterson. On the 12th we caught the bus from Ponterson to Mont-St Michel, a rather odd building on a bunch of rocks sticking out of the sea. Walked around here for a couple of hours before heading back to Ponterson. As there is not much to do here we found ourselves watching Neighbours. The 13th Amanda woke up unwell so we decided to spend the day resting and didnt do much at all but it was good to have a couple of days resting, travelling is hard work. On the 14th we made our way to Saint Malo. Another port town but much bigger and alot more old stuff to see. So we spent a couple of days walking around the massive building and across to little islands with forts and other odd things on them. As always the old town is facinating and the new town a little on the bland side. The 16th we had plans to spend the night in Dol but that fell through when all the accomodation in the town was too expencive, so we kept on back to Ouistreham for a couple of nights before catching the ferry back to Britian on the 18th, to make it back to London by the 20th to catch our plane to Budapest.
Arrived in London at midday of the 21st Jan, and took our first tube ride to Hostel. We spent that arvo walking around the area, Regent st, Pall Mall, Trafalga Square and went to the National Gallery which was not our cuppa tea. The 22nd was a chours day, washing, posted stuff home, all the boring stuff. That evening we caught up with Tracey, Kat and Caroline (we met on our South Africa tour) for a few drinks and a bite to eat. 23rd was a big day doing all the tourist things, Buckingham Palace, St James Park, Big Ben, Houses of Parliment, Westminister Abby, London Eye, Millenium Bridge, St Pauls Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, London Tower and the British Museum. Walked miles and were stuffed by the end of the day. After tea we went for another walk to see a few of the sights lit up at night, which was ok. During the night it snowed quite heavily so on the 24th Amanda saw Snow for the first time!!! We went for another walk to St James Park which looked beautiful blanketed in snow. Then a train ride from Kings Cross station to York which is full of history and Viking background. We spent that arvo and the following morning exploring the area and the Rail Museum which is the biggest in the world. We trained across the border to Scotland, Edinburugh. had a quick look around, went to the National Gallery, but it was too cold to do much else so we went back to hostel for a drink then early night. On the 26th we walked up the hill to Edingurugh Castle, which was outstanding, lived up to its reputation. We spent a good few hours or more wondering through the old Fortress, checking out the museums, displays and saw the Scottish Crown Jewels. After Lunch we went across town to Holyrood House, and walked to the top of a hill in Authurs seat which over looks the town and has great views of the sorounding areas. That night was spent at the bar drinking Fosters and wine celebrating Australia Day with a few other Aussies and a whole lot of wanna be Aussies till 2am or something. On the 27th we slept in as long as possible beacuse Dwayne was sick with the flu. After we checked out we caught the bus back down to Berwick (our britrail got screwed up so we had to go back to england or pay the stupidly expencive prica for the train). Berwick is a small and very cute town right on the border of england and scotland. On the 28th we caught the train to Manchester. It was not as classy as we were expecting. Amanda got the flu and spent the entire time we were in Manchester in bed. Dwayne went to Old Trafford but other then that, nothing really. on the 31st we made our way to the home of the Roman Baths, a little town called Bath. A beautiful town that is divided by a waterway and a big park area. on the 1st of feb we went to Salisbury were we spent a couple of days wondering the streets, shopping and going to stone henge. On the 3rd made our way to Plymouth in the south west of england. A typical sea side town of mostly fish and chip shops and pubs. The 4th we went Southampton were we walked all across town to find somewhere to stay, which exhusted us. this didnt matter much as there is not alot to do there. 5th we headed to brighton another sea side town with a big pier that has a fair on it, and a Royal Palace that has an Indian feel to it. On the 6th took the short trip to Portsmouth were we would spend the next couple of days walking around the historic dockyard and the new developed mall area, before catching the ferry on the 8th to Ouistreham in France.
We arrived in to Ciaro very early morning and made our way straight to the hotel, were we tried sleeping off our flus. slept all day on the 6th other then the pre departure meeting. Had to get up reasonably early on the 7th to start out tour of Egypt. 1st stop the Pyramids of Giza, massive. you dont really understand how big they are until you are standing right next to them. Then to the Sphinx. The Sphinx how ever is not as big as you expect but still very amazing. We also went to a perfumery, a papyrus painting shop and a cotton factory, the 3 biggest industries in Egypt. Then headed to the Black Desert for a night of frezzing our arses off. The night of the 8th we spent also in the desert, the White Desert. it was very strange coming from a desert sheeted in black to a dessert sheeted in white. Coming out of the White Desert on the 9th we stoped in the oases town Farafra, were we looked at some of the local art work rather interesting and kind of strange. We continued driving to El-kaser. Here we went on a tour of the old medina. The town doesnt have much going for it but we met some kids that were amazing. One girl, at the age of 15, could speak and write English and French as-well as her Aribic. They all were incredibly happy to see us and to just be interacting with us. On the 10th we drove to Luxor, everything had been going so nicely until we hit the markets here. We soon discovered what the Egyptian men were really like. The whole group bought head dresses and galabyas for our dress up dinner that would be on the 11th. On the morning of the 11th we went on a guided tour of Karnak Temples and Luxour Temples. The massive structures were incredible to see and the guide did an exellent job on describing the history behind them. After our active morning we caught a police convoy to Hagarda, on the coast of the red sea. once here we the group got dressed up and we all went out for dinner at a pub that is owned by a pom. We all drank too much and had a great time making idiots of ourselves. The 12th while Amanda did nothing because it really isnt a good idea for here to go out in egypt on her own, Dwayne went quad biking, but had a shit of a time as the ended up in the wrong place. Serves him right. On the 13th most of the group went diving but we walked around the town and had the best pizza we had, had in a long time. Then convoy back to Luxor and no time to do anything but go to bed. On the 14th what we came to Egypt for, the Valley of the Kings. Not what we were expecting but still interesting, and Ramesseum Temple another fasinating mammoth temple. In the afternoon we went to King head, a pub, to watch the soccer and then to a little couchry place for tea, real Egyptian food at its best. On the 15th we caught a delayed train to Aswan were we started a tour that took us to the damm on the nile and to Philae Temple, it was interesting to see Philae Temple because the whole thing has been moved so that it wouldnt get covered by water when they built the damm. Got up at 3 am on the 16th to catch the convoy to Abu Simbel. That has to been moved only this is bigger and it was originally built into the side of a hill. strange. Had dinner at a locals house which was really cool. On the 17th we started our very boring trip down the nile on a Felucca, boring is all i can say. Stayed on the Felucca until the morning of the 19th. We hopped off in Ko-lumbo and went to another temple. Caught another convoy to Edfu to the temple there, by now they were all starting to look the same. That night we hopped on a night train to Cairo. Arrived in Cairo on the morning of the 20th and went to the Cairo Museum. There is too much to try to look at there, way too much. Spent the afternoon repacking and sorting ourselves out for England. on the Morning of the 21st flew to London.
Location: Granada - Barcelona, Spain
27th Train to Seville where we spent 2 days walking around, lots more old buildings, parks and narrow streets. 7pm 29th caught bus to Barcelona we arrived after a 15hr bus ride we arrived very tired and then spent 2 hours walking from hotel to hotel trying to find one with a vacency, eventually we found one out of our price range but we had no choice but to take it. I guess thats what happens when you arrive in barcelona 2 days before new years with no hotle resevation! ha. on the 31st we walked everywhere!! Parc de La Ciutadella, Arc De Triumf, La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell and Las Ramlas then back to hotel for drinks. We then walked back along Las Ramblas for a bit, then down to the water front, there was people everywhere drinking and partying then to Torre Abar a big bullet shaped building with colour changing lights ready for the count down. After the count down we walked back to the waterfront for a bit then back to hotel, not a big night but still fun and great atmosphere. We got 1am night bus to Madrid which arrived 8am on the 2nd Jan we went to hostel then the Real Palacio (royal palace) then the cathedral, crashed early to catch up on some much needed sleep! spent next couple of days walking around, catching up on washing before heading to Egypt.
Location: Algeciras - Granada, Spain
We arrived in Algeciras on the 22nd after a small hick up on our way from the ferry dock to town (our bus broke down and we had to wait for a new one). Arriving in Spain was like taking a step from one world into another coming from what we had just seen. Algeciras was a nice port town buzzing with x-mas cheer, every one was out shopping late into the night which was a cool feeling to wonder around the streets. Everyone was dressed up in nice neat clean clothes and we were wearing our grotty trackies and jumpers, we felt a little out of place. 23rd we caught the train to Ronda, a beautiful 18th century town built over a gorge connected by 3 old bridges, with cobbled streets and old 3 story buildings each side. It had Old stone city walls, palaces, churches and arab baths scattered through out. 24th we trained it to Granada, almost as beautiful as Ronda full of old cathedrals, buildings and the Alhambra was magical. We spent x-mas day walking round the almost empty streets and had pastries for lunch, which just wasn't xmas at all.
Location: Marrakesh - Chefchoen, Morocco
On the 16th we took the 8hr train ride to Fes which arrived a 1am, we got a taxi to the youth hostel which was shut for the night. This was a bit daunting cos we were stuck in a town at 1am with a taxi driver that spoke no english and no idea what to do, we eventually got the taxi to take us to hotel which was open but a little poor. we rated it about a -2 & 1/2 star type of place even though we ended up spending 3 nights there cos it was so cheap and in the middle of town. We spent that time strolling around Fes and walked down to the Madina where we constantly got harassed by the locals to be our guides which got on our nerves a bit cos they just dont take no for an answer. On the 18th we changed our plans again, instead of train to Rabat we decided to bus to small town of Chefchoen in the Rif Mountains. This turned out to be a good move as Chefchoen was so beautiful and the people were much nicer, and people we met that had been to Rabat say it is a dirty industrial city. Chefchoen is built right on the side of the steep mountain range which gives you 360 degree views of the mountains and valley ranges. Almost all the walls through the madina are painted sky blue which makes it feel much calmer the only thing is that every second person you walk past tries to sell you hash, which is there number 1 harvest in the mountains. Our hotel also had a kitchen se we were able to cook our first propper meal in over a week which was a real treat. 21st caught the bus to Tangier, a nice costal city our pension was a rip of and prety dodgy. 22nd we had our last morocan coffee :( they were good!! then Jumped on the ferry across to Spain.
Location: Casablanca - Marrakesh, Morocco
We arrived in Casablanca at 10.30ish and got train into town then taxi to hostel, this was the first time we realy encountered a problem with the language barrier but the phrase book got us through. After checking in at the hostel we went stroling around the madina, we soon realised that there wasnt a great deal to do or see in casablanca so we only stayed 2 nights had a look at the mosque (2nd biggest religious monument in the world), city and had a drink at 'Ricks Cafe' a replica from the movie 'Casablanca' then caught the train down to Marrrakesh on the 13th. Amandas birthday the 13th was spent on the train for 4 hours, a 1 hour walk with our back packs a walk around de-elfna, main square of the madina then a nice tea at a cafe overlooking the square. We spent the next two days getting lost in the laberinth of market lined allies called the souqs
Location: Kruger National Park, South Africa
8th dec we crossed the border back into South Africa and drove into Kruger National Park, on the drive through the park on the way to our camp site we saw our first Buffalo. Then after lunch we did another short game drive and saw heaps of elephants, rhinos, giraffe and a few other things. After tea we did a night game drive, the best game drive of our trip. first we were right next to a great heard of elephants with a few babies walking around, then a bit futher up the road we saw our first wild lions hiding in some grass, then just around the bend we came across a pack of 7 lions layng on and next to the road, very cool! after that we found two Leopards just off the side of the road, amazing animals!!. This ticked off our Big 5 list. We saw Elephants, Lions, Rhinos, Leopard and Buffallo all in the wild and all in one day!!! We also saw heaps of other animals too but i think you are probably gelous enough already! ha ha. On the Morning of the 9th we did another game drive on the way out of Kruger park before a nice 8 hour drive back to Johannesburg, Africa Centre Lodge, our starting point where a hot bath was a treat. This marked the end of our African Safari overland tour and the 10th Dec was our last day in sothern Africa. We spent the day relaxing by the pool then headed to the airport around 7pm to depart for Casablanca via Madrid.
Location: Inhambane, Mozambique
On the 5th we drove to Inhambane. We stopped at the markets and did some grocery shopping then onto Tofo beach. Fantastic beach, white sand, palm trees and a bar! We spent the 6th relaxing on the beach, swimming and playing boce with coconuts, loads of fun. We went out for tea at a nearby resort for a massive buffet. On th 7th we drove onto Maputo, the capital city. Not much to do there but we went out for dinner again and had some awesome coctails.