Location: Wellington, New Zealand
So I am now home from my adventures.....have been for a week now. Settling back into life slowly - it has been nice catching up with people, walking in the sun, reading books in the sun - chillining out is something I haven't done a lot of over the past year as there has ben too much else to do!
So a huge thank you goes out to all of you who have read my blogs, looked at my photos and left me messages - thanks for making this site worthwhile! And a bigger thank you to my mum and dad - the year wouldn't have been possible without your support! Love you xoxo
Ciao for now!
Location: New York, USA
5th - went out to Liberty Island and Ellis Island - very cool and really interesting. Had my own personal tour guide as no one else was around! Met up with Tim and Mon and we caught the Staten Island Ferry (wering our green crowns - only idiots doing so!). We grabbed lunch, then wandered along Wall Street. I then left them and went to Ground Zero and the Chapel with information - really moving. Went out for dinner with 2 chicks fromt he hostel then went to the M n M store to find out which M n M flavour we were - I am an Almond Mix.....
6th - Slept in then walked p to Tim and Mons apartment. We walked to the LOVE sign, then went to Wolman Rink in Central Park to go ice skating. Not too many people there, so was good - none of us fell over! Went to the zoo in the park, then the FAO Schwarz toy store - had a go on the Big Piano (not quite as good as Tom Hanks in Big....). Sitting back at their apartment eating Birthday Cake for Tim - yum!)
Location: New York, USA
Real quick update:
first of all: Happy New Year to all of you!
On the 30th December I left England and flew to New York. Met Anne at the apartment - and got some food before she went to bed and I had a drink with some of the others in the apartment.
31st - was snowing!!! Had breakfast in what came to be our local then headed south to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge - not much of a view due to the snow! Had pizza in a famous pizza place (one of the Ramones came in and did the whole I don't wanna queue thing!). Wandered in the afternoon. Spent New Years in a nice pub off Times Square (where it was warm and the food was great). Went outside as the ball dropped and were showeded in confetti. Times Square was mad!!! \
1st Jan - we got a really good deal on bus tours - so did both the Uptown and Downtown trips to see all the main sights - Empire State, Ground Zero, Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, Central Park, etc. Had a quiet night.
2nd Jan - as part of the deal for the previous day, I also did a Brooklyn tour, a 2 hour cruise - saw the Statue of Liberty up close! The lights of Manhattan started to come on part way through the trip so it was really pretty. Anne and I both did the Night Tour - which was really good.
3rd - checked out of the apartment and moved my stuff to the Big Apple Hostel in Times Square. Went to Century 21 with Anne then the Hard Rock Cafe (had a HUGE cocktail). Anne left and I headed off to explore Times Square more. Went out for dinner with a chick from my room (aussie teacher).
4th (today) - Went up to Empire State Building to check out the view - could see all of Manhattan, out to New Jersey, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Saw the Flatiron Building, walked in Central Park for a few hours, then went to the Gugenheim Museum.
My lil' cuz Tim is in the Big Apple with a friend of his - might get to catch up with them tomorrow - but the plan is to go ice skating in Central Park in his birthday!
I am back in London after a lovely week spent in Bansko, Bulgaria with cousin Nat, Hayley and Jack. We caught the train to Manchester last Saturday, and then flew to Sofia, Bulgaria and bussed to Bansko - a ski resort south of Sofia. Got in late and had some food then went to bed. Got skis, boots and poles the next day and had a lesson with a lovely guy called George. Spent the next 6 days skiing, having lessons, eating (lots), exploring the town, being snowed on, falling over a bit (I had one major crash on the last day - went through some 'icing sugar' snow which made the skis stop dead - I didn't so went flying straight over the top and managed to twist my leg as I did it - sore for a couple of days but is fine now). Haven't got any photos of the skiing as I have to get them off Nat - but there are some of Bansko.
We had a lovely Christmas - opened pressies from the family and each other - very spoilt! Went skiing for several hours - it was snowing on the slopes and in the town so we really did have a white Christmas. Had a huge meal at the hotel - couldn't eat it all. Were....ah....treated to a folk dancing display which was interesting.....bit strange that it had a bit of lap dancing and the male dancers looking up the females dresses - little bit disturbing!
It was a great trip away - and the muscles have stopped hating me which is GREAT!
Back in London - but not for long. Am heading to New York tomorrow for 2 weeks on the way home to NZ! Hanging with Anne and then Tim - so will am looking forward to that.
Lotsa love and hope you all had a merry Christmas and will have an excellent New Year.
Just a quick note to say that Wicked WAS wicked!!!!! Such a good show - right up there with all-time favourite (hard decision to make though).
Location: London, UK
My last full weekend spent in London was a blast!
Friday night - missioned home from work and got into warm clothes before meeting Kateie, Brady and Rebecca in Hyde Park to go to the WInter Wonderland. Wandered around the Christmas Market and had some dinner before getting kitted out in ice skates to go skating on the outdoor rink. Was a bit nbervous at first, but Rebecca wouldn't let me stay by the rail and guided me round till I was fine on my own. Had some near misses as out of control people almost take you out, but the only time I fell over was when I tried to stay on one foot too long (a bit cocky) and fell over. Very funny (expecially when the marshall gave Rebecca and Katie an evil look for trying to take a picture of me!).
Saturday I got SOAKED - headed to Westminster Abbey to look around (very pretty) before going to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace - was cancelled due to rain........Met ebecca in Covent Garden to go to the NZ shop (Christmas Pressies) and then missioned home to get changed (into pink, neon, fishnet, etc.........) and headed to the Renaissance Rooms in Vauxhall for an evening of Roller Disco fun! Had to wait in the cold and rain to get in but it was worth it. Another fun night - laughed or arses off as we treid to dance on skates. Managed not to fall over this time! Did endup in random peoples arms if they couldn't stop in time and came into the back of you!
Sunday was spent out for brunch with Nat, Hayley, Jack, Rebecca and Kathryn - then me and Becca headed to Camden Markets to get a few final things. Then we moved some of Rebecca's things into her new flat before I went on a date..........Met a nice guy (mmmmm...South African) on the train (has been on my train for the last 6 weeks, but he has only just plucked up the courage to say more than 'hi'. Amyway, we went out for a drink, and just clicked - he is funny, sweet, has solid arms (!), (mum, you would like him sooooo much more than Kevin), and we just talked and laughed for hours. He drove me home (a good sign that someone will drive 20 mins to drop you off as they don't want you catching the tube alone at night - plus he actually owns a car in London - also has a house - and another in South Africa). Anyway, am seeing him again tomorrow - not sure whay though as I am only here for another few days.....sadly a case of really bad timing! Potentially amazing guy at the worst time. Oh well - c'est la vie
Off to see Wicked (Musical tonight) - and havig a Christmas Dinner wth Rebecca first.
Am not even going to bother apologising this time for not writing - having too much fun here!
Quick updates for those who care:
Last update was the end of the Egypt trip (which I literllay just posted), so here is what I have been doing since then:
Have spent lots of time hanging with Rebecca, Peita and Katie - doing random stuff (Body Worlds, Musicals, Abbey Road, markets, comedy nights, School Discos (got a bit lost.......it took us 2 hours to get home as we were talking and got on the right bus.....going in the wrong direction......not such a good plan at 4am in the morning........and we didn't even realise we were going the wring way for about 20 mins!), movies, cemetary visits (blame mum - although I have to admit it was kinda cool searching for some Lewis rellies and finding that their headstones were still there (one couldn't be read though), museums, hunting street art by Banksy.....the list goes on.
Have had a couple of great weekends since Egypt. Went to Poland to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau with Rebecca, Katie and Brady - but again the photos are up for that weekend.
Same goes with Bath and Bristol with Rebecca - photos up of another great weekend.
Just finished my 2nd to last week teahcing at Barking Abbey - will be sad to say good bye as this is the school that I have enjoyed most while I have been here. Went out for dinner last night with the science department - nice restaurant in Canary Wharf.
Tonight I am going ice-skating with Rebecca and Katie which should be lots of fun (or maybe just really funny.......). We will see........
Back in London and back to work after a stunner of a time in Egypt. Had so many exciting things to tell you all but after we left Luxor we never had time to get to the net in Alexandria or Cairo and never actually had internet availability in the Western Desert and the Oases!
After leaving Luxor, we had an overnight train ride to Cairo (arrived early which is really unusual for Egypt), then got on a different train to Alexandria. Arrived there (in rain - not impressed) in time to dump our gear and meet our guide who took us to a cheap, but nice place for lunch. From there, we went to the catcaombs of Kom as-Shuqafah, very cool as they were an interesting mix Egyptian and Greco-Roman styles. We left them and went to the Kom al-Dikkah, a old Roman bath house and theatre. The best thing about this place was a stone circle that you stand on and speak. Due to where it is positioned, you get a loud echo that makes you jump, swear, then laugh at yourself. Next up was the modern Biblioteka Alexandrina, the new library. Had a tour there - interesting building, but I didn't need to tour it (took too long). Last stop on our tour was Muntazah Palace, a Turkish Palace that was abandoned when the Ottoman Empire fell and is now a hotel complex. Went back to the hotel to dump our gear and go out for dinner. Was a horrible seafood dinner (YUK!). Went to bed then got on a train for a 10 hour ride to Siwa - out in the white desert (right out by the western border with Sudan). Met a man (Bendhary) on the bus who owned a restaurant that we had a few meals at while we stayed. Explored the oasis (Siwa) for a couple of days - went to swim in Cleopatra's Pool (and another smaller one), saw old ruins, and laughed our way through a donkey taxi tour. Bendhary propsed to me (as in a real one - not the touristy - 100 camels type offer, but an actual 'come and live with me in Siwa, or in Cairo (when I said that it was in the middle of nowhere) - mum was pleased that I turned him down. After Siwa we headed into the Western Desert for 4 wheel off roading - lots of fun. Had a night camped out under the stars - very cool after a day spent seeing crazy rock formations, endless sand, camels, etc. After the desert it was back to Cairo where 4 of us went to the Sound and Light show at the Pyramids. This was surprisngly cool - so well done (if a bit cheesy). My last day was spent out at the Step Pyramid at Saqqarah and the Markets befroe flying home. Last weird Egypt experience was with security guards at the airport who pulled me aside, then tried to take my picture. Strange.
LOVED my time in Egypt - my 2 favourite places this year are now Egypt and South Africa!
Location: Luxor, Egypt
What a few days we have had!
Left Aswan at 10am in the morning and jumped onto our felucca - absolute luxury! Big sail boat with matresses and pillows spread out so that you could lax out either facing each other or looking out to the Nile. After a few hours of sailing - I had a go at stearing (?) the rudder - quite hard work actually. Back to chilling out. Stopped for lunch (lovely food) and a weird toilet stop where little kids tried to watch you. Sailed on to our stop for the night, set up our toilet tent (western toilet even) and had dinner as the sun set. Had a bit of sining, dancing, etc on the beach with the other intrepid group, then went to bed. THey put up a mosquito net so we didn't get bitten. Was lovely to sleep on a boat with the sound of the Nile in the background. Woke to see the sun rise, then start our 2nd day of sailing. Had a 2 1/2 hour stop to see a camel market (closed) but saw other camels anyway. Back on the boat to cruise to our next beach for the night. Had a swim in the Nile when we arrived - refreshing. Another lovely meal and funny evening of cards (got dicked at Gin by Campbell) and learnt some arabic swearwords before bed.
Early start to leave the felucca and catch the convoy to Luxor (3 hours). Arrived in time to check in to the hotel, then head to Karnak Temple. It was HUGE! Amazing temple complex - saw the must sees - avenue of Ram Headed Sphinxes, Sacred Lake, Lucky Scarab Beetle (waled around it 7 times), Hypostyle Hall (massive pillars), etc. Spent a few hours there with our brilliant local guide. Rico then took us on a walk to see Luxor Temple lit up, then out for dinner. Back to bed as we had an early start the next day.
Today we were up before 6am for breakfast, then our guide took us to the West Bank to se the Collossi of Memnon, then on to the Valley of the Kings. Great place - went into 4 temples - Seti II, Ramesses IV, can't remember the name of the next one (terrible memory), and Tutankamuns temple. They were all interesting, great carvings, paintings, hieroglyphics, sarcophogus, etc. Was surreal to see the mummy of King Tut - the most famous of all the Kings! After that, we went via the Temple of Hapshetsut (carved into a huge cliff), then to the tombs and village of the workers (who dug the tombs in the Vally of the Kings). Great to the see the contrast here - but also nice to see how much work they also put into their own tombs. I spent the afternoon with Fiona and Rebecca wandering the soug (we all bought some papyrus), tehn went to the interesting and well laid out Mumification Museum. Wandered back to the hotel for dinner and just waiting to catch our train to Alexandria.
Love Pip xoxo