Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Well I am still alive and still going strong. In Copenhagen now, just arrived today. Stockholm was an awesome time and cant believe how quickly the 11 days flew by.
Unfortunately do to techinical issues with my laptop, I won't be able to continue on my merry way with my planned updates. Sitting in an internet cafe trying to write them up is not as easy as sitting in the quiet surrounds of a hotel!
HIt me up via email if you want to get in contact - firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Well for those of you unawares, Hej means "Hey" and that's what everybody greets you with here in Stockholm, but that's about the extent of my language learnt so far, but I am getting better and I can now pronounce Uppland Vasby correctly!
So let the journey begin.... On Thursday 2nd Oct, I departed Melbourne town for Stockholm, Sweden, the first stop of a 4 week adventure. The flight went by with a minimum of fuss. Being the seasoned traveller that I guess I now am, the journey was over before I knew it and I only had to resort to watching Mr Bean and Are You Being Served episodes once! A 30 minute stopover in Singapore, a 2 hour stopover at Heathrow, then I arrived in Stockholm. I really can't make up anything exciting to say about that 20 odd hours of my life whatsoever, so I won't.
I arrived in Stockholm around lunchtime on the Friday greeted with a nice sunny day, something I was quietly hoping for. My mate Johnny from Melbourne who is joining me on this adventure had already arrived in Stockholm. Our Hotel which is part owned by Benny from Abba and has an ABBA CD in our room....sure is the ideal place for us to be based for our 10 day stay. In a pretty little part of town with everything within walking distance, not too mention the hotel having everything you could wish for (including free internet! and vitamin shots over breakfast), but except for a Gym!
Stockholm isn't a massive City, so it's pretty easy to cover a lot of ground on foot in relatively short time. Having a couple of friends who live here certainly has helped to give us an "insiders" perspective on the City, which has been great, so for that I have been so far greatful!
Apart from a cold and rainy Sunday, the weather so far has been mild and sunny, around the 12 to 14 degree mark. The nice weather has allowed us to sit back and enjoy the cafe culture watching the world go by amongst the cobbled stoned streets....but certainly get lots of walking, so it hasn't just been all about sitting down watching, haha!
Yesterday we went to "Skansen" the world's biggest outdoor museum/zoo which is basically gives an insight into what life was like in olden day Sweden with many replica buildings and shops and farms etc, as well as Scandanavian wildlife. The highlights were definitely seeing my first ever Reindeer and getting up close and personal with a "Bjorn"...no not Bjorn from ABBA, the true meaning of Bjorn as a I found out is a brown bear! We also went and saw a ship called the "Vasa" which was a Swedish warship dating back to the 1600's that sank about 1km into it's maiden voyage and some 300 odd years later was resurrected from the sea and painstakinly reassembled, featuring 95% of the original ship.
On Sunday we ventured out to the "burbs" of Huddinge which is where my friend Cobey now lives and we went to my first every ice hockey match. Coming from a background of the bang and crash of Australian Rules football, this game is right up my alley. A very exciting game to follow, with lots of action. The match on Sunday was a local match which gave my friend Cobey and her Mr Fisch an opportunity to explain how the game works before we head off tonight to see the big boys play in a 8,000 seater stadium!
Suprise, suprise there have been quite a few musical adventures already and all I can say is that Stockholm has to be one of the most musically rich cities in the world. As they say, there surely has to be something in the water. Basically, I am in musical heaven, with quite a few of my alltime favourite bands originating from Stockholm, I expected nothing less! And excitingly, I got to see perform and hang out with one of these bands (H.E.A.T) who are destined to become the modern day Europe (aka The Final Countdown), so that was an awesome night! My other Stockholm based friend Anna works in the music industry here, so she has helped organise a few adventures so that's been awesome!
As a City, Stockholm is incredibly well maintained and very easy to navigate your way around. There is no trouble communicating as English is widely spoken. The people are all really friendly, exceptionally beautiful and impeccably dressed and presented! As far as food goes, I have to say that I am really enjoying the cold meats, cheese and breads for breakfast....and the hamburgers you buy here all over the city from the "grills" are AWESOME! Not big fat greasy burgers like back home in Australia or America tho, these are differen't. There are some really, really nice beers here too.
With another 6 days left in Stockholm before we are bound for Copenhagen, we still have heaps of the City to explore and shops to shop in and bands to be seen! The whole purpose of wanting this length of time in Stockholm was to settle into the city and feel like a local, spend some time catching up with my friends Anna, Cobey & Mr Fisch and just relax. So far we have done just that.
Enjoy the photo's and stay tuned for the next update...
Location: Top 20 observations of the USA, USA
Whilst we have a bit of spare time and given I am in the mood for writing, thought I would jot down some observations from here in the USA....
1. America reduces you to feeling like you are an idiot as almost EVERY toilet experience is an adventure in itself and I find myself in their feeling hapless. Automatic flushes, 500 differen't kind of taps in the wash basin, toilet seat protectors, paper towel dispensers, you name it, I have seen it.....
2. The Hotel evelebators here have a star beside the button of the floor that houses the Hotel Lobby. A simple but effective thing.
3. Everytime I ask for Coca Cola in a restaraunt, they have Pepsi, whenever I ask for Pepsi they have Coke.
4. Taxes on goods and services are a pain as they aren't included in the price you see on a pricetag or on a menu.
5. So much loose change, so much loose change, so much loose change...
6. Yes boys and girls in America, AC/DC did come from Australia, yes we are Australian....but you really don't have to change the music in your bar/restaraunt to AC/DC just because we are in here.
7. People guessing our accents is always funny, we have had South African, English, New Zealand and Irish. Not too many pick Australian straight away.
8. Free soft drink refills....EVERYWHERE!!!!
9. If you live in Atlanta, it seems that your religion is Coca Cola and pity help the person who tries to argue that Pepsi is better, I was lucky to make it out alive....
10. Beer = nice beer and low carb beer.
11. Crossing the road here entitles you to literally stop traffic. Cross the road at any place other than a pedestrian crossing will see the traffic literally stop for you. But don't try this at home kids...
12. Any wonder why America is a nation with so many largish people....it's very hard to escape restaraunts and menu's that serve things other than a variety of Burgers, Pizza, Chicken Wings/Tenders...and any way you want your fries you can get em here.
13. They call their mustard, YELLOW MUSTARD. As if to distnguish it from other kinds of mustard which is also....yep, YELLOW.
14. Billy Ray Cyrus, the man who took the world by storm with Achy Breaky Heart is back with a new album. Thought you might like to know...
15. People in the service industry are a very polite bunch....with lot's of "Your Welcome", "Thankyou Sir" etc, etc, seems more so than back home...
16. Soooo many local American airlines, I think at least 10 that I have encountered.
17. Today in the Hotel we got a complimentary make up remover and a shoe mitte....BUT they didn't have toilet paper on a toilet roll holder and we didn't get complimentary shampoo or shower gel etc.
18. Why don't hotel bathrooms have exhaust fans???
19. Here they collect the pickles that people throw out of McDonalds hamburgers and give them to venus and they fry them in a batter and serve them like hot potato chips. But they are a taste sensation and I am definitely bringing them back to my restaruant that I will open here in Australia....
20. The obsesssion with cinamon, grape, horrible red and peanut butter flavoured things....
21. People say "excuse me" when they are apologising for doing something they shouldn't of like bumping into you in a supermarket....it just sounded so differen't to the usual Australian way of "sorry".
22. You can get complimentary lemon juice at Burger King
23. Only Australian's would understand this....but they use the words "scone" and "biscuit" to effectively refer to a bread roll.
24. Your ID is checked everytime you use a credit card
25. There are bike racks on the front of buses so that cyclists can catch a bus and transport their bike on the front of bus
26. Drive thru ATM machines....yep you heard right!!
Location: Hollywood, USA, USA
A few days back in Hollywood to finish us off. And yep you guessed it...time spent back at the Rainbow Bar and Grill catching up with friends from back home in Melbourne and new friends made a few weeks back. Did however go check out a bit of Cruefest at the infamous Whisky A Go Go....another surreal moment to be standing meters from the stage that The Doors, Van Halen and Guns N Roses once played. Such a tiny venue too...
Barely anything else to report that was differen't to our earlier time in Hollywood! Feel right at home here, Hollywood rules, maybe one day I will live here?? Who knows??
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Hello, Hello, Hello,
Well due to technical difficulties, this latest update will come without the multimedia aspect of photo's. Our laptop has decided to stop working, so our source of Internet has been at the Hotel's, but unfortunately sometimes this ain't free...but today it is!
Since the last update our travels have taken us from Chicago to Atlanta and now onto Cleveland where I currently sit.
Atlanta was a fun filled experience, seeing us connect with the area made famous to both Troy and I via our favourite musical artist, Butch Walker (who hails from Atlanta). Via these connections, Troy knew a whole bunch of people in Atlanta, so for our 2 days we were driven around via our expert tour guides. Atlanta was far differen't to what we had experienced previously - the city was full of greenery in the form of tree's and was incredibly spread out, where no matter where you wanted to go by car it seemed you needed to head out onto one of the Interstates/Freeways. We experienced our first real downpour of rain during daylight hours, not that this really affected us as we were dining yet again on Burgers and Chicken and Pizza!
For those Butch Walker fans reading this...whilst we didn't get to meet the great man, we did go by his house, visited Grant Park, saw the numerous venues where he has played gigs and visited his tattoo artist.
We found an Australian Bakery in the heart of East Atlanta.....was pretty fair dinkum authentic too. Sold Bundaberg Ginger Beer, BBQ Shapes, Tim Tams, Cherry Ripes, Meat Pies, Bread, Vegemite and some other odds and sodds. Don't ask me how and why it came to be there.....
Parts of Atlanta were damn scary due to us at times finding ourselves being the only white folk and being verbally and almost physically harassed by pan handling princes, street beggars, smart asses and over zealous car parking attendants!
Of course we went and saw a band whilst here. This time it was Cinder Road, who both Troy and I have been in contact with other Myspace at various times over the past few years. This is a band to watch out for and maybe some day they will be known here in Australia...particularly if we have anything to do with it! Got to meet a few of the guys in the band who of course knew who we were. It's actually fun chatting to all these bands and having our brains picked about what makes the Australian music scene tick.
We had a couple of great nights out on the town...with our farewell night being spent at Metalsome which is a karoake bar with a live rockband, where the song selections are a host of hard rock/heavy metal songs from the 80's and 90's. Right up my alley....
Yesterday we arrived in Cleveland, the home of ROCK N ROLL. The purpose of visiting Cleveland was to go and see one of our favourite bands, Bowling For Soup. A mate in the UK who is good friends with the band arranged VIP passes for us, so that got us seats in our own little "opera style" section at the side of stage. Cool stuff indeed, and we got to meet up with the band after the show so that was cool! An awesomely funny band and once again we had our brains picked about the Australian music scene.
Today we went and checked out the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. Cleveland is known as the Home of Rock N Roll due to the person who came up with the word Rock N Roll hailing from Cleveland back in the 1950's. The Hall Of Fame was awesome, far better than expected with ALL kinds of memorabilia scattered throughout from all styles of music and all over the world.
Cleveland is a nice open City with the smell of fresh air..something we aint' had that much of. It will certainly be memorable for it's taxi drivers. Without a doubt we had the SCARIEST taxi driver ever yesterday. He did NOT speak a word and looked like an American Indian Chief. He kept staring at us via his rearview mirror and his loooong hair was all bundled up into a hairnet. Troy and I were too scared to talk...so it was a silent 30 minue trip! But, we made it to our hotel safe and sound and our other 2 taxi driver experiences have been memorable for their incredible sense of humour!
Tonight is just a quiet night hanging out at our hotel before the finish off our trip with a BANG. 4 days in Las Vegas staying at the Hard Rock Hotel and then 2 nights in Los Angeles, which will no doubt almost entirely be spent at the Rainbow Bar and Grill!
Well signing off for now, gonna go and watch some baseball on TV.....
Hope you are all well!