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Simon + Jess's Round the World Tour

Hello one and all. This page is to keep freinds and family alike in touch and up to date with our movements. We will try to keep it updated regularly and with fotos whenever poss. Don't be afraid to post messages too!!

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 03 January 2007

Location: Innsbruck, Austria

Merry christmas and a happy new year to one and all!!!!

We apologise for the absolute lack of updates but we have been very busy celebrating the festive season and spending our euros on fun of another sort... the type that can be eaten and drunken...

Well to give you a brief update of it all we had a lovely christmas in Prague... it is whats hyped up to be... with no snow but hey that was all good... we had a traditional turkey christmas dinner at the hostel on the eve of christmas which is when the czechs celebrate and then we went out for a flash feed on christmas day at a really nice place up near the prague castle... we also made it to midnight mass at the local church on christmas eve but only lasted about half an hours worth before needing a drink seeing as it was all in czech and we could only last so much... (lovely all the same though... really amazing church).

We then headed fromn prague down to a wee hamlet of a place called ceky krumlov where we had an amazing couple of days in our own apartment (they stuffed up the booking so we reeped the rewards) by the river. it was a really cool medievel town ehre not that much has changed in the last century or so and we were very lucky on our last night to get the first snow of the year for this part of the world... a good couple of inches fell and in the morning it was awesome as we drove down to Linz as we drove through huge haw frosts and heaps of snow...

After a couple of very restful days we headed down to munich where we were spending the new year... Spent a day doing a hilarious walking tour of the city and met a good bunch of ozzies and kiwis who we ended up spending the new year with and then on new years eve day we headed out to the concentration camp at dachau... Now this was not the most celbratory way of ending the year but seeing as it was either then or on new years day we thought better to end the year on thatz note rather than start the new year with it... it was really rather haunting but interesting all the same...

we then had a very big rowdy new years eve with a bunch of kiwis, ozzies and a couple of south africans and had a great time... Our new years day was a very quiet affair while we all nursed soar heads and fuuny tummys...

Yesterday we once again boarded the train down to austria where we are now to the skiing cuty of Innsbruck. We had snow the whole way on the train and welcomed by a very warm welcome at our B&B seeing as they were convinced we brought the snow and the ski fields have been lacking so they were very glad... we were contemplating trying to get a day in here but were off tomorrow and its absolut whit out conditions up there so though maybe not...

tomorrow were off to zurich and from there who knows...

we're having an awesome time even though we are both well aware that we have less than a month of travelling left...

hope alls wwell and wuill try to be in touch more...

catch ya

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Location: AMSTERDAM!!!!, Netherlands

Hey team

well we've made it all the way up to amsterdam after a bit of tick tack up through belgium and france... Been having an amazing time and the weather is definetly getting colder (though we are yet to get any snow dam it!!!)...

We are here for another couple of nights soaking up what it is that makes amsterdam so special before heading on over to berling for a couple of nights before Prague for christmas...

having lots of fun and keeping safe and will hope to write more soon


Thursday, 07 December 2006

Location: Toulouse, France

Hey team... long time no post....

well we`re sorry to say but we are gonna have to keep this kind of brief but will try not to miss too much out.

we arrived to a beautiful Barcelona at about 1am in the morning and made our way into the centre of the gothic quarter where we found our hostel (let me just tell you it was finally nice to be in a budget traveller friendly hostel where everyone is helpful and there is heaps to do). we spent longer in barcelona than anticipated walking around the city and visiting amazing sights like the picasso museum ( with over 3000 of his works) and many of gaudi`s amazing buildings... Let it be known the the sagrada de familia was truely amazing,though still very unfinished and the parc guell was truely very dr suess like in all ways...

From barcelona we headed south by train to Valencia (for those who didnt know this is the new home of the americans cup dam it) spains third largest city with a very quaint wee historic centre... we spent two nights here walking the city and viewing the enor,ous cathedral (the home of one of only two holy grails recognized by the vatican) and walking the cup village... Valencia was quite odd in the way that it had some of the most out there modern architecture accompanied by gorgeous cobbled streets...

We then trained north to madrid where we learnt the lesson of booking hostels ahead as ended up in a smaverage place that cost a bomb but hey... its a learning experience. we went for walks around madrids enornous central retiro park and went to the centre art gallery, one of the homes of religious art work in the world... unfortunatley due to being misguided by our guidebook we missed the contemporary art gallery whets home to picassos guernica and so on whet was a pain but justified by thinking that we had better leave something for next time...

We then once again boarded the oh so reliable train to Burgos where we treated ourself to a hotel room what was all very plush... burgos was a small place up in the mountains and we had some pretty cold weather as we started to head north (that has continued as we`ve kept goin). home to a huge christian cathedral and very little else we had a couple of very relaxed days doing very little other than walking besides te rivers that crisscrossed through burgos...

From burgos we wer hoping to head north to bilbao for a night for the guggenhime museum and then onto bordeaux but seeing as we had to keep moving and our movings are often dictated by the movings of trains we added that to the list of things to do next time and made our way to Hendaye the first border town of france from where we could catch french trains further afield...

Now while we were relieved with spanish trains compared to others we have been on the ticket offices and the prices of the seat reservations still left a slightly bitter taste... all was rectified in france though as here the trains go double speed, double often, and for under half the price.... we were very happy to arrive in our first stop of toulouse yesterday by midday in good spirits... toulouse is frances 4th major city and unfortunatley for us it boasts the record of not having a single backpackers near or far... we finally managed to find a couple of cheapish beds and went off exploring... toulouse is quite low on the sights side of thing but for us this was not such a deal seeing as we were just getting used to the fact we were in france and practising our bojours and mercies...

well that just about brings everyone up to date and dont ya worry up dates will become far more regular here on in... tomorrow we are on our way to avignon, one of the cultural capitals of france, before we head on up to Lyon...

Hope everyone is well back home and let us know what you`ve all been up to too...

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Location: Cairo, Egypt

well hello once more...

well we have arrived back for our final day in cairo before heading off to Barcelona this evening... We've spent a choice couple of days down in Luxor, about 10 hours south of cairo, spending our days walking around the valley of the kings and the luxor temploe and so on...

Some really amazing stuff seeing as it is still so in tact and the conservation thats been done on it is very successful... We spent yesterday afternoon doing a 2 hour 'sail' on the nile in a traditional egyptian faluyca but seeing as it was a specially still day it turned into a bit of a non-event of a row but we saw the sunset from the water all the same so hey... what can ya do...

we are now spending our last day in Cairo doing very little but walking around the city... Egypt, being an islamic country, makes it slightly tougher to get out and about by yourselves seeing as english is not only less spoken but very incommon on signs or maps (and the fact that we dont have a guide of any sort contributes)... but hey, still lots to see in the small parts that we've visited...

well off to barcelona at 1am tomorrow morning so will be in touch soon...


Thursday, 23 November 2006

Location: Cairo, Egypt

Dear Fan Club

Well... not only have we moved on since we have last been in touch but we have touched on the european continent and have since now lifted off and we find ourselves in the northeast of africa in Egypt itself... We finished our trip to india off very nicely with a day in Mumbai exploring the colonial architecture and so forth before flying out to our first stop in Europe... London.

We loved london! Now while this may seem a bit hastey a comment seeing as were only based there for 4 or so days it was (should we say) amazing to get back to a 'western' country where getting around was just easy. Now this in no way detracts frm the fact that we loved our travels through asia and India but it really was nice getting somwhere with a sense of familiarity...

We had a great few days in London based with simons family friends (Diane and Walt if you get round to visiting the site thank you so very much once again) in Chelsea what was a brilliant location for wandering around many of the famous sites. As tubes and buses are really rather costly we decided that we would just try to walk everywhere so we did walks through Hyde park, to westminster abby, parliament buildings, the london eye and so on and so on. On our last day we wnt and visitied the tate modern (really modernist art work gallery) where we were bpth quite buzzed t see works we had been studying last year. We also visited the rebuilt globe theatre and the millenium bridge (quite funny story about how it was opened for 3 days before being judged a safety hazard due to swaying in the wind so was closed for 14 months whilst restructuring)...

We both managed to catch up with family while there who were extremely kind in taking us for a bite to eat or inviting us over so to all thank you... it was choice to see everyone.

London is beautiful at this time of year with the golden leaves and first signs of christmas, but as we all know the cold is also around at this time of year to. Simon has now got one extreme cold from the o so cold weather...actaully it was really nice wrapping up all snug in the 10 degrees weather which we are certainly not used to. We were hoping the wrm weather in Cairo would clear him up...

After leaving Heathrow bound for cairo we arrived at some crazy time and found that the hostel we had booked for was waiting to pick us up...which was very exciting our names being displayed by one of the many taxi drivers. The next morning we had a good sleep in and headed of to see the one of many muesums. At around for 4pm we then headed for the pyrimids and spynx. We ended up doing a horse ride around the pyrimids at sun set. It was truly incredable!! we will post some photos of us there shorlty so you can all be envious...once finishing our treck in the desert we decided to take a dinner river cruise up the nile, which showcased belly dancers and traditional egyptian dancers. It turned out to be extremely funny not only did we have the entertainment of the show but also a large table of Korean tourists who get very drunk and enthusiasticly got involved with the dancers.

Today we're off to the museums and old cairo before heading down to luxor on the night train. Down there for a couple of days before heading up to cairo again and then off to barcelona...

Hope all well and catcha later

Monday, 13 November 2006

Location: Goa, India

Hey team...

Well much has happened since last posted, forts visited, beachs lay upon, nights on train experienced so here's a wee bit of a rundown...

We headed from jaislamer (our bags heavier with some pretty choice wall hangings and so on) and made our way down to ranakpur... now this was one of the advantages of having a driver - it turned out to be a gorgeous lake filled hill station that was excluded from the lonely planet (a.k.a. travellers bible) and we only got the opportunity to visit by car. We spent a lovely evening drinking by the lake with dave learning some new indian card games as the same old kiwi ones are truly doing our heads in...

After just a night we headed a further 100km south to a town regarded by most as the jewel of Rajasthan called Udaipur... It really was a very cool place surrounding a gorgeous lake with a palace seeming to float on the lake (now a very exclusive resort only accesible by boat that seemed ooo so tempting compared to our cess pit but hey... the bed bugs gotta eat too)... Seeing as by now we were well and truly running out of time in rajasthan we only had 2 days here but we packed a lot in... as well as all the same old papaces and so on (that while I may skip over them briefly they really were stunning) we decided it was time to try our hand at a bit of Indian cooking... We had a really fun night in an indian families kitchen being taught how to make samosas, curries, and so on and son by a mother and daughter while their children ran round playing and the father looked on... a heap of fun as it wasn't just a jam packed class in a modern kitchen...

We then moved on after a long drive to our last stop Jaipur, the capital city of rajasthan... It was a nice big city with many a beautiful temple and a fort that truly ruled the sky line... after a couple of days of sightseeing and bidding farewell to dave (incase any one feels like following in our wake we have his email adress and have promised him many a kiwi customer in the future...) we embarked on our most "authentic" sight yet... the Indian railway...

Well it wasn't that bad... We had a couple of hickups: firstly we were dropped at the station an hour early to find it delayed 2 and a half hours so had a long wait in seedy jaipur station. secondly we were led to believe it was about 12 hours to mumbai when really it turned out to be closer to 20 hours. and thirldy we ended up in 2nd sleeper class what wasn't quite what we thought we'd booked 2nd class - we had followed others advice and thought wed booked the 2nd of 7 classes (with 6 people per room) but we ended up getting 2nd sleeper class what is the equivalent of the 6th of 7 classes (108 people per room) what was quite a laugh... looking back of course... It all turned out fine and on a whole we felt pretty safe. Sore bums, and Constantly stared at but seeing as it was more just the fact we were the only whiteys on the train as opposed to lets snake their bag we did both manage sleep and it went well...

We ended up arriving in Mumbai at about 5pm on Sunday and seeing as we were already in the travelling mode we thought that we'd cancel on our planned night in mumbai at the mo and instead get down to Goa as soon as poss... So by 8pm we already found ourselves on an 12 hour sleeper bus to Goa... this though was very comfy and easy and after a niughts sleep arrived in Goa this morning and made our way to the beach...

Goa seems lovely and a real change from anywhere else in india... it is absolutley flooded by poms (dam them travelling on the pound... sorry its just a common thought of all travellers travelling on any other currency) but gorgeous sand beaches and we are staying in a nice place a stoned throw from the water...

Seeing as it is our last bout of sunshine before heading for the cooler temperatures of the european winter our plans for the next couple of day are to do very little but sit back and relax... For everyone info we fly out to london on the 17th of the month...

Hope everything is all well in your part of the world and will be in touch (also try keep the posts coming - they're a buzz to read)...

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Recent Messages

From Matt, Tom, Ed, The B
Hey Teamsters

Hope you are having fun, thought we'd better log in and say happy birthday si. Currently in the hawkes bay weeding pumpkins with czechs, don't ask because trust me you don't wana know. We were up at 4.45 this moring to catch a fukn bus to a fukn pumpkin field except tom was a little pussy (nothing has changed) so it was just the three of us. Anyway hope you are having a mint time, no fukn clue where ya are but catch u up later anyway
Response: check toms email... have been in touch
From NaiNai
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you dear Simon! And that's some year that's just gone by for you. Well done grand grandson. And just over a fortnight to go-- I wonder where you are. Now our Christmas holiday is over -- Lucy is back in Wellington, Simon and family are back in Sydney, Stephen and family returned to Auckland yesterday from Mahurangi, the Christmas tree has been dismantled and the decorations are all away. Visits to the zoo and Monteray, to the gannets and to Livingstons have all been features but the high lights have just been the talk and walk bits. Now we are all looking forward to catching up with you both on the 2nd.
Come well and safely,
Response: hey there nai thank you so much for the birthday wish... sounds like you all had a great christmas and will email ya soon bout the 2nd...
From Kurt
Hi Guys, Merry Xmas and have a fantastic New Years from Kurt,Sheryn, McKenzie and Cody
From jp
Hey Jess,

Great to read about all your travels, brings back so many memories!

Merry Xmas and lots of love and luck for the next couple of months - see you in 2007.

Love Jo, Guy, Phoebe, Tom and Lucy. xx
From Maddie
Hi Guys So great to see you having such an awsome time. Just had the mini family christmas today with Rich, Chrissy, Harry, Joel, Adi, Pete, my lot and numerous rellies from Pete's family. It was great. Hope you both have a lovely (possibly white) Chrissy. We will be in Auckland, hopefully (weather permitting) spending the day at the beach. Take care, much love, Maddie.
From Nai
Simon your Christmas card has arrived from Barcelona. Many thanks. It's a bit of a travel logue in itself; here we are in Barcelona, off to Valencia -will be thinking of you all in Auckland-- we'll be in Prague etc. We'll miss you too. Lucy will be with us and Martin and Simon, Tors and "nearly- three" Zachariah, along with James and Jo and their families. We'll be thinking of you lads and lasses, and Stephen and Margi and their lads. They are off to Wellington to Margi's folks. However they'll be back on 27th December, racing you by some six weeks. Give us details of your Christmas in Prague . Hoping for snow?
Go well and ever so safely, with lots of love. Nai
Response: all sounds very lovely... hope to possibly speak to ya closer to the time but not totally sure... hope all goes well and yes we are defintetly hoping for the snow!!!
From CCO
More news and photos pleeeeze!! Thinking of youze even more as Xmas approaches Love from us
From Caitlin Grace
Our fellow kiwi travellers! finally had a catch up on all your goings on. hester and i are very jealous. weve both finally arrived and after 3 days the novelty has worn off and weve got itchy feet again. we'll just live through you guys! sounds amazing....hope you guys are fantastic...enjoy it while it lasts!!!!!!!!!!!!
cait and hester (the aussies from asia)
Response: hey team extreme... will be in touch further for sure but great that you had an awesome time and at the moment we are managing to find a bit too do in amsterdam (well only just)...
From Karen
on recomendation from Joyce
suggest try to get to Mont Saint Michel, North West .
now joyce should know as she is from France and is visiting us down here for a couple of years or so! aslo don't miss the Xams markets in Strasbourg. Also watch out for the strikes that hit the train system, Joyce says they are almost weekly.Spain sounds great, enjoy France
Love Mum
From margi, steve, gus an
How amazing you guys - we are so impressed and of-course want to be doing exactly what you are doing - but maybe not 6th class or with the bed bugs - It's Gus's birthday on Monday - 7 - where have the years gone - it didn't seem that long ago that you were 7! All the best and keep it coming
Response: Happy Birthday for Gus (on monday)!!!! from the both of us...
From Soph
Hello, Barcelonas? what a coincidence dad just left Barcelona for a conference!! You could of caught up. Decioded not to go over with rina. Defenitly regretting it wellingtons very boring and cold. Am just trying to save money. Also Matthew Mcgonahay is in Port Douglas at the moment!!! I bet he would of befriended me and mader me famouse!!! hahaha
Hope alls well
Response: hey sophs
ha thats funny your dad is there we so should have caught up it would have been crazy! oso welly is boring ay? are most people at home at the mom or have lots gone away to work etc? wow you so could have been famous what a shame! hehe o where are you working now?
From Alex
Excellent photos. Keep them coming. You both look the part - you intrepid travellers you. Simon you should get a ringo account & have a look at some of ours from the states. Keep in touch.
Response: yeah man checked out your photos, all looks very sweet... keepup the greasing and av a goodone]

From Nai
Simon and Jess you are certainly collecting sunset memories; and a few sunrises too by reports. To me your choice of destinations is stunning. You are very good travellers weaving your tapestry. We are crossing the sea tomorrow. 0ff to Waiheke for a few days and then prepare for Chistmas when Simon and family are coming over. Where are you folk spending Christmas? Yea, I'll be a fan club member. Go well and safely, Love Nai
Response: Hellohellohello... it looks as though we are probably goingtobe in germanyfor christmas before crossing over to prague to see in the new year (ormaybe the other way)...
From Crusty
guys, we're really appreciating the regular updates what a tremendous trip you're having - helps us to put up with the awful weather here keep them coming love from us CCO (Ollie says a special hiya)
From vicky
did you get to see any of the sites Louisa said to see. the girl was asking me
Response: hey vicky
we have seen many awsome sites like the museums and tombs which if i remember rightly were the kind of things she told us about...we didnt however find the hotel she gave us the name of because we arrived pretty late..but let her know we had a great time and tell her if she goes for the 8th time to egypt then she has to definatly see the pyrimads!!!
From Aunt Helen
Great to see you both in London - looking so well and relaxed. Hope you'll be able to visit for a bit longer next time - whenever that will be. Or maybe we'll catch up with you elsewhere in the world. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Love Helen and Craig
From crusty
more photos pleeeze
hope London's not too cold
have a stilton ploughmans lunch and a pint of bitter for me (ps stilton is the only local produce worth eating in the UK)
From CCO
wellington just doesn't seem the same after reading your postings mind you the fog was floating poetically on the fog until the wind and the rain came and wiped it away and we got about 5 seconds of sunshine today so we shouldn't complain - spring was meant to be elusive and short but all the same, roll on global warming amd wish we could be with you in Goa love from us keep the news coming CCO
From Karen
Glad to hear you have safely arrived in Goa, enjoy the sunshine while you can. The trains sound just like Peter remembers, not much changes in 20 odd years in some places!!! Love from us all
From Miles and Sue
Great update as usual - so it's Indian food on the menu at Uni next year - we are looking forward to seeing how its done when you return
Enjoy Goa and its beaches - sounds wonderful

Love Dad and Sue

From Uncle Mal n Vix
Hey guys, its very cold already in London, if u can, try n get to Oxford, give us acall n we can tell you a cheap way of getting there ,also the Youth hostel there is very good. Hope to hear from you soon XXXXXXX
From Adrienne
G'Day Simon - Carl (aka Crusty) just gave us your site and it has been great to hear about your travels - it really makes the dreary AKL weather suck just that wee bit more!
Sounds as if you guys are having an awesome time - keep it up and keep us posted - hope you continue to avoid the Delhi belly though no trip to India would be complete withour at least one bout!
Have fun and catch ya soon
Adi and Pete
From Crusty
Thinking of you as you wend your way through India. Hope you're enjoying lots of lovely curries, haven't picked up any bad bugs, and your driver is the alert type. All well with us. Alex arrives this week, Aspen bound. Abrazos fuertes y besos CCO
Response: amzing curries, hooning driver, and just bed bugs on that front so on a whole... great fun...
From jo
Hi Jess,

If my memory serves me it was Anjuna Beach - quite small, and just a few guest houses and cafes...Baga Beach is a name I remember too!! No doubt things are a tad more sophisticated now! Have fun, very envious! Jojo xx
From Maddie
Hi Guys, Your Dad just sent me the address for this site. How cool!!
Sounds as if all is going really well. India is an amazing country isn't it?? Loved the photo of you at your old school Si.
Ems and Johnny are well, just doing their thing, E playing heaps of netball and J well into the cricket season.
Life pretty mundane compared to your escapades!
Have a cool time, and enjoy the Christmas lights in Regent (or Oxford??) Street. They were always a highlight for Ems and I when we visited!!
Response: India is choice (crazy... but choice)... Hope AKL ain't treating ya too adly either and Johnny and Em sound great... Currently in the golden city of jaislamer whats fantastic... love to all...