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samantha rundell’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 02 Sep 2006

Location: Paris, France

MapCheerio chaps !

I am writing to you all from a net cafe in Paris, after having forcibly removed myself from London town, which has been my home away from home for the past 7 nights (2 extra nights than originally planned).

There's no other way to describe London other than it's bloody brilliant ! (Although if I was from Ireland I would probably say it was class - weird !!)

I'm not sure if you've all heard the news or maybe seen the pictures published in Who Weekly or maybe NW in Melbourne yet (the subject is probably too cool for the likes of Woman's Day & New Idea - I mean it is London after all dahlinks), but whilst you've all been doing that W word thing (I can't even bring myself to utter the word), I have been hanging out with superstars.

Hollywood superstars.

So, I'm expecting the headlines to read something along the lines of : "Samantha & Courteney - Exclusive Backstage Photos of Backpacking Extraordinaire Meeting Rock Star & Mother of Kurt Cobain's Child at Kick-Arse Vines Concert, Forum Theatre, London".

Yes, you read correctly chumps - I HUNG OUT WITH COURTENEY LOVE AT THE VINES CONCERT IN LONDON !!!! (Disclaimer : "hung out" in this instance has been embellished from "pestered for a photo" to make for a better story).

It was just that kind of week for me in the hip & happening city of London town, which I adored from the second I stepped off my ferry onto the drizzly overcast & grey shores of Dover & began whinging about the crappy weather - only 20 degrees (& it's SUMMER, mind you).

If not for the fact that I could suddenly read menus, order food, ask questions about anything I bloody well liked, sing along to songs & do all those other things that you can suddenly do again when the world around you decides to speak English for the FIRST TIME IN TWO MONTHS; I loved London because of the brilliant night life, for Top Shop (seriously ... how have I lived my life without this store), & for the Tube which simultaneously drove me absolutely mental & enchanted me with it's cute "Mind The Gap" every two minutes.

It's actually a little bit sad that it felt so bloody good to say "can you tell me if I'm on the right train?" instead of waiting in anticipation to see if the next stop was the one that I actually wanted.

I arrived in London after spending five spectacular days in Paris, which is the most beautiful city I've visited, to date. Elegant & bohemian & artistic & grand - I've decided that Paris & I are soul mates.

I spent 2 solid days absorbing the most prolific art collection in the world in the Louvre (thanks to Rob & Kellie's awesome birthday present !!! THANKS GUYS !!!), & climbed the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, visited Sacre Couer, Notre Dame & strolled the Champs Elysee - which I think I have longed to do since I was practically a foetus.

Leaving Paris, I journeyed to East Putney in London, where my crazy party animal mates from the Greek Islands - Karen & Tim - offered to put me up in their gorgeous little gaff. How delightful to wake up in a room that doesn't have 10 other people sleeping in it ! How wondrous to take a shower not in my Havaianas ! Simply marvellous to make myself a cup of coffee & sit around in my pyjamas (I did this three times !!).

Tim & Karen, & their equally cool housemates Brendan & Rae, pretty much gave me run of the place & I was treated like a princess (of course) for five days !

We checked out Camden Markets (vintage shopping heaven), partied down at the Notting Hill Carnival (the biggest outdoor festival in Europe) & hit the pubs (surprise surprise) for my first Snakebite, as well as checking out the Vines & hanging out with COURTENEY LOVE at the Forum theatre.

* * * Special Note to Tim, Karen, Rae & Brendan : THANK-YOU so much for letting me crash with you guys - I had the most brilliant time ! ps. Melbourne rules * * *

I left Tim & Karen after 4 nights of craziness, where we caught up for dinner & drinks with another Greek Islander - Pia - in Soho. Afterwards, whilst strolling the backstreets of the West End & peering in the cute little boutique windows in Soho I impulsively decided that I wasn't going to get on the Busabout bus the next day because I didn't feel like I could leave my London town just yet !

Pretty crazy but London was definitely worth it !

An absolute highlight of my time in London was managing to score tickets to see Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre - what an amazing experience !!

Along with spending an goddamn fortune in British pounds (the cost of living here is seriously ridiculous - & also the reason for my forced removal) I managed to sneak in a few of the tourist attractions too; Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, the Dali Universe, Buckingham Palace (worst £12.50 I've ever spent in my life), London Eye, Trafalgar Square, Harrods, TOP SHOP, Piccadilly Circus, & Oxford Street just to name a few.

Did I mention that I popped in to Top Shop ? Yowch - it's going to hurt when I get the bill on that one.

After all of these whirlwhind adventures, & many MANY many others that I just don't have time to elaborate on, I find myself in Paris for one last time - I'm leaving for a wild couple of days in Amsterdam tomorrow morning.

Unfortunately, although I have been trying to avoid thinking about it, September means that I am beginning my last month here in Europe. Although on the bright side, September does mean that I get to party down with Johan (hi Johs ! can't wait to see ya !) & I'm also set to hang out with the lovely Anna in Hildesheim for a couple of days too.

& so, after much deliberation & careful consideration; here is my new & improved itinerary for September :

London (Eng) : 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 - 31st August & 1st September
Paris : 2nd September
Amsterdam (Neth) : 3 - 4 - 5th September
Berlin (Germany) : 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 & 10th September
Hildesheim (Germany) with ANNA : 11 - 12 & 13th September
Salzburg (Austria) : 14 - 15th Setember
Munich (Germany) with JOHAN for OKTOBERFEST (!!!!) : 16 - 22nd September
Prague (Czech Rep) : 23 - 24 - 25th September
Cesky Krumlov (Czech Rep) : 26 - 27th September
Vienna (Austria) : 28 - 29th September
Interlakken / Lauterbrunnen (Switzerland) : 30th September - 1 & 2nd October
Munich (Germany) : 3rd October
Flight home from Munich (Vienna & Singapore) : 4th October
Arrive Melbourne : 5th of October

Hope you are all carrying on bravely without me !
I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone - especially MAYA - very shortly :)
In the meantime - take care everyone !
Tally-ho from Sam
xoxo