Tuesday, June 10, 2008

300 days away and 5 days until we're home. We've seen a lot since the last blog. Here's a few things that come to mind:

-Berlin was great. Tanya was a great host and we spent quite a bit of our time walking- around 55km in the three days that we were there. In retrospect we realise we could have easily hired a bike.

-A brief stay back in London with Kent and Sara was nice. More Top Shop, more records, more good food.

-Shanghai was our introduction to China. The place is incomprehensibly big. It's smoggy, hot and there are a lot of asian people. Again we spent quite a bit of time walking, although we also made use of the almost free public transport system. Not sure what else to say about Shanghai. It's quite overwhelming.

-Beijing is our favourite city in Asia. A lot of it probably has to do with out hosts, PJ and Michelle. Other things we love about Beijing include great shopping, the food, the weather (when the sun isn't hidden by smog) and the fact that everything is so freakin' cheap. There's so much construction, so many people, so many massages to be had. It's great. Very much worth the 6 hours we spent lining up in London to get our Chinese Visas.

-In total contrast to the what-you-see-is what-you-get atmosphere of China, our brief stay in Tokyo was quite intense. Crazy place, crazy people. But I guess if we'd spent 14 hours of the day at school, six days a week from the age of 2, we'd probably spend our Sunday shopping, dressed up like Little Bo Peep too. Thanks Belinda for the bed and for introducing us to Loft.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Well the Balkans are behind us. They weren't as bad as what we made them sound like in the last blog entry- just different. Zagreb (Croatia) and Ljubljiana (Slovenia) were very youthful cities which we really enjoyed spending time in- lots of cool places to drink beer in the sun. 

The train ride from Ljubljiana to Lindau (Germany) was right through the middle of Austria. We didn't really take any photos as they would not have come close to describing how beautiful the trip was. If you wanna know what it was like, take the trip yourself.

Lindau is on the Bodensee (Lake Constance) which shares the border with Switzerland and Austria. We were staying with Johanna which was great. She was on holidays too and so we got to see quite a bit of the area. We went to a super old castle, we went on a boat, we went to a modern art gallery, we climbed a mountain. We even rode our bikes to Austria. 

Now we're in Köln (Cologne). There is a very large church here. We drink Kölsch. We hang out with Kylie and Aapo. We visit the Lindt chocoalte factory (maybe).

It's now less than a month before we get back but we have a lot to do before then- namely Berlin, London (again), Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

There's the photos, and here's our summary of five cities in five different countries...

Our last days in Paris were great. We had a ball catching up with Berenice, we ate the worlds best baguettes and we sat amongst the tulips in a park thinking about how good it is to not have jobs.

It was a relief to get to London home to Top Shop, vast quantities of new and used records and of course the English language. Sara, Kent, Chelsea, Tom, Matt and Elena (Cambridge) also call this place home so it was a busy but friend-filled stop over. 

The flight from London to Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul isn't very long but culturally, it's a world away. Lots of markets and people and pigeons and headscarves. We took a boat to an island. We ate a lot of turkish pastry things and we walked like a hundred km.

The train takes 14 hours to get from Istanbul to Sofia (Bulgaria). We think it was the same train they used on one of those movies about the holocaust. Anyway, luckily it is an overnight trip. Unluckily we got woken up at 3am to go line up for a border crossing and then again at 4am and then again at 5am. We also met another person from Adelaide on the train. Classic. Sofia was our first taste of eastern Europe. It kinda tastes like car exhaust mixed with the fading scent of cheap, dead flowers.

One night later, we were back on the train again, this time headed for Belgrade (Serbia). We left a bit after midday and enjoyed a scenic ride through the countryside. After spending four hours waiting for the train to get to full speed, we finally realised that 45km/h was the full speed. 8 hours later, we'd made and new Serbian friend called Mickey, we'd eaten our way through a shopping bag of junk food and we had finally arrived at our hostel. Serbia is just as run down as Bulgaria, however the people were very friendly and the food was good.

We're in Zagreb (Croatia) now but I'll save that for next time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

As you can see, we're moving around a fair bit now which has been great but it has definitely been more tiring as well. Here's the rundown:

We really loved this city. It reminded us of Melbourne. We stayed just around the corner from the contemporary art museum which also proved to be the busiest skate spot in the city and there was a childcare playground outside our window which proved more interesting than the 115 episodes of "The Wonder Years" that Tom has on his iPod. One thing that does suck about Barcelona is all the smokers- inside, outside, walking, standing still, eating, drinking, talking, the old, the young, day time, night time- it's always the right time for a smoke in Barcelona.

Of course this was a pilgrimage to Frank Gehry's city changing art museum but we weren't expecting such a modern and refreshingly green city. The museum was big and everything that we expected- this includes the art collection which took us back to the rather generic US contemporary art galleries but that's fine. We like pop art and abstract expressionism. In this area of Spain, they speak a very old language that no one else understands. It looks like this: vxhueal gvxekk seauxkedw.

Thank goodness we are finally back in a city with a multicultural choice in cuisine. Paris is busy. Lots to see and do and walk to and some very specific mens fragrances to track down. We are staying at Philip and Julien's home at the moment but tomorrow we head to an old boardrider friend's (Berenice) house which is also in Paris. 

Well, enjoy the photos and the fact that they have people in them but don't get used too used to it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Here's some more photos. We somehow managed to score free wifi in Italy so this post is being brought to you by the fine people at D_LINK WIRELESS (whoever they are).

The last couple weeks have seen us sampling life in a variety of Italian settings- seaside towns, dirty cities, ancient ruins, Tuscan villages- it's been a lot of fun. There is so much old stuff here- old buildings, old lemon trees, old trains, old hot water systems, old roads, old dead people who got caught in the middle of a volcano eruption, old men who hang out at sketchy money laundering places that look like coffee bars, old pizza because we bought it at 3pm, old nuns who sit in your reserved seat on the train and pretend that they don't speak English so that they don't have to move- I could go on but I think you get the picture.

We are ready to go to Spain.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

After 5 months of living in Vancouver, it was sad to say goodbye to the people and places and food that we had come to love. We both finished up work. Tom spent the following day back at work DJing as part of the shop’s first birthday celebrations.

After packing up our things and cleaning the apartment it was off to the airport to sit around until we could board our flight to Heathrow so we could sit around for some more before arriving in Rome. We had spent 24 hours travelling. Tom watched The Godfather parts I & II and then slept for maybe 2 hours. Karen slept for 4 hours and tried to sleep for the rest of the time.

Allan and Unity (Karen’s parents) met us at the airport, which was great. Since then we’ve spent most days sleeping in, eating pizza and seeing the sights of Rome- possibly the most unapologetically ancient, populated city in the world. The apartment that Allan found for us is great. Very comfortable and a stone’s throw away from the Vatican wall.

On Saturday we catch the train north to the Cinque Terre which is a group of small coastal towns which are sposed to be very picturesque.

Well this is beginning to sound like a postcard so we’ll stop there.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Vancouver Island was very relaxing but I guess it'd wanna be really given it was a holiday within a holiday. Victoria is a beautiful city- quite similar to Adelaide in terms of its size and atmosphere. We did touristy stuff which served as a handy reminder that we are not touristy people. The trip also served as a good reminder of what it will be like to travel again. Handy.

Some other stuff that's happened:
-Today we sent home 35kg of stuff home with Nath
-Karen has the flu
-Thanks to Nick & Linda we are uncle and aunt (again) to a new little nephew- Kurtis James Hunt
-We have strawberry cheesecake icecream
-Tom bought another pair of shoes 

For now, the end.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wow 197 days is a long time. Kinda hard to believe that it's been that long but I guess we have done a fair bit.

After being here for 5 months we really do feel like we're two Australian's living in Canada. We feel very settled here but in a bit over two weeks time, we'll be back on holidays and off to Europe for the second leg of our trip. We're pretty excited especially as it means not working any more.

We've had another visitor since the last post. Nathan Humphris was here on his way to a Heli-boarding trip. His visit was a lot of fun. Tom took a day off work to go impulse shopping with him, we went to the local hockey one night (yes there was a fight), and we even went out for a night on the town- lots of dancing, drinking and then some donuts from the 7-Eleven on the way home. 

Tomorrow we catch the ferry over to Vancouver Island so watch this space for a few photos and a short, slightly sarcastic account of what happened.