travel

2013 Trip to the UK

Leaving on June the 11th 2013, we plan to explore the UK by car in a leisurely 8 week stroll, typical of us Australians who spend so much time and money getting over there we want to make the most of it.

24+ hours in a plane? ‘Aint nobody got time for dat!’

We are excited to catch up with a friend in London and my cousin in Ireland as well as lot’s of time on our own exploring the castles and remote areas including the islands off Scotland. We’ve booked a thatched roof cottage in ‘Sneem‘ in the Cork country of Ireland on the coast out in the middle of nowhere so that should be interesting!

Here’s the itinerary for anyone following us on our travels:

  • 11th June: Leave for London- Arrive 12th
  • 15th June: Ludlow- England
  • 17th June: Filey- England
  • 21st June: Windermere- England
  • 25th June: Edinburgh- Scotland
  • 28th June: Nairn- Scotland
  • 5th July: Isle of Skye- -Scotland
  • 7th July: Oban -Scotland
  • 9th July: -Glasgow Scotland
  • 10th July: Fly to Dublin
  • 11th July:Waterford- Ireland
  • 13th July: Drimnamore (1.5 k from Sneem) – Ireland (no internet for a week… or shops… are there people there even?)
  • 20th July: Galway- Ireland
  • 21st of July: Drumshanbo- Ireland with my cousin Marisa!
  • 22nd of July: Skerries- Ireland (Dublin)
  • 25th July: Fly to Canary Islands- Spain
  • 1st of August: Fly back to London
  • 3rd of August fly home to Melbourne (arrive home at 5am on the 5th of August)

Siena, Florence and Cinque Terre

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>;;Oops I’ve neglected my blog for a bit!
After Rome, we travelled to Siena and Florence, where I’ve been before but was just as enchanted the 2nd time. As a last minute decision we changed our accommodation and decided to stay at the Busabout drop off point, which was a camping park about 3 km out of Siena. This turned out to be a good decision as we had our own little cabin with a fridge and a wonderful pool to wallow in. A bus trip to Siena saw us exploring the town and ( of course) lots of hills and steps to climb, plus the mandatory gelato!
Florence seemed more beautiful than last time I saw it but much hotter. We haven’t s a cloud or a day much less than 35 degrees for weeks now. With the heat in mind, we a more gelato and climbed up the Biblio gardens and walked around the town, with one day spent in Ufizzi gallery looking at art work by the masters.
Our trip from Florence to Cinque Terre (where we stay for a week) included a photo stop at Pisa and a competition to see who could take the most clever photo. The handstand won but ours got an honourable mention:)
Our accommodation in Cinque Terre, where we stay for 6 nights, is at Riomaggiore, the first of the 5 cliff hanger Italian villages on the coast. I can’t even begin to describe the trip to our accommodation. Our backpacks are now HEAVY, and there so many steps and ridiculous narrow dangerous paths which have to be seen to be believed. When we found our accommodation ( in a narrow back alley) there is a door, 2 flights of stairs and the key is in a little basket ( which the owner called a jar) . The light kept going off and plunging us into darkness but we managed to get our bags up, the door unlocked and into the building. The accommodation is gorgeous with a kitchen on the bottom floor, a spiral staircase which is about 50cm wide takes us to the next floor to Sophie’s room and the bath room, and up another spiral staircase to my room at the top (5th floor in total). I have a window and a double door which opens out to the sea and a view of the village. It’s spectacular!!!! I haven’t closed the door once so far and go to sleep to the sound of the sea and with the breeze drifting in, mind you, it’s still very very hot all night.
Sophie, on the other hand, has a window which opens onto a neighbours balcony where an Italian family frolic noisily. Complete with Mama, Papa, Nona, a singing Grandfather and a toddler with a very high squeal who party on the balcony til all hours. There are no fans or air con so the decision is always is to be hot or to have the noise. This is often the case when travelling Europe. . I did offer to swap rooms but don’t think I sounded very convincing.
All that aside, the villages are gorgeous and the views are breathtaking. Last night we walked along Via del Amore, which is the coastal path of ‘love’ across the top of the cliffs to Manarola and saw the sun set and many tourists drunk with love during our walk, ending it with a gelato. Today we are going to hike across a couple of other very steep trails in the peak of heat and catch a train back I’m sure it will be worth it as it is a wold famous walking path and apparently spectacular.
Wifi is like hens teeth here so Barcelona will probably be the next posting. After 7 weeks of travelling and one left, I will return home to Melbournes winter and Sophie will go to the USA. *sigh*,
If you use Instagram, my photos are mostly there… User name jennywood
The train photos are for my Dad:)

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Getting in touch with our Krumlovs

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Here we are in Cesky Kromlov which is an adorable little town where the sun is shining and the chill factor is only evident in the relaxation department. It’s more of the ‘quaint European village’ style that I know and love and we have spent our time walking and exploring the village as well as a bit of relaxation. Today we went to the castle, which is apparently the 2nd oldest in Czech. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Český_Krumlov
We are staying in Krumlov House which is about as cute as it sounds. We are in the deluxe Appartment, which may give you a vision of a sparkling palace but it’s more like a character filled bear cave. It’s a little ramshackle ‘house’ by the river with a herbal garden and rickety wooden chairs and a good old cozy feel to it. The people are really friendly too. If we go missing… Come and look for us;)

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Last day in Prague

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Prague is every bit as gorgeous as everyone says it is and not as packed with tourists as the narrow streets in Italy. We spent most of our time walking and walking and walking, looking over the castle and admiring the view from the bridges. Sophie managed to eat a chocolate ice-cream each day because apparently its the best she has ever had in her life! Apart from a bad experience with my credit card (fully loaded with all my travel money) which ‘went missing’, it’s been a lovely 3 days here. Its looking like Sophie will have to fully fund the holiday now. Lucky she is so rich with savings..
We are off to Cesky Krumlov tomorrow which is apparently a smaller version of Prague and every bit as pretty.

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Prague, Czech Republic

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Commando would be proud. We dragged our luggage 2.5km through the rain this morning, across the cobblestone higgelty piggety roads to where our bus departed for Prague. A short 4 hour bus trip and another walk to our hotel had us weary but excited to explore the much awaited Prague.
Czech doesn’t use Euro so I had to withdraw cash from the ATM. Withdrawing 4000 Czech dollars turned out to be the same as $200 so my initial fright turned to concern that I didn’t get enough!
We managed to catch a train into Prague and walked around for a while before sighti g big black storm clouds. After a very yummy meal we came back in time for the storm to hit. Here’s a pic of the sky just before we left…

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Dresden, Germany

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There is an odd atmosphere in old Dresden which I can only describe as similar to Gertrude st Fitzroy. Low socio economic status mixed with urban grunge, alternative trendiness, lots of graffiti, cigarette butts, dog poo and broken bottles mixed with unusual trendy cares, shops and bars. That’s on the ‘new side’. The old side over the river is quaint and full of history. It’s bigger than I expected and our rooms are further away than we thought so had to cart our luggage 2.5 km across the cobble stone roads.

Last night we went on the Dresden night walking tour, which turned out to be a little odd. The guide was an East German guy with a political agenda who took us around ‘new Dresden’ and gave us tastings of locally made herbal liqueur. We were a bit worried about the herbs for a while. Sophie and I were a bit childish and snuck away and left the others there. Ive no idea when the tour ended but we didn’t get back to our hotel until midnight as it was.
The next day we explored the ‘old Dresden’ which is like another world. Sophie likened them to Heaven and Hell but there is something exciting about both parts. Off to Prague tomorrow which I’m really looking forward to.

Please send us some vegetables. Label them as we have forgotten what they look like. We haven’t seen any for so long and are eating so many carbs we may take off like rockets. Sie sind vom Aussterben bedroht. Ich bin unterernährt.

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Berlin

Just to get you in the mood for today’s blog post from Berlin… here’s a little entertainment:) If you look carefully you’ll see us in the background.

After 9 hours on a bus we arrived in Berlin at 6pm. On the way, we were entertained by the history of Germany AND Sophie winning the grand German speaking competition. The prize was a chula chip which she never received.
We had decided to get separate hotel rooms rather than stay in the hostel as we have 5 nights here. Somehow we managed to carry our luggage up and down several flights of stairs and get a train to our hotel room. The rooms are like luxury after the Amsterdam experience although we have separation anxiety being in different rooms. There is much excitement as we have TV! woo hoo! Now we can hear about Prince Phillips bladder infection over and over again because CNN is the only English speaking channel.
The next day was very very chilly but being the tough stock we are we went on a 4 hour walking tour of Berlin and afterwards we walked the 8 km back to the hotel room. We managed to see the Berlin wall, Hitlers bunker and place of death, the holocaust memorial and many other interesting places. Our tour guide was a very tall pommie guy named Barnaby, who was both funny and knowledgeable PLUS easy to find in a crowd, being tall as a bean pole.
On returning back at the hotel, we went out for Thai food and had to order it off a German menu with German speaking Thai waiters. That was pretty challenging but we managed to get our order in successfully and it was delicious!
Sophie is hoping to catch up with her. Good friend Sophie H who she has known since school and is German.

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