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Jane and Kristian's honeymoon

a travel blog by JaneandKristian


Well after eight years together and holding our lovely wedding on 1 September 2007, we are finally setting off overseas together!
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The journey begins....

Amsterdam, Netherlands


Well here we are in Amsterdam. We arrived safely at 6.30am, but unfortunately our luggage decided to have an extended stay in Kulala Lumpur without telling us! Needless to say we weren't impressed, but Jane hugged the luggage once we were reunited with it the next day!

Amsterdam is very pretty - much smaller and quieter than we expected. It's very easy to walk around because it's nice and flat and because it has trams! The weather has been very mild - probably what you are all getting in Melbourne at the moment, but a little bit cooler and rainier than we thought it would be! Very trendy and funky place with lots of nice shops etc.

The canals really are beautiful, as are the floating flower markets. We have never seen so many bulbs in our life!


We love the fact that Amsterdamians love their cheese!

Kristian has found a very interesting herb that he says is fantastic - not sure what it is but he seems happy with it!

One thing we were not so fond of were the bikes....it creeped us out that there seemed to be more bikes than people

HIGHLIGHTS: The Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, English is very widely spoken (!), our lovely little hotel near Vondel Park, chips with mayo, the fact that in the red light district a man said to Kristian "How did an ugly guy like you end up with a beautiful woman like that?!"

LOWLIGHTS: Lost luggage, the famous "Dutch" pancakes are much better at the markets of Melbourne! Jane didn't buy the travel size hair straightener she saw at Melbourne airport and is now suffering in the humidity!

INTERESTING FACTS: There are a lot of Indonesian and Argentinian restaurants here. There are also heaps of "croissantieres"- not a good dieting country! Police in Amsterdam ride bikes (of course) kind of removes any intimidation! Amsterdamians also love their runners!! Kristian was transfixed!! Also, Janes's love of vermouth is finally recognised§ On ice it,s a popular drink in Europe and cheapish!

USELESS INFORMATION: Jane got her nail fixed! Jane possibly enjoyed the red light district more than Kristian! She was transfixed!
Next....off to Paris!

permalink written by  JaneandKristian on September 10, 2007 from Amsterdam, Netherlands
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged Amsterdam

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Paris in all her glory...

Paris, France


Ah yes gay Paris....beautiful as always and so dignified to arrive by train!

Staying in the Latin Quarter is great because it is lively and close to great train lines. Our hotel was quite good - simple but very clean and 2 minutes walk to the Metro and we had a private juliet balcony (for K to smoke out of anyway). We didn't have enough time in Paris but that's life! We packed so much in to 4.5 days but it's so expensive here that we had to make the decision to move on...

HIGHLIGHTS:

1. Georges Pompidou Centre (5th Floor) - Jane could have spent hours here and Kristian enjoyed it too - Kandinsky, Dali, Matisse, Tanguy, Delaunay etc all in the one spot....superb. Can,t say the same for the 4th floor (see low lights below);

2. FOOD FOOD FOOD - markets, pastries, bread, the BEST yoghurt - it's just too much! Jane's jeans are now too tight as she mistakenly thought "when in Rome...." (K of course has probably managed to lose weight!). Food shops like Fauchon, Hediard, Berthillon for the BEST icecream (gingerbread with real bits of gingerbread!) Obviously we aren't eating in the grand establishments but have found some good little bistros...

3. Rue Mouffetard - great area and fabulous market;

4. Beautiful St Chappelle - unfortunately being restored so the main Passion of the Christ window wasn't visible but absolutely the most beautiful monument in Paris

5. Viewing the Mona Lisa - she really is lovely (see rest of Louvre in lowlights)

6. THE METRO - I am Jane Queen of the Metro and I would sell my car tomorrow if we had a train system this good!

7. The Lalique shop.

LOWLIGHTS: Georges Pompidou level 4 - call us uneducated but really, the current brand of modern art is a crock! Jane is a 1900 - 1960ish girl - we wasted time TRYING to get it but we don't!; The Louvre - sorry but again just not interested - even got the tour to see if we could be; Paris is pricey; the Champs Elysee is not what it was!; French keyboards suck - stupid extra characters and letters in different positions!

INTERESTING FACTS: Police in Paris outdo the Amsterdam police being on bikes as they are on rollerblades!!!!; In Amsterdam and Paris they have a cute habit of serving gingerbread biscuits with tea - very nice - Jane is going to recommend john So bring in an ordinance making that compulsory in Melbourne cafes!; The French love the sound of their own voices (fair enough too!) so we have found ourselves watching US TV shows being dubbed - not subtitles - but dubbed - very funny!

USELESS INFORMATION: Jane can express herself in French but never understands the response!; You can virtually learn another language on the Bateaux Mouche as it's translated in so many languages!; Jane hates Becky the stupid host from CNN - the only English speaking channel in the hotel....but we loved the crazy weather girl; Believe it or not Jane forgot to bring sunscreen and managed to get burnt during a 22 degree day!

BEST LAID PLANS......Unfortunately even organised and well researched people like Jane can get it wrong from time to time.....We had the beautiful Luxembourg gardens within walking distance but a guide book had made it sound like it wasn't such a great picnic spot so we went all the way to the Bois de Boulogne only to find we were at the wrong end and considering it is about the same height as the whole map of Paris that was too bad, so our tip for a picnic is Luxembourg!!



permalink written by  JaneandKristian on September 14, 2007 from Paris, France
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged Paris

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Burgundy - une disastre trés chère

Lyon, France


Well well well.....every trip has a little catastrophe but I guess it's how you handle it and in our case there were no tears from Jane and no punching French people from Kristian....

Here's how the trip should have gone:

We spent a lovely day in Dijon - even though it was a Sunday there were shops open and a lovely market and our very cheap and nice hotel was right near the Palais des Ducs. We sat sipping drinks in the Place de Rude (named after the sculptor not after any naughty activities) and took an historic walking tour where we learnt about the little owl - the symbol of the town etc and the activities of the Dukes of Burgundy - all with great names like Richard the Nice, John the Even Nicer. The next day we headed to Lyon for two days where we enjoyed fantastic food and the beautiful historic old town Vieux Lyon and then we took a day trip to Vienne - the sun was shining the birds were tweeting.........

OH HANG ON NO THEY WEREN'T IT WAS A BLOODY DISASTER....This is what actually happened...

FIRST LESSON OF FIGHT CLUB.....dont book a train until you have somewhere to stay and don't go anywhere that hosting both rugby and a large convention at once (we didn't know about the latter).

Long story short, the first part of the story is true - Dijon was lovely - but as for Lyon we could not find anywhere to stay at all - and I mean at all - you may think we are exaggerating but we werent and the site of peple in the train station with their bags and grim faces said it all - If K and I hear the announcement music or Lyon train station again we may fly into a murderous rage. The tourist office said it was pretty much full up (they should have said CHANGE YOUR TICKET NOW AND STAY IN DIJON AS YOU WILL NEVER FIND A PLACE TO STAY NOT EVEN A HOSTEL BED AND ALL YOU WILL SEE ARE INTERNET CAFES WHERE YOU WILL TRY AND FIND PLACES AND PHONE BOXES WHERE YOU WILL CALL PLACES)

We spent the night in an expensive hotel by the train station. We spent the whole rest of the day trying to find somewhere else to stay even out of town in Vienne but they seemed suprised that their little town was full too! And then it started to pour with rain not just a little but buckets and lightening. The next day the weather was awful but we had luckily secured one more night at the hotel (well lucky for their bank account). We decided to get out of Lyon and go to Vienne, a lovely little town nearby on the train. We had a lovely meal and looked at the Romanesque sites.

We basically then got the hell out of Lyon (but again we pass no judgement as we saw nothing of it) - in hindsight we would have been happy staying in Dijon for more time (we like little places) and going to Beaune for the day but hindsight is a wonderful thing....

We are now in Avignon so stay tuned for the South of France chapter!!

permalink written by  JaneandKristian on September 19, 2007 from Lyon, France
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged Burgundy

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A Year in Provence....well a week anyway!

Avignon, France


Ah Provence - the sun really WAS shining - all the time! After our Lyon experience, we were very pleased with our lovely time in Avignon and various surrounding villages in Provence. We even managed a day doing nothing by the pool at a B&B just out of Aix-En-Provence and Jane actually sought out the sun! It's a different sun to Australia that's for sure....

We had a week all up and we could have spent longer! We only really had one full day in lovely Avignon by the time we got our bearings, so we did the bridge of course and the fantastic Palais de Papes - quite amazing that you get so much access into this interesting building.

Avignon is a lovely blend of old and new - the amazing roman ruins and building combined with modern shops etc - the clothes shops were great (but Jane resisted out of poverty), but like so many places we have encountered in France there is a lot of construction going on, which is fair enough but it can spoil the peace a bit! It has a great vibe though and our hotel was in a fantastic position.

We had the best meal we have had, not only in France but also full stop for awhile at a Michelin Guide restaurant called Isle Sonnante in Avignon. Jane had the "Au Retour de marche" menu, which is put together on a daily basis after the chef has returned from the market. Jane has decided that Kristian is going to cook like this from now on (in fact see our own meal after returning from the market in Aix below)! Kristian had a fantastic ravioli with fois gras.

Jane spent a frustrating afternoon trying to figure out what could be done using the local bus system and the answer to that is not much! Fair enough that many of these villages probably don't want to be overrun by tourists but we were determined not to spend a fortune on ridiculous minibus tours, so we didn't! We went to St Remy, Isle Sur La Sorgue Sunday morning market and to Fountaine de Vauclause - the amazing water spring. We also popped over to Villeneuve for a lazy lunch.

We hired a car (at the most ridiculous expense - 200 euro all up!!!) but it allowed us to explore some of the little villages of the Luberon made famous by Peter Mayle (Bonnieux, Lacoste, Menerbes), as well as Gordes and Rousillon, which Jane has always wanted to do. You really need longer but this at least gave us a taste.

HIGHLIGHTS: Driving through the Luberon villages -particularly Gordes and Roussillon; Eating at Isle Sonnant; Breakfast in Avignon; Our B&B in Aix and going to the market for supplies to cook for ourselves; Isle Sur La Sorgue market and village; the weather. Les Halles food market in Avignon; Le Tinel restaurant in Bonnieux.

LOWLIGHTS: St Remy (we didn't feel its charm and the Van Gogh walk is a joke "here is where we think that maybe Van Gogh might have looked at some point and then painted something but we can't really tell because it's all residential now" - although there was one area that looked like his paintings!); missing Les Baux (choosing St Remy instead); construction in Avignon; public transport in Provence.

INTERESTING FACTS: French like Siestas at the best of times let alone in the 'country' - everything shuts between about 1pm and 3pm, but we kind of liked things sleepy! Jane and Kristian have been talking about wanting to buy a miniature pig for awhile, and seeing one in the market at Isle Sur La Sorgue (see petit cochon pictured above) confirmed it but Kristian wants to call him Pat (not just as in Pat the Pig but as in Pate) - Jane has said "non!" in her bad French accent.

USELESS INFORMATION: French customer service is really appalling - we have never seen so many train stations with HUGE queues and two people on while others stand around chatting. Also Jane's credit card - gold one at that - doesn't have the special chip needed to use the ticket machines so she has to stand in line grrrrrrrrrr!

(Jane wants to say at this point, in answer to a few comments about the amount of times I feature with food in these photos, that yes there are a lot of food related photos and they will continue as will the expansion of Jane's waist so it's back on the diet when she returns!)

The French do know some things about food! They cook fish so well and the strawberries here and so much better than we get. The pork is in a class of its own. K reckons that it's because they don't breed all of the fat out of them like they do in Oz. I normally don't like pork but our "plat du jour" in Vienne that was so wonderful was just roast pork in roasting juices with some peas and carrots cooked with bacon and more cooking juices and it was so tender and superb! They also take pride in their accompaniments (ie you get individual little moulded veggie sides) and their salads are so much more inventive.)



permalink written by  JaneandKristian on September 25, 2007 from Avignon, France
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged Avignon and Provence

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Nice? Not so Nice!

Nice, France


Nice?

-Rain in Cannes, hail in Antibes, bad accommodation for us in the wrong location (a hostel with 20 year old Aussies that Jane had thought was a 15 minute bus ride from the train station not a HUGE walk up hill, a shuttle from the hostel and THEN a 15 minute bus ride!), Picasso museum hasn't been open for 3.5 years (thanks guide books), Kristian got a cold etc etc. Great weather for one day to see Monaco but for various reasons only ended up with 2 hours there! ARGH!

BUT - met some nice people, including the Aussie chef at the hostel. It was good to see how the other half live in Monaco and Cannes but overall not so much our sort of place.

Oh well, off to Italy!

permalink written by  JaneandKristian on September 29, 2007 from Nice, France
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged Nice

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Chilling out in Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore, Italy


We spent 4 relaxing days in the Cinque Terre (the "5 lands") - a group of 5 tiny villages on the coast of Italy that are perched into the cliffs, famous mainly for their walking trails that links the villages together.

First comment - there are so many Australians in Europe! We have noticed this everywhere of course, but particularly in Cinque Terre, because here are some of the smallest little places we have ever been to and all we hear is "oh gees Lorraine isn't that view nooooiiiice!"

Anyway, cultural cringes aside, this really is a lovely spot. We really need a break and some relaxation time. Yes, it is meant to be for hikers but hey! who says you have to follow the crowd?

We stayed in an apartment in Riomaggiore, the 'biggest' of the 5 lands. It really consists of one main street, a marina area and a beach. The houses are all tall pastel coloured buildings that are worn from the sea and the sun and each land has little fishing boats that go out and return each day. However, naturally the main industry these days in tourism and you can tell! It's not crowded but once you take the English speakers out you can tell how sleepy it really is.

We stayed in a lovely kitsch apartment, so we got to cook a little to save money (yes by this point we had realised how poor we had become)...Kristian made the BEST pesto and buffalo mozerella pasta - Liguria is famous for its pesto and it really was brilliant.

Opposite the apartment was a little bar/restaurant that stayed open until 1am (thank god for ear plugs). We had a few drinks one night and actually met some interesting people - a lovely solo traveller Emily from Richmond and two US soldiers on leave from Iraq - one of them in particular was so interesting to talk to and he loved Jane's southern accent imitation.

HIGHLIGHTS: The highest of Jane's trip to this point was probably swimming (in Kristian's undies and a singlet) in one of the pebbly beaches lovely clear water.

LOWLIGHTS: The locals were VERY rude on the whole - it's like they know they need the tourists but resent them at the same time.

INTERESTING FACTS: Some people actually LIKE hiking. We still haven't figured out why but apparently, this is one of the best places in the world to go hiking. Well yes, perhaps it is, but we were on holiday! We did the easy peasy walks that are completely flat and that was nice, EXCEPT for the huge stairs that no-one told me about at the end of one of the walks. And don't worry, you can get to each town by train! Once you are from Australia and have driven down the Great Ocean Road, it's hard to be blown away by ocean views. Having said that, the views would be amazing from right up into the cliffs. Years ago, the area was a farming area - and there are still some vineyards and olive groves built rights into the cliffs. Why on earth they thought that such steep slopes would make for fun farming I don't know, but to each their own!

USELESS INFORMATION: In Cinque Terre Jane made the most amazing discovery of the trip so far. In Australia, there is a terrible conspiracy going on - we have been deprived of the full range of pre-prepared Italian deserts. Yes, we have the cassata, the Bacio and the tartufo that you can get from your Italian takeaway shop, but there is another - a coconut. It's a real half coconut shell with coconut icecream inside! How could this have been kept from us for so long John Howard???



permalink written by  JaneandKristian on September 30, 2007 from Riomaggiore, Italy
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged CinqueTerre

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Florence the Fabulous

Florence, Italy


FLORENCE IS LOVELY FLORENCE IS LOVELY FLORENCE IS LOVELY FLORENCE IS LOVELY

Well this really is a magnificent city! We had 2.5 days in Florence (NOT ENOUGH) and then a day trip to each of Siena and San Gigmignano to get a little taste of provincial Tuscany. It was all divine and we really wish we could have taken our time from the French Riviera and transferred it across to Italy - Nice really is a vacuous waste of space! (yes Jane's still bitter)

We arrived from the train station and unfortunately our directions to our apartment were not the best (let me just say at this point that getting an apartment is often cheaper than a budget hotel and in the case of Italy cheaper than a private room in a hostel so it's not us being extravagant), so we ended up walking and walking and walking in the sun (yes the weather was STILL stunning at this point).....but once we hit the Duomo for the first time, we were spellbound!

We stayed right in the thick of things - just steps from the Duomo in San Lorenzo and our apartment was lovely!

Up until this point, we really hadn't done much shopping. Partly because we were so busy sight seeing, partly because we didn't want to lug things around with us! (Poor Kristian has already been carting Jane's heavier bag around and Jane his lighter one!) But this place is a shopper's dream!!!

HIGHLIGHTS:

1. SHOPPING - Beautiful Florentine paper, leather shops, fashion etc, as well as lots of markets full of crappy stuff! So many great shopping districts - jewellery at Ponte Vecchio, cute vintage stores around Palazzo Pitti, leather in Santa Croce (although a lot of it was a little generic to be honest)....

2. ART AND ARCHITECTURE - We really aren't into religious art, but it doesn't really matter. The whole place is just full of magnificent and interesting buildings all around and all within walking distance. You can stroll through one lovely square after another.

Seeing the David statue for the first time from the end of a long hallway really did take our breath away. The Uffizi again is something that can be appreciated even if it's not 'your' sort of art. It was worth going for the Bottecellis alone! (Tip: Do what we did and book your places at major museums in advance by phone so that you wait in the queue for 15 minutes and not 4 or 5 hours!)

3. VIEWS OVER FLORENCE (including from PIAZZA MICHAELANGELO)

4. GELATI GELATI GELATI

5. SURROUNDING TUSCAN TOWNS

Siena and San Gimigniano really are divine. An easy day trip (cf: Provence) they combine amazing history, beautiful food (including wild boar pasta and traditional Tuscan bread soup) and of course lovely shops! The Duomo at Siena truly is the most amazing building I think we'd seen to date (well perhaps Ste Chapelle in Paris is joint).

6. DAY TIME TIPSYNESS - K has always liked a daytime tipple, but Jane has found that in France and Italy getting a little pissed during the day is really good - much better than in Australia. Vermouth is everywhere and very chic, which of course makes Jane chic and even 'house' wine in Italy is good - no throat closing over phenomenon!

LOWLIGHTS: Not many, but the Menu Turistico phenomenon was a major one! We actually walked out of a restaurant in Florence because of the apalling food. Even though we had read the guide books warning us that there is often one menu for tourists and one for Italians, we weren't quite prepared for this! Obviously no-one who likes their food will eat in the main tourist traps on any main drag in Europe, but this one had been recommended and seemed very busy with Italians too. We watched while the Italians behind us got served magnificent home made ravioli from platters, while we had what seemed like frozen tortellini, followed by K receiving three shrivelled up fatty pieces of lamb (the size of a twenty cent piece) with soggy chips!!!! American tourists have a lot to answer for! Food was incredibly expensive too, so once again we cooked and K made the most amazing roast pork in a tiny little toaster oven!! Supermarket pork and it was stunning (I won't go on again about the travesty that is Australian "new age" pork!)

INTERESTING FACTS: Italy is so clean! We found it funny enough to watch people in France blatantly waste water by washing down everything they possibly could all the time, but Italian trains and streets and bathrooms etc were all really clean.

USELESS INFORMATION: Italian train ticket machines are fabulous! Unlike the stupid French ones, which only take local credit cards and no money, they take money so we could avoid the ridiculous queues we had to stand in to get on French trains!

We both found it freaky to hear little children speaking in Italian. It's quite a harsh language and it made them all sound like little men and women, particularly if they were whining at their parents. Absolutely hysterical!

Dogs in Europe are not friendly! Seriously! If you call a dog or go over to one to pat them, they really aren't interested in you. In Oz and the UK they are normal and friendly - perhaps a reflection on their owners' more restrained nature?

permalink written by  JaneandKristian on October 9, 2007 from Florence, Italy
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged Florence

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Venice is sinking and Jane is expanding

Venice, Italy


Venice really is an amazing place. Nothing quite prepares you for when you first come out of the main train station and see the canals for the first time.

We found that after the magnificence of Florence, Venice had a much different character. Because we weren't there in peak tourist season, we were lucky enough to explore the little back lanes and canals without too many other people and this gave things a distinctly eery character at times.

We actually stayed on the mainland to save money, but it really worked out well. We were walking distance to the train and the bus and in 5 minutes or so we arrived at the island each day.

We had both just read the Donna Leon book "Death at La Fenice", which gives great descriptions of the city. Jane, being the juvenile person that she is, then pretended that everywhere we saw an Italian man in a bone coloured trench coat that this was the book's main character, Inspector Brunetti. Jane found this incredibly amusing - Kristian no doubt found it immensely embarrassing!

As we aren't such fans of religious art, we decided to do a few different things in Venice. The first was to get lost in the streets - just wander around and then just pop out wherever. Actually that's really just normal!! We did a tour of the Jewish ghetto, which was very interesting. We did a quick tour of the Opera House (again Jane was searching around La Fenice as though she was solving the murder in the Donna Leon book) and we avoided the over-priced gondola ride.

We went to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which was another great museum featuring some impressive work within the home that Peggy lived in herself - with her voracious appetite for both the art and the artists (so the story goes). It was also really interesting to see where this interesting woman lived and very sad to see some of the wonderful artwork of her only daughter, who died under "mysterious" circumstances.

We of course visited St Mark's Square and basilica and watched in amusement and people handled the pigeons, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they will now probably have salmonella for days!

For us, the 2 days was really enough, but with more money and perhaps if we were at the beginning of our trip, another couple of days would have been nice!

HIGHLIGHTS:

1. MURANO GLASS - Kristian now starts to get a nervous tick at the mention of the word "Murano" (do test this when we return). While there is some awful kitsch and some 'made in China' fake stuff, there are some really beautiful works of art! (and yes we invested in a couple of things!). We went to the island of Murano, where the particular type of glass blowing originated. We saw a fantastic demonstration and then spent the morning looking at the shops. The chandelliers truly are amazing, whether they are your taste or not.

2. FOOD (but see lowlights below). It does seem strange to have food as a highlight and lowlight, but there you go! We had heard that Venice is not particularly known as a 'foody' area and that tourists are really ripped off. However, we found the most fabulous pasta in a little "Osteria" (a bar that does little tapas dishes and some main dishes) - it truly was divine - home made taglietelli with a ragu sauce, with an octopus apetizer. We also found the BEST chocolate shop we have ever been to. So much so that on our last day, we crawled around Venice retracing our steps to find it again!

Jane was particularly fond of the little triangular and pinwheel shaped sandwiches in Venice. They really are divine - ham with an olive mayonaise or just a little mini roll with lovely salami and cheese. Again, Australia take note! And yes, it goes without saying that it's a sad state of affairs when a coffee from the local train station tastes just as a good as one in a cafe in Melbourne.

3. EERY CANALS. There really is something amazing about the 'streets' of Venice and something very sad about the fact that our children probably won't get to see it!

4. SHOPS - Nothing Jane could afford to buy, but some seriously divine shoes and clothes in this place!

LOWLIGHTS:

1. FOOD - Yep we fell victims again, not just of a guide book recommended place, but of a place recommended to us by two English people we met in Aix-En-Provence! This was seriously the worst treatment. All of the tourists were in one room and the Italians the other and seriously - the food was so ordinary and overpriced and we just knew it wasn't what the italians were being served and then of course there's the Venetian's service tax, table tax, dumb tourist tax etc. We ended up having one dinner at a chain diner in desparation!

INTERESTING FACTS: The Jews were not allowed to use marble to build their synagogue in Venice, so they used a pretend marble product called marbelina. Marbelina is now actually very rare and very sought after! GO JEWS!

Some of the floors in Venice are divine (yes I'm my father's daughter). I'm not sure of the material, but really stunning.

USELESS INFORMATION: Jane is now SOOOOO fat. You would think that writing this blogs and realising that it's sounding like a food review would be a hint. Let's just say this - the jeans that were bought a little while ago and were "falling off" and which lead to buying a second even smaller pair are now just "snug" and the second smaller pair and rather tight and now sitting at the bottom of the case. Jane will now be placed on her diet again before she returns and she is looking forward to getting back to a routine that does not involve eating at every opportunity!!!

Off to the UK to stay with Mikeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee



permalink written by  JaneandKristian on October 11, 2007 from Venice, Italy
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged Venice

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Good Ol' London Town

London, United Kingdom


After a bit of a delay leaving Marco Polo airport, we finally arrived at London Gatwick. The immigration man wasn't particularly impressed with our description of where we were staying in London as just "my brother's place", but we'd thrown out the piece of paper with all of our addresses on it.....However, on the up side there was no-one at the airport when we arrived (about 10.30pm) so we flew through customs and this time our luggage was actually on the carousel!

It was SO nice being met by someone and not having to carry our luggage and figure out maps etc. Mikey drove us to his lovely flat in Wimbledon Park (yes, Jane has been looking out for wombles - no luck yet).

We had decided to come to London a bit early, partly because of travel fatigue, partly because of severely reduced funds.

No rest for the wicked though, as coming early meant that Mikey wanted to take us to see a little bit of England for the weekend. Ironically Jane has seen more of England than Mikey - after a month in the UK in 1999.

For our England "mini break" We all headed off to Bath, with the aim of Mike's new Tom Tom, where we saw the fabulous Abbey and amazing roman baths. We toured the Cotswald villages and went to Blenheim Palace (home of the drunken looking Duke of Malborough). They are so picturesque! We then headed back to London town (oh god how to people here cope with the traffic). Jane insisted on playing English folk music in the car - good old Steeleye Span!

Mike then took us on a whirlwind "London in two days" tour, including Fortnum and Mason (for Jane to get excited about), Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Buckingham Palace, St James' Park, Houses of Parliament, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben ("Look kids Big Ben" was mentioned a lot for all of you European Vacation movie fans), the Tate Modern, the Sloane Museum, the Tower of London and the London Eye. Don't worry - some of these things were literally just walking past them, but this was not a tour for the faint-hearted - Mister Mike is a hard taskmaster!



We also went to the theatre and saw a great comedy called Boeing Boeing. We had a few drinks in the pub afterwards and the whole cast was there, which was great. Mikey put his fantastic accents to work, as one of the characters was a crazy German woman so they both did accents together which was very funny - he was born to be on the stage!

Wednesday was a well-deserved rest day, hence all of the blogging! Kristian cooked a fab roast chicken!

We caught up with Jane's step brother Steve on Monday night for a fantastic dinner in a converted warehouse in East London, complete with an interesting movie installation downstairs. So much fun and lots of great cocktails -thanks Steve!

Last day we did Camden Town, which was great. Kristian found some great tops (finally actually bought something!!) We had a great night at Mike's local with some of his mates for our final night AND J&K beat a couple of guys in pool who thought they were really good! HA!

We can't thank Mike enough for his generosity. If it wasn't for his sponsorship, we wouldn't have been able to stay in the UK for a whole week!

HIGHLIGHTS: Staying with Mike and catching up with Steve, England "mini break", the Autumn leaves in the countryside, Roast beef in Burford, strolling around London, the London eye (such great views particularly of the Houses of Parliament), going to the theatre, history of England (ie Bath, Blenheim).

LOWLIGHTS: Prices, not enough time.

INTERESTING FACTS: London is bloody expensive! Thank god for Hotel de Mikey!

USELESS INFORMATION: We love the names in England. Some of the Cotswald villages included Bourton on the Water, Burford, Stow on the Wold, Moreton on the Marsh - you get the picture. My favourite is Upper Slaugther and Lower Slaughter. Even better was Wapping - pronounced Whopping and Tooting Broadway!

Both J&K were thrilled to have a cooked English breakfast! We missed it!



permalink written by  JaneandKristian on October 17, 2007 from London, United Kingdom
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged London and England

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Tired in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan


Well this is our final stop of the trip! We arrived at the airport, chauffered by Mike, only to find that BA had overfilled the flight. Jane had woken up with a cold so wasn't really very impressed, but kept her cool and did the "but it's our honeymoon and we only have three days there". They had offered compensation to step off the flight, but we all know that Jane doesn't like things not going to plan. Luckily, we got on. However, once on it hit Jane that perhaps 600 euro per person was a rather large amount and could have paid off the mounting credit card debt.

However, we loved every minute of Tokyo and wished we had more time!

We were very very tired during the trip - Kristian particularly, which meant that unfortunately, Jane's dream of reenacting part of Lost in Translation (and in the process somehow morphing into Scarlett Johanssen) didn't happen - no crazy nights in Roppongi in crazy bars and karaoke. And if Kristian doesn't feel up to going to a bar after dinner, you KNOW he must be tired.

The people in Tokyo were SO friendly - I can't state this more. Not only helping if we were looking at a map puzzled, but doing so despite our lack of Japanese language skills (and lack of ability to consult a phrase book due to phrase book burnout), but going out of their way to find information for us.

We stayed in a lovely older style neighbourhood - called Ueno, right near a large park. We stayed in a traditional Japanese Inn, so got to experience the flat beds and, best of all, the hot Japanese baths! Jane wants one installed at once!

Jane was once again Queen of the Metro, and what a great system - so clean and efficient.

Everyone is very orderly in Japan - there are lines where you stand to queue up to board the train - no pushing and shoving. And no-one talks on their mobile on the train etc. Everything is explained A LOT - ie the whole train journey contains Japanese commentary that MUST have been saying more than just "the next stop is...." - we're not sure what though.

The one strange thing amongst all of this efficiency is the address system - there is none! Well none that is logical. There are no sequential street numbers. If you are lucky enough to have the street name phonetically spelt, the numbers are to do with the district, the block and the building - but the building numbers go in the order they were built! VERY annoying. We were SO proud of ourselves, when we found this particular Soba noodle restaurant - it was a little brown house amongst tall buildings and we only had a sketchy map - what an achievement.

The most fabulous find was that so many restaurants have those plastic replicas of food in their window. You see some in Chinatown in Melbourne, but it's EVERYWHERE in Japan. Jane wanted to bring a bowl of something home but they are actually very very expensive, so she settled for a couple of magnets!

We, of course, went to two Iron Chef restaurants and Jane giggled like a school girl when she got a Chen Kenichi souvenir pin! The view from Sakai's restaurant on the 32nd floor of the Cross Tower in Shibuya was fabulous!

We got up for the crazy fish markets, just missing the tuna auction - but still seeing the frozen bodies on the floor and the general craziness!

We really just wondered to different neighbourhoods in a daze, such as Ginza, Asakusa, Electric Town - we couldn't do the fabulous museums etc, or a day trip to Kyoto or anything really - but we loved it - the crazy shops, the Harajuku girls, the strange audio and visual assault amongst this orderly and polite place.


It really wasn't as crowded as we expected.

HIGHLIGHTS: Iron Chef restaurants, the food (!), Japanese baths, the people, the plastic food, the architecture.

LOWLIGHTS: The address system, being tired.

INTERESTING FACTS: When the Americans were present in Japan for awhile after the war, they tried to bring some logic to the address system, which was promptly removed when they left!

USELESS INFORMATION: Too tired to think of any!

permalink written by  JaneandKristian on October 23, 2007 from Tokyo, Japan
from the travel blog: Jane and Kristian's honeymoon
tagged Tokyo

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