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Aye, a new adventure

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Oudeschild, Netherlands

Some of my family is originally from the Island of Texel, on the coast of the Netherlands. So I decide to coral Tom into a good old family roots visit...even though I wasn´t sure where on Texel they came from. Good oportunity to see some windmills anyway.

We took the ferry over from Den Helder...after I manage to almost not get there. If you ever hear there...don´t get off at ´Den Helder Zuid´, it just means the Den Helder South train station, and it utterly useless unless you like looking at paddocks. Lucky Tom and I are both paddock enthusiasts. Lucky.

We stayed in the village of Oudeschild, in a family owned inn which was lovely. Some fantastic home cooked food, and tried some of the locally made brew.

We generally just chilled and enjoyed the outdoors in Texel, walking along the Dykes, and over to the next village. Such a beautiful place, it was lovely just to meander about the town.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on February 13, 2008 from Oudeschild, Netherlands
from the travel blog: Aye, a new adventure
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Munich - Beer halls and aeroplanes

Munich, Germany

Munich was not really planned into the trip. The realistic fact is, we decided we couldn´t afford to go to Denmark (most the hostels being shut in winter), and we had trouble finding accomodation and a train to Frankfurt to visit our Canadian pal, Sonja.

So spur of the moment, we ended up IN THE WORST HOSTEL I´VE EVER BEEN TO! Avoid this ´meninger hostel´place...granted, they do a damn fine breakfast...and it was very clean, but that´s about it. A double room...equipped with one single duvet and one pillow. The noisiest hallways...and worst of all...huge school groups. French school kids. Now, don´t get me wrong, I´m the first to admit I should have realised what it for what it was before I booked it. But...ugh. Plague.

Aside from the icky hostel, we had a really good walk about Munich, saw the beer halls, and lots of the usual sights...old buildings etc. But, my favourite thing about Munich was the Deutsches Museum. It focused on the technical aspects of things...and it was worth it just for the aeronautics. A helicopter...inside a museum, and other planes, a cross section of a 707...it was a brilliant museum. The photography exhibition was great....could have spent days in there. But, (this is a little lame of me), the thing I got most excited about, was an interactive panel of glass thingy...it just blew my mind. I want one. Don´t know what I could use it for....but I want one.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on February 2, 2008 from Munich, Germany
from the travel blog: Aye, a new adventure
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Berlin - Snack Point Charlie

Berlin, Germany

I jest not - if you go to Checkpoint Charlie, you can wander across the road to Snack Point Charlie. One of my favourite names for a shop - ever. Not going to work so well if they want to start franchises....but still, points for that one.

Berlin is a really interesting city - and one of my favourites so far, which I wasn't expecting. But then again, if I had a euro for everytime I said 'I could live in this city' then I'd be having more euros than I do right now. Which is none. Tom and I have decided it's good fiscal policy for me to never see any money. I spend less that way. It's actually turning out surprisingly well. Surprising for me - not to anyone else I suspect.

We stayed in a houseboat, which was pretty cool to begin with, but it was moored by the longest surviving part of the Berlin wall, which is now known as the eastside gallery. The wall has been used by graffiti artists as an open air gallery which is really interesting. Sadly, lots of people have done lame graffiti over the artwork.

We walked along where the berlin wall used to stand, from our hostel to the checkpoint charlie location, and also where the museum is. Quite facinating the escape attempts that people made.

While I remember, we bought some cheese, based on the pure fact it had "extra dick". Not bad cheese either. Now thats advertising!

I found it surprising how much of the city was destroyed in WW2, and has still not been rebuilt. In the city centre there are so many vacant lots, esp in the east side.

We ventured out on a walking tour one morning, recommended by a friend, and it was brilliant! (we tried another in Munich and it was shit....make sure in berlin you go on Brewers walking tour - not the other one advertised in hostels). Our guide was piss funny, and had been living in Berlin for the last 9 years and being a tiny group, really showed us the city, with depth. I can't describe the difference, but this tour was brill:)

What else....we hit up two of the museums on museumisle, which were good, but smaller than I expected. The germans did manage to bring over ancient market gates from egypt - which are great to see.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on February 1, 2008 from Berlin, Germany
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Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Wow. One of the 'fairytale cities' of europe. Going in the middle of winter was ideal, as it wasn't that busy - but even in summer with hordes of people it would still be as beautiful. We managed to book into one of the best hostels, Krumlov house. More like being at home than a hostel - stellar experience. We ended up spending three nights here, but could have easily stayed longer.

Cesky Krumlov was a stunning city, and incidentally used for the filming of 'hostel', when they are walking around the city in Slovakia. Yet again, a castle overlooked the city, and didn't fail to amaze. We really should get onto this castle business in Australia. Now.

So we wandered the castle, and hiked up past the castle gardens to some old ruins which was good - hard to get photos as it was so dark however. We did some more hiking around, actually I think we walked the whole expanse of the city and the surrouding hills a few times over. Was good for the appetite....

We ended up at what the hostel referred to as 'the meaty place' for meals twice. My god. They call it the meaty place, as you pretty much just get massive slabs of meat cooked in the local style - cooked in an open fire/grill thing. By the way mum, I might be a little chubbier when I get back......but it was worth it. Aside from the overkeenes of potatoes - czechs do gooood stodgy food.

We even went horse-riding, but our horses were less enthusiastic about the ride than we were, but it was nice to walk through the forest, in the hills over the town. To top off our great days, we usually ended up playing big card games (and twice monopoly) which sometimes got a little competitive - but overall hillarious. It has been conclusively proven that I suck at monopoly.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on January 29, 2008 from Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
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Ceske Budejovice - try saying that after a few beers

Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

We initially stopped here for two reasons - we needed some time out from hostels, and we also knew the Budvar brewery was here.....sadly the brewery was shut for tours on the weekend (Tom nearly cried), but our hotel was wonderful:) Most things are shut on the weekends in the Czech Republic, and being a small town - we did what we did best. Drink beer and eat good food. Yuuuuuuum. Went to the 'London Bar', which you could tell was a london bar, for inside it had pictures of london bridge, big ben, and the beatles.

Tried to go up the black tower (which was closed) - which is reputed to be good for lovelorn people to jump off. Hence, the black tower. Slightly unusual tourist attraction, but interesting all the same.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on January 26, 2008 from Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
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Praha, Czech Republic

Prague was one of the most gorgeous cities we have come across, being virtually untouched by WW2. We stumbled across the town square at dusk, being in one of our various wandering expeditions (so much easier than trying to navigate to a set destination - esp after a few beers). After being amazed by the laneways and alleys that just Spring from nowhere, we headed to local restaurant for dinner. The food was brilliant, so after stuffing ourselves silly (another theme for this trip) we wandered ourselves home again.

The next morning was a fantastic day - one of the sunniest we've seen so far. Still bloody cold mind you, but at least good for photos! We hiked up the hill to the castle, and had a good sticky beak, and into the cathedral there.

One of the most stellar cathedrals I've ever seen. Just stunning. We continued wandering to the much painted/photographed/stuffed full of tourist bridge, St Andrews bridge. Pretty, but dangerous as the risk of a gawping person would walk straight into you.

Being the entity of tom and Sarah - finding out our hostel was 300m from the Staropramen brewery - irresistable. So we naturally did the brewery tour - and enjoyed the free beer tasting afterwards. Our group was 2 irish, us, and many many norweigans. So the norweigans had a little taste, then buggered off - and us and the irish helped the guide clear the lines - by drinking all the excess beer! The guide was awesome, chatting away to us. Was quite hillarious though, when we were first standing next to the Irish, we thought they non-english (I thought german?) and they thought the same of us! So when we finally worked out we all spoke english (rather poorly) we got along grandly.

Prague has many marionette makers, and one shop as we were walking along had a store person making pinocchio dance to Butterfly - by crazy town. Hillarious!

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on January 24, 2008 from Praha, Czech Republic
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Krakow, Poland

Krakow was great to fly into - and it was even better when we discovered the best hostel in the world - Greg and Tom hostel, if you are ever there, make sure you book in! Where else do they make you a cup of tea and give you a cake as you sign in? Aside from your grandma's....

We nearly got off to a shaky start, after arriving at Edinburgh Airport and discovering I had left my handbag at Bec's house...complete with purse, phone, ipod and camera. Luckily we had it sent over to the airport in a taxi - but Tom was ready to murder me. And very understandably.

The city itself was quite compact, which was very convenient for walking around, and seeing all the sights in a short period of time. We wandered up to Wawel castle, (where allegedly they kept a dragon which they had to feed on Virgins - the Poles have an awful number of jokes regarding this).

We generally pottered around the main square, which was pretty spectacular, but it was quite noticable that you were never more than a few hundred metres from the nearest church. For a place with 50p beers....not quite what I expected.

Also wandered about the Jewish section of the city, which used to have near 70,000 strong living there, which is now down to only approximately 200, as after WW2 who was remaining tended to immigrate.

The other major thing we did was head out to the salt mines, which have extraordinary carvings made by the miners, compeltely from Salt. Multiple chapels have been carved by hand, underground in these mines.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on January 22, 2008 from Krakow, Poland
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Glasgow! Wooo!

Glasgow, United Kingdom

Well, we finally made it over to Glasgow yesterday. I don't know what took us so long (probably the lack of time off), but it was only a 1 hour bus trip from Edinburgh, right into the centre of Glasgow. Not a particularily interesting bus ride, but the city itself is just so different. You would never believe that Glasgow and Edinburgh were only an hour apart, the people, architecture, the accent! The whole feel of the cities are worlds apart.

Whilst our main intentions in Glasgow were to go and see Damien Rice in concert, we manage to see some sights while we were there...

Firstly headed for a wander around the streets to get a bit of orientation, swung past George Square which was rather impressive. Then up to the Cathedral, which was simply stunning. Not the biggest, or the most opulent church, but it was built in the 13th century, and is a multi-level place that is incredibly interesting.

Right after visiting the Cathedral, we needed a quick bathroom stop, which was impeded by the fact the public bathrooms were locked....so what do we think, 'hey, there's a free museum right there...we'll just duck in....' Which went well until we walked in the door and was greeted by a sweet little old lady, who told us ALL about the museum and it's exhibitions, and we felt so guilty we walked around the whole place until we thought it wouldn't be rude to use the bathrooms. It was a rather interesting accidental trip to 'St Mungos Museum of Religous Art'. Places I never thought I would see Tom.

After that we toddled up to the Glasgow Necropolis, which was basically an old and interesting cemetary (still in use too), which also has great views over the city.

All and all, a rather strange day for sightseeing.... Then seeking to quench our thirst, trying to find a pub that was not either the bloody ritz of pubs, or the scariest dirty old man pub, we dismally failed, but headed off to the SECC for a few pre-show pints and people watching, which was rather good fun.

As for the concert, good fun. Definately a good day out, topped off with managing to make the last bus to Edinburgh, home safe and sound by 2am.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on October 5, 2007 from Glasgow, United Kingdom
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Finally, and update

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Things are getting pretty settled down here in Scotland. We've been busy working and saving, towards travels. Recently we hired a car and drove down into North England, and I met the rest of Tom's family. It was a fantastic weekend, and really nice to get away. Also managed to duck over to Sherwood forest, which was pretty exciting for me, being the nerd that I am.

This Thursday we're heading over to Glasgow to go and see Damien Rice which we've been looking forward to for awhile. We'll only be over there for a day, but it will be a packed one! There's a few exhibitions we're going to try and make as well.

At the moment we're trying to plan a trip over to the Netherlands for Toms birthday in November.

In other news, we're still just hobnobbing around Edinburgh, checking out the local sights.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on September 30, 2007 from Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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oyster cards rock my world

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

London was a weird experience, didn’t really see or do much, just spent time with Matt and Jo and Trev (Trev being a female cat….hard to wrap your head around) and caught up with Emr and Malte which was great. Haven’t even seen the Thames yet, but I was really keen to head up to Edinburgh and start working just to get settled. Funnily enough dollars don’t make many pounds, so we really needed to get that ball rolling, so four days after flying in, I flew to Edinburgh, Scotland.

I’ve been in Edinburgh for about a week and a half, and absolutely love the place, weather and all. (for those still in Aus, it’s about the same weather here as you have at the moment). The city has the gorgeous houses, massive castle in the middle, cobbled streets, pubs on every second corner…who wouldn’t love it here?

When I first arrived, I stayed at a hostel for a few days, then crashed with Emr and Malte’s fantastic friend David. There was much Booze and sightseeing which was really fun. We headed to the Scotland Museum of Art (I think, it was an art museum in Edinburgh of some name), and it was so much better than I expected. It was a relatively small building, but had some amazing paintings. Absolute favourite was a Rembrant self portrait at 51. If you ever have the chance to see it, it’s great. David was a bit appalled when I walked straight past the Monet’s and the like, but you know, if it doesn’t tickle your fancy…

I came up on my own to try and get some things sorted for us, and ended up getting the most suitable job in the world. Yes, I work for Scottish and Newcastle, the Brewery and general booze Co. Places where I belong much☺. Once I secured the job, I also found a gorgeous flat for us to live in, where we will be sharing…but we’re not sure who with! The other couple are moving out in a week, so who knows who it will be. Trying to convince Garth to come and play in Scotland…but unsure how much success we’ll have. The flat we moved into (last night), our moving date kept getting pushed back…and back…and back…although for reasons outside our Landlords control, but it still cost us 200 pounds in alternative accommodation. Ouch. But it’s great to be in our home for the next 6 months already, except we don’t have anything yet…last night all we had on the bed was a tiny travel pillow and a sleeping bag. Todays big expedition is to buy some bed sheets! And pillows!

Tom has an interview at a nice pub around the corner this afternoon, and Harry Potter comes out, so it’s going to be a busy day for all!

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on July 11, 2007 from Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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