|UK tour with Jory's||May 2002|
|Tuscany - Italy||June 2002|
|Vienna - Austria||August 2002|
|Winchester - UK||September 2002|
Tim and I finally made our first trip out of Switzerland ( I don`t count driving around the lake into France as leaving Switzerland. It was just the same as our side) to Barcelona. We loved it there. We flew over with Easyjet. ( you know the airline on the airport TV show) We arrived to find it raining. Bummer. But we didn't let the rain stop us. I am a true Melbourne girl and packed our umbrella.
We arrived at about 11:30 am. We checked in and than thought we would grab some lunch. Damn foreign countries do things different don`t they. Places don`t even open for lunch until 1pm. And dinner the places open at 9pm but don`t start getting busy until 10pm. But we adjusted easily, especially after trying spanish cuisine. It was a real delight after the swiss food.
We did see some of the tourist destinations. We also didn`t bother with the ones that had lines that went for blocks. We just took photos of the outside of those buildings. We walked and walked from one building to the next. Barcelona is big on architecture especially Gaudi`s buildings. Which are very impressive.
We saw the Cathedral and The Sagrada Familia (which is an unfinished church originally a project of Gaudi. It is still being worked on even though Gaudi is dead. Picture attached) We went to a restuarant where Picasso showed his early works when he was a starving artist. We were going to go to his museum but the line was so unbelievably long we went to some other little galleries across the lane instead.
We really enjoyed Barcelona and will probably go back there. We are off to Paris this weekend and hopefully it will be as great as Barcelona.
Three days is not enough but yet in many ways it is. Paris is jammed packed with things to see but after awhile seeing so many paintings and artifacts can get a little boring. Maybe we need to have more time between visiting places. All in all we enjoyed Paris. We took the open top buses around which was a hell of alot better then walking everywhere like we did in Barcelona. Of course it was very drizzly making it very cold and wet on the bus but we stayed up top and beared the cold so we didn't miss any sites.
We saw the Eiffel Tower but did not go up it. It does not look as romantic in real life. In fact it is just a big steel communications tower and looks like it too. The Louvre Museum is very impressive and huge, we only had a day to see it and it really needs two whole days to do it justice. That is if you are really interested in art and artifacts otherwise, like myself, if you try to see too much it becomes boring.
We also saw a caberet show at the Lido. It is hard to describe the show. There were half naked males and females dancing and singing, a magician, jugglers, ice skaters and a little bit of ballet. It was very entertaining and extremely professional.
The most disappointing part of the trip was that we didn't do any shopping. We stayed in an area that had shops everywhere but we ran out of time. I guess we will have to go back to go shopping( and finish seeing the sites we missed, I guess)
I have been home over a week now and I am just getting around to letting you know how my trip with the Jory's went.
For those of you that don't know The Jory's are our friends Dave and Caroline from Melbourne.
The trip was meant to be England, Ireland, SCOTLAND and Wales. But we ran out of time to do Scotland. Believe me Ten days is not enough time to see the three we did manage. B & B and Towns are all abit of a blurr to me now. But the highlights were
They are the main things that I enjoyed. We did do many things and go many places but I really don't want to put you to sleep with all the details. I have already decided that Tim and I are goingto go back at some point and do more of Ireland and Wales. And maybe I will get to go to Scotland eventually.
Tim and I thought it would be nice to celebrate our birthdays somewhere interesting, so we drove down to Siena in Italy with Dave and Caroline. It is a long drive so we spent one night in Como and in the morning drove around some of Lake Como. I didn't find it a beaufiful as Lake Geneva but the land and archtecture around the lake is very beautiful.
I have always wanted to go to Tuscany and now I know why. It is absolutley beautiful. Siena has a fantastic old walled town. We spent one day sight seeing in Seina. we climed a fantastic Clock tower in Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall). The views were fantastic. The rooftops of the old town are exactly has I imagined. I think I am a bit of a romantic.
The town has a fantastic vibe. After dinner our fisrt night we went for a walk around and discovered Piazza Del Campo ( the main Square) And it was filled with people. The square has restuarants around the edge but everyone was sitting or standing around drinking and socialising in the square rather than in the buildings.
The temperatures were pretty high and the town is all paved and has small streets so in town it was very very hot. So we thought we should spend sometime in the counrtyside where it might be cooler. Well actually it is where the Vineyards are. The countryside was fairly dry looking except for the green grape vines and olive trees. We also visited some interesting little towns and had lunch next door to an old abbey.
We only went to two places for wine tastings. the first was a small family place that only spoke italian so it was fun. We also got some of their olive oil. The second was a bigger more commercial place that actually had a bus tour stopped at it. The first place was heaps more interesting.
I think we all agreed that Siena was great and what we have seen of Tuscany is Beautiful. I know I want to go back.
Once again Tim has been lucky enough to have a long weekend. So off we went.
We arrived in Vienna on Thursday night. We went out for a very delicious meal at a place right near the hotel.
Friday we visited an Art Gallery in an old palace. The gallery houses work done by the local Viennese. It was very interesting and a little different from any other art that I have seen. The grounds were enormous. It actually had two palaces on the estate. Both turned into galleries. We only went through one gallery. Walking around looking at paintings for a whole morning is enough for me.
After the Gallery we went into the main square. This is where St Stephen's Cathedral is located. We went through the cathedral. The outside had a look very similar to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The inside was very beautiful. We went on a tour through the crypts that are under the church and the main square. They weren't as creepy as I thought they would be. The creepiest part was the story of the prisoners having to go down into the crypt during the black plague and remove flesh from the bones and stack the bones because they were running out of room for all the bodies. You could see all the bones stacked neatly.
Saturday we went on a cruise along the Danube. The cruise showed us more of Vienna then we would have seen on foot. It looked like they have a really good path for rollerblading. The cruise went for 3 1/2 hours. After the cruise we walked around Vienna and spent some time in a park watching the people. It was one of the few parks that you could walk on the grass.
After people watching we went to a museum of Natural History. It was really interesting but I think I prefer to look at live animals rather than stuffed animals. And looking at endless rock samples did nothing for us. We looked at the big interesting thing and skipped the small plain things. There was just too many samples of everything to ever look at it all.
That evening we went out for Indian so we could get our fix. There is an Indian place in Vevey but it is crap.
Sunday we headed home.
Nadine and Tim
We were lucky enough to stay at a friends place while she spent the weekend at her boyfriends. It is really hard to find reasonably price accommodation in Amsterdam.
On Saturday we spent the day getting lost. We just walked around the city all day. I think I would have fun shopping there. We went on a boat trip on the canal. the buildings are amazing. I don't know how many of you have read 'the Diary of Anne Frank' but the buildings are exactly how she describes them. They are about four to five floors and about the width of a one way lane with no space between them. There will be a photo on the web page when we get around to updating it.
Saturday night we went out and had a traditional dutch meal. The meals were really hearty and large. So because we had to be rolled out of the Restaurant ( because of too much food and booze) we decided to go for a walk. Our walk led us to the infamous red light district. Oh sorry first we stopped off at a coffee shop. We both had a hot chocolate and Tim sample from the 'special menu'.
So when we finished at the coffee shop we walked around the red light district. I wasn't as shocked by it as I thought I would be. Admittedly we didn't go into any of the doors with girls behind them or any of the live shows. I think Tim and I are a little too timid for Amsterdam.
Sunday we went to the Van Gogh museum. We really enjoyed the museum. We got the audio tours which gave us a better understanding as to how he felt when he painted certain paintings. After the museum we had lunch and then went to various places to drink the afternoon away until we had to catch our plane.
I honestly think the first email was more interesting. At least with it you could envisions us being exciting and outrageous. Oh well we had a good time all the same.
The cheap flights this weekend were to London. So Tim and I visited some friends in Winchester. Winchester is not in London it is about an hour south on the M3 (those details are for people familiar with England). We hired a car and drove to Winchester on friday night. We got there too late to do much.
Saturday we went to the Cathedral. To me it was just another Cathedral, only bigger then the others I have seen in England. The highlight was going shopping after the Cathedral. It was really exciting to be served by staff that speak english. We also need products in english like books, DVD's and PS2 games.
Saturday night we caught the train to Portsmouth (not to far from Winchester) for a PARTY. The best part, the person hosting the party was someone Tim used to work with in Australia. So we were able to catch up with another friend as well.
Sunday we did the tourist thing. We got in the car an headed to stonehenge. We enjoyed stonehenge. We are a little skeptical about the theories of its purpose and existance. We then visited a giant. The giant is carved in the side of a chalk hill. (I made it there this time, Dave and Caroline. But I didn't get to sleep on him) The giant is naked and is believed to be a fertility figure.
After the giant we headed to Corfe Castle. This is a castle that is now ruins. It has a village of the same name at the bottom of the hill. The castle was deliberately blown up to prevent it being used. We were unable to spend any time in the village because it was getting late and we had to get back to go out for dinner.
Dinner was Indian of course. For those of you that I haven't complained to.....The indian in Vevey is crap. We ate ourselves silly.
Monday before we left Winchester we went to a real supermarket. We stocked up on things we can't get in Switzerland.
After spending time in England I am very homesick. It made me realise how much I am missing Australia. Being in an English speaking country makes life so much easier and the life styles of Australia and England are more about convenience. I am glad we came to Switzerland. We are experiencing a different life style. England is too similar to Australia.
It has been a while but we finally left Switzerland.
As everyone knows, Tim and I love our food. And once again I would have to say the food was almost the the biggest highlight of the trip. We have only been to a couple of greek restaurants in Melbourne and never thought much of the food. Well in Greece the greek food is fantastic.
When we first arrived we walked (through a maze of little streets) up to the Acropolis only to find that it was going to close in half hour. So we walk back down and look at some of the ruins that are along the way. It was after this walking we noticed the cats. there are cats everywhere. We spent the evening drinking and eating.
Sunday we had organised to visit all the major tourist sites. So we started with the stadium. which is where the held the first olympics of modern times. We then passed the palace and parliment and managed to see the changing of the guards. After that was the temple of Zeus. Which happened to be free. I think that they make their tourist things free on sundays. so we were really glad that we didn't go into the acropolis the day before.
We headed up to the acropolis again. I don't know about Tim but I didn't think about the age of these sites as much as I was thinking about the restoration work.
After lunch and all the walking around I think the pollution must have gotten to us because we slept the afternoon away. when we woke again we went out for a few drinks before eating. we also took some photos of the acropolis all lit up.
Monday we just walked the streets and did alittle shopping. Tim actually got himself a very sexy (it is only sexy when it is on him) leather jacket.
Athens is farily dirty. There is alot of construction at the moment, I guess in preparation for the 2004 Olympics. they have many cats roaming the streets and lots of orange trees. The people are friendly enough if not a little annoying because of the constant "eat here" "look in my shop".