Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On the road again...

Well hello, how are you all? Jarratt and I are doing well, currently lapping up the sun and sand here in beautiful Portugal. But before we rub it in too much... a quick update pre our London departure.

We have officially left Angel and are homeless, having spent the last 4 nights in Old Blimey camped out in Bec and Dave's sauna :) Whilst there we managed to spend two days playing happy tourists, visiting London Dungeon as well as Madamme Tussards and the Walkie for the ABs vs Australia in the union. Then early Monday, and I mean like 2:30AM EARLY!!! we made our way by bus, and bus, to Stansted airport for our flight into Porto.

Monday saw us explore the old town, which included the Se Cathedral, Bento train station, the remains of the wall among other things. We also climbed the Torre Dos Clerigos for an amazing view over all of Porto. We also had a very interesting time ordering a portugese burger from a local snack bar. Then spent the rest of the day Siesta-ing and eating Portugese chicken. Very enjoyable.

Today we spent much of the day walking along the river before settling into a lovely lunch at Palacio de Cristal of portugese chicken (again! Becs new favourite) and EGG TART! Yummo!!! We then headed back into town where we visited Calem port wine cellar where we treated to a tasting and tour, both very enjoyable. We made a few purchases as gifts as well as a few bad jokes including bec being "tawn" as to which port to purchase. This afternoon we have enjoyed an afternoon of sunburn and watching the hotel owners son chasing the resident dog with
our camera. I guess its all part of the fun of travelling!

Tomorrow we plan to board a 9:00am bus to Lisbon and unless our current hospitality gets the better of us we will update you all from further south in the next day or two.

Untill then here are some current happy snaps....

Our Hamburger (?)

Us at the Harbour. The tall building on the opposite port is the Torre dos Clerigos

Bec at Porto Harbour (Ponte d'luis is the bridge behind)

J in Calem port wine cellar.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

No Bull

Well it has been almost a week since we returned from our trip to Pamplona and the toe still remains pretty battered along with the rest of my feet. However, it is definitely the most memorable and enjoyable trip we have done so far.

We arrived last Saturday and after travelling from Bilbao to Pamplona for almost three hours we finally arrived at the campsite around 4pm. Stranded about 50 minutes out of Pamplona and with no where to go we met with a close friend Mr Jack Daniels and got down to partying!

The next day was the opening day of the festival. We headed in early (9ish) decked out in the tokenistic red and whites complete with flip flops (which is now what I call them after being caught out more than once for inappropriately referring to my ''thongs"). Once in town we made our way to the town hall square where for the next 3-4 hours the crowd got progressively bigger and rowdier! Memorable highlights include the chant of "T*ts out for the boys", Sangria showers and large inflatable dolls being hit around the crowd. By midday the crowd was surging worst than most mosh pits we'd been in and I can honestly say I had never been so scared. At this point I looked down at my feet which were painted red, and not by Sangria! Freaked out, I panicked and quickly exited, followed closely by J. We ended up performing some simple surgery and and thanks to some friendly locals found some pretty cheapo Crocs. I battled on and had the most amazing day/night!!!!

On Monday we headed into town for the first bull run of the festival. Once there J made his way to the assembly point and I began the anxious wait.... but I believe it is better to hear this day from a runners perspective... so without further adue, here it is.

We had to wait at the town square again, only so many people can run so the first objective is to stay firm and not let the surging crowd push you down the street and out of the square. With this done we had half an hour till the run, people were stretching and warming up. Not me, pure adrenaline would get me down the 800m and into the arena before those bulls.

With five minutes left they opened up the run and people started pumping up and getting nervous. I made my way to dead mens corner, approx half way, and waited for the rockets to go off. The first one means the gates are open for the bulls, the second one means all 12 bulls have left the pen, the third rocket means all bulls have made it into the arena, and the last one means all bulls a locked away. So after hearing the second rocket I ran. Soon realizing that people would be a worse obstacle than the bulls. Half way up the road 10 people fell ahead of me, which I had to jump over. Another fell right next to me and tried to grab me, a quick palm set me free and I kept running. Hearing bull hooves coming and grown mens faces turn pale I moved to the side and ran as 6 bulls stormed passed, making a clear path infront of them. I moved right into the clear path and ran. About 100m out from the areana the second lot of bulls came and went, all except 1, which fell over in front of me. After jumping up the bull wanted to run back down the track the wrong way. I had to turn and run, before his spainish handlers turned him around. This happened about 4-5 times.

Eventually he made it into the arena and I was about a metre behind him. Once inside the crowd abrupted and the third and fourth rocket went off. Then five minutes later, they bring the bulls out 1 at a time for about a 10 minute run around the arena, and if you're in the way, you get mowed down. I survived the run and the arena, what a day!!!!

And thats how it went, on the other side of the arena fence I sat anxiously as I spotted friend upon friend safely make it into the areana, but no J. Sick with worry I made my way back to our meet spot where J was waiting safe and sound, horn marks free! Later on the bus ride back to the campsite he was able to spot himself in one of the photos I had taken. I've included below.... feel free to play where's wally and spot him yourself...

Tuesday we headed back into town for one last spin around the sights, including a walk of the bull run track and a visit to the muscle bar. At about 8 we boarded our bus to Pamplona and began the 3 hour back track to Bilbao airport where we slept overnight. Most enjoyable!

We are currently preparing ourselves for the next trip So it is bye bye Theberton Street and hello 4 weeks backpacking around Portugal and Spain. I wish I could say I was sad... hehe
Anyways, heres some piccies!
Day 1. Hanging out at the campsite with Mr Daniels.

The sangria almost as big as me! Love it!

Jarratt after the Sangria shower.

Jarratt makes a friend! :)

The bulls enter the arena, my heart enters my throat!!!

Shortly after this photo, the guy bounced back up... it was amazing he wasn't badly injured!

A quick game of where's wally anyone?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Quiet please!

Well its been another bee-zah few weeks for me and the j-mister! We've been out and about exploring the best that London has to offer and here's a few highlights:

After months earlier getting our proverbial into a pile by jumping through the various Wimbledon ballot hoops we found ourselves into some amazing centre court seats. So amazing that we were on TV more than the William sisters themselves. Nicely placed behind the service line and in direct sight of the cameras, pictures of us were shot around the globe and numerous messages were received. We were lucky enough to watch both Williams sisters qualify for the final and a pretty lame men's doubles match. Instead of watching the doubles til completion we opted for the goldie oldie stylings of the Woodies on an outside court and lashing our tongues around a dish of the famous strawberries and cream! All and all it was a good day, made even more fantastic but the trip home via Tooting Bec... where despite Jarratt's best efforts Bec was able to get off the train and take some pretty random photos, which you can see a sample of below!

Tate Modern:
Despite not being a major art buff, I was bored at home alone on yet another Saturday morning without Jarratt. So I made my way to the Tate modern. Slightly motivated by the fact that all museums in London are free and moreover that children from my current school had put together an exhibition that was currently being displayed entitled: Looking for change! The Tate was a massive shock and I was amazed how into it I got! Particularly the pop art of Andy Warhol and an exhibition known as 30 pieces of silver. I even managed a few sneaky happy snaps before being abruptly told in some broken English that I was a naughty girl! After my whirlwind visit I made my way to South Kensington to meet young J J for a super surprise!!!

The surprise excursion was out to Ham Polo Club (in a black cab!!!) where we picniced and watched the local squad take on the Indian Army. I was surprised by the colourful language used by the 'gentleman' riders and also had my very own pretty woman moment when I was invited to the stomping of the divots. It was great surprise and a very fun afternoon in which I have never felt SOOO British!!!

The Brit Oval:
In another British adventure we followed two friends blindly into the Brit Oval where we saw a Twenty20 match between Middlesex and Lancashire! An interesting afternoon despite the cricket and rude British men behind us! What is it that turns grown men into such ..... um, louts at sporting events? Really, so uncalled for! But beer in the sun with our feet up watching cricket never felt so natural and I had to remind myself I was in fact in ENGLAND.... NOT.... AUSTRALIA!

Hill top:
In order to counteract our recent British adventures we saddled up and visited the Carling Academy to watch the Hill Top Hoods. A wicked, yet short gig, that made us both miss home and saw many an expensive phone call made to let certain people know "It's YOUR round!" :)

Wednesday Night = Theatre Night:
For the last two consecutive weeks I have attended some pretty amazing theatre... cheaply! YAY! Due to the fact that I attend mid-week shows and buy at the lastminute. The first Wednesday saw the crew attend the Lion King. We had an amazing time singing along and relaxing despite our frantic drunken jog from the station (IN HEELS!!). But we made it and didn't miss any of it so, "Hakuna Matta". I also got to attend Chicago this week with a friend from back home, Oh yes, Oh yes, Oh yes, Oh yes.... was very exciting! I got given that old Razzle Dazzle and boy did I enjoy it!!!

In amongst the fun of ol' london town, we headed to Pamplona for the running of the bulls where J gambled with his life and Bec nearly had multiple heart attacks!!!!! Which I will update you on shortly, in the mean time here are the relevant photos from our aforementioned escapades.

The Holy Grail of Tickets!!!! AHHHHHH!!!

Me at the Wimbledon Garden.
Centre Court!!!

Our view from the seats!!!

J and his strawberries and cream! Yummo!
Tooting Bec... minus the tooting!
Inspired and naughty at the Tate Modern!

Polo ... Ahem, 'Gentleman' riders!

At Ham Polo Club... good times!!!

Pretty in pink!!!!

The Cricket Crew and rowdy rude Brit Lads behind!!!