Sunday, November 22, 2009
So here goes:
Its been almost.... oh my.... 3 months since we arrived home. Where does the time go? Its been an absolute whirlwind of activity, which I'm now going to rack my brain to remember. hehe.
We flew into Sydney and were warmly welcomed by all our family and friends, feeling great to be home. The first month was a wave of dinners, catch ups, drinks and general merriment. The next month was a little more stressful. Having no real idea what we were going to do now. You see, we had spent the last 3 months looking forward to getting home that now that we were.... we weren't quite sure what to do with ourselves. Perhaps we should of stayed in London longer? Was a question that passed through my mind, i'm sad to say, many a time. But, slowly and surely we started to get our ducks into line. J took up a position with his old boss, I infiltrated my way into two pretty amazing schools and we got our finances in order to decide if we are in fact ready to make a home together. Big decisions!
With Christenings, Weddings and Christmas just around the corner, life doesn't seem to be slowing down for us. But I guess thats the point, if you dont grab the bull by the horns - it will just pass you by.
Love you all. Bec
Hopefully, next time I write we'll be a bit more settled, with more to update you on.
Til then. Lots of love, Us.
Monday, September 28, 2009
After leaving Malaysia we headed for the wonderful world of Oz; first stop Perth! We were greeted at Perth Airport by some very efficient custom officers, who despite having nothing to declare made us head here, there and everywhere to be examined! After we finally finished jumping through all the hoops we were greeted by the wonderfully wonderful Miss Keelyann! We were quickly whisked away to their beautiful abode in Fremantle. We spent most of the day catching up, eating some amazing food and being given an orientation tour before falling promptly into bed, exhausted from the lack of sleep in the last 24 hours.
The next day J and I chilled out at the house and checked out the very cool Fremantle Arts Centre. The following day we headed to the shorefront to meet Keels for a lovely and very relaxing picnic where to twiddled away the last of the sunlight hours and watched a pretty amazing sunset before my little pinkies cried wee-wee-wee all the way home. Our last day in Freo saw J and I check out the town and pull into the local brewery: Little Creatures. We then ventured out to Marks humble home away from home where we were inducted into the amazement that is Mark's occupation. Very Cool! That night we headed into Perth (via Berrigan Drive - hehe) for a very grown up dinner of wine and sushi!
Freo proved to be an amazing place, with great friends! It was a nice way to transition back into our old life. Thanks again Keels and Mark :)
Monday, September 7, 2009
The next morning we had our fill of the free buffet style breakfast (travelling 4 star is brilliant; I don’t know what we’ve been thinking for the past 2 years!) We then headed into town on the monorail destined for the twin towers. Unfortunately, we zigged when we should have zagged and ended up missing out on free tickets to the sky bridge. Which crazily enough sells out at 8am most days!? We quickly rethought our plans and decided to head into China town for some lunch and a bit of shopping.
China town is amazing! It’s quintessentially Asian! And I love it! We started off wandering through the main stretch where we strangely began to see a pattern of items on offer in the long parade of stalls (DVDs, watches, clothes, shoes, DVDs, watches, clothes, shoes, DVDs, watches… you get the idea). We then headed towards the Central Market, briefly stopping to refuel at one of the crazy deep fryer carts that line the streets. After playing a quick game of charades with the owner we settled on a crab stick. In the Central Market you could purchase everything from chopsticks to satin pillow cases to fish tank massages. Crazy stuff?!?!?! You place your feet inside the tank and basically the fish pout and suck the dry skin from your feet!!! I’m afraid to say that I chickened out and we left the Central Market with our dry skin in tack! We ended the day with a lovely dinner of duck with noodles and sweet and sour pork down on Bintang Walk.
Our final day in KL saw us wake late, but not too late for the free food ;), then head into town for a look around the designer shops. We had one last feed at Bintang Walk before heading out to the airport for our Perth bound flight, excited to be heading home.
Room with a view or what?
But main street's still all cracked and broken? Sorry Mum the mob has spoken!!
MONORAIL.... MONORAIL.... MONORAIL!
Go the Dragon (?)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Trying to make the most of our time in London, we headed off to a BBQ with Scottie where we ate the best steak, drank too much and rang home. Sorry Carls ;)
Monday saw us booked into a tour of Parliament, which turned out to be one of the coolest things we’d done in London. We visited the House of Lords, the House of Commons and learnt why they’re called lobbyists and that even Parliament officials can be given a time out. After the tour we parted ways, J to his favourite barber and me to my favourite shop. Primark sent me off in fine style where I waited 40 minutes for the last time, to purchase the goods. That night we had a final roomie dinner at home.
The next day we boarded London’s very own big bus tour to recap all the fun things we’ve seen and done! A fitting end to a two and a bit year stint in ol' blighty! We ended our day with thai, tears and beers with some faithful friends. The next day we packed our bags and headed for airport for the first leg of the trip home: Kuala Lumpur.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
First stop on the cheese and wine track was Nice on the Côte D’Azur. Centred in the French Riviera, Nice is very nice!!! We arrived late in the evening and checked into our hostel. We then had a quick wash and headed out to Vieux Nice (Old Nice). Old Nice is a tangle of tiny 18th century pedestrian passages and alleyways full of quaint little French bistros with not so quaint price tags. Shocked that some people were paying more for a seafood dinner than we were paying for two nights accommodation we quickly invested in a supermarket bought dinner of salmon, brie and a baguette all washed down with a pretty nice white wine. We took our purchases to the shorefront and had a lovely moonlit evening.
Day two saw us head to the beach for the morning. We felt pretty flashed reclining on the pebble shore and splashing around in the fresh clear sea, hob-knobbing with the rich and beautiful. By lunch we’d had just about enough and headed in for some BBQ chicken that would have rivalled morty’s! Afterwards we spent the afternoon shopping and organising the remaining days of our trip.
The next day we rose early and boarded our train to Avignon. Avignon, engulfed by almost 4km’s of stone ramparts is a remarkably enchanting city. With its sweet cobbled streets weaving between the most romantic architecture I’ve seen, we quickly fell in love with it. The first night was spent taking in the Palis des Papes (Popes Palace) from the outside and wandering the main street. The second day following some advice from the tourist office we manufactured our own walking tour. We spent the better part of the day wandering the streets, walking on a small section of the ramparts and taking in the sights. One of which is the Pont St-Benezet, built during the 12th Century but partly destroyed in the mid-1600s and is therefore now simply a bridge leading to no where. Our final night was spent watching our favourite Indian acoustic group and waiting to see the light.
On the way to Bordeaux, we had a quick stop over at Toulouse. Toulouse proved to be quite an interesting place complete with its own monopoly game. We spent our one night there checking out the old town, the river and tasting our first crème brulee. The next morning we headed to our final destination Bordeaux.
Bordeaux proved to be a real highlight and satisfying end to our European holiday. We had managed to score our very own apartment for our four day stay just outside the centre of town. On the first day we headed straight to the tourist office to book ourselves on 2 tours, a visit to some Chateau’s and a wine and cheese tasting evening. We then spent some time looking around the city and picking up some groceries at the local supermarket. On Thursday afternoon we headed into town for our wine and cheese evening. A pretentious but fun evening that taught us how to appreciate the finer points of wine. Also, having been held in a cheese restaurant we were treated to 250 different varieties of cheeses that we could sample till our hearts content. Afterwards, we headed back to our apartment and promptly fell into a cheese induced coma!
Our final day in Bordeaux we headed out to the countryside to take in two lovely Châteaux’s in the Graves appellation. Graves is the oldest Bordeaux wine producing region, specialising in sweet whites, dry whites and red. Our first stop was Châteaux Myrat followed by Chateaux Beau Site, both small family run vineyards where we sampled some wonderful produce. We returned to Bordeaux (purchase free ) and spent our last evening stuffing our faces with a 3 course meal of , Salmon and Chocolate Mousse.
Next up are 4 wonderful nights in London, cross your fingers customs lets us back in.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Our first stop was Sorrento. Sorrento was to be our jumping off point for the Amalfi Coast, a place we had both not been but heard plenty about. We arrived late afternoon and headed to Bec’s famed restaurant with the massive steaks, but found they now came with a massive price tag and opted for pizza – which Jarratt quickly fell in love with! We then spent the rest of the evening wandering the streets and sampling far too much free limoncello. We ended up feeling a little guilty and purchased some in the shape of a cello…. A lemon cello! Haha.
The following day we boarded a bus for the Amalfi, which was spectacular!!! The villages (Positano and Amalfi) we visited are almost impossibly perched in between rock cliffs and yet a public bus was still able to navigate and get us there. Each town was filled with cute coloured houses each one more unique than the last and had steps rather than streets to reach the beach. We spent the day lunching in Amalfi and swimming at Positano’s beach before we headed back to Sorrento for some more pizza washed down with a local red and a beer. Guess who had which :)
The next day we headed to Naples via Pompeii. Having both visited Pompeii before and being very impressed, we decided what’s 10 euro between friends and decided to head back for another look. We weren’t disappointed, plus we got the opportunity to play silly buggers – which you all know we love. Afterwards we headed onto Naples, or Napoli – for those in the know ;). Having spent the last 2 weeks lazying around in the Greek Islands and on the Amalfi, Napoli made us feel more alert than ever. With the scooters whizzing dangerously close past us and the Mafia types lingering in doorways and by our pockets. Unfazed we spent the next two days tasting the best pizza EVER (Yes! Better than Sorrento!) and visiting and working it at all the local sites.
Our final day in Napoli saw us board the ferry to Capri. It wasn’t til we arrived on the isle of Capri that we met her – our host, Maria. (For you Mr Wyatt ;)) Meeting us at the port, she soon whisked us away into Anacapri and gave us the fantastic news that after 5pm on ANY day you can swim for free in the famous blue grotto. Which you better bet your bottom dollar we did!!! We finished our only night on Capri with (more) pizza – a Caprese and Capricossa (Hey :) when in Rome?) and watching the sun set. The next day we spent the better part of the morning hiking uphill to Villa Jovis and catching our train to Rome. And while all roads may lead to Rome, boy do they get there slowly!!!!! We arrived into Rome, quite late, hungry and just a little frazzled having spent 6 hours on a train ride that was suppose to take 2 and a half.
The next day we slept in (Yay for Bec), and headed into town around 11. We spent most of they day getting some cheap thrills, taking in the Piazza del Popolo, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and the outside of the Colosseum – which are all free! We also had the worlds best Gelato (apparently!?) at San Crispiro, but at 4 euro a hit, you’d want it to be pretty amazing and it was! Day 2 in Rome saw us wake early (Yay for Jarratt) and head into Vatican City, or should we say Tour Group City! I swear tours are fantastic if your on one, if your not – not so much! We then spent 3 hours shuffling our way through Vatican Museum until we reached the Sistine Chapel. There we spent our time taking in the amazing fresco’s and being amazed by the complete disregard for rules. We watched as almost every tourist pulled out their cameras and began snapping away at the roof. Never one to miss out on anything Bec followed suit. Afterwards we headed to St Peter’s Basilica where with the millions we queued to see the cavernous interior, the resting place of the popes and Michelangelo’s superb ‘Pieta’. Afterwards, we headed towards Piazza Navona for some lunch in beautiful winding streets of Trastevere and a quick viewing of the Pantheon. On the way home we both had to giggle that Rome during the Summer (or at least definitely August) was surely filled with more tourists carrying maps of Rome than actual Roman citizens. Our final day was spent swimming in the hostel pool, planning the rest of our trip and having a pretty amazing steak dinner.
Next stop was…. The Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre, home of pesto, is also home to some of the best coast scenery in all of Italy. Having been a little savvy and wise, in order to avoid paying inflated prices for next to nothing accommodation, we booked an amazing hotel right by La Spezia train station. La Spezia which is 5 minutes from Riomaggiore (the first of the five villages in the Cinque Terre) runs regional trains to the Cinque Terre every 6 minutes – so as you can see, very clever indeed. We spent the next 2 days, taking in 3 of the 5 villages and catching up with some old summer travelling friends. It was a great way to end Italy, which can be comically chaotic one minute and stunningly beautiful the next – we were thankful to have ended on a high note.
We are currently in Nice, which is nice – but like always…. We’ll tell you about that later.
Love you all … see you VERY soon.
At Pompeii with Mt Vesuvius in the background
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Athens proved to be a great jumping off point into not only the Greek Islands but also Greece’s history. We started our first day by racing the clock up to the Acropolis in order to beat the crowds and the heat (but not a tortoise). We arrived at the top at roughly 9am and were greeted with the sight of the Parthenon and the beautiful Erechtheion. After many happy snaps and much eavesdropping onto random tours, we slowly made our way down the hill past the Theatre of Dionysos and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. We then spent the better part of the afternoon wandering Plaka and tasting our first (of many) gyros. After lunch we spent a few hours exploring the much revered (yet, controversial) Acropolis Museum. Where we learnt that we needn’t have left London to see the best artefacts of Greece, most of which are held at the British Museum thanks to Lord Elgin.
The next day we rose bring and early and headed to the port for our ferry into the Cyclades, to visit our first Greek Island: Mykonos. Mykonos is what you picture in your mind when you think of the Greek Islands – a labyrinthine of whitewashed houses tipped with blue roofs and doors hopelessly and shamelessly surviving on tourism. Every street is filled with a souvenir shop, gyros vendor and the port is full of little old ladies jostling each other for your business as soon as you step off the boat. After finding our lady, our next stop on the tourist track was reuniting Jarratt with his favourite gyros shop. Only to be outdone a few days later by a better one, found by Bec. The days spent at Mykonos are a haze of drinking too much, eating too much and sunning ourselves FAR too much. Before we knew it we were waving goodbye to our beloved windmill tipped island and heading onto the next, Ios.
Ios, renowned as the party island, turned into an intimate party for two. We dipped into the savings to splash out and stay not in Hora (the town), but the upmarket suburb of Ormos, just outside the port. The next two days were spent lazing by the pool, moonlit balcony drinking sessions and a few memorable dinners, where Bec managed to break most things within reach. Before we knew it, the buzzer was ringing and we were off to Santorini.
Santorini is an island with a violent volcanic past, viewed from our ferry into port we were encircled by steep lava-layered cliffs with cliff top towns that look like icing sugar sprinkled on top of a doughnut. During our time at Santorini we hired a scooter and explored much of the island including Fira town, Oia and other sights all for 12 euro, cheering! We also spent as much time at the beach as we could tolerate as the meltemi (a regular fierce north-easterly wind) went about blowing the hot black volcanic sand all over us. Our last days in Greece were spent returning to the mainland to catch up with some deer friends and sleeping in one of the most comfortable beds yet! Cheers Nic, Mr Toast and Chicken Little!
We’re currently in Italy but will update you on that soon enough.
Not long now!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
We hit the track in our finest for Royal Ascot on 20th of June. Having won Royal Enclosure seats in the ballot we dressed up complete with top hat, tails for J and a substantial fascinator for Bec. So we could place our bets, shout silly horse names and wave at the Queenie (Queenie, who’s got the ball?) Bec was lucky enough to walk away a winner whilst J was left contemplating “Where does one leave one’s glasses?”
Before parting ways with Burbage (my school), I organised a class trip to London Zoo for purely selfless reasons *wink*. The day was great fun and left me sure that the only way to visit the zoo is with 30 odd 5 year olds in tow. Who knew butterflies, monkeys and giraffes could be SO exciting?!
On the 4th of July, we headed into Hyde Park for our first major London music festival – wireless. It sounds awful that it took 18 months to get to one of these, but boy was it worth it! We shook our booty to Oakenfold, wondered where our heads were at to Basement Jaxx, thought we were well fit during The Streets and saw many UFO’s during Sneaky’s amazing performance!!! It was a wicked day, one that won’t soon be forgotten! Also, on the music front, we headed to London’s leading nightclub, Pacha, for a pretty spectacular birthday complete with beach wear.
We have also spent some time escaping the London madness by heading out of town. We visited (again!) Bath and Stonehenge, thanks to our free tour won in TNT. We FINALLY made it to Oxford, where we followed Alice down the rabbit hole and visited many Harry Potter film locations, which was decidedly lost on Bec (Sorry to all my Farnham house friends ;)) The last trip, was to sleepy Rye. With a bit of time up our sleeve we decided to make the most of it and visit the coastal town. Rye is full of beautiful Tudor houses and little antique shops which was a great way to farewell Ye Ol’ England.
Also wrapping up our final week we spent an exhausting 3 hours wandering Hyde Park taking in Royal Albert Hall and monument, Kensington Palace and Gardens, Diana’s Memorial and the Peter Pan’s Statue. We have also down a mad run around town visiting some more Banksy locations, taking in the wellington arch and watching those silly guards change at Buckingham Palace one last time. Yesterday, our final day was spent at Shakespeare’s globe watching Troilous and Cressida, where finally after 5 performances the heavens opened briefly scattering the crowds leaving us with front row space and our heads to rest on the stage – woohoo!
Over the last month we’ve had plenty of visitors, farewells and fun. We’re looking forward to this last trip but, more importantly seeing you all soon.
Love always, Us.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Saturday we arose to the smell of a warm breakfast being cooked, Tony had been a 5 star chief from around the world. Filling our tummies and making a packed lunch we headed to the stables. After meeting Viking (Jarratt’s) and Roody (Bec’s) our horses for the day we got a quick lesson on horse riding and off we went. Walking away from the stables and into the national park it wasn’t long before we felt comfortable with the horses. The next step was trotting and cantering, which didn’t prove too much of a problem, although we had one broken hand and no sports bra between us. The views were amazing as we walked, trotted and cantered our way along the hills and rivers. After 5 hours of riding, we were both very sore and Jarratt a little sunburn, we had, had an amazing time!
Heading back to the house with drinks in hand we all fell into the hot tube to sooth our muscles and enjoyed the rest of the night. Tony also cooked up a three course meal, consisting of a very nice pumpkin soup, BBQ and dessert.
Sunday some of us had a sleep in whilst others played some shuttle cock, patted the horses and entertained the dogs before a late breakfast. We then left the country bound for London once more, very sore but had a great weekend.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Then on the Thursday night we went to the horse guard’s parade down from Trafalgar square to watch ‘Beating the Retreat’, similar to the military tattoo. The London version was performed by the Household Division, the Pipes and Drums division from the Scots Guards, and a division from Norway. The Retreat was originally used in fighting when beating or sounding a retreat pulled a halt to the days fighting, a return to camp and the mounting of the guard for the night. A good night with Norway putting on the best display.
On Friday we finished work and meet up with Dave and Bec to head to Amsterdam for their farewell weekend. After arriving in Amsterdam late on Friday night, and checking into our hostel we headed out to a café to sample some of Amsterdam’s finest, all tired we headed to bed early in preparation for the weekend ahead.
Saturday we woke up and fought the crowds for our hostel breakfast before heading out on the town. Both Bec’s headed to Anne Frank’s house, while Dave and myself got comfortable in a pub. After all meeting back up we moved pubs and slowly made our way up and down the many narrow street of Amsterdam sampling most of what it had to offer, quite a messy and memorable day.
Sunday we hired push bikes and rode out to the country side, we headed past a windmill and ended up at a cheese and clog factory tasting and buying some of the product before turning around and heading home. That night all worn out we opted for a few quite drinks, and an early dinner before crashing in bed, with Jarratt well and truly retaining the Master Chief title (HAHA, pays to do the blog early DAVID!)
Monday we caught a flight back to London, dropped our bags, said farewell to Dave and Bec and jumped back onto a train heading to Trent Bridge. We had tickets to the T20 cricket world cup to see Ireland V Bangladesh and Australia V Sri Lanka. After finding our seats amongst the overwhelming Bangladesh supporters it was good to see Ireland win. Then before the next game started all the Bangladesh supporters changed there shirts and started supporting Sri Lanka. With only about 10 Australian supporters there, we were in for a long game. Sri Lanka ran away with the win and with English supports giving us grief with left with our tales between our legs.
Bec enjoying a beer at the cricket at Trent Bridge
Not much to cheer about
Thursday, June 11, 2009
We arrived at London Bridge to catch our train to Gatwick only to find all trains were delayed. We were then directed to Kings Cross for a different train, but on arrival …. All trains were cancelled – it was 8 o’clock, our flight closed at 9am and Gatwick is AT LEAST an hour drive away. However, some quick thinking, an amazing cabbie and a whole wad of cash later we arrived safely, although a little rattled and strolled onto our plane. Having thought the worst was behind us, we arrived at Dubrovnik to find we were the only ones still waiting at the carousel for our bag. After 10 minutes we discovered our bag was safe and sound…. and still in London! BA assured us we would have our bag by the evening, so we set about (in jeans, jumpers and NO swimmers) to make the best of the 40 degree heat of Dubrovnik. We spent the afternoon wandering the beautiful town, drinking at a bar cut into the cliff side and generally staying in the shade. By 9 that night we were showered, fed and in the possession of our AWOL bag.
The next day we sweated it out on the city walls before heading to Lapad Bay for a swim. That night we headed back into town for a nice dinner of seafood pizza and wine. Tuesday we said goodbye to Dubrovnik and headed to Krocula, one of the many islands along the Dalmatia coast. Upon arrival at the bus terminal we were greeted by the most bubbly, happy lady we had ever met. Lenni, then led us to one of her apartments that would be our home for the next two nights and OH.MY.GOD it was amazing. A beautiful studio, complete with kitchen, laundry and a tropical fish tank, which was 100 metres from the waters edge! We finally felt like we’d got the holiday we wanted. The next two days were spent learning to ride scooters, eating far too much, swimming in crystal clear waters and topping up our tans. On the third day we boarded a ferry to Hvar (another island) and said a sad farewell to Lenni.
Hvar was much the same, we spent a blissful two days sleeping in, swimming and eating before moving on to Split for the day. Split proved to be an interesting town complete with city walls and old palace ruins. But is very much a transit city with the constant ferry traffic in and out of the marine dock. We decided to catch an evening train to Zagreb, rather than an overnight one, to make the most of our final day in Croatia. Zagreb was a lot cooler than the south and islands and we spent much of our remaining time exploring the two hills, being scared by the noon day cannon and eating Croatia food for the last time. It had been a rollercoaster ride of a holiday, but well worth it!
Looking over Dubrovnik