Monday, November 1, 2010

Last Day In London...

Well, I suppose that's it, isn't it? Working, saving, planning, dreaming, and now, going home. It's been a funny little experience for me actually, I think I have felt almost every emotion in the book, both the good and the bad. I've stood in places I never thought I'd stand. I've met some amazing people, and some less desirable ones. I've heard accent after accent, always smiling when I hear an Aussie through the crowd. It all comes down to this; Europe has given me all I had hoped it would... But Melbourne is home. I think I'll come back over here once I have another language or two behind me, maybe live for a while in France or Germany... Perhaps both, but I'll always end up back home.
What will I do when I get home? I will have some Vegemite on toast, I'll use the washing machine, I'll jump on my bed, I'll cuddle my cat and dog, I'll open my wardrobe and see that I have more than two outfits to choose from, I'll phone Trent as soon as I get into the airport, I'll attack Ash with hugs and kisses, I'll cry when I see Mum and Dad...
And then I'll hop right to it and begin planning my next trip.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Haggis Experience...

I know it's been a while since i last blogged, but Internet in the UK has been scars and ridiculously overpriced... So, we arrived in London just over a week ago now. The Hostel was good, if we just skate over the little detail of the bed anyway... and was in a very very sheik little location, which was a much needed change from the slums we had to endure in Ireland. On our last evening in Cork, we had resided to the fact that it was probable we would not make it through the night. Alas, we did and now we laugh about it, but at the time, well, I wanted to curl up into a little ball and cry. Very scary place...
We joined our tour after two days of SHOPPING in London. It was a good idea at the time however our food budget has suffered severely since. The folk on our tour are for the most part, lovely. You're always going to get a few odd balls in a group in excess of forty people, but as a general rule, just lovely! We miss our French tour companions Ariel and Roberto though... sigh...
Scotland. Oh my darling Scotland. It was DEVINE! After Paris I would rate Edinburgh as being the most striking place visited. It was grand (which I love) and cultured, (which I also love) with a flair of that wonderful Scottish culture. On our second night in the Highlands, we were treated to a traditional Scottish feast. Let me set the scene for you;
We are all seated and had just eaten our entre. No one is expecting anything out of the ordinary to occur. Then, we hear the distant wail of a bagpipe. In comes a kilt cladden man, bagpipes and all, followed by a waiter, with a plate of Haggis. They make there was to the front of the room, the Scottish man recites a Haggis related poem that I could barely distinguish through his Scottish drawl, then plows his knife through the meat, and exits the room, playing the bagpipes once more. Taken aback by the entrance of epic proportions given to the Haggis, we all raise a glass of scotch to the Haggis, before tasting a little. It was rather nice, but nothing special, I must say.
I am afraid I am running out of time so I'll leave it at that for now.
Love M.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dublin and Co.

So we've been in Ireland for the last four days now. It's hard to really describe how Ireland has been for both Tori and I... I guess you could say we were ridiculously, and irrevocably UN impressed. We blame it on an array of reasons... Firstly, we've come from France, FRANCE, the most aesthetically beautiful and proud country in the world. In France, our jaws were dropping at every sight, the people were passionate and spoke of their city and it's history with pride. Here, in Ireland, you are predominately surrounded by farmland. Our experience of Ireland is as follows; Paddock, cottage, rock, repeat. The locals were lovely, I'll stress that point, but all there really is to do here is go to the pub. It's all we've been asked really, "have you had the Guinness?" In France, we were being told stories about revolution, of Napoleon and of centuries of stories. Here we are told of potatoes and little stone walls.
Here is the problem, as far as I can work it out; the magnificence of France has kind of plunged every thing else in to mediocrity for us.
To make matters worse, we have had a tearfully poor experience with our Paddy Wagon Tour. The hostels they had us in were ones of mixed dorm rooms so they were stinky and crowded and noisy and just yucky. Then to the tour itself! We probably spent a collective of four hours outside of the bus in the three days of touring. We drove, drove, drove, and stopped for twenty minutes at the sights, then forty for lunch. Then off to another dingy little hostel.
Oh yes! the showers! You don't get to choose a temperature. Just take what they give you.
On the plus we managed to see a few of the desirable sights, the Blarney castle, the cliffs of Moher.
So, in closing, Ireland, not up to par with France. We can not wait to move on to the UK, where we'll have our own rooms and decent showers and everywhere wont smell like cows. Love you all. M.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Goodbye France, Hello Ireland.

Leaving France today was a tearful occasion. We have met some of the most beautiful people imaginable on our tour; the cosmos group could not have been better. Looking back on the first day of the tour, I can't help but laugh! Tori and I were mortified and there were no others our age in the group of forty something travellers, but seven days later we were tearing up as we hugged everyone goodbye.
I always knew that France was going to be beautiful, everyone tells you so, but what I hadn't anticipated was to cross paths with people who have managed to eclipse the chateaux, the statues and the cathedrals.
Leaving was hard.
Well, let us just hope that the remainder of our tour is going to be just as successful.
I'll quickly try and recap on the last few days touring as the Internet here is FREE, a luxury we've not come across till now. I'll lap it up whilst I can... Anyway, Our favourites;
Honfleur was a beautiful little harbour town where we lunched and shopped. I took a whole roll of film there so one day, if I ever find a Kodak store, you may see it. Then there was the Chateau De Chenonceau... On the top floor was the bedroom of Louise of Lorraine, (the White Queen) which she had redecorated in a pious manner after the death of her husband to mourn. It was painfully devine. Mont St Michel was beyond words.
I'm sad the French tour is over... We had a great tour guide and driver who didn't hesitate socializing with the group after hours. It was all wonderful, down to the last detail.
We start our three day tour down to the South of Ireland tomorrow, so, off to bed we go. On the one part it is a relief to be in an English speaking country again, but on the other, I'll miss hearing the French language. Actually, I've had to stop myself from greeting people in French since arriving here... I accidentally said "merci" to an irish woman. She looked at me like I was a freak.
Missing and loving you all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Loire Valley

Our French trip is coming to an end, which is bittersweet to say the least. We have met some beautiful people on tour, and have bonded more that anticipated. Tomorrow we leave the Loire and make our way back down to Paris, where we'll be spending our final night before flying off to IRELAND, of which we've assumed to be the epitome of our trip. It's going to be hard to top the cosmos tour though...
I realise that the blog entries are getting shorter and shorter... Merely, I'm being lazy. Sufficed to say, we are having a great time. I've begun to really miss home comforts, however, with that said those feelings become superfluous when you're walking through a chateaux or just eavesdropping on some strangers purely to hear a little French.
Love and miss you all.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Sun Palace

So today we met our tour group which war rather hilarious... we're the youngest by a few decades... with that said Tori and I find that preferable. The tour is at a relaxing pace and most of the older folk are very sweet! We spent today visiting the palace of Versailles. Wow. It was the most breathtaking experience yet. I can't describe it in a way that will do it justice, you'll just have to wait for the photos. My favorite room was that of Queen Marie Antoinette. As well as beautiful, it was fascinating. One of the most bizarre things we were told by out guide was that the reason that the King and Queen slept in separate chambers was so that the public could keep tabs on when they were sleeping together, so as to be sure that all babies belonged to the King. We were told that there was a man who worked in the palace whose job it was to take this particular special cushion to the queen when the king wanted to visit her. The cushion would be left out side the room to indicate that the king and queen were sharing a bed that night.
I would say more but this French keyboard is frustrating me to no end.
Having a ball. Missing everyone.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hop on hop off, the Glory of Napoleon and the Louvre

Today we were tourists through and through...

Our day began with a ride atop a large, red, roof-less bus which took us in a circuit around Paris. The weather was skys and the sun was shining. We both felt perfectly content as we gaped at the beauty and splendor around us, the cities monuments seem to pay a constant homage to their beloved Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, however we were not complaining as each one was more resplendent and breathtaking than the last.

Next stop was the Louvre where we walked among the works of Monet, Rembrandt, Botticelli and most famously Da Vinci. We saw the Mona Lisa of course, but only from afar as she was heavily guarded...bullet proof glass and not one but three barriers...however it was worth the search it took to find her in the great expanse that is the Louvre, she is indeed a beauty.

I think that the feeling is unanimous between both Melissa and I that yesterday was our best day yet, we were in awe the entire time...