Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And then the rest...

It's been two weeks since I wrote you last.
It's mainly because we've been criss crossing western Europe like crazy, but also mainly because everywhere has keyboards that have upside down g's and no full stops and a q where the a should be.
Seriously, who uses the letter q in their writing so frequently?
Yes, possibly the queen but no one else.


So Vienna was rad. It's a super cool place, alot like Melbourne. I'd suggest that anyone travelling round Europe spend a good amount of time in Vienna. From Vienna, we headed over to Salzburg, which was a definite change in pace. Nice and peaceful. Although peaceful can become hell annoying when you're waiting for your dinner that you was meant to start at 9 and it's now 10.30 and all you've got is a stomach so ravenous that it could digest a bowling ball and peaceful surroundings. But yes, Salzburg is nice. You wouldn't need more than a day there though. Not unless you were a big fan of being bored.

From Salzburg we caught another train up to Munich, which UI would have to say was kind of underwhelming. I had high hopes for Munich. It didn't exactly produce the goods. Nice city and all, and I'm sure if you had more time there, you could dig below the exterior and find a whole bunch of cool stuff, but we only had time to skim the surface. We did get time to head out to Dachau concentration camp though and it was definitely one of the more sobering things I've done. It's really bizarre to stand in a place where so many people were tormented or killed and the things that went on there were pretty grim to say the least. After that joyous start to the day we hopped on a train and chugged our way up to Berlin.
Berlin is rad.
I liked Berlin alot.
You can basically walk around and see all the important things and there's tonnes going on. We had a guide for a day in Amy, who took us around a cool market, showed us where all the hookers hang out wearing corsets over puffer jackets, tipped us off to an awesome dinner option and then took us for a drink.

After a few days in Berlin we headed across to Amsterdam and after some grief in trying to find our hostel, we finally got sorted out and went out to take a look around the city. It's a nicer looking canal city than venice, in my opinion, with loads of cool architecture. Although there is the prevailing smell of hippies in the air. Oh and weed. Heaps of weed.

WE checked out ther city, saw the sights and did the Anne Frank museum which again, was quite sobering(turns out the Nazis really weren't all that cool! Who would have thought???)
From Amsterdam, we headed down to Paris.

I can't be bothered typing anymore at the moment, so I'm gonna finish up here. Will continue some time over the next few days as I'm sure I'll get sick of sitting on the beach in San Sebastian.

Off to grab some tapas and sangria.

I'm sure you're all doing equally relaxing things, right?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Centimetre II

That´s the name of a restaurant in Vienna where we ate last night. You can buy bread by the centimetre. You can also buy one metre of spaghetti. The plate is one metre in diametre. It feeds four people. The other thing they do is a wheelbarrow of food. Which is exactly what it sounds like. It feeds about 6 people.
We weren´t that hungry so instead we just bought the 2 metre sausage. And a plate of finger food which contained ewnough food to feed about 1000 fingers.

Yep, two metres of Viennese sausage. Granted, it was thin, but still, can anyone else claim to have eaten 12 feet or sausage?
Vienna is wicked.

OK, I´m off to not eat for a few days now.

Choo Choo

Last you heard, I was in Korcula feeling hungover as hell. From there, we headed to Makarska which is an awesome town that sits on the coast with mountains looming up behind it. We cruised around the island for a while, went wakeboarding behind some diesel powered hunk of shit and then went out for dinner and then had a few cocktails in a seaside cave that has been turned into a bar. Would have been awesome if it wasn´t filled with 500 Croatian guys that probably consume enough steroids to turn Stephen Hawking into the Incredible Hulk.

After Makarska, we shipped off to Omis which is close to Split and one of the nicest looking places we stopped. We went rafting for a day, which was cool- a few patches of white water, but generally pretty cruisy. We also pulled up for some swim stops and had a jump off some rocks. Awesome scenery travelling through the canyons.

We then headed back to Split, had farewell drinks and then the next morning we wandered around Split a little before heading off to the bus station to catch our bus to Zagreb.
The four hour bus ride turned out to be 6 thanks to some nifty tunnel works on the freeway. Dang.
We made it in time for our overnight train from Zagreb to Venice though...

Here´s where I dish out the nuggets of gold.

Don´t catch overnight trains in Croatia. Unless you like living large with gypsys.
The train from Zagreb to Venice looked like it had failed safety testing during the cold war. It was seriously grim. The toilets looked as though they´d been dreamed up by Kafka and there was a distinct smell of urine to everything.

Needless to say, we didn´t sleep all that well and got off the train in Venice feeeling quite shit. And smelling like gypsys.

Venice was awesome though. Sucha cool little city made up of tight winding streets, canals, boats and all that stuff. It´s just like it is in the movies. Except cooler.

We left Venice at 8.30 that night on the overnight train to Vienna. After our last experience on overnight trains we were not feeling very confident that we wouldn´t be smelling like gypsys for a second consecutive day.

Hello Italian/Austrian trains! This was the opposite to our previous night´s abode. Clean, efiicient, friendly staff, comfy beds, free breakfast, coffee, sheets without unidentified stains!

So that was nice.

We arrived in Vienna at 8.30am, dropped our bags off at the hostel, then went for a walk around Vienna. It´s such a cool city. Cooler than Venice and waaaaay more affordable. People are super friendly which contradicts what I´d been told.
Also nobody has locked us in their basement and made us have sex with them. That is A Good Thing.

So much to look at, will be doing tonnes of photographing today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sick much?

Feeling pretty seedy today. Very large night in Dubrovnik last night. A whole bottle of wine probably doesnt make for a sensible dinner. Also, one litre long island ice teas seem great at the time, but in the morning they will punch your face and scream at you till your eyes bleed.
The fact that we had rough seas this morning probably didn't help the situation either.

The last few days have been awesome. Croatia is really really beautiful. We've been to Mijet, Hvar, Dubrovnik and we're moored for the night in Korcula. Nothing better than spending your days sitting on the deck of a boat drinking, swimming and doing as little as humnanly possible.
Hvar was our first stop and was a really cool little island. Loads of rich boating types with massive pimped out boats filled with hookers. Presumably.
We climbed up to the fortress that overlooks the island, took a shitload of photos, had a picnic dinner on the rocks by the sea and then went to a couple of bars. Early night for us as we're super lame and were pretty zonked from the ferry trip the night before.

We spent the next day sailing to Mijet which is a really nice island with a national park. We walked into the national park, had a paddle in the salt water lakes there and visited a monastery built on an island in the middle of the lake. Pretty cool, although the police were called after o9ne of the guy's paddles broke and he was told he'd have to pay 50 euro for a new one or the police would be called.
So the police came, one of the girls translated for us and the outcome was 'pay the money or get locked up'.
Ripped off by dodgy canoe hirer. Damn.

Yesterday was spent in Dubrovnik. We walked around the city walls which look over the old town and out over the Adriatic. One of the coolest places ever. Will get photos on the go at some stage. Too hungover to invest thinking in that now though.

Not much planned for tonight. We've strolled around Korcula, I've sweated alcohol and stomached some soup. Probably head to a little restaurant for dinner, then we're off again tomorrow to some other island paradise.

Good times, great times.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Croatia is Ace-ia.

Or something like that. Not that I can say yet, we only got here an hour ago.

We killed a few hours in Ancona yesterday before our ferry left at 9pm. Our main methods for achieving this were gelati, beer, sitting and an old Italian guy who spoke limited English, but enough to convey that he loves animals and likes to go and live in the mountains occassionally and eat berries and live like the animals. His gesturing made me worried as it seemed he may have really loved animals. He was really nice though and made the time pass quickly with stories of... umm.. actually, I don't really know what the stories were of as there was a rather large language barrier, although Charlotte did defuse a situation when I accidentally called the guy Russian.

We got off the overnight ferry from Ancona an hour or so ago. Is not so great actually. Being tight-ass backpacker sorts, we deigned it suitable to book the cheapest tickets which were 'Deck'.
And that's what they were.
After a poor sleep on the floor of the boat, we were awoken by a multi-lingual announcement that let everyone know we'd be in Split in half an hour. Or they may have been asking us to inflate our emergency life vests, I don't know. My abilities in speaking Croatian aren't exactly 'real-world'. Or even existent.

The view of Split harbour at 6.30 this morning was pretty awesome though. Almost worth the shitty sleep.

We've got a couple of hours to kill now before we have to board our next boat which takes us sailing over the next 8 days through the Croatian islands, down to Dubrovnik, then back up to Split. I anticipate it will be pretty awesome.

Whilst I waste time writing blog posts, Charlotte is doing constructive things like booking hostels for when we get back on solid ground with all the landlubbers. I should probably help.

Ok, off to help Charlotte with organise-y things.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Italy (Parts one through four)

Italy is pretty ace. It's probably one of my favourite places. Especially considering this time I didn't have send Charlotte here on her own whilst I went home to collect my passport.
Flight was slightly delayed, and I may have nearly caused widespread panic when i fell into an emergency exit door and set off a massive alarm at Napoli airport but we made it into Naples around 10.30pm after a slight oversight on my behalf which saw us miss our bus stop and end up on the other side of Naples. No harm done though, as Italians have proved to be insanely helpful and the busdriver took us back to our stop. What a nice dude.

From there we caught the Circumvesuviana line out to our hostel, met a couple of aussie girls that were in the same situation as us, showered, had a beer and some gelati.

Then we spent the day out of Naples in Castellademarre di Stablia, which is a pretty amazing little town with mountains leading down into the Bay of Naples. We strolled around there, ate some more gelati, ate some pizza and took tonnes of photos of the tiny backstreets. We also nearly died thanks to the hordes of scooters that crack around the place. Helmets optional. Unless you're ten years old, then you can just do monos around everywhere apparently. Tonnes of road safety going on over here.
We had dinner at a little local pizza place in Naples called Da Michele. Best pizza ever, accompanied by 1 euro Peroni. Awesome.

One thing about Italy- It's hot. Damn hot. Naples was nice. Rome was shit house. 35 degress and 100% humidity anyone?

After a kickass airconditioned train ride from Naples and a long chat to a lovely nonna, we arrived in Rome.
Stepping off the train was kind of like falling into lava, but without the relief of imminent death. We hauled our packs down to the hostel, were told it was undergoing renovations and then hauled our packs to the makeshift hostel. By makeshift hostel I mean, some fold out beds set up in an attic. Awesome. Not at all hot.

Accommodation aside, we spent the next day walking around Rome. 13 kms worth of walking around Rome. In thongs.
Did the Colloseum, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Gainicolo Hill, Trevi Fountain, some other places and about 15 piazzas.
We went out for dinner that night, but were only able to find restaurants that are set up to server the tourists. So we ate well, but it was nowehere near as good as Naples.

Yesterday we caught the train to Ancona, where we catch the ferry across to Split tonight.

More updates to follow soon. In like, 10 days or something when we get off our Croatia sailing tour thing. You won't be able to tell, but I'll be waaay more tanned when I next write.