Sunday, August 29, 2010

Topdeck... oh my god so many days that we have forgotten to do!!!

Hey Gang

Sarah is back, sorry for the interruption to transmission :P

So at the moment we are in Berlin... now you may say (if you are looking at a map) oh wow Budapest to Berlin in a day is a massive drive.... well it would be... turns out we havent updated the blog for a while... and i have about 4-5 days to catch up on :( so without further adu... here is what has been going on so far...

Leaving Budapest we had a travel day to Krakow... nothing much to say about this travel day... mainly because neither of us can remeber much of it... it was a bit of a non-event really :P

Krakow ... i will start by saying that i just wasnt blown away by Krakow... yes it was pretty, like most European cities but nothing there made me go wow.... however... i do believe my reasoning for this is because i am sick.. the whole bus has a cough. The most awesome thing was... 1 Euro was 4 Zloty and everything is cheap... a beer for 50 euro cents... yes please :)

As Nathan has reminded me, there was one thing that made me go wow... the salt mine that we visited.. it was really beautiful and really interesting given that i have never been to a salt mine before :)

Next day was the day on the tour that I was looking forward to the most... and the least at the same time, it was our visit to Auschwitz. We left Krakow really early so we could get a good 3 hours at Auschwitz before heading to Prague. Auschwitz was very moving, as i expected.. but what i wasn't prepared for was the sheer size of the place and the amount of things that were on display. For example they had a whole room full of shoes of the people who were killed in the gas chambers... like i said really moving stuff.

After leaving we encountered something that so far we have been lucky enough to avoid... a traffic jam.. oh and this was a mother of all traffic jams it took us 2 hours to move 12km.. not impressed, we didnt get into Prague until 9.30ish... and given that we were on the bus to Auschwitz at 6.30.... it was a loooooong day!

Then, as is becomming the pattern, we had a free day in Prague. We started the day with the walking tour that we missed the night before which is a really good way to see a city! after that finished we pottered around and found a few shops to look in (once again... really cheap this time 1 euro was 25 crowns) then we headed back to the room as neither of us had managed to shake our colds...

Phew, and that is what we have been up to the last few days...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Top Deck Day 20 & 21

Dear valued viewers,

you can tell by the opening that I Nathan have decided to take control and make a post on the blog rather than leaving it up to Sarah.

Day 20 we left Vienna and traveled into Slovakia to its capital Bratislava. We were not aware that we would actually be going to Bratislava so it was a pleasant surprise. Bratislava is a rather nice place it has an interesting mix of pre-Communist, Communist and post-Communist buildings and history. We walked around the castle and then the old town, we saw a canon ball stuck in the side of the town hall from when Napoleon attacked the city. We then had some traditional Slovakian meals for lunch, these were incredibly tasty and cheap (double bonus).

We then continued on to Hungary and Budapest (pronounced budapeschet). Did you know that Hungary still has its own currency? We did not - therefore we learnt something new. As soon as we arrived we went on a driving tour seeing many of the sights including the Russian liberation monument, Hero Square, Fishermans bastion and St. Istvans Basilica. We then had dinner and can i say that Hungary is named Hungary for a reason because i think we waited about 2 hours to be fed. Me being me a tried something different (livers sausages and some strange mammoth dumpling) and it was not a taste sensation, leaving me rather hungry and not impressed. BTW Sarahs meal was awesome she went the safe option i.e. a meal not containing liver sausages.

Day 21 saw us out and about exploring down town Budapest, me made our way to the Chain Bridge to book a dinner cruise for that evening, we then made our way to St Istavan's (Stephen's) Basilica to see the famous right hand of the saint king St Istvan himself. To my bitter disappointment the chapel containing the hand was closed for private worship - a seeing the hand fail. We then went to the house of Terror, a museum of the history of Hungary and its occupation under the Nazi and soviet regimes. This museum explores the treatment of the Hungarian people under the Nazi and Soviet rules. The Building that contains the museum was the original AVO building (AVO was the Hungarian equivalent of the Russian secret police the KGB). We then went to Hero square to check it out and then went looking for the game hungry hungry Hippos, because Sarah and i both agreed that it would be a good idea to purchase the said game in Hungary. Alas this endeavour met a similar end as the viewing of Saint Istvan's right hand as we were unable to find the game. The last thing we did was to go on our dinner cruise along the Danube. Sarah really like this,to quote Sarah "the dinner cruise is the highlight of the holiday so far". I think it was very nice, we saw all of the sights along the river at sunset and then also saw them lit up after dark and the meal was enjoyable.

Over all Budapest is a very interesting place btw we saw like 6 car crashes in our day and a bit, love the building architecture and cruise was nice

stay tuned for the next post when Sarah will return to the posting seat.

Nathan and Sarah

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Topdeck day 18 &19

Hey gang

Day 18 was a travel day from Venice to Vienna... and I am guilty of getting the two confused... not in the fact that i think one is the other but that i will say i am in Venice when really i am in Vienna.

On the way to our hostel we stopped by the summer place of the ex royal family, phor the place was just beautiful! We just spent the whole time wandering around the gardens, we were on the lookout for wildlife and we even found some squirrels :) One of the people on our tour fainted whilst we were there so unfortunately that kind of killed the driving tour we had afterwards (because Rich our tour leader had to go with him to hospital) our Latvian driver Ray attempted to tell us about things a great line was "that statue on the top of that building is the same as one i saw in Germany... I am sure that means something" lol it was a laugh!

We finished the night with some proper Vienna Schnitzels... so tasty!!

Day 19 was a free day to explore Vienna, Rich gave us the proper driving tour which was interesting learning all about Austria's history.. i really enjoy the introductions to each city that he gives, it is always very educational! After the walking tour we just pottered around... i am enjoying doing that on the free day, not doing much just letting the city flow by.. although i am kinda annoyed it is Sunday... and NOTHING is open, which is annoying because there were some very funky shops that i wanted to sus out, also i could not find a tacky souvenir shop anywhere which means... my pin collection will be incomplete :( i am kicking myself for not getting one the day before!

So i am actually writing this at about 3pm on day 19, at 3.30 we will be meeting up with our tour and heading off to a Schnapps place, should be interesting and then for dinner we are going to a classical musical concert which i am also looking forward to... so i better get a move on!

Until next time :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Topdeck Day 17

Hey Gang

So today we spent the day in Venice... and the day can be discribed as.... Directionally Challenged! Oh my goodness that city is just impossible to navigate... mind you we didnt have a very good map, so we were relying on our natural sence of direction (next time we WILL be buying a map)

We did the touristy thing of going on a Gondella, it was alright, wish it had lasted a bit longer thought... we also saw a glass demonstration this glass maker made a horse in about 30 seconds, he was amazing... and we saw a lace demonstration... that was interesting because i never before appricated just how much work goes into lace!

By the way.... Italy is really hot.... i mean really hot :(

Bring on tonight's Toga Party!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Topdeck Day 15 & 16

Hey Gang

Day 15 was our free day in Rome, the day started with a visit to the Vadican, we were bth very impressed by the Vadican, we got a walking tour with an Irish bloke named Jimmy who was very helpful in letting us know the random facts... like some pannels of the roof of the Cistine Chappel only took Michaelangelo 4 hours to do, where as others took him months! We then had lunch (Pizza... so tasty) We then took our time to wander around Rome, the highlight for me was definately going inside the Coliseum, that place is just beautiful! Top Tip if you are ever going, go to the Roman Foum first and buy a double pass to both, you will then by-pass the MASSIVE line when you want to go inside the Coliseum....

Day 16 was a travel day to Venice, however the travel was stopped on the way with a trip to Verona and we got to see Juliettes balcony. Verona is a very beautiful city, and eve thought the Balcony was built in the 19th century... i stilled loved seeing it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Topdeck Day 13 & 14

Hey Gang

Day 13 was a driving day to Florence, that is really all we did because by the time we got there it was late afternoon so we went swimming!!! hooray i missed out on swimming in Nice because of dodgy weather so it was lovely! We then had our first proper italian meal... Pasta, Pizza & Gilato! it was just delicious... and of course Red Wine... yum-o!

Day 14 started with a walking tour of Florence, what a beautiful city, we saw a replica of the statue of David, it was amazing and it was only the replica


Ok new place, new internet i shall continue.... so after our walking tour of Florence we got a leather demonstration and got told how they make various leather things, it was very interesting. We then got to explore on our own which was cool re-visiting the sites that we skimmed over on the walking tour. After that we jumped back on the bus and headed to Rome. Once we got into Rome we were straight on it with a walking tour of the city, we saw all the big things like the Roman Forums and the Coliseum... but we also saw some less known stuff like the steps where Ceaser was stabbed 21 times... as you do!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Topdeck day 11 & 12

Hey Gang

Day 11 we left Lauterbrunnen on our way to Nice. It is a long drive to Nice.... a very long drive, we left our campsite at 8am... arrived in Nice at 7pm... apparently it doesn't usually take this long but we were stuck in some pretty heavy traffic jams, not fun! It was cool on the way here we passed through a 14km tunnel even i was getting a little thingy towards the end of it!

Day 12 we spend as a free day in Nice, we have spend most of the day exploring this beautiful town... we went sunbathing on the beach because by the ti,e we ventured to the beach for a swim the water was too choppy to swim in (according to the life guards, it looked ok to me) tonight we will be travelling to nearby Monte Carlo which we are both looking forward to, and with that i better go and get changed, until next time!

Topdeck day 9 & 10

Hey gang

Day 9 was a driving day to Switzerland, that is really all we did... it was quite a crusey day, we were constantly blown away by the seniery in Switzerland, the countryside was beautiful! the town we stayed in (Lauterbrunnen) was so quaint it was in the shadow of a glacier and surrounded by waterfalls. Today was a real getting to know you day on the bus we had to all say a bit about ourselves and tell an embarassing story... fun!

Day 10 was a free day in Lauterbrunnen, we went up to Jungfraujoch (the highest railway station in Europe) and spent most of the day on the glacier and just looking at the surrounding mountains. Apart from the glacier there isnt much to do in Lauterbrunnen... although we did manage to venture to one of the waterfalls.... at 1am :D

Topdeck day 7 & 8

Hey gang

So we have realised that updating this everyday on the topdeck tour is going to get a bit difficult so we have found an Internet cafe in Nice... prepare for an update!!!!

Day 7 of our adventure saw us starting our topdeck tour.. we all met at a hostel in Kings Cross in London (at stupid o'clock) and ventured down to Dover... we then jumped on the ferry across the channel... it was pissing down rain so our view of the cliffs was slightly dampened (love a good pun)

When we got off in France we bussed it to Paris. it was dinner time once we got there and we got to sample our first french thing.... Snails!! We both really liked them... i was prepared for the worst, but they were really tasty!

After this we went on a bus tour of Paris, this was really cool because we got to see things that we could explore in further detail tomorrow on our free day.

Day 8 was a day for us to explore Paris. we did the usual stuff (Eiffel Tower & Arc De Triumph) but we also saw Madeline's Church & Napoleon's tomb... And we had a chance to butcher the French language which we did in spectacular fashion! The day got capped off with a picnic under the Eiffel Tower and a visit to the Cabaret.

Photos to come!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

London Day 4.5

Hey Gang

The unthinkable has happened..... i forgot a whole day!!! I can see you tut-ing now about how much i have drunk etc. but seriously i haven't been drinking... I am just having too much fun i am forgetting to post everyday which means i forget things (aka days)!!

So here is day 4.5 ... which was (funnily enough) in between day 4 (road trip) and day 5 (dungeon).

This unforgettable day started with a jaunt over to the British Museum, we saw a lot of cool things. The place was so huge that we didn't get to see everything we wanted to (it just would have taken forever) but we did see the big ones like the Rosetta Stone, Aztec mosaics, Easter Island statue and the Mummies.

After that we went to see St Paul's cathedral. After paying our £12.50 each (!!!!!!!) to get in we were in there for approximately 10 mins (i know because i checked our ticket) when the fire alarm went off and we all got ushered out back into the cold. (ok it wasn't actually that cold but i was annoyed that we were only there for 10 mins) So we waited outside whilst preists were talking on their walkie talkies (the coolest sight i have ever seen!!!) and after about half an hour we were allowed back in. Once in we resumed seeing things and we decided to be brave and climb the tower (thing). It was 3 levels of spiral stairs (i am sooooo over spiral stairs) and i think there was something like 500 steps in total... it was a work out but the view from the top was just spectacular!

After all that exercise we basically shut up shop and went home... we were just so tired, our hotel bed had never looked so comforting...


London Day 6 (aka today)

Hey Gang

So as some of you may have noticed, days 3-6 have all been posted today... that is because today is our last day in London :(

And because it is our last day we are wrapping up alot of things, like at the moment i am in the Internet cafe, whilst Nath is at the laundry waiting for our washing and re-naming photos!

So yea, in terms of touristy cool things, today will be a bit light on because we have to go and vote (woot) and we have to find a post office to post some stuff back (it is suprising how much crap you get in the space of a week!)

But the end of London is a good thing (in a way) because that means bring on the Topdeck tour!!!


London Day 5

Hey Gang

So today we decided that whoops we havent done as much as we thought we had.. so today was a cram-a-thon!!

We started our Cram-a-thon by going to the London Dungeon. Which was terrorfying (for me anyway) because as you all know (and Nathans family will confirm) I jump at EVERYTHING... a dog 3 houses down just has to bark and i will jump out of my skin.... so after being all "yea this will be awesome" i was a tad code brown! But it was all harmless fun... and i learnt some things, but yea was a little scared :P Nath was cool, nothing phases him :P

After the Dungeon we decided to head over to the Imperial War Museam... it was alright, I didnt really like the style to be honest they had alot of things behind cabnets of uniforms and stuff but no real story behind it all... basically i thought the War Memorial in Canberra was better... but it was still good to go... they had tanks... Tanks are cool :) Nathan loved every moment.. which made me happy :)

We then ventured over to the Churchill War rooms, which was again different... over here they are big on Audio guides... which again... i dont really like, i would rather read and do things at my own pace, where as with an audio guide you have to go at the pace they say... and you look like a bit of a knob with the thing always up to ear.. but anyway enough of my mini rant... it was cool, different but cool! I have decided that i really like ol' Winston... i think he was an amazing man and i really couldnt leave the gift shop without buying a book of his quotes :)

After that we went for a bit of a stroll around and took in Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, which was cool but we were both getting a bit over doing the whole tourist thing.. so we called it a day!


London Day 4

Hey Gang

Today was our tour day

We planned to have a day to break up our time in London to venture off somewhere so today we hopped on our bus tour and headed to Winsor Castle, Bath & Stonehenge!

Winsor Castle... sigh for the first time in my life i want to be a princess... like an actual princess like i would put up with one of the ugly princes if it meant i could live in Winsor Castle.... it was just ... oh ... it was beautiful. Actually that is probably a word i can use to sum up the whole day... beautiful!

After that we went to Bath... which i have decided is somewhere to venture back to on our next trip... we went in to see the Roman Baths... I was a sneaky sausage and put my hand in the bath... it was really warm i could have loved to put my feet in but there was big signs saying not too and i didnt want to break the law (too much) Bath is such a beautiful city, the views we got going in and leaving just took your breath away... which is a nice segway on to...

Stonehenge!!!! Welcome to the king of taking my breath away (well so far on the holiday anyway) it was just so ...... i really dont have any words to describe it, i was just blown away at the size and it really got me thinking how the frick did they do that!!

It was a really cool day, and a really good way to break up the time in London!

No photos as yet, because Nath doesnt want to put them on the USB until they all have their proper names.... crazy kid!

Anyway on to tomorrow :)


London Day 3

Hey Gang

Today was really cool.

We started off by going to the Tower of London, somewhere that i have never been before... let me tell you it was just so cool, the history of that place just blew my mind!

There was a really awesome exhibition on whilst we were there, it was the armour worn by the various kings, King Henry VIII was a big boy! his armour looked very... roomy!

After our little wander around we met up with my Aunty Shaz, Uncle Bren and their son Jim who actually moved to Mongolia in i think April... so it was such a weird thing to meet up with them in London of all places!

We had a pub lunch and then parted ways saying we would meet back up later at....

The Brittish Beer Festival in Earls Court!!!!! Oh it was just the most random thing i have ever been to! It was a massive room... full of different stalls selling beer.... We sampled a few and found a few we liked... a few feral ones too.... the only problem was... it was all warm i must admit that did put me off it a bit :(

But apart from that it was a wonderful day!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Photos Are Up!!!

Hey Gang

I am having a bit of trouble getting many photos up... but i have managed to get 2 :P


Thursday, August 5, 2010

London - Day 2

Hey Gang

So yesterday was A-MAZE-ING!!!!!!!

We went to the natural history mueseum and saw some very cool dinosaur skeletons.... I saw a Tricerotops... that just made my day.. :D

But the dinosaurs were very quickly topped by the butterfly enclosure.... OH MY GOODNESS they were just amazing (and yet again we have forgotten the USB.....) One landed on me.... and just chilled on me for a few minutes... it was amazing! and to my surprise Nath had a blast... He wasn't keen to start off with, but the butterflys quickly won him over!

After that we ventured to the Visitors center in Regent Street to get ideas (not that we really needed more but ya know...) and then we had the nicest McDonalds i have ever had in my entire life... ok i know that is lame and we shouldnt be having Maccas on holidays but seriously guys it was the NICEST Maccas ever!!!

After our Maccas delights we went to the (second) happiest place on earth... Hamleys!!!! Ahh it was brilliant! 5 floors of toys.. needless to say we were in heaven!!! We couldnt leave without buying something... so we brought Lego :)

We then went back to our hotel to freshen up and hit the town!

We went out to see a show... The Lion King... it was just spectacular, the costumes were brilliant and it was kinda cool to go to a musical where you know all the words :D

Well we better be off, we are meeting my uncle and aunt soon :)

Sarah & Nath

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

London - Day 1

Hey gang

So we have finally touched down in London.

It is amazing, we were a little jet lagged (to say the least) so we decided to spend the day just pottering around.

We saw most of the major touristy things, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Downing Street etc.

Photos to come (we forgot to bring the USB to the Internet cafe - Internet in our room is too expensive £5 an hour, no thank you... we will take the £1 an hour option over the road!!)

So yea, today we are off to the Natural History Museum, should be a blast!

We will add photos of today and yesterday tomorrow :)

Edit: I cannot manage to get these stuuupid photos to work... so for the old ones we will just do 1 photo per post :)

Sarah & Nath

Monday, August 2, 2010

First ACTUAL holiday post

That`s right folks i am currently writing to you from Abu Dhabi international airport... local time is 11.30pm, we flew in at 11, we fly to London at 2.30 so there isn't all that much to do other than to use the free internet (and try to figure out how to change websites from Arabic to English!)

By the way, Canberra time at the mo is 5.30 am (ish) which means in an hour I will have been up 24 hours!!!

Not much else to report, as suspected Nath sleeps really well on planes (which is annoying because I don`t!!)

So yea, next stop London