Thursday, March 20, 2008

Europe: All over the place

This is one of those posts that are pretty much only here for completeness sake. To keep this blogs time line relatively accurate. So, here is a collection of short stories and photos from my last 4 months of adventuring:

Dumfries, Scotland (via Hitch Hiking): Andy and Val vs Lauren and Myself... two teams, one winner. Red card was on the line.. it was intense. Lauren and I started by over sleeping (alarm was set for 5am.. eventually got out the door at 8am..). We then met the opposition at the first Service Station on the M1... we then proceeded to get the first ride and zing ahead... in the end Andy and Val won by 30 minutes... not too bad a margin for a 14 hour race where Lauren and I started 1 hour after. We got to Dumfries and had a fantastic Christmas with a mate and his family, they even gave us stockings. Best Christmas outside NZ ever. No photos as forgot my camera.

Stockholm from a boat

Stockholm, Sweden: Ok, I am a pretty arrogant traveller ("I don't pay for transport.."), but being in London there are many cheap flights all around Europe which lead to us flying to Stockholm for the weekend. Stockholm was pretty cool and I had a good time exploring but I came away with no real appreciation for what it is to be Swedish, or with any real knowledge of Stockholm. It wasn't even that cold either!

Pretty Canterbury

Canterbury, UK: the real one, not the fake one I spent the first 24 years of my life in. My first real English experience (London is not England). We had tea and scones and saw some big cathedrals. My appreciation for England and all things English begins.

Yep, thats in Brussels!

Gent - Brussles, Belgium (via EUROSTAR!!!): Lucas, Andy and I did what I had been excited about for quite some time.. taking the EUROSTAR under the sea to the continent! After work on Friday we jumped on the train and less than two hours later were in Brussels (then another train to Gent). Gent was a very cool little town, and Brussels a pretty cool (and surprisingly diverse city. Then Monday morning for a 1hr48min commute back to work, enjoying a croissant as France rolled by.

Andy on the EUROSTAR!!!!

Sorry to Belgium for talking more about the train than the country, needless to say it had culture, very tasty food, European capitalness and really tasty beer.

Lucas on an ESCALATOR!!!!

Bath - Bristol, UK: Andy, Val and I went on a Easter Escape to Bath and Bristol which was very cool and did well to continue improving my attitude towards England. Bath was cool to look at (Heaps of massive Georgian houses and they use the same rock for all the buildings) but the town itself didn't really have much of a vibe.

Bath in the Snow.
Bristol on the other hand was very cool. Admittedly we were there only one night and almost two days, but it had a really cool feel about (very real..) and the history of the place is very cool (Slavery, exploring, pirates). The Commonwealth and Empire Museum that we went to there made it to my top four best museums of all time.

A pub in Bristol where BLACKBEARD the PIRATE drank at. So did we.

Milton Keynes, UK (via Hitch Hiking): Not too much to report here, went to meet up with an old mate from Uni and had some great times at pubs and university student associations and walking back 12 miles through the country side. Very good times. Most adventurous part was hitching up there (hitching in the UK is awesome) and almost getting a ride on a boat! Did you know you can take a boat in canals all the way from London to almost Scotland? And Birmingham has more canals than Venice? I do now, thanks to a friends canal boat captain.

Part of Englans extensive canal network. IWA Forever!

Football, UK: Caught a very cool game at Emirates Stadium a few weeks back, Sweden vs Brazil, 60,000 people! Heaps of crazy Brazilians. I am now beginning to understand why everyone else in the world loves the sport. Also went up to Bolton to watch the Wanderers take on our boys, West Ham. It was very cool to see the English fans in action.

Brazil vs Sweden with 60,000 people.

That's all for now.... time for me to get away from this computer screen for a week. I am of to Morocco! Just need to go home and pack my bag (and perhaps a quick shisha before I go), a sleep at Heathrow tonight to to Casablanca via Madrid. Life is sweet!