A Travellerspoint blog

The Great OE Quotes

“My movie starts in Rio de Janiero” –Hayley

“Keam Tiwi!!!” –Hayley

“Do you think ATMs accept notes over here?” –Ella

“The ninja drinks coffee…” –Hayley

“Take iiitttttt” Both

“You’ll get done for drunken publicness” - Hayley

“High 5?” - Ella
“With my face?” - Hayley

“My ass cheeks are hot” – Ella

“Are you waiting for a bus?” – American woman at a bus stop

“I want to know what’s in his box” – Ella

“Can you please sit on my face?” – Hayley

“Next stop” – Whispery automated train voice

“No I don’t want to look at any more stalls I might be tempted to… oooo is that a leather jacket?!” – Ella

“I’ve got to go plough my field” – Hayley

“Bevare of rubbers” – Anonymous hostelworld reviewer

“You just seem to get excited when you get into bed” – Ella

“I hate it when drunk people fall on you” - Ella

“I’m not straight” – Khalid

“Is it?!” – South Africans/Ella and Hayley

“Can take my bra off now?” – Ella (in the theatre)

Posted by Trailblazn 13:59 Comments (0)

50 things...

Twenty-four blog entries written in airports, hostels and trains and over three thousand photos taken all over Europe later and our big adventure was over. To sum it all up, we have but a few pearls of wisdom to share with the traveling world.

50 things we have learned:

1. Don’t go to Marseilles.
2. You will get lost, every day.
3. You will spend more than your budget.
4. You will resort to washing your underwear in the sink.
5. You will never get used to snoring.
6. The locals will know you are a tourist.
7. You will repeat your itinerary to everyone you meet.
8. You will wear your socks more than once.
9. Your friends will hate you.
10. Don’t trust Google maps.
11. You will go to a museum just for the gift shop.
12. A working hot shower is a luxury.
13. Locals are better guides than maps.
14. You will drink too much.
15. Take a bag with wheels.
16. Travel towels are the devil.
17. Daily camera usage will make you care more about your appearance.
18. You will learn to love aeroplane food.
19. Drinking from the tap is living vicariously.
20. Supermarkets will become a dinner destination.
21. You will grow a food baby.
22. Never book a ferry.
23. You will be mocked for your accent.
24. Travel with someone with a good sense of direction.
25. Travel with someone who always has money on them.
26. A day spent doing nothing is just as good.
27. You will break your sunglasses, multiple times.
28. Travel and sickness come hand in hand.
29. Souvenirs take priority over a decent meal.
30. You will always convert back to your home currency.
31. You will lose things along the way.
32. Photos are proof you went.
33. The bigger the disaster, the better a story it makes.
34. Three hours of sightseeing is enough to leave you knackered.
35. You will meet people who have been to more places than you.
36. The bus will always be late.
37. You will wear through your shoes.
38. You will dread buying the necessities.
39. You will be mistaken for another nationality.
40. Current affairs will hold no place in your life.
41. Sending a postcard is an incredibly satisfying experience.
42. Clean is a relative term.
43. You will never find an ATM when you need one.
44. Tour guides are all-knowing.
45. Friends of a friend become your best friend if they have a couch.
46. You will hate your clothes after a month, but you will buy more.
47. Nothing happens on Facebook during the day.
48. You will laugh about it eventually.
49. Other people’s suggestions do not always work out.
50. The day you go home will come around faster than you can imagine.

Posted by Trailblazn 13:54 Comments (0)

Back to London

Leaving Cardiff and its vivid green and smoky grey landscape in the morning we had our massive bags twisting in our hands behind us like some kind of obese ballerinas. It would be our last big city change. Hours later, we drove into London as the sun was setting, at 4pm. In the last hostel we would stay in, we had managed to find another hammock style bed and a set of showers with ten second stop buttons, see-through doors and pressure so low it was like washing your hair in the rain. In the morning we planned to go back to Greenwhich where we had stayed at the beginning of the year and loved for its community feel and markets. Unfortunately, the weather report disagreed so we spent the day relaxing and reading. On our single outing for the day we found ourselves in an industrial area and decided we didn’t like it all that much.

Ella had spent the last few days applying for various jobs and on Friday she headed out for two interviews, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Hayley came in to town in between to find out Ella had been offered a hospitality job at Winter Wonderland that morning and would be working in Hyde Park through the winter. We celebrated by going to the theatre after, and took some time to decide but ended up going to see Mamma Mia. We could both imagine our mothers dancing along to the songs like many who were closer to the ABBA-generation than us, but we loved it all the same. Especially the guys with possibly the hardest dancing job on the planet – not the moves as such just the fact that they were wearing wetsuits and flippers while doing so must have been a fairly decent workout.

In the morning we made it back to Greenwhich where we retraced our steps at the markets, buying books and food from the stalls. We continued on into town for a wander later on before meeting up with Kim and Jarryd from the TravelTalk tour later on. As it were, they rang us as we were walking by London Bridge and were only a few minutes away. The four of us raided as many cheese/dips/meat/wine and relish stalls as we could manage before lining up on the banks of the Thames with thousands of others to watch the brief fireworks show in honour of the mayor and something important he had done that we never really figured out. Not wanting to leave London without the compulsory night out at the ‘Walkabout’ or ‘Walkie’, we all headed there for ‘a quiet few’. It is one of two in London and almost exclusively frequented by Australians and Kiwis as well as the odd South African. The clientele didn’t disappoint and we ended up staying a tad later than expected and made a mad sprint to the train station at the end of the night to catch the last link home.

Finally leaving the last hostel we would stay in, and feeling pretty happy about it, we packed up in the morning. We took a couple of trains out to meet Hayley’s friend Maurice who we would be staying with in south London for a couple of days. We spent all of that day eating and watching movies, and finishing it off with an amazing roast dinner. The day after we had planned for a trip to the zoo, but as plans go, the London weather wasn’t agreeable and the website ticket area crashed. Alas, we spent the day eating and reading. Somehow we managed to break a window latch and just about set fire to the kitchen as we cooked dinner that night but thankfully no Hayley’s or Ella’s were hurt. We were treated to champagne and strawberries after two very lazy and unproductive yet highly relaxing days.

The end of the trip was rapidly becoming very real as we made it to our last stop at Kate and Pete’s. Ella spent the afternoon out looking at a flat and Hayley stayed behind to play with two year old Freya, and the newest addition, Harry. Ella came back with news that she took the flat and was moving in in two days time, the day she was due to start work and the day Hayley would be getting on a plane to head home. We had offered up our services as babysitters for the night so Kate and Pete could go out for dinner and ended up spending the night trying to calm down a crying little girl and an angelically quiet sleeping baby.

Our last day went very quickly. We did what we had done for what felt like over half of the trip. We shopped. We took to the streets of central London and went into every store that we had come to know and love. It was dark again at 4pm and we watched the Christmas lights come on and look very pretty and sparkly as we caught a double-decker red London bus home.

The surreality of waking up the next morning was only to be matched by that of the morning of April 1st when we left. Ella had packed up early and left for work and to move into her flat. Hayley slowly packed up, tidied up, and walked out the door one last time for the thirty-something hour trip home.

Posted by Trailblazn 02:08 Comments (0)

Cardiff

We were up at 5.30am sharp in time to catch the bus that took us to the ferry that took us to Pembroke in the early afternoon. We intended to travel from Pembroke to Cardiff via train, but came across the issue that the train station at Pembroke dock is not actually located at Pembroke dock. Pesky Welsh. We trekked it into town and waited four hours for the next train. We took that train to another station to wait some more in freezing weather before catching another train. We arrived at our hostel at 9.30pm in Cardiff. It was a long exhausting day but we were back to the land of lemon sherbets and Primark instead of Penneys at last.

In the morning we got up to an incredible breakfast spread that we would have expected from a hotel and made the most of it. We needed it after a night on our hammock-like beds and the description of an ‘audible sleeper’ in our room as a kind euphemism for a snorer sounding about as delicate as an iceberg breaking apart. We left the hostel for some exploration of the city, finding a cute arcade and the main street. It was much colder than we had expected therefore HAD to stay inside in the shops. Such a shame. That night we watched a couple of movies from the hostel DVD library and had a free pasta dinner thanks to the hostel with our roommates and various other guests.

Already our last day in Cardiff, we had planned a castle visit but our roomies said it was too expensive and not worth it. Instead, we went walkabout in the autumnally pretty park, the rain stayed away (presumably to come again another day) and we engaged in a spot of squirrel hunting. In an inspired move someone artsy had carved the fallen and broken trees into sculptures. With not much left to do in the city, we spent the night watching movies with our roommates in the lounge that we had all commandeered for the last couple of nights. The weather hadn’t been wonderful, freezing morelike, but we had bought the souvenirs and ticked Wales off the list. It was our last new city for our OE which came and went with a very surreal feeling and a sense of relief for the end to long travel days.

Posted by Trailblazn 01:36 Comments (0)

South of Dublin

At midday we were up and on a bus to Kilkenny, half way down he country. When we got off the bus we had a decent trek to our new hostel and actually had to ask for directions to it for the first time ever. Turns out it was a gorgeous little homey type place with a cosy feel and a chatty owner. We had a room with six bunks and an ensuite all to ourselves and we settled in for a quiet night in a cute town.

As per our now concrete day one plans for any new city we were out to explore the central area of the town. We read on an information board in the city that Kilkenny is famously known as the marble city, despite fact that it is actually largely represented in limestone. We went to see the old castle, which was impressive and massive with lots of helpful leprechauns telling us interesting facts as we walked though. Then we saw the Black Abbey, which was pretty but small, silent and insignificant. We had a supermarket lunch and stopped back off at our hostel only to get the news that a ferry company we had booked with had gone under and we were forced to sit in and organise a new way to get from point A to point B within a few days and for a much higher fare. We had already had one flight, one accommodation booking and one ferry cancel on us and were duly unimpressed by the addition of another (and only other) ferry cancellation. Feeling broke and broken we stayed in instead of heading out for dinner.

It was a slow start in the morning followed by going out for a wander just to get outside. Turns out it was raining so sought solace in some shopping. We returned home for a picnic lunch at the hostel and had a quiet afternoon. That night we picked a friendly little pub on the main road for a meal. Afterward we decided to head out for a drink. After many, many recommendations we went off to find The Langton, which apparently was the best pub in Kilkenny. Hoping it wasn’t already full, and that it wasn’t closed, we ran through the rain most of the way, arriving soaking and breathless. We took about three seconds to realise it was far too posh (and probably too expensive) for us. So back into the rain and back down the road where the barman asked if we would like drinks to make sure we were as soaked on the inside as we were on the outside. We spent our last night in Kilkenny with a couple of pints and full pub with live Irish music.

In the morning we had an enjoyable walk through the grey drizzle to our bus. It was only a three and a half our bus ride but the early onset of darkness made it feel like we had been travelling all day. We at least got to see a little of the green and grey countryside of Ireland in between brief naps and made it to our new Kiwi owned hostel in Cork ready for a quick meal and bed. Despite moving from one place to another usually involving sitting on a bus for hours on end, the trips always leave us exhausted and starving.

Cork is the second biggest city in Ireland with about a fifth of the occupants being students, so we almost even fitted in. We didn’t have long in Cork so we spent our day doing the things we loved most. Ella went off to see Blarney Castle and kiss the stone, as have millions before to inherit the gift of the gab and hopefully nothing else. Hayley was interested in exploring the centre of town in the city where her ancestors had supposedly come from. It was a sunny, but cold, perfect kind of a day. Although, instead of the dark haired, blue eyed charmers with lilting brogues as we had expected, we found a lot of what Ella liked to call ‘people who look like they’re from the Jeremy Kyle show’. Movies, novels, poetry and life in general had lied to us. Out of all the people who spoke to us, we could barely understand half of them. Similarly, we were disappointed by the myth of the Irish being populated largely with gingers. Not even close. While there were some around, the numbers we saw could only be described as ‘normal’. We had a quiet night reading and sleeping in an overheated room the size of an average bedroom, except with six bunks, on pillows about as effective as a once-folded t-shirt.

We were up and off in the morning to catch a bus. This was day one of two days travelling that we had organised when our ferry cancelled on us. This day we had to catch a bus from Cork to Waterford, then another from Waterford to Wexford to stay the night. We got to Wexford midafternoon without too much hassle surprisingly, and began following directions to our hostel. On a Saturday afternoon the roads were full of shoppers and dragging our heavy bags across the cobblestones was difficult and painful. There really is nothing like the relief of seeing your hostel up the road after a day of travelling and hassles to get there. We saw it ahead (uphill), got to the door and pushed the buzzer. Then we noticed the pile of mail in the slot. Noone answered. A young guy came by and apologetically informed us that he was in our position yesterday, and he eventually found out that noone was there. Hoax crossed both of our minds, but he pointed us in the direction of a few B&Bs and walked off. With no other hostels in town, and no other options, we started walking. The first place we found was a pub with accommodation upstairs. The pub was full of men and the barmaid apologetically informed us that the stag do had inhabited the upper floor. The next place we found was a respectable looking B&B. First we thought there was a room as we were confused for another group, until the owner again apologetically said they were all full. Further down the road, another pub, another let down. There were two B&Bs left. The next one, a group of girls checked in taking the last rooms with them. The idea of booking into a B&B, paying by credit card and laughing about it a few years later was quickly turning into a serious problem. We approached the last B&B to meet a woman leaving, who told us that the owner was out, and that she had taken the last room. We were officially out on the street. We decided to head back to one of the places to beg to sleep on a couch or borrow their Internet so we could make a plan. A man, who we never found out if he worked there or not, took pity on us and phoned a friend in a pub and asked him to ask the bar staff if there were any rooms free. There was, just one. We took it without asking anything further. Another twenty minutes went by as we walked with our bags hoping the place wouldn’t be too filthy or noisy. Finding it, we paid the same price as we would have for our eight bed dorm room in a hostel for a three bed private room with ensuite and a television all to ourselves. We spent the last of our Euros on some comfort food, had a long hot shower each and wondered how our luck had turned around so quickly.

Posted by Trailblazn 05:03 Comments (0)

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