25 07 2012

So, I’m home and I’m jet lagged.  I admit that only 2 posts from abroad was a pretty lousy effort, but it’s one more than I honestly expected I’d write.  The last couple of weeks were so hot and a lot of fun.  Cappadocia is one of the most surreal and beautiful places I’ve seen between the fairy chimneys, surplus balloons and dozens of gozleme to choose from.  Trying a home stay in Amsterdam gave us some inside knowledge into places there that don’t completely suck, and to my surprise there are a couple.  Duabi and Abu Dhabi were 44 every day, but still managed to get around to everything I hoped, snowboarding a couple of times, visiting the Grand Mosque at sunset, going 800 metres up the Burj Kalifa and taking a dip in the ocean next to the Burj Al Arab.  Final stop was Jakarta, which not surprisingly is a chaotic city where the dollar goes far.  The dioramas the Indonesia national monument museum (that looked like they were quite possibly a high school project) and a cop asking for a high five were pretty good moments, plus it was cool to wave around hundreds of thousands of rupiah and feel like Gina Rinehart (I probably could come up with a better comparison if I tried).


Anyhoo, as I have plugged before, this Flikr-thingy has a bunch of photos, and when I get around to going through my camera I’ll probably add a few more.
And for those playing at home, Cookie also made the trip, adding to the 30 or more countries he has visited and I’ll put up some pictures of him at his very own page
Thanks for reading mum, and perhaps one other person who has accidentally come to this page




How bazaar, how bazaar

4 07 2012

After leaving Hungary, we headed west to Switzerland and hung out with the bears in Bern for a couple of days and enjoyed a few swims in the Aare river. Interlaken didn’t disappoint second time around either and the sun made itself known on the alps (side note, autocorrect wants to make alps apps – cursetechnology). Swiss day 5 saw us in Geneva and the UN tour was the highlight there. I was impressed to see North Korea represented in the gift shop too.

One ridiculously early morning plane trip later and we had arrived in Africa . Hurghada, resting on the Red Sea was a relaxing break from the usual walking and would prove to be a polarising city to Cairo, which not surprisingly is chaotic. Home to the craziest drivers – period – millions of protesters and food poisoning inducingfoods, Cairo also had a far softer side as we encountered some of the largest random acts of kindness moments.  Haggling at markets proved lots of fun (for Anna at least) Nile cruising after camel rides were all good memories from our time in the scorching heat.  Next stop was Athens, which I didn’t find to be an action packed city, but still proved its worth with amazing gelato and Greek food I need to work out how to make at home.

Now I’m writing this, my second of maybe four updates, from Istanbul. So far so good, lovely minarets, action filled bazaars and a room overlooking an alleyway full of stray cats that our bleeding hearts have decided to take care of.

Over and out for now

Hungry kids in Hungary

22 06 2012

Hi there reader/s,

So as anticipated I am already very lazy with the updates, what with doing things and all. However thanks to this fancy new iPhone technology I’ve put up quite a few happy snaps on the previously mentioned Flickr thingy, and since a picture is worth a thousand words I’ve basically written a thesis on Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.  Highlights this far would be  walking around Prague at sunrise, Zizkov tower, the infinite number of palaces in Vienna (Schloss Schonbrunn was the best though), museum for the artificial language of Esperanto, Szechenyi baths, Momento Park and the views over Budapest from Gellert Hill.  Weather forecast is for thunderstorms until 4pm and our plane leaves at 4.19pm, just to make it exciting.

Til next post

Euro Trip 3: With a Vengeance

10 06 2012

Welcome to the third installment of my self-indulgent blog!  It will be just like National Lampoon’s European Vacation, but with less wacky hijinx and more lame puns and pop culture references.

You can even check out pretty pictures on flickr



19 07 2011

New York, San Fran, Santa Barbara, LA, Fijji – Home!

My apathy for writing continues, so here is the new batch of “Cookie ’round ye world” photos.


Europe in a nutshell

1 07 2011

So it turns out I am hopeless at updating this blog thing. I am too lazy to catch up properly, so here is a dot point summary.

-Venice was pretty by night, but kind of smelly and really overcrowded by day
-Slovenia; Postojna had a sweet massive cave system complete with underground train and there was a castle built into a mountain
-Bled was amazing, possible contender for favourite place, rowing across the lake to picnic on the island, not to mention having supermike row past while having a swim… Oh and Anna asking a five star restaurant for bread and feeding the ducks for hours
-Ljubljana had too many j’s in its name, but the dragon bridge and old town vibe made up for it
-Paris highlight was Parc Asterix! Too long between rollercoasters, i was getting the shakes. Eiffel tower twinkling at night and the view from the Pantheon was fantastic too. Catcombs and La Defense rounded things off nicely, plus best bagettes
-Nantes and the Hamster Villa was well worth the trip to western France, though the best thing there was Les Machines de Lile!! massive yet intricate machines made by crazy geniuses. p.s. Nantes has Duff beer, for real!
-Ireland; Dublin was kind of boring, they have the Millenium spiral which was built in 2003, enough said
-Northern Ireland drive was a ‘how’s the serenity’ kind of trip, and Belfast seemed far more interesting than its southern rival. Giant’s Causeway was the icing on the cake, all worth while
-London, grey Britain, finally saw the changing of the guards, by accident, while following horses, and I bought a cookie monster t-shirt from Harrods (yes cookie is still going strong on the trip)
-Berlin impressed me just as much second time around, there is something cool hiding behind every corner, a place where graffiti isn’t just some kid scrawling his name on a wall, but actually a piece of art. Bike riding was the best few euro spent on the whole trip, and I made it to the Ramones museum. Gaslight Anthem and some of the best food of the trip meant the time went by all too fast
-Iceland drive!! arriving at midnight and being greeting by the sun, it made sense to start driving on no sleep. We fed carrots to horses as we drove through the strangest landscapes imaginable, being blown all over the road, going through fog you could barely see two metres in front and going along gravel paths that the car rental agreement stressed that we weren’t allowed to go along – simply awesome! Anna got the tallest ice cream ever, seriously. Phallological museum was just weird. Black sand beaches seemed to fit in, as did sheep that would just stroll along the ‘main road’. Making it to Dettifoss, an angry gigantic waterfall was my highlight, partly just because it was pretty tough to get to, partly because it was so damn huge. That said, we saw so many large waterfalls they kind of blurred together by the end. Another highlight was iceburgs at Jokulsarlon in front of the Vatnjokull glcaier, the largest outside of the north pole. Skaftafell national park and the hike to yet another waterfall and going to Eyjafjallajokull (in other words that volcano that no one can pronounce from last year) were lots of fun, and finally finishing off the drive via Gullfoss and the Geysir.

Umm, that was longer than I meant, sorry

stay classy

Back in the USSR

3 06 2011

After leaving Russia after our two and a bit week stint we headed north west to Helsinki – finally back in lovely Scandinavia! The city itself was really pretty, but did not have much in the way of entertaining tourists. We caught a boat out to Sveaborg, an island fort that was built to protect the country from the Russians, but they took over a few months after it was completed anyway… After a stroll around the markets by the sea and the main square I convinced the crew to eat at a veggie burger joint, which happened to be next door to a steak house. It was just one guy with one fry pan, and the back of the shop was where he slept. Oh and the burgers were really good. At night we strolled around the city to check out the Olympic site, a pipe statue in a park and a rock church, which was closed.

Our first boat trip (well second if you count the 5 minute boat trip to Olkhon when the hovercraft never came) was across the Baltic sea to Tallinn, Estonia. The Old town of Tallinn is one of the trip highlights thus far. Photos really don’t do it justice, but everywhere you looked was just picture perfect. Also, Tallinn was home to my favourite food by farrrrr. Best pizza, best pancakes, oh so good! Anna and I also took the trip out of town to head to a beach and go for a swim in the Baltic. The perfect weather also played a part in my love of Estonia, but really I can’t say enough good things about that place.

Arriving in the capital of Latvia, Riga, I had no clue what to expect. Once again we were staying in the old town, so it was not too dissimilar to Tallinn in that respect. Lots of pretty old buildings with an art deco vibe. There was also a cool looking tower which looked like it would blast off at any moment. At one end of town were zeppelin hangers, which were surprisingly no longer used for their intended purpose, so were now home to a huge market place.

And that brings me up to the present as we are in the Ukraine. At the airport the customs officer asked where we had come from and when Anna said Latvia he smiled and said “ahh USSR”, make of that what you will. Ringo Starr is playing in Kiev tomorrow night, continuing our run of Beatles vibes this trip, with the statues in Mongolia, the Beatles themed bar in Siberia and then John Lennon’s mausoleum in Moscow’sRed Square (the sign spelt Lennon as Lenin, but I assume that was just a typo). Anyway, Kiev is a sprawling satellite city, but with pockets of prettiness scattered in between. Four more days here –

Tune in to the next thrilling post where
a) Mike will develop super powers by taking a refreshing dip in the water at Chernobyl
b) Dave discovers chicken Kiev in a bag and his head explodes
c) Anna makes the best pesto pasta ever with the secret ingredient of love