After I got back from my Topdeck tour, my Aunt Susan came to visit us. So my dad, aunt, and I went on a little road trip. The main reason we went was because my aunt wanted to do a bit more research for our family tree. We stayed at the St Michaels Hotel and Spa in Falmouth. It was so nice. Best hotel, location, room (all to myself), and food. I was the youngest person staying at the hotel though. There were mostly older couples. Anyway…
I loved Cornwall. It was so pretty. The locals are very nice and proud of where they come from. I really don’t blame them. Cornwall has a bunch of history behind it. Which of course means there are a lot of really old buildings with stories behind them.
Falmouth = :D
I didn’t know before I visited but Cornish ice cream is world famous and I now know why. I tried some the first night and it was love as soon as it touched the first taste bud. I didn’t care about the calorie intake. I just wanted more of it. I had at least 2 servings (at different times) of ice cream every day I was there. I wish I could import a truck load back with me :(
These are at the Falmouth shops. So cute.
My aunt Susan and i went on the ferry to see the sight while my dad was ill at the hotel. I wished he could have seen the sights. As you can see, it was definetly worth sitting on a boat for an hour. I could have done it a lot longer.
There was an old boat yard with a whole bunch of big, old, ratty sail boats on our drive around town.
We visited Penzance. Of course I had to try yet another scoop of ice cream. Cream and strawberry scone flavour. I remember it like it was yesterday… and there were these boats sitting on the sand during low tide. There were also people walking around them. it was just really odd to see something like this.
We visited St Michaels Mount while we were there. You could only get to it during the low tide otherwise you had to pay to take a boat. It was pretty neat from what we saw. We didn’t have time to go all the way to the top.
My aunt Susan found a man who is a distant relative living in a quiet town. After stopping over at his (unfortunately I forgot his name :/ ) house to talk about the family, he took us to the cemetary to look for an old family members tombstone from the late 1700’s. He was so cute and so nice.
The cemeteries church had to have been older than 300 (maybe) years old. I had been in a lot of churches during my visit to Europe and this was very different. There was a lot of beautiful old wooden carved pillars. The old floors were also different. The imperfections about it made it perfect…
It wasn’t as over the top like a lot of other churches, which I loved about it. Unfortunately you can’t see the details in this picture as I wasn’t supposed to take it in the first place. I had to be super sneaky…
This is a two way road if you can believe it. These roads were the only roads around. It was beautiful but scary at times. All of the sudden there would be a car coming the other way and we had to push ourselve against the long grass to get through.
Just a selfie taken at the hotel… I was so hapy in Carnwall. I can’t wait to go again.
Our final place we visited. We were only there for about an hour and a half so we couldn’t do a whole hell of a lot but it’s gothic architecture was beautiful. I really want to go back to see more of it.
Belfry of Bruges. This is one of the main buildings shot in the movie In Bruges. Good movie. Awesome location :p
There was a lot of good shopping around too. but unfortunately all of my time there was spent on getting my Belgian waffle. I ran around the place and that was my goal. I stopped at a stand in the markets and of course as soon as I get in front of the line after waiting for a long butt time… The guy says he ran out of waffles. How do you run out of waffles in the middle of the day in Belgium, sir..?? So I had about 10 minutes until we had to meet to get on the bus. I remembered a place FAR up the road that was my best bet and alas, I ordered my waffle. “Strawberries, chocolate, and whipped cream please?!” It was majical. Maybe not quite, but it was definetly worth running around for. I couldn’t even stand still to take a picture of it because I had to run back to the group while digging in to the thing. You can see Ivana and Branka in front of me enjoying their waffles while getting some cardio done as well.
So this was the end of the trip. We all got onto the ferry and then a bus back to London. We all said goodbye to eachother and will probably never see eachother again. It would be awesome to meet up with them though. I made some great people. It is intense being on a bus and room sharing with the same group of people for 2 weeks straight. You get to know eachother and then *poof*. It is over. I think it was a relief for everyone to get off the bus though and disperse to their next destination and just relax with no strict itinerary. I was sad saying goodbye and I wish everybody all the best.
I learned a lot about myself on the trip. I am glad I went on my own. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone. It helped me to think less superficially I guess. I am at least slightly more confident then I was before I did this. I learned that there is so much more than my small world that I only knew of living on the Gold Coast.
I will be attending my Dads wedding in Wales at the end of June and hopefully visiting some other parts of Europe during July. I can’t wait!
TIP: Take more pictures from your own device because not everybody exchanges pictures at the end as you expected.
The Topdeck tour that I took was called European Wonder. It was amazing :)
I didn’t take too many pictures this time because I had already taken a whole bunch the first time I was there as you have seen or will see in my previous Amsterdam post. We stayed in the same hostel I originally stayed at which was ok. The night after we got there everybody went out around town. Most of us went to a sex show. Yes… a sex show. It wasn’t as horrible as I thought. I was having fun watching everybody elses reactions while making sure I was in the back of the room next to the bar instead of right next to the stage. After that a group of us had dinner then met up with more people to go and do what most young adults do in the city. I am not talking about visiting the red light district. It was fun in the beginning and then the group moved to a bar which you aren’t supposed to do in our state of mind. People in Amsterdam hate that. The locals were very vocal about it after we arrived but I was the only one who seemed to notice…
I was 1 minute late the next morning to meet up for a bike tour around Amsterdam so I walked in the direction I thought it was until I founf a taxi… it took a while. After I finally found a taxi, I found out I was heading the wrong way. Oops. When I finally get to the bike place my group isn’t even there yet. The bus broke down. Which was good for me since I thought I was late. The bike ride was so much fun. It was awesome in Paris too. I really want to do a bike tour around London when I am hopefully there in the end of June 2014. They really are the best way to see the city. Here is a picture of my bike group. I don’t know why I did this in most pictures with the stupid peace sign… but I did. Damn it.
At the end of the day, the group did a boat tour of Amsterdam with free drinks for an hour. This was our final dinner together so a lot of people went all out that night. Everybody took andvantage. As did I.
Laura and I
Kevin and Portia. Our Tour guide and bus driver. It was their first Topdeck tour. We didn’t know until we got onto the ferry to the English Channel. They were amazing. Nobody even suspected that we were pooping their cherry :p
I found this quite funny since it was in the bar we were all hanging out in with lots of alcohol in our system. People who had done a Topdeck tour before told me that the last night is where everybody gets everything off their chest. That is definetly what happened :p
Before heading to our hostel we visited Dachau. And old concetration camp. It was obviously not a very happy place. Seeing a place like this is really mind blowing. This place wasn’t for cattle. it was for human beings. You have all heard the stories and those stories almost come to life here.
You don’t see a whole lot of wind turbines and solar pannels where I’m from. It is good to see there are countries out their adopting them for the better.
The castle we stayed at had a cute little town just down the hill but unfortunately we arrived too late to be able to visit it :(
This is the castle we stayed at for the night. It had a nice view. Because we couldn’t go anywhere, everyone had an easy night. Except “The Mexicans” of course. They are a group known to like their beer and taquila. They are all very nice and fun people.
I tried a pretzel from the canteen here and OMG. Best pretzel I have ever had hands down.
View of the castle from the bottom of the hill. There were so many casles in Rhine Valley.
After leaving the hostel, we stopped off at the supposed largest cuckoo clock shop in the world.
And then there is just me…
Tyrol, Austria wasn’t too eventful. I would have gone paragliding if the rain didn’t start. We stayed in a cute bed and breakfast like place. It was nice because our group had the whole place to ourselves and there wasn’t much around so we all had a layed back evening. Jenga and cards were played. Kevin was jamming on his guitar. I had a lot of hot chocolate. Others had some strudel. The view from our room was perrdy.
Views from the bus :)
This place is one of my favorites. One reason is because there are no cars. Like everything in Italy it is so old and there is a lot of history. It isn’t as hectic as some other cities. The food is yummy and everywhere you look is worth a second glance. Unfortunately it was a little cloudy for most of the day and there was a bit of rain but luckily it cleared up just before we had to leave. Loved the fact that you can wonder around like it is a beautiful maze. You don’t know where these pathways will take you to but you don’t really care. I also visited the Leo Da Vinci musem which was pretty cool too. Gelato here is fan-friken-tastic. And the gnocchi was also to die for. Everything about this place is like a dream.
Laura and I on the gondola.
I had no idea that he was posing. He was awesome. Even sang a little.
Well… This place is crazy extravagant. You end up walking into every room with a ‘WOAH’. You are also squished up against all the other tourists who are trying to get through. It is almost like a constant moving mosh pit without the hardcore music. I was super sick the day we did the Vatican (really sick.. not hungover sick) so I was trying my best to keep up while taking everything in as well. Myself and I think my whole group adored our tour guide. She was so funny and sweet. Some other guides that we saw were horrendous. We were so lucky to have her. “Mumma’s here!”, she would say to get our attention. I’ll always remember that. I know it sounds corny and odd, but she really did cheer me up that day. I had such a crappy morning, but her motherly charm made everything that much better :)
So this view was amazing less this guys bald head.
Unfortunately because I wasn’t well, I didn’t take as many photos as I should have. Yes there are a lot here already but there is so much that is missing. I really shouldn’t have gone in my state, but I may never go back there again.
Also just being in the presence of Michelangelo’s work was the best part. Seeing his tomb in Florence was pretty cool too. I wasn’t looking at a text book or a computer screen. I was looking at the real thing.
So I have waited quite a while since updating this and regret it. My brain does not like to remember so I will do my best to squeeze everything that I can out of my cranium.
The next stop was clearly Rome. This was a pretty awesome place to visit and experience, but I don’t think I would want to spend a long time there. It was awesome seeing all of the old landmarks involved in the stories you hear in history class, see in movies, and read about in books.
If you have been to Italy you can understand my love for their ceilings. They are friken amazing. This is a ceiling of a church that we past on our long walk through this beautiful city. I forget the name of it, but I don’t think it was one of the popular/famous churches in Rome. Frick it was so pretty though.
There were so many water fountains around that you could supposidly fill your water bottle with. Call me silly, but I wasn’t about to drink it. They are nice to look at, but not appealing enough to ingest it’s agua.
There were a lot of areas where you weren’t aloud to access around the ANCIENT parts of the city that had usually fallen. This one was particularly stray cat heaven. There were a lot but they did a good job at not appearing in this pic.
These are archeologists digging up the ancient ruins of the city just off the main road close to the Colosseum. I love how this city is so mother effing old aas well as huge and we are still able to descover more about it today and in the future.
There were so many people/tourists walking to and from the Colosseum.
So Rome was pretty amazing as you can see on your screen. Obviously better in person. It is so huge too. I am glad we got to see everything we did in just the one day. I personally thought it was very busy and caotic. There is always something to look at and so many things are happening around you. In some ways that is a good thing. It makes things more interesting, but it was too much for myself to want to spend a lot of time there. Oh… and no. Rome and all of Italy really doesn’t enforce the rules of the road. I would never want to get behind any kind of wheel up there.
Pisa was pretty cool. A lot smaller than expected and a bit out of the way but cool. We weren’t there very long. We could look around for maybe 30 minutes. The leaning tower and the area around it was small but I thought it was cute :P
After Pisa we went to Florence. We arrived at the hostel at around 8:30 so a lot of the group had dinner and then started enjoying themselves around the bar. This was another night where I may have had more alcohol than needed but had so much fun. I did some salsa dancing with who everybody called “The Mexicans”. I started becoming a bit more social so I made new friends. I remember giving away a few high fives…
No I did not feel 100% in the morning and was dreading the morning walking tour under my condition. I didn’t even have time to put food in my stomach… So after trying to absorb the beauties of the city, a group of us went to recover with some pizza or pasta. It was so good and helped us out a lot. Quite a bit of the pictures are a pit distorted. That may of had something to do with my hangover…
This pizza was the best pizza I have ever had and it is so simple. It was just tomato paste, cheese, pesto. So yummy!!
After the feed I decided to go visit The Basilica di Santa Croce. Also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories because it is the burial place of some pretty cool dudes like Michelangelo and Galileo. I thought it was really cool to be next to these tombs. Even though I don’t know as much as I should about history, it really does amaze me. I was standing next to whatever was left of these legends =O
This is Galileos
Overall I thought Florence was very unique like every city in Italy. It has its own little charms. I would visit Florence again Unfortunately we were only able to see it in half a day. At around 2pm that day we had to then drive to Rome.
Here is another odd picture of myself.
WOW! I loved Switzerland. It was so friken beautiful. I was expecting to be wowed but it blew me away. Just the view from our hostel room was spectacular. I am definetly going back there.
The afternoon we got there was so much fun. There was a bar at the hostel so everybody seemed to be in party mode. There were some british soldiers there too who were clearly desperate to get lucky that night which brought out their male dickyness.
Somebody on the tour spilled drink on my head as well. Yes it was on accident but it could have easily been avoided…
Other than that it was a fun night. I even danced on a table with some friends. That is one of many things I would have never done before this Topdeck tour. I danced like I had never danced before and was introduced to a german game called hammerschlagen and of course I lost BUT I don’t think I did too badly considering the guy I played with had been practicing for the past few weeks.
The next morning I and half the camp had a hangover but a lot of us went up to the top of the Jungfrau mountain.Otherwise known as The top of Europe. There were so many people who experienced snow for the first time so it was awesome to see their reactions to it.
And here are some awkward photos of me in Switzerland
So… I have had a pretty friken fantasticle couple of weeks.
There is so much I want to show and tell you. Hopefully I can remember everything. I recently came back from a 14 day Topdeck tour around Europe. I recommend anybody do it. Just get off your ass. Stop thinking about how life is in your way of buying that ticket because it isn’t. You don’t neccessarily have to do it now if you honestly can’t. Just plan it and DO IT!
On July 20 at 6am I arrived at the hostel where we were all going to leave to Paris together. Jeaz there was a crap load of people. I was pretty nervous. Everybody seemed just as shy as myself. I tried to strike up a conversation with somebody but I can only go so far into the small talk until my mind goes blank and doesnt know what to say.
We all got on the bus to take the ferry to Calais. I started doing the whole being social thing and met a few people on our way to Paris.
We were taken around the city in the evening. First we stopped at the Montmartre. There were so many people trying to stooge you. We had to keep our belongings in front of us and keep our hands out of reach of people who would wrap string around your wrist until you paid them…
There were a lot of really dodgy areas in Paris which they don’t tell you about in the brochures… There were places like this everywhere.
We then saw a lot of the sights on the bus. Before we went back to the hotel, we saw the Eiffel Tower light up and sparkle. It is very perrdy :P
Laura was my room mate. She is seriously the best room mate. I was worried I would get somebody who would just take over the room, but in the end I think I was that type of room mate :/
Laura and I walked around the city the next day. Let me say this first. If you plan on driving in Paris, just don’t. The traffic is always horrible.
So we arrived at Notre Dame first. I thought it was beautiful. A little bit too touristy but still amazing.
Then we headed to Le Louvre. The crowds were crazy for the Mona Lisa
Oh and the toilet at the mall next to Le Louvre was selling coloured toilet paper. There was even one that said Happy Birthday :P
We crossed Lovers Bridge
And we also took a bike tour around town which was a lot of fun.
After all that, we went to a cabaret. It was ok. I was a bit picky because I have worked in lighting behind the scenes in a community theatre. I thought it was super cheaply done compared to how much it actually cost… It was fun to watch everyone else have fun though.
We had to wake up early the next morning (like every morning on the trip) and get on the bus to Switzerland. :)
So my Dad surprised me by taking me to a Bon Jovi concert. Bush (they were amazing) and Kaiser Chiefs opened. I am so happy right now but of course that took time away from the whole blogging thing I am supposed to be doing. I will be seeing the Rolloing Stones tomorrow so i don’t know how much time I will have to spare then either…
Jeez louise! I am too tipsy right now so of course I am letting you know that I will be sleeping soon after you are able to read this post. I am excited about tomorrow…
Yes. I just wanted to let you know that I am back in London in one peice. You have probably had more sleep than myself in the past couple days than I have in a week so I am going to bed now. I think I am going to Wimbeldon tomorrow so I don’t know when I will have time to update this thing. Oh but when I do you will be super jealous you weren’t sitting next to me the whole way :P
Paris was is different to what I expected. I expected the cliché posh city with everybody being lovie dovie (which it was) but as somebody on the tour said it was “scruffy”. It has beautiful history, architecture, food, and yes the people here have a bit of an attitude. Most of Paris is not happy hunky dory though. There are a shit tone of people out to scam you and poor people living everywhere which is understandable since it is a large city that is in a recession. I would love to say more about Paris but I don’t have much time when I can just sit and use the interweb. It was an awesome experience overall that I am happy to do once. Paris was never on the top of my list of places to see though. It was worth it.