Thursday, December 30, 2010

Athens, Spain and UK

I thought seeing as the year is drawing to a close, I'd better finish off these holiday posts so I can finally start talking about other things!! After beautiful Santorini, the BFG and I stayed a few days in Athens, then a week in Spain and then a week in the UK.

The Acropolis


The Parthenon


We went to this sandal maker as it was recommended in the Lonely Planet Guide (which I've yet to return to you Katie!!) It's a very cute shop with poetry all over the place run by three generations of sandal makers. I picked a style, they measured my foot and an hour later, the sandals were made - I just had to wait a while before wearing them as I needed to let the glue dry! They have had heaps of celebrities go there, one being Sofia Loren!!

Our main reason for going to Spain was to eat. It was a toss up between Italy and Spain and in the end, the thought of buying Camper shoes at the source won out. This was one of my favourite places to eat in Madrid - the Museum of Ham!

Royal Palace - Madrid

Symbol of Madrid


We took a day trip out to Toledo on the bullet train - lovely walled city


Suckling pig - yum yum


Marzipan


Creepy sculptures at the Train station - creepy BFG coming out of it's ear included


After a week of eating and being complete pigs ourselves (and a pair of Campers each), we flew out of Madrid and into wet wet London Luton airport. I know Luton from that show Airport (think that's what it's called) and all the fun stuff that comes with flying Easyjet. I have no complaints of either really. It was just wet and miserable when we got to Luton. We had to go pick up our hire car and found out that they do not hire out automatic cars - so no driving for me! We ended up having to drive to York because we had left buying the train ticket thing too late and it was phenomenally expensive. It actually worked out cheaper to hire a car and drive. But seriously, a 3 hour drive took 5 and a half because of the rain and all these roads being closed.

Knaresborough near York - we had a few days in York as the BFG's sister and family lived there. Just what I imagined the English countryside to be!!


The Minster in York


London

I seriously don't recall why I was so desperate to go back to London. It wasn't as fun as I remembered it to be. But I have a feeling it was because I wasn't interested in going to see all the usual London sites (eg Westminster Abbey, the Palace, etc etc) because I did all that last time. In fact, we found London to be expensive, full of people and a bit drab. I wish we had gone to Oxford to visit fellow knitter with the same name instead (next time Lien!!).

I did get to spend a day with a friend of mine who I met through work and also some colleagues in our London office (this was purely social - so no work for me!). The most exciting thing we did in London was:

Celebrity spotting


and eating at Ottolenghi.


Ok, I can't believe I'm going to say this. But I found our trip too long. I'm not saying that 4 weeks off work was too long, but that traveling for 4 weeks is too long. Next time, I'll just go for 3 weeks and have a few days to recover! Anyway, the nice thing about being engaged to a European, is that there are always reasons to go to Europe.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Santorini - Greece

Just outside our Oia house

Church

View from just outside of our Oia house

Island transport

The colourful houses of Oia

Trekking on the volcano

Black sand beaches


If you plan on going to Santorini, I would highly recommend staying in Oia rather than the main town (Fira). The BFG and I aren't really party all night people and so sleepy Oia was just perfect for us. Disclaimer: Oia is only sleepy for about 2 hours in the day, then the tourists from the Cruise ships come up for the views and the sunset!!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Copenhagen

It's been a while since the last post hasn't it? I haven't forgotten about my trip. Lots happening on the home front and most of it not good. I've been so sad, angry and trying to cope that it seems everything is secondary. And unfortunately this blog is one of the little things in my life that gets neglected. But I'm trying to stay positive and get back into life.

Anyway, back to my trip and happier times. We stayed in Copenhagen for 4 days. After the disastrous attempt at riding a bike back in Svendborg, the BFG decided it best if we (or me) not attempt to ride a bike in supposedly bike friendly Copenhagen.


Louisiana - Modern Art Gallery

Kronborg Castle

Finally a photo of me! Nyhavn

Royal Opera House

Cheap cheap raspberries!!

It was September and the Danish elves were already out to play


video

What would a visit be to Denmark be without seeing the Queen?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Odense and Hans Christian Anderson

A street in Odense


Paper cutout by H.C Anderson


3-D paper cutout by H.C Anderson


We did take a trip over to Odense (about a 20-30 minute drive from Svendborg) to go see the Hans Christian Anderson museum which has been built around the house purported to be where he was born. While the house is nothing exciting, the exhibits showing his paper cut outs were amazing. Definitely worth the visit if you happen to find yourself in Odense one day (third largest city in Denmark - so chances could be high).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ærøskøbing

A couple more photos of the Sound (or Sund - in Danish) near where the BFG's parent's live.

Vindeby Harbour


Svendborg Sund Bridge


So the week we spent in Denmark, we had ONE sunny day and I'm so glad we got to go to Ærøskøbing which in on the island of Ærø. This meant a trip on the ferry and the BFG's dad took the car. (If you read the Denmark section in Bill Bryson's book "Neither here nor There", he talks about taking ferries in Denmark and the whole time we were on the ferry I was reminded of his book.)

Ærøskøbing


Church in Ærøskøbing


Ærøskøbing


Doors of Ærøskøbing


Summer house - Ærøskøbing


Smoked Mackeral and beer


We decided to go to Ærøskøbing after reading about it in my very old "Europe on a Shoestring" Lonely Planet guide (the one I bought the first time I went to Europe but didn't read at all the whole time I was there!). But in that guide, they called it Ao which is either an oversight in Editor's proofreading, or they couldn't get the Æ letter to happen on their printers (I couldn't work out how to get these Danish letters to appear either. I've just been copying and pasting what the BFG had typed previously in my Picasso albums!!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Svendborg - Denmark

I had booked our flights to Europe with Thai airways mainly because they let us fly into Copenhagen and out of London for a fairly decent price. Now that I think about it, there is a reason for that. Our flight between Sydney and Bangkok was rather uneventful. Uneventful because the BFG promptly put his headphones on and tried to watch as many inflight movies as he could which meant very little talking. There was a 4 hour wait in Bangkok where I decided that we just had have some Thai food (we were in Thailand!)




The second part of our trip from Bangkok to Copenhagen was really long. Like 11 hours long. Like this is a really old plane and there are no more personal screens, and you can really tell you are in economy long.

When we finally landed in Copenhagen, we proceeded to go buy train tickets so that we could take the train out to where the BFG's parents lived. But not before the BFG consumed what was to become one of many hot dogs. The Danish really like their hot dogs.

On the train, I was thinking how things weren't really as expensive as the BFG was making it out to be. Our train tickets only cost about $12 AUD which I thought was pretty cheap for a 2 hour ride. However when the conductor came round to check out tickets, we realised that we had only purchased a seat and not a ticket. It took me a while to work that one out too - I was trying to come up with all these scenarios as to why someone would buy a seat and not at ticket. I thought it was just assumed that you would be travelling if you bought a seat. Anyway, turns out we had to pay extra for the ticket which actually cost something like $60 AUD each - ok, so now I see how it can be expensive.

What felt like a journey of epic proportions (because by now, I felt like I've had 2 hours sleep and we had crossed a massively long bridge that connected Zealand to Funen), we were picked up by the BFG's parents at the train station.



The BFG's parents live on Tasinge, an island in Svendborg (think Denmark - all islands). Cute thatched roof houses scatter among the apple trees (there are apple trees EVERYWHERE) and rows of houses with their window blinds drawn looking like little display homes line the streets. What amazes me is that there are no mass produced match box houses anywhere in sight and people still live in houses where the roof can be blown away by the Big Bad Wolf!

We went for a drive around, with the BFG's mum pointing out the sights and we had a short stop in Summerland (think that's what it's called) - an area full of summer houses. Below is the summer house the BFG's family owned for a long time and which his grandfather helped build.



While poking around and nosying at other people's summer houses, we picked at wild berries and apples. During the drive, the BFG's mum also pointed out the wild pheasants roaming the countryside. My first reaction was "wow, free food". The BFG's reaction to that was "gosh, you're so Asian".

And we're back

It's been two weeks since we arrived home and it feels like so long ago that we were half way across the world. I'm trying really hard not to dwell on my post holiday blues and get back into work and life in general. Luckily, there was a very cute, very small package waiting for me when I got back. A package in the form of a new nephew. Yep, my sister had another baby while we were away and Baby J (who is now a little terror in his own right) has someone he can pick on (or love - depending on the mood).

The other thing I had waiting for me when I got back was wisdom teeth surgery which I had done last Friday. Because I was getting more than 2 out, I had to go under a general anaesthetic. There is absolutely nothing fun about that.

Anyway, I'm going to start blogging about my trip. Normally, I keep a travel diary whenever I go overseas but this time, I didn't. It's all in my head and I have a lot of photos to help me remember.

This is the second time I've been to Europe. The last time was in 2000, I went by myself and joined a Contiki tour for 3 weeks. While I don't mind the organised tour, I think I had way more fun this time with the BFG doing our own thing. I think what made it so good was that I travelled with someone who I really enjoy being with (unlike organised tours where you're just confined to a bus with people you wouldn't normally share appetizers with) and in the case of Contiki tours - more Aussie bogans than you can poke a stick at. Sure, the BFG and I had a few disagreements while we were away (as the good people of Athens and York can attest), but at the end of the day, I'm still glad that it was him I was with when I found myself with a terrible sore throat and not being able to speak any Spanish to the pharmacist, or sharing the excitement when we thought we were spotting celebrities in London, or even having someone to sit next to on the plane (so you can try both the chicken AND the beef).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Madrid - strike

Just got back from Toledo. General strike on in Spain tomorrow but it looks like the protests have started!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Athens

I'm blogging about Athens just as we're about to leave for Madrid. The BFG and I spent the last two days exploring all the ancient and archeological sites. The Parthenon was the most amazing thing I've seen for a long time. Remember doing "projects" at school? Well I did one on the Parthenon and it's great to have been able visit in person!

We also did an Athens walking tour which I highly recommend even though I thought it was a bit expensive. The two of us have also been eating like crazy! I'm getting fat so it will definitely be back to the weight watchers way of life when we get back!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oia love

We love Oia so much we decided to stay another day. Luckily we can stay in the same apartment I had booked. We're having breakfast at this cafe overlooking the caldera and this is the first photo I can get of the blue domed churches without the hordes of tourists vying for a photo op.

I'm having a really strong greek coffee with my breakfast for the equivalent of $5 AUD. Back home I would be mumbling and grumbling about paying more than $3 for a coffee. Here, wouldn't even bat an eyelid. At least it's a bit cheaper than Denmark where we paid around $8 for a coffee.

Anyway, something else I've noticed here in Santorini? There are heaps of Australians here. That segment they did on Getaway a few weeks ago must have really worked!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oia - Santorini

This is the indulgent part of our holiday. I've booked 3 nights in Oia and we're staying in one these old Oia houses on the cliff. No words can express how truly beautiful this place is. Having left a rather chilly Copenhagen this morning, the warm weather is a welcome change.

We're about to go get some supplies and hopefully find somewhere where we can have a gyros.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nyhavn

We're about to do the very touristy thing and take a canal tour. The clouds are looking rather ominous but it's been like that since we've arrived in Copenhagen.

I have never seen so many tall skinny people with funky glasses in my life! The BFG has been pointing out all the women with legs up to their armpits to me. Oh and the all the stylish people on their push bikes! We did try to do a bike ride when we were still in Svendborg. Let's just say it wasn't the brightest idea of the day. My butt and legs hurt like there was no tomorrow and total distance cycled? Less than 3 kilometres! I had seriously thought we could make use of the free city bikes but I think at the end of the day, me walking would be safer - for me and the Copenhagen folk.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No longer here

Just a quick update until I find an internet cafe somewhere I can write a longer post. But here you can see where the little mermaid should be. She's on loan to China at the moment for the world expo. Luckily the BFG's dad drove us here cause it's not close to the city centre. I'd be pretty pissed if I had walked all the way just to find this!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hello Denmark!

We've finally made it here to Denmark! It's been a while since I've taken a long haul flight and it makes me realise how far Australia really is!

This is a view from the BFG's parent's house on their top floor. They live about two hours out of Copenhagen in Svendborg. We will be going out on a ferry today and it's a lovely day! I was worried it would rain as it did yesterday when we arrived.

Did you hear about the hotel bombing in Copenhagen on Friday? Lucky we weren't there but seriously, the guy was trying to bomb the cheapest and nastiest youth hostel in Copenhagen.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Engaged and on our way

So The BFG proposed to me last Sunday! Just before our mega trip away to Europe. Thought I'd share while we wait for the plane to take off. I love love love this ring. It's the Georg Jensen fusion ring. He said this is the "proposal ring" and we'll pick an engagement together. I thought it was sweet and very "Generation Y" even though we're both so past that!