Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Possible end of the blog
As I have no internet access there I havent had the time or motivation to update the blog and probably wont do for a while.
I didnt get around to doing a story about my Scotland and France adventures. but photos should still be up on www.flickr.com/photos/skaney
Just had Xmas, was good but im still waiting for some snow here! Now I have a job I should be staying in London for a bit and then heading to Dublin when Pauly and Tatus get here.
Anyways, I dont think I will have time to update this but check out my photos anyway they should updated more often.
Oh yeah, I got a haircut so im not blonde anymore!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Basically, what I've been up to is I saw a bit of London I hadnt seen before with my Canadian friend. Saw the Tower of London, Soho and did a fair bit of shopping.
We were then off to Edinburgh for a week. I loved it there, probably my favorite city I've been to.
It was very chilly up in Scotland though, especially on the days we went out to the highlands to see the Lochs and some castles.
The plan was then to catch up a plane to France and spend a week there. We ended up missing our flight due to not realising there was 2 airports at Glasgow. To get an urgent flight to France or London spur of the moment, was going to cost alot of money and it worked out the same price for me to spend another week in Glasgow by myself.
Which is what I did.
Glasgow wasnt as nice as Edinburgh, but lit up nicely at night. I also took a trip out with a French guy, Cyril, that I met at the hostel. We went to New Lanark, which is an idealistic 18th century based town in the middle of the countryside. Theres a nature reserve near here and we went for a walk to see waterfalls.
The Highlands and countryside of Scotland is so nice.
So I ended up exchanging my return flight from France to tomorrow. So Im leaving tomorrow for the Aix-En-Provence in southern France, where it should be warmer.
Might even make it to Monaco over the weekend.
So thats a quick update.. be sure to do a better job of it when im back from France!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The train looked more like it should of been carrying cattle than passengers. Painted a dull grey, covered in dust and you could see armed gaurds pointing their AK's out the windows. Was quite scary.
When we got on it wasnt much better. The seats were so dusty I think I have permanent hayfever. Everyone smoked on the train and with no windows that would open, it stank. Even DJ and Jonno who smoked couldnt stand the smell.
I ended up being a room by myself and got freaked out by the dodgy looking people on the train who were carrying guns. I was certain they were going to rob me. There was no door and they kept walking past, looking in to see if I was asleep.
Aswan was so hot. We had this guy waiting for us that our Travel agent in Cairo had sent against our will. We tried to get rid of him, but he wouldnt leave us alone so we haggled with him until he gave us a good deal on a Falucca ride down the Nile.
A Falucca is a largish boat which has a flat deck with just one massive mattress and a shade over the top. The cruise went up river to Luxor and lasted 3 nights.
On our Falucca:
The first night it was just us on the boat, but the following night 3 english girls tagged along. We also had the captain of the boat (Captain Zack) and his helper (Muhammad) aboard. They 2 guys were Nubians, who are from the south of Egypt. Their alot more chilled out than the rest of the Egyptians. They have darker skin and are taller with a more african appearance. All they did the whole trip was smoke joints and listen to Bob Marley. They were really friendely though and didn't pester us for tips like everyone else in Egypt (even the kids do)
Our captain enjoying a joint:
Our first night we went to this dodgy looking island which was freaky as. It looked like a warzone or something out of the movie Blackhawk Down. There was no roofs on the buildings (mind you it hasnt rained in Aswan in 6 years) no lights, footpaths, roads or any of that. No shops either the people sold stuff out of their house. We ended up going to this house that sold Crocodiles. The guy had baby ones in the tank and also had some huge stuffed crocs, stuffed Cobras and anything else you could think of. I ended up buying a real Croc tooth. It was funny when he found out we were from Australia he's like "Steve Irwin!" we had to tell him he had passed away, he was quite shocked when it found out it was by a Stingray.
Cruising down the Nile was relaxing and we saw all the water buffalos, donkeys and camels along the river.
We were warned not to drink from Nile or swim in it. One of the pommy girls was a nurse and she had told us all the diseases we could get from doing it. But it was too hard not to. The water was suprisingily clear and it got so hot you had to go for a swim every now and then to cool down.
Cruising on the nile:
On our third night we asked Captain Zack to get us some beers. In egypt they recycle all their glass bottles (EG by washing them and then refilling again) so this task involved having to take back our empty bottles from the previous night.
On his way to the village to stock up he ended up getting arrested for carrying the bottles! This is because during Ramadan it's illegal to drink alcohol for the Muslims. But tourists are allowed to though so we had to go to the police station to bail him out by telling the Colonel they were our bottles. Was quite the adventure.
When our boat stopped at Luxor we saw the Valley of the Kings. These are the mountains where the main tombs of the kings are carved into the rock.
In one of the tombs we bribed the security guy so we could take pictures inside (which your not allowed to) After giving him some cash he let us go in a forbidden area then in one of the Sarcophegous's where he took a picture of us all in it! Dodgy Egyptians do anything for some cash.
Our next few days consisted of catching a 5 hour bus, a 10 hour train, waiting at the airport for 15 hours, Flying back to Athens, waiting, then finally going back to London. So we went about 3 days without a decent bed. I was stuffed by the time I got back to London and feeling so crook from drinking the Nile was good to have a rest.
Egypt was a awesome place to see and I'm glad I did it. But I was also glad to leave and dont reckon I would go back there again it takes too much out of you and I think the only way you could deal with the locals in Cairo is if your at the abusive drunk stage. Which was hard to do when its so hard to buy Alcohol!
Anyways that concludes my little trip. Been chilling here in London until tomorrow, when im off to Scotland for a bit. Keep you posted.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
We bought a plane ticket, and that was as far as our planning went.
Egypt hits you as soon as you get to the airport. DJ summed it up by saying "How can you tell whos the terrorist?" Being muslim, they all have the beards, turbans etc. We had a million people trying to sell us deals as soon as we stepped out customs, and thats the way it stayed for the rest of the trip.
Egyptian people will sell you anything, and will keep dropping the price until you buy it. They expect tips for anything, and will offer you any services they can to get it. We got so many locals coming up to us saying "Where you from?" and as soon as you make eye contact they offer you a thousand things they have for sale or can do for you. They are really full on about it too. Like if their trying to sell you a hat, they will take yours off and put theirs on your head and refuse to give you yours back until you buy it.
The same thing happened with the travel agent we met at the airport, we just wanted a taxi ride to a hotel but that ended up turning into a whole 2 days with a guide and personal van to all the sites and accomadation. We did get it cheap, but they kept expecting tips for everything.
The streets of Cairo are insane, the city has the population of the whole of Aus, stuck in a small city with no traffic lights, lanes on the road and no courtesy on the road. I had never seen anything like the traffic there, they drive like their suicidal, and all the cars and bikes are overloaded with too many people. We saw a scooter with 4 people on it. There is also the crazy pedestrians and Donkeys that carry huge loads of crops or bread etc.
Their is also police and army everywhere. They all carry AK47s. They dont look like they have had much firearms training, and alot of them rest on the stocks of the rifles or carry them around by the trigger. The police too, like everybody else in egypt can be paid off with money. All the tourist hotspots also have a big army presence, due to all of the terrorist attacks on westerners in the past. They have manned roadblocks with spikes on most of the roads too.
The temperature is extremely hot, and we didnt even go there in summer. It was about 35deg each day, which is a typical summer day back home.
Our first day we went to the main sights, the first pyramid built at Sakura, then the great pyramids and Sphinx. Whats funny to mention is that the city line ends suddenly, it then goes to sand dunes and the pyramids are literally a stones throw from the city. The pyramids were amazing, the great pyramids are probably bigger than I expected, it was so awesome.
We went for a camel ride around them to get some photos too. After that we went to a Papyrus factory, where they make paper the traditional way and then to a jeweller, who wouldnt let me leave until I had bought 2 rings and 2 necklaces. All these places, and where we had lunch, were run by good mates of our Egyptian guide, so its easy to see where he gets his money back from, I would be certain he is making a commision from it.
Sakura, the first pyramid built:
On our Camels:
Sunset from our Hotel:
That night we came back to the pyramids for a sound and light show, which had coloured lights and special effects on the pyramids and sphinx while this cheesy music and English commentator reads a story. We then went and smoked some "Shish", which is a water pipe with flavoured tobacco.
The next day we went to the Cairo museum, then to see some Mosques and the first church in Egypt where St George was held prisoner for 3 years.
At night we also went to the Hard Rock Cafe, but were disapointed as they weren't allowed to serve alcohol due to the fact it was Ramada. That is a month of each year were Muslims arn't allowed to eat or drink during daylight and no alcohol is allowed. This was a big shock to our system coming from Greece, were alcohol is everywhere!
Cairo was so full on, we had to get out of there, so we booked a train that night to go to Aswan, which is the southernmost city to arrange a cruise up the nile. It was a 12 hour trip on the dodgiest train I have ever seen.
Next stop, Aswan.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
But it is quite close to Turkey, and has one of the best natural harbours in the world, so its always had a fair bit of military involvment. This was noticable as soon as we got of the ferry, army personel were everywhere and we ended up finding a large barracks with loads of tanks, artillery and ships tucked away at the back of the Island. That I wished I could of got photos of, but I wasnt going to risk it.
There is also a large castle that was built way back in 5BC. Perched on top of a very steep hill which overlooks the island and the ocean. This was used in WW2 by the Italians and then English as a fort.
Me sitting on the castle:
Sunset near the castle:
We stayed at 1 of Jonnos distant relatives place as she owned an appartment complex. The rooms were very nice and a bit of a luxury for us. We ended up hiring a car to get around, it was very strange driving left hand drive. We were used to driving on the wrong side of the road by now though.
Left Hand Drive!:
The main town was very small, but we still went out for a few drinks which ended up being alot of drinks. They had this internet cafe with a pool table that was just amazing, it had glass floors with sand and shells underneath and fish tanks everywhere. Very upmarket. The bar staff aswell were friendelly. Which comprised of two local girls and one girl from Sweeden who also spoke very good english. This was a relief as only a small handful of people speak english well on Leros. A funny moment was we ordered shots of Sambucca, and we ended up getting whole glasses of the stuff straight which we had to finish before we left which got us very drunk. The trend continued and we got so many free and cheap drinks. I dont even think we spent much, but got very drunk all 3 nights. There was also a tiny bar where the bartender was also the DJ, he would play anything you requested. I loved hearing all my favorites like Nirvana and The doors etc.
The weirdest thing that happened on Leros is we actually ended up bumping into another bunch of Aussies from Melbourne. Turns out that they are part of the Leros United, a Greek Football club based in Melb and were on the island as part of their 25th anniversary. They invited us to dinner on their last night and we had a big banquet and met some cool guys.
We also met Jonno's Great Auntie and stayed for dinner on two of the nights. She fed us until we almost exploded like most Greek mothers would and then insisted we drink her homemade 65% whisky straight.
The thing I noticed on Leros was, everybody loves modifying their cars and bikes. Just about every car has a loud exhaust, stickers and big wheels etc, even the crappiest pieces of junk. Being typical of Greek island there was lots of scooters around too, which were all tricked up.
We got to see this garage that modify's scooters and they had a 125cc scooter with the works. Pearl paint, customised everything. It had a large oil cooler and braided hoses around the motor. But the thing that grabbed me the most was when he lifted the seat it had a small NOS canister strapped down with a Gstring!
Leros was a good experiance to chill out before we went to the hectic Egypt. I quite liked it, especially the castle.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Next island was Santorini. This is the most popular, and there was alot of American and older tourists around the place.
We ended up hiring 80cc scooters. They were faster than our quads which was good as Santorini was quite a large lsland with lots of hills. Santorini was good for shopping and I finally got some well needed shopping done, as on the previous islands there wasnt much in the way of shops.
As Santorini surrounds an active volcano, most of the island is red and black rock. which includes a red and black beach! We saw both of them and also the really upmarket town of Oia. There was alot of wealthy peoples houses here, and the views were just amazing. You got an awesome sunset there too, which we saw for 2 of the 3 nights.
Sunset at Oia:
Problems occured one morning when we woke up and there had been heavy rains. The Greek islands hardly ever see rain and the drains cant cope with it. So our room got flooded really bad. Our bags with our clothes had been on the ground and they all got soaking wet. We tried to get the hotel to pay for our dry cleaning, but they were quite rude about it and that pissed us off.
So that night as we were annoyed we used the hotel sheets as clothes and made togas out of them. We had a olive leaf crown and everything, looked quite professional. We went out on the town into all the night clubs and was such a laugh.
All the American tourists wanted to take pics with us, I think we made it into so many people photo albums. In the clubs it was funny too, we had alot of local greeks coming up to us and speaking in Greek, assuming we were locals!
Our toga's. I stole that book and would whip it out in the middle of a pub and recite lines:
We met some of the locals:
I found some Coopers Sparkling, what are the chances?:
It was sad to leave Santorini and go to Leros, which we heard didn't have a nightlife. So far on all the islands we kept bumping into people we had met previously and it felt like we all had a little travelling community that we had to say goodbye to!
The ferry back to Athens was very long(12 hours), and it helped that we snuck into 1 of the dorm rooms to get some much needed sleep.
Dont forget to check out this photo gallery for more pics http://www.flickr.com/photos/53604526@N00/
Saturday, October 14, 2006
On Ios I found an awesome bar, the FunPub. It is an Irish themed pub owned by an Irish guy but I think it used to be owned by an Ex-AFL player. Which would make sense as they had AFL gurnseys up, including an Crows 1 which made me happy, something I hadnt seen in a long time. The pub had a pool comp every night which got packed out, and also had other games like a giant Jenga set. DJ had actually worked there the year before, so we got cheap and free drinks. Including the Flaming Lamborginhi, which is 3 shots in a martini glass which is lit on fire and you drink it through a straw while still on fire. Gets you very drunk.
There was quite a few other very small nightclubs which packed out around midnight, including Flames, which I quite liked as they played alot of rock including Rage against the machine and Guns n roses.
We played touch footy with these pommy guys earlier in the day:
The next day we went to go check out the "Far out" complex which is backpackers place with tents/dorms etc on the beach. Apparentely this place goes off peak season, but as that had passed it wasnt as busy. The beach infront of it was beautiful,white sand, warm blue water and was so still.
Beach out the front of FarOut:
We went to dinner at the best resturaunt I went to all trip. It was a mexican place called "Harmony". It had the best food, the Fajitas were served as sizzling meat with all the toppings around it on a tray and you just made them yourself. Harmony also had Hamocks and mattresses around the place to chill out on when your done. We ended up eating with a few Aussies we had met, and 2 Canadian girls Amanda and Michelle who tagged along with us for a few drinks after.
The next day we did a canoe trip. Which included a trip to the local nude beach, some snorkiling and some cliff jumping. We then had a barbeque lunch.
View from the Canoe:
The funniest thing on Ios was the donkey in the valley near our hotel. Every morning at 5 it would wake us up with a huge EEYORE, which would echo in the valley. It sounded like it was dying! The last day when we jumped in the van to go to the port, it gave us 1 last EEYORE just as we got in. Was nice of it to say goodbye.
Our next stop was Santorini.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Our Quad bikes:
The highlight of Mykonos is Paradise Beach, which is regarded as 1 of the best party beaches in the world up there with Ibiza etc. Apparentely we had just missed peak season, in which it is packed, but it was still quite busy. Everybody sunbakes (alot of topless action) and the majority of people are quite good looking from countries all over the place, Italy, France, America, Sweeden, Aus etc etc. It was like walking straight into a video clip of some kind. Their is a bar which sells cocktails, and the bartenders are full of tricks, playing with the bottles, catching them and just showing off. Come the afternoon time, everybody gets into the swing of things on the drinks and it turns into a big outdoor dance floor with everyone still in bikinis etc.
Paradise Beach in the day:
The road down to the beach is of note aswell, its windy and downhill and so us being boys it wasnt long until we turned it into a race to see who could get there the quickest. The best thing about the quads is cos they have 4 wheels you can get them sideways when you apply the rear brake. Was good fun but made me miss my Sprinter! We ended up going to the Paradise club for 1 night which was good, except the drinks were quite expensive. But they do freepour, without using any measuring to pour the spirits in.
The next night we were stuffed and stayed in early, then the last night we caught back up with the contiki crew and got smashed at their resort on cheap ouzo. I felt very bad the next day for the ferry ride to Ios.
I found a Ute:
Overall Mykanos was worth seeing, and if you love clubs and dancing is probably the best island you can go to. Was a bit expensive though.
Monday, October 09, 2006
The next day we went to the Acroplis with his contiki crew, which we managed to tag along for free. That night we spent it at the Acroplis drinking with a view of Athens.
Drinking atop of the acropolis:
Things to notice about Athens is that its pretty ghetto, and there is heaps of stray dogs everywhere. We had 1 follow us back to the hotel where it slept out the front overnight then followed us in the morning up to the acropolis. We then went to the first ever Olympic stadium. Then we were off to organise our Ferrys to the islands. We ended up going to this guy who looked like Nick Giannopoulos, and he wouldnt let us go until we bought a package off him so he kept dropping the price until we got a really good deal of under 400euro ($800aus) for 11 nights on 4 islands, including Leros which involved going back to Athens and then a 12 hour ferry. He hooked us up with some really nice hotels too, and transport to and from the ports.
On our last night in Athens I ended up getting quite drunk as I found the beauty of Greece being that Alcohol is served EVERYWHERE. We would walk down the street, stop for a Yiros, grab a beer. Buy some chips, grab a beer. Get some postcards, buy some beer. Etc etc. I then got my first taste of a hangover on the ferry. Im not 1 normally to get Seasick, but I have definetely felt better. I also discovered the downside of greece, the fact the plumbing on the toilets is hopeless so you cant flush your toilet paper. Instead you have to put it in a bin next to it, which sucked.
Dont forget to check out my photos!!
Back in London
I am absolutely stuffed, in Egypt I drunk from the nile and its made me really sick. I then had 3 days of solid travelling on planes, trains and buses to get back here without sleep or a shower.
I've got the runs big time, a headache and a cough which im resting to get rid of.
Had a great time though, the Greek islands were beautiful and met lots of cool people on the way. Egypt was just crazy, its just how you expect it to be. So full on with the heat, people, landmarks etc.
Anyway I have uploaded a small selection of the pics to my online web gallery here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53604526@N00/
I will also be updating this blog ASAP with all my storys from every place, its just there is ALOT to tell and I hope I can remember it all!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Off to Greece
I got Euro's:
"HEY YOU GUYS!"
I'm off! Seeya's later.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Atleast they died doing what they love.
That is all.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Pass us annuva VB bruz
Without much activity to report I had to post up something.
Just saving up for my trip to Greece/Amsterdam which I leave for in a week and a half, then I will be without my computer for a few weeks so there wont be any updates until I get back then there will be heaps.
Also its Deans engagment party this Friday night... I'm going to do the Australian thing and pull a sickie. Probably have to quit work for when I go away as I've given them such short notice but may get the job back when I return.
Also on another note.. Proper Absinthe from Chezch Republic rocks. 75% alcohol with Wormwood extract. Officially certified to provide a good night and highly endoursed by myself.
Monday, August 28, 2006
It was raining pretty heavily when we got there so I couldnt take too many pics and didn't spend to long there as we rushed back to the car.
We then went to see the Whitehorse of Whiltshire. Theres 7 white horses in this area which are pictures of horses painted on the hillsides with white chalk. They date back atleast 300 years and some of them have been concreted over the years so they stand out more. This one is the most famous one. It was really foggy and couldnt get some clear pics of it, but I got this shot with a real white horse in the foreground, I thought it was quite artistic. Im gonna submit it for the 2006 Artistic Photos of horses award. I think I will win.
Anyways I was supposed to be going to Wales this weekend, but couldn't get off work so I didnt end up going. But my mate DJ from work, whos from Sydney and I are going to the Greek Islands on sept 13 to catch up with another workmate and then we are spending maybe a week there then going to Amsterdam on the way back. As big kev (RIP) would say, "Im EXCITED!"
Over and out, Sean.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Isle of Wight
It was pretty cool.. the balloon is deflated when you get on and then inflates once you are in. Its got 2 big fans out the back which make it move. It floated onto the water with ease and only took 10mins to get to the island. Because the water is quite shallow in parts the hovercraft is the perfect mode of transport.
The hovercraft deflated waiting for passengers:
At Ryde waiting at the bus stop:
Once on the island we had a ticket for a bus tour around some of the island. We had to wait for the driver and then when he rocked up late we were in for the ride of our life. The bus was a double decker with the top story open at the back. We sat up the top and at the back, thinking it would be a nice cruisy tour and we could get some good pictures and see the scenery. How wrong we were. The driver was a lunatic, he drove it like it like he stole it, you just had to hold on. Also all the roads around the island are old and narrow so the hedges and trees are really close. When the bus was speeding along you would have to duck to avoid the tree branches. The bus "tour" became more like an adventure ride. I didnt get to see much of the scenery because of this, but was a fun ride.
Also it should be mentioned that its was warmer on the Isle of Wight than on the mainland. I thought this was strange because I'm used to going to Kangaroo Island and it being colder. I was told it was because it was more south. It was the first time I had thought about that, as I was in the Northern Hemisphere its going to get warmer as I go south, Im used to the opposite, took me a while to get my head around.
On the bus looking forward, note the trees are IN the bus:
The bus driver. Keep an eye out he may be a famous racing car driver one day: