Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Don't pretend you didn't hear me, you ginger slag.....

(imagine Kim and I yelling this at each other on the streets of London in horrible fake cockney accents, and it'll be half as funny as it actually was at the time).....we heard these awful, trashy 13 year olds saying stuff like that to each other. And we though Americans were the White Trash Champions.

So I'm aware I haven't written a blog in a quite a long time. And while it would seem that now is the opportune time to update you all, on our goings-on, I couldn't be arsed. Ok, well, I'll do a little one. But only because I know you're all gagging for it.

Berlin. Lots of sleeping. I mean lots of it. We were lucky enough that of the 4 nights we were there, we only had roommates for the first night, and that meant that the last three, we were alone in a six bed dorm. Ideal conditions for Kim to start on a mental exercise (I mean mental as in crazy, not intellectual) regime to decrease her perceived girth expansion - so while she was lying on the floor doing sit-ups (trying, anyway), I figured it was so cold that I needed an extra layer of padding to protect myself, so I lay in bed eating Ritter cornflake chocolate (THE BEST). After this, there was lots 0' sightseeing, in the form of the Berlin Wall - what's left of it, anyway - Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, and almost every Starbucks and bookstore in town. For the record, I've bought no less than 10 books throughout this trip. I don't regret any of these purchases, but it's starting to get hefty......and expensive. Whoops.

Anyway, loved Berlin. It was relaxing, and Melbourney, and mucho historical. When it came time to leave, I managed to shove my cornflake-chocolate enhanced bottom into my jeans, we heaved on our 17 kilo backpacks, and shuffled off to the train station to get to the airport. Now, I don't want to say that we left it to the last minute, but, well....we did. We left with a little over an hour to get to the airport. And I mean a little over an hour till our plane LEFT. After 40 minutes on the train, I had accepted that we were going to miss our flight, and was mentally planning alternatives, when we pulled into the station, and adrenaline kicked in. I know adrenaline usually occurs in emergency situations, but missing a plane is about as emergencyish as we get, so I made the most of it. With trembling legs and aching backs, we speedwalked to across the concourse, with me yelling at Kim to hurry up, and her shuffling along behind me, bursting into a jog-shuffle when necessary. We got to check in just as it was closing, checked in, hopped on the plane, and that's the end of that uninteresting tale.

Then came London. Once we got off the plane, caught a bus and two trains, we settled in at the Piccadilly Backpackers (once thought to be a pretty great hostel, not so much anymore) and went off to meet the lovely Danny.

Our second London stop consisted of: movies, Starbucks, lettuce-leaves-instead-of-regular-buns-hamburgers, Buckingham palace, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, being hunted down by a squirrel army (ask me about it when I get home, it's still too traumatic), Abbey Road, Chicago, the Tower of London, St Pauls Cathedral, another movie (the new Bond is AWESOME), more chocolate (coffee-flavoured this time), and more sleeping. It was a great week, led by Dan-gerous, who always ends up where he meant to be, even if he ends up there by accident, with lots of photos and more souvenirs than I meant to acquire (a.k.a I spent way too much money).

Got to Hong Kong last night, had a massive sleep in, and now we're shopping. Well, obviously we're not shopping now, but we will be in a minute.

Ok, so that's all for now. I'll see you all in a few days, you'll forget you missed me and wish I'd go away again. Just like old times.



Saturday, December 09, 2006

I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

So....I've been lazier than usual with this blogging thing, but Prague was gorgeous, and when we weren't out getting some culture (and clothes, shoes and earrings) we were sleeping or eating, leaving no time for blogging! Oh, also we were busy being robbed.

Yes, we were robbed. Our private room was 'broken into' (someone had a spare set of keys and snuck in), and one of Judy's bags was stolen, and also.....Kim's DS. Which I had last, and left badly hidden under her doona. How was I supposed to know that was the day we were going to get robbed? Anyway, to alleviate my horrible guilt, we're going DS shopping in HK, and she'll get a shiny new one. Just call me Santa Claus (who leaves peoples' things out to get stolen).

But moving on.....In the time Kim has written three blogs, I have written none. So not entirely sure how this will turn out. Bear with me, folks.

So Prague. The Czech Republic. Awesome.

We had an awful train ride from Rome via Vienna. We were in a regular 6 seater compartment, and for the first four hours, were sharing with a group of Italians who had been in Rome for the march/political rally. They got off, and Kim and I dragged the curtains closed and shut the door in the vain hope of getting some sleep (it was midnight at this point), but alas, a mentally unbalanced hobo got on and had a seat in our carriage. Slightly terrifying, but mostly just VERY annoying. She kept talking (to us, and then when we failed to respond, to herself), and walking in and out of the compartment for no apparent reason, then made several very loud phone calls (at about 2am). Anyhoo, she got off, and we had a little while to ourselves until 4 Americans got on. They were perfectly pleasant, and the rest of the train ride was just shite due to the horrible cramped conditions and constant interruptions to our much-needed beauty sleep.

Despite these (admittedly pathetic) complaints, I still love the trains - planes have nothing on being able to see the entire stretch of Spanish countryside between Madrid and Barcelona or watching Switzerland fly by as our train meanders in and out of the Alps.

Sooooo.....When we got to Prague, we realised we had NO Czech currency, and more importantly no coins with which to purchase our metro train tickets. So, after much um-ing and ah-ing over how much to withdraw, we got some cashola, thoroughly confused ourselves as to how the bloody system works (they have no cents!), bought our tickets, and with a severely pained Kim in tow (I think it was our food combinations on the train....a little dodgy even for us), I troddled off into Praha central to find our hostel.

Found the hostel, settled in nicely (settling in is my specialty), and went to dinner at a cafe/bookshop right across the road. Lovely.

The next day, we went on a guided tour of this little Czech town named Kutna Hora, on the way checking out an intensely disturbing church decorated with the bones of about 40,000 human skeletons (known, not surprisingly, as the Bone Church). The day trip included a tour of the town itself, the mint (where all the pretty, pretty money came from), a traditional Czech lunch, and a tour of the outside of an awesome Cathedral. All in all, it was really cool, and totally worth the however much we paid.

We also had a wander through the Christmas markets. Let me tell you people, if you go to Prague, go at Christmas time. The Old Town Square was absolutely stunning. These amazing old, Gothic buildings surround the square, and at the moment the square itself is chock-full of these little wooden stalls with scarlet roofing and Christmas lights coming out the wazoo. They were selling everything from amber jewellery to these strange round, hollow rolls covered in sugar. It may sound tacky, but it could not have been more quaint and Christmasey, and being the sucker for Christmas that I am, I loved it.

After having two meals at the same cafe, we decided to branch out and have a meal at a lovely tavern just down the road from our hostel, named The Dog's Bollocks. It was AWESOME. Best steak I've ever eaten outside of home (no dad, they weren't better than yours), and we had broccoli and all sorts of healthy things.........as well as a fair serving of booze.

Kim just called me sweet cheeks. It was weird.

OH! The glass factory. We, being the nerds we are, signed up for a tour of a family-owned crystal factory just outside of Prague. When we rocked up to the tour bus, we were (not so) taken aback when we realised that we were possibly the only two on the tour who didn't qualify for some form of pensioner discount. But it was all good, because we're used to being dorks.

The crystal factory was cool. We got to see glass blowing (not really done by artsy gypsy types, but really by middle-aged dudes with a penchant for muscle shirts, sandals, and no underwear - don't ask how we know), and the cutting/decoration of the individual pieces, and then we were allowed into the store to buy silly amounts of fragile crystal.

Ok, trying to keep it snappy...

Crossed the Charles St Bridge, which was beautiful, did some window shopping, went to Prague Castle (old, castley....you'll see pictures), went home via the bookshop/cafe to have some internet time, and it was then that we were found by a hostel employee to tell us that our room had been broken into, which brings us back to where I started this rant.

Needless to say, the theft was distressing, especially to the Judester, who copped the brunt of the loss, but it was also rad, as we were transported to a police station in a Czech cop car, and waited for over an hour to make a statement. Awesome.

So we're now in Berlin (I'll write more about that later), but just wanted to make a sidenote, explaining the title of this blog. I have been clumsier than normal for the past few days. I have so far managed to slip/fall over in the shower a few times, punch myself in the face while getting dressed, fall down the stairs on the train, fall onto my arse getting off the bunk when my feet slipped out from under me, and tripped down 3 stairs at the hostel, resulting in me doing the-almost splits and nearly getting a hernia from laughing so hard. Hopefully this streak will end, but it's not looking good.......

So, that about does it. We're off to find some food (so, nothing new).

Miss you all lots,



Friday, December 01, 2006

You very nice, I give you half price....

As said to us by some greasy, very creep street merchants trying to unload their crappy faux Prada bags onto us poor backpackers......

Okie dokie, so I promised more detail, and here more detail comes. Well, not really, I'm feeling quite lazy, so it'll be semi-detailed.

Colosseum: After meandering around the streets of Rome for a while, Kim and I finally ran into the Colosseum (kind of hard to miss, no?). After avoiding all the people offering extremely overpriced guided tours, we paid our entry and headed into an arena that has been standing (it's still standing, kind of) since 70AD. That's pretty cool. After poking around the lower levels for a while (and getting the best self-photo ever), we charged up the stairs to get a view from the top. The stairs are mental; really big and they've been worn down so they have a definite slant to them. Now I'm sure that they're very historical steps, but surely thats and OH&S thing? We nearly bloody killed ourselves trying to get up them. Or we could just be lazy and unfit. Either way, big steps. From the top you can see the whole arena floor, and it looks like a labyrinth. I don't know what the deal is , but it looked pretty rad.

After the Colosseum we checked out Palatine Hill, which is where Mars' sons Romulus and Remus were fed by the she-wolf before they were adopted by that shepard dude and before Romulus slew Remus and founded Rome (like that little history lesson? I thought you would).
Now Palatine Hill is old, and seriously ruiny. Everywhere you look, ruins, ruins, ruins. As I said to Kim, "some serious shit happened here.....well maybe not here, but definitely over there (pointing to an important looking building)". It's pretty amazing to think about; these buildings had been built for more than 500 years before that Jesus guy came along. Hardcore, I know.

We also had a squiz at the Trevi Fountain. First thing that hit me about it was the number of people there. It was ridiculous, and people were just sitting there, eating gelati, relaxing. I CANNOT relax around that many people. It was tooooooo much for Lisa. So we sat down, took some photos, did the obligatory coin toss, marvelled at the beauty of it all, and went on our way. The water was very clean though, I like that.

Found a pharmacy and bought a truckload of gluten-free food; crispbread, panini, pasta, cookies, you name it, I've bought it, or am thinking about buying it. Cost me a small fortune, but I would do it all over again.

Vatican City: first we did St. Peter's Basilica, which was completely amazing, and enormous, and ornate and ridiculously intricate. But as Kim points out, there's something off about it all. I mean, it's beautiful and was obviously built with a lot of devotion and love, but it's all so sad and horribly depressing*. I even found the Pope's tombs to be depressing, because it all just seems so crass and weird. But moving on...the Sistine Chapel was completely amazing. Not at all what I expected in terms of form, but just as beautiful as I imagined, only fuller and with meaner guards. But it was still mindblowing. No photos though. Poo.

Piazza Navone was gaudy and unappealing, and have never felt more like I was going to be mugged and raped than I did there. NOT a highlight.

Pantheon was old and a little boring (see, I'm getting lazier as I type.....). I succumbed to my thirst despite my "no buying food/drinks near tourist monuments policy, and got a Sprite from near there, and was charged about 6 dollars. Never again.

Tiber was awesome and dirty.

Yesterday went to Ostia Antica and looked at more ruins, which were cool. They put a necropolis right next to the food warehouses though. I know it was 2000 years ago, but mucho unhygenico people.

Ok, must go out and do Roman things now.

More when we get to Prague (in about three days),



*Dogma is totally right. It was more a mourning of faith than a celebration of it. Kevin Smith is a genius, and as soon as I get home and have slept for a week, I'm going to have a Kevin Smith marathon.