Friday, July 22

London Still.. safe and sound

What a day - not entirely the day I'd had in mind as the las day with Tahnee before she heads home and I'm left here. We went into London after a relaxed but fairly late start with Tahnee's cousin Brendan. After a wander around some shops, we had noted the large number of sirens going by. Lunch in a french wine bar where someone said some bombs had gone off 200m from where we were in the West End. Eventually set off to walk somewhere - Euston station was closed, other tubes in the area were closed. Finally got a cab (after heaps went by with a whole 1 passenger) and headed back to Brendans. Have been watching news - no casualties, only detenators perhaps and not bombs. We had heard there was a nail bomb (ie creat carnage) but BBC hasn't mentioned it. So now things are getting back to normal and later we are getting cab - Tahnee to the airport and me to meet Tessa, a friend of my aunt and uncles. So despite being a bit scared stuck in the centre of london, with lots of police and closed roads and transport, we are out now, safe and sound!!

Thursday, July 21

on my own.. nearly

Well I said goodbye to Mum and my grandfather yesterday, and nowTahnee and I have our last day in London before she leave tonight.. then I'll be all on my own! Got a few thigns planned - Ireland with Emily (friend from Tassie), visiting people and other random things. Should be fun - but it will be sad to say goodbye and be on my own.

Wednesday, July 20

England and onwards

back in the UK now, fortunately we were no where near when the bombs were in London. We have had a great time in Austria, then just Tahnee and I in Munich then Paris. Lots of adventures and fun but not enough time to write about them. Highlights including a free tour in Munich which took us around royal residences, parks, beer gardens and left us near the 'english garden' which had a bizarre man made wave which people were actually surfing on!! They were so kind - taking turns and then getting out and walking back along the bank to take another turn on the wave. Then in Paris we stayed witha delightful SERVAS host family - they fed us coffee and fresh croissants everyday and had a gorgeos baby Salomé. We climbed up part of the Eiffel tower and got a lift the rest of the way to the top, and also climbed up the Notre Dame tower which had a great view of the gargoyles.
We arrived back in the UK yesterday - picked up from Luton airport by my Mum and grandfather. He had come to see his brother to say goodbye, as David is currently in hospital not doing extremely well. He has lung cancer we think, although it seemed to take an extremely long time to see an oncologist and now the only option is palliative care. In the mean time we are staying with his wife Margaret who has had a huge amount to organise by phone today - planning to drive him somewhere from the hospital for a dose of chemo, but then finding he'd had a fall in the night and he wasn't really well enough to travel so cancelling everything and changing plans. As well as that the phone rang non-stop with people asking how he was - so having to explain it all over and over which was clearly painful.
Tomorrow Mum and Papa fly out from Heathrow leaving Tahnee and I to stay a night with her cousin Brendan. The next day Tahnee leaves then I'm all on my own!! I'm staying with a friend of my aunt's in London before going to Ireland on Sunday with Emily Gough. So all should be good I hope.
If anyone reads this feel free to leave a post and let me know any news or comments or anything from home.
Otherwise - I'm having a great time, although not entirely looking forward to saying goodbye to papa, Mum and Tahnee in the next few days.

Monday, July 11


Tahnee has put some photos on her blog (see link on my sight) and hopefully i will get some up today either to here or to my mac site (see other link). And feel free to elave comments on my blog - its nice to know when people have visited!


I am in Austria now. We left Portugal last Thursday. Had a long day flying to London, sitting in Stansted airport for 5 hours, and then flying to Salzburg. ONefun thing was to be in London airport when they announced that Londo won the bid to host the 2012 games. Picked up at the airport by Erika Lange - the wife of Mum´s uncle. (Its complicated, because actually Graham was married to my grandfathers sister before she died.) We were stunned by all the mountains we could see in every direction!

The next day we got a train to Vienna. While we were travelling we had messages from Australia to ask whether we were in London, and were we alright, as it was at this time that the bombing in London became known. We arrived and fuond our hotel where we spent a while watching CNN (the only available English station) until it began another repeat of the same information before embarking on Vienna. We were remarkably dead - managed to walk past the cathedral, have a quick look inside and find a ´kaffeehaus´ for cofee and cake to perk us up a bit. Tahnee managed to take a photo of a scary street performer dressed up as Mozart just for the record but then his even scarier accomplice came and squeeked like mad at us (and made wierd noises) until she point a coin in his bucket... then he blew her a kiss which was equally as disturbing (he was painted white too). We went to an unhepful tourist office, and took a tram loop to sit and watch the the impressive buildings of Vienna go past. There was the apparently necessary visit to net cafe... dodgy but cheap, and near hotel, and who needs to breathe anything except smoke anyway?!
We found a good place for dinner and had a big salad and a plate of mixed meat. And good beer! As we left, our helpful waiter said ´so back tomorrow for ribs?´and we were!

Friday in Vienna: After retrieving Mum from the internet cafe we went to a museum but then found it was free the next day so we left and went to a differnt one. We went to the ´KunstHausWein´which was designed by Hundertwasser. It was also a museum of this guys work. Even the timeline of his life was very interesting - he travelled a lot, particularly to New Zealand. He was behind the public toilets somewhere in New Zealand that are aparently facinating! He was politically and environmentally active, but also had strong ideas on design - straight lines ´are evil´! This meant that even the floors of the buildings were uneven!
Here is one of his pictures:
After the museum, we walked to the nearby Hundertwasser something else - some appartment buildings designed by the same man. From there, we walked along the Danube back to the centre, planning to see the palace from the outside, but instead got the U-bahn back to eat ribs! After our delicious feast accompanied by beer, we gave Mum a headstart at the internet cafe, and then joined her before all collapsing in our hot and stuffy hotel room with a noisy street below.

Saturday: Went in the rain with our packs to the Secession Building (museum!) to see the Gustav Klimt Beethoven Freize, then left our bags there to wander around the nearby market and find lunch in the rain. There was lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as dried fruit, Turkish things (baklava!), stuffed olives and peppers, and further to one end, the flea market part. After fantastic turkish kebabs for lunch, back to the museum, but the rest of the art was wierd (even I think that printed out pictures of planets (the even say on the image `courtesy of hubble´) up different ways are barely worth framing... but maybe I just don´t get it! From there we went to the MAK (Museum Angenwandte Kunst or something which means Museum of Applied Art). Enjoyed another Klimt freize, a Margaret Macdonald freize, and some other attractive art nouveau objects. Another coffee intermission, some more museum (amazingly detailed lace, and beautiful glass) then with our packs to the train station. Apparently we got the wrong train to Salzburg and made Graham wait - i think the other one must have been going through to somewhere else and not said ´Salzburg´on the board... oh well we got the extra stops train!

Sunday: Church with Graham and Erika. It was in german of course, but Graham who has no doubt had a lot of practice translated very well for us. He is in fact not just bilingual but trilingual because he speaks fluent French as well! Makes us feel ignorant! The songs at church were mostly unfamiliar, but those that we knew the tune for were quite old! Lunch was at Graham and Erika´s with Erikas daughter Ruth and Husband, and there 2 girls age 6 and 7. They had little English, but Tahnee and I played with them for most of the afternoon - if we stopped or tried to sleep on the couch they tugged and pulled and tickled us until we did!! In the evening we went to a concert in a castle. It was most enjoyable - despite the solid rain outside, the programme was varied and lively and the musicians all seemed to be enjoying themselves! Tahnee (the discerning musician) says that most of the times they smiled it was because they made a mistake, but I wouldn´t know!!

Monday: It is raining and we got up late, and spent the morning dong emails and postcards. Maybe we will go into Salzburg later. We did some washign yesterday which we took to a friend of Erikas with a drier. In the mean time, i´m wearing 3/4 shorts as i washed my other 2 pairs I have here! Then again thats less material to get wet in the rain!

Tomorrow Tahnee and I go to Munich by train, then a few days later to Paris, and then we fly to Luton (London) on Monday. Mum will pick us up there, and we have another 2 nights in Podington (great uncle and aunt David and Margaret near Northampton) before Mum and Tahnee fly home. My grandfather is flying to London as I type this to see his brother David who is unfortunately getting sicker, and then he flys back on the same flight as Mum.

Monday, July 4


Today I am sitting in a yellow truck which has free internet connected through a mobile phone on the wall next to me! We have filled out Spanish days full of adventures lately, so I'll see how i go recounting them in the time I have.
Thursday we managed to find a skunk funk shop in Santiago (same brand as a couple of things i bought in spain last year, so that was a priority) then went to mass in Spanish at the cathedral in Santiago. Spent some time later at the internet place, rang Dad, pottered around... did some shopping etc.
The next day we drove to Pontevedra where we stayed in a fancy 'Parador' which used to be a solid palace/fort thing. Enjoyed a wander around the area, had a great vegetarian meal after sitting in one of many squares enjoying surroundings.
The next day we set out for Sabucedo having found out from the tourist info place about the 'Rapa de Bestas' festival on this weekend. Eachyear they round up the wild horses from the hills and take them into the arena in this small village, cut their manes and brand the young ones (originating from someone giving horses to a saint to prevent the plague) as well as having another 3 or so thousand ppl for a big party. Anyway, we met a good looking guy with an Australian Tshirt and got talking to him (he was from canary islands, never been to AUs but worked in UK so had good english)anyway... he and his friend bought us coffee, then we wandered around and enjoyed the atmosphere. Later we went to Tui and looked at the cathedral and stayed out of the heat for a bit.
Had a fwe more adventures going to a the langostina festival (lobster) in A Guarda, and then a drive up the coast and back in the mountains in spain, before staying in another fancy building in portugal.
Having fun!