Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Office...



Well, peak tourist season has just arrived and Kristian has moved to Athens now for a while...Although Im working hard, the office view aint so bad..

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What the..?

Occasionally the reality of living in a foriegn country which is not predominatly english speaking crosses your mind as slightly strange and wonderful...but when I was reading the warning precautions on the back of a newly bought tin of turps it was down right funny!!

Check out the photo below....Turps: Warning: Do not breat vapour, keep away from children, store in a cool dry place, yada yada....then "do not empty into brains"...

What the..?


Friday, June 09, 2006

Greece - Santorini

Well ive been in Greece for almost two months now and it is starting to feel like home (although home never did have this many tourists!) The island that I live on, Santorini, only has a population of 14,000 people but during the summer months has about 500,000 visitors, so its starting to get more and more crowded everyday. Luckily we live in a big double story place (nicknamed “Malibu Mansion” ) which is away from the centre of town (about 5 or 10 minutes walk), so where I live remains peaceful even when the towns are full. When I first arrived here I wasn’t sure what to think, we had to use a bucket to flush the toilet (because the button was missing), there was no water pressure in the house, donkeys (which wear loud bells) walking past the bedroom window every morning and to top it off the island sits on top of an active volcano (the last time it erupted was in the 1950’s). Coming from London where you cross paths with millions of people everyday, the fast paced lifestyles and coming to somewhere so relaxed, slow and a bit run down was bizarre. But the toilet has been fixed, ive gotten used to the donkey bells (and the owner even says hi when he trots past), and I can have small conversations in Greek. I am taking lessons from a chick who teaches at a primary school in another town and I can even read and write the Greek alphabet…. Yes, that’s right I’m changing my name to Maria!

One word to describe Santorini would be breathtaking. It has the most spectacular views…When sitting on the edge of the caldera, as I do everyday, with Frappe over lunch (‘cause there aint such a thing as a latte here!) its like sitting on the edge of the world half way between the ocean and the sky. Spotted around the edge of the horizon are other smaller islands and if you can catch it at the right time the sun sets as a colourful backdrop. On the opposite side of the island are the black sand beaches…most people get around on motorbikes or 4-wheelers to get to the beaches (the buses are real cheap, but you would be lucky to get a seat). On the beaches there are loads of beach bars where you can pull up an umbrella and deck chair (already supplied) and be waited on while sipping at your G’n’T listening to some great chill music pumped out by the one of many bars…..

It is a fantastic island, but Santorini is like Disneyland for serious tourists…and we are the backstage crew!! From the outside the place seems picture perfect, groomed and everyone is uber wealthy and super lucky to be living on such a luxurious island. But the reality is that most people here work 12-14 hours a day…everyday, for the entire summer saving money to afford to live through the winter! Even the donkeys are up before dawn and don’t go back till just before midnight. There is a very strong behind-the-scenes local community….some greek, other not. Most of the ‘locals’ were originally people who came for a summer working holiday and have been doing it ever since…just coming back for 6 months of the year, every year. They have seen everything that goes on on the island…and have some outrageous stories, both good, bad and hilarious. It’s a comforting feeling to know that some one is always looking out for you…but they are always looking for new gossip to tell others too!





The balcony view from the local coffee shop (you will find me here everyday)


Black Beaches

Spain - Granada

Im still waiting on photos for this post...i will update in the near future...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Czech Republic - Prauge

We are in Prague now and will be for Christmas till the 28th......if we thought we had seen snow before than we were wrong....
Weve managed to find our ways around prague a little more now...we are staying in a cosy hostel and the others here are very friendly...we were given a christmas pudding and bottle of herb liquour from some French guys staying here...We have had a little squiz around the town but are trying to save all that for Christmas when we are staying right in the middle of old town...



Till then we are doing some day trips..one of which was to a place 45mins east of Prague called Kutna Hora...among other things it has a church decorated with human bones...it was originally considered the holy ground of the area..so everyone wanted to be buried here...approimatly 40,000 people were buried and when the area was destroyed around 1500 all the bones were dug up and turned into elaborate chandeliers and other decorations covering the inside of the church....totally unreal sight...


Friday, December 16, 2005

Czech Republic - Brno

Brno is the second largest city in Czech and is very industrial. We hadnt planned to spend an time here (and apparently not many others do either-it was a very tourist unfriendly city)...but this is where our flight from London went...

Castle Spilberk (see photo below)is probably the only tourist-friendly attraction in Brno. The castle sits very high on a hill and watches over the town. It was built some time around 1200 and was later taken over by Napoleon...he himself actually spent a lot of time there while he was organising his military...He used the rest of the castle as a prison..the upper levels for the political prisoners, where the torture was far less and the underground crypts for the hard-core prisoners where torture was more severe...

Then in WWII the castle was invaded by the Germans and used again as a prison...mainly for political prisoners...but this is the worst part....it now a museum and it had (among other things) a book on display that was bound using human skin!!!

Later in the day we visited a crypt which was under a church in the middle of the city. There we found rotten corpses on display (in glass cases) for the public to view and get as close as they wanted...yuck! There was a total of about 50 corpses, some dressed in silk and gold, others just in loin cloth (if you were of lesser rank). It was a shock to the system...we left quickly.

We decided to catch a train to Cesky Krumlov the next day which is said to be the most beautiful part of Czech.


Czech Republic - Cesky Krumlov

YES! ITS SNOWING!
We have waited for this snow for so long now..we were told that it might snow in London..it didnt..we thought it might snow in Brno..it didnt, just -3 and wet..but here we are in beautiful Cesky Krumlov and its blanketed in snow and the flakes fall from the sky! Mind you its awful cold too!

Cesky Krumlov which is towards the southern border near germany...its known to be the most picturesque part of czech and it really is...its towered over by a huge castle and its bascially a car-less city beacuse the stone paved streets are so skinny that you cant drive cars around them...The temparture is sitting between -3 and -1as the top tempuature when the sun comes out at around 1pm...

More on Krumlov later.....








Wednesday, December 07, 2005

London

Ok, a little late in updating the website..but we have been rather busy organising ourselves and sightseeing around London. We were lucky enough to have Curt to offer us a room in his house in Golders Green while we were away in Thailand. One of his house mates was moving out and we thought it a great opportunity considering we had not already organised accomodation for London. Golders Green is in the North West part of London and has a large jewish community. So dont be expecting anything to be open on Saturdays! The place we live in is a 4 bedroomdouble storey place and there is a total of 6 people living there...the house is big, has central heating(phew!), a backyard which occasionally you can catch a squirrel running around, and a BBQ (maybe more useful in summer).


We hav done a little sightseeing too..we took a day trip out to Grenwich and checked out the meridian line, took a stroll around hyde park, big ben, st pauls cathedrel, and westminster abby...We caught a fair share of tubes and are well aware to Mind the Gap now!







Friday, November 25, 2005

Auyttaya

Ok...its the ancient capital of Thailand about 90kms north of Bangkok...it has lots of ruined temples (lots!) that are all over 500 years old...we only styaed here one day and saw about 8 temples and took a boat ride around the city (its an island)..