Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Four days to go...

Only four days to go till I hit the sunny sands of California! We're flying out of Gatwick early on Saturday morning and I can't wait. Who would have thought going on holiday could be so stressful though? I'm beside myself making sure everything is organised - hotels in four different cities, rental cars, insurance, tickets for various events, etc etc. Lets not even get started on packing. I might need another holiday to get over this one! It's the longest one I would have had in ages though. Since moving to the UK I have been the queen of mini breaks - managing to see countless cities and countries on weekenders and four dayers. My longest holidays have been only a week or 10 days, so I'm relishing two whole weeks of relaxation. I just hope Paul and I don't kill eachother - living together and holidaying for two weeks together are two different things! :)

We're flying out of Gatwick, so will avoid the protests going on at Heathrow against the construction of a new runway and the consequent affects on climate change. While so many people are bagging out the protestors and dismissing them as 'dirty, troublesome hippies' I for one are thankful that there are people out there making a stand when so many of us are too lazy to bother. As a traveller in complete appreciation of the wonders of seeing other places and countries, I still feel guilty about the impact all my air travel in the past year has had on the environment. And I think more measures should be put in place to reduce these impacts - and of course it is major operators like BA, other airlines and major airports need to think more about. Sure, I am feeding the market just as much as other people, but we use these services because they are available to us. If Heathrow needs to build another airport to relieve congestion - fine. If it's going to result in even more opportunities for air travel and more airlines, then no, it's not. Maybe we'll all just have to learn to take the train more instead.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Well - that's it. I'm all alone. My family has completely abandoned me. Not only did my sister choof off home from Germany in February but now my brother went and got his work permit rejected and flew back to Australia for good yesterday. How inconsiderate of them all. I guess it's perhaps my fault for choosing to live over the other side of the world...

Being apart from your family sux. And it's not like my family is a huge lovely-dovey/can't live without eachother entity - but it still sux being over a 20hour flight and a couple of time zones away from the people who've known you since you were a snot-covered, nappy-clad little brat and love you anyway. It's times like these when I have to focus hard on the cool things I am doing over here - my flourishing (?) freelance career, my impending trip to the US, etc. Getting homesick is definitely a big part of living overseas, for me anyway, although you will find plenty of people who it doesn't bother at all. Something tells me no-one would knock back a cuddle from mum/dad/the family pet every now and again though.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Land of Smiles

Since this is a travel blog, I didn't think it was too off-topic to spruik this cool little documentary my little sis has made. Check it out - Land of Smiles is a snapshot into life in Thailand and the refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border where she visited and worked for a few weeks.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Weekend in Bristol

The trip to Bristol was a massive success - and I'd highly recommend it for a day trip or weekend out of London. If you don't mind quite a smallish city, or students, I think it would also be quite nice to live there. Eight of us went there for a couple of nights last weekend - some by car and some got the National Express bus for about 15 quid return (if we booked earlier, the prices were at about 5 quid return - bargain!). We stayed near Clifton which is one of the nicest areas in Bristol, with endless cafes, boutiques and rows of stunning Georgian houses. There is also the world's first suspension bridge (see pic), which spans the river Avon and a massive green gorge - a landscape that reminded me of Australia. My photos from Saturday aren't that great as the sky was a bit grey - but we did do a little boat cruise around the canals of the city which was a great way to explore (and was only 4 quid - another bargain!). Friday and Saturday nights were spent frequenting the wide variety of bars/restaurants/pubs in the city (some definitely better than others) and Sunday was spent walking up to the gorge, and down it for those who could be bothered (not me). After stopping for a late morning Pimms at the beautiful Avon Gorge Hotel we then spent a really nice afternoon at the Bristol Zoo and Gardens (complete with a Calippo - something I always used to get when visiting Taronga Zoo as a little'un).

All in all, Bristol was better than I expected. It has some fascinating architectural sights and an interesting history - in the time it was basically the centre of the British slave trade and since this year celebrates 200 years since the abolition of slavery, there are a few interesting exhibitions and a lot of awareness being raised about the event and this part of Bristol's past. Bristol is also the home of the 'art terrorist' Banksy - and his great artworks/designs/graffiti (whatever you want to call it) can be viewed in various spots all over the city, most notably his design (see pic) which is on the wall of a sexual health clinic. It was a really interesting, fun weekend - so Bristol definitely gets my recommendation as an English destination.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sunny summer times

It's been a brilliantly sunny week (finally!) and obviously I've been too busy out and about to update my blog more regularly... This weekend, in our quest to help Ben see as many UK cities as possible in his last couple of weeks, we are off to Bristol. I picked this destination completely randomly, so I'm hoping it will be ok! I've heard some nice things thankfully and to be honest, all we need is a couple of nice restaurants, some bars and some sunshine and we'll be happy (although Shell is campaigning for a visit to Bristol Zoo). It's the children's magazine editor inside her.

Since he is departing UK shores in a couple of weeks, Ben has taken himself off to Edinburgh and Newcastle this week. He was a big fan of Edinburgh (I hope he did the ghost tour I never got to do) but I think he hasn't been that impressed with Newcastle! Ah well, there's only so much excitement you can get from a mini replica Sydney Harbour Bridge I suppose. I quite liked Newcastle but I think it's the kind of place that is better to go with a group rather than on your own (at least you could then compete with the hideous amount of stags and hens). London-wise he's still go to on the Eye, and we all went to see Avenue Q a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if I mentioned it, but it was brilliant! It is hilarious and well-worth seeing, but perhaps not with your grandmother. It's possibly the only musical I will ever see that involved a puppet sex scene.

There's also a new Dali exhibition on at the Tate I want to go see. So much to do, so little time....