Sunday, September 21, 2008

London tube turmoils

Even after living here for three years, I still tend to have little to no idea where most London tube stations are geographically located (that's probably due more to my complete lack of any sense direction rather than anything else). Never trust the TFL tube map though - the stations may look miles apart on the map, but they're probably a 5 minute walk or short bus ride (much better than traipsing up and down escalators and cramming into another unnecessary train). Check out the suprisingly useful Geographically Correct London Tube Map.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Vale Sally

To All of You Who Ever -
threw a ball for me,
dropped a sausage at a bbq,
left your beer around for me to clean up,
didn't push me off your bed,
gave me your toast crusts
let me slobber on you,
rubbed my ears,
scratched my back
and generally just liked having me around
I said Goodbye, peacefully to Brian and Nola at home, at 4.10pm. on Tuesday August 20th 2008
I've gone to chase balls in heaven!


Monday, August 25, 2008

Three years today

So, it's been three years! (and quite a long time since I posted on here as well!). It's the August long weekend - one of the biggest summer weekends in the UK. Most people are off on summer holidays, some are here enjoying the loads of festivals and events that are on. I haven't gone anywhere - but it's my three year anniversary of the date I moved to the UK today. And what a huge three years it's been. I still can't believe it's that long since i trotted wide-eyed out of Heathrow, thinking I would only be here for three months (hmm, got that a little wrong didn't i!). I still feel like a tourist really - living over here is so exciting and exhilarating, there is always something new around the corner, that you never ever really get bored. And if you do, there's nothing stopping you from planning the next big adventure.

Three years comes at a price though. And these past two weeks has been especially hard to be away from friends and family. But I'm going to see them all for almost four weeks at Christmas, and living in another country for this long means you develop new support networks and loving friends who can make the more difficult things in life more bearable. But still looking forward to some prawns and crisp, cold Chardonnay with my mum, dad, brothers, sister and family at christmas, and some bubbles with friends on the harbour in January. Having the best of both worlds can get tough! :) Happy anniversay to me xxx

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ich bin ein Berliner...

When JFK uttered this now famous phrase in his speech in Berlin in 1963, he was offering his support for post-war Berlin and for a democratic West Germany (not stating, as the myth has perpetuated in English-speaking countries for years, "I am a jelly doughnut" - only Germans outside Berlin call the pastries Berliners anyway). When I visited for the second time in my life this past weekend, it is evident how much the Germans admired and appreciated Kennedy (several monuments are dedicated to him around town) and how successful they have been in rebuilding Berlin into the great city that it is today. The East and the West of town (still in parts separated by remnants of the wall or a cobbled line that commerorates the line where it fell) are unique from eachother and fabulous in their own ways - the West is overflowing with stunning architecture, ancient museums, contemporary art installations, memorials and historical monuments while the East is packed with shabby-chic cafes, vintage boutiques, tiny galleries, waffle houses, eclectic bars and restaurants and 'Imbiss' where you can get the delicious currywurst and pommes. For such a global city, parts of the city are quiet, leafy and beautiful and tell nothing of the horrors and tragedies that the streets have faced just in the last 100 years. It is a fascinating city not only because of its past but the cool adventures it offers for visitors today. I could get used to being a Berliner :) (some pics to come)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spitting camels and other Egyptian tales...

As I write this I am looking out onto the Thames as it stretches into the cold, grey distance outside my office. London is showing small hints of the coming summer here and there but on days like today I just have to imagine I am back on the Nile, sunbaking on a gorgeous blue-skied, sunny day as we cruise along on our felucca. Egypt was unforgettable and amazing - and although we did an insanely quick tour and probably should have lingered a bit longer to appreciate it all, it really was perfect. I have some stunning photos (nothing to do with my photographic skills and everything to do with the scenery) which I will post some of - here is a taster though. This one was taken as dusk settled on the Nile just outside Aswan. We stayed overnight on a felucca, stopping on the banks to have a campfire and a freshly prepared feast of foul (bean stew), tagine and fresh fish, before sleeping under the stars. This was one of the most relaxing parts of the holiday - the major sightseeing delights were obviously the phenomenal pyramids of Giza, the stunning treasures of the Egyptian museum and the mystery of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. These huge touristy events were mixed with more 'local' experiences like a camel ride on the west bank of Aswan through colourful nubian villages and to the top of a mountain in the desert, and a sunset bicycle ride through the sugarcane fields on the west bank of Luxor (after which we went back to our guide's house for tea on his roof).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Next stop Egypt

OK, no remonstrating about how lame I have been posting lately. Sorry all those people out there who are so enthralled in my life and dying for some news! (ok, I'm kidding!). Not-so-new job is still going fabulously. I got my second paycheque yesterday, with correct tax adjustments, and couldn't believe how much more cash I am pocketing as compared to my first job in London! Refreshing to know the difference a year can make! Must resist the urge to go shopping - although have developed a nasty habit for online shopping lately. Not the best idea to go browsing at home after you have had a couple of glasses of wine - last time I did that I spend a hundred quid in about 30 secs without leaving the comfort of my couch. Anyway, I digress.

Easter is coming up and I'm taking advantage of the two free holiday days (note: new job gives me 25 days PLUS a day off for my birthday - Bonus!) to take myself off to Egypt. It is something I have always wanted to do and I can't wait. Only problem is, we are squashing A LOT into 8 days. Ah well - that's what youth is for. Here's my itinerary...

Arrving in El Gouna (on the Red Sea)
Fly to Cairo - Full-day private driver and guide for Pyramid/Sphinx and Khan al
Khalili visits. Sleeper Train to Aswan
Morning transfer to West Bank for Camel excursion.
Felucca on the Nile from Aswan to Luxor
Couple days in Luxor - Afternoon
guided excursion to Valley of the Kings and guided bike excursion through
West Bank villages.
Then back to El Gouna for more sunshine before heading back to London

So exciting! Was a tad more expensive than normal cause of the time of year we are going, but still going to be quite reasonable on the pound.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oh dear, it's been a month since my last post. I have really been getting slack lately haven't i? In my defence, December and Jan are busy times of year and I spent about a week and half over Christmas in the Cotswolds - lazing by a fire and gorging myself on Christmas goodies. New Year's Eve was a chilly gin-filled fun affair at a house party in Hampstead with a midnight stroll up to watch the fireworks on Primrose Hill (not that I remember too much about those!). After all the horrified comments from people from home after looking at my NYE photos and commenting on how freezing it looked, I realised that I have definitely acclimatised to the British weather. Yep it's pretty cold I guess, but I don't notice it so much anymore! So there is hope for all you beach-loving Aussies wanting to take a working holiday - I am proof that you can survive!

Last week was my birthday and also the week that i started a new job, working for a fab publishing house with beautiful offices on the Thames. Although the weather has been a little bit grey, it's gorgeous looking out your window and seeing St Paul's cathedral, the Millennium bridge, and all the boats going by. The pubs are going to be amazing in the summer - I can't wait! (have already been scoping out a few!).

So 2008, the beginning of my THIRD year in London (god has it been that long??), is going pretty well so far. Could it be my last? We will see..