After reading a tweet that lead me to an article about surviving the Tube in London… I was feeling quite nostalgic… so I am going to try and put up a few memories from our travels that might be a wee bit entertaining… 🙂
MEMORY NUMBER 5
Tunisia: Harem for Hire (Click to go to the Flickr Set)
A whole bunch of Blonde British girls were a little hesitant to head into the Medina as blonde women of any shape, size or giggliness tend to attract a bit of attention. They requested to tag along with us… Most of the men we came across looked at me as if I was greedy or something… I had a few offers on the ladies, but none that were acceptably tempting… What would I do with 5 Camels anyway?
MEMORY NUMBER 4
Maltese Meanderings (click to go to the Flickr Set)
When I had finished school for the year and all that was left to do was leave our flat and get on a plane back to NZ… Christine was still working as a nurse and was increasingly more pregnant and uncomfortable as Emily kept growing… so we decided on a Saturday that the coming Wednesday we would go to Malta on a package trip… 4 days notice is awesome. £250 each for an all-inclusive holiday is not to be missed out on!
The start of the holiday was a bit naff – because we are cheap, we took the last tube of the day to get to Victoria Bus Station for a National Express service down to Gatwick which was all well and good, but what they don’t say on their website is that there won’t be anywhere indoors for you to wait for your 3:30am bus!!! Poor 27-week preggers Christine was made to wait out on the concrete for the stupid bus… When we got to Malta, we weren’t able to check in to our room for about 4 hours (whilst we waited in the HOT reception of the rather dodgy Bugibba Holiday Complex). When we got to our room, the Air-Con was broken and a fire-alarm went off due to some nasty little Italian brats! We managed to get a different room that WASN’T in the basement and managed to get some sleep… from there the holiday was lovely – in the pool, out of the pool (x25) in the 40º+ heat! Malta has lots to see and do, but our favourite activity was the trip from Bugibba to the Blue Lagoon – STUNNING STUFF! 🙂 It is a bit of a run-down country, but the people and places to go are rather lovely… some of the CLEAREST water I ever did see!
MEMORY NUMBER 3
The Italian Stallion (Click for the Flickr Photos)
I only called this the Italian Stallion Memory because rumour has it that Emily may have come into being here… apparently you can conceive just by holding hands…
Bergamo is awesome – a place that people usually fly into in order to get to Milan cheaply, we found there was enough there to keep us very happily entertained. We had much to explore and the Old City on a hill was surrounded by an un-touched defensive wall. The best Pizza I have ever had in my life was from a little shop in the old city… I will happily reveal the secret location should you actually be going to Italy and Bergamo. The town was pretty walkable and food and wine was pretty cheap as well…
Day two of our little RyanAir bargain was spent on trains going up to Chiasso in Switzerland, where we walked back to Lake Como train station along the beautiful Italian Lakes. Lake Como has the look of grandeur of a Queenstown, but with HUGE history pervading every nook and cranny. I learned one really important word in Italian which was “Stazzione”… we had no idea where the train station was, so kept asking people “Stazzione?” We blindly followed their directions (which could have been to the bus station for all we knew) and made it to the train station in time to catch the first of 3 trains we needed to catch to get back to Bergamo in time to get to the Airport for our delayed flight! I LOVED the North of Italy and highly recommend you head there if you get the chance!
MEMORY NUMBER 2
The Manly Isle (or the Isle of Man) (Click for Flickr Photos)
It may disappoint the females amongst you, but the Isle of Man is not a storage facility for all the good ones… in fact in June each year, the Island is flooded with crazy people that want to go very fast and knock on people’s front doors with their heads at 180MPH. I don’t recommend dating anyone you stumble across in the Isle of Man in June during TT week, well not until you have the insurance policy signed at least! I am also grateful for the fact that they import tons of nurses to the Island for the TTs because that is why I got to head over and stay with Christine for free whilst she mopped up all the riders that didn’t do so well!
There is TONS of stuff to do in the IOM… Peel was a real favourite for me – the Castle, Harbour and the AMAZINGLY AWESOME Lamb Roast that you get from the MARINE HOTEL on the Waterfront for NEXT TO NOTHING was rather pleasing. Douglas was nice… and no, he isn’t a friendly publican, it is the main town on the IoM. A really quaint seaside town with all the hotels right next to the “beach” where they probably should be. But of course, the real attraction in the IoM is the Motorcycle Racing as there is no speed limit on some of the roads – so I parked myself up very early in the morning on a bit of road where the racing promised to be very exciting and waited for 5 hours for them to call the race off because of low-cloud in the hills… Doh! I caught the practices a few days before, so I did get to see them go insanely, STUPIDLY fast… To be on the island for the 100th Celebration was awesome – no place quite like it!
MEMORY NUMBER 1
BORNEO BACKPACKING (Click for the Flickr Photos)
Playing storm the heights in Sabah sounded like a good idea at the time… I mean, we are kiwis – conquering mountains is in our blood – Kinabalu is half the mountain that Everest is!
We set off on our little stroll up Mt Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo thinking that we would pop up and back and then have a nice cuppa to celebrate… that was until we started the walk. We had a guide that we shared with a couple of Italian blokes that had just tricked some other backpackers out of their limited free space up at the base camp. We all walked together until we realised the Italians were fit and we were a little tardy in the pace-keeping. The longest amount of level ground we crossed was approximately 100m or thereabouts and the rest was walking up STAIRS for 6km!!! The walk starts at around 1800m above sea level and you camp out at 3300m before heading to the summit at 2am for a lovely view of the South China Sea and the Sun popping up for the day. Over the course of 8km you rise 2300m in Altitude – not exactly the walk in the park we were expecting… and of course we hadn’t factored in the effects of high altitude on one’s non-wooziness. It was hard yakka, but we enjoyed reaching the summit. The achievement was mildly numbed by the fact that all the way up and back down the mountain we kept encountering 4ft women carrying 30kg packs and food packages up to the restaurant at base camp… Not a problem for them!!! I REALLY enjoyed the walk up Kinabalu though, and know that the experience has been something truly memorable and significant in my life. Christine egged me on lovingly and patiently through all my altitude-induced mini-hissy-fits and we got there in the end! 🙂