Lara's Blog

Friday, 29 September 2006


Cambridge is a beautiful town. I went up for a day trip today. I went punting...
Punting on the river Cam

and was shown a few famous landmarks such as King's College, Bridge of Sighs, Trinity College...

After that i went on a walking tour and saw lots of things! Went into the King's College chapel - amazing building. And i think the organist was practicing - impressive. the acoustics are great. Saw the outside of isaac newton's room when he was in college (they've planted an apple tree outside now!),
had a "cider and crisps" in the pub (The Eagle) where the discoverers of DNA announced their finding for the first time. it was very enjoyable. interestingly students are banned from having cars, so everyone rides bikes! and apparently the older and dodgier the bike and the bigger the basket on the front, the more likely the rider has won a Nobel Prize. Any fancy new bike is most likely owned by new foreign students!!!

The apple tree outside Newton's old college room

Thursday, 28 September 2006

back in London

On Monday it was sunny again (ok this going ot be annoying, the space bar on thisc omputer is sticky so many typos to follow) - so Lara and i made it to the beach !!! yay!! first bit of beach for the year. AND there were awves. it was kinda dumpy/shore breakers, but still fun. interesting to see how the european women all go topless, especially the old leathery ones. So now i've swum in the Mediteranean... (and still can't spell it). Only downfall wast here were all these JELLYFISH in the water. I even got stung!!! but it must've been an old tired jelly fish that got me, cos it barely hurt. i did get about 10 welts on my arm, but they went away in 15 minutes or so. Another thing that's funny about the beach is the amount of pebbles mixed in the dirty sand. I had rocks in my hair, in my pockets, everywhere!
After beach did some more shopping (Barcelona is great for that!) and had noodle paella lunch at about 5pm. Yum.
Tuesday was spent pretty much travelling. took me ages to get to and from the airport (flew into Stansted so the train back to london cost about as much as my flight from Barcelona). So i'm back staying at Chris' - finally met the mystery housemate Tom!
And now i'm in London! Today i went to the Tower of London. That was really interesting - saw the 530 carat diamond amongst the crown jewels. Definitely born into the wrong family. And i never realised that the yeomen or beefeaters actually LIVED in the tower grounds!

went out to walkabout and cheapskates that night...

Monday, 25 September 2006


it was sunny today! yay! so we saw a few more sights: the castell de montjuic on top of the hill (great view of barcelona, wow its a massive city); parc de la ciutedella (ok i can´t remember how to spell it); the gothic quarter; paella (ok not so much a sight... yum though!); parade of giants

but last night... wow....

so we were thiiinking of going on a pub crawl, undecided though. but first we thought we´d see the fire run. this is a parade that takes place every year at this time in order to ward off the plague. the little brochure we had had a warning for the parade, saying if you want to dance with the devils then you need to wear protective clothing, including masks and ski goggles... with this in mind we went in singlet tops with our long hair out.... it was raining, so we stood in a shop alcove for protection. as the parade was approaching by about 930pm we could hear loud BANGS and rumbling. they appeared in teh distance as sparks flying amongst the crowd. then they were upon us! huge groups of people, many dressed as devils with pitch forks BANG loudly and that spray fireworks into the crowd dancing around, followed by bands of drummers playing intensely. we were in our little alcove... which meant there was no where to run and hide!!!!! we were so scared!!!!! we put our umbrella up to help shield our arms. the sparks were flying right at us! then there were the demons, big dinosaurs, pigs, dragons, (and a donkey, random), bulls that would spray a huge amount of fireworks out of them and would careen around into the crowds. There was lots of smoke, very loud noise, and eery drumming. and we were trapped! really got the adrenalin going! after a while the parade thinned out a bit, so we took the chance to run across it to get into a side street so we could make a getaway if we wanted. lucky we did because one of the animals got waaaaay too close for comfort to our alcove! we ended up staying at the parade for over an hour and a half, and it was still going! and pouring with rain by this stage.
i´m not very eloquent with my writing so not sure if i can express it properly, but it was the craziest and most exciting thing! many of the locals, including kids, dressed in long sleeves, hoods, masks, hats and would run through the flames with the devils. couldn´t believe the bravery/stupidity!

oh yeah and we never made it to the pubcrawl. definitelyno regrets about that one!
stiff drink after the fire run!

i highly recommend barcelona to anyone thinking of coming here soon, there are sights, great shopping, and an incredible night life. and if you can come during this festival next year, which started on friday and finishes today, you wont regret it! i think its called festival merce or somethign like that...

Saturday, 23 September 2006

it´s raining...

I´m still in Barcelona, and it´s raining!!! Yesterday Lara and I got up bright and early (7AM!) and caught a bus up to Costa Brava. We went to Palafrugel and from their caught a bus to Llafranc and Calaella. The two little beach towns are picture postcard with their small white sand beaches, sailing boats, white terraces and stone paths. We were planning a beachy day but unfortunately weather has turned and it was almost cold! and it sprinkled a bit. So instead of laying on the beach, we tried a Paella at one of the seaside restaurants and went on a walk along the coast above lots of teh beaches. Very pretty area and it really was a shame about the weather, but still good to see a bit more of Spain! The bus drove through the country side and it was good to get out of the city as well.

Last night we got home and were SO tired, but the Festival started last night and there was Spanish and pop music being played by a band outside our balcony in the Plaça Reill. That inspired us to go out for "one drink". We left the hostel about midnight, the streets were packed!! and a few live bands scattered around. We headed towards the water and heaps of people tried to convince us to come to their bars and clubs. it´s great everyone is handing out free or 2 for 1 coupons or free entry. We ended up in a cocktail bar where the bar tender gave us a free mojito (i guess he was bored??) and when we ordered our cocktails we got free shots too. Such a funky little place with stone walls and couches. There was even a powerpoint slide show with the cocktail list, and the symbol for the daquiri was a mylittle pony!!!!!!!!!! after a while we left their and found The shot bar i keep talking about. unfortunately it was full! so we continued on and went out on to the water. there´s a whole shopping centre out on one of the wharves and up top is a series of clubs. Ended up at an irish cocktail bar, and a band came on at about 2am... playing reggae!!!! (as well as normal covers) veyr random and their really isn´t much like it in sydney. Barcelona really is a party town. and they know how to do it.
so our ¨quiet one¨ended up with us getting back into the hostel at about 3:45am... oops.

And now i´ve just finished the free breakfast, 6 hours later, and its raining outside!!!!!! not sure what we´re going to do today, might have to sacrifice sights and go shopping. poor us :)

Friday, 22 September 2006


well i´m in Kabul Hostel in barcelona. there is free internet, but i can´t get access to a usb port so no photos. (there are also no powerpoints in the rooms so you have to give your electronics to reception for charging! very odd)
i arrived in barcelona on wednesday afternoon - managed to make my way to the hostel from the airport without any hiccups, despite not thinking to check to see HOW i get there until actually on the plane - and not speaking spanish... lucky my europe on a shoestring had a tiny little map that i was able to work from!
had a wander around la rambla. many more people than there were last time i was here, and very warm!! unfortunately, unlike singapore, the air conditioning is really not up to scratch. in fact the hostel turns off the air conditioning when summer is over and it was SO hot in the room last nigth that the windows literally steamed up!
speaking of hostel rooms... Lara and I are in a dorm of eight... the two of us, one american guy and five noisey, obnoxious italian boys. think we got about 2 hrs sleep last night with their late night singing, yelling, opening and closing the door and getting out the fire extinguisher and spraying the room! or maybe i´m just getting grumpy in my old age. barcelona really is a party town. our room opens on to placa reiall and we could hear people partying last night (ie a school night!) til at least 6am.
La rambla still has the bird stalls with all the exotic pets. i took lots of photos of hamsters, iguanas, turtles, snakes, a giant millipede, and these furry rodents with bushy tails and stripes. don´t think they´re chinchillas but have no idea. i dont think Lara quite understands or appreciates my excitement over these pocket pets :)
What kind of animal is this??

Today we focused on Gaudi with Sagrada Familia and Park Guell and a couple of other buildings.
sorry about the sideways view - not sure how to change it
Lara didn´t really like the Sagrada Familia, preferring the stark death side to the busy life side. She liked the park though! I really like all of the Gaudi stuff. It´s so different to any other kind of architecture and design i´ve seen! They´re still working on the sangrada familia of course. will be interesting to see if they ever finish it! While wandering around the park we noticed that europeans seem to over dress for travelling. we were in shorts, tshirts and thongs and there were girls in heels, dresses, excessive jewellery and makeup, and wearing dressy jeans in this crazy heat!! not to mention the smoking...
Mosaic tiles at Parque Guell
Tomorrow we´re going to try to go to Costa Brava. Hopefully we´ll get more sleep tongiht than last, although i don´t like our chances!
Lara is a great travelling buddy! (haha if you´re reading this :P ) we both want to get out and see things during the day, and dont feel the need to stay out all night. and caffie, she brought her hair straightener too! and has been roughing it more than i have :)

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

ok i can't get the photos to work so maybe this will...

kitch ad for cat food on a bus in singapore

st james park

buckingham palace (and it's almost sunny!!)

ok its not working anymore, that must be all the computer wants to let me upload!!

I'm in London!

Well i arrived in Singapore late on thurs night only to be BLASTED with the humidity! it's amazing: midnight and you can wander around outside in shorts and singlets and still feel hot. On Friday i wandered up Orchard st (the main road) but got trapped in one of the shopping centres (horror of horrors) due to a sudden down pouring of rain. Singapore is good for shopping! i think thatäs probably what its known for. I didnät buy anything cos iäm coming back at the end of my trip. Something i had that was cool (haha funny pun!) was a bowl of crushed ice with a bit of coconut milk, pinepple juice and pineapple pieces. Very nice.

On friday night Tony and i went to the night safari. It was great! the weirdest thing we saw was the 'babirusa' pig. the boar's upper canines grow upwards, through the roof of his mouth, curl around and penetrate the skull between his eyes!!!!!

apart from the animals the zoo also had fire breathers which was also impressive

On saturday we went to the markets. The chicken lady had these blue-black chickens. So weird looking. apparently theyäre just that colour and are used for soup. EVerything seems to be used for soup. Later we did something touristy and went on the Duck tour. THatäs where you go on one of those ex miliatary vehicles that are amphibious. So saw a few sights in singapore, the bay is nice. There were all these trees along the coast which i quite liked, but then the guide said it was reclaimed land (creating more land) and they allow trees to grow on it for 10yrs to stablise the new land before chopping them down and building apartments and other buildings on them! So singapore! THey have an opera house which they built... a few years ago, but thereäs nothing to put in it! so the government is putting lots of money back into the arts to try to get actors i guess. thatäs where tony comes in i suppose.

I'm now in london. Had a wander around yesterday and saw a few sights such as buck palace, trafalga sq, leicester sq, st james park, westminster abbey, big ben... St james park is beautiful - and there are squirrels!!! Went into the Royal Mews at the palace (the working stables). Saw horseys and all the carriages. pretty impressive.

Last night i went to Phantom of the Opera. It was great!!! although, i guess it was affected by having run for 20yrs. the cast was no Michael Crawford. But iäm glad i've FINALLY seen it!! when i come back i think i'll see another one... any recommendations?

So now i'm at chris' place in North Clapham. His housemates are great (although i havenät met Tom yet, he's been at his gf's all weekend). Tracy is from Melbourne, Linnea is Malin's friend from sweden (whose computer i'm using, hence the weirdo letters like äöå), Malin is chris' girlfriend from sweden and of course Chris. Chris thinks he might come back to AUstralia in October next year.

I'm going to Barcelona tomorrow to meet up with Lara. Very exciting!