Saturday, July 31, 2010


It is difficult to believe our week in Ireland is over. Tomorrow we fly to London.

A week of beautiful countrysides, warm, hospitable people, rugged coastlines, music, history, more fabulous food, Guinness and Whisky...

Spending time with Tamsin was precious ...

Sooo many photos.... and we managed to get some sunlight as well as the beautiful Summer Irish mist...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

End of Cruise

Well the cruise is over and we are currently in Praha (Prague). The hot weather has followed us all the way and we are now used to tramping all over cities and the countryside without a complaint.
The final evening in Budapest was magical as we cruised up the river to view the city lights from the top deck of the boat. This wonderful city really appealed to me, we had heard so many aspects of the history connecting this magestic city with Communist rule and the cruise was a poignant moment with the opportunity to reflect on how we should value our heritage and lifestyle.
Prague is a similar grand old city.
Today we visited Terezin where political prizoners and Jews were held before being shipped to concentration camps. A very sobering experience and a complete change from other tours.
Off to Ireland tomorrow and catching up with Tamsin and John.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

In the footsteps of Mozart

Salsburg, Melk, Durnstein, Vienna the heart of tourism in Austria.
Huge numbers of ships and buses conveying thousands of tourists to the most popular places.
Surprisingly the tours work like clockwork. We have earpieces connected to a receiver that is worn around the neck. These tune into a frequency and microphone unit used by the tour guide so we can wander around within close range and hear all the information without the guide having to shout at us….
Remind me not to get famous… the thought of a cardboard effigy outside every souvenir shop in my home town is not appealing ;-))
The weather is still warm and many places do not have air conditioning the river is attracting many families who are on Summer Holidays and you can see people dotted along the banks swimming, fishing and boating.

Friday, July 16, 2010


We have left Germany behind and are heading towards Venice. Cathedrals, towers, monastries, castles and lots of steps. So many buildings have been recently renovated, all competing for the tourists and of course we actually pay for the continuing upgrades which attempt to bring the buildings back to their original glory. In Germany in particular many buildings were destroyed during the war and have been completely rebuilt to original plans...

Many buildings and towns have architecture which includes Roman influence , gothic architecture and baroque decoration... an interesting mix .....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Wonderful Experiences.

More beer, wine, ice cream and now sausages, sauerkraut and mustard.
We have reached the highest point in our tour and now begin the descent down through the locks. The Canal from the River Main to the Danube actually passes over highways… it is an amazing construction, which has opened up the water ways from the Black Sea to the North Sea. All the ships are built to fit into the locks and pass under the dozens of bridges, even the steering cabin collapses and no one can stand on the top deck in some stretches because there is the likelihood of hitting your head on a bridge ;-)
In Regensburg we decided to wander around by ourselves. The guided tours are good but I enjoyed the chance to soak in the atmosphere and do some shopping away from the tourist centres without having to keep up with the fast pace.

More photos on Fabulous Places at Flickr.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The River Rhine

We spent several days travelling down the River Rhine and are currently on the River Main. The countryside is GREEN, GREEN, GREEN!!! Such a rich delight.
The weather has been very hot, up to 35C and quite humid. There have been at least 2 tours offered each day but today we decided on taking part in the morning tour only. Most tours include quite a bit of walking and as the sun sets at about 10pm the afternoon walks can get quite warm, especially on streets with cobblestones.
Everyone seems to have flocked to the camping sites along the river for the Summer holidays and even in the cities people walk along the edge of the river late into the evening.
We have had the opportunity to sample some of the wonderful beers and wines and ice cream rather than coffee and cake ;-))
There are many locks in this part of the river so bus tours have been organised to take us to some of the small historic towns while the boat navigates these locks.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Most of Tuesday was spent on the road from Paris to Amsterdam where we boarded the cruise ship Amadagio at about 5pm. It took quite a while to drive out of Paris and it’s surroundings as many people were heading off on their annual summer holidays. We stopped for lunch at Antwerp, in the quaint historic area of the city known for beer, waffles and chocolates. Wonderfully restored and maintained, cobbled streets and buildings around the square offered some picturesque photo opportunities. We were welcomed on board the cruise ship with the usual pomp and ceremony and wonderful 4 course meal.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

City of Bridges

Today we saw Paris from the River Seine. Another perspective on this beautiful city.
Each bridge adds it's unique character to the city scape.
Following the river cruise we went to Montmartre the bohemian artist area. Here the streets are very narrow,. there are many tourist destinations and once again endless cafes and restaurants.
Sacre Coeur the imposing Catholic church dominated the landscape with yet another amazing view of the city.
Oh!!! Surprise surprise... guess who we saw going the other way on the river ???? See Eiffel Tower Surprise...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Eiffel Tower Surprise

A beautiful Summer day showed Paris in all her glory.

We had a morning tour where we we were introduced to many of the significant landmarks including the Eiffel tower. In the afternoon we visited Le Louvre with a million other people. The first Sunday of the month is free admission and with this being the first weekend of the Summer school holidays everyone in Paris seemed to be out making the most of the beautiful weather.

7 million people visit the eiffel tower each year so what are the odds of meeting your own daughter lining up in the same queue at exactly the same time????? Well that is exactly what happened.
We plan to meet in Ireland later in the month but we didn't expect to meet today in such uncanny circumstances... maybe it is time to buy a lottery ticket ;-p

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Kuala Lumpur to Paris in 12 hours!!!

We arrived at 6.30 am and after some initial complications with the pick up arrived at the Hotel Du Louvre where we sat and had coffee and croisants while we contemplated how to tackle the local area in the midst of a thunder storm. Le Louvre beckoned but so did the streets. We decided to plunge in and walk along the river to get our barings. We arrived back soaked but happy and delighted to find our room was ready.... a chance to catch up on some sleep.
There are many restaurents and cafes in the vicinity so we will have much pleasure in testing as many as possible.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 2 Kuala Lumpur

Today we travelled to Malacca with the very knowledgable and talkative Mohammed our "praisworthy" tour guide.

I know more about the history or Malaysia now and have a better understanding of the succession of rulers that shaped the country.

Mohammed also explained the "mind set" of modern Malasians around development and the reasons why this country is expanding so quickly to compete with other Asian destinations. We also saw the extent of the suburban development and the infrastructure of highways and toll roads that are necessary to service the expansion.

Visiting Malacca was like stepping into the past with the opportunity to view architecture and practices no longer common.
It was also great to see so much of the countryside which is palm trees and jungle as far as the eye can see... green, green, green. Of course the day ended with a thunderstorm and we hope to start a fresh shiny new day again tomorrow ;-)

I will continue to add images to Flickr.

Kuala Lumpur

We left Adelaide on the coldest day of Winter and arrived in Kuala Lumpur around 9pm on a warm humid night. Tour East welcomed us but had trouble with their vehicle and after about 30 minutes put us in a taxi for the 45 minute ride into the city. One of the first things you notice as you drive in are the two towers that look like chrystal when lit at night.

Day one was spent exploring the city. Streets of hotels are lined up around the city which seems devoted to shopping. There are huge shopping malls ranging from a market atmosphere to high end brand names from Europe and America. A very cosmopolitan atmosphere and crazy traffic made the day unpredictable but heightened our senses so that we can better appreciate our new experiences.

The temperature is in the low to mid 30s and very humid it makes sense that many people choose to venture out in the evenings and into the night.

Although we explored several of the shopping malls, including one in the twin towers which seem to be a shrine to designer brand shopping, the highight of the day was visiting the Craft centre where there was a display of traditional musical instruments and of course information about weaving, batik, copper and silver work.

The batik material on offer for sale seemed to be prints of the original designs in much the same way that we see many prints of original Aboriginal designs in tourist centres... disappointing but to be expected. Maybe there will be prints made of our marbled fabric one day ;-))