Monday, March 12, 2007


Originally uploaded by Miss-E.
Test blog to try and update photo profile take two...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

20p to pee ...

Have been relaxing into the London share-house lifestyle at Nikki's. At the moment there are 9 of us (I think) in a 4 bedroom house, but after my hosteling experiences, it seems like a luxury hotel! I think the other housemates must be used to having people stay too, as I've met a few people in the kitchen whilst making coffee in my pyjamas and they don't seem perturbed. Nikki's loving having a girl in the house too, as the other 7 housemates are all guys ... (don't worry, I'm leaving the toilet seat up!)
Nikki and Tom have been working a lot, so I've been amusing myself still during the weekdays and they take turns showing me things when they have time. My favourite things so far have been the amazing markets here! On Saturday Tom took me to the famous Camden markets and on Sunday Nikki took me to Brick Lane and Spitlfield (sorry bout the spelling!) markets. They're vast! And so many things to look at and choose from! Both secondhand and new; bags, shoes, clothes, jewellery, books, crafts, amazing food (obviously just new, no secondhand food ...) there's always something to look at ... I'm a little concerned about the weight of my bags ... but as long as I can get them to Heathrow and check em in, I'll be ok.
We also had a bbq at one of their friends house one night, a lovely couple with Irish and Scottish backgrounds which made for some beautiful singing and old songs. I let my side down tho, but not knowing all the words of 'Waltzing Matilda' when requested tho!
Yesterday I took an 'Explorer Day Tour' to Salisbury and Stonehenge. Salisbury is a small town about an hour and a half outside of London, and is home to the Salisbury Cathedral which has the largest spire in England, at 123m. The cathedral was huge and had many great stories etc. I'm enjoying doing a few tours, as the guides have all been fabulous! So enthusiastic and animated, it makes it easier for me to remember and become interested in their stories, as history hasn't always been my forte.
The weather was pretty bad tho (for July that is) it was very cold and rainy and this only got worse when we reached Stonehenge. We took a bus from Salisbury to the site, via a really nice country back roads way that took us past the Weekend-Manorhouse-Home of Sting! This is where Madonna actually met Guy Ritchie and they ended up having their honeymoon there after paparazzi found out about their other planned destination (I told you the guide was good!)
Seeing Stonehenge was amazing. You can only get within about 20 metres of it, but its enough for a good look and some photos.
Today I'm doing another walking tour, but this time around London. Its the 'Magical Mystery Beatles Tour' and I'm really excited! And tomorrow I'm taking another day tour, this time to the Cotswolds and Oxford. Should be good! Will also have the same guide as for the Stonehenge tour.

I think I've mentioned it, but I am having a lot of trouble (as in no luck) logging onto my mostlysunny email account and don't know what's wrong with it. So I haven't checked it since Sunday 26 June. I have just set up a temporary account, if you HAVE to email me about something, send it to but only if its important. I will be back home in a few days anyway ...

I love a sunburnt country ...

My Country

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins;
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army.
The steady, soaking rain.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greeness
That thickens as we gaze.

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The saphire misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the bushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Dorothea MacKellar (1885-1967)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Finding my way around London ...

The last few days I've been enjoying the amazingly huge galleries here, and exploiting the time I have to enjoy them. It's really liberating having a whole day to explore just one gallery. Yesterday I checked out the National Gallery and was once again (like at the Met) blown away by being so close to the actual paintings that I have seen hundreds of reproductions of, but this time for real. The National Gallery had a whole wall of van Gogh's including my favourite: Sunflowers. There was also a whole wing of old, religious art, which I usually don't appreciate, but since visiting the Vatican Museum and also attending a small tour which spoke specifically of one piece, I now can understand where its coming from and really enjoy it a lot more.
Yesterday was also Kathryn's birthday, and we (her, her boyf Julian and brother Robert and myself) went to the Savoy Theatre to see the Ratpack show from Las Vegas. It was really great. There were 3 impersonators of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr. They performed for over 2 hours all my favourite songs in the style of one of their original caberet shows, with a full band on stage, back up singing/dancing girls, lots of jokes and on-stage banter between songs. I loved it! It must be great having so many shows on offer all the time, it was such a big thing for me, but fairly normal by now for Kathy and Robert!
Today I explored the Tate Modern. Its on the banks of the Thames and is a new gallery of modern art, opened in 2000 in an old power station. I think the building has caused some controversy, but I think its great! They had a doco showing in one of the rooms about its design/construction etc which gave me much more background info. Kathy, Robert and I saw the Frida Kahlo exhibition there on the weekend, but there are 2 or 3 more huge floors of art that I looked thru today. Its probably getting old, but the whole: 'wow! I can't believe I'm standing infront of this real Matisse/Picasso/Warhol/Pollock etc etc' again. At some points they also have these Audio Points where you can listen to different sound clips of info about a particular artist or work, very useful. And the view of the Thames and London from the huge windows is also amazing.
That's about it for now, I've been kinda playing it by ear, so not sure what I'll be doing over the next week. I've found a few walking tours which would be good, since I really appreciated the one I did in Munich; at the moment the Beatles ones are interesting me most! Miss you, and I'll see you soon! luv E x

Post it

Ok. So somehow I seem to be touching some sore points with some Americans out there. I don't know how or why you've started reading this, but I'ld like to remind you of what appears at the beginning of my blog: "I've created this blog so my family and friends can keep up with my first ever (!) round-the-world adventure!"
This is my first time ever outside of Australia and I'm loving it. However, I am also realising how much I love Australia. I know its not for everyone. These are my thoughts based on my limited but growing knowledge of the rest of the world, its history, and my little place in it.
So keep reading if you want, but try not to take everything so damn personally. While you've been picking up each negative comment, you seem to be ignoring all my other, even little compliments. These are my overall views, where is your overall sense of proportion?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

London's calling ...

I arrived in London Saturday morning after two short flights from Rome. Now feeling like a seasoned traveller (it'll be 8 flights in 6 weeks all up) I don't even listen to the safety thingo, just check for my exits.
On the Rome-Frankfurt flight, I had my first proper single-serve-friend, 'Fight Club' style. (for those who don't know, 'Fight Club' is a v v good movie with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Ed's character describes the people you sit next to on short flights as 'singe-serving-friends' as everything you get on the aeroplane is single-served). I don't even know what this guy's name was, but he and his wife were travelling home on separate flights from a week's work/holiday in Rome. He'ld travelled a lot and although American, actually knew of areas of our great continent apart from Melbourne and Sydney. He was also aware that Australia is made up of states, that we do not ride kangaroos, and that it is not usually necessary to collect water in tarps during the night as we have running water now (sorry, long story based on strange conversations with two Americans in Sorrento. If Bill O'Reilly and George W Bush are still reading, I'll sorry guys, but I just seem to be meeting mainly 'those kinds' of Americans, and I feel like I'm teaching 'Australia 1.01' every time ... I do realise you are not all like that and that America has done some good stuff ...)
My newfound complacency in flying was tested tho as I managed to get myself lost, not once, but twice folks! in Frankfurt airport, and got to do the whole running madly with my hand luggage to my boarding gate, only to be kept waiting for 20 minutes longer on the plane while they waited for someone even later than myself.
Kathy met me at Heathrow and got me quickly adjusted to the London lifestyle and Underground etc. I've spent the last 4 or 5 days with her and her brother Robert at their flat in St John's Wood, just around the corner from Abbey Road. They've been doing a great job of showing me London, and especially the damn good food, restaurants, bars, cafes etc.
As they both work during the week, I've been spending the daytimes doing the tourist thing. I finally gave in and did one of those bus tours, but being in London, the red double decker open top bus doesn't stand out so much. It was also a great way to see a lot in a day (there is so much stuff!) and learn a few interesting facts. I know kinda know where everything is ...
Today I wandered thru the National Gallery, part of which was closed as the Queen was there having a look! She's lent a number of her paintings for a current equine-themed exhibition.
Today is Kathy's birthday (Happy 23rd Kathy!) and we're off the the theatre! It'll be my first West End show (and only for a while ...) its a Ratpack themed one and should be great.
Tomorrow night I finally get to catch up with Nikki! Yay! Love to all, sorry about morning-talk style of entries, but have fallen behind and need to catch up. Will try again to log onto email ... take care of yourselves, and each other ... E x

Ok, so I'm a retard ...

Sorry, I thought I was outta time ... woops! I can't seem to log onto my email tho, which is annoying ...
... anyway ... so where were we? After 3 days in Sorrento, and now at least 6 shades darker (yes folks, it is possible) Nat and I made out way back up to Rome where we would stay with some more family of mine. This family didn't really speak English either, but on the up side, I had met some of them last year when they visited Australia! Nat's Italian is really good tho after her 2 months in Latina, so we got by ok.
My cousins etc were really great and made us feel very welcome, we also had a quick 1 and a half days to do as much more of Rome as we could. Friday was our main day, with Nat and I exploring the Vatican city etc. We actually go to see the Pope! as we where passing thru la Piazza di San Pietro, just before he was off to see someone important about something important, so we waited for half an hour for our half a minute glimpse of him. The Museo Vaticano was really hot, stuffy and busy, so we saw as much as we could, making our way to the Capello Sistino at the end. It was amazing! We spent the rest of the day relooking at somethings I had already seen so Nat could get photos (or rather, I could take photos of her standing in front of them). It was really good to just get to wander and people watch etc.
Nat left that night for Latina, so I was forced to speak Italian for myself with the fam. I did ok tho. I was actually a bit disappointed that I had to leave the next day, as I reckon another week or so and I'ld be pretty fluent! Oh well. Both my uncles have said I am welcome to stay with them whenever for however long, so I'll keep that in mind ...


The family friend, Liliana, who I was staying with in Latina, also had her niece from Canberra staying with her, Natalie. Nat decided to come with me on my trip to Sorrento, and I will admit, it was nice to have some company! The trip there was an adventure enough, with a bus and two trains, taking about 5 hours all up. When we finally arrived and found our room (two stories up, no airconditioning and facing onto a busy street) we spent the afternoon exploring the 'beaches' and the town. Its definately a tourist town, but still all oldy and cobbledy streets etc etc that we'd seen all over Italy and loved. Sorrento is famous for its Limoncello so there were lots of lemon related stuff.
Our three days here were all very hot (mid to high 30's) but perfect for the holiday part of my holiday. Our full day there fell on my birthday (all cleverly planned of course!) And while I chose to not acknowledge the birthday thing at all, it was perfect. We just wandered around, found a bit of 'beach' to ourselves (and 12 other slightly less-obnoxious-than-usual tourists), sunbaked, swam and had a great time. I'll explain: most of the 'beaches' in Sorrento are private and connected with the hotels. So us plebs either have to pay 15 euro to use the beach, or find the few areas still available, and the beaches themselves are tiny and have black/grey 'sand' not at all like Aussie beaches, but suit the area the rest of the town is beautiful! (sorry but gonna have to wrap this up!) That night we had a beautiful Napoletana pizza followed by attending the local Sorrento 'musical' at Teatro Tasso, a song and dance affair depicting the history and different aspects of the culture and lifestyle of the region. Buon compleano!

Recapping ...

As you now know from my quick last post, I'm in London and all's well.
My last week-ish in Italy was wonderful, and very hot! After leaving Rome I spent a few days in Latina with some family friends. Latina is just a regular town, and it was nice to escape the insane tourism of Rome, and as I was to discover, most of Italy. While Latina itself is a relatively young town (started by Mussolini after the second world war) it is surrounded by many old villages, either fishing villages along the coast, or farming villages along the mountains. So we took many walks around, admiring the teeny-tiny old cobbled streets, with their tall old buildings, monuments etc. These were little places like Anzio, Nettuno, Monticchio and Sermoneata (sorry bout the spelling!) I spent an evening with some family of mine in Monticchio, my Nonna's brother, Zio Toni (Zio just means 'uncle') and his wife, kids and their kids etc. We had warned them that my Italian wasn't very good (ie, very bad) but they either ignored this advice or forgot, as none of them spoke any English! We managed to get by, but it was kinda frustrating. I also felt a bit like an animal in a zoo! They were wonderful tho and showed me the house that my Nonna lived in, where my Nonna and Nonno lived and where my Dad was born, and also a lemon tree that my Dad planted when he was five years old! They were the ones who took me to Sermonaeta as well, it is a beautiful old (700 years!) village, which is literally clinging to the edge of a mountain! It also comes with its very own castle! It is becoming a bit more tourist-y now, but mainly among the Italians. The castle was about to close, but Zio Toni told the guy I was from Australia only for the one day and they kept it open for another 45 minutes while we looked around. My cousin managed to find a book which had both English and Italian explanations so I could follow better what was going on. (I have more photos and stories about the day, but will leave for my fam and anyone else whose interested another time).

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Sorry for silence, have been having great time and fun in Italy. Now in London, arrived yesterday. Will email more soon.
Thanx to all for birthday messages, was really nice quiet day. First birthday I've ever managed to spend sunbaking on the beach and swimming the in the Gulf of Naples!
Take care, will be more in touch soon, luv E x

Friday, June 17, 2005

Roma, a city of contrasts ...

Feeling much better this morning, and having made a list (I'm good at them! Just cos I'm on holiday doesn't mean I can't get some control!) started on my day. I am feeling accomplished in manner of hunter-gatherer and all little baby-steps are to be counted. There are the basics (find place to sleep - done; find food - breakfast, coffee and chocolate croissant, included at hostel - done) I then moved onto bigger things: find food for day of sight-seeing at supermercati, done! Buy Metrebus ticket, done! Try calling Liliana again, which also involves finding telephone without someone sleeping in it or no suspicious puddles near it, done! done! done! Buy ticket for the train to Latina, and try doing it all in Italian, done! (Vorrei comprare una biglietto per il treno a Latina, domani mattina ...) Catch Metro Linea B to begin sightseeing, done! The Rome subway is so much worse than New York, maybe it seems so because I was warned so much about NY tho. And Zandra, the Rome subway DOESN'T HAVE ANY AIRCONDITIONING!
I don't want to bore you with all my sightseeing tales, but will give a list of what I saw: Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps, Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), Pantheon, Bocca della Verita (The Mouth of Truth), the Roman Forum, Palatine and il Colesseo. Everything is so huge and amazing! It doesn't matter that my little camera doesn't have a zoom, it still won't fit everything in. And besides all these sights, I'm constantly looking around and up at everything amazed. All of the buildings must be older than the oldest buildings in Australia. My love of the New York apartment fire escapes has been overtaken by the Italian apartment shutters, and the colours! Greens and blues and those beautiful yellow-oranges!
There are thousands of other tourists (ok, well maybe only hundreds at a time) at all of the landmarks listed above. All taking there own photo of it, and who am I to complain, I did the same thing at most. There are souvenier stalls at all places, and beggars, and people dressed in old costumes offering to pose in people's photos (for a price of course, everything for a price ...)
So along with everything else I tried to take in that little bit more - people watching to try and pick the locals from the tourists, the Italian tourists from the other tourists. And then laughing at a restaurant owner, trying to get all the stall holders and buskers away from his alfresco dining area and diners. A small boy (looked about 8 years old) wanted to play his piano accordian, near them and the restaurant man was so red in the face, pleading: capito me! capito me! The boy defiantly played the first few notes of the Godfather theme before running off smiling!
By a city of contrasts, I mean it has some of the most beautiful landmarks, buildings, artefacts, art etc, yet is really dirty. It has this amazing wealth of history yet poor people begging on nearly every street, homeless people and many souvenier stall holders trying to cash in on it all.
Its incredible tho. I still can't believe I am really here.
Heading south to Latina tomorrow (yes, just like the pasta!) to stay with Liliana and her daughters, before going a bit further to Sorrento, on the Amalfi coast. Here I plan to celebrate my birthday next week.
Love to you all, I don't feel so lonely anymore, I just read your emails and am so glad the internet exists! I accidently deleted the last two emails I had received tho, before reading them or even seeing who they were from (I could try blaming the keyboard ...?) I did get the ones from Francesca, Vanessa, Belinda, Lauren and Tim. So if you've emailed and I haven't replied and you're not one of them, sorry! Could you try sending it again ... Ciao! E x

When in Rome ...

... initial excitement of being in Rome soon wore off when I arrived in the city at the Stazione Termini. It was huge and bustling and busy and hot and people shoving and being rude and streets not well named, and streets running in strange directions to each other and my backpack being really heavy and me still being tired and me getting confused and lost and people trying to sell my knock-off designer bags and when finally finding my hostel me having to wait for an hour and a half before I could actually go to my room and all I wanted to do was have a shower and sleep.
Eventually got my shower and sleep, but mood still not good. Decided to wander around. Had some people ask me questions, but I didn't understand. Then tried to call family friend Liliana who I will be staying with for a few days. She wasn't answering but the phone kept giving me a recorded message in Italian, and I didn't understand. And whilst in the phone box this woman just stops right outside and pulls down her pants and does the longest wee imaginable and I'm feeling like WHAT IS GOING ON?! WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!
Ended up walking back to my hostel and must have looked awful, cos this waiter at a restaurant I passed asked me what was wrong "you shouldn't be sad, you're in Rome!" And I'm all like: "I know! It's my first day in Rome and I was so excited and now I'm just tired and frustrated and sad and lonely!" Anyway, he's taken pity on me, brought me a glass of champagne to celebrate my first night in Rome, tissues (I must have looked like I was about to cry), found me a table and chair, a cigarette (yeah, I don't smoke, but I was lonely and sad in Rome, why the hell not!?) and a delicious serve of Tiramisu. However, the best thing Mimo (yeah, seriously) gave me was this advice: it is better to be alone, that to be in bad company.
After this, I felt a bit better, declined his offer to accompany him to a club after he finished work (kindly), went back to my hostel and slept very very well. Dare il benvenuto a Roma!

Auf weidersen Muchen!

My last full day in Munich (or Muchen, now that I'm practically a local ...) was busy. I added two new phrases to my repetoire: Sprecken sie English? and Ikh ferstaye nihkt! (I don't understand). Please don't mind the atroscious spelling, but I've since buried my phrasebook at the bottom of my backpack and am still trying to stop saying Ja instead of Si, now that I'm in Rome ...
I did the Dachau concentration camp memorial tour and not sure what to say really. Its pretty overwhelming. This year marks 50 years since the camp was liberated, and that still seems really recent to me. I'm glad I went, I'm glad I know, but not sure what I can do with this knowledge now.
From there I visited Lenbachaus. Its a mock-Etruscan villa (I only found out what that meant when I went there too, it means that orange-yellow style Tuscan villa) its a gallery filled with some old German art I've never heard of, a few new artists/exhibitions and one area filled with the work of Blaue Rieter group, which includes the work of Wasily Kandinsky who I studied in Year 12 Art. Had similar feelings as when viewing famous art pieces at the Met. Also strange as all descriptions in German! Was good experience in the universal language of art! But with the new work and work unfamiliar to me, it was a bit frustrating. I guess its the designer in me wanting to know the 'brief' to understand the 'concept'.
Munich was pretty amazing. Being my first European city, I couldn't get over all the huge old buildings and historical stuff. All the information I had was about 5 pages I'ld printed from the Lonely Planet website before I left, but it was great just to wander around, looking. There's one square, Koningsplatz with 3 huge Roman-style buildings with columns and everything on 3 sides. Grass in the centre and cars (all small, not like NY) and bikes zooming through. It still feels surreal. I was sitting there with this amazing view in front of me, old German men playing chess on massive boards in a park next to me and I could hear someone singing opera from a nearby music and art school (also in a massive old building).
Was getting a bit lonely tho, so decided to give in and speak to one of the many many Americans staying at my hostel. Ended up with a small group, we got some food, watched the soccer (Australia v Germany, no comment), tried to find a beer hall, all closed, tried to find an Irish pub, not very busy, so ended up in all places A BLOODY AUSTRALIAN PUB! Glad to find a couple of other Aussies tho. Comforting to hear a normal accent!
Early start the next day on the train back to the airport. Also experienced the universal language of getting-frustrated-with-bloody-ticket-machines! This woman explained to me (in German) that the machine didn't accept 20 euro notes, but somehow I understood.
Was v v tired on plane due to only averaging 3 hours sleep for past few nights, but now due to actually being out and doing stuff (oh, and hostel dorm snorers) rather than my usual insomnia. Was too excited to sleep tho, and amazing view of the Alps and my first glimpse of Italy etc

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

When in Munich ... eat pizza?

Have arrived safe and well in Munich. Strange German keyboard, so excuse any mistakes please! Short night (so v v tired) as overnight backward from NY. Had quick walk around city and made plans for tomorrow (only full day in Munich). City is beautiful and old, my first taste of Europe! Airport is 40min out of Munich so nice view of countryside, paddocks (sorry, fields!) trees etc on way in. Unfortunately not much green in city, but definately smaller than Cycling v v popular in Munich, even special lanes for cyclists, also trains, trams and many lions! Everywhere recreated in all types. Walked to Marienplatz this afternoon to see Glockenspiel and its special chime and puppet routine. It onlz occurs about 4 times a day. Building is huge, took some pics, hope they work.#
Ja! Have had bier! Meant to order small, but combination of Happz Hour and language barrier I ended up with half a litre! Hostel is verz busz and noisz. Too manz Americans! (Sorry Z!) Probablz more to write, but too tired to think right now! Prost! to you all! Missing zou more each day, but each day new experiences and closer to home ... am happz to be here, but yzou know me! hugs etc E xo