A Travellerspoint blog

Signing out

sunny 23 °C

Well it is all over, finished, done, no more. It is a bit sad really. Coming back to Australia – I can marvel at the clear, blue sky, the colours of the earth and olive green vegetation. The roads are wide and the people friendly and they all have an accent! I am also reminded constantly how dry it is – water restrictions in force, a lot of dead or dying plants in the garden and a thick layer of dust on everything.

Life will get ‘back to normal’ whatever that is, with work, school and sport filling in the hours and giving direction instead of searching the internet for accommodation or flights, visiting museums, photography, drawing and eating out.

I would like to thank family and friends who followed our adventures from afar on this blog or in the newspaper articles. It has been very encouraging to find out people actually were interested in seeing what we were up to. I have enjoyed the writing and photography and because other people were reading it, I tried to get the information as accurate as possible.

The last thing I want to share with you are some of my drawings that I did in each location we visited.
Barcelona:
Barcelona_..Familia.jpgBarcelona_..de_Born.jpgBarcelona_Park_Guell.jpgBarcelona_Plaza_Rieal.jpg
Granada:
Granada_Al..el_Vino.jpgGranada_Al..eralife.jpg
England:
Norfolk_Blakeney.jpgNorfolk_No.._Churdh.jpgNorfolk_No..thedral.jpg Northborough.jpgLondon_Roy..rt_Hall.jpg
Scotland:
Edinburgh_.._Hostel.jpg
Prague:
Prague__Ch.._castle.jpg
Berlin:
Berlin_Bra..rg_gate.jpg
Venice:
Venice_Can..Gondola.jpgVenice_Pia..Barnaba.jpg

Over and out

Debbie

Posted by dworgan 06.10.2007 20:44 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

An unplanned stopover in Frankfurt

Just when you thought all the adventures were over …

semi-overcast 16 °C

Well we were finally on our way back to Australia – not really looking forward to the 24 hours of flying time and about 36 hours traveling time, but resigned to it.
But things didn’t go as planned. Max had stacked a bicycle in Barcelona the day before. He grazed his arm and got a handlebar punch in the stomach but seemed to be OK, just the aches and pains we would have expected.
The problems started in Frankfurt after the first of our leg of the journey home the next day. We had to wait for about 4 hours in Frankfurt, and the stomach pain didn’t seem to be getting better so we thought we would just take him to the clinic at the airport – fill in a bit of time!!! They did some tests and were not happy with the colour of his urine. Apparently his kidney had been bleeding. They didn’t want him flying on for a few more long flights, so suddenly our plans of being back in Australia in the next 24 hours were put on hold.
Max was OK so long as he didn’t move too much and the wheelchair and airport buggy rides were a novelty. We then had to go to the Frankfurt University Hospital for more tests and an ultra sound. By about midnight when the doctor suggested that he was fit to we had really missed our connecting flight so had to find a hotel for the night. We did meet some very friendly people though at the airport and hospital, and got to have a day looking around in Frankfurt the next afternoon - not Max though – he spent the day not moving on the airport couches.
Doctors, tests, taxis, phone calls to rearrange flights to Australia and in Australia, additional fees, accommodation, and prescriptions – it turned into an expensive little operation but we had to do it.
After finally getting an all clear from 2 doctors we were able to continue our journey 24 hours later, now re-rerouted through Bangkok instead of Singapore.

wheelchair_service.jpgAirport_bu..ankfurt.jpgMax_feeling_sick.jpgHPIM3072.jpg

Posted by dworgan 28.09.2007 23:30 Archived in Germany Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (1)

Barcelona is a Festival

sunny 32 °C

We are back in Barcelona again on our way home after 6 months on the road. It has been quite a time. We have experienced every emotion from amazing and inspiring to annoying and frustrating. It hasn’t been easy all the way – arriving in a new place takes a lot of work and research to get a basis of information – town map, transport map, where to buy tickets, exchange rate, accommodation and not be ripped off, internet, ATM, food, opening and closing times and usually all the information you can find is in a foreign language. But it has been worth it.
Coming back to Barcelona was like getting home – we knew most of the information already and had the language too. We visited some old haunts – bars, restaurants, internet cafés and plazas.
True to form, Barcelona turned on its major 3 day festival of the year just as we arrived. That meant that there was a lot to do and events to see but also that all the shops and markets were shut for the whole time.
Part of the festival was the Giant Parade. Lots of different characters – dragons, kings, queens, jester etc dance around the street to pipe or drum bands. They are like enormous puppets, with a person walking inside them. They only come out once a year so we were lucky to catch them.
The best thing we saw was the ‘Casteller’ competition (human castles). It was fantastic to watch as about a hundred people all dressed in white pants, wide black sash belts and coloured shirts, work together to build a massive tower of people at least 7 levels high. They are well practiced and quick so the poor people on the bottom don’t have to hold everyone up longer than necessary. As the tower grows in height, the climbers get younger and smaller and the very top 2 people are just kids about 5 or 6 years old, climbing with crash helmets on. As they pull themselves up to the top, the crowd is focused on those little bodies climbing up so high. No one makes a sound, then as they reach the top a unified cheer of relief goes up from the crowd and the bands start to play. Everyone is happy and pleased for their success. Coming down also has to be done carefully and in strict order but they seem to just slide down everone’s backs. We saw 3 ‘castellers’ and each time was just as exciting and tense as the first.

castellers_lower.jpgcastellers.jpgcastellers_red.jpgdragon.jpggiant.jpg

Posted by dworgan 26.09.2007 02:47 Archived in Spain Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Venice by boat

The best way to see Venice is from the water

sunny 24 °C

Venice is really a city on the water and the canals replace streets in all respects. There are passenger ferries, ambulance boats, police boats, private boats, water taxis, construction boats, gondolas and even the occasional hoon. Walking is the only other option to going by boat.
We bought an all day ticket to explore a few of the 117 islands that make up Venice.
Murano is famous for the production of Venetian glass. We saw a glass blowing demonstration and they make it look so easy. Of course there are glass shops and glass jewellery and all sorts of souveniers everywhere. But it is very nice. Next we motored over to Burano famous for lace making and restaurants. These islands are similar to Venice with canals and bridges but a bit less built up and some of the houses are painted in attractive, bright colours. It is all very tourist oriented though and felt like we were a commodity they had to deal with. Next was Torcello with an old monastry, but by this stage we were all a bit worn out from walking and tourist sites. The boat back took about 1 1/2 hours but we got to see Venice in the setting sun and it was great for photography. After some pasta for dinner we thought we would try one more boat trip down the Grand Canal through the centre of Venice. It was very pretty and stopped at the Piazza San Marco where we saw 3 classical groups battle it out for the crowds’ attention. The problem was the boats were slow and very crowded and we didn’t get back to the bus stop to go home until the last bus, so we had to end our day by getting a taxi home and taxis can demand any price they like at that time of night.

Venetian_glass.jpgsunset.jpgMurano1.jpg

Posted by dworgan 25.09.2007 14:31 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Venice

Venice – a world of its own.

sunny 27 °C

Venice really is different to any place we have seen. Yes, we knew it had canals, yes, we knew it was beautiful … but to see it, is really like a fantasy world.
Venice itself is a collection of 117 islands separated from the mainland and the only access is by a long causeway for cars and trains. Even from the distance the silhouette of the domes and towers is clearly visible.
I thought there were perhaps a few canals and those places were always on the tourist promotions and postcards – but in reality EVERY street is a canal. There are lane-width canals, street-width canals and highway-width canals. There are cute curved walking bridges 0ver the smaller canals and just 3 bridges or water transport over the larger Grand Canal. All the supplies, produce, and a lot of visitors arrive by boat. There are police boats, water ambulance, water taxis, gondolas and private boats … the canals are very busy … it is fascinating to watch. And there are no cars at all on the walkways through the canals. All the buildings are old and some a bit dilapidated, but that just adds to the appeal.
It is beautiful with picturesque scenes at every bridge. I have been drawing throughout my travels and there is no shortage of suitable scenes here. There are a few larger open piazzas (squares) where you can find bars, restaurants, pizza, gelato, spritzers and pasta.
Everyone told us Venice is expensive, but after Germany and especially England – things don’t seem too bad at all.
We had booked accommodation on the net, 25 minutes outside Venice. It is a nice B&B called Verde Venezia in the country outside Venice and the bonus is it is just near a big Casino that offers a free shuttle bus service to Venice every hour for its customers. So we just have to look like compulsive gamblers and can happily jump on the bus to get to and from Venice each day. I think the driver might catch on soon. (There is a regular bus service too.)
Venice is famous for Venetian glass, Vivaldi music (he was born here) and theatre masks. There are a lot of tourists but the canal area is large enough that we have been able to get away from the masses to less crowded areas.
I have found Venice to be one of the highlights of my travels and it is good to see it before it disappears.

Venice_at_night.jpgRialto_Bridge.jpgMax_and_De.._Venice.jpgmasksjpg.jpgGondolas.jpgbeautiful_scenes.jpg

Posted by dworgan 21.09.2007 02:36 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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