Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In Bruges

After the crazy that was Paris I think we were all ready to call it day on our epic Europe voyage. The drive from Paris to Amsterdam was another long one but the stop in Bruges was a great way to end the tour. Let me say right now, the real Bruges is much more colourful than the movie portrays, and Colin Ferrel was nowhere to be seen sadly. In his place though were an abundance of hand-made chocolate shops, cafes and restaurants, and seriously awesome architecture.

We made is back to Amsterdam by late afternoon. I was happy to finish the tour because two weeks on a bus is an exhausting experience but saying goodbye to the people on the tour was a little harder.

Before heading back to Manchester I had one more day in Amsterdam to explore. Unfortunately it rained relentlessly so it wasn't quite the relaxing day I had hoped. Still managed a few snaps though...

In spite of the buses, the sunset was really quite pretty.

So that is the end, as I'm sure you'll be glad to hear. You will not have to suffer through anymore of these posts. I will eventually get around to posting the adventures I've had since this trip but as I'm leaving Manchester for Sweden tomorrow I don't think I'll have much time. After Sweden I'll be back in London for a week or so before heading back home. That is really just a long winded way of saying, I might not be posting for about 3 weeks.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

An Australian in Paris

Paris at long last! I can't even think of a time where Paris wasn't my number one travel destination. I had a perfect image in my head of what my Parisian holiday would look like - and it was nothing like the reality. I think all of us were a little frustrated by the limited time allotted to the Paris stop. We should have had a walking tour on the afternoon we arrived, dinner in the Latin quarter and then the night to ourselves. Unfortunately due to some oversights by our tour guide and bus driver we didn't arrive until about 8pm. By the time we unloaded the bus, waited for our guide to sort out all the admin for our accommodation and then finally getting into our cabins time was definitely ticking. Only a few of us opted to head into town for dinner - we'd lost most of the afternoon but we sure as hell were going to make the most of our time in Paris, regardless of the fact that we were pretty much all walking dead by this stage of the tour. It was definitely worth it; having dinner with a great group of people in Paris was definitely a highlight of the trip for me.

The next day was full on, to say the least. We managed to squeeze in Versailles, the Louvre, two tower visits, dinner and an unsuccessful trip to the Père Lachaise Cemetery (it was closed by the time we got there). It was a long and freeeeeezing cold day but with such limited time there was no other way to do it. Didn't phase me too much that I missed out on quite a few things because it will not the last time I visit.

Friday, June 8, 2012


For the comparatively small amount of time we spent in Avignon, I absolutely loved it. It is such a pretty little town, set on the bank of the river Rhone. While I somewhat lamented the abundance of cobblestones (I'm a notorious ankle-roller), it is a very picturesque place and is one of the few places in France I could see myself living. I don't have a lot to say other than that because we really didn't do much here. We got to our campsite in the late arvo and then headed to dinner. The next morning we left first thing. Short but sweet.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's not always nice in Nice.

After finally finding our hostel hidden away in the side of a hill, we finally arrived in Nice. We stayed in for the night in an attempt to catch up on some desperately needed sleep. Our plan for the following day was to bus it over to Monaco and then come back and spend the afternoon in Nice.

We didn't quite stick to our plan, spending most the day in Monaco. Not suprising why when you see the photos. The weather was incredible!! Ok, it was just a really nice day but compared the miserablness that had followed us the rest of the trip, it was an opportunity not to be missed. However, nothing lasts forever and by the time we got back to Nice in the late afternoon the gloriousness of Monaco was long gone to be replaced with grey skeys and an icy wind. Lucky our surroundings were beautiful or we would have been rather miserable.

Nice 'beach' (pebbles do not a beach make)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Leaning Towers and Torrential Downpours

On our way to the magical land of France we took a quick rest stop at Pisa. I'll be honest, I always assumed that precariously  position tower was in the middle of a hustling bustling city, comparable to what I saw in Rome. I was quite surprised when we rocked up to what was, essentially, a small town. Not quite what I had pictured but lovely nonetheless.

As with the rest of our tour we were privileged with some truly horrendous weather in the hour and a bit we were there. No surprise when you look at the colour of the sky! Thankfully I was inside when the thunderstorm decided to roll around but it the downpour hadn't stopped by the time we where due back at the bus so a thorough soaking couldn't be avoided.

Pisa was our last stop in Italy before crossing the border into France which also meant our tour was nearing its end.

Stay tuned for Nice and Monaco.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Architecture in Florence

Florence was only a quick stop along the way for us. I think we had about 3 hours half of which was taken up by a brief walking tour before some free time to wander. I'll be honest, some of us where a bit worse for wear so Florence probably wasn't enjoyed to its fullest, but with three hours we never had much of a chance anyway.

Some of the architecture was amazing and I really loved all the winding alleys that opened up, unexpectedly, onto extensive courtyards; was definitely a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

From Florence we headed to our accommodation in Tuscany. I feel like its cheating by saying I've been to Tuscany - we got there late at night and left first thing in the morning - I don't think that really counts.

What's in store for tomorrow's post you ask....a cylindrical building on a precarious angle, that's what.