A Travellerspoint blog

Sunny side up

Athens

sunny
View Greece and Turkey on jamienrach's travel map.

We arrived in Athens airport late on a Thursday night and hopped straight on a metro to the city centre (yet another city with a working subway system, come on Auckland pick it up). Stopped off at the Omonia station to get to our hotel (hotel elite). Apparently we had forgot to consult the lonely planet (which is our travel bible) when we had booked accommodation, as a direct quote says ‘once a smart address, omonia is known today for is prostitutes and pickpockets’, we can confidently add druggies and tyrannies to that list as they are quite abundant at all times of the day. Hey, it was right next to the metro station and pretty cheap so can’t complain too much.

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We only really had one day in Athens before heading to the islands so we got up bright and early for our continental breakfast of bacon on toast, greek translation = pre packaged sliced ‘ham’ (I think/hope it was ham) and stale bread. Then on the metro and off to the Acropolis.

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Very impressive entrance to the acropolis

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It was pretty much a follow the signs walk through of the archeological site, except that when you get to the upper level is an absolute crush with massive American and Asian tour groups all crowding round there tour guides.

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While walking through the different sites, we were playing shade hopping as it was so incredibly hot, 30 odd degrees. And I hear you people from Texas and Australia scoffing at that but when you’ve been living in Scotland with an average max of 6 degrees for 6 months it’s a pretty big jump.

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Oh Rachel what good posture you have

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Quick Jamie hurry up or you’ll miss the prayer circle

Later that night we walked back down to plaka (touristy area) and got roped into a large (quite empty) restaurant by two very enthusiastic waiters. In fact the place was completely bare except for us, but there were lots of large long tables already set with food in front of a stage with a lone keyboardist playing Greek versions of all you 70’s – 90’s hits. Anyway we took a table up on the balcony and were told (even before we could order) the food is on it’s way… hmmm.17

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Almost immediately after we were seated in came large groups of tourists, it was like looking down on a map of the world. It took us a while but when the trio of 60 something singers came out we clicked…tourist trap. There were groups of Americans, Chinese, Russians, Japanese, French, Indians, Greeks and our little two man NZ contingent hidden away up top away from any possible chance to get pulled up on stage.

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Ahh well it was way over priced and the main was pretty below average but it was a crack up seeing the way the singers and dancers played up to the different tables of tourists. And the bottle of wine helped too.

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Then next day it was straight up (at 5:30) and off to Piraeus to get on our ferry to the islands.

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Goodbye big dirty city, hello nice sandy beaches

Posted by jamienrach 01:24 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Up and down again

Loch Lyon

On one of our rare weekends free, one of rach’s workmates (a dude from Chch) organized a hill climb up at Glen Lyon in the highlands. So after a 3hr drive on a Saturday morning, we drove through the glen, got to the loch and the start of the hike. So without much of a story here’s some photies of up and down again.

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At the end of the loch was damn impressive dam (for the middle of nowhere)

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Rach, looking down on those that couldn’t keep up with her blistering pace

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Long story short, a Munro is any peak in Scotland which is over 3000 ft. And even thought our GPS’s said it was over the limit I had to make sure. Only to find out that the peak we were on wasn’t classed as a Munro as it wasn’t 500ft vertically clear of another peak.

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So sorry rach, all that effort and all we got was a couple of stinky corbets

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Ya canny get me ye harpie

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Back down again

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The biggest outdoor urinal cubical in the world

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Ahh well, that was fun….. where the nearest pub then?

If you’ve managed to read all of the last 3 blogs……..well besides having nothing productive to do you should be right up to date with what me and Rachel have been up to since February.

Keep an eye on the site over the next month as we’re off to Greece and Turkey in a weeks time, so hopefully lots more sun kissed photos and tales of magical places outside of the bubble that is NZland.

Posted by jamienrach 05:45 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Updateski continued

Peebels and the Prier Tour

And so started May, it was past daylight savings and it was actually starting to be light when I got home from work. On her way out of the country, Tracey (rach’s uni friend) was finally convinced to make a trip up to Scotland. And she decided to bring some warmth up from the south with her, nice.
It finally made it past 13 degrees (the high since mid November). The sun was shining and it was positively balmy.

We’re becoming pretty good at being tour guides for anyone coming to Edinburgh. Arthurs Seat, Botanic gardens, Castle, Dean village New and Old town ect. And so on what was the best day we’ve had in Edinburgh since arriving last year (over 20 deg, I even got a little blushed) we took Trace on Prier’s magic tour of Historic, Relevant and High Places in Edinburgh.

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View from the top of Arthur’s Seat

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West Princess St gardens

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I just had to climb something

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Standing on the seat

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Under dean bridge

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Catch that baby

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Bluest skies in 13 moths

Just last weekend, (mid may) and we got to go down to Peebels in the Borders where the company I’m doing design for now were having there 25th year anniversary. We stayed in the Peebels Hydro, massive old building with heaps of facilities. But most importantly right next to Glentress (arguably the best mtb course in the uk).
So the Saturday started with a early morning ride round the red track. 2nd time on it for me as the boss and I had bunked work the previous Friday for a ride. There are hours of good trails here, only really compares to Rotoura’s tracks

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Just laxed out that afternoon in the pool and spa, then got ready for the dinner and obligatory caliegh. Dinner was good, lamb… which I just kept pilling on my plate. Went down nice with the NZ savvy which I made the boss get as the table wine.

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3rd Ceilidh so far in Scotland, im starting to get the hang of the dances, ahhh the gay gordons

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There was also a pitch and put 9 hole on the grounds. Which I wrangled rach into 2 rounds of, as I wasn;t happy with my first 9. Rach was getting consistently better, just a shame her best shot sent her ball into the hedges.


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Where’s that pitching iron gone

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Come on rach your supposed to hit the ball not take pictures of it

Posted by jamienrach 05:35 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Updateski

Aberfoyle, Carsington and some Pagans

I’ve been inundated of late with messages asking what rock I’ve been hiding under and if me and rach have actually been doing anything over here at all. Simple answer is yip, heaps but haven’t been able to put anything up as BT (British Telecom) are the worst service company in the world…ever.
But dinna worry we’re back online and got lots to say.

Since Paris in February we’ve been UK bound, just waiting for the winter to break. Edinburgh’s been pretty cold, not too much snow (mainly cause it’s to cold and windy for it to snow). But it’s not like us to let the weather get us down so we’ve been out and about over Scotland and England.

Over Easter we hired a car and went up to Aberfoyle (near Stirling) for a day trip to go on a high wire / ropes course.

As we were doing the mandatory training (this is a carbineer, don’t fall out of the trees ect) it starting snowing/hailing……….. good solid Scottish weather

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Hmmmm, did I bring my gloves

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Longest flying fox in the UK, it kinda just kept going

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A sunny day in Stirlingshire

Nothing was really planned for April so we decided to do another Adventure race. A month of solid training 6 days a weeks running and biking leading up to race day. 6 hours of mountain biking, kayaking and running around the Peaks District near Manchester and Derbyshire (pronounced darby, we’re not at the trots).

The day wasn’t exactly forthcoming with the sunshine promised by the BBC and I was pretty keen to flag it altogether. But Rach wasn’t about to let me waste the training and money we’d spent to get there so on with the thermals and get on that bike.

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We ended up coming 4th, just missed out on 3rd by 11 poins (should’ve dragged Rach up those hills a bit quicker). 30k’s bike, 13k run and a small but wavy and wet 800m kayak.

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It stopped raining long enough for me to get a shot of the lake

A week or two after our race in englandshire the belatne fire festival was on in Edinburgh. A bunch of wannabe pagans dancing about with fire ‘bringing in’ the solstice. Im sure it would have come anyway (oh and most of them were naked).

So we met up with some friends at a city pub, had a few pints and walked up Carlton Hill. Where we proceeded to wait for 4 hours while, unbeknownst to us (and the rest of the crowd) the fire dancing and general paganess was happening on other parts of the hill. But not to worry, as many a good Scottish crowd has done before and will do again semi drunk people took to the stage a performed mock break dance battles and sumo fights.

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Ohhhh ahh, drums and fire

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The pagans eventually made it to the central stage, but it was kinda hard to take them seriously as there was a troop of Charlie Chaplin clowns in a brass band playing ‘Im the king of the swingers’ form Disney’s the jungle book. It dinna seem to fit.

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Ahhh, scary red pagans dance around fire bird, make big noise.

Posted by jamienrach 08:36 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

I dream of beaches

and a land devoid of central heating

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The Scottish winter is long, very long. It's just past Easter and we are still having highs of only 4 or 5 degrees. It's not raining too much (fingers crossed). But still when you go out for a training run or bike after work and it begins to snow I start to question the ability of this country to put on anything resembling a good sunny summer.

So as our summer trip to Greece and Turkey is still a few months off (gotta get those vitamin d levels back up) I have started having delusions of far off places, bathing in the sun, swimming in the sea and soaking up the heat.

So in this reminiscent vein I present our trip (honeymoon, feb 2007) to rarotonga.

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Posted by jamienrach 07:18 Archived in Cook Islands Comments (0)

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