A Travellerspoint blog

Grand ol', romantic ol' big ol' Paris

Paris (Feb 2008)

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We'd been back in Edinburgh for a few months after our last big odyssey and our first wedding anniversary was fast approaching. So what better excuse to take another trip to a 'romantic' city, and what better place than Paris.

It was a bit of a flying visit and we only took the Monday off work (well Rach took the day off as hadn't found a job yet). And since we only had the 3 days, we did all the standard Parisy things. The first day was a walk from Notre dame to the Louve, a mandatory walk down the Champs Elysees (final stage of the tour de France) to the Arc de Triomphe. Had a nice dinner out in some random Paris suburb and tried out what limited French we knew, "Do you know English"? "Oui"....phew.








Next day, the 10th our 1st wedding anniversary. Didn't really start out to well, no-one told us that the bakeries in our area wouldn't open early on a Sunday. And since we had a pretty relaxed view to how we wanted to spend the day we just strolled around got some pannin’s and pastries and went to the Luxembourg Park on Boulevard Saint-Michel.



We grabbed two of the many steel chairs and parked up for a while. Rach took and book and I got a coffee and soaked up some Vitamin D (which had been lacking a bit in Scotland).





That night we went over to the Eiffel Tower and saw it all lit up. We also stood in line for over and hour to get up the series of lifts that take you up to the top viewing deck (ah well your only there once right). Anyway it was a really clear night so we got some good views and pics of the city. And apparently Wellington is the furtherest city from Paris (that they acknowledge).





They last day in Paris we dedicated to going to the Louve and getting some culture in us. We knew how big the place was from walking past the outside but inside the place is just massive. So much to look at and after a few hours we were getting a bit sick of all the stuff. So we did a bee line to the Mona Lisa going past the Venus Di Milo. The room where they had Mona was jam packed full of tourist groups so we took a quick pic and got out, there was way better stuff to ponder around the area anyway.






probably not the best picture of Mona so you're just gonna have to go yourself


Neither of us had a picture in our mind of what we were expecting from Paris, maybe rollings hills cheese and wine. And I'm sure that it is in France somewhere but we can wait for another trip. Paris is a big big city, Big block buildings line the wide boulevards and everything just seems so grand. Our impressions were also helped by the weather, it was bright, crisp and sunny the whole time we were there. So big ups Paris.

Posted by jamienrach 12:17 Archived in France Comments (0)

Sob… the last day on tour

Prague, Dec 16th - 19th 2007

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A day in bed after her little slip and I finally talked Rach into getting up and see some sights. So that night go the tube to the square (which I wont attempt to spell) where the astronomical clock is. The actual clock itself is pretty lame, just a skeleton which pops out and rings a bell on the hour like a big morbid cuckoo clock. But lucky for us the square was also the site for the cities big Christmas markets. Kinda the same as the ones in Austria but with the grandness that Prague brings. But we couldn’t stay too long as I had to get the sick one back to bed and the chill was getting set.





Next and final day of our trip before heading home, so we headed out to see what Prague was really about (we had a few places to tick off). So back to the astro clock square to start the walk, from there we walked through the old town to Charles bridge. There’s like 30 odd statues lining the bridge and it makes for a pretty (and I mean prissy pretty) view of the old and new sides to Prague.






Next on the list was Prague castle, so passing the St Nicolas church we made our way up to the entrance.

Rach needed a bit of a break but we made it eventually

It not so much of a Castle but a massive palace type building that surrounds a mini old town contains a cathedral, basilica, convent and various museums, including a toy museum (but skip it, it’s not worth the stair climb). But all that site seeing really builds up an appetite and I was hankering for a pilsner.




And I can’t say enough about the beer, in most pubs (unless your in the tourist quarter) a pint will cost about 25 crown (or 75p) you’ll get what I say is the best beer you’ve ever had. Mmmm mmm I was loving that Pilsner Urquell., I could even have it on my weetbix for breakfast. I didn’t want to leave just for that reason.

The last thing we did before leaving was going to one of the many black light shows that are permanently playing in the city. And it was kinda odd, if you don’t know what a black light is (you obviously missed the 70’s) it’s a light that will only show up incandescent, floresant materials. And the show was a mix between a slapstick comedy cutting in-between serious/modern/contemporary dance performed by a trop all dancing all smiling dancers. Don’t get me wrong some of it was pretty cool and the black light effects got a thumbs up, but even though rach really like it I was a bit weirded out.

That’s it then, our tour of Italy / Croatia / Slovenia / Austria / Czech Rep all done. Time to plan the next trip. We’ll be going to Paris for our 1st wedding anniversary (ohh nice) and after the freezing temps we encountered in central Europe we’re planning a few weeks in Greece and Turkey this summer (the other extreme).

So until next time this is us singing out.
Chur bro’s

Posted by jamienrach 05:10 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Ever seen that add where the guy slips in the shower and cra

Mums, don't read any further

View Nov - Dec trip 07 on jamienrach's travel map.

We got into Prague and straight of the train we noticed the drop in temperature. It wasn’t snowing like Austria but so so much colder, about -5 but bright and sunny. After a quick tube to our stop and then a 10 min walk (on which I’m sure that I contracted some sort of frostbite in my fingers) we arrived at our accommodation. Again we’d booked on laterooms the night before and when we arrived we were a bit dubious as the area wasn’t really the type you’d bring your mum to impresses her (if ya know what I mean). But this was the piece de resistance as far as late rooms went. For mere pennies we had landed a apartment that was better than our place at home, full kitchen, big king sized bedroom, living room, massive shower and all the mod cons.

Sweet right, well kinda. Rach was getting pretty sick and skipped on going out the first night and just sat and watched Czech Cable TV (a mix of French news, Algezera and some more dubious channels). I was going to go for a wee night walk but turned around within five minutes before I turned into a popsicle.

That night as we (well I) slept and enjoyed the balmy 23 degrees of our room, Rach woke up in a bit of a sweat and did a midnight run to the bathroom. A few minutes later I woke with a crash bang, then silence. Jumping from bed and running to the bathroom I came in and saw Rach sprawled on the ground, eyes wide open staring at the ceiling not moving. Within a few scary minutes she came around and there was nothing broken but a big bump on her head. We worked out that the temperature in the apartment had rising to 26 degrees in the night and as Rach rose from her business she had a head rush and fainted, crashing into the shower door and slumping to the floor with her head resting on the shower curb. Ever seen that add where the guy slips in the shower and cracks his head, well it was like that.

Obviously I didn’t get any pictures of that little encounter (I was too busy making sure my wife wasn’t dead or paralyzed). But that day I did get some images of a TV tower that was round the corner from where we were staying. Not so interesting right but look there’s baby statues climbing it????


I didn’t get it either. But there they are just climbing up and down. Hmmm…..

Posted by jamienrach 05:04 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Pretty cold but there were still texans around.

Vienna, 14-16th Dec 07

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We only had 2 nights in Vienna and the only thing I really knew I wanted to do was go to the museum of modern art. But before we got there we had to brave the snowstorm that was going on when we arrived. If we thought that it was snowing in Salzburg then we were amazed with the amount of snow falling here. It made for some pretty good snowball fights, it ended with tears, mine. As rach got me right in the face.

The musemquartaire area of Vienna is a pretty cool place, 4 big museums (including MUMOK) and lots happening in the areas out side the museums.










if you hadn't noticed the main installation was modern chinese art

On our full day we took the underground out to the Hapsburgs palace (massive palace where the Austrian royalty ruled) and had a walk around the gardens and maze. Well rach walked I had a bit of a spill. On one of that paths up led up to a lookout it had ‘danger use at your own risk’ signs, but pah…. It was easy. The way down maybe not so easy, we decided to take the route less traveled down through the trees and I did the classic ‘slip on a banana’ feet above my head fall, landing on my butt and sliding down the hill. Rach just laughed.





The actual city itself was packed with people and the Christmas markets were in full swing. Mulled wine, massive sausages and big pretzels.





As we’d been on the road for the best part of a month we really needed to just be entertained without the walking and looking and touristing, so we went and saw a movie. The Golden Compass, not very good, but a bit of mind numbing entertainment and respite from the cold.


Anyway if we'd had more time we could have easily stayed in vienna for a few more days. Even though it was the first hostel we'd stayed in for the whole trip. really nice hostel (wombats) and one night when we were talking to an aussie couple this American guys came up and forced his way into our conversation. He was texan and in the army (sorry cousins but not to reinforce any sterotypes) and got his laptop out to show us endless photos of him and his various guns...hmmmmm.

Posted by jamienrach 07:30 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Mmmmmmm mmm Beer

Salzburg, Austria, 12 and 13th Dec 07

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Our train ride from bled to Salzburg was probably the most scenic of the whole trip. Leaving the Julian Alps and heading into the Austrian Alps. We also started to see the first signs of heavy snow.



Because we were on an ‘international’ train once we got into Austrian land our carriage was decoupled and added to another train, what we didn’t know was that our carriage (normal class in Slovenia) was the first class cabin in Austria. In one of the ski towns that the train stopped in 4 American guys got on and as we were sitting at the only 4 person table started to make comments like ‘that couple should let us have the table’ and ‘man there’s 4 of us, where should we sit’ just a bit too loudly, if they had just asked we probably would have moved. Anyway, turns out they only had economy tickets and we ushered out of the cabin and wernt to happy about it (hahahahaha, a bit petty but revenge is sweet). Then the conductor went on a mini rampage and started kicking everyone out, old guys, pregnant women …..everyone, until there was just us and two other people in the cabin. Good to be first class.

rach really starting to feel the cold


Enough of that who-ha, we arrived in Salzburg and it was proper snowing and proper cold. And since our camera had seen the bright light of electronic heaven our first point of call was the high street so we could get a new one (so sorry if the pictures aren’t up to standard, we were still getting used to the new settings). We also had dinner out at a real traditional place, greeted by waiters in om-pah (that’s what I ended up calling them anyway) costumes and big hearty meals of meat and sauerkraut, mmmm mm mmmm.




Our only tourist day in Salzburg was spent as usual, walking round the old town (in the baroque style, see I did learn stuff) and exploring the Christmas markets that were to pop up everywhere for the rest of our trip. We also went up to the fort which dominates the skyline above the old town, just another fort (although a massive one) with a few museums inside. The highlight for me was gong up to the highest point a looking out over the city, the highlight for Rach was having a bit of respite for the cold.




That night we were keen to head out to a beer hall and the only one we could find was a bit of a walk and it sounded a bit touristy. But when we got there it was the Austrian Equivalent of the RSA, with the average age being about 60 and a real relaxed atmosphere. The halls were under a monastery and the beer (which was pretty awesome) was brewed by the monks.


Now if Italy could convince Rach to drink red wine then this must be the place where I could get her to drink some beer. And I got her a far as raddlers, half beer half fizzy (basically a shandy). We ended up making friends with the only other young people in the hall, a couple from Essex. The girl (I forget her name) had probably had one to many raddlers herself and by the end of the night was speaking some pretty incoherent stories, I guess it just tasted too good.



Awsome pic that a guy from essex took for us, cheers mate

Posted by jamienrach 04:47 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

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