A Travellerspoint blog

June 2009

Summer Solstice

Well its only down the road in Avebury but its in the Rough guide making the most out of your time on earth!

overcast 5 °C
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Broadening my horizons and I decided to attend the summer solctice at the stone circle at Avebury. Not as mainstream as stonehenge but lots of local people and friends I have not seen for AGES!

I went with my friends Steve and Ieu, and we decided to park over in Cherhill and walk over to the stones. The main reason being Steve didn't want his car getting clamped in the village. 4.5mile walk roughly but we arrived at the camp site where there were other friends waiting at 9:30pm. We headed over to the stone circle and watched a traditional display with fire and people were wearing costumes. It was quite impressive.

The crowd started to build up a bit so we decided to venture up on to the brow of a hill surrounding the circle. This was great as it gave a overhead view of the whole proceedings and as it got darker more and more people were playing with fire and lights on ploys???

Dann, Kyle, Becky and Beav had their own set and some long exposure and fill in flash made for some really exciting photos from the event. They were first playing with lights and then fire which was really impressive. The most pretty display was when Kyle made a flower on the delayed shutter.

We headed back to the campsite and chatted for a while and drank some beers. It started to get cold so we retreated into Kyles tent which he was willing to share with the rest of us. :D Dann then got his camp cooker stove out nand warmed some delicious pain au chocolat! Dann=my new personal hero!

The night passed and we went back up to the stone circle to watch the sunrise. Sadly it was pretty cloudy so there wasn't anything all to spectacular but it was a great atmosphere and there was a man that had fallen into a ditch which added a bit of excitement to the evening!

The long wet walk back to the car wasn't great but I'd defo do it all again next year!

Posted by LizaBrooks 23:41 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged educational Comments (2)

Rome - Italy and The Vatican City

Not lovin' Ryanair quite so much now they left me and Chaz in an airport for hours! >:-I

sunny 34 °C
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Well another weekend and off again on a Ryanair bargain flight...this time to Rome to visit the Pope amoungst other things :)

We made it there bright and early on the saturday and decided to head straight to the Colosseum and nearby palace ruins to do the touristy thing and view the sights and take the tour. When we got there we realised that the tour was very expensive so we would make up our own tour and do it at our own pace. One thing that did annoy me although I was prepared for is that you can;t get a discounted concession rate unless you are under 25 so my student card was useless for the combined ticket for the entry to the Colosseum and the Palace ruins. It worked out at €12 for me to get in but I guess this was pretty reasonible. concession was half that price.
The photos really don't do this place justice and every evening Chaz and I spent resting near the Colosseum just watching how it changed colour as the sun set. Inside it was MASSIVE and they had reconstructed part of the floor at one end to give an impression of what it would have been like at the time of the gladiators :) This was really good and didn't in my opinion spoil the overall view. This took a whole day to do and was a day well spent even though we were dragging all our luggage around with us!

We went back to our hotel to check in which was called hotel Urbis near Termini station. Being near Termini is ideal as the lines for the metro cross here to you can get about well quickly. The hotel wasn;t great but it was a good price and even though it was a shared bathroom we didnt have any issues once. The beds looked a bit dodgie and soft but as a suffered of bad backs I have to say I am none the worse for wear from my experiance! I would recommend however that you take your own towel! As theirs were not exactly white clean and they were rough as cardboard!

From the Lonely planet manual we had worked out that we wanted to go to the popular camp del flori to eat as there were a lot of resturants based there and it came recommended. So we got the metro to Colosseum and walked there which was a nice 15minute walk in the evening sunshine. I found the meals to be fairly priced at most of the places we went to and I was overall impressed witht eh food in Rome. During the meal there was quite a commotion as the Roma Gay Pride parade started up (we didn;t know what it was at first) the streets were litered with people singing and dancing on the floats it was really good fun :)
The next day we decided to do the sights around the vatican and the vatican itself. We attended mass in the vatican city and a word of warning to ladies make sure you take a shaw or have a good friend to lend you a tshirt as you are not allowed to have you shoulders exposed in the city! I borrowed chaz's and took a pair of trousers to put on instead of my shorts. The service was delivered in Italian but it was an experiance all the same and afterwards a real treat we were not expecting the pope showed himself! This apparently is normal if he is in town on a Sunday but it made us really glad we went then and was very unexpected!
We walked from here back to the Colosseum passing the Panthelon and Trevi fountain amongst other sights highlighted on the map. The Trevi fountain was one of my favourite things there although it was REALLY crowded and I couldn't help but think this did spoil it a bit as there was no room to get a decent picture which was a shame.
All of these things were free though which was great and helped save the pennies in the euro zone whch is proving quite costly for us Brits at the moment. We went back to the square for food this time to a restaurant called magnolia...highly recommended for evening food although wasn't so good when we went back the next day for lunch! After this another walk back to the Colosseum to watch the sunset.
On our final day we headed back to the Vatican and went to the Museums and sistine chapel. I could use my student card here to gain concession entry which was a result :) I would highly recommend purchasing the vatican city and museums guide book before you enter! €10. this is for two reasons firstly its pretty damn good and has information on all the improtant bits and pieces and secondly signage inside is terrible with no maps and to some extent you can't go backwards if you miss something! You are allowed to take photos inside although they do ask for some areas you turn you flash off which I did. You are not allowed to take photos inside the Sistine chapel for obvious reasons that its a religious building and to preserve the paintings for future generations but some disrespectful SKUM were and I think these people should have had their films ripped up or memory cards wiped as its terrible and could ruin the work for others to see in the future. There are lots of other ceilings you can take photos of whilst you are there but not so impressive as the Sistine chapel.

The trip home was not ideal Ryanair messed up in general and the lack of information was tire some but 1 bad experiance out of 8 flights I guess is not too bad :)

Well I am clocking up the countries on this ere map :D

Posted by LizaBrooks 13:22 Archived in Italy Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Prague - Czech Republic

Still Lovin Ryanair and their Cheap flights!

semi-overcast 17 °C
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This was to be the second mission for Dale and I taking libertys and full advantage of Ryanair's cheap flights. Our hotel was also a bargain price at just £26 for the three nights per person! We were out in the sticks a bit in Prague 17 by Kremitorum Motol but it was very easy to find the 'comfort hotel' and getting there from the airport was very easy as well even loaded up with luggage and drunk the next night!

We decided on the first day to head off into the city and explore the national Museum...you can never go wrong with these things can you? Well the first area we went into was the Obstetrics section and I must say it was rather trumatising and NOT to be recommended for those with a weak stomach or small children! No No NO! but it was all good fun and made for amusing viewing at times. The other exhibits included some information of early settlers and ancient stone and iron wear. There were a huge amount of stuffed animals probably the biggest collection I have ever seen!
We decided as it was hte first night there we were going to take it easy and not go all out drinking and thought that a friendly Tesco would be the way to go. We were delighted to find that beer an lagar was VERY cheap at just 30p per can even for the strong lagar which we decided to purchase. We couldn't help but wonder what teh value lagar tasted like though!
The next day was the time to explore the rest of the city including the Castle and Charles Bridge. This was really good and the castle is free if you don;t want to go fully inside which was nice as neither Dale and I are loaded! We really enjoyed the walk down to Charles bridge even if it did include a minor detor on our parts down by the river to a dead end!
We found the bridge band amusing especially the man we named whisk man. He played the whisk and it was a sight to watch! We were mesmerised by it! He seemed to have more passion for his humble whisk than the rest of the band put together...Whisk man we love you!

After we had amused oursevles for long enough on the bridge we decided that the time had finally come to do some serious drinking and I mean serious! We found a nice south american resturant in the city which served cheap lagar by the litre and went for it. By the time we had finished our meals both of us felt a little on the tipsy side and were really excited when we saw a woman trying to get people to go to the local irish bar on STUBANSKA...so we decided in our drunken state to find it. There was a man that walked by with some wild wolves on a chain which caused quite a disturbance and Dale and I gave chase to get a photo of the wild beasts this we did but then found ourselves somewhat disorientated so Dale asked the 'Sausage girl' where was stubanska. She replied its over there sausage boy. So was all in good fun.
when we got to the Irish bar I was delighted that they had Guiness and continued to drink...heavily. The place was full of stags and I ended up swapping my Tshirt with one in the pub...I then decided my Tshirt was better than his and asked for mine back so stripped again but it was worth it.
Dale and i soon realised that it was getting late being 10 O'clock and all so decided to make our way home...several sick stops later I woke up the next morning without a hangover and not really remembering entirely how we got home but we did hurrah! :D

I would recommend Prague to all those wanting to enjoy the finer thing in life!

Posted by LizaBrooks 12:34 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Oslo - Norway


sunny 31 °C
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My friend Dale and I went on a weekend away mission to Oslo in Norway. The flights were a bargain with Ryanair offering them at £1 one way and £10 the other! Awesomeness! We stayed at the Thon Hotel Astoria which was a nice hotel reasonibly priced near the city centre.

The best value thing we found was the daily travel cards, especially if you were using the ferrys which would otherwise be 35Kr each. The card was 65Kr for the day which was good value we thought.

It was not at all like I thought though from a weather perspective. I was expecting to see dark clouds rain and cold from this Scandinavian country but in fact it was very hot! The forecast before we left said it was going to be 26DEG but this was the iPhones terribly unreliable forecast values and not really the true heat which was over 30Deg according to a local we were chatting to on the Tube.

Student discount cards come in very handy in Oslo with most of the museums offer student discount and I have a sneaky suspicion that I could have got a cheaper travel card as well but not speaking Norwegian I didn't want to chance it from the machine and then end up with a 75Kr fine from not having the right ticket!

We went to the Museum island which had the famous viking ship museum and the FRAM museum. These were both well worth the visit with the Fram museum having lots of details about Arctic and Antarctic exploration by the Norwegians. Not to mention housing the highly impressive Fram boat.

My favorite sight in Norway was the Park filled with sculptures. It was really nice and made better by the fantastic weather. There were skatboarders and young men doing Parkou on the statues and railings. We had a laugh doing some poses with the statues which they dont seem to mind you climbing over. There was also a large fountain filled with freezing water. This made a nice refreshing dip during the extreme heat.

Dale and I decided to set a challenge up to see who could hold their feet into the cold water for longest. I managed a solid 10mins (the max time) sadly Dale was not quite as successful and managed a 4 minute record. Dale did however redeem himself when it came to the plunging exercise. Day two and it was even hotter! The sky was totally clear and after finishing off the last of our sightseeing we decided to head back to the park as it was our favourite place. We deicded to challenge ourselves to plunge our bodies into the water up to neck deep. This was REALLY cold and we both succedded in doing the plunge twice once for the camera and once for personal amusement.

The flights were all on time and I managed to get my passport stamped both ends of Norway!

Posted by LizaBrooks 09:47 Archived in Norway Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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