Le Puy-en-Velay

21 07 2011

This was really our starting point in France. The ancient town of Le Puy-en-Velay. Took me a good few weeks after having been there to be able to remember its name. Why did we end up in Le Puy? No idea other than it was a few hours drive from Lyon where we picked up Felicity (Peugeot 207).

We started the day in Lyon having arrived the night before. Lyon itself, no idea. We spent the night in an airport hotel in order to pick up Felicity first thing the next morning. We were very pleasantly surprised by Felicity. Brand spanking new, we got her through the Peugeot Open Europe lease program. So cheap for a new car. Fantabulous.

So, Lyon to Le Puy as seen below. Of course, we had some quirks driving in France for the first time. Excitement was had all around.

Lyon-Le-Puy.png

What is Le Puy-en-Velay famous for? Its old cathedral and the chapel on top of a rock. As well as the statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the town.

Look, lets have some pictures. They are more fun than me waffling.

First, an overview of the town.

Le Puy-en-Velay

Our Lady and the Cathedral

The old Cathedral

Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Puy

Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Puy

The Chapel on the rock, the Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe.

Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe

Chapel on the Rock

And the Statue of the virgin Mary. Its hollow, and you can climb the whole interior, right into the head. Scary but fun.

Notre-Dame de France

All in all, a really interesting, historic and fun place to start a road trip through South West Europe.





Gibraltar

25 06 2011

Wow, doesn’t time fly. It was more than a year ago we reached Gibraltar. 19th April 2010 to be precise. Why we wanted to visit I really don’t know, I doubt it was more than just wanting to visit the tiny country, as well as hopefully enjoying some decent English style fish and chips. So, visit we did. Staying the night on the Spanish side in La Linea. Taking the but across the border into Gibraltar proper the next morning.

Obviously the famous Rock of Gibraltar features heavily in the images. So, I’ll just post an image wall and let you look. Remember, click and you can get big high quality images. Enjoy.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

The Rock

The Rock

Who, Me?

Just Chillin

Monkey

Rock'n'Monkey

Leave me alone, I'm sleepy

The End of Europe

Port of Gibraltar

So, what did we think? Very pleasantly surprised. Hopefully some more pics soon, but the whole town/country felt like a small English town transplanted into the tropics. It was hot, sunny and beautiful, but still with that English look and feel. Peclulair and amazing. Go Visit.





The week in Review

5 06 2011

Firstly apologies for lack of posting. Its been a hectic emotionally draining week. I’ve got some pics, but by no means one per day. Sorry. Life got in the way.

Whats been doing? Well, we put an offer in on a house. We loved the house, but it seems we missed out on it by a matter of maybe even minutes. Our offer was in, waiting on the owner of the house to drop down into Hobart to sign it. Unfortunately he had a “sheep” emergency on his farm and didn’t make it into town. More unfortunate than that, while waiting for him to sign, an interstate person put a much higher offer in, so obviously we missed out. Can’t blame the owners at all, they obviously went for the higher offer. Still, so close. The hunt continues.

What else has been doing? I had a couple of days out the office touring the state.

Screen Shot 2011-06-05 at 10.05.55 PM.png

A 6am start leaving Hobart heading up to Campbell Town and East over to St Helens. Absolutely stunning drive through the morning fog and frost. Stunningly beautiful.

Frosty Morning
Sky, Rock, Sand, Water

Bridport has an old pier, only the poles remain. This is a 30sec exposure, so we (I keep talking about we, I’m referring to myself and Mark, a work colleague) went out picky taking.

Bridport Pier

Mark just purchased a new camera, so it was a good chance to get out into this beautiful state and take some pics. i’ve now got camera envy. Still, the camera I currently have is more than good enough, I need to spend money on houses and stuff instead of cameras. No, really. Maybe. Aaargh, the 7D is so tempting. *must restraint myself*

Rock Valley

So, after spending all week running around organising stuff to buy a house, getting Mum & Dad to go massively out their way to get stuff organised, spending days in limbo stressed, all in and around being out of contact in rural tassie. Crazy week.

Still, had a big night on Friday with friends coming round for drinks and games. And we began house hunting again today.

This week? Another 3 day work trip up to the North West coast this time. Exciting.





2010, a year in review

4 01 2011

2010 might possibly have been the most unusual year I could have imagined. From living on different continents, travelling through many countries, working, not working, we’ve done it all.

We started 2010 in Sydney, but living in Korea.

We then flew to China to continue our vactations.

Back to Korea for a few weeks, finishing everything up, packing, shipping stuff around the world and saying goodbyes. Sad time.

Leaving Korea for the last time, our adventure awaited.


visited 23 states (10.2%)
Create your own visited map of The World

Thats a list of the counties visited from leaving Korea to returning to Australia. We worked ourselves continually west, mostly overland, but with a few flights as required by time or distance.

I’ll try to pull together a better map with arrows, but basically we did :

Korea, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Italy, France, Andorra, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, Spain, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, USA and at long last, Australia.

A good start on the world.

Returning to Aus, we lived and worked in Sydney for a few months while the parents were off exploring the country, but ultimatly have ended up in the land of the

Thats right, Tasmania. Hobart specifically.

We had visited a few times, visiting our good friends at

We liked it and decided to make a go of living here. The cool weather and clean everything helped.

Of course, we didn’t have jobs lined up when we arrived. We had both put a few applications in but its hard to apply and be taken seriously from out of state. But, after being here a few weeks, some interviews happened and I landed a great job at the State Library of Tasmania in the Systems Development and Support department.

Since then, we visited Sydney for xmas 2010, returned back to Tas in time for the Taste Festival and New Years Eve, and now its 2011.

I worked it out, and I think I was working for only about 10 weeks of 2010. Some of that was intentional, some unwanted, some optimistic. However, the travel was AMAZING. So many amazing things, places, people, foods and experiences. Hard to beat. Its so sad that so many people talk about doing something but never take the plunge and do it. 3.5 years in Korea and I don’t regret any of it.





Veliko Turnovo

23 09 2010

Veliko Turnovo (aka Veliko Tarnovo). First real (new) stop on our returning home trip. Starting off in Istanbul we caught the overnight train up into Bulgaria and onwards to Veliko Turnovo, at one point the Bulgarian Capital.

The trip was eventful. Fun and games with the train conductor trying to assign us a shared birth cabin rather than the private 2 berth we paid for. Still, with the train mostly empty all worked out. Having eaten before embarking, we anticipated some sleep before arriving into Bulgaria. What wasn’t anticipated was the 1am wake up call to get off the train and visit immigration and customs. From the Turkish. Pyjamas and all we clambered out into the snow (lots of snow and still snowing), down onto the tracks, back up onto the next platform and into a queue of, well, us. A quick stamp and all done.

The conductor had other ideas. Feeling like he had done us a favour by giving us a private cabin, I found 30 Euro’s thrust into my hand and a request for duty free cigarettes. 4 cartons it was. Turns out that as an conductor he’s not allowed to buy duty free at the border, so he gets passengers to do it for him. My new best friend 🙂

The Bulgarian customs and immigration was much more civilised. They came onto the train allowing us to stay warm. They had computers and seemed surprised to find and Australian on board. Didn’t quite know what to do with the passport. 5 mins and all done.

Unfortunately we were cold. Very cold. As in middle of winter with no train heating cold. They stuffed something up while changing engines, and we ended up wearing all the clothes we could find.

Arriving into Veliko was magical. Rustic, clean fresh snow everywhere. And out ride nowhere to be found. Staying with the absolutely fantastic Hostel Mostel (very very highly recommended to all), they provide a lift from the station. Unfortunatly being low season there was only one girl working so she advised us to take a taxi. Easier said than done. A local “archeologist” took pity on us and in return for us paying his way got us into a taxi and moving. Still, we arrived and were made to feel more than welcome.

Veliko is a town built on a river. Not just any river but an amazing bend on the Yantra River.

Veliko Tarnovo

Its an old communist city used as a resort of sorts. Check out the hotel (middle of picture) for a great example of amazing communist archetecture. Its a massive image so load it up and look around.

Veliko Turnovo Panorama

One of the highlights of any visit to Veliko is the old fortress of Tsarevets.

Tsarevets Panorama

To enter you need to cross a bridge guarded by 3 gates and the famous Lion of Tsarevets.

Welcome to Tsarevets
Lion of Tsarevets

The church on top was somewhat of a surprise. Rebuilt by the communists in 1986 (from memory) it was decorated in a modern abstract communist method. Quite a shock. Due to the snow we were the only ones there (except for the lady working there) so had the place to our selves. Lots of interesting pics.

Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church
Ascension of Christ, The Patriarch Church

Other really cool stuff in Veliko includes the Monument of the Assens, a memorial to Bulgarian kings made of a giant sword and 4 horsemen.

Monument of the Assens

A bridge crosses from the hotel to the monument, Stambolov’s Bridge.

Stambolov’s Bridge

Crossing the River

The Dark River

Other fun sights we found, an old woman shovelling snow next to the war memorial using a shovel made from an old sign.

Sign of the Times

And some cool graffiti down near the hostel.

Red Head Graffiti

Overall an amazing place. Highly recommended to visit. Amazing food, friendly people and cheap cheap cheap.





So much happening, long overdue, oops, sorry

21 07 2010

Its been so long. I’ve done so much. I’ve been so many places, seen so much, experienced oodles and had no time, internet connection or motivation to update my blog. Not good.

Put simply, last post was 17th April, its now 21st July. Thats quite a few months in which I’ve been very very busy. April was France, specifically a town called Morgat just next door to Mont St Michel. Since then, we drove across france to drop out car at Orly airport in Paris, spent a few days in Paris, 10 days in the UK staying with my Aunt and Uncle (thank you sooooo much) and more.

We booked an intrepid tour through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala covering most of June, travelled to Mexico city via Dublin and Madrid (Airport only for 7 hours) and spent 32 days seeing the best of Central America.

Arriving back in Australia on the 6th of July looking forward to a few days getting organized and reacquainted with the world, we ended up getting work starting on the 8th. Fantastic but very unexpectedly fast.

Fun fun fun.

Still, Can’t complain. Now all I need is a new computer (many $$$) and a pile of time to sort through, process and post some of the amazing pics I’ve got sitting on my hard disk.





Still alive, Still Travelling.

12 04 2010

Its been a bit overdue updating my blog. Oops. Hard to get around to it. When I have time its difficult, either due to being in transit or lack of internet.

So, where are we, what are we doing, where have we been, where are we going?

Currently? Sunny Barcelona. We just arrived this afternoon, so have seen nothing so far. We have a rather nice 5 star hotel for a 2 star price (69 euro with free parking) that is about 15 mins out of town but on the metro network so access is easy.

Last blog post I wrote we were about to enter Serbia. Since then its been a whirlwind of travel, fun, excitement and of course, expense.

So, where. Serbia started in Sarajevo, then down into Mostar. From Serbia we bused into Croatia and the ancient city of Split. Then an overnight ferry to Ancona in Italy, then a train up into Venice. I’ve never experienced anything quite like a busy Venice. Unbelievable.

This marked the end of our backpacking adventures. Going forward was a road trip.

We flew from Venice into Lyon in order to make our car deadline, and picked up our car (Felicity) the following morning. We have a brand new (9km on the clock) Peugeot 207 diesel with the most amazing glass roof. She is our for the next 30 days to explore the world.

So, France. Lyon to Le Puy-en-Velay, then Avignon and on to Nimes and Carcassonne. We left France and headed into Andorra, partly because it was on the way (almost) and partly because we could. The most amazing drive over the Pyrenees reaching just over 2000m before heading into Andorra la-Vella. Then a short jaunt into Spain and Barcelona.

Plans going forward? Down spain, maybe into Gibraltar (again because its there) before Portugal and back into France somewhere to pass on Felicity.

Busy Busy Busy. Fun Fun Fun.