I can’t believe this was over five months ago. Things have kind of sped out of control since this trip, but this trip actually started all this busy, crazy and all-consuming-ness. It was September, and we decided to go to Bristol for my birthday. I had one of my loopy little ideas brewing, the kind that might have spooked Tristan. However, I now know how to slowly and unobtrusively introduce him to my plans for us, without sending him into a flurry of stress (that comes when we actually follow through). So I booked us a little narrowboat in Bristol to stay in. Being that living in a boat had been something prominant on my mind since I first saw them lined up like floating hobbit holes along the canal near our house. Bristol was lovely, the boat was lovely. I broached the subject carefully and presented my case. It was met with skepticism, for which I was prepared, with numbers and google. As so often happens when we go away together, a new plan was made. And so we began the search for a boat of our very own, deliciously naive and absolutely adventurous.
I planned a little pre-wedding weekend away for the now very married Amelia, and as expected, there was much frivolity, blurry photos and time spent nursing our hangovers with naps. We rented an apartment in the Gothic Quarter, having read some pretty damning reviews while on the bus on the way to the airport, we were relieved to find that it wasn’t quite as bad as some had made out. It was at the tippy top of an big old building, and we had the rooftop to ourselves when we climbed out the window, although the absence of tea bags and washing up liquid might have caused some upset.
In the midst of all the festivities, Dana and I took ourselves by foot to Park Guell because we couldn’t have gone to Spain for the first time and not done something touristy.
The last place me, Dana and Josh visited together on our Europe trip was Amsterdam. It was so long ago, but I am keen to keep this chronological so I will try to recall what we did.
We stumbled across a food truck festival where we were faced with many hard decisions about what to eat. In fact it was quite stressful, we don’t cope well with too much choice! But we settled for buying a lot of different things and sharing them between us. We loved how pretty Amsterdam was, we ventured across the harbour to North Amsterdam where everything felt completely different. In place of terrace houses and sweet canals was industrial warehouses and huge spacious outdoor bars.
It all ended with Dana losing her passport for the first time (out of three times).
Huisu is a much better tourist than me and Dana, and had found out that Ghent was suppose to be very beautiful. So thanks to him, we decided to take a day trip there while we were staying in Antwerp. We boarded a train and off we went. Ghent was significantly busier, with hoards of tourists packed into every bar and restaurant, but it was the prettiest little city I have ever been to. We roamed the streets all day, eating sweet things and salty things, until we tuckered ourselves out and returned to Antwerp.
Here we go all the way back to May when we took a long bus (and ferry) ride to Belgium. I had read somewhere online that Antwerp was nice.
Turns out Antwerp was great! We arrived in the early hours while the streets were quiet and the air was misty. My first experience of Europe was ever so european, the cobbled streets, the amazing old buildings and people speaking french, german and dutch. We spent four nights drinking, eating and lazing about the apartment. The airbnb ended we stayed in was the entire top floor of an ancient building opposite the opera house, apparently due to be torn down. Much to our distress, because it was beautiful and I wanted to live there forever.
Highlights were Beer, frites, waffles, rooftops, elderly cat, coffee and a barge garden bar
Basically all the places I am now going to write about visiting exclude my poor darling Tristan who had to stay home and work while I galavanted about. I felt slight guilt, but not enough to outweigh how fun/incredible/chaotic the last few months have been. Nothing was planned at all, but my contract archival job at a charity was about to end so I booked a flight home to Brisbane to see my family and cat. It has been a over a year since I left Australia so I figured a gap in employment would be the best time to do it. It was three lovely weeks lazing about with my grandma, forcing my cat to love me again, catching up with a few friends and pottering about in my parents coffee shop. There is no photo evidence of this, but I am sure it happened.
I arrived back in London just in time for the arrival of my most treasured only sibling. We had what felt like hours in London before flying off to Ireland to stay in Dublin and visit our wonderful, amazing family in Armagh. We have some photo evidence of Dublin, but I had forgotten to bring the camera charger so we don’t have any photos of the Misty Morne Mountains or all the forests on the outskirts of town we visited with our uncle and aunt. Having been in Ireland this winter, it was great to see it all in bloom for the spring. We were just a week shy of catching the apple blossoms, but even the little closed up buds were beautiful.
As usual, catching up with family was the highlight of the trip. We spent our first night in Ireland staying in an hotel in the middle of Dublin, it was walking distance to everything so we scoped out the town and had our share of Guinness. It was a beautiful city full of everything we like about cities. Cafes, vintage stores and breweries. The archeological museum was great, the wax museum was the worst. Here are some photos of Dublin, a few of Armagh and its misty surrounds.
The time has come to play catch up on documenting our time abroad, because even though we are not doing quite as much moving about now there is still so much that I know I will forget if I don’t keep track of it. We have had a splendid break from all things travel and spent the remaining colder months nesting, working and straight up enjoying having our own space. We have fallen in love with London, we had not expected it to be quite as amazing as it is. Moving wasn’t easy, our money was fast running out and we stayed in backpackers wondering if maybe we would have to just go home. That said it all fell into place pretty quickly. We found a place that we liked after a couple of days of intense house hunting and got job offers on the same day as each other. From then on London felt like a home and we started exploring our area a bit.
We have made our way to the mother country and thankfully my lovely family in East Rainton were nice enough to put us up (and put up with us) for a month. We could not have moved here had it not been for the generosity and hospitality that my northern family, Barbs and Colin, have shown us and we will most surely be back up to visit. I couldn’t think of a better way to to start our new chapter in England. We spent our days furiously applying for jobs in London and going for walks in the country side that surrounded the village. There were more than enough farm animals around for Amy to pat, and our cousin amazingly let us attend some Sunderland games in his company box, which was incredible!
We also took a few trips into Durham, which is a magical little town. The cathedral is grand and the castle is basically Hogwarts. In fact I think some of it was filmed there. Amy and I had a tour of the castle and the sheer amount of history there was mind blowing. The great hall where students have their catered meals, had armour, drinking horns, stolen Spanish paintings, and various weaponry from the napoleonic wars hanging throughout. The university that is nestled inside the castle seems like the most incredible place to study/work and live. We were both upset that our university experience wasn’t the Harry Potter university experience.
Also football… lots and lots of football.
It has been yonks since we have written about what we have been doing, sorry mums! A lot has happened, but we will get to what we are currently doing once I have caught up on what we have done. I am a bit happy that we have kept up with documenting our travels, because even now I have trouble remembering just how many places we have been. We might not have written everything down (there are some stories you really don’t want written at all!) but the notes we have we appreciate afterwards.
The next beautiful place that we visited was Armagh, it was quite possibly my favourite part of the trip. We arrived on Christmas eve, and were greeted at the airport by my lovely Aunty and Uncle. There was snow falling and we were tucked into bed immediately to sleep off the weariness that I had inflicted upon us by booking an overnight airport layover in Glasgow. Post nap, the drinking began. Christmas eve was spent at the pub with my cousins, alternating between hot whiskey and Guinness. The next week involved red wine, half sung songs, getting very fat, and spending as much time as possible with my Irish family. We were spoilt rotten, we explored the city where my Dad grew up, we visited my Granny’s homestead and another amazing Aunt and Uncle took us on a drive down to Carlingford. The country side was gorgeous and we can’t wait to come back in Spring to see more of it. I could not quite believe how much family I had that I had never met, and how at home I felt. I loved them all and I loved Armagh.
Iceland lived up too it’s name. There was ice… Snow, and far too much to see and do in only one week. Walking was hard due to the icyness so we waddled around like penguins exploring Reykjavik and only fell over once. So far Iceland is one of the more quirky and beautiful countries I have visited. With an interesting history and a unique outlook this small place is full of natural wonders, for starters 90% of the electricity is generated using geothermal power plants and the hot water is piped straight out of the earth resulting in delightful eggy showers. Only vikings are awesome enough to harness the power of volcanos to power their city. Oh and the beards, the beards, SOOOO MANY AMAZING BEARDS! We learnt a bunch at the National Museum of Iceland and even more at the Icelandic Phallological Museum.
We went on a few bus tours failing to see the northern lights but not failing to be surprised by the forcefulness of the eruption of geysers, the heat of the blue lagoon and the awesomeness of tiny Icelandic horses.
The Reykjavik night life and food alone is worth visiting for. We went out with fellow travellers and friendly locals alike. We also ate all of the fish. The hostel that we stayed at happened to have a bar/cafe/restaurant with mountain views that was frequented by locals. The only way I can accurately describe Kex hostel is a hipster resort… and I unashamedly loved every second I spent there.
Both Amy and I want to come back in summer, thats how much we loved it.