A Travellerspoint blog

On the road again... :)

(OK, not quite yet...)

semi-overcast 52 °F

So I'm itchy... I've been back in Canada for about six months and I am SO ready to be somewhere else... I love Nelson... This is absolutely my home, but I just... I'm antsy and ready to be somewhere else for a while, and I have plans, BIG plans... Next July I plan to move to the UK, taking advantage of the Youth Mobility Scheme (Previously known as a Holiday Maker Visa). This allows me to live, and work, in the UK for two years... My plan is to work for three months, travel for three months, rinse and repeat. I'm getting very excited about the whole prospect and I'll try and keep this blog updated with my plans and progress.:)

Posted by Majestic58 07:22 Archived in Canada Tagged preparation Comments (0)

Egypt

First thoughts...

I flew into Hurgada in the middle of the afternoon on the 21st and was greated by very agreeable weather. Warm, but not hot and with a nice breeze, however, I was only planning on staying one night because everything I read about Hurgada said it is a town based on self sufficiant resorts so while the resorts themselves are beautiful, the rest of the town is a pit. They couldn't have been more right, the entire town was basically half finished skyscrapers that I'm not sure would ever get done... I left first thing in the morning and I got into Luxor last night at about 7pm after a six hour bus ride. My hotel is nice, the people are great and just want very much to make sure that I am taken care of and happy. Went out to dinner (pita bread, cucumber salad, tahinia and a beef shish kabob for the grand sum of 3$) and then back to the hotel to relax, I am spending the day wandering around luxor (which has three temples) eating a fresh pomogranite and then I think tomorrow I will go across the nile and spend the day at the valley of the kings... Luxor is great so far, people are super nice (I've accumulated quite the little stash of free gifts) and I am having an excellent time!

Posted by Majestic58 01:47 Comments (2)

A change in plans...

No one ever said I was predictable...

So I'm about to leave Paris, tomorrow morning to be exact... I have loved my time here, it is a beautiful city and everyone has been so nice. This is definitely a place I would want to come back to. I made it to most of the "big sights" (the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre (although I never did see the Mona Lisa), Sacre Coeur etc.) but there is still so much I'd like to see... Unfortunately, I need to go before the people of Paris get out their torches and pitchforks and start chasing me through the streets, because although I love this city very much, I am a jinx. Bad luck. The proverbial black cat. Every city I travel to that depends heavily on it's public transit system ends up in a world stopping transit strike. First London, now Paris, and the natives are getting restless.... So, in light of the fact that the strike isn't getting any better, the Parisians (and tourists for that matter) are starting to pace and the fact that I am not a very fast runner, I've decided that now is as good a time as any to move on. :) So a few weeks ago I started to ponder my next move...

You see, the plan was originally Spain, Barcelona, Sevilla etc... But then I decided I wanted to see snow and mountains and changed the itinerary to include a side trip to Switzerland to admire the view from atop the Matterhorn and go sledding down the Swiss alps... How cool does that sound?! About three days later (about the same time the temperature in Paris started dropping to just below freezing) I declared "Screw this!" and went in search of a plane, train, boat, or burro to somewhere warm... Anywhere warm... Well, warm and cheap, cause lord knows I hate spending money... About four days ago the answer presented itself in the form of a cheap round trip flight and 6$ a night hotel rooms... EGYPT! Of course! Why didn't I think of this before?! Sun, beaches, camels and three thousand year old dead guys! It's the vacation of my dreams! All the research I did just made the place look better and better, I don't need a visa before-hand, the exchange rate is awesome, and it's warm (very warm, ok somewhat scorching)! So here I am, off to visit all the pharaohs, temples, deserts and other assorted tourist traps of the cradle of civilization. :) Wish me luck! :D

Posted by Majestic58 12:49 Archived in France Comments (1)

Miss me? Damn right you did!

(South of France, Poland and Paris...)

Ok, so I've been slacking... I know, I know... But I've been sooooo busy... Not an excuse, I know, but I'll make up for it now, I promise. Ok, on the 8th of October I left the lovely green expanses of Ireland for France... I had decided to spend a month in Paris studying french because mine was not great, ok, it was bad... ok, OK! It was worse than bad, leaving Ireland I thought the people at the French border were going to take me into custody for offending their national pride... However, once I got into Paris (while, Beauvais...) I found that I could actually communicate! While a long way from being pretty, my french was functional (although my vocabulary was severely lacking...) which made me feel quite a lot better.:) So I spent the next couple days in Paris, exploring and going to the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph, although I avoided the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay because I wanted to save those for while I was living here (give myself something to do on the weekends. :) I love Paris, it is old, beautiful and full of amazing things to look at everywhere you turn. I was sad to leave, but I knew I would be back soon so I didn't worry too much.

On the 10th I got on the train down to Carcassonne to hang out with Keith (my uncle) for a couple days. Well, what was supposed to be a six hour train ride turned into a ten hour trip... It turns out that the train running just ahead of mine on the track hit a car at a crossing and so we were delayed while they got everything cleaned off the track... Long, drawn out and boring for the most part, it did have it's amusing points... Like the guy that spent the first two hours of the ride getting smashmouth drunk and the next hour and a half sleeping and slooooooooooooooooooooooooowly sliding out of his seat until he had his shoulders and head on one seat, his feet on another and his arse on the floor between the two... That position probably would have been really comfortable if he were in, say, a hammock, but apparently it wasn't to his satisfaction because after about three minutes of this he half woke up out of his drunken slumber and slid off both seats and onto the floor... Perpendicular to (and completely across and blocking) the asile. The elderly woman sitting next to him had had enough by that point, she got up (with some difficulty seeing as how he had basically caged her in) and walked past me to go find the conductor (stopping briefly to appologise to me and explain that she had to do something about him because he smelled very bad and she couldn't handle it anymore, at least that was the gist I got, she was speaking in very fast French...) When she came back with the (very unhappy looking) conductor he proceeded to attempt to get the gentleman (and I use that term loosely) to vacate the isle.... First by very politely saying "Excuse-moi", then when that didn't seem to have the desired effect, adding some light nudging with his boot to the polite request... After about three minutes of gentle proding and still no response (and I mean ABSOLUTELY no response, at that point I was kinda worried he was dead...) he progressed to some fairly violent kicking and requesting (in a much louder voice) "monsieur, s'réveiller, sil-vous plait!!!". Finally after three or four minutes of this the man finally woke up enough to drag himself into a semi-seated position and listen to the conductor tell him (in a much more polite voice and with much nicer terms that I would have expected) that if he didn't sober himself up enough to stay in his seat that he would be disembarking at the next stop, very unceremoniously, and with assistance if necessary... At about that same time, the train finally started moving and about 20 minutes later I finally arrived at my stop. Keith was an extraordinary host. He spent the next three days showing me tons of great things in Limoux and the surrounding area. I had an excellent time and saw so many great things, Thanks for everything Keith!!

The day before I was supposed to leave Keith and Cynthia's house I still had no idea where I was going to spend the week before I had to be back in Paris for the start of classes... It was the week of the finals for that rugby world cup so there were no cheap hostels left anywhere in france, and trains were SOOOOOOO expensive, that and the fact I'm stingy, led me on a search to try and find somewhere to go that was A: Interesting, and B: Cheap... So I figured that I would just go on the Ryanair website and see where they had cheap flights to and work my way out from there... After about an hour of searching it hit me, POLAND! I bet you're asking yourself, good lord! Why Poland of all places?! My answer is, Why not? I had wanted to add Poland to my itinerary from the very beginning, but I just wasn't going to have enough time, plus, it was WAY cheaper to fly to Poland, hang out for a week, and fly back into Paris than it was to hang out in France for a week, so Poland it was! I flew into Krakow at 11pm and managed to find my way to the hostel I had reserved (The Bling Bling Hostel..... Now there were cheaper, and there better, but I ask you, how on EARTH could I possibly NOT stay in a place called the Bling Bling hostel?!?). I spent three days in Krakow, my first day there I went on a day trip to Auschwitz. What an amazing experience, you know, you hear so much about a place, and you think you're prepared, but being there is a whole other thing altogether. It was a four hour tour of both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II - Birkneau, we had an amazing tour guide who passed on SO much information and I feel so blessed to have been able to go there and hear the real story. I think that anytime someone has the opportunity to visit a place like that they absolutely should. As George Santayana said "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." My next two days in Krakow were spent exploring the city and the old center, Krakow was mostly spared from the bombing of WWII so there is so much of the old architechture still existing, it is a beautiful city. I was lucky enough to be in town on a night when the Krakow Orchestra was performing Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" in an old church, it was beautiful and worth every penny of the 25Pzl (or 7$) that it cost me. ;) I had planned to go from Krakow straight to Warsaw and spend four days there before going back to Paris, but a few fellow travellers told me that there wasn't a whole lot to see since Warsaw had suffered so much heavy bombing during the war that the whole city had to be rebuilt and there was almost nothing old left so I searched around and decided to spend three days in Zakopane instead. Zakopane is in the very south of Poland, and is a ski resort town during the winter, so of like Poland's version of Aspen.... Pretty funny if you think about it... Anyway, I arrived and it was beautiful, a very small town, houses with very tall, very pitched rooves like you see in the pictures of ski chalets in Switzerland, a very cool place. It wasn't quite season yet, so there weren't any big crowds yet. My second day it snowed, I mean IT SNOWED... Six inches in one day, it was beautiful (not to mention a great change since my trip had been soooooo warm up until that point)! I spent the next day in the mountains playing in the snow and hanging out with a very cool Irish guy that was staying at the same hostel I was. Zakopane was beautiful, and I would love to go back again some day... I went to Warsaw on the 20th and spent the day at the movies (I saw Knocked Up and Stardust, both in English with Polish subtitles) because I wasn't feeling very well and just wanted to relax and flew out to Paris that night.

I started classes on the 22nd of October and I am really enjoying it, I am learning a lot and quite enjoying being back in school.:) I am staying with a host family, my host mother is very nice, although a little (or maybe a lot) quirky and she doesn't speak a word of english which makes for a steep learning curve! Library is closing so I have to go, but I will write more again soon, I promise, Love y'all! :X

Posted by Majestic58 07:38 Archived in France Comments (2)

Kilkenny

(Or two homeless men and a choral choir...)

0 °F

So I came into Kilkenny (which was reccomended to me by a really nice Italian girl I shared a hostel with in Killarney who has volunteered to host me when I get to Parma and show me around some.:D ) yesterday afternoon and it really is a very pretty city.. I was lucky enough to come into town in the midst of the annual Gaelic Festival, so there are lots of things going on aside from the usual castles and cathedrals (Not that I don't love castles and cathedrals.. I'm on my way to see Kilkenny's offerings now!). So tonight I am going to make my way up to St. John's Church and see a choral concert. I'm really quite excited. I love choral music, and there will be choirs there from Scotland, Ireland and Wales, I'll let you know how it goes.:) Anyway, I got off my bus and set off on the search for my hostel... Now, I'm cheap.. I mean really.. It's kind of rediculious sometimes... So my hostel is almost always a ways away from the center of town.. This was no exception.... It's not too far, definitely in walking distance (Then again, everything in Kilkenny is)... But I should have turned away when I realized that the front door was locked and that you had to ring to have someone let you in... But I didn't, always optamistic.. Anyway, a nice Slavic man came to the door and let me in... The hostel is called Macgabhainns... Now, I don't speak Irish... But my guess is that in English, Macgabhainns translates into something like "shit box"...
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Ok, I'm being slightly unfair... The two men who seem to be running the place are both very, very nice, and helpful.. However.. That said... The place is a hole... The carpet is super old and super stained... My room is a 6 bedroom dorm and technically, there are six beds.. However you kind of have to turn sideways to get in the door, and in order to get into my bottom bunk I have to crawl through a space about three feet wide between the end of another bunk and the ladder to the bunk above me...
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It's like my own private cave (which is not quite as exciting as it sounds) and the view out the window is a little depressing...
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Anyway, my roomates only add to the allure of the place. It seems that I am bunked with two formally homeless men... Now I say formally because technically, they're living in my room now... But I have reason to believe that recently (as in, say, yesterday...) they were sleeping in a more... How to put this gently... open air enviroment... One man (I think he said his name was Julien (but said with a french accent) is a self described artist originally from England who spent his day sitting at the kitchen table colouring the same picture over and over again... the other man is Spanish and spends the day sitting in the living room, watching tennis and mumbling to himself... Both seem nice enough (relax Mama, I'm perfectly safe..), just.. quirky... Well I'm off to see more of the city.:) I'll write again from Cashel.:) Love you!

Posted by Majestic58 04:23 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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