Saturday, January 26, 2008

What I learnt skiing in the French Alpes

1. Going down a blue run on your first attempt at skiing in 8 years is not such a good idea, and will end in tears and a tantrum.

2. Falling over hurts, but not falling over and completely losing control and fearing for your life is worse.

3. Good skiers and snowboards are worse than bad drivers, they will cut you off and freak you out just because they can.

4. Skis are HEAVY and walking in ski boots is a bitch. Take as many chair lifts as you can and avoid gondolas where you have to take off your skis and walk up massive ramps.

5. Youre shins will never forgive you for skiing. You will often wonder why on earth you are taking part in such a painful sport.

6. Blue runs are not always easier than red runs. In fact sometimes a blue run is as hard as a black run, especially when it is the only way down.

7. Having a cold and skiing is not a brilliant idea. Having lots and lots of tissues in your pockets is.
8. Crying halfway down a run and refusing to continue will not help in any way what so ever.

9. You can be hot and freezing at the same time, especially when you have the wind in your face, someone elses powder spitting up at you and youre coming down a run is way way way too hard.

10. Never ever ever trust your boyfriend when he says "yeah this chairlift will be fine, Im sure theres an easy way to get down".

What Ive learnt in Italy!

1. Nobody moves for you, even if they know you are in the way they will try to walk straight through you.

2. When people say they can speak "a little english" it means they can have a complete conversation with you about almost any topic.

3. The entire town will be flat, but everywhere you want to go have a thousand steps leading up to it.

4. The canals in Venice smell like seaweed and rotting wood, its fairly unpleasant.

5. Every food shop sells pizza and gelati. And thats all they need to sell.

6. Apparently Italian keyboards dont have an apostraphe key, so please ignore my bad punctuation.

7. There are beggars everywhere, and chances are they arent as poor as they look.

8. McDonalds in Florence is at least half the price of McDonalds in Venice.

9. Its highly likely that there are more Americans in Italy than any other nationality... including Italians.

10. Venetian glass and venetian masks and venetian silk has a very high probability of actually being made in china, check the labels!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What I've learnt so far in France

1. French people really do walk around wearing berets and carrying baguettes.

2. There is dog poop EVERYWHERE., watch where you're walking

3. The french metro system is easier to understand than Melbournes, even when everything is written in french and you don't speak a word of it.

4. French keyboards are weeeird, the 'a' and 'q' is around the wrong way and so is the 'm, 'n' and ;.

5. French drivers rarely give way to pedestraians, this makes crossing the road an extreme sport in itself.

6. Theres an iceskating rink and ferris wheel in every city.

7. Even in France you can't escape bad American music.

8. You can get nutalla on pretty much anything that you can buy from a street vendor.

9. You can get beer with your maccas. You can also get it in vending machines for 1 euro at this hostel.

10. Argh number 10 isn't coming to me just yet, stay tuned!

10. French tv is where American tv goes to die. You can watch 90210, Mad about you and every crime show ever produced all dubbed in french!

11. French Wheel of Fortune is hilarious. The letter turner is the French (and alive..) Anna Nicole Smith, and the host has a pet dog that comes on the show, but does nothing at all, except for sleep and get in the way of the french Anna Nicole.

12. House and Crossing Jordan are actually more interesting in French than in English.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I bet you've been wondering about me...

Well in case you didn't catch my super quick comment on the last post I'm in Nice at the moment now and savouring the free internet at our crazy awesome hostel where there are not only people who speak english, but there are Aussies here! You have no idea how exciting that is after spending three nights in Lyon where absolutely noone speaks English and you spend the whole time pointing to things and feeling like a total retard.

So here's the lowdown, we flew into Paris on new years day, as you all know. The flight was... long, about 22 hours all up, maybe more, and for about 3 hours I felt like absolute shit and couldn't eat a bloody thing, this was annoying because it meant I missed the scrambled eggs for breakfast. I did however manage to eat the breakfast on our connecting flight (two breaksfasts in about 4 hours is always handy) but it was only crossoints and coffee and OJ, still good though. The second flight was way better and only lasted 7 hours so I just dozed for most of it because by this time I was an absolute wreck and wanted to collapse somewhere and die. The movies on the backs of the chairs were handy and a good distraction, but once you get to the stage where you are so tired you can't keep you're eyes open yet you can't sleep because of the guy sitting two rows back keeps storting like a warthog, they are less useful.

We quickly learnt that the train stations and metro/RER are so bloody simple I actually found it easier to find my way around Paris than I usually do in Melbourne, and everything was in French! So we spent 4 nights in Paris at a pretty cool hotel in Montmatre which had a kickarse buffest breakfast (all the croissonts and brioche you can eat) which we got free because we had paid ahead in full. We did all the typical tourist stuff in Paris: Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge (well.. we saw the OUTSIDE of it), Lourve, Musee D'orsay, Arc De Triomphe, Siene River Cruise, Notre Dame, etc. I won't go into detail yet because it will make this post faaaar too long and Mark is waiting upstairs for me (though he's most likely asleep because we both have colds and feel like crapola). Can I just add that right at this moment I am about 3 metres from the kitchen and the smells comming out of there are AMAZING and I haven't eaten for about 6 hours, man I can't wait for dinner!!

Ok so after Paris we had to get the Eurail to Lyon, this proved harder than expected because we didn't book out train ticket therefore when we turned up at the train station at 11am the train was full and we either had to fork out 90 euro for a first class ticket or take the 4:50pm train from Charles De Gaule airport (which was NOT where we were at the time). So we trained it to the airport then hung around there with our bags in tow for 5 hours until the train came. The train was only 2 hours which was good, we got the TGV which is super fast. But when we got to Lyon it was dark and raining and we didn't really know where to go so we walked around in the dark and the rain for about half an hour before finally finding out hotel, then learnt that the clerk spoke minimal english (and the next morning learnt the morning chick spoke NO english). The room was good and bigger than the one in Paris though so we were happy.

We didn't see a lot in Lyon because we only had two full days there and I was as sick as a dog, basically we went on a ferris wheel ride, a 20 min river ferry to a contemperarie art museum (interesting...), and Saint Pauls Cathedral on a big hill which was pretty cool. The highlight of Lyon was running into some Aussies in McDonalds who turned out to be friends of friends. The girl had just spent a week in Amsterdam with two of Marks high school friends, and the guy goes to my uni, is studying Psychology and apparently copies off a friend of mine in Stats (who copies off me). He also knew her roomate who is friend of mine and his girlfriend who is pretty much my best friend in Melbourne. So that was our small world story for the trip, it really freaked us out.

Today we left Lyon at 9am and got the TGV to Nice, it took a good 5 hours to get here because there were so many stops, and because we had colds our ears kept blocking and unblocking the whole time which drove us absolutely crazy and made it impossible to sleep or listen to our mp3 players (though Mark perservered). We got to Lyon and it was sunny and beautiful then we followed ythe hostel websites directions and got the 23 bus to Saint Maurice Sqaure and called the free number from a pay phone and ta da! It didn't work. Neither did the international number. Neither did calling it from my mobile. I freaked a bit and rang Mum back in Australia to get here to ring the international number so she could tell them to come and pick us up! It was 1am over in Aus and luckily mum had just got up to go to the toilet so she heard me begging her to pick up on the answering machine. After waiting ten minutes to hear back from here about rining the hostel I rang the number again and discovered that the engaged tone that I had heard (and then hung up on) was actually the dial tone, and wha la! And aussie guy answered and said he'd come pick us up in 5 minutes! Oh I nearly cried when I heard that.

So we've been here a few hours and it's great, everything here is in English, the food is cheap and smells awesome, the internet is free!! and it just seems like an all round awesome place to be, I'm glad we're staying here for 5 nights. So now I better go because I've made a HUGE post and Mark is probably thinking I'm drunk and picking up stray backpackers. So there it is everyone, I'm sick but I'm having a good time and finally feeling a bit less...isolated! I hope this finds all my bloggy and forum friends well and everything is dandy back in aus (and wherever else you are!) Mwah, I'll be back soon hopefully!!