Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Playing catch-up, AGAIN.

Looks like time for another picture-post.  There is, theoretically, actual content coming.  Seriously.  But..  I get verbose when I’m telling the stories of where I’ve been, and thus, you might have to wait until I’ve at least unpacked my bag for more than three days before all the tales come to the internet.  So far, the text document is at 4 pages, and I haven’t even caught up to the end of the last photo post.  So.  Here we go. (As usual, click on the photos for bigger versions, and other stuff I thought was photo-worthy)

Since I had no Paris photos to show last time, this is what it looked like while we were there.


From Paris, we went to Nice, where instead of pouring rain, it was 30-plus degrees and totally clear.


From Nice, as stated, we went to Strasbourg, which is just on the French side of the French-German border.  We didn’t stay there very long.  Instead, we went to Basel, Switzerland, and from there (over the course of the day) to Munich via Mannheim (which seems like an awfully lengthy “via” but it worked out) and since we only had 4 hours in Munich, we went for a swim.  At the Karl Mueller’sche Volksbad.  And…  It was pretty.


From Munich, we took the overnight to Venice.  (Finally.  It took 4 days of talking to ticket agents and trying to figure things out)  There were song lyrics stuck in my head all day but it was worth it.


The overnight from Venice to us to Vienna.  A friend of mine from the last Australian Rover Moot had the time to show us around for the day, and we spent the night at his place, having had NO luck with ticketing in the morning.  So we got our first shots of city-at-night since we started the whole train thing.


The morning after Vienna, we caught the train to Budapest.  It was… mostly falling apart, it seems.  There are new bits here and there that we saw, but mostly it was just cracked and faded, and not in a good way.  However, we learned that if you are looking for statues that are wearing pants, Budapest is the place to go.


After Budapest, it gets interesting.  Because we were starting to run out of days, pretty much.  We knew that we had to get back to Amsterdam (and the Utrecht) for the last day of the pass.  So.  We went back to Switzerland, because it seems that the SBB are pretty much rail wizards, and can book anywhere-to-anywhere tickets through the Interrail system, unlike most other rail companies, who can only book tickets originating (not even just terminating) in their own countries.  So we turned up in Zurich at about 0730 on a Saturday morning, and then, because we wanted to, and I had postcards to send (I bought stamps for them in Nice, but didn’t have a chance to send them) we went to Basel and from Basel to Mulhouse, France.  Nominally “for breakfast” and the novelty of saying “oh, we went to France for breakfast” but also to send postcards.  And breakfast was totally worth the travel time.  Plus Mulhouse is pretty, even at 9am on a Saturday before it’s properly awake. 


We did end up back in Zurich, and walked around the downtown bit and past the lake, where there were people diving off a tower by a bridge.  It was fun to watch.


In any case, SBB did not fail us, and set us up with the rest of our tickets, and that night we got on the train to Ljubljana, Slovenia.  And it was seriously pretty.  And there were cool dragons on one of the bridges.


I wish we’d had more time there, but alas, out train that night was leaving from Zagreb, Croatia.  So we got on the train in the afternoon, and after exiting the Schengen-area and entering Croatia, we acquired the Zagreb tourist map and did the walking tour suggested by it.  Encompassing, according to the guy at the tourist info place, “all the things you need to see in Zagreb.”  Total time spent walking?  About 2.5 hours, with packs on.  (So yes, normal people could also do it in 2.5 hours.)  There was some nifty tile-work, and a lot of yellow buildings.


The train from Croatia took us to Munich.  We had a quick train ride in the morning, due to Munich not being awake yet (I think it was about 0630) and the settled in for the day.  We were not-quite-accosted as we were leaving the train station with a “hey, you speak English!” by Lenny of Lenny’s Bike Tours, and he was convincing enough (and the price was right enough) to get us to store our stuff for the day and take a bike tour of Munich. 


We are glad we did.  Our tour guide was fun, and did a good job.  We saw the whole city.  And also (silly highlight of the day) I saw a lady selling those crazy “made in Germany” slicer things.  Like, the kind I’m used to seeing at the PNE. It was so unexpected I had to take a picture.


Munich’s overnight took us to Amsterdam.  We spent the day wandering around, as per usual, and found that a lot of Amsterdam seems to be under construction.  Also, the bikes there are crazy.  And their owners are worse than other cities’ bike couriers.  It was bad.


(no pictures to go with the following, because my computer is being slow, and I really don't have the time to wait for it)
Our very last train was to Utrecht, where we had somewhere to stay with friends from JubJam.  We spent the next day and night in Utrecht, doing laundry and catching up on sleep (never underestimate having somewhere horizontal to stretch out) and basically gathering our wits for the next bit of the trip.

I say gathering our wits because the next day we went to the airport to fly to Thailand.  We landed in Bangkok mostly sleep-deprived but otherwise fine, and have spent the last few days here coping with it being hot and humid in between torrential downpours (there have been 2 that we know of).  We’ve been to the zoo, and the market, and the palatial complex and the temple.  We’ve been both in and away from the tourist-heavy parts of the city.  Tomorrow, we go to Malaysia.  We decided while in Utrecht that going overland was a bad idea, so we’re flying.  And in Malaysia?  That remains to be seen.

Monday, August 16, 2010

An Apology

I have to apologize, right now, for being a bad travel-blogger.  Finding the time to write has been tricky; I never know when I will have power, or internet (right now, I have both, luckily) and while I have been trying to keep people up to date, it's not always the easiest thing in the world.  For now, I can tell you where I've been, since the jamboree, and maybe some pictures?  I will write with more content soon, but for now, this will have to do.

First, there was a Jamboree.


From the Jamboree (in Roermond, the Netherlands) We got a ride to Winterthur, Switzerland.


And then we went to Nesslau, with some friends.  We stayed there over the weekend.

sibling rivalry

From Nesslau, we went to Geneva (via a complicated route that makes me seriously appreciate that Swiss trains are ALWAYS on time)

In Geneva, we bought EuRail passes.  And then it gets interesting.  Since we got the passes, we've been spending a day at a time in various cities, and taking night trains to get to the next potentially interesting destination.

So.  From Geneva (we spent the day there, and it was lovely) to Hamburg overnight.  Instead of staying in Hamburg, though, we jumped on another train, to Copenhagen.

From Copenhagen (where we did not have enough time, but that's life) we went to Stockholm.  Also pretty, but by this point, the kr (the krone, be it Danish, Swedish, or Norwegian, and they're ALL different) was starting to feel awfully expensive (or maybe it was just Stockholm?)

So.  From Stockholm, to Oslo (it was that, or Finland, and we weren't sure how to get back from Finland easily) where it was pouring rain and the locals were... not unfriendly, but not particularly welcoming, either. It got nice about an hour before we left.

From Oslo, we went back through Copenhagen to Hamburg.  We stayed in Hamburg this time, for a bit.  Took enough pictures to kill my camera battery...
Hamburg Hbf

From Hamburg, we went (the long, complicated, mostly sleepless way) to Paris.  Where, once again, it was pouring rain. I borrowed the baby camera and got some interesting pictures of Paris in the rain.  No time to grab them yet, though.

Today, we are in Nice.  Where it is such a far cry from yesterday that it's nuts.  It's 30° and there are palm trees.  It's very strange.  And very Mediterranean.  Tomorrow, we get to Strasboug, and from there...  well, it depends on what the ticketing agent says :)