Europe Trip 1

19th November 2004 – 10th December 2004

With 3 weeks to kill before flying from Paris to Brazil, a whirlwind trip of Western Europe was on the cards. 3 weeks obviously doesn’t do Europe any justice, but it’s always going to be there when I am retired. Spain, Italy, France and Amsterdam was the itinerary. 

I started off with my pack on my back with all my worldly possessions leaving Alicante after 4 months of making it my home. In my 5 years of working the world, nothing can beat that feeling of accomplishment, having come to a place knowing no one, and leaving with memories and friends for life……….and of course some hard earned money to fund the next chapter.

‘La Rambla’. Now thats what I call a Busker! La Grada Familia - My kind of church

I headed north from Alicante up the coast, stopping in towns along the way before getting to Barcelona.  Now there’s a great city. I lived the hostel life, close to the best street in the world, ‘La Rambla’. Basically La Rambla is a pedestrian street circus, buskers in all shapes and forms, from a naked tiger body-painted lady on all fours to a man juggling a soccer ball.  And in my opinion the best church in the world ‘La Grada Familia’, a church designed by a guy on acid, now that’s an oxymoron! With great nightlife taking its toll on my wallet and limited supply of brain cells, I decided to leave all the great architecture and art to the people who appreciated it.  I went in-search of somewhere more chilled. 

 San Sabastian was the potion to all the Barcelona Commotion.  It was November so I struck it without all the summertime crowds. I spent days wandering the old towns cobblestone streets, checking out the historic buildings, watching the surfers brave the cold water, and contemplating life overlooking San Sabastian while sitting at a cave bar on the hill with the sun setting (how romantic……..then I went back to my single bed room……….).  Then it was off to the capital Madrid.

From Madrid I flew to Rome, Italy to meet my University mate Si. We stayed with his grape picking mate in the suburbs. Caught up on our individual adventures over a beer in a suburban park commune, run on love, peace, happiness, green smoke, spray painted walls, and cheap beer.

When in Rome……………..do what the tourists do! We checked out the pile of rocks known as the coliseum, and I unenthusiastically tagged along with Si to the Vatican city and was totally blown away by the place, like a 5 year old blown away………………the first time they see snow.

San Sabastion - Writing in my journal comtemlating life at sunset Welcome to Naples

We both then headed south to Naples, the re-known home of Pizza and the volcanic ruins of Pompei. I believe it should be changed to the home of rubbish, homeless and traffic.  We exited the train station –admittedly never a best first impression of any city– and it seemed we had coincided our stay in Naples with the homeless and rubbish piling convention.  We are all welcome to our opinions, and mine is that if I had my time again I wouldn’t even bother stopping to go the toilet in Naples. It was 3 days spent counting down the time to leave. Pompei was great if your educated and interested in it, otherwise it’s just a day of walking around rubble lined roads. I will end on a positive, Naples did live up to its reputation for good pizza, so maybe I would stop there for some pizza. Si and I spent our last hour in Naples at the train station, sitting with the homeless, with plastic cups and brown paper bags sedating ourselves for the long haul overnight train trip to France.

We arrived in Pau, Southern France where Si had been living and working.  Couple days there then off to Paris to meet up with my hometown mate Tim and some of his mates over from London. Surprise surprise another college mate turned up as-well.  All 5 of us squeezed into their 3 bed hotel room and started the weekend reunion as we meant to finish it, with a little duty-free. Some people would be appalled at how we did Paris, we went to the Lurve Musuem to use the facilities. We didn’t even get to the Eiffel Tower, as we were drawn to a pub advertising happy hour commencing at 4pm, and guess what, as destiny would have it, it was 4pm, and we never emerged from that pub till early next morning.  We did eat snails though, that must earn us some cultural points? The next day after happy hour, we woke up, the boys heading back to London and me off to see Amsterdam, but my hungover rubber arm got twisted and that night I found myself at Tims place in London.

Sunset of steple at the Vatican. The motely crew - Reunion in Paris

Early December in London, the sun was shining, birds chirping, Christmas lights, little children running through daisy fields laughing and smiling……………………………ummmmm no.  Different shades of grey filled the limited day time sky, -but hey you don’t go to London for the weather- in my 5 days I saw the sights, Big Ben etc, checked out Camden street market to purchase some vegies for dinner. Next day I turned up at Heathrow Airport early in the morning to catch my flight to Paris where later that night I was heading to Brazil.  I was not feeling flash, must of been something in that dinner, but my morning was going to get worse.

The lovely lady at the Air France desk would kindly not let me on my London to Paris flight  because I didn’t have a plane ticket leaving Brazil!  Long story short, after 16 hours of stress, phone calls, more money, sleeping on airport floors, I left for Brazil to start the next chapter.

NEXT CHAPTER

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2 Responses to “Europe Trip 1”

  1. Si Earle February 23, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    Hey Boy. good memories…i don’t think i’ll ever forget waking up in that hotel room in paris..hahaha

  2. Hap February 23, 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    hahaha, yeah bro, your lucky you didn’t wake up next to Disco snuggling up to ya! haha i won’t be forgetting that either, good times. Hope your travels going well. hit us an email and let me know where you at.
    Peace. NBL hap

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