The first call to prayer floats through the cool morning air, intermingling with the low rumble of a solitary motorcyle and the whir of my ceiling fan. It is hauntingly beautiful, and I am suddenly grateful for the jetlag that has kept me wide awake since 3am, if only for the opportunity to enjoy this peaceful moment before Kuala Lumpur springs to life.
We decided to break up the long journey home from London to Brisbane with an extended stopover, and ended up choosing to stay in the Malaysian capital for three days. We knew we’d be pretty jetlagged, so didn’t make any plans for heavy sightseeing, especially considering the short timeframe. I’d love to come back to explore some of the natural landscape of Malaysia, but this time around the goal was simply to relax, shop, eat and wander the city a little – so here’s what we got up to in 72 hours.Continue reading
Leaving Belfast by bus, Mum and I arrived in Dublin with about an hour to spare before our onward train to Killarney. The bus dropped us in the heart of the city, and having been to Dublin before I was pretty confident about catching the light rail to reach the train station. What I hadn’t counted on was it being Hurling finals (a 3000 year old Gaelic sport), and the streets being completely packed with some 82,000 supporters all jostling toward public transport. Our relaxed travel day suddenly started to feel like an episode of the amazing race (and I’m pretty sure I’d be that grouchy unlovable contestant…). Luckily we managed to pounce on what could have been the only available cab in the city – luck of the Irish? A short cab ride later, we’d made another BFF (seriously, just jump in a cab or go to a pub in Ireland and you’ll never be lonely again) and scored a seat on the train before the hordes of Cork supporters piled on.
After a long day of travelling we finally made it to Killarney at around 11pm and checked into possibly the loveliest B&B I’ve ever stayed in. Continue reading
The moment we stepped back onto Irish soil, I was reminded why I love this place so much – our taxi driver greeted us with all the warmth,humour and friendliness that seems to be ingrained in the vast majority of the Irish. By the time Mum, Mark and I reached the hotel, my cheeks hurt from laughing. Although technically, this was in fact English soil under our feet and while there has been a declared peace in Belfast for 15 years we soon realised that the discontent and anger is still palpable.Continue reading
The start of June marked 12 months since we stepped off Australian soil and set off on our big European adventure – first stop, Paris. Coincidentally, Mark and I found ourselves back in Paris to mark the anniversary. I’ll freely admit that it’s not my favourite European city – not by a long shot, and this time around the rose-coloured glasses were definitely off. The stink in the metro was a lot more noticeable and the junkies hassling us for coins and dealers openly selling and smoking ice on the platforms were not so charming either. Oh Pari, city of love and lights. Hrmm. On the plus side, the pastries were as divine as ever, and we got to experience my favourite Parisian sight, the Sacre Couer, by night this time – we braved the climb for an amazing view of the city lights and a chilled vibe.
But our main reason for returning to the French capital was for two jam-packed days of tennis at Roland Garros and a chance to see THE Roger Federer and Rafa.Continue reading
With just two weeks to go before we start our journey home to Australia, life has started to get a little hectic as we scramble through all the little last minute jobs involved in another international move, while trying to jam in twelve months worth of ‘we’ll get around to it’ sightseeing into a handful of designated ‘tourist days’.
Today was supposed to be one of said tourist days – we had planned a day trip to Oxford. But we woke up, late, to a beautiful sunshine filled Sunday and decided at the last minute to spend the day relaxing in our own backyard. Except no-one actually has a backyard in London, so by backyard I mean Hampstead Heath, and by relaxing I mean two solid hours slogging it out up muddy, slippery tracks on those heavy ‘Boris’ bikes, which cost a couple of quid per hour to hire. Turns out, these are not designed for off road excursions.Continue reading
My last post farewelled the long London winter as I hopefully anticipated a summer filled with sunshine – and in fact summer turned out to be so lovely, and busy, that my laptop sat neglected in the corner as I immersed myself in London life and enjoyed a couple of European trips.
But as the icy winter winds and drizzly days start to set in, my mind drifts back to a particularly beautiful day in Spring, earlier this year. Sam, Dom, Mark and I piled onto a train to Hever, a town in the beautiful county Kent, where we had arranged to catch up with Andy who we met touring Turkey a few months earlier.Continue reading
As we approach mid-summer in London, winter is finally starting to feel like it’s behind us. The sun is making a few more appearances, and we are now getting some humid 25 degree days that almost feel like the Queensland storm season. It’s not perfect, but it’s been a VERY nice change from the ‘spring’ weather we’d had over the past few weeks – which averaged about 3 degrees in April!!Continue reading
“For those visiting, we hope you enjoy your time here,” said the air hostess, “and for those returning – welcome home.”
I looked out of the window at the sparkling lights of the city below and breathed a sigh of relief. We’d just spent a wonderful week in Copenhagen, but it was exhausting and I found my tolerance for hostels to be waning…I was excited to sleep in my own bed, and happy to be home.
And suddenly it struck me that, sometime in the last three months, somewhere between arriving and finding a flat and a job, between exploring landmarks, markets and nightspots, spending time with new friends and meeting the neighbours, buying homewares and paying bills, ice skating and pub crawling and battling it out on the tube….at some point amongst all of this, London had become my home. Or at least, my home-for-now.
I’ve got so much catching up to do, and will get around to writing about everything I love in this city…but to start, let me introduce you to our little part of London – Kentish Town, on the northside. Dodgy in parts, delightful in others, and always full of character.Continue reading
So it’s been a little while since I’ve blogged…in fact nearly six months have slipped by that we’ve been living in London, and I still haven’t written about it. So it’s probably time that I did, and I suppose I’d better start at the beginning.
Ben, Gem, Mark and I landed in London in early October. We landed at midnight exhausted from the epic week at Oktoberfest, and from four months of non-stop adventuring. Too late for trains, we jumped in a taxi and I slept the whole way to our hostel, just once peeking my eyes open enough to see a big red double decker bus drive by. Hello London!Continue reading
It’s a story my Dad loves to tell me as though he’s telling it for the first time, and his eyes light up at the memory that is too distant for me to recall. It’s the late 80s, I’m about two years old and we’re playing at the park where my brother learnt to ride his first bike. Dad was taking me for a leisurely spin on the merry go round, when suddenly it was hijacked by some speed freak ten year olds. As we whirled faster and faster in a dizzying circle, Dad braced with his feet and clung to me with a sense of terror that has obviously stayed with him after all these years!
24 years later and Dad and I are standing in this same park in Cambridge, the English university town where my family and I spent a year of our lives. The merry go round is gone, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have remembered it anyway…nothing in this town looks familiar, though I’ve tried to imagine it many times before. Using my parent’s stories and a handful of photographs, I’ve pieced together a fuzzy looking picture and was never sure whether it was my own memory or one I’d just made up. Funnily enough I’ve never thought to google Cambridge, but I’m quite glad I didn’t because when we finally returned I got a beautiful surprise.Continue reading