February 2007

:: “The funny thing is, London is an incredibly interesting city, it’s very sexy and different, with the Thames winding through it like a snake..”

“How come everytime you come around,

My London, London bridge wanna go down like,

London, London, London, wanna go down like,

London, London, London wanna go down like..”

Ok enough about “Fergie Fer and me love you long time”.. when we went to London, luckily nothing “went down” as such… Everything was great despite the cold winter chill.

I loved London when I was there 4 years ago and still feel the same way this time we visited again. I always think that European cultures, people and joke suit me more than any others, I guess in a certain way it’s very similar to the Australian way. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love other places as well but Western Europe is amazing, I guess what I love the most is the structure of the city. The distinct European architecture such as the cobble stone lanes, narrow little villages, the medieval castles/churches, buildings, etc.

I know not many people don’t really like London due to the crowdedness, dirtiness, people being rude, and the weather is miserable. However, despite of all that, to me the city has so much character, lots of old little cafes/pubs, markets, the underground tubes and buses are so efficient, and not forgetting the live musical plays in theatres.

We saw The Phantom of The Opera in Her Majesty’s Theatre. Hands down it was the best play I’ve ever been to. The tickets were a little pricey, but it was worth every penny. The story was about a Phantom (like a ghost) that lived behind this Paris opera and he fell in love with this girl called Christine who was one of the actors that played in his opera. I’ve never seen such an amazing play.. I loved it so much that I bought the CD and I think Saj might be sick of the songs by now coz I constantly play it… 😛

Well, London was our last stop before we headed back home and we made the most of it by doing a lot of the major sight seeing, we visited The Big Ben, London Eye, London Aquarium, The Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Harrods, and Tower Bridge to name a few. We also visited Saj’s aunty Sharmini that lives in London, she took us to the Saturday market, shopping centre and had a home cooked meal for lunch. We had a great time spending our last day with her and hope to see her again soon.

Well, good things must come to an end and after spending 5 nights, we were ready to say goodbye to London and headed home and start repairing the financial damage that we’ve inflicted over the past 6 weeks traveling! 😛

I love traveling, it opens your mind and you learn so much about people, cultures, and places. As a former STA Travel adviser, I would say…

“We know because we go…”

:: Amoreux de Paris


I love Paris every moment,
every moment of the year…

I love Paris,
oh why do I love Paris?
Because my love is near…

Bonjour! Paris was one of the best cities I’ve ever been to. There isn’t a single thing that I don’t like about Paris, although there is a big language barrier and I’ve heard bad things about french people, we never came across one rude person, in fact, they were all so helpful and friendly. We only gave ourselves 3 nights in Paris and wished that we could stay longer.. much longer.. a cause de je’t tomber amourex de Paris.

I love the language, I did do a french course in Perth almost 2 years ago, but I’ve pretty much forgotten all of it now since I had never practiced it. It would have been handy if I still had it with me when we were there.. It spun me out to hear the indian and chinese people speak French when we went to restaurants.

On our first day, we went to see the famous museum, yeah you know it.. The Louvre, where the movie Davinci’s Code was made. It was huge and to really see most of it inside, it will take you about 3-4 days. We saw the Mona Lisa painting and I was quite surprise of how small it actually was. Well it proves that in this case, size does NOT matter as that small painting was protected by an 8cm thick bullet-proof glass and had about 5 guards surrounding it. Outside the Louvre is this beautiful open area surrounded by detailed architectural buildings, water fountains and little cafes.

Although the weather was cold and rainy, it didn’t stop us from going places such as The Notre Dame, Ile de La Cite (where we ate escargot for the first time), Place de La Concorde, Champs Elysees, Moulin Rouge, Arc de Triomph and of course.. Le Tour Eiffell (The Eiffel Tower). As usual, Saj took some really impressive photos of these sites and I’d like to share them with you.

We were so lucky to have met a lovely French guy, his name was Jean Philippe (we called him JP) in the tour that we did in Amsterdam. So we met up with him again on our last day in Paris. He took us to Montmartre which is definitely my number 1 favourite place in Paris. Montmartre consists of a very artistic Parisian village located on a slightly steep slopes with narrow streets and lots of cute little bistros, shops and galleries. There were a lot of artists that offered to draw a portrait of you for approx. EUR10-25. But what I enjoyed the most were observing the artists created the beautifully hand-painted canvases of the colourful cafes and bistros around. I could stand there forever watching…

There is a catholic church perching at the top of Montmartre called Sacre Coeur (or Sacred Heart). It was the most beautiful church I have ever seen. We all strolled along Pigalle (Moulin Rouge) and Champs Alysees at night and we all had dinner near our hotel which was in St Marcel. JP was such a great host and we all talked for hours! The whole day just wasn’t enough and after midnight we were all tired and had to say goodbye to him. Thanks a lot for making our trip sweet, we surely had a great time meeting up with you and until next time we see again…

Au Revoir for now…

:: Amsterdamage…

 After one of the shorter flights we’ve had to endure so far we finally have arrived in Amsterdamage… I mean Amsterdam :)

After we checked into our hostel Tash asked me to go and get some bottled water and snacks. I walked down the little cobble stoned street and all of a sudden I hear someone tapping on a window trying to get my attention. As I looked up there was a fairly large lady dressed in ligerie… I knew our hostel was around the red light district… but I didn’t realise it was THAT close… shocked at what I saw I gave her a nervous smile and continued walking… For those of you who don’t know, the red light district has plenty of of windows similar to a shop front and above them there is a red fluorescent light and the girls stand in the window and try to get your attention to invite you in… It sure brings a new meaning to the term “window shopping”.

The next interesting thing that I noticed while we were in Amsterdam is that wherever we went, there was a distinct smell in the air… It becomes very clear when you see what many of the cafes and shops have on their signs…

I wondered why everyone was so friendly… we had absolute strangers offering to help us… Not being one to do drugs now I know why everyone is so happy there… 😛

…they must’ve been eating these special cookies or brownies on sale at the cafes…

Amsterdam is made up of a series of arched channels that start from the centre of the city and have continuously moved out as the infrastructure needed to grow. The country is actually 1-5 metres BELOW sea level… hence they need to create habitable land in a very unique way. The Dykes (no… not lesbians) or more commonly known as dams stop the water from flooding the land by making a high embankment around an area and then the water is pumped out exposing the ground. 

The next thing that Amsterdam is famous for is windmills. Mainly built in the 1600’s they were used as grinding mills for flour/cereals and pumping water. Now they are mainly just maintained as heritage buildings… Since Amsterdam is so marshy the locals over the years have designed a unique way to get around; they use cloggs which are a wooden shoe that is worn with thick socks. This way they can walk though the marshes and when their shoes get dirty they just hose them down. Tash and I tried on a couple of pairs at a clogg factory, but it seems we may have chosen a pair that were a size or two too big… :)


Cheese, cheese, glorious cheese… we checked out the local cheese factory and got to sample all of the varieties ranging from French onion to chilli and cows to goats milk! One cannot come to Holland and not try the dutch pancakes… they are to die for! Because the Dutch colonized many countries including Indonesia, we were able to have some authentic Indonesian food as well… being in western countries we started to crave for some asian cooking so it was a welcomed change. During our city bus tour we met a great group of people.. Aleksandra, JP, Guntmar and off course Ramsez! Tash and I had a great time hanging out with you guys… hope to see you round soon!

All in all, the 16th Century architecture and cobble stoned lanes were a warm introduction to Europe. The sights and culture were a pleasant experience… I just had to show you guys one of the male toilets that we saw in a hotel… 

From here we are catching a train and are off to gay Paris… Gauw to ziens!