Travel Blog Daniella and Luke's Travelblog

30Aug/10Off

Bucharest

Venice to Bucharest - it's a little bit of a culture shock.

Despite being a member state of the EU, Romania still seems the black sheep of the family.  As a far eastern European former communist state with a sketchy past it's easy to see why even other EU states regard it with some concern.

Even then, we were warned frequently in Italy and through travel guides that Romania, whilst beautiful, should be regarded with caution.  Understandably so we became increasingly concerned when we were unable to find any foreign exchange agency to date that was either willing or able to exchange Euros for Romanian Leu's.

Stepping off the plane at Banesea airport in Romania, the general dilapidation of the buildings was surprising, and the number of seemingly shady taxi drivers outside (of whom we were warned) in addition to the lack of the expected ticketing machines made us a little concerned.

However, after getting helpful directions to the ticketing office from a taxi driver, whom then offered us a ride to the hotel for 10 EUR (we accepted) things turned out better than expected.  The taxi driver turned out to be an unexpectedly nice guy and not the thieving Gypsy we had imagined, happily pointing out the major sites and changing routes from Gara du Nord to our hotel at no extra cost.

We then showered, dressed and headed into town along the main drag into the older part of town.  We were surprised.  Bucharest, having emerged from communism only decades earlier is a strange contradiction of self.

A central intersection of Bucharest, seemingly typical of powerlines, commercial advertisements, decrepit public housing blocks, gothic/revivalist architecture and crazy traffic.

An even better photo of the typical power line situation in Bucharest.

The Palatu Parliamentuliui, the second largest building in the world (by area?) after the Pentagon.

And after an incredibly good meal of pork and beef sausages and stuffed capsicum at approximately 1/4 the cost of a Euro priced meal, we hit up a supermarket for some cheap lunch-eats and beer.  The featured beer (modeled by lukep of G!) is a 2 litre 7% variety known as Stejay Strong and promises to build 'Caracter Musculin' was a whopping 8.7 RON (=~ 2 EUR).

Strangely enough, not pictured today is the many (many) stray dogs that litter the city (both figuratively and literally with poop) and the many circling black birds, perhaps waiting for one of the many dogs to die.

Tomorrow we expect to spend some time strolling through the very large city gardens, which if our experiences so far have been faithful to Bucharest, should also include viewing many stray dogs.

30Aug/10Off

Venice

Ah Venice.  What can you say about Venice that hasn't been said before?

Except maybe... fuck Google maps.

We got lost.  Badly.  On the way to the hotel.  Only after checking and re-checking our Google Maps directions, scouring the surrounding area in ~30 degree heat, buying a useless tourist map and then finally talking to the helpful informational office did we manage to find the hotel, which contrary to the Oracle was in a completely different area.

Hotel found, we took a well-earnt shower and set out to explore Venice.

The street in which our hotel was located, canal at the far end.

View across the lower grand canal towards the Cathedral.

View across San Marco square.

View towards a small island hosting the tower whose name escapes me.

The Rialto Bridge (also known as the bridge of 1000 asshole tourists).  After some surprisingly cheap eats and gelati (cheaper than Paris) we headed back to the hotel for an early night before catching a ferry upstream to the Piazzale Roma in the morning to catch a shuttle bus to Venezia Treviso Airport and spend the rest of the day waiting for our flight to Bucharest.

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29Aug/10Off

Belated Mega Update

Apologies for the lengthy period between updates and to make amends, this is a fairly lengthy, 56k-unfriendly post.

From Paris we flew out of Orly Airport to Nice were we met with Tony, Cristelle, Zio Giovanni and Zia Maria in beautiful Menton.  From Menton we traveled with Tony and Cristelle as our guides to Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo as well as the surrounding districts of Menton.

View from the Monte Carlo palace over Monaco.

And a vista of Monaco from a mountain top vantage point on the other side of the bay.

Medieval Roman commemorative monument.

From Menton we caught the train to Montacatini to meet with Zia Franca, Zio Angelo, Rosanna and Martia.  From Pistoia we traveled to Vinci to see Leonardo's former residence and workshop.

Pisa.  From left to right; the dome, the cathedral and the tower.

5 hours in photoshop - I also do Frontpage website designs, check my portfolio on Geocities.

Duomo in Florence.

Detail of the dome inside.

Cityscape of Florence looking over Ponte Vecchio.

The city gates of San Gimignano showing the famous mediaeval towers.

Tuscany at it's finest.

The spectacular gothic Duomo in Sienna.

And it's famed opulent interior.

We'd like to thank all of our wonderful hosts for their wonderful hospitality, abundance of delicious food and  receiving us with open arms and hearts.  Grazie.

We're now off to Venice for a night before flying out the following afternoon to Bucharest.  Stay tuned for what I promise will be more regular updates.

19Aug/10Off

Gay Paris (well, not gay but he doesn’t have a girlfriend, which is sort of strange)

After a surpisingly good sleep, we headed out to see the sights looking decidely touristy in our cargo shorts, kahkis and quick-dry tops in trendy-as-shit Paris where pin-striped business men on cycles smoking cigarettes and using mobiles sans helmuts are a regular sight.

We spent the morning racking up a lot of sightseeing miles before standing in line for 45 minutes to get inside the Louvre.

Afterwards, we spent walked back to Jardin du Paris and put our feet up before heading back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.  Continue reading(?) for an image dump interspersed with my off-the-cuff commentary.


The guy on the top is about to get into a whole heap of shit when the guy on the bottom tells Mum.

Great western phallic symbol, or greatest western phallic symbol?

Hotel room roof - testing camera.

What we all came to see (if what we came to see was a blurry shot of the Mona Lisa).

Not actually made of gummy.

Relaxing in Jardin du Paris.

Back entrance (tradesman's entrance) of the Louvre.  We actually saw a whole bunch of construction workers exit here.

Side entrance of the Louvre.

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18Aug/10Off

Dazed and confused

After spending more than a day in transit between various international airport lounges and seemingly eating countless airline meals interspersed with sleep and in-flight movies we arrived at Charles De Gaul in France where after some confusion we found that my baggage had been misplaced and was due in later this evening.  Fantastic news for someone who has been wearing the same clothes for a day and a half.

So we spent today seeing how much worse smelling we could make my clothes by taking a longer than expected walk to Cimitere du pere Lachaise.

Unfortunately, my dream of drinking a beer on Jim's grave was not realised due to the barricades and large crowds in place.

RIP Lizard King

RIP Lizard King

Bonus stoner poetry on a nearby tree.

I also found what would appear to be a family vault of the French branch of the family tree.

And to cap the day off, we people-watched at a nearby cafe and learnt that 50cl is francophone for 0.5 litres - what a crazy world!