A Travellerspoint blog

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Bristol and Bath

sunny 22 °C
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On a spur of the moment decision I booked a hostel with Jaci on the bus back from Wales and then joined her for the next few days in Bristol as she invited me to accompany her to the Vegfest.

This almost didn’t happen though because we were trapped (as well as the rest of the hostel) like prisoners in the No.8 hostel in London (DO NOT GO HERE). Reception was supposed to open at 8am for breakfast and checkouts etc but the guy who was rostered on DID NOT GET OUT OF BED until we all made a ruckus on every door in the hostel. 45mins after we were supposed to be gone he decides to get up with no apology or refund or any suggestion of the like. Seriously that guy should be fired. We rushed to the train (as Jaci had a pre purchased ticket and I still had to buy one) without breakfast and our grumpy pants on.

I told Jaci to hop on the train, I missed it by about 30seconds after having no time to buy a ticket. We both made the trip independently but had lovely conversations with the guys that sat next to us.

Vegfest was fun –live music, great weather, a whole bunch of hippies and an overload of falafel. We stayed at the Full moon hostel which was above a very busy beer garden. Needless to say we didn’t get much sleep.
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There was a giant round about in the middle of Bristol town centre which you could go under car road level and walk through. In the middle was a great place to hangout, with buskers, a table tennis table, a mini café stall and good trees for sitting under.

Jaci continued on with her journey that afternoon and I went south to Bath. Wow what a beautiful city. It has to be one of my favourites so far. Romans really knew how to live it up. I enjoyed breakfast in the sun with a backdrop of Bath Abbey, and acoustic music filling the air from a local busker.

I did a free guided walking tour to orient myself and then just cruised around the shops and markets. I think the most spectacular (alongside the Abbey) is the royal cresent. The weather was again in my favour and I stretched out on the grass and watched a game of frizbee and other people having picnics. I dropped into Sally Lunn’s for an afternon Bath Bun at the suggestion of Shelley. Sorry Shelley but I don’t know what all the fuss is about as its basically just strawberry jam on half a white roll. Haha.
In the evening I went to the “Bizarre Bath Comedy walking tour” which is supposed to be the 2nd best thing to do in Bath according to Trip Advisor. Quite frankly, at the end of it I wanted my 8 pounds back.
The following day I took George on a day trip to the Roman Baths and again marveled at my time wasting in the sun.
With no luck at find accommodation at such short notice for the next big town on the way back to London, I decided to just skip more travel as I was absolutely knackered. The lovely Sarah and Holly took me in for the next few nights where I gradually caught up on some sleep and became human again.

This travelling is hard work!
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Posted by KylieClark 07:54 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged bath bristol Comments (0)

Home sweet home

UK resident.


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On the first of this month I moved in my first house abroad. oh how heavenly it was to sleep in a NEW double bed, have a consistently hot shower without the need to wear shower thongs and be able to unpack my backpack.

ahhhh. :-D

I moved in with these two

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(Photo from last Christmas courtesy of stalkbook. I just thought it captured them magnificently. lol )

We are the first set of tenants in this unit so everything is brand spanking new. It even still smells like fresh paint. Apart from the builders leaving the place filthy, everything else has been smashing.

We did a draw from a hat to choose rooms as there was a large, medium and small. Ironically the person with the least possessions (me) got the largest room and Sarah (who has 4 years worth of stuff) got the smallest. So we did a swap anyway :)

This means I now have the smallest room but I am also the only one that has direct access to the backyard and can op (when the door when (or IF) it ever gets warm enough.

The house is in a place called Streatham, which is about 20 minutes in the train from London. We have close access to 2 overground train lines and the closest tube station is about 30 mins walk or 10 min bus trip. The borough is called Lambeth which is also home to a large Jamacian and Portuguese community which makes the walk to get milk interesting. The high street (which has all the shops etc) is about 15 min walk.

There are a few big green lush parks full of squirrels close by and a Lido (super big pool) is also down the road a bit further.
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I really like it here, the place is far enough out of the hussle and bussle but close enough to commute everyday if needed.

The surrogate housemates aren't bad either :-P
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Posted by KylieClark 10:36 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged home Comments (1)

Croatia

Take her to sea Mr Murdoch! Cruising the Dalmatian coast

sunny 40 °C
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15 June 2012 – the day that began an awesome 6 week journey through Eastern Europe.

It began with the sound of the alarm at 2:30am for Sarah and I to head to the airport.

We left Stansted (and cold, rainy London) after running for our plane courtesy of the long lines at customs. Fortunately, everything was delayed so we hopped on our flight with no issues. Before we knew it visions of the snow capped Alps could be seen out the plane window as we headed for the amazingly warm, sunny and blue-skied Dubrovnik!!

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We were pointed in the right direction of our hostel by a lovely local on arrival, dumped our bags and then headed into the old town, scaled the city walls through Pile gate (so many stairs!), sweated our bums off, caught the cable car up the hill for some amazing views and ate the first of many 7 kuna icecreams.

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The following day we made our way to Dubrovnik Harbour to begin an 8 day sail around the Croatian Islands. We had the smallest boat of the fleet called Istok with 12 passengers and 4 crew. It was no surprise really that all passengers were Australian. Egh…… 19-22 year old Australians… double egh.
Sarah and I were lucky enough to get the bow of the boat which had the most room even though it was still cramped and we constantly hit our heads on the ceiling.
Everyone quickly began on their tans by claiming positions on the top deck whilst asking the crew to pass beers from the kitchen below deck through the hatch.

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I’ve always wanted to jump off the top of a sailing boat into the sparkling, crystal clear water beneath. It is my version of true holiday bliss – the sun, swimming and crunchy salty hair. Love it.. First day in had me jumping from the top of the boat into water so deep yet so clear beneath. No words can express how amazing this was so I won’t even try.
It was scary but I did it again and again… at pretty much every swim stop.
We ended the day with a Captain’s BBQ dinner, learning how to flush the toilets and getting to know “Jemima” the pot lid that became a frizbee water toy!

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In the following days we visited the islands of Mljet, Korcula, Hvar, Stari Grad, Piscano, and Armish.
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On day 3, I learnt all about Sea Urchins and how they can puncture soles of feet. By accident, during a swim stop off shore, I stood on one of the pesky things which left 10 spines sticking out of my right foot. A trip to the chemist, speaking broken conversational English, I learnt that they are not poisonous (thank god!) and spent the afternoon picking them out with a needle and putting on antiseptic cream that smelt like engine oil. I was told that if I couldn’t get them out to not worry as they would eventually work their way out like a splinter. Just for the record- it is really hard to hike up Pirate fortresses, dance at the Kiva bar, walk for kilometers in the 35+ degree heat to a Vineyard and generally sight see with spikes in your foot. Cocktails and icecream helped.

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Speaking of icecream and cocktails – I think the best night of the whole week was when we had a free day in which Sarah and I ditched the group as soon as humanly possible and had the day to ourselves indulging in the most wonderfully delicious sundaes one has ever eaten – so good in fact that neither of us took a photo! – and having (numerous) cocktails on the beach overlooking the water and talking crap with an increased amount of giggling after each beverage. Haha.
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We were on the Island of Hvar when there was a Croatia vs Italy football match on. All the locals were in their team colours, EVERY restaurant, pub, and visible house had their tv onto the same channel and people were setting off flares when something good happened. It was a pretty cool atmosphere to be in. We got back to the boat at about 2:30am, others wandered back at 4am….boat engines began at 7.

I think my favourite swim stop was at Bol beach (otherwise known as G-string beach because that’s what the trees and shore look like from the air)– where we anchored and had to swim to shore. We got a little excited that the pictures looked like the beach was sand, but as we got closer we realized it was made of pebbles instead. It was still amazing though – and there were no sea urchins.

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The tour ended back on the mainland in Split. This is where I bid farewell to Sarah as she had to head back to London to go back to work (sucker!).

I ended up organizing a meet and great with Daniella and Miljenko (Mike) who I had met earlier in the year whilst staying in a hostel in London. It just so happened that they live about a 20min bus ride north of Split. They were AMAZING gracious hosts. They showed me around their home town of Trogir, took me to beautiful national parks that were jaw dropping picture postcards of nature at its finest. I got to eat traditionally, home cooked Croatian seafood and experience what life is like living on the Dalmatian Coast. Daniella’s mum even did my washing for me! Spending time with Daniella and Mike and Daniella’s family has been a highlight of my adventures to date.

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I had a week to fill before my next planned trip so on recommendation I went to Plitvice National Park on my way to the Croatian capital, Zargreb. Plitvice is a nature lover’s paradise, and the photos don’t do it justice. The rush you get seeing views as spectacular as these erases the effort of the hike to get you there.

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I wasn’t as impressed with Zagreb as the coast. It just felt like another city to me. Maybe because I was now on my own and in a place where even less people spoke English, but it just felt less friendly. I can’t remember anything that stood out during these few days... but I did sleep for a whole day and night on my second day. I guess I was a bit sleep deprived. Lol

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I did meet two Swedish boys in the hostel though who were nice enough to keep me company and persuade me to go to Stockholm one day.

I returned back to Split by bus around 29th June…only to be surfing facebook in the hostel and find out that Victoria –my old uni housemate who I had been trying to organize some travel with for like MONTHS – had just finished a tour and was also in SPLIT! Awesome!! So I joined her and her fellow sail tour buddies for dinner. oh I love how things like that happen!

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Posted by KylieClark 01:29 Archived in Croatia Tagged boat holiday sun swim croatia adriatic_sea Comments (1)

Bohemian Trek - Croatia

Busabout adventure

sunny 33 °C
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A testament to the friendliness of the Croatian coast locals –I asked a passerby where the Split Hostel was (after I had already done several laps of the square without success).. he didn’t know either so used his own mobile to call the number I had on my info sheet and get directions for me. He then automatically switched from speaking Croatian on the phone to fluent English so I could understand. You wouldn’t get this kind of help in London!!

The Split Hostel was the starting point of my next 7 days as I had booked myself onto a Busabout Bohemian Trek.

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Day 1: When I finally found the hostel which was tucked away in its own world I met Carla, the tour leader. I was the first to arrive so dumped my bags with her while I ran off to find some breakfast. After doing some introductions (more Aussies, sigh) we were off driving along the Croatian coastine passing via the Krk National park and ending up on the Island of Pag.

Once we arrived it was almost an automatic move to get into our swimwear and head for the beach after exploring the quaint little town of Novalija along the way. After a lazy afternoon in the sun we headed back to the hotel for some local wine and cheese before our first group dinner by the seaside and checking out the nightlife of Pag.

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Somehow I managed to get a room to myself this night which was great because it was still about 32 degs at midnight and there was no aircon… so this led to an uncomfortable sleep in just underwear.
Our hotel was also right next to an outdoor concert that was set up for the night. So we had loud music until well into the early hours and then the sounds of the crew dismantling the scaffolding until about 4am. Needless to say, there were afternoon sleeps by all on the bus later on in the day!

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Posted by KylieClark 08:08 Archived in Croatia Tagged croatia pag_island busabout Comments (0)

Bohemian Trek - Slovenia

Busabout adventure

sunny 30 °C
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Day 2: We had a quick stop over in Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia) for lunch. I got a little excited to get another stamp in my passport. I really wish we had spent more time here as there really wasn’t enough time to explore. It was cute little town, with dragon bridges and markets.
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By the afternoon we arrived in Bled. This place is almost postcard perfect. We went for a swim in the lake and I realized how much harder it is to swim in fresh water when compared with a week in the salty Adriatic sea!

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Day 3: Today was amazingly awesome! The Emerald River day trip was by far a highlight for me. It was a 12 hour adventure of swimming, hiking, drinking fresh water straight from the mountains, crossing rope bridges, waterfalls and white water rafting in the beautifully cold, blue, glacial ice.

The drive up into Triglav was pretty wild – nearly a hundred numbered and sharp hairpin turns – at times I just hoped that I wouldn’t revisit my breakfast. However we all got there in one piece and we were told about the legend of Zlatorog (the Golden Horn goat) whilst admiring some beautiful scenery.

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Zlatorog is a well known story in these parts. It is about a mythical beast that lived on Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak in the Julian Alps and guarded the treasure that was believed to be in the area. Apparently a local hunter, in an attempt to impress a woman, shot Zlatorog and tried to steal the treasure for his beloved. However, lucky for Zlatorog he survived but the hunter was not so lucky. When the sun glinted off the goat’s golden horns, it dazzled the hunter making him lose his footing and he fell of the mountain to his death. Now a statue stands in commemoration of the story of Goldenhorn and rubbing his horns is supposed to bring good luck.

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I have always wanted to go white water rafting and it lived up to all my expectations. No wonder people get addicted to extreme sports. The thrill of catapulting down a river with big boulders everywhere , the risk of falling out of the bouncy inflatable raft, and the trust you have in your fellow boat crew to get you to the end safely, is amazing. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Halfway through we stopped at a secluded part of the river in which the instructor upturned the raft onto a big boulder and we got to climb up and use it as a slide back into the water. SUPER FUN!

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On the way back to Bled we stopped off at “the jumping bridge” 12 metres of pure free fall once off the edge. I drew the line at participating on this one! One girl who did it landed on the water on her thighs. Consequently she was severely bruised and found it difficult to sit down for the rest of the trip! Ouch!

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Other sights of the day...
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Day 4: In the morning, a group of us took a paddle boat ride out to the island in the center of Lake Bled. The island has several buildings, the main one being the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary. It was built in the 15th century and weddings are held there regularly. The church has a 52metre tower and there is a stairway with 99 steps leading up to the building. Traditionally, it is considered good luck for the groom to carry his bride up the 99 steps on the day of their wedding before ringing the bell and making a wish inside the church. Yes, the guys actually did this!!

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Posted by KylieClark 08:22 Archived in Slovenia Tagged busabout slovinia Comments (0)

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