A Travellerspoint blog

First Taste of Real British Weather :/

rain 3 °C

Yesterday was our last day in Edinburgh but also our first day of real British weather. We woke up to a fairly miserable outlook but had looked through our travel guide and heard about some cool boutiques on a street not too far from us and some more out at Leith (the docks) so decided we could handle the rain and headed out anyway. Renae's umbrella lasted about 5 minutes in the wind before turning inside out and after wandering around trying to find these boutiques and failing we gave up and went into the Scottish National Gallery, purely because it looked warm and dry! It ended up being a good call though because there was some really amazing art work in there, including 3 works by Monet. After spending as much time in there in the warmth as possible, we decided to brave the weather again and head out to Leith. Unfortunately the guide book was again rather misleading as to exactly where these shops were so after getting off our bus at where we had planned and then walking in the rain for another half an hour before actually finding the shops, this city was losing a little of it's charm! We realised when we reached these shops that there were cinemas nearby and that The Hobbit had actually already been released here so we decided we deserved to spend some time in a warm movie and sitting down :)
After that we were feeling a lot better and headed back to the bus stop to find our way to a traditional Scottish pub for our last meal here. On the bus back we had an interesting encounter with some crazy guy who tried to get on the bus but only put 33p into the ticket machine. The bus driver told him to pay up about 10 times and then told him to get off about 20 times before getting out of his little boxed in seat to argue more with the guy. We think the bus driver was worried he would get aggressive if he touched him so kept trying to talk him off the bus until about 10 minutes later a big guy on the bus walked up the front, told the guy he had places to be (insert a number of expletives) and then picked up his bag, chucked it off the bus and then pushed him off after it. Always nice to have a bit of excitement in your day :) Enjoyed our dinner in a busy, little pub near our hotel, soaking up the atmosphere and listening to the accents before heading back to get all packed for our train in the morning.
Another wet day meant a taxi to the train station rather than a walk and after breakfast at Burger King (which included a Bacon and Egg Butty, something I thought was just a funny Coleman term) we squashed onto our train to York and settled in for the trip. Was great to see some of the coastline as we went as well as lots of really quaint little farm houses and smaller towns. When we arrived in York it was just a quick walk to our hotel, which again was ready early for us, and then we walked into the middle of town and spent the afternoon looking at Yorkminster and wandering through the cute little alleyways. Tried to book a table at a Jamie's Italian restaurant we found but it was totally booked out so we have ended up back at our hotel to chill for a bit before heading out to find some dinner somewhere. Nick if you are reading this we heard some really cool buskers this afternoon that you would have loved! And grandma and grandad, mum said you were reading these and wanted to see my photos so I have put the in my photo gallery on here but you might have to scroll past some old Canada ones to get to them. Hello to everyone else and hope you are all getting excited for Christmas!! Renae and I found our perfect Christmas Day outfits today so get excited for those photos!

Posted by clairebear89 08:12 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Exploring Edinburgh

Sorry for any spelling mistakes - still getting used to typing on my iPad mini!

semi-overcast 4 °C


It is currently 3:45 am over here and for the second night in a row I have been wide awake since midnight :/ Jet lag is a killer....
But onto the good stuff! Since my last blog we have obviously landed in Edinburgh and had two days of exploring and wandering and just taking in the sights and sounds of this amazingly beautiful city. Most of the other places we are going to on this trip I have already seen so I have been most excited about Edinburgh since we started planning and it certainly hasn't disappointed! After we had checked into our hotel yesterday morning (very lucky as it was only 10am) we set out to walk down Princes St and check out the Christmas markets which had been mentioned to us by our hotel staff. The first thing we realised was that despite it being the middle of the day, it already felt like dusk and that along with the ridiculously long plane flights made us feel ready for bed! But we made ourselves stay out and managed to find the Christ,as markets which were very cute and full of baubles and nutcrackers and sweets and nuts and what I had been looking forward to most - fire punch! Renae didn't particularly like hers but mine was gone fairly quickly and I felt a lot warmer on the walk home :) We also stopped and got a Kransky (spicy hot dog) for lunch, which Dad would have been very jealous of :) We spent the afternoon popping into shops and taking pictures of all the old buildings we walked past (pretty much all of them, haha) and managed to find a shop called Anthropology that Bec had suggested and spent a long time in there complaining that we couldn't "buy ALL the things" because they wouldn't fit in our luggage :( When we made it back to our hotel (Which by the way looks out onto what seems to be a castle but is apparently a boarding school) we collapsed into bed despite it being about 5pm and managed to get some sleep... Until midnight for me, but Renae managed better than I did.

This morning we got up fairly early and headed out to tour the castle. On the way we stopped into a really cute little cafe for breakfast which had been done up with lots of Christmas decorations and where we were served by a girl who was living here for 6 months on an extended holiday from Sydney. She helped us sort out the deal with tipping over here - which again is stupid - and then we headed out to climb up to the castle. There are no words to describe just how beautiful and also kind of spooky this castle looks, sitting up on the extinct volcano and looking down over town. Once there, we spent a while taking pics and waiting for the next tour to begin. Our tour guide was a lady named Lesley who seems to have an awesome job! She told us lots of history of the castle and was so enthusiastic about it all that we were hanging on her every word right from the start. After she walked us through the castle grounds we explored the buildings by ourselves and got to see things like the Crown Jewels and the stone and the prisons and David's Chapel (built in the 11th Century) and the list goes on. I am trying very hard at this point not to turn this blog into a mini history lesson and tell you everything we learnt about kings and queens and revolutions... So ask me when I get home if you are interested - but only if you have a spare hour to listen to the answer!!

After leaving the castle we walked along the 'Royal Mile' which is home to some of the oldest buildings in Edinburgh but nowadays is basically just full of lots of cafes and gift shops. We stopped in one of these cafes for a coffee and muffin before ending up down at The Palace Of Hollyrood. This is where royalty stay on their trips to Edinburgh and while it is a beautiful building, it unfortunately looks out onto the new Parliament Building which is a horrific blight on the landscape as it has been built in a very modern style and is not only ugly in itself but even more offensive when compared to all the beautiful buildings surrounding it! Mum, you would have been as appalled as i was. Ok, rant over... after this we walked up past the Royal Gardens and back towards the shops, where wi bought a few things despite being adamant when I left that this would not be a clothes shopping holiday :/ We had another Kransky for sinner from the markets because they were just so good, and a policeman laughed at us walking along trying to eat them with our freezing cold hands and arms full of bags. I also got some chilli stuffed olives from another market stall but the guy gave me a massive amount of them for some reason so I'm very sorry Dad but they will be wasted :( You would have loved them! At this stage it was probably 5:30pm in the afternoon but was pitch black and getting really cold so we stopped in at a grocery store to find some Irn Bru for our night time great and then filtered through the ridiculously large amount of infomercial channels before we found some Big Bang Theory episodes to keep us awake for a while longer in the hope that we would then sleep through the night. This plan worked for Renae who is sound asleep next to me but not so much for me! Gav, as you would say, "She really can sleep through anything".

So after doing some calculations I have just worked out that we walked over 9kms today. Hopefully keeping this up will allow us to eat as many pastries as we can fit in our mouths when we get to Paris ;) As for now, concentrating on this has made my eyes a little tired so I am going to attempt some sleep before daybreak! Hope you are all having a lovely day and not missing us too much! We miss you all, particularly when we get back to our hotel rooms at night, but we're also having the time of our lives exploring over here.
Until next time :)

Posted by clairebear89 19:58 Archived in Scotland Comments (1)

Longest flight ever!!

5 °C

Hi all :) Renae and I are currently chilling in the Amsterdam airport after the longest flight ever! 13 hours from Guangzhou to here with lame old movies and food that was passable at best :/ luckily when we arrived we spotted a Starbucks straight away and were immediately feeling 100 times better! This airport is very cool and modern (particularly compared to Guangzhou) and has heaps of comfy couches and places to plug in your phone/laptop, not to mention a library, museum and decent free wifi! Needless to say the 4 hours here have passed much quicker than our last stopover.
In an hour we will be boarding our final flight on our trip to Edinburgh and thankfully it only goes for an hour and a half so will seem like a trip to Brisbane. After the last flight which seemed like we had been sucked into a black hole with no time change and made us seriously question whether travelling was worth it, we are actually starting to get pretty excited now that we are so close to arriving. Apparently it is 5*C in Edinburgh so that will be a nice shock when we leave the airport. Local time will be 10am so we are planning to dump our luggage at the hotel then go exploring for the afternoon before heading back for an early night to hopefully ward off any jet lag! Will let you know how that plan goes!!
I hear it has been hailing back home so I hope no one had any damage from it and that the lovely hot weather continues so you can all be jealous of our white Christmas :P
Talk soon, Claire

Posted by clairebear89 22:56 Archived in Netherlands Comments (3)

All Packed and Waiting To Go!!!

sunny 27 °C

90_image.jpgWell today was my last day of work and that means that it has finally hit me that we are actually going to Europe! Renae and I fly out early Sunday morning but before we do that there are a lot of little jobs, Christmas catch ups and birthday parties to do. Tonight I've got an 18th and she's got a gig and then tomorrow I head to Brisbane for family Christmas and then an 18th and when I get back on Sunday I will have another Christmas party before a whole night of sitting up waiting to go. If it's anything like my Canada trip there will be no chance of sleep before the 4:30am drive down to the airport but hopefully that means we will sleep on the plane :)
So with all that planned for the weekend I have somehow managed to be super organised and have just finished packing!!! Triple checked my packing list but still fairly sure I will have forgotten something :/ Lucky it's not a third world country is all I can say!
Looking forward to blogging once we get over there, we arrive in Edinburgh in the middle of the day on Monday so are planning to try to stay awake till a decent hour before jet lag sets in so will update everyone as to how Renae survives her first long plane flight once we've settled in for the night. I won't have my phone over there so if anyone needs to contact me then a Facebook message will be the best way to go:) We have wifi in lots of places so I'm just taking my new iPad mini and using Facebook and FaceTime to chat with family and friends.
Enjoy your weekend!
Love Claire

Posted by clairebear89 23:59 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

2 weeks to go!

So with just under 2 weeks to go until we leave and having finally finished all my school reports last night I thought it would be an excellent time to get my blog sorted out for this trip :)
Renae and I have been planning and booking for a long time now and are so keen for our 'girls escape'! Wasn't seeming real until yesterday when I picked up the pounds I had ordered! I still find paper money so weird.....
We leave early in the morning on Monday 17th and are hoping that we have everything sorted now aside from the packing. We will be gone for about a month and I am planning on keeping this blog going during our travels to keep our family and friends updated on our adventures. Will try and make it as interesting as possible and upload some of our photos on here too. Our plan is to fly into Edinburgh then head from there to York and then to London for Christmas, Paris for New Years before moving on to Geneva, then Lucerne and finally Vienna before flying back home. We are very sad to be missing out on spending Christmas with our families but figure a trip to Europe is probably worth missing one Christmas!! Although I feel a little worse because this will be my second away in a row :/
Well, I plan to blog again before I leave (probably the night before we fly out because I will be too excited to sleep!) so until then, enjoy the weeks leading up to holidays and I hope you're not too busy :)

Posted by clairebear89 04:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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