Archive for August, 2004

Some of the things

Saturday, August 7th, 2004

That make backpacking fun…

Walking back to my room this morning at about 1:30 – my room is oddly enough over the road from the main building. Saw a guy with a big backpack looking around rather dejectedly, pushing on what he thought was the door of the hostel but finding only disappointment.

“Looking for the hostel, mate? That door over there” and seeing his eyes light up.

Having a shower at 2am after a seriously humid day is also one of those nice little things. Slept well last night.

Bicycle tour of Brussels this morning. Stefan and I were riding periliously close to the lovely Kim from Seoul snapping photos that probably aren’t fit for print here. They have some fascinating fashion these Korean girls.

We trashed the bikes good and proper.

I can’t imagine anyone in Melbourne running a bicycle tour with 15 people, no helmets, no respect for road rules on questionably maintained bike. Nor would I get away with walking around the bar sans shoes.

Haven’t found any waffles yet but the chocolate rocks.


Friday, August 6th, 2004

Eurostar (train) is a good way to get out of London. Cheap, fast, fully automated. Anyway in Brussels now where the trains are mercifully much cheaper and less crowded. Nice.

Haven’t done a whole lot yet, save for get very pissed last night with a great group of people from many faraway places. Met a couple of amazing musicians who plied their skills for everyones benefit, too. Apparently Van Gogh used to work in this building (where the hostel is housed). It’s quite a funky, avante garde kind of space.

Went to Atomiom – an enormous steel structure that looks vaguely like an atom. I loved it, actually and took many photos, none of which you or I will see since I lost my camera on the way home. Along with 160 odd photos from the last couple of weeks. Not happy. But at least I have 200 others sitting on a flash card at home. Most of the really picturesque stuff is on there.

Also went to Mini Europe which is brilliant. In fact having seen that I really don’t need to go anywhere else. It’s basically all the major monuments/buildings recreated at 1:25 scale. Amazing detail – each piece costs around 80,000 euros.

I’ll spend tomorrow here – still lots more to check out even if I can’t record the moments on a camera. It actually feels like something of a blessing not having to snap photos all the time.

Probably onto Amsterdam after that, I have a good hostel recommendation and the train fare is surprisingly cheap.

Very hot here, contrary to what the forecasters said. Unlike London it doesn’t cool down at night either. I might have to check out that waterslide I saw today ;-)

About ready…

Monday, August 2nd, 2004

… to move on from London now. Don’t have a great deal of inclination today to hop on the train and fight the people traffic to do some more sightseeing. Actually there isn’t a whole lot more here that I’m keen to see.

I’ve done a few things over the last couple of days that have been important to me. Notably a tour of Royal Albert Hall. That place has been a vision in my mind for a number of years now – since reading about the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones playing there in the very early 70s. It’s a truly amazing hall and I can’t wait to get home and watch my Led Zep DVD of them playing there again ;-) We even got to skulk around Her Majesty’s private waiting room.

Spending a few hours watching the ducks in Hyde Park was also time well spent. My mental image of that place owed itself to Douglas Adams’ descriptions of it in So Long and Thanks For All the Fish. For me much of the attraction of London is to finally walk through the places I’ve been aware of for so many years. Could anyone honestly say that when getting the tube through Picadilly or walking up Oxford/Bond St’s or Park Lane that they don’t think of the Monopoly board?

I got stung by nettles yesterday. They really are nasty little buggers, I’ve never met a plant that could be so offensive. Or is it a weed? Anyway: Steer clear.

So yesterday, finally, I made it to a bike race. Fittingly it was far and away the best race I’ve ever been to, so it all worked out nicely in the end. An Australian won one of the races, and so carrying our flag, a beer, and listening to the national anthem is a moment I won’t quickly forget. There were actually only a handful of other Aussie supporters there (well ones that bothered to bring flags) so attracting the attention of our riders on the warm up/down laps and getting a wave was easy enough.

The weather has been pretty amazing. 26-30 every day I’ve been here, which apparently is some kind of record in the UK. Unfortunately it doesn’t look so good once I get to Belgium, with showers forecast every day that I’m there.