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One Misty Night at the Eiffel Tower {Photo Junket}

By on Aug 17, 2011 in France | 0 comments

    Paris, like for many other travellers around the world, is one of my favourite cities to visit and a place that inspires the imagination. With this week’s photo junket I wanted to share with you one eerie and surreal night that Niki and I experienced whilst ensnared by the Eiffel Tower’s hold. It was close to midnight in the heart of winter when this almost sinister mist glided in to obscure our thoughts and our vision. In spite of this the tower continued to beam and created an eerie yellow light that engulfed the city. If anything, I couldn’t help but be lured by the tower’s more intensified, yet slightly frightening, dominance over Paris. I hope you enjoy our post!        ...

The Island of Zakynthos, Greece {Photo Junket}

By on Jul 18, 2011 in Greece | 0 comments

  The island of Zakynthos in Greece, or Zante as it affectionately known and easier to spell, is found west of the Peloponnese in the Ionian Sea. Whilst full of pre packaged tourists and considered a well oiled money making machine, Zante is home to some of the warmest and friendliest Greeks I have had the opportunity to meet anywhere in the world. The island is dotted with traditional villages, rustic landscapes and near perfect turquoise waters thanks to the local limestone deposits. I found myself in Zante visiting family and was using the island as a jumping off point for my planned visit to Athens, and unknown to me, to meet my now wife. Often Zante is overlooked for the likes of the iconic islands of Santorini and Mykonos, however if you’re prepared to head west you will be rewarded with a more relaxed pace, warm hospitality and the opportunity to see a different side of Greece.      ...

The Amalfi Coast {Photo Junket}

By on Jul 4, 2011 in Italy | 0 comments

  The Amalfi Coast is Stunning! It is picture perfect, ridiculously exclusive and everything luxury travel magazine editors like to use to splash a front cover with. The rugged and beautiful Amalfi cost in Italy is found south of Naples and is home to iconic towns of Ravello, Atrani, Amalfi, Positano as well as the island of Capri. So when Niki and I arrived into Atrani after spending a week backpacking in Sicily, we felt like we had stepped onto a movie set. This is where the rich come to relax and elusive come to hide. Realising that Amalfi was a little out of our price range, Niki and I chose to stay further along the coast at the rustic, but just as beautiful, town of Atrani. This almost hidden town with white washed walls, narrow cobbled stone alleys and it eclectic mix of Italian characters entices would be travellers to stay longer. Atrani was everything I pictured the Amalfi Cost to look like minus the coat of tourist paint that cover everything in some of the other towns. I hope you enjoy the photos of the inspiring Amalfi Coast!      ...

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen, Germany

By on Jun 12, 2011 in Germany | 0 comments

I woke up early on my final day in Prague and headed to the station to board my train to Munich in Germany. Selecting a seat on board  my carriage, which formed part of my old Russian mule, I was joined by an elderly German lady and her son who was returning from visiting her daughter. After the normal half and hour of the usual quiet tension with the advice from my English family to “never mention the war”, I managed to strike up an eye opening conversation. What was to come was an amazing six hours of history and different perspectives. This elderly lady told me how she fled to America during World War II to hide from the Nazis and how she had made her new home in America. She then went on to explain how a nation has learned to come to grips with a history that was so violent and unjust. A history that even though she was against, she still felt guilty for. The mother was very gracious and offered me a great lunch of cheese and salads. On arriving into Germany I had a whole new perspective and again, which I have stated many times before, my pre conceived perceptions were wrong. I said goodbye to my fantastic German Mother who gave me her address details in case I ran into any trouble during my journey and headed into the mass of Munich’s main station. Instantly the atmosphere of Munich was that of a fun and vibrant city entrusted with German values however with an un-German easy going lifestyle. I strolled out of the main station and headed to the Wombats Hostel just across the road. It was a funky hostel with great facilities, in an excellent location and to my likingm had a fat bottomed Aussie animal for its emblem. I spent the remaining evening chilling out in the big beanbags and soaking up the eclectic atmosphere of the hostel. The next morning I woke up early (not by choice, but from a guy snoring above me who sounded like a launching space shuttle) and headed to the train station to buy a ticket to the Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen. The train journey took a couple of hours before jumping on board a bus to the village of Hohenschwangau. Once you arrive at this quaint village, head up the hill a short way to buy your ticket for Neuschwanstein. There wasn’t any clear direction to the counter but it’s there. After purchasing my ticket to the castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty’s pad at Disney, I decided in my infinite wisdom to walk to the castle. You’d think I’d learn from my past mistakes wouldn’t you? The hike was great but strenuous and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who has young kids or to anyone why generally doesn’t like walking. The buses and horse buggies also provide a viable option. My tour of the castle was booked in for a late session, so I continued to hike to the iconic bridge that overlooked this inspiring castle and my breath was taken away. The castle was something out of a fable and I instantly realised that King Ludwig the III really was mad. The castle was whimsical and ornate in detail. The location was set upon a cliff looking over Bavaria with the Alps nestled behind it, reminding me that no matter the splendor of what mankind builds, nature is always superior. Once I got to the suspension bridge I decided I wanted more and again my lack of judgment led  the way. I decided to climb up the side of the cliff, which if I was to fall would certainly mean my death. However the view from the top was nothing like I had even seen. Lakes surrounded by mountains, snow capped peaks, fresh water lakes and distant lands that time had forgotten. I stood upon the cliff’s edge and just shouted till the air left my lungs. It was a moment of realisation that I had finally made it on my journeys. A moment that nothing mattered, not careers, money, war, conflict – just the fact that this was what travelling is all about – that feeling when you get somewhere that is important to you. After this amazing climb I headed for the castle to complete my tour. The interior of the castle itself was impressive, with swan ornaments lining tap handles to opulent artworks lining the castle’s walls. However it was all let down by the tour with the rather lackluster guide droning on, with her spiel sounding like it came straight out of a guide book. Which is a pity because this castle could of been presented in a really exciting manner. I could see in my tour guide’s disdained eyes that she felt it was a sacrilege that tourists were pouncing their way around this cultural and historical wonder. The rest of the afternoon was spent searching the various alleyways of Fussen before boarding my train back to Munich. What an amazing start to my time in Germany and I knew that tomorrow wouldn’t be any different. I woke up early on my final day and headed off to the station to catch my 6-hour train trip to Munich, Germany. I boarded my compartment in my old Russian mule and got comfortable. About 10mins later a German woman and her...

A Time to Cry in Prague

By on Jun 6, 2011 in Czech Republic | 0 comments

Deciding that Sunday would be the day to leave the magnificent city of Prague behind, I chose to spend my morning organising my ticket to Munich in Germany. After an early morning breakfast of herb bread and jam I headed for Nádraží Holešovice station (It easier to say when you’re drunk). I had been advised by many fellow travellers during the week that this station was  quicker, friendlier and more helpful then that of the central station of Hlavní nádraží. I found this to be the case as well. I purchased my ticket to Munich within fifteen minutes and was sadly on my way to spending my last morning in Prague.     My guide book as well as a couple I had met the night before had recommended a small cafe ironically named Bohemian Bagel located just outside the Old Town Square. The cafe has cheap bagels and great coffee whilst maintaining a funky university atmosphere. After spending an hour catching up on the latest news I headed off, bound for the markets that surrounded the square. I had some serious souvenir/Christmas shopping to do! After buying a range of glass bottles, steins, Christmas baubles and various other trinkets that I would regret tomorrow when I put my backpack on, I headed back towards my favourite spot, the Charles Bridge.     I took my time admiring the bridge from the different angles, the different colours the sky turned and the various characters that enthralled it’s space. It felt touristy yet significant, a realisation that was to continue to grow throughout that night. After purchasing a little more chocolate for myself, I headed back to Miss Sophie’s for a warm shower and to pack my stuff for my departure the following day.     That night, on the advice of the same couple I spoke to the night before, I headed to the Communist Museum. This Museum is located just of the main shopping area and was well worth the visit. It went through the history of the different invaders of The Czech Republic over the previous decades, from the Germans to the Russians, it was a sobering experience. Besides the various articles (have your reading glasses ready) and propaganda, there was a particular video demonstration that made me speechless. It showed how Prague fell to communism and how they fought back to gain independence. It brought a tear to my eye, coming from Australia I have never experienced anything even remotely similar to this and I could never possibly understand what the Czech people went through. I saw footage of tanks rolling across the Charles Bridge and the violent demonstrations that took place in Wenceslas Square. For the first time I realised that these symbols aren’t just for the tourist to visit and photograph, they represented something to the people, to history and to  freedom.   I spent my last few hours of the night taking photos and looking at Prague in a very different view. Yes it is a fairytale city of magical charm and character, one that I will visit again; however it might never have had it’s happy ever after if it was not for the want of freedom by it’s peoples (only 20 years ago!). This aspect was to set a new undertone to the rest of my trip, with my next city on the map being Munich I was sure I was in for a few more sobering moments.  ...

The Fairytale City of Prague

By on May 30, 2011 in Czech Republic | 0 comments

I awoke in the morning feeling recharged and relaxed for the first time on my trip, grabbing some toast on the run I headed to the outskirts of Prague. The views over the city were amazing and the cool but sunny day was refreshing. After many hours of walking I ended up at Prague castle or Hradcany Castle as it is known. The castle was built around 800AD and was once home to the royal family however is now home to the president of the Czech Republic. The cathedral within the centre of the compound, St Vitus Cathedral, has impressive views from the top with a sorted array of artwork, typical of Catholic origins. The remaining complex housed various cobbled street alleys and souvenir stores, typical of many castles within Europe. However this was one of the most magical castles I had seen on my journey so far.     I continued on from here strolling the various streets along the North bank. With the many marionette and craft stores I felt like I had stepped back into medieval times where Knights were Knights and true craftsman perfected their skill. With so many Baroque churches and cathedrals it was easy to feel the presence of religion on this city. The beautiful art work and architecture that was evident at every corner was intoxicating however definitely not suffocating. Once I completed my walk on the northern side I knew it was time to approach the one attraction that I was eagerly awaiting, the Charles Bridge.     Upon crossing the bridge my breath was taken away! The statues of the various saints, the views of the old town, the dominance of the overlooking castle, the striking bridge gates and moody weather above were a sight to behold. I had truly entered a fairytale world and something that I can not explain except to say this is a must see! Various local characters were playing music and dancing with marionettes and friendly art work sellers dotted the bridge, it was forever fascinating. However do not expect to share this moment by yourself, as the hundreds of other people around you will also be awe struck at exactly the same thing you are seeing. I just stood there for an hour taking as many photos as I could, trying with all hope to be able to create the atmosphere on film, however I honestly failed. This would be the first of many trips to this bridge over the four days in Prague.     After some hesitation and with the cold starting to affect me, I headed towards my hostel to gain some much needed warmth and rest from the cold air outside. On my way back I passed various little markets selling all sorts of things from marzipan blocks to steins, it was a fantastic look into the local produce. Glass is a typical product of Prague and their abilities in hand blowing is original and gifted. I bought some fresh fruit and headed back for a few hours, however not before I grabbed a sausage from one of the vendors. Okay here is a handy tip for you:- No matter how good they smell, how clean the stores look and how busy they may be……DON’T EAT THEM. Unless of course you want to have serious indigestion for the next week and not see anything more than the toilet seat!     I spent the night in my hostel chatting to the various travellers, who along with myself, found it a little too cold to venture into the night. It has always surprised me about the many interesting people you meet when travelling. From Canadians, Australians, Americans and Europeans – travelling has sure opened my eyes....