...I suspect I may be the luckiest kid in the world

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Swiss Story By Kylie: THE END

It's a strange thing to move from your country of residence.

Ciao Ciao Switzerland. Thanks for having me.

China, I'm coming. Please be nice. I don't speak your language.

Australia, see you in a week.

A Swiss Story By Kylie: The End.

(There might be an epilogue somewhere down the track)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pick A Hand

I got off the plane tonight and had the option of 3 Exit Doors.
It's like picking a hand - except imagine that there are 3 hands.
In the 3 hands are France, Germany & Switzerland.

And tonight, for the last time, I chose Switzerland.

The irony of it all, was that when I entered and then subsequently exited Gatwick Airport this morning, due to a glitch in their system, I could have stayed in the EU indefinitely. Somehow, because I was a non-EU citizen, had no baggage to claim, entered through the South Terminal, but needed to depart through the North AND had a lengthy transit - I somehow managed to end up in a black hole where I could have disappeared and stayed here for longer.

If you have listened to me complain about being unable to stay longer over here in Europe at any time, you will understand why this is so ironic.

But now, after a very long day with delayed flights, beginning in Dublin this morning and ending up in Zurich tonight (actually, it's tomorrow morning already), I'm back in Switz for 2 days. I'm sad. I'm happy.

On the agenda? Unpack. Pack. Say Ciao. Eat as much bread and yoghurt as I can. Close my Swiss bank account. Track down 2 parcels I've just realized are missing in transit. Figure out why my credit card declined me today (expensive European holidays, I don't know). Learn magic so that I can somehow magically fit my belongings into my single 20kg suitcase (I'm kidding myself).

But now - time for bed. Which I'm pretty happy about. Especially since the last few weeks of hostels sometimes included plastic sheets. Yuck.

(I'm thinking about writing a book called The Princess and the Plastic Sheet.)

40 more hours in Switzerland. I love you Switzerland.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Have Your Castle - And Eat It Too

Would you believe that we've had the most beautiful run of weather here in Ireland? Everyone warned me of horrible nasty weather and I came prepared mentally - and with plenty of winter clothes.

So far, we've had nothing but sunshine.

I love it.

Have hired a car for the last 4 days and we're back in Dublin tonight after seeing too much beauty.

Cliffs and rolling hills and millions of Pubs and castles, castles and more castles.

Today I waded my way into the Blarney Castle.*** It was SOOO expensive to get it, so I decided not to kiss that Blarney stone (ewww! a gazillion germs!) - but when I realized I could take a little swim in the river and end up at the castle for FREE, well, who am I to say no to a swim eh? (Still wiping those germs off, though)

Then I got a ride in a police car. But that was because, um, we ran out of fuel, and the very nice police man gave us a lift.

I want to live in sunny Ireland. The Police men are so friendly :)

** My Mother would like to be noted that she did not bring me up to wade my way into castles....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010



Have spent the last few days wondering (most likely looking like lost tourists) with Nat, catching numerous buses and tubes, hunting down markets and good food, trying not to get rained on, and generally feeling like I'm in the middle of a monopoly board. I kid you not. But I'm still looking for GO so that I can pass it and collect $200. Not successful so far.
Also haven't seen the Queen yet.
But did see 2 wonderful Broadway shows :) :)
There's Karaoke going on downstairs in our hostel, but we have to get up early tomorrow morning to catch the bus to Oxford, so I'm off to bed.

Crazy town, there's meat pies here!!!!! and I've also eated Indian, Portuguese (more custard tarts!) and Thai...and most likely more I can't remember....


Monday, May 10, 2010

Part 4: Madrid

Mad about Madrid...

We went in search of free tapas as soon as we reached Madrid... along with everyone else with the city. "El Tigre" was what was suggested - and boy, was it a popular place!

We managed to fit in visits to both the Museo Nacional del Prado and Museo de Reina Sofia (FOR FREE!!!) and saw lots of good stuff by Picasso, Dalí, Velázquez, Rembrant and Miro.

Went on yet another free walking tour of the city (NOT actually for free).

We dabbled in chocolate churro heaven and tasted true Spanish paella.

We were squashed like sardines a few too many times in the metro but met so many friendly people. We also found out that Pei Wen is super awesome at networking and may (or may not) have used "Can you get me a job?" as the second sentence in a conversation with a complete stranger... after starting with "So, what do you do?"

Part 3: Lisboa

Recap of Portugal, in and around Lisboa

We saw so many magnificent and beautiful places in Portugal - although it was ironic that we spent very little time exploring the capital, Lisboa.

We give our hostel was a 4 (out of ten) for cleanliness (the bad odors and mouse we saw scurrying across the kitchen floor directly contributed to its low score) and a 2 for security. The hostel staff seemed to open the door for just about everyone... our fabricated passwords for entry became more ludicrous as the days went by.

The award for most beautiful place (that we visited) goes to
Obidos (PW's pick) and Cabo de Roca (Kylie's pick).

Most interesting: the real time 360 degree periscope/camera thing at Castelo de São Jorge (PW-we also got 50% off the admission price thanks to my ISIC like type discount card) and the tram 28 ride in Lisbon (Kylie).

One of the funniest moments was using PINEAPPLE as the secret password to get into our hostel.

PW's favourite activity was bike riding along the coast in Cascais. Kylie also liked the bike riding, but she enjoyed eating several dozen Portuguese custard tarts a tiny bit more. Kylie wanted to have a tie for this (she needed one to compensate for the other...oops!)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Part Two: Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal
Things we have learned so far, after spending just 20 hours in beautiful Porto:
- The Black and White Hostel is pretty nice (in case you ever decide to visit Porto)
- The power bars will most likely blow the ipod charger you purchased in a cheap dodgy place in Greece (now PW needs to be careful with the constant WIFI searches around the city)   
-it's quite possible, even highly likely that the Metro doors will close with Kylie on one side and PW on the other. Kylie will then lift a helpless forlorn hand and wave to PW. (We now have a plan of action should the Metro doors decide to separate us again)
- Custard Tarts can be found here and they are every bit as good as your imagination. No. Better.   
- Do not tell your traveling buddy "mmm what's that wonderful smell?" while she is walking next to a garbage can... because a giant sniff is inevitable         
- Going on a wine tasting tour? Adds 30 years to your life when your twenty-something.