We first backpacked in Eastern Europe in 2001 visiting Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia & Italy. In 2002 we spent the whole 12 months backpacking around the world. This was before blogs so find details here: http://members.iinet.net.au/~weggs/weggs_world/index.htm
In 2007 we enjoyed another 6 months. This time we organised some home exchanges to help the budget, meet new people and be able to kick back and relax in a few places. Hawaii, San Francisco, Mexico, Croatia, England, Scotland, Canary Islands, Czech Republic, Austria, Netherlands, China & Tibet were all visited either briefly or for extended stays.
In 2008 apart from a few local trips that we also decided to include on our blog we went to New Zealand. We spent 3 weeks with a home exchange in the North Island and 3 weeks in the South Island traveling around in a hired camper van.
In 2009 we went to Vietnam with a group of friends we ride with and had a great couple of weeks there. The year concludes with our trips in the north of Western Australia, including our adventures on the Gibb River Road in the Kimberleys, and our experiences in some remote schools.
2010 began with travel to Melbourne, and a slow drive back through Victoria and South Australia, on to a cycling trip to Bali, and concludes with our big adventure to Russia, Greek Islands and Turkey.
For 2011 we decided we would use our caravan and just travel in Australia. This idea didn't last long as Qantas offered less than half-price fares to USA to celebrate the direct flight to Dallas. We took the opportunity to break our around Australia trip in Queensland for 4 weeks to take this flight, giving us a chance to catch up with some American friends we met on our Russian river cruise.
2012 started with a bike/barge tour of the Netherlands with the Bikeboyz, a group Rags cycles with on Sundays. We then continued with a cruise up the Norwegian coast, some time in Lithuania, a home exchange in Romania and travel through Bulgaria, finally flying out of Istanbul to spend a few days in Dubai before going home.
July 24th 2012
Friday 20th July 2012 Our flight into Dubai went smoothly, a nice meal and a couple of drinks relaxed us and on arrival we went quickly through passport control and collected our bags. All was quiet as it was the first day of Ramadan. Entering the arrivals area there was no sign of our expected driver with a name card. We never organise transfers so it is just typical that the one time we have it hasn't worked! A search both inside and outside found noone from our hotel, so we were both now getting angry. At the Information Counter Rags asked if they would call the hotel and he then spoke to the Concierge. They told him the driver was there, and they would ring him. He appeared a few minutes later, reckoned the plane ... read more
July 21st 2012
Thursday 19th July 2012 The first thing we did this morning was to go looking for somewhere else to have our breakfast, the hotel's not being anything to write home about. After spending half an hour walking up and down the mall we came to the realisation that Bulgarians do not have breakfast, not even MacDonalds! Anyone sitting at a cafe was drinking one of those very small cups of coffee and smoking. Back at the hotel we did try again, at least we managed to get fairly hot cups of tea and coffee this time to wash down the dry bread. As usual we were early so we had a drink at a cafe to kill some time before boarding our bus that was to take us to Istanbul. The bus was packed, we appeared ... read more
July 18th 2012
Tuesday 17th July 2012 After a quick breakfast we made our way down to the bus station just down the road and caught the 0900 bus to Burgas. The bus was almost empty when we left but as we travelled along Sunny Beach we picked up many passengers including some young tourists from Britain. They had just spent a fortnight there, staying at one of the parent's holiday apartments. Just a quick flight for them, be like us going to Bali. About an hour later we stopped in Burgas and using our trusty iPad map we easily found the Fors Hotel, our home for the next couple of nights. Nice enough room, nothing flash but it was large and clean. Here we left our luggage and went off exploring. The hotel is near the city mall ... read more
July 15th 2012
Saturday 14th July 2012 Nice easy morning, breakfast (for what it was worth) across the road at the cafe then back to pack and do a few last minute things. Judy has assignments in for marking and is trying to mark at least 6/day. This isn't easy as they take a minimum of 30 minutes each and she has over 100 to do. We caught the local bus to the bus station next to the Grand Mall getting there with over an hour to spare before departure. We did wonder if we'd get away at all when we saw the bus come in, dirty, dented and not too smoothly. Obviously the inspectors were a little suspicious as two pulled up in a car next to it, checked the lights and indicators and spent some time with ... read more
July 11th 2012
Wednesday 11th July 2012 We were off at 0830, our bus to Varna leaving the terminal at 0915. We ordered a taxi through the hotel and to our surprise, they paid the fare. We have nothing but praise for the Arena Tarnovo Hotel, clean rooms, friendly staff, and they try to be as helpful as they can. The bus trip took about 30 mins longer than the expected 3 hour trip but this was because there seemed to be something wrong with the bus at one stage, which the driver quickly repaired after a short stop, and the number of semi-trailers that had to be passed. Good driver though, never seemed to take any risks - Rags is not a good passenger and he was happy. On checking into the Plaza Hotel we were pleased to ... read more
July 8th 2012
Sunday 8th July 2012 We're off again! After an early breakfast we took the second taxi of this trip to the bus station where we boarded the 0800 bus to Veliko Tarnovo. The main attraction for this town is a castle and the Old Town area and the helpful tourist information office in Ruse said this was not to be missed. Two hours later we arrived at the VT bus station and after retrieving our baggage we turned to see the only taxi there driving off. Undeterred ,we set off in the direction of town, intending to wave a taxi down when we saw one. Luckily one came before we had walked too far, we were walking in the opposite direction! The Arena Tarnovo Hotel advertises itself as being close to the centre of town. It ... read more
July 6th 2012
Wednesday 4th July 2012 We tried to use a taxi today, for the first time, to get us to the Metro in Pipera but to no avail. The first company didn't answer their phone, the second had an engaged tone whenever we rang. No worry, it wasn't hot yet so we walked to the corner for the bus, which arrived with only 2 others aboard so no problems with our bags. The train to Rousse, our first stop in Bulgaria, left right on 1300 as timetabled. The trip was stated to take 2.5 hours but actually took 3.5. This was no real problem for us except the carriages were very hot, especially when the train stopped. This it did for what seemed like ages in the town of Giurgiu, right on the Romanian border. Here, the ... read more
July 1st 2012
Friday 29th June 2012 Mostly a smooth day, we had our breakfast, checked out of the hotel, walked to the bus terminal in town where we caught a bus to the station. When we went to buy our ticket we found our desired train was full! Woops, should have bought the ticket yesterday. Never mind the next train was only an hour later. We found a quite spot upstairs where Rags read and Judy perused some student drafts and wrote some feedback to be posted when she was next online. Then at 12.35pm it was on the train and back to Bucharest. We arrived at about 1500. So that we wouldn't need a large meal back at the apartment we had a late lunch/early dinner at Central station before catching the Metro and local bus. By ... read more
June 28th 2012
Tuesday 26th June 2012 We had an early start as we woke up at 0630 giving Judy a chance to do her OUA work before breakfast. The weather was cool, it having rained during the night. We left the apartment at 0930, catching the local maxi-taxi, the Metro and being at the Central station with plenty of time before our IC train to Brasov. Here we bought some sandwiches and a piece of pie to tide us over on our 3 hour journey to Brasov. We arrived there at 1300 and Ivan Gabriel of the Gabriel Hostel was very helpful in showing us which bus to catch as well as showing us on a map of where to go. Good PR on his part as he was also selling tours. (didn't work with us though, we ... read more
June 21st 2012
Wednesday 20th June 2012 The alarm had us up and about by 0415 giving us time to get dressed and do our last bit of packing before meeting the taxi downstairs at 0445. We were at the airport just after 0500 and even though there were long lines at the departure area we passed through very quickly. For once we were at an airport where they not only had lots of scanning machines and immigration booths, they also manned them! We still had some time before our flight loaded so we had some of the food we had brought with us. Just as well, the plane was delayed for over an hour, LOT not giving any explanation. We arrived at the modern airport in Warsaw, found the departure lounge and settled in. We got a little ... read more