Page 9 of colvinyeates Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam August 22nd 2007

670 klms from Berlin to Amsterdam. God bless the autobahn. Approaching the German/Dutch border and it was time to disrobe the leiderhausen and slip on the wooden clogs, working on the theory we try not look like tourists and dress like the locals. Why does everyone still keep staring at us? Amsterdam in 3 days. In fact Holland in 3 days. We ARE in a hurry. Is Amsterdam tolerant or just plain decadent? Let me position myself strategically on the fence and say - DUNNO. Get over here to this "joint" and decide for yourself. You can wander into a "coffee shop" and not smell anything remotely like coffee. Could be the original Dutch oven. In the red light district, window shopping takes on an entirely new dimension. Penny particularly "enjoyed" these streets. The world's oldest ... read more
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin August 19th 2007

Then we take Berlin. In doing so, we welcome back Tomtom for our final 2 months in Europe. We also cash up on the sturdy euro. Eastern Europe was everything we had hoped for and more, but negotiating a new obscure currency every 5 minutes was....... Have a look at these: Croatia - kuna Bosnia - convertible marc Albania - leke Bulgaria - leva Romania - lei Hungary - forint Slovakia - koruna Czech Republic - Czech crown Poland - Zloty But while we were back onto the euro, the financial news in Berlin greeted us with: "Oz dollar drops 15% since July". That, along with diesel running at 1.1 euro per litre and general cost of living way higher than Eastern Europe meant that we are sneaking ever quicker towards the moment when ATMs stop ... read more
Berlin
Berlin
Berlin

Europe » Poland August 9th 2007

Poland was one of those countries about which I wasn't overly informed. In fact what did I know about Poland? - for a long period, the whole country was criss-crosed by German and Soviet tank tracks, the Poles having been the general whipping post for its aggressive neighbours. - they like vodka. - there is a very good Polish female butterfly swimmer. How about some famous Poles. The ones I could rattle off included: - Chopin - Lech Walesa - Pope JP11 - Killer Kowolski. One who I didn't know was Polish was Marie Slodowska. Don't know her? Same as me, until she married Pierre Curie. One thing that struck me whilst scouring the map of Poland was the "uniqueness" of many of its cities names. A red light is flashing here (and no Mr Simpson, ... read more
Wroklaw
Wroklaw
Auschwitz


The Czech Republic. Try and pronounce it with a faux Russian accent, like Natasha out of Rocky and Bulwinkle. It works for me. Again we're on a roll with only 5 days and 2 stops. Across the border from Austria and into stop numero uno, Czesky Krumlov. Through another minor miracle, we found our hostel straight off the bat, but the fun was just beginning. We had reserved all 4 beds in a 4 bed dorm with private ensuite - cheaper than all the doubles we had seen advertised on the net. Perfect. Inspection of the room revealed a joker the pack. Our PRIVATE room with PRIVATE ensuite actually involved other occupants having to pass through our room to get theirs. Plus, the PRIVATE ensuite was actually shared, ie. "come into our room please everybody, the ... read more
Czesky Krumlov
Czesky Krumlov
Czesky Krumlov

Europe » Austria » Vienna » Vienna August 1st 2007

The blogs they're a comin thick and fast. When you are on a mission, you can rack up countries in Bradmanesque fashion. Hitting Austria from Slovakia and we welcome Tomtom back on board. Hugs and kisses, we missed you Tomtom. In Vienna, Pepe received his 20,000klms service (280 euro - Ouch!). So you would think everything was peachy. Well let me tell you - NOT HAPPY JAN!!. You see, my life is, and forever will be, unfulfilled. Before departing on this around the world jaunt, Warwick Humphrey informed me of the worst tour in the cosmos- The Vienna Sound of Music Tour. This had been reinforced by not only Lonely Planet, but by a few other travellers we have met prancing around Europe. Unauthentic, irrelevant, boring, poorly presented, tacky...The negatives were relentless. Anything that deplorable HAD ... read more
Vienna
Vienna
Vienna


1993. Czechoslovakia is broken neatly in 2. Divide the country and the word roughly in half. The second half, Slovakia, is generally regarded as the little impoverished brother of big bro 1st half. Sounded like a good enough reason to us for a few, in fact 4 days. What do you do for 4 days in country you don't know a great deal about? HEAD FOR THE HILLS MA!!! We found a room in the midst of a bunch of national parks, all for the princely sum of 15 euro per night. Slovakia is bargain Europe. The national park closest to us is known as Slovensky Raj. This translates to Slovakian Paradise. I wasn't aware paradise would be so full of Polish tourists. In fact my ingnorance led me to think we'd be the only non-Slovakians ... read more
Spisske Hrad
Levoca
Bratislava

Europe » Hungary » Southern Transdanubia » Pécs July 22nd 2007

Its times like these I wish I was Tasmanian. That way I could give Hungary 4 thumbs up rather than my stock standard 2. (it's a joke Taswegians). From the border crossing onwards, Hungary has been a joy. For starters, better roads with rational drivers to boot. The people - my previous exposure to the Magyars was limited to Aussie Joe Bugner (Hungarian Joe Boojnay in this corner of the world) but he seemed like a pretty decent bloke so confidence was high and they didn't disappoint. The Hungarians from our encounters were generally everything a struggling tourist could hope for. Easy to smile and willing to help even though very little English is spoken. In fact German is the preferred second language outside Budapest. This is understandable given its location and some sketchy historical events ... read more
Budapest
Budapest
Budapest

Europe » Romania » Muntenia » Bucharest July 17th 2007

Let's start with a quiz. In which city was KAOS formed? (all non afficionados of "Get Smart" may tune out now). According to one episode, Bucharest in 1907 (I could be corrected on the date if someone would like to fill me in). My mission, thus, was to find a retired KAOS agent in Bucharest. Preferably a Sigfried or a Starker but I would settle for any of the minors: Dr Yes, Leadside, Bronze Thumb, Simon the Likeable, the Groovy Guru or even the Maestro (if only he had used his baton for good instead of evil). Alas, I came up with nothing. However, I have a theory. A KAOS pension wouldn't provide enough money to cover the exhorbitant cost of accommodation in Bucharest. How does one reconcile that a room costs us 50% more here ... read more
Bucharest
Bucharest
Brasov

Europe » Bulgaria » Plovdiv Province » Plovdiv July 13th 2007

We have a whirlwind seven weeks to hightail back to Paris. We are going via a few more Eastern European nations with plans for all the IA countries, the Slovakias, Romanias, Bulgarias and Hungarias. First up, Bulgaria, proudly boasting "the oldest survived state in Europe which has kept its original name". You suspect a country's tourism is in its infanacy when the customs official at the border asks with a look of resignation if we are just transitting in Bulgaria. It's as if that's all he thinks foreigners do here. A nation that must be crossed enroute to somewhere else. To his great delight, we asked the customs guy to put down his well worn transit stamp and dust the cobwebs off his tourist visa stamp. We are staying, for a short while at least. ... read more
Plovdiv
Plovdiv
Forget

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini July 6th 2007

What about those Wallabies! Consecutive wins. Don't bother yelling down the line about second string Springboks because I've got my fingers in my ears and can't hear a word you're saying. The text messages updating the scores were not encouraging. 7, 14, 17 to nil. But then the mighty Wallabies, oops Penny is giving me that look which means I have to get back to the holiday talk. The Greek Islands were to be one of those hedonistic sections of our year. That's if it's possible to claim hedonism on our budget. Regardless of budget, the islands do lend themselves to kick back to the point of semi comatosed. Naxos and Santorini were the two islands we chose for our week of pseudo hedonism. Naxos touts itself as a "FAMILY" island. A couple of beaches ... read more
Naxos
Naxos
Naxos




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