Jim and Kim Cullen

Jim and Kims Travels

Jim and Kim Cullen

Jim and Kim live in Australia.

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney October 28th 2017

We landed at Kingsford Smith Airport Sydney at around 6.00pm, and arrived home around 9.30pm. It was good to walk in the front door after such an epic holiday. When we arrived home, the grandkids were in bed asleep, so we went outside to say hello to our little pup Ellie. Ellie had doubled in size and was beside herself with excitement at having us home after two months, so much so, that she disgraced herself all over the patio. The next day we chilled out the back with Ellie and the grandkids, and commenced the drudgery of washing all of our clothing. Welcome back to the real world.... read more

Middle East » Qatar » Doha October 27th 2017

We arrived in Doha this morning, the capital of Qatar, at 1.30am, temperature hovering at around 30 degrees. Construction of Hamad International Airport was only completed in 2014, in a bid to solidify the city's diversification into the tourism industry, and away from it’s dependence on oil and gas. Hamad features two of the longest runways in the world. We were collected from the airport by our Hotel Shuttle service, arriving at the hotel at 2.45am. After setting the alarm for 8.30am, we crashed in bed. After enjoying a buffet breakfast at our Golden Ocean Hotel, we asked for a map of the city, and set out on our morning walk. We headed for the Corniche, the bay that Doha is located on, to take photos across to the West Bay area, where most of the ... read more

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki October 26th 2017

Yesterday was our last morning in Russia, and our driver was booked for 10.00am, to take us to Finlyandsky Station in Saint Petersburg to catch our train to Helsinki, Finland. Our Hotel provided us with an official document for Russian Border Control, confirming that we have stayed in their hotel all five nights whilst in Saint Petersburg. We also had with us our passports and a document provided by the Russian Consulate in Sydney, confirming receipt of a Letter of Invitation from our Hotel to stay at their place of accommodation. The young Receptionists at our hotel were all very friendly and helpful, and interested to hear about Australia. One of the Receptionists was very excited when Kim gave her some Australian coins as a gift for her helpfulness, with kangaroos on them. Arriving at the ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg October 24th 2017

It is our last full day in Saint Petersburg, and there are still a number of monuments, forts and places of interest that we haven’t seen. With a list and map in hand, Jim’s Walking Tour led us through the streets of the City of the Tsars. We first headed for the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, a cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church on Nevsky Prospekt. Construction of the cathedral started in 1801, with the architect Andrey Voronikhin modelling the building on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The cathedral's interior, with its numerous columns, features numerous sculptures and icons created by the best Russian artists of the day. A Church service was underway during our visit, with a choir singing in the loft, interspersed by solo singing by the Orthodox Priest taking the service. ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg October 23rd 2017

An easy start to the day today, as we wanted to do some souvenir and gift shopping. We spent most of the morning walking along Nevsky Prospekt looking in the shops, purchasing some souvenirs, and ended up in a modern multi storey shopping centre with glass lifts. We had hoped to find some unique Russian clothing merchandise, however, all of the shops in the centre were western culture brand names that you would find in upmarket Sydney or Melbourne. It seems Russians, at least in the wealthy city of St Petersburg, are trying desperately to acquire western lifestyle status. After completing our shopping, we headed back to our hotel to drop off the purchases, then walked to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. The church is prominently situated along the Griboedov Canal. On 13th ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg October 22nd 2017

Today we fulfilled a long held dream to visit the world’s largest museum in one of the greatest palaces in the world, The Hermitage. The Winter Palace was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs. The palace was constructed on a monumental scale that was intended to reflect the might and power of Imperial Russia. From the palace, the Tsar ruled over 22,400,000 square kilometers, almost one sixth of the Earth's landmass and over 125 million subjects by the end of the 19th century. The Winter Palace has been calculated to contain 1,786 doors, 1,945 windows, 1,500 rooms and 117 staircases. The storming of the palace in 1917 became an iconic symbol of the Russian Revolution. The Hermitage Museum was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg October 21st 2017

Yesterday our alarm went off at 4.30am, in time for us to have a quick shower, and grab our suitcases to take the Hotel Shuttle to Berlin’s Tegel Airport. We chose to fly with Air Brussels, as there were limited available flight options to Saint Petersburg. This meant though, that we first had to catch a plane to Brussels, then change to a flight to Saint Petersburg. Air Brussels didn’t allow hardly any time between landing and departure at Brussels Airport, and to compound the problem, our flight from Berlin was delayed and the check in at Brussels Airport was literally at the other end of the very large Brussels terminal. We ended up running along several travellators in order to make the flight to Saint Petersburg. The flight with Air Brussels was uneventful, although we ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin October 19th 2017

We woke up this morning in Dresden to thick fog, and not looking forward to leaving the comforts of Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Still, it was time to move on, and we needed to drop in our Ford Focus at Berlin’s Tegel Airport by six pm. But where to. Colditz Castle or Potsdam. I have already experienced a reasonable amount of WWII history on this holiday, and Kim had indicated she wanted to return to Potsdam, so we headed for Potsdam. The fog did not lift at all during our drive to Potsdam. We headed straight for Sans Souci Palace, which was not open for visitors on our last visit in 2013. Sans Souci was the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. ... read more

Europe » Germany » Saxony » Dresden October 18th 2017

Yesterday was the longest driving stint of our current European holiday, Krakow to Dresden. We arrived at Dresden around 1.30pm, and checked into our Hotel, which was located in Neustadt, just across the river from the Old City. We had unfinished business in Dresden from our previous holiday in 2013, principally due to major flooding at that time, such that despite sandbagging, the river broke it’s banks and entered the Old Town. This unfortunately limited what attractions we could visit in Dresden, hence our return visit. We walked across the bridge into the Old Town, taking the time to visit the Frauenkirche, which was only finished being rebuilt in 2005, after being totally destroyed during the firebombing of Dresden by Allied Forces between 13 and 15 February 1945. The inner city of Dresden was 90% destroyed ... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Kraków October 17th 2017

After leaving Auschwitz late yesterday, we drove to our next destination, the city of Krakow. Krakow is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River, the city dates back to the 7th century. Krakow has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic hubs. A legend attributes Kraków's founding to the mythical ruler Krakus, who built it above a cave occupied by a dragon. The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement, which began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was already being reported as a busy trading centre of Slavonic Europe in 965. In 1038, Kraków became the seat of the Polish government. By the end of the 10th century, the ... read more

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