William and Stephanie Harrison

Williamandstephanie

William and Stephanie Harrison

We are travelling to Australia via Mauritius, then taking a boat to Singapore and making our way back to the UK overland through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia and Europe.




Europe » Germany » Mecklenburg-Vorpommern » Rostock August 17th 2011

As we arrived in our destination - Rostock the largest city in Northern Germany - late in the evening we headed straight round to our hotel. It was a bit of a shame that having made it this far around the world without staying in any major chain of hotels, we checked into the Hotel Irbis. Alas, there was not much that we could do about this as Rostock seems to have a dirth of hostels. We got up early the next morning eager to see something of the city before we left on our way to Berlin. Rostock is a somewhat odd city. Its main attraction is by far in a way the city walls, and accompanying towers, which once defended the city. These walls have all largely been removed as they obstructed trade, either ... read more
Baroque Organ
Bits of the Berlin Wall
Holocaust Memorial

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn July 13th 2011

It was a slightly overcast day when we pulled into Tallinn on our ferry, which was painted a lovely stomach turning green. Thankfully this was the only stomach turning part of the journey and we were soon on our way to the hostel that we had booked online. Which, despite the hostel seemingly changing its name from the time of booking we still found pretty easily. Having dumped our bags in the room we headed out to try and find somewhere to eat some dinner. This saw us have our first glimpse of the historic old town of Tallinn, which has largely been unchanged in hundreds of years. However, it was not until the next day that we would truly get to experience the full wonder of Tallinn. Instead we stopped for dinner in what was ... read more
Viru Gates

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki » Vantaa July 9th 2011

Arriving in Helsinki, we were greeted with some glorious weather as we set about walking to the hostel. Imagining that we would make it part way across the city before we eventually had to stop and get some sort of public transport we soon realised that, with Finland having half the population of Moscow, Helsinki is a substantially smaller city than we were used to. It was therefore no time at all before we had checked into our hostel. Even better, we had a kitchenette so, for the first time in 4 months we could actually cook something! After we had settled in we headed over to the completely unpronounceable Temppeliakio Church a.k.a the Church in the Rock. Built by hollowing out a large rock and then enlarging it, this church felt completely unlike anything I ... read more
Helsinki Cathedral
Uspenki Cathedral
Train Station

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow » Noginsk July 6th 2011

are easily parted. Well, not so much his ruble but certainly his Kopeck. And so it was that, after three days spent crossing the vast distance across Siberia from Irkutsk, we eventually arrived back in to Europe. Along the way we had a great view of the Russian countryside and all the local towns along the way. It was often stated during the cold war that both sides had enough firepower to blow the other back to the stone ages. Having viewed a lot of the Russian towns in Siberia and along the route it appears that America would have had a substantially easier time of doing this. However despite this, the train, amazingly, arrived on time after a 3 day trip - Virgin trains take note - bringing us into Moscow, home of 10 million ... read more
Cathedral of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
Door to Cathedral in the Kremlin
Harry on his Birthday!

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Irkutsk » Bratsk June 26th 2011

Arriving at Irkutsk in time for breakfast, we said our farewells to our room mate and American drinking buddies before heading off with our tour guide for a buffet breakfast at the hotel we would be staying in the following night. After having a slightly underwhelming diet on the train, a huge buffet breakfast was probably a little too much for my eyes to take and, about 30 minutes later, my stomach was in full agreement with them! However, even breakfast could not pass without a hiccup as we both dolloped out what looked like slightly lumpy mash potato, labeled as scrambled eggs and turned out to be very solid porridge! Nevertheless it was with full tummies that we headed out on our whirlwind tour of Irkutsk. Our first stop was at the eternal flame to ... read more
Irkutsk Russian Orthodox Church
Harry at Lake Baikal
Wooden House and Goats

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar June 24th 2011

It felt very odd arriving at the train station in Beijing very early in the morning knowing that, in a relatively short amount of time we would have left South East Asia and soon be back in Europe. However, before we arrived there we would first have to go through Mongolia and the Asian part of Russia. Our train ride from Beijing to Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, was scheduled to take a respectable thirty hours. Upon boarding the train we were greeted by probably the best train compartment we will ever have. Our compartment for two came complete with bunk beds, a desk, a sitting chair and an en suite bathroom for four – though nobody ever emerged in the other compartment meaning it was really for two. Alas, whilst the compartment was amazing ... read more
Train
Woman Sitting Rock
Our Ger - Harry

Asia » China » Beijing » Changping June 19th 2011

We arrived early. Not stupidly early as in Vietnam, but early enough that it was a bleary eyed Steph that returned to Beijing 5 years after she had last been here. This was unfortunate as alertness is a required trait when you arrive in the largest train station in Asia. It was due to this that we struggled to find the stop for the number 47 bus to take us to our hostel and, in the end, had to resort to asking. About twenty minutes later we were on a rather crowded bus in rush hour heading towards the hostel. There were a few flair ups with the conductor who wanted me to put my bag to the side, irrespective of the four people I would have to leave comatose by the action of getting it ... read more
Drum Demonstration
Hou Hai Lake
Gate of Heavenly Peace - Forbidden City

Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an June 13th 2011

Xerophyte – A plant specially adapted to survive in areas with a low water level. I have no doubt that no such species of plant as the Xi'an Xerophyte exists and can safely say with even more conviction that, even if it did, it would have no relevance to our time in Xi'an. Alas, after the recent titles of the blog I was struggling to think of an appropriate word beginning with an “X” and this was the best that “I feel lucky” on Google could throw up. Anyway, arriving in Xi'an we had our first ever meet at the train station for a free pick up. This all sounded great in the e-mail but as the train was late our free bus had gone and so we had to take the public bus. Not quite ... read more
Harry and Large Bell
Bell Playing
Drum Tower

Asia » China » Shanghai June 7th 2011

Arriving in Shanghai,after a rather enjoyable overnight train, we quickly headed round to the hostel and dropped off our bags before heading off to the Bund. The former British concession in Shanghai, this is a rather delightful area of the city with lots of grand classical designed buildings with stone colonnades and domed roofs to boot. The most impressive of them all, in my opinion, is the old HSBC building, which also looked impressive inside with 8 murals depicting the bank's primary locations. After a stroll down the Bund we headed off to the old town area around Yu Yuan in search of some dumplings for dinner. Along with the veggie dumplings, we also acquired some nice little sweet cake thing and a rather good salad. Alas, we also ordered some pigeon eggs, which were rather ... read more
Steph on the Bund
Old HSBC Building
Old Town Area around Yu Yuan

Asia » Hong Kong June 2nd 2011

The train from Kunming to Guangzhou was pleasant enough for an overnight train and it helped that we were in a soft sleeper meaning that we had a bit more space to sit up before bed time. When we arrived in Guangzhou we were met with a dilemma. We wanted, and had planned, to go to Hong Kong. However, we would not be able to apply for our Russian visas until the Monday and according to the guidebook it would be cheaper in Macau. We therefore quickly hopped on to a train down to Shenzhen from where we would take a ferry to Macau and wait out the pricey Hong Kong hostels until we could go and apply for our visas. This plan left us with a few hours to explore Shenzhen. To say that there ... read more
Macau
The many sides of Macau
Trying out the gym in the park - Steph




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