Page 6 of mike and elysia Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Thamel June 15th 2013

This morning I woke up not in the guesthouse at the hospital where I was supposed to be staying, but in Thamel (the tourist district in Kathmandu). The reason for this is because my classmate, Katie, came back from the leprosy hospital she was visiting and there was only 1 bed in the guest house (in the volunteer office). Well really, there was another room in the guest house, but it made me feel uncomfortable because there was a lock on the outside of the door, but not on the inside. We're talking not only a lock that is turned only on the outside of the door, but also a piece of wood that clamps the door down from the outside. Call me crazy but I'm not comfortable with the idea of someone being able to ... read more

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Swayambhunath June 13th 2013

Kathmandu is very far away. It's hard to appreciate just how far it is until you feel it in terms of flying time. I got here on Tuesday night (Nepal time) after 5 hours on the plane to Vancouver, 12.5 hours to Guangzhou and 4.5 hours to Kathmandu. A very long 23 hours of flying (then add in the stopover time to make it over a 30 hour journey). The flights were uneventful for the most part. Within the first hour of the flight to Vancouver, the guy in front of me abruptly reclined his seat, sending my large Tim Hortons Earl Grey tea dumping almost completely into my lap. At least it wasn't hot. I sat next to a nice couple about our age who are going to Vancouver (specifically Gibsons and Kelowna actually) to ... read more
My Room in the Hospital
View from My Room
View from My Room

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon May 26th 2012

The inspiration behind my trip to Lisbon was to visit one of our good friends from Mike's lawschool class in London (CTLS), Maria, who is from just outside of Lisbon. Not only was it a great opportunity to spend more time with her, but it was great to see some of Portugal from a local's perspective. We were staying with her family in their apartment that is just outside the main city of Lisbon (in an area called Corroios), and a 20 minute drive or train ride away. On this first morning we took it a bit easy because I had gotten in so late last night. After having breakfast, we drove into Lisbon to visit an inner-city homework program that Maria usually volunteers at on Saturdays. From the moment that we walked up to the ... read more
This really cool old aqueduct that goes over the city
It's weird for me to see a gondola going over water, but it looks pretty cool
Maria posing in front of what I think is one of the expo buildings

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town May 25th 2012

My trip to Romania was now over and I was heading from Bucharest to Lisbon by way of Prague. I had expected that today was going to be spent waiting in airports or on airplanes as I travelled to the opposite side of Europe to visit our friend Maria in Lisbon. I was excited to be leaving Bucharest and get on with this next part of the trip, but Maria had emailed me last night and said that the Lisbon air traffic controllers were likely going to be striking when I flew in, so my flight may be delayed. If I had been flying straight to Lisbon from Bucharest I would have been extremely disappointed; as much as I liked Romania, I didn't want to spend any more time there. To my fortune, however, my stopover ... read more
Exploring Old town 1
Exploring Old town 2
Exploring Old town 3

Europe » Romania » Transilvania » Mures May 21st 2012

On my last day with the Singaporean boys, we decided to head out of Brasov to the town of Sighisoara. We got a driver from the hostel, and on our way out of town we had to drop off our hostel host at the local hospital (I guess he was undergoing some tests). He told us some very interesting facts about the health care system in Romania. He was carrying his own plates, utensils, towels and food, which I had first thought that maybe the driver had left them at his place and he was returning them. That was not the case. In the Romanian public health system, you have to bring all your own stuff with you to the hospital. Even though some people pay a little every month to the government for health care ... read more
Walking up the stairs towards the citadel
View of the city from the citadel
The beautiful coloured buildings of the citadel

Europe » Romania » Transilvania » Brasov May 20th 2012

This morning, we hostel hired a driver for us and we went off to explore different parts of Transylvania. Particularly, he took us to three different castles: First the Peles castle in Sinaia, then Bran castle (the Dracula castle) and then to a ruined fort on a hill in Rasnov. Our driver for the day was Niko, and he definitely gave us some comedy relief during our journey. He first took us to get breakfast at a Romanian fast-food restaurant, but it wasn't serving food yet (not sure why they were open), so he took us to good old McDonalds. When I was ordering crepes, I read the sign next to the picture of the crepes and repeated it to the woman at the cash. She gave me a confused look. Turns out instead of saying ... read more
Enjoying the beautiful scenery
The Peles Castle from the front
My Singaporean travel buddies!

Europe » Romania » Transilvania » Brasov May 19th 2012

Well after the bit of a shaky start of our Romania trip, we got on the train (1st class cabin) and arrived in Brasov. Brasov is very different from Bucharest; it felt safer, people were friendlier and less likely to take your money, and everything was green, clean and picturesque. I guess this is why every Romanian I've spoken to has said "DON'T GO TO BUCHAREST!" Brasov is located in the Transylvanian mountains about 2.5 hours by train from Bucharest. The mountains right in the city are very green and wooded; not too high. But beyond those mountains within the city limits are huge rocky mountains, and a bunch of ski resorts. Apparently a very cheap and popular place for European skiers. Brasov plays a part in the legend of the pied piper of Hamelin. Remember ... read more
Getting on the train in Bucharest
Aloysius preparing for the Tuica shot!
Fuad and his food at the Transylvania restaurant

Europe » Romania » Muntenia » Bucharest May 18th 2012

Our European travels have quickly come to an end. Mike headed back home a few days ago and I decided to have one last hurrah and spend a few weeks traveling before going back to Canada. The first stop on my trip was Romania. Fortunately I was joined at the last minute by Mike's classmates Aloysious and Fuad, which made traveling in this "Global South" a bit easier. We left London early (as usual), flying on Wizzair, and arrived in Bucharest just after lunch. The flight was about 3 3/4 hours long, which is a long flight by European standards (they often consider an hour and a half hour flight long), and the time zone is behind London by 2 hours, which makes it seem really far. The Romanian language is very similar to Italian in ... read more
A construction site near the hotel
Heading out for a walk into downtown with Aloysious and Fuad
A Romanian Orthodox Church

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik May 9th 2012

Even though we had a long drive yesterday, we got back into the car today with our friends Richmond (Australian) and Cristina (Swiss) for the 3.5 hour drive south to Dubrovnik. It was mostly the same drive as the day before except for the last part, where the road turns off back to the coast and you have to cross the border into Bosnia & Herzegovina for 20 kilometres and then cross the border back into Croatia (Bosnia & Herzegovina must have wanted to keep some of the coastline). It was a beautiful sunny and warm day. We left early, but by the time we reached Dubrovnik it was just after lunch, so we were starved. As we approached the old city of Dubrovnik, we were stricken by its beauty. The walls surrounding the city were ... read more
1 Feeding Dolphins In Front of Our House
2 Feeding Dolphins In Front of Our House
3 Feeding Dolphins In Front of Our House

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina » South » Mostar May 7th 2012

Today while many of our friends were writing an exam, we took off with our friend Mary (who's husband was writing the exam back at the house), and headed to Bosnia for the day. We left midway through the morning and thought that the drive would be two hours, but we drove along the Croatian coastal route and it took closer to four and a half (also we were behind a slow caravan part of the way). But the drive was absolutely beautiful, driving along the water and through the little towns. It was mostly a sunny day so that added to the beauty. The drive back was under 3 hours, but we took the inland route through the mountains, which was also beautiful. The border didn't give us too much trouble either, they kind of ... read more
2 Drive to Bosnia - Lakes Near Bosnian Border
3 So Many Choices!
4 The Military Installations Begin

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