Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Nov 28th and 29th (Cascais and Tram 28)

November 28th, 2011 (Cascais)
Ah, yesterday was such a fantastic day! Other than the fact that I got a cold, I don´t think it could have gone any better. Before I get into that though, I must share a quote that´s been on my mind a lot. It was used frequently in Stephen King´s book Insomnia and it´s from a poem called "Pursuit" by Stephen Dobyns." It goes:

"Each thing I do, I rush through, so I can do something else."

I´ve been thinking about this a lot (there´s lots of time to think here!), it seems that, especially with churches for some reason, traveling has become checking a bunch of things off a list. So much so that you come to the end and have done a lot of things, but haven´t really seen any of them. Does that make sense? Maybe it´s because I´m sick and snotty, but I´ve been particularly bothered by the feeling that I won´t spend enough time to actually enjoy where I am. Always there´s that nagging feeling "Oh, if I finish here in 5 minutes then I can catch the next bus and get to this cathedral before I have to have lunch." and on and on, you get the picture. Anyway, so yesterday I created what will become my new "10 minute rule." If I get somewhere and really like it (i.e. part of a monastery, garden, museum, etc.), I set my watch for 10 minutes and just sit there.That way I actually make sure that I focus on being there, instead of simultaneously wondering what I´m going to do next. Perfect!

Okay, now back to the blog :P Yesterday I took the train from Cais do Sodre (I just spent 10 minutes trying to get the accent but I can´t figure it out) to Cascais. Cascais is an old village turned surfing destination because it has great beaches. I got there really early so I wandered around the warf and old citadel all while the sun came up and you could watch the fishermen on the dock getting ready to cast their nets. So neat! 

My guidebook suggested a church called Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assuncao, so I checked that out quickly... yeah, definitely people praying there. Nothing like the scowl of an old Portuguese woman to make you slip quitely away. So, you do your best to blend in and avoid drawing attention to yourself. I managed some stealthy photos but then just sat down and enjoyed listening to people with their rosaries. Then it was time to find my way back to the train station, so I could find the bus station! Finding the bus station was only half the battle because then I had to find the right bus stop. I asked at least 3 people. Got it! The bus ride was nothing short of amazing. It climbs along this winding road up a cliff so the views of the Atlantic are astounding. Where was I going? Cabo da Roca (Rock Cape), the most westerly point in Europe. THE BEST PLACE! I greatly extended my 10 minute rule, found myself a perch (that was no small feat to climb to), and chilled out in the sun for an hour. What a view! 

 You can hear the swallows along the rockface, there was a cool breeze but the sun was great. I could have sat there all day. Ah, so amazing! At this point the pre-cold hit and I struggled not to sleep on the bus ride back. Back in Cascais I walked along the waterfront to Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell), a really neat rock formation opening to the ocean. As the waves come in the hole fills up with water, it´s really neat. 

The exhaustion was taking over though and everything is sort of a blur from there on out. If I could go back I would spend more time in Parque Marechal Carmono, this crazy awesome park that looks like a jungle. That´s my only regret, that I didn´t get to wander through there more.

 Back in the hostel (with a nap on the train, where I woke up with a start because I thought someone was in my purse, but it was just the train attendant checking tickets), I did my laundry (woo hoo!) and then crashed into a dead sleep. So nice. P.S. I forgot to mention that before I climbed precariously down the cliff for the perfect vantage point, I picked up some walnut gelato to take with me, lol. I must have looked hilarious. If you guys have facebook, check out the video of me trying to get to the edge for a better photo :)

November 29th, 2011 (Alfama, as seen by Tram 28)
So, what better way to spend a sick day than by taking one of the rickety old trams through the city? Tram 28 is particulary famous, so I bought a day pass and away I went. First stop (before I even hit the tram) was Igreja de Sao Roque (forgive my lack of accents, if any of you knows how to put them in, fill me in). This is a 16th century church with a particularly famous Capela along the side (A capela means "chapel" and refers to the little "scenes" along the side of the church that usually depict the life of Christ or other important figures. For example, Capelo de Sao Joao Baptista is a scene with paintings and sculptures that depict Saint John the Baptist). People come and pray at these different Capelas. Anyway, in Sao Roque the Capela de Sao Joao Baptista is very ornate and apparently cost $500,000 to make in Rome and then ship to Portugal (in 1724), lol. 

 I like visiting these churches, but I try not to take too many photos when there are people actually worshipping there, I feel like an intruder. Mostly I just park in the pews and listen to the organ. Okay, on Tram 28 and climbing through the streets of Alfama (district of Lisbon). First stop was Igreja de Sao Vincente de Fora, a monastery built in 1147. This place is huge with its own museum (only 2€ with a student card and proof you´re younger than 25!). I meandered through the church and cloister but my favourite part was the museum dedicated to La Fontaine´s fables (illustrated in azueljos, these famous painted tiles that are found all around Portugal, a trend started in the 16th century). I stopped to read all of them, it was great fun. I also climbed to the top of the church, which affords great views of the city. I kind of just ran around there for awhile, it was really lots of fun. 

Back on Tram 28, getting off here and there at neat parks and "miradouros", otherwise described as "viewpoints." Largo das Porto do Sol and Miradouro de Santa Luzia were the best. I took the tram all the way into Estrela because I noticed it makes a stop near the Cemetiros dos Ingles... but it was CLOSED! Are you serious?! This is the third time I tried to find the cemetery, lol. The first time the workers were on strike, the second time it was the wrong cemetery, and this time I was outside of visiting hours. Tomorrow is my last day, and sometime between 10 and 1 you´d better believe I´m going to see that darn thing, lol.

I stopped at my favourit buffet and then decided at the last minute to go up the Elevador de Santa Justa, which takes you to the top of a tower that you can see Lisbon from (great view of Castelo de Sao Jorge). Such great pictures from up here! I met up with a fellow North American-er, Jim from Detroit. Such a great guy and what a pleasure to have a conversation in English! I got to chat about my beloved bacteria :) He was traveling with his friend who had planned a 2 week vacation and called him up to join him at the last minute with the instructions "pack for 14 days" and nothing else! He has no idea what the itinerary is and didn´t even realize they were stopping in Lisbon until they landed, lol. What great fun! Dear my friends: this sounds like a solid idea for an adventure, don´t you think? Anyway, I gave him my blog URL, so Jim if you are reading this, thanks for bringing a little bit of home to Lisbon! Sunset from the tower and sweeping views of Lisbon make the climb worth every penny.

And friends, so concludes the last two days. Tomorrow is my last full day here and so far there is only one solid thing on the itinerary: get to that freaking cemetery!

From a very snotty Vicki in Lisbon!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

November 26-27, 2011

November 26, 2011 (Belem)
Today was an okay day, I ended up with a pretty bad headahce and I felt very touristy... and I took the wrong bus and got lost, not in the fun kind of way, lol. But! Aside from that, here is what I did: I started off with a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Jerónimos Monastery:

It was built first as a monastery, but later became a school for orphans. These walls have seen some pretty famous explorers (Belem is known as being the port from which many famous voyageurs set sail). At the time I was here a wedding was taking place so we couldn´t walk to the front. But, on the second floor I did get to watch them reading their vows and exchanging rings. They had the choir and the organ going so it was a great experience. On the inside of the monastery is a grand courtyard with the cloister running along the perimeter (as I understand it a cloister is a covered walk that opens to the inner courtyard of a monastery or convent).

The monastery now houses a number of small museums (rooms, really) dedicated to important Portuguese figures. After this I went next door to the Archaeological museum, but everything was in Portuguese and I didn´t have the greatest time. I wish I had known so that I could have spent that hour just sitting in the courtyard here. I think that´s what´s starting to bother me most, all the rushing from activity to activity, not really seeing anything because all you´re doing is looking through your camera. I mean, you´ve barely seen something, have for a split second decided that it is awesome, and up comes the camera. The places I remember best are the places I have sat and enjoyed myself in, but of course that means you can only do so many things. I have yet to decide how to navigate this problem (aside from simply moving somewhere so that you can truly take your time, lol).

Okay! So after the museum I have a massive headache and decide I am going to skip the Torre de Belem so that I can sit in the park across from the monastery and eat roasted chestnuts (castanhas). The street vendors here roast them in the fall and they are cheap and I´ve been meaning to try them (I had them the next day too, they are my new Portuguese comfort food... though someone today told me they have them in Switzerland and France too, probably everywhere in Europe).

Alright! So full of chestnuts and thoroughly "park"ed I decide to walk back to central Lisbon. But then I get distracted by what I think is the cemetery I was trying to find the other day, perched on a cliff at least 3km away, so I head towards that. I somehow end up climbing the road that swings all the way around the cemetery (great view of Lisbon though) and eventually make it. Oh, it is totally not the cemetery I thought it was, but it is so neat! Cemetery and chestnuts were the highlight of this day. This is the Cemitério Prazeres (Cemetery of Pleasures), where, I just found out today, all the rich people are buried. It´s HUGE and filled with row upon row of these ornate houses that contain the coffins of the entire family (most have doors infront so you can see in to the coffins and the altar with everyone´s pictures and personal belongings, like coats and shoes!). Towards the back, where things get older, some of the glass doors are broken and the coffins have fallen over and open, but you try your best to avoid those ones (but then you kind of look too, because maybe you´ll see something you´ll regret seeing later... but then you also hold your breath because you´ve seen those National Geographic programs where long dead mummies have crazy bacteria that kill people). Anyway... the cemetery was awesome, and it only took me an hour to climb there (I found out today there´s a tram that drops you off right infront of it, and I´ve been meaning to take that exact tram... oh well!). The walk back was buh-rutal, let´s leave it at that, but the pistachio gelato I had in Rossio square more than made up for it. I went to bed early and woke up headache free!

November 27, 2011 (Marques de Pombal)
I woke up today thoroughly determined to spend most of my day wandering in the parks, which I did, so this will be a short post. In the morning I hit the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, the museum containing the massive art collection of Calouste Gulbenkian (who I am to understand made a fortune in oil and bought 2.8 billion euros worth of expensive art). Onwards! Museums are free on Sunday, hence why I found myself here today (that and they have free classical music concerts on Sunday as well). The museum was absolutely astounding, there were mummy masks, Persian carpets, Chinese pots, Japanese silk hangings, Roman busts, paintings, ornate jewelery, this Calouste guy had good taste! I really enjoyed myself here, it was quiet and I took as much time as I wanted just wandering.

 Silk Hanging, Japan, 19th Century
 The Mirror of Venus, Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones
Jewelery by René Jules Lalique (I can´t even express how beautiful this collection was)
 Spring, Alfred-Auguste Janniot

I spent some time listening to the music in the foyer and then headed next door for the Modern Art Museum. I should probably know by now that Modern Art is not my favourite, but hey, it was free, so I gave it a go. As expected I waffled between "I don´t get it" and "I could have done that." Maybe that makes me uncouth, but there you have it. However! There was one particular piece that made me "hmmm." It was an untitled painting by João Queiroz, and I´ll post the photo and its description below. Essentially, I got the impression that the artist paints his impression or feeling from a landscape, not the landscape itself. I thought that was fascinating because I´ve been thinking a lot lately about how we remember places that we have been. For example, I have a very vivid memory from a pagoda we visited with Sareth up in the forest in Samdech Oy (Cambodia). I remember the smell of the forest, the sound of the birds, the way the marble felt walking around the giant statue of Buddha, and how there were small puddles from the rain earlier. How would I paint that? How would I purposely capture an impression of that place, what colours would I use, how do you paint the feeling of cool marble on your feet? Anyway, that totally captivated my attention and I stood and stared at the piece for a long time (and read and re-read the description). Lots of love from Lisbon everyone, I hope you all had a great day :) P.S. dessert today was Iogurte Mel e Nozes (yogurt with honey and walnuts).


Friday, 25 November 2011

Lisbon and Sintra (November 23-24)

Double blog day!

Yesterday (November 24th) was lovingly dubbed my "church" day because I went to so many Basilicas! I did try to hit a Museum and an old Jewish cemetary, but I forgot that public workers were on strike, so churches it was! I went to the Igreja de Sao Domingos first, right by the Praca da Figueira. The inquisition used this church to do nasty things, but it´s really nice looking! It is one of the only churches that survived the 1755 earthquake, so it´s one of the few that hasn´t been restored. Next was Basilica dos Martires (Basilica of the Martyrs), which has little inlets around the whole church depicting different martyrs. Igreja da Encarnacao (Church of our Lady of the Incarnation) (not incineration, which was my translation) was my absolute favourite, it has pink marble and gold trim, plus they play Baroque chants in the background to put it over the top.

Then it was time for lunch. I sat down in the Praca de Principe Real to try and find my way to the restaurant in Estrela, but I was totally lost. So, I set out in the "general" direction and eventually found it. It´s a small vegan/vegetarian buffet called Terra and is absolutely charming. I ate out on the enclosed patio, with the birds and some classical music. I had iced jasmine tea and passionfruit mousse for dessert! I did some more wandering around Estrela after that and finished with the Basilica da Estrela, one of the most famous Basilicas in Lisbon, and it´s a giant. It was here that I accidentally wandered in on a wake (I thought I was heading towards the tombs), so I don´t have many pictures!

Today (November 24th) was my "Climbing" day in a city about 40 minutes outside of Lisbon, called Sintra. Here I climbed a 3km hill to get to both the Castelo dos Mouros and the Palacio Nacional da Pena. The Moorish Castle was built by the Arabs in the late 8th century and is totally overgrown with forest, which of course makes it 1000 times more awesome. Apparently these cliffs are usually shrouded in mist, but on this day it was clear and sunny (every day here has been beautiful weather, though I don´t want to jinx it). Parts of the watchtowers were a little high for my liking, but I did get some stellar photos. After the Castle I walked (more climbing) to the Palacio Nacional da Pena, a candy coloured fortress that looks like it´s straight out of Disneyland. What a peculiar and delightful place! The scariest part was the wall walk, which takes you along the perimeter of the castle (perched on a precipice, of course). I had to run toward the end of the trail because it was WAY too high and too narrow. There was a video of it, but I deleted it because it was totally embarrassing. The tour through the castle was great too, all of the wood and plaster details are stunning. If I had a billion dollars I would deck out all of my ceilings just like that.

After exploring the palace I headed through the Parque, which is filled with all sorts of treasures, including a meditation cave for the friars. At the winding top of this trail (more walking!) Is the highest point in Sintra, where they built Crux Alto, a white cross. The last picture was taken from this vantage point, I definitely think it was worth all that climbing :)

Later days,
P.S. I have NO idea what I want to do tomorrow, so stay tuned (hopefully something that doesn´t involve building upon my already massive blisters?)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Lisbon (November 23)- vegan gelato day

Okay, so today was 100% better than yesterday!

Where to begin? Well, I met my sleeping roomate today, his name is Isaac. I also met a local who´s staying in the hostel for a bit, his name is Fabio (oh, I couldn´t even make it up). I had some orange juice for breakfast because everything else was bread-y and resolved that I would have a masssive lunch. Lisbon is much better during the day, I must say. I finally got the knack of finding the street signs and walked toward the river, passed Rossio square, stopping to take many touristsy photos along the way. To tell you the truth people, I spent 8 hours walking around and don´t even know where the time went. It´s not like I did any shopping, just walking. I spent a little time in the Praca de Figueira, which is a nice little square with a great view. I found the train station by accident (nice one Vicki). I had one of those "oh, this building looks important moments!" and went inside. But I musn´t take the train tomorrow, because all the transporting peoples are going on strike (don´t forget Vicki). There are lots of pastry shops, and by lots I mean millions. Lisbon is well known for its gluten-y pastries! (even though my pants are all elastic waistband, it´s probably for the best). I followed someone into a particulary famous one and perused, it was fun. Then I ran into a fellow tourista outside who I helped find a street, because I´m all expert now, you see. He was from Germany and when I told him I was going to Germany he said I should soak up all the Portugal sun, because there´s none of it in Germany.

So then comes my lunching adventure. I had a place in mind that I´d found in my guidebook, and so I set off. But then it wasn´t there. Actually, it was there, but it turns out it´s much better to find a place by searching for the number on the street and not relying on the guidebook´s assurance that it´s at the intersection. So I went to my back up plan restaurant, which REALLY wasn´t there, because I triple checked. So, I ended up at a place called India Gate, where I had chicken korma and palau rice. And if you know Khalid, you are laughing because I have something very similar to this at his place all the time! I also had cardamom ice cream for dessert, which also made me feel like I was back at Khalid´s. I told Hermant that I would be back, but it´s really pricey there, so maybe not everyday. I really wanted to try salted cod, but oh man, that stuff smells like things I will not say. Suffice it to say if I ever decide to try it, there´s no need for a map because you smell it before you see it. Really Portugal, really?!

Toward the end of the day I checked out the Castelo de Sao Jorge, the castle on the cliff. It was great, I spent a few hours wandering around there before I decided it was time for gelato, vegan gelato! Yes, it does exist. I had orange and ate it down by the water, it was definitely worth the 3 euros :P Also, I´m finding that the people who say "I dont´t speak English" actually know an adequate amount of English. And thank goodness for French lessons, because I can actually gather the jist of what people are saying. Like the old man climbing the stairs at the castle who shouted "fatiguo!" I´m totally with you, man. Other random things of the day included the fact that everyone in Portugal seems to smoke, and people love segues. I thought about stealing one for a joy ride, but did you know the police have policia buses? Buses! Although, it´s entirely possible that the police don´t actually arrest English people. I am basing this off my interaction with a policia man today. I was sitting on steps I shouldn´t have been sitting on, and he came over and said something to me in Portuguese. Here´s how it went:
Vicki: I don´t speak Portuguese.
Policia man: blah blah blah blah blah Portuguese?
Vicki: No.
Policia man: blah blah blah blah blah parle Francais?
Vicki: No.
Policia man: blah blah blah blah blah able Espanol?
Vicki: No.
Then the policia man walked away, probably disgusted at how unworldly I am, lol.

Okay friends, it´s time for bed I think. One of the new hostel people is playing music really loud, so if I can´t sleep then I´ll just come on back here and blabber on.

Later days,



Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I don´t know Portuguese computer, what should my "Titulo" be?

Hello from Lisbon!

I´ve been traveling for 24 hours, and I´m sort of tired but sort of not...
I flew first to London, sitting beside a Macedonian couple that spoke little English. But, I did hear the husband say "Alcohol. Drunk" when the beverages came around, so he clearly knew what his priorities were. I then spent 9 hours in Heathrow waiting for my connection. This just in, Vicki doesn´t really like Heathrow, it´s kind of busy and cold. Luckily I spent half the time napping uncomfortably in a small terminal area. The flight to Lisbon was short and I forgot to specify gluten-free during my online check-in, so I snacked on these awesome crispy snacks I picked up in the airport. I was very happy that my bag arrived, but when I clipped my carry-on to it, it became a little heavy and super awkward trying to get on and off the bus. The bus journey was very successful though! I met a nice local man who I made teach me the names of the streets I needed to know. I was definitely saying everything wrong :)

With some luck I found my hostel and got settled in, the front desk people seem nice. There´s one other sleeping person in my room so far, I can´t tell if he´ll be nice or not. I´m hoping that the panicky feeling will go away tomorrow morning when I set out again and can actually see the street signs. I´m planning to just wander tomorrow, but we´ll see :)

Later days, friends!
P.S. I sure am glad I set up this blog before I left because everything is written in Portuguese on this computer!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The less than 24 hour countdown! (1 day to go)

Dear internets:

I feel like I'm going to barf up all that ice cream I ate for breakfast. At this time tomorrow I will be in the air en route to my connection in London! Gareth was so kind as to inform me of the time change and I now realize my internal clock will be totally backward. But that's okay, Mom gave me some GBP so I think I'll just eat sour patch kids in the airport and hyper myself into the new time zone (I have 9 hours to twiddle my thumbs in London and try not to get into trouble). Khalid's busy trying to make sure I get from the airport in Istanbul to the hostel (apparently I picked the airport on the Asian side, much further away than Ataturk). I sit here trying to pronounce all the Turkish names and Khalid can only shake his head. Apparently I am butchering it. Luckily I have my address printed, so at the very least I can just point to it even if I can't say it. Woo hoo!

Okay, so what did we do yesterday? Yesterday was Dukoral day, traveler's diarrhea aint got nothing on me. But for some reason I don't remember Dukoral tasting that bad?!

I bet cholera tastes a whole lot worse though. Oh wait, that didn't come out quite right...
Khalid and I also took a walk down to Lynde Shore conservation area. Khalid tried to persuade the chickadees to come and land in his hand, but he didn't do a great job impersonating a bird feeder (I'm pretty sure bird feeders don't chase the birds. I love you babe!).

Yesterday ended with a trip to Aunt Bev's house for some last minute goodbyes... which turned into a "let's-catch-the-mouse-in-Aunt-Bev's-house" visit. Khalid was determined to catch the mouse, while I was determined to do my best impression of a hysterical woman. Apparently I am the person that screams and jumps up on the couch, which is funny, I wouldn't have pegged myself as one of those. If any of my Cambodia friends are reading this, you will well remember that I had no problem sleeping with the mice in Cambodia, and I even tolerated them crawling in my hair. But a facemask and earplugs will do wonders for allowing you to imagine certain things aren't happening. In any case, I got word today that apparently the mouse was caught in a one way box and released into the wild... where it will promptly find its way into another house I'm quite sure :)

Which brings us to today, and the one day countdown! I spent the morning packing and eating ice cream. Then I felt guilty and thought I might go to the gym before realizing that I canceled my gym membership. So then I ate some more ice cream and resolved that I would just run up and down some mountains in Nepal. I packed a bunch of powdered Tide detergent because I remembered how handy that was in Cambodia for washing clothes. It really looks like bags of cocaine. I wrote on the ziploc bag "Tide laundry detergent," but then, if I was a cocaine dealer trying to disguise my cache, I would totally write that too. We'll see if BA notices... BA, if you're reading this, I am totally legit, please don't confiscate my bag!

Khalid and I went to visit some more family in the evening and on their recommendation set off to find this Pita Deli place on our way home for dinner. Andrea, we could not find it! We settled for Subway, which I am certain is far less awesome. Oh my gosh, the woman infront of us ordered 10 subs!!! I don't know why you need to know that, but it seems pertinent. I had tofu for dinner, I wonder if they'll have tofu in Portugal? I'll probably be too busy eating salted cod to find out.

Well friends, as a wise person once said... "The world is waiting for you. Good luck. Travel Safe. GO!" Maybe I'll even win a million dollars, I'm just saying.

Later days,
P.S. I'm super speedy here on my DVORAK keyboard, but once the QWERTY hits it may be slow going and riddled with spelling errors. If you love me you'll understand.

It appears I don't have much planned for this week!

I feel like I need my own version of the Asian peace sign... this will do.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Whitby - 3 days to go!

Vicki and Rogue off for some last minute Whitby time :)

Our guest room, and everything that I'm packing! (cat carrier not included)

Hey everyone!

We're starting the 3 day countdown over here :) I just realized I should probably google some Portuguese/German/Turkish phrases so I can actually get out of the airports (actually, this blog just underlined "Portugese," so apparently I'm just learning how to spell their language now. Oh boy, learning curve).

I've already been back to Canadian Tire to buy a bigger bag. I originally thought that I was going to skate by with a 35L daypack, but that was total craziness. I feel much better with my new 65L bag. I also bought two 8GB memory cards for my camera, so I have 10,400 photos to capture this 6-month trip with. That should be enough, right? It's about 57 photos/day. Yeah, that's totally doable. So what am I bringing with me? 3 pairs pants, 2 sweaters, 3 T-shirts, 1 pair shorts... and whatever underwear and socks can be stuffed in my 1L water bottle (what a fantastic idea, it's not like the airports let you put water in them anyway). A bunch of miscellaneous stuff like a head lamp, iodine tablets, a compass, bandaids, an aluminum blanket (for when I get lost in the mountains of Nepal trying to find bigfoot). I got a great 0C, 2lb sleeping bag from MEC that will be packed in my carry-on. Don't check anything you don't want to lose! If the airlines lose my checked bag I'll just wear my sleeping bag like a moo-moo (who needs pants when you can drape yourself in couture goose feathers, am I right?). I spent all morning looking for my Europe/Asia adaptor plugs before I realized that my camera takes batteries. My two degrees are serving me well.

This week has been a whirlwind of last minute packing (oh my gosh, I definitely need a whistle!) and cramming in get-togethers with friends and family. I'm still finding time to take Perogie (Rogue) for walks and do some half-hearted exercising. Today is actually my last day at GoodLife, it's all plyometrics from here on out. Anyone have any good hotel workouts? I've written a couple down, but it will be a struggle to make myself do them. I hit the treadmill yesterday for 15 minutes and had the old man wheeze by the end. Why must the cardio leave you so quickly? I thought I was just going to wear my hiking boots but I'm thinking I'm going to have to pack my runners, otherwise I might not exercise at all.

Anyway, I'm hoping you all will email me while I'm away. Send me funny youtube videos, local news stories, everyday life updates. I will know what I'm doing, but I want to know what you're doing! Hopefully you get a kick out of reading this corny blog, I will try to update it faithfully. Apparently my first hostel has free internet stations, so I really have no excuse. For those of you who don't know, I'm flying to Portugal (Lisbon), Germany (Dusseldorf), Turkey (Istanbul) and Nepal (Kathmandu). I have until May 21rst, 2012 to explore and my volunteering in Nepal ends April 5th, 2012. I'm thinking maybe Vietnam after? I don't know, send me your suggestions. I think I could be persuaded back to Cambodia, or maybe Jordan? OR MAYBE EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!! But only if I find evidence of bigfoot in Nepal and become fabulously wealthy by selling my pictures to some trashy tabloid.

Later days!
P.S. What are your best travel tips? So far I've got "keep your eyes peeled, every awesome situation starts with the phrase 'hey, what's going on over there?'" and "trust your gut and be safe, and if all else fails, remember that no one wants to attack/rob the crazy person."

Friday, 11 November 2011

The first of many!

Hey everyone!

Just getting the hang of this "blogging" dealy, hopefully this will be a place where you can follow all of the goings on as I travel through Europe and Asia. Stay tuned!