Yeah, my post titles aren’t as hip and cool as Jay’s. Get over it.
Well this is the first of my posts done on thew actual trip. I really haven’t been able to get to the internets yet long enough to write. I thought that wouldn’t be so. What can you do?
So I left the Can on last Friday arvo and caught the bus to Sydney. Stayed overnight there and then onto the airport. 9 hour flight to Taipei, not so fun! The seat backs had screens in them which you could use to watch shows and movies and such, scrubs and top-gear, lolz. You could also view the current location, speed, altitude, heading, etc of the plane. Pretty cool if you’re bored (oh I was!). The guy in front of me had his seat reclined for most of the flight though so I had to view the screen from an inch in front of my face!
Had to hang around at the airport for two hours before my next flight came. Taipei airport smells like an old school, don’t go there, it’s a bit decrepit and the communist party scares me. I thought I’d be arrested for my seditious thoughts or something. On the plus side, I saw some awesome communist propaganda!
Next flight was from Taipei to Bangkok. Not quite back-tracking but annoying none the less. Three hours for that one. I think by this time it was around 12:30 am aus time so I was getting tired.
Now Bangkok airport is nice, much nicer than Taipei, yay capitalism! Had to hang around there for a couple more hours. I think by the time the flight finally left it was 6:30 am aus time! I was tired and only managed to sleep a couple of hours on that flight. So I arrived in Amsterdam at 10:00 am Sunday, Amsterdam time (8 hours behind the Can) pretty tired. Had to trek across Amsterdam to Amstel station to catch my bus to Koln. I must say, the trains are really nice. I thought I was in first class accidentally but not so, nice wide seats. On my way I stopped into a McDonalds, it is true, they asked me if I wanted mayo, weird (PS in France they do call it a Royale, not callin’ Jules [pulp fiction] a lier but I had to see for myself).
The bus station was in a really derro part of Amsterdam, it was a little weird. I had to wait there for an hour or so, watching the weirdos who were going to get on this bus with me. All I can say about this is, if you can help it, don’t take a bus in Europe, take a train. This thing stopped at like, every single town between Amsterdam and Koln, couldn’t believe it! 5 hours man! It’s like 200km!
Jay, Lucy and I had organised to meet up with Gaynor (cousin), Fenton and their children for a picnic by the Rhein. So We did, it was quite nice. Their children are much older and larger than I remember though. Guess that’s what happens. After that we went back to our hostel but first passed a real german Bier Garten. Got some Koelsch, a pint, it was nice. Lucy got a giant wurst, LOL.
The next morning we caught the train from Koeln to Paris and then to Rouen. You’d think that Rouen would be on the way to Paris, not so. We had to stop off in Brussels and get on a different train, we couldn’t get the Thalys all the way from Koeln so we had to catch the ICE to Brussels and then the Thalys to Paris. Dudes, you can get a beer from a vending machine in Brussels! A fracking vending machine! That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!
Long story (well not really) we transfer in paris to a train to Rouen. A couple more hours on the train and we’re there. Not much to say about Rouen, fairly nice town, not very used to getting tourists I think. There was a subway, woot. We totally got lost on the way to our hotel and Lucy was freaking out a little. I knew it would be right. In the end we asked some french lady and she knew enough english to put us right, word. Our hotel was pretty nice, three bed private room. The manager guy seemed a bit dodgy. There was free wifi though. Unfortunately I didn’t discover this untill our second night which was spent being really tired and having to sort something or other out on teh nets. There was a reason I didn’t have time to post, really…
First evening in Rouen we wandered around a bit trying to find somewhere to eat. We ended up going to a resturaunt in this really old (well to an Aussie) part of the city, all 17th century buildings. It looked like you imagine a medieval town to look like. I felt like I was in the middle of Monkey Island, nice…
That was nice, little expensive but I guess that’s what you get.
The next day we took a day trip to Bayeux, of tapestry fame (you know the one that depicts the battle of hastings in 1066). Caught the train from Rouen to Bayeux, another 1.5 hours or so I think. On the last leg (20 mins from Caen to Bayeux) we met two Canadians (Raynor and Loni) and an American (John, I think). We talked to them for a while, they were pretty cool. Raynor and Loni are from Saskatoon, Seskatchwan! Try saying that 10 times fast. John went off to do a D-Day landing beaches tour. Raynor and Loni were going to spend the night in Bayeux and then go on to Paris the next day. They didn’t have anything else to do so they acompanied us to the tapestry. Now Bayeux is a lovely little town. It reminds me much moreso of what a small little medieval town should look like. There are tiny little cobblestone streets and old school buildings and houses everywhere.
To top it off there is a great big cathedral smack bang in the middle. The French do love their cathedrals, there were two within spitting distance in Rouen. Got a youth discount in to see the tapastry (yay international youth card) so it was only around 3,50E (man, they use commas here instead of decimal points, weird). There was a little film thing about the tapastry in 20 mins so we went in to see the tapastry first. Lucy said it was long, but man, it /is/ long! Around 70 metres! It’s just so amazing, this thing was made almost 1000 years ago and It’s still going awesome. The whole lot was stitched by hand (obviously) and it is very intricate. So much effort went into making it, I wonder if they knew it would last this long? You all probably know, the tapestry depicts the Battle of Hastings in 1066 (and the events that proceed this) which results in King Harold being slain and William the Conqueror (formally William the Bastard, I think he made an improvement). We got a free audio tour which describes the tapastry whilst you are going along. Very useful since it wasn’t very obvious (to me at least) what was going on.
We went and was the short movie after seeing the tapastry. It just gave a little context into the story and how the tapestry was made and has been kept to this day. Pretty cool.
After the tapestry We went then to a small resturaunt thing for lunch which served oven pizza and chips which were rather crappy. Unfortunatly we didn’t know until after we had ordered!
We left that crappy resturaunt and wandered around trying to find some museum which we got free entry into ’cause we saw the tapestry. We found the cathedral instead. Man I just love the architecture of these things! Flying buttresses are the most awesome architectural device ever invented! We went in there and checked it out, it was pretty damn cool. There was a gigantic organ on the back wall which I made a joke about, sigh.
The inside of the cathedral was awesome. Man, I want to live in one of these things! Just amazing. The columns were all intricately carved and, well, everything was! The windows were all stained glass and looked really cool. Meh, I’m not very good at describing such things, but it was nice…
We were still hanging around with Raynor and Loni at this point. We finally found that other museum we had entry into. It wasn’t particularly intersting. Mainly just paintings by renound local artists. One thing that was super awesome was the lace. They had some very impressive examples of hand-made lace on display. I had no idea how lace was made before that day but I now have much more respect for laciers (name?). They have a pattern which they stick pins into and wind fine thread around the pins in such a way that lace is produced, don’t ask me exactly how but it is impressive. For some reason I don’t have any photos
We chillaxed with beers in a nice little cafe near the tapastry place. Chatted for a while with the Canadian ones. I swapped a AUD$2 for 2 Canadian dollars (a toonie), woot.
Walked back to the train station, said goodbye to our new Canadian friends (we exchanged facebook info though) and caught the train back to Rouen.
Had dinner in a mexican resturaunt near our hotel. I had some nachos, aww yeah. Lol, they were serving Fosters, I decided to have some. I find it deliciously ironic that the first fosters I ever drank was in a mexican resturaunt, in France.
Alright, that’s where I’ll have to leave it for now. More later…