Adventures of Gamblegirl
Date: 20/3/04 Adventures of Gamblegirl: All good things come to an end. Brace yourself for this will be a long one!! Not that the rest of my entries aren't - hee hee!! Yes I am well aware that I "ramble" but hey that's me!!! Ramble Gamble - hee hee. So for a year, you've heard my ramblings and my wanderings as I put a hold on my life and took the opportunity to see Europe and experience living in another country. I won't lie, it has been hard. The uncertainty, the lack of employment, the where the hell and why have I done this feeling, I've missed a wedding, two very important 21st's, my family, my friends, my puppy dog, my home town, my footy team suddenly playing good footy (and winning a final - and THAT only happens once in a blue moon!!!) and the Aussie life style. For me to do this - was a big risk (esp for me!!! A well known risk taker - not!!!), and one while hard has been worthwhile. But at the same time, it's been great as well as well as rewarding. I still get the feeling when I stand in front of places like Buckingham Palace and the Eiffel Tower that, um this is one big dream and sooner or later I am gonna wake up and realise that it's not true. Thank god I have a picture or two on hand to prove it. So a year huh? Wow!! Seems to have gone past so quick, yet taken so long. You've heard me prattle on about the English, Contiki, numerous places such as Paris, London, Rome, Berlin. I've seen snow in a major city, a concentration camp in Austria and the impressive peaks of Switzerland. I've prattled on about nothing (so what's new really), but shared some of my thoughts with you along the way. But now it's time to go home. So here are some thoughts, highs and lows and general ramblings that you've put up with for the past year. TRAVEL: Places I've been: England: London Brighton Oxford (just a couple of times - hee hee!!) Cambridge Manchester Liverpool York Stratford Upon Avon Chester Bath Bristol Canterbury Windsor Eton The Cotswolds Kent Warrick Reading Greenwich Wales: Cardiff Scotland: Edinburgh France: Paris - twice!!! Nice Beaujolais Region Pont du Guard Italy: Pisa Florence Rome Verona Venice Pompii Austria: Vienna Hopgarten Germany: Munich Berlin Heidleberg Rhine Valley St Goar Spain: Barcelona Switzerland: Lucern Jungfrau Region in the Swiss Alps Holland: Edam Amsterdam Greece: Athens Corfu Mykonos Monaco: Monte Carlo Favourite Places that I have Been: Oh so many to choose from but here goes: Lucern - yes coming in at number one is the fairy tale beauty and cleanliness of Lucern. Any moment I expected to see Cinderella running in the street. Lucern was the beauty of Europe that I'd always imagined. And the chocolate!!!! Switzerland itself. I know Lucern is in Switzerland but the country itself is magical. So clean, so fresh, so stunning. From the romanticism of Lucern to the over whelming sheer size of the Swiss Alps. I loved every minute of it The Cotswolds. What was most magical about the Cotswolds to me was that it is totally unlike anything we have at home. It's that clichÃ© English country side that you see on the telly but better. So incredibly old, and amazing to look at. One street towns that have still hand made products and only slightly touched by commercialism. And heaps of ducks!!! Gotta be a good thing. Edinburgh. Against a rugged background, a castle that is awe inspiring and a view that just magic, I loved it. Italy - that includes Venice, Rome, Verona, Pisa, Florence. It's a great country where I can over indulge in the bestest pizza and gelati that I have ever had. Vienna - Again, that old medieval fairy tale style city. And the schnapps - oh I wish I'd bought myself a bottle of Vampire. Andi and I would polish that off in a night. Mauthausen - I can not explain how much of an impact this place had on me. Actually I probably did in my email. It's an experience that I will never ever forget. Berlin - I loved it. Everything about it. From the historical perspective, it is amazing. Not pretty, but interesting, educational and eye opening. Bath - enough said. York - has the most amazing cathedral and is just so pretty Amsterdam - learned that I can't ride a bike and well hmmm caught an interesting show! Gondola Ride in Venice - has to be done!! Not So Favourite Places that I have Been: Greece. I didn't mind Mykonos nor Corfu. Had a great night on a balcony in Corfu :), but Greece as a whole, I wasn't too keen on. It was dirty, rude and pushy - in particular Athens. I hated every minute in Athens, well except for the bit at the Parthenon - which was an amazing experience. Cruises!! I get cabin fever!!! 2 hours on those things and I'm ready to jump overboard!!! Major Disappointment Whilst Travelling: The shambles which was the tour of Pompii. Really badly organised and just a major let down. Ended up coming away quite pissed off about the whole thing!! However did get a new intepretation of Cont-iiiiikeeee and did get to hear an Italian go Mama Mia!! Best Tourist Attraction: It's a tie between the Anne Frank museum which I had been led to believe that it's crap and the Heineken Museum. It was soo much fun! Who have thought the girl that loathes beer a) drank so much of it and b) had a ball in a beer tourist trap!! Worst Tourist Attraction: The Whiskey Distillery in Edinburgh. It's become the measuring stick of how crap things can be. Mind you, laughed my arse off at the dumb arse performance. It was worth a Razzie in itself. Best Cathedral: York Minister Canterbury San Familiga Best Castle / Palace: Leeds Royal Pavilion Warrick / Cardiff Most loathed Castle / Palace: Palace of Versailles. It was overindulgent, pure extravagence and well ugly. Much like Paris Hilton - has the potential to be pretty but just bad taste and lack of class stops it from being so. I can't believe I'm Here Moment: Standing on top of the Eiffel Tower (no not that kinda top, owww that would hurt!!) and watching the sunset Crossing Tower Bridge - so who'd have thought huh? First day in and my first reality check. Standing inside the Colossuem - I admit, I had a little cry with awe London Eye - just the view and a different look of London The Mona Lisa - smaller then I thought Michangelo's David - MUCH bigger then I thought (but still small!! Hee hee). But seriously, it's impressive what was done with a flawed piece of marble. Vatican City - for it's 7km of an art museum. Too bad it was stinking hot and packed in. Kinda marred the moment a bit Trevi Fountain - stunning piece of work, truely magical Leaning Tower of Pisa Most pathetic moment from moi: When I called home from Hopgarten so sick that I couldn't speak. All I wanted was some mum TLC and as soon as she spoke, all I could do was cry. Pathetic moment of the highest degree. HIGHLIGHTS Seeing my sister's face, whom I hadn't seen for 9 mths waiting for me when I got to my hostel. I was tired, my plane landed late, survived the worst turbulence I've ever experienced and to see her and Simon's faces was fantastic The arrival of my parents, Christmas as Oxford and playing tour guide for them. After 9 mths (what is it about 9mths for my family?) it was great to get a mum's hug and dad's really bad jokes Mauthausen - for the pure once and in a life time experience Meeting my friend Andi - it was soo great to meet some one on my wave length My Indian Restaurant. I will sooo miss it!! I love Indian food. Living in London - the experience of living in a BIG city was fantastic. To be a face in peak hour morning traffic was great London Eye - WOW!!! Allied Healthcare Christmas party - the best work Christmas party I've ever been to!!! It rocked and to think that I wasn't going to go because I wasn't part of Allied. Anson Road Cocktail parties - messy but fun Hamley's - yes I know it's a toy store and yes I am well aware that I am closer to 30 then 3, but it's 7 floors of some of the bestest toys I have ever seen and for an hour or so, I felt like a kid (and there's an arcade bit down there where I can blow up zombies - excellent!!!) The summer's day in Cambridge. It was just fantastic, sunny, lazy and full of really cute Cambridge guys. Me complaining - no! Seeing places that I never thought that I would see in real life, like the Colosseum, the Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, Mona Lisa, Michangelo's David, Berlin and the last bit standing of the wall. Sometimes I think, can someone pinch me - I'm here. Leeds Castle - surely the most stunning castle there is, second to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Two polar opposites but just as stunning. Cardiff Castle not far behind and Warrick Castle for it looks like a REAL castle Stonehenge and Bath. I know it's a pile of rocks, yes it's bloody freezing out there but take a moment to look at it and wonder about it. How did they get there, when did they get there, what was it's purpose, man made or a Celtic legend? Are the stones from Wales, from Ireland, from Scotland, from Devon? So many theories yet no possible way to get a specific answer. It's hard to believe that they were resurrected by man without the assistance of today's building materials. They must weigh a tone and to think that someone was smart enough to use the tongue and groove practice. Looking at all these old buildings, it's embarrassing to see how little modern man has progressed. We've done nothing compared really!!! And Bath, pretty Bath, just lovely to look at. Tower of London - 4 hours and I still could have stayed longer. ABCing. Another Bloody Castle / Cathedral / Church - yeah I know I bang on about this church, this castle, this cathedral, but usually these places have the most impressive architecture and history and that's what I love. I love Castles because - okay apart from Kyrol Castle in Vic - which isn't really a Castle, how many do we have? It's all about the knights, kings and queens that make them so interesting, the lies, the deceit, the backstabbing and the military tactics and design. SNOW!!! IN LONDON!!! It was an amazing experience. To have snow falling down around me in a major city. While the English moaned about it, I was out there soaking it up. My birthday. It was really weird, no family, no friends, but a busload of almost strangers. For my birthday, we went to a concentration camp, the town where the Sound of Music was filmed, it pissed down, I was incredibly ill, had "These are a Few of My Favourite Things sung to me" and then happy birthday, was given a fantastic cake from Jersey and Taz and then was in Munich, it lightly snowed whilst in the bus, I drank a massive stein of beer (and was sick), got the best present off Andi, Dan and Jane and then Andi's given me a pack of wicked naughty playing cards that I love!! Brilliant. Traditional English pubs, love 'em Contiki - I loved it in the aspect that I got to see so many wonderful places and I met some great people on the trip. Oh and our driver - hot!!! Riding in an English black cab (had to be done). Even if the first one I caught was red!!! Speaking to Number 10!!! Really only the White House is higher!! LOWLIGHTS Contiki - yeah wasn't that fun. The drama that occurred almost ruined my trip. I guess when it's told your face, that you "didn't come on this trip to spend time with you and I'd rather not spend time with you" or everytime that I tried to speak to you, just to ask, what did you go see, you turn your back on me or the best one was when you looked straight at me and then walked straight off. Call me precious, but those kind of things can upset a person. Yeah and when you've finished reducing me to tears or slamming a door almost in my face, it does leave a bitter impression. Oh and I guess my birthday present's still in the mail, especially after I went to sooo much trouble to get you a good present. Noooo not bitter at all!!! But I guess what really pisses me off about the whole thing is a) I feel as though I got made out to be the bad guy when I haven't done a single thing wrong and b) that I feel like I'd been used. As a time filler until her best friend came over. Like it was all one way and perhaps maybe that's why I feel bitter especially like when she was bawling her eyes out and really down but got nothing back when I was feeling down. But one thing that Andi pointed out and still baffles me is if she didn't want anything to do with me, why bother coming to sit next to me. Trust me, I could have found someone else to sit next to. Me being sick on Contiki. The night in the Austrian woods, would have to have been the worst night since I was rushed to hospital at my sister's deb. I was that sick and seriously I would have gone to hospital if I was home, because everyone around me is partying (except for my fellow sickies - Andi and Jane) and all I could do is weep and hope that I was not going to die. Honestly, between my horrible wheezing cough, my 6 days straight of pooing and spewing, the fact that the room kept spinning, my chest felt like it was all constricted, I was just damn sick. Even now, I still have a hangover from the cough. Andi and Jane can back me up on this, how sick were we? In Amsterdam, I was having a massive coughing fit and the sales person suggested that I quit smoking. When I told him I didn't smoke, he looked at me and then said, maybe I should start!!! London people rudeness. I have never met people that are sooo rude. You literally can get knocked on your arse and people don't care. You are next in queue and people just jump in front. I thought the British were meant to be polite people! My track of bad luck. From my mobile being stolen, my lost sunnies, my lost glasses - please tell me that's it and that's come to an end. Pleeeze!!! The feeling of being so isolated at times. It made things really hard when everyone you know is at home and you aren't! PEOPLE: Cool People I've Met: Andi - you ROCK chick and have been my rock and I always wanna keep in touch :) The Matrix Twins - Jane and Dan, missed you Janey when you left. And Dan with her Twix addiction. Have you OD'ed yet chick? Lorraine and Emma from Allied - I wish I could take them home with me. I always have the bestest times with those two. Sob!!! Two really cool chicks I love. The Anson Road gang - Nix and Sharleen, Lis, Megs, Mattie, Kel, Nards, Cecilia, Tracey, Blondie, Brit - oh Anson Road - such good times!!! Steph and Simon - hang on already knew them - but loved hanging out with them regardless Nick - from Contiki. Any guy that introduces himself as a typical American geek rocks by me. And if he self declares himself as being Boring that gotta love that too. Nick's first introduction to me is when I introduced myself in Paris, he responded "USA". Darls, just wanted to know your name. Not So Cool People I've Met: Well most people know who I am referring to. I don't not have to put up with being treated soo rudely, inconsiderately and just plain meanly, nor have to play what kinda mood are you in today / this second. I really don't care if this gets back to her, but seeing that she managed to get herself a half price VCR and was just rude and b****y to me, in the words of Transvision Vamp "I don't care". I seriously thought that she was going to be a friend, but if she, then I'd rather not be her friend. CULTURE: Oh Stop Whinging! Yes, the tube runs late at times, yes they have drive slow strikes, yes it's a bit squashy in peak hours, but you know what, at the end of the day, the public transport in London and in the UK is brilliant. Take for starters the tube, you can a) always connect up to a bus, b) easily manoeuvre about the city, c) on average, get a train every five minutes, which means that if you miss your normal one, you will get another one very soon, d) whilst overwhelming on paper, is incredibly easy to use. Then there is the bus and train systems throughout the UK. From London, you can go anywhere you like and it's really easy. So what if you don't have a car, I have got around perfectly fine without one. So stop whinging about it will ya??? Customer Service is...? Sure I don't want the bordering on patronising American customer service, but a simple hello would be nice. And really while you are serving me - or in some cases - I am waiting to be served, I don't want to hear about your mates new car, or the guy you shagged at a party or about the previous customer. You are getting paid to wait on me, even if it is for a few seconds. Hullo!!! Am the customer. The lack of customer service in the UK is astonishing. Again see the point about the lack of politeness. Disturbing Sight No 1: The amount of young girls over here with children. I know, at the risk of sounding old, but seriously the young mothers around here, is not something to be proud of. Some of them look barely out of high school. Surely this is not a good thing. Disturbing Sight No 2: The amount of homeless people in London. I know that to a point that they become invisible but I've never seen so many homeless people ever. Disturbing Sight No 3: Any Walkabout. I am avoiding Aussie themed pubs. Not pretty at all. The Spotted Dog - or what I call it, The Spotted Hole!!! Disturbing Sight No 4: The boxer style trainers that are out - WRONG!!! Just plain old wrong!! Disturbing Sight No 5: Elephant and Castle is dodge city!!! Best place I've worked: Allied Healthcare. You know how there are some places that you don't mind coming into work - yeah well AHC was there. That's where I met the sweetie Emma and the best blonde in town, Lorraine. Had soo much fun there. Worst place I've worked: Olympus. No help, thrown in the deep end in an environment that I know nothing about, a whole bunch of men who liked to do nothing but surf the net for porn. Boss would spend all day, burning CD's of his band and on the web creating his filthy fictional town or printing off porn pictures. Then there was the time that he got in at 9:30, fell asleep at his desk and then woke up at 1:30ish, went out for a cigarette and then went back to sleep until 5:00. I hated every minute of being there. Mystifying fact No 1: The sudden personality change the SHE did Mystifying fact No 2: Will I ever get paid out for my share of the VCR? Answer to that - no Mystifying fact No 3: Why do people stand to the right on the escalator? Why can no one actually answer this question? Mystifying fact No 4: Fried bread - WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? Mystifying fact No 5: Tinned meals such as Fish and Chips, Bangers and Mash, The Big Breakfast, Wedges and beans - why? Mystifying fact No 6: Mushy peas?!?!?!?!?! Mystifying fact No 7: Why do people run for the train when the next one is only a minute behind? Same as squashing into the train - again one coming right behind? Mystifying fact No 8: Why is everyone making a big deal of Nigel Harmon? He's not that attractive. Trust me there are far better looking men out there!!! Sniff Part I: Farewell fav red shoes. You have served me well. And damn you the person that stepped on my foot as going down the stairs in the Tube Station. Thanks for tearing the sole right away and making them unrepairable!! Sniff Part II: Goodbye Gap jumper, it's time to die. I've had you for 8 yrs and you have done me a magnificant service but there comes to a point that all good things must come to an end. You are more holey then the pope and seen more days then Cher's had facelifts, but alas, it's time to go in the big wardrobe in the sky. - LATE UPDATE: I couldn't do it. I had it just about in the trash bag and I couldn't do it. I rescued it. There's too many memories in that jumper!! Brave culinary attempts: Yes I've tried snails and haggis. Personally am still revolted. Some other tradditional dishes that I've tried: UK: Yorkshire pudding, toad in a hole, spotted d*** (hee hee), Indian (yes tradditional English food), bangers and mash, bacon buttie FRANCE: French crepes, Chocolate Ã©clair (the BEST I HAVE EVER EVER HAD), French pastries GERMANY: German pastires, Bratwurst HOLLAND: Cheese SWIZTERLAND: Chocolate!! Hot chocolate, fondue, rosti SPAIN: Paella, tapas AUSTRIA: Schnitzel!!! Goulash, Sascha Torte, Schnapps GREECE: Tiziki, mousaka, baclava ITALY: GELATI!!! PIZZA, Best drink: Say it with me - San-gria!!!!!!! Or the Dracula Schnapps in Austria Best Meal: The meal on the Champ Elysees. It was to die for. And the chocolate mouse that I had a bite from was sensational as well. Second is Christmas dinner. I was soooo full!!! Ate waaaay too much!!! Best Fudge: Edinburgh - oh it was the BESTEST!!! Cool Words that I have to Take home: Fraggle / Muppet Minge Sorted Bless MEDIA: Secret Addiction: English reality TV. How much did I love Get Me Out Of Here and It's Back To Reality. Woah is that brilliant crap telly. But my best addiction - Footballers Wives. I know it's really sad. And what's worse, I find myself if am home watching Family Affair. See Chrissie lied to everyone that Chloe had cancer and now has been sprung and has been chucked out, then she kidnapped her own daughter and is on the run. One guy's not sure if he's gay or not but is engaged to Melanie, who happens to be Chrissie's other daughter. A gay guy's got his best friend pregnant after a tad too much to drink (and obviously going thru a VERY dry spell), the wife of the cafe owner hates her husband and is fighting of the advances of the chef who just happens to be her ex boyfriend who went to Africia and now suspects that her son is actually his... Still with me? All good stuff. Best Telly: BBC - it's tops. Especially when they had the cat show on. It's was like African nature's version of a well written soapie. Did the kittens get eaten, will they survive the Baboon attack - tune in tomorrow night. (For the record, no they didn't get eaten and yes, they survived the attack. Mamma cat came to the rescue!) Other fav's were Teachers, Graham Norton pre the New York Shows were he started to arse kiss the Americans, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, the various documentaries that were on like the history of Paris, Rome and Michaelangelo. Crappiest Telly: Well really when a show about fleas can be on prime time, you have to wonder about the quality of what is being shown. Also really I think the absolute strangest thing I have seen on the telly is that show about "different" cars (see my previous entry). It was so bad that I was just pissing myself laughing. The Queen of English TV: Goes to Cat Deeley. She rocks. She's one of those people that you like regardless of the fact that she's pretty and talented. She's kinda like the UK version of Suzie Wilks PLEASE GIVE THEM A WORLD WIDE SYNDICATED SHOW: Ant and Dec are the funniest duo I have seen in a long time. Seriously!!! What's great about them is that they laugh at their own jokes and that just makes 'em funnier!! It's an icon: Top of The Pops. An institution in itself but on a Wednesday after work, headed down to the BBC and formed part of the crowd for TOTP. Was interesting how they did it, and Sean Paul was a bit of a diva and Jnr Snr just couldn't get their s***e together. And S Club 8 are crap. Long live S- okay shutting up now. BEST ADS: The Fosters Ads - never fails to make me laugh. s***e beer, great ads Travelocity ads - Hello world!!! IT'S UNIVERSAL: Macca's ads suck over here as well. Good to see somethings are still consistent Post office workers always have one person on the teller when it's the busiest time ie lunchtime with everyone else looking real busy doing jack all Banks start making me pop brain cells and blood vessels as I turn into the she version of the Incredible Hulk. PLEASE GO AWAY: The Cheeky Girls. Two Transylvainian girls whose ribs show, look like they come from Dracular country and their mum writes them a song about touching their bum... Yessss. And on that note - take Jordan and Peter Andre with you. Celeb Spotting Whilst in the UK: Kylie!!! Coming out of Puma. For a moment me and the sales assistant bonded Renee Zellewager filming Bridget Jones II at Borough Market Liam Gallager's gut as Noel laughed at me (and wasn't I scared that he'd beat the crap out of me) Best Theatre The Lion King P.O.P Les Miserables Best Reason for a Monday: TNT - especially so that I can read what the Queen should do before she dies. Corker Best Reason for a Tuesday: Heat Magazine. I live for it. It's my special treat for the week and it's a big call but it's better the NW!!! Things I'll Miss: The Bagels - they do damn good bagels over here The easy accessibility of public transport - suits me fine seeing that I hate driving WH Smith - it's my version of heaven - books, stationery, music, dvd's, magazines - doesn't get any better then that for me ABCing around England - will miss all the castles esp The pubs The BBC London Transport System English country side - I love it. It's so damn cute My Indian restaurant My sister until she comes home MY "I WANT LIST" WHEN I GET HOME: A large choc Big M - oh heck just give me a 1 ltre bottle. The choc milk over here is dodgy as Potato Cakes - or whatever your state calls 'em A steak - I've avoided red meat over here as much as I can Darrell Lee licorice - yum Mum's pumpkin soup - so thick ya can eat it with a fork So to all that's put up with my rambling thoughts, that have taken the time to read them and leave messages or sent me cards and letters, I thank you and I hope that I have entertained and enlightened you as I have explored Europe. I will encourage all kinds of support when I arrive back home. Banners, signs, trumpets are all welcome. My flight arrives on the 8 April, it's Qantas, flight 388, term 1. Oh did I mention that I get in at 4:30am!!!! Cheers Gamblegirl Hugs and kisses from your neighbourhood freak!!!