Thursday, November 30, 2006
Be prepared for travel delays if using the bus system…they are generally on time, but don’t be surprised if your bus is an hour late… it took me about 4-5hours to make a 3 hour trip one day! But nobody seems to mind… or they are just so used to waiting they’re just happy to see the bus! Haha!
Try and Irish Coffee
Experience the Ring of Kerry
Visit the Waterford Crystal Factory and take the tour (the staff pose for your photos if asked!)
Worry about anything… Ireland is relaxed… can’t really think of any DON’Ts expect don’t forget to remove your suitcase from the luggage area of one bus before boarding another bus! The bus rides can be long, it’s easy to forget your luggage!
Forget an umbrella…
And don’t expect it to last long with all the wind and rain!
and don't forget Dublin is very different to the rest of Ireland (from my experience)
It is more of a busy city, compared to the laid-back countryside... both are awesome ;)
Try the coffee and pizzettas! (Autogrills serve great espresso!)
Try the gelati (personally I couldn’t tell the difference between home and Italy, but the flavours were great)
Buy souvenirs at Burano! (near Venice) They are sooooo much cheaper!!!
(But you have to discover this for yourself ;))
Run away from the men! Haha!
Be aware of gypsies and beggars in all the tourist attractions.
Be aware of street vendours… apart from invading your space, you can be fined up to Euro1500 for purchasing “genuine copies” from these people.
Climb the Duomo in Milan
Not as difficult as St Paul’s in London, but awesome when you’re at the top!
The view is magnificent, as are the ceiling paintings inside. I have to give credit to my travel friends Mike and Phyllis for suggesting this experience!
Buy products from factories visited as part of your tour. They may seem cheap…until you find something around the corner (same or similar) for up to a third of the price!
Trust Venetians in tourist shops! As mum says, “They rip you off with a smile”
(Although I must admit my grandparents were born in this region and I would trust them!)
Expect value for money from Italian hotels.
Apparently they are renowned throughout Western Europe as the most expensive, but also the worst kept hotels…but have a high tourist turnover, suggesting they don’t need to improve since the tourists will come anyway!
Drink the coffee in hotels! Buy it elsewhere!
Be afraid to stick up for yourself! Sometimes it pays to be 'rude'... if you're a young girl, the men will target you, so running away from them is not such a bad thing ;)
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
- Take sunscreen and summer clothes
Most Aussies I met packed for cooler weather, but luckily added a few summer clothes too…which we lived in!
Stay at the Highbury Centre (Formerly the Foreign Missions Club) http://www.thehighburycentre.org/
It’s an historic building, on the outskirts of London. It is simple, but nice. They offer amazing facilities – laundry, cheap internet, phone cards etc, close to public transport... (although I would not recommend this place to people with mobility issues. Due to the age of the building, there are many stairs and no lifts).
The atmosphere is awesome. It was originally for missionaries, but they offer guest rates for non-missionaries. The receptionists are wonderful people who make you feel welcome :)
Climb the 520 Steps of St Paul’s Cathedral! It’s POSSIBLE and awesome!!! How could you go to London and NOT take up this challenge! :p Plus it’s quite pricey just to get inside the building! Work-out value for money! :p
Take a ride of the Hop On Hop Off us Tours. They are great! You see more of the town that you’d want to walk alone, and then realise it’s not that hard to get around after all :p
* Be afraid of getting lost! The tube is amazing! As long as you know which station you need to get
of at the end of the day, you’ll be fine!
Even though it’s a big city, it’s virtually impossible to get lost! :)
(It took me 2 days to realise this!)
Ask directions from somebody who looks young… or from newspaper sellers on the streets!
Most have no idea, give you a funny look as if directions are an alien concept, or ask if you speak English…(uhh…DUH! Hehe!)
- Believe an older person’s directions are “a long walk”
as my friend correctly pointed out, what they perceive as “long” is only a 5-10minute walk – nothing to us Aussies who are used to waiting at least 20 minutes for a bus! Not to mention the half hour walk to the train station which is sometimes quicker than waiting for the bus!
Ask a Tube employee at Heathrow, ‘Is this the tube?”
(ok, I admit I’d just come off a plane and my brain was tired!)
- Take your mobile/cell phone!
Even if you don’t intend to use it, it’s security!
(and helps cure your loneliness at times)
When you are lost and are meeting a friend, use your mobile phone to call them! ;)
- Buy an international phone card BEFORE you leave home!
I had to use my mobile to call home to tell them I had arrived… when you’re jetlagged and dodging people, its hard to find a phone card! It’s even worse when ur in a non-English speaking country and the person is telling you the card DOES call Australia, but it doesn’t SAY so On the card.
- Travelex Cash Passport Card for Aussies www.cashpassportcard.com
This is the simplest way to use cash overseas! You pre-purchase your desired currency (Euros/Pounds) and just use it like a debit card at any ATM! I purchased Euros and was able to obtain pounds in London with the same card. You can top up the card any time online! My parents did this for me – the only disadvantage is your transactions do not show your current balance. You have to go online to view your account.