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Paris

Posted by David McKell On May - 5 - 2015

Paris Adventures

 

Basic list of what we got upto in Paris. Most of this was written very late one night so the details are very sparce.

 

Monday

Drove car back to Heathrow then got the tube to Notting Hill. Had a delicious lunch at Jamies Reciplease. Walked down to the Kensington Palace and gardens, walked down through Kensington’s main street where I bought some new walking shoes (great idea with all the walking I have already done in them), then on the tube back to Michael and Hayleys.

 

Tuesday

Woke up at 330am, Michael drove us to the train station at 5am. Arrived in Paris about 10am and had crepes for breakfast. Very tired, slept at hotel for 4 hours.  Then we got the train to “Opera”, walked to the Louve and around the area. Trained back to “Republique” to find some food, nothing suitable until we found Thai food. Except they couldn’t speak English and served luke warm thai food. Surprising did not get sick from it. 

 

Wednesday

Slept in, had croissants for breakfast. Hired some street bikes and biked our way across Paris. Some stops were; pole thingy, garden thingy, church thingy, another garden thingy, military museum, Eiffel Tower thingy, the Louve for a visit, then rode home.  This was a big day with beautiful weather.

 

Thursday

Slept in (because it was raining), refused to have croissants for breakfast, walked all of Paris to find anything else. Found somewhere that sold crepes with different fillings. Walked to Notre Dame, the military museum and back to play chess in a Starbucks, then train home, but we jumped the turnstile because our tickets didn’t work and we thought they should have. Had pizza with an egg on it for dinner. 

 

Friday

Slept in, had breakfast at hotel consisting of cereal and you guessed it croissants. Played some more chess then went for a walk to scope out dinner. Found a big park that had an area closed off. I wasn’t happy that it was closed off so jumped the fence to have a look. It was a rope rock wall, rope play ladder things, some kind of wooden cave, an awesome slide and play house thing. But it was closed off for a reason, the place is a death trap. Who knows how many children were hospitalised from that place. It was a playground of the fittest.

 

Saturday

Raining. Slow start to the morning. Open bus tour around Paris (got a bit wet), climbed the Eiffel Tower, visited the military museum, open bus tour back home.

 

Sunday

Another raining day. Off to Sacre Coeur, boat cruise up and down the Seine, then a final (expensive) dinner in Paris. We had mussels and salmon, yummy.

 

 

General thoughts on Paris:

– The people are friendly contrary to popular stereotypes

– The city itself is beautiful and full of history. But it is a dirty filthy city. Not by rubbish on the ground etc, but the pollution not only by the vehicles but the smokers leaves a film of grot everywhere. Everywhere you went someone was smoking, and if you couldn’t see them the smoke was wofting from somewhere. Leaves a huge negative for me. I like my air quality.

– The trains are a mix of old and new, some with audio and/or visual to inform of the next stop, some had nothing.

– It is impossible to find a decent meal. Unless you can somehow survive on croissants (extremely buttery at that) then it is hard to find anything other then bakers. It was a daily chore to find our next meal.

 

 

Again apologies about the photos being jumbled up and not rotated, it happens when they get uploaded.

 

 

Brioney’s Photos

 

 

UK Adventure

Posted by David McKell On May - 4 - 2015

David and Brioney’s travel log 1

 

Thisl is a brief collection of what we have been up to on our adventure. I am writing it in chronological order mainly for our future record, so I apologies if there seems to be any boring/seemingly unimportant bits.

 

Day 1 – Monday

Pretty uneventful flight to London. Sat next to a male Qantas air host on his trip to Syria, so he was able to pass the time with stories. Slight delay leaving Sydney and therefore Dubai but I found the flight pretty good when compared to my flight to LA in 2011. We hired a car from Budget at Heathrow, was pretty straight forward. We had booked an Astra but got a VW Golf (non gti) instead. It’s a really nice car, very smooth, comfortable, powerful enough and intelligent. Driving in London some might say is an experience, but if you are from Canberra then it is just another day of driving. Except London roads are poorly marked, often disappearing without warning, cars parked on both sides of the road turning every road into single lanes but the drivers are a lot more courteous. We had a fun trip to Hailey’s mums place to pick up the keys to Michael’s house.  After we settled in we decided we had to get out and do something or we would pass out on the couch and our sleeping pattern would be off to a bad start. We had seen Hampton Court Palace on the way to Michael’s and it looked like a nice time waster. Off we went, however without GPS we relied on memory – which, well, it failed. We had a lovely drive through random streets and suburbs and ended up at the Kew gardens. Brioney really enjoyed this as it had plants and things. Back to Michaels for pizza dinner and catchup.

 

Day 2 – Tuesday

Michael took us on his famous walking tour of London.. This was a massive day getting the bus and tube into Waterloo station where we walked to the London eye, photo op of big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Barclay Park for lunch, Green Park to Buckingham Palace, bus back to Piccadilly to hop on a cruise boat down the Thames to Greenwich passing all the sites including Tower Bridge, Naval academy at Greenwich, walked up the big hill to the observatory and the Greenwich meridian line, boat back to Catherine’s wharf then to an old pub for a deserved drink and rest.

 

Day 3 – Wednesday

Drive to Brioney’s brother and fiancé house in Hearne where we met their 2 boys (Finlay and Kian) and Kylies mother and father. Later Brioney’s mum, dad, aunt Carol and daughter Caitlin arrived for dinner. Was feeling exhausted this day so headed off early.

 

Day 4 – Thursday

9am breakfast at the Grove Ferry Inn which is where we were staying. Then off to Canterbury for some shopping therapy (Brioney), lunch and sports direct shop! This was exhausting so back to the Inn for dinner and an early night.

 

Day 5 – Friday

Breakfast out in Canterbury followed by more shopping…Then back to Kylie and David’s house to help transport and setup items at the wedding location. Dinner was at a nice old pub in Canterbury with Brioney’s whole family pretty much. Lovely dinner and people.

 

Day 6 – Saturday – Wedding day

Breakfast in Canterbury again at a fancy hotel just with Brioney’s immediate family. It was nice food with good service. The occasion was a last meal with David before he got married. Not knowing David, he is either really good at not showing his nerves, or was in fact not nervous! After this would you be surprised that there was more shopping for last minute items and hair preparation…back to the Inn to get ready ourselves and to drive to the wedding. The wedding was on a huge property in a country area, it featured open gardens with a maze, The wedding itself was held in the mansion’s front entry and the reception in a large dining hall. The wedding was really laid back with laughter during the ceremony which toned down the general seriousness expected of weddings. Followed by photos, 3 course meal, or 2.5 for Brioney, and speeches. After speeches the rest of the family, mainly cousins arrived and the band started playing.

 

Day 7 – Sunday

Dropped Brioney’s parents back to their car and continued on to see Michael and Hailey compete in the warrior run. We also met Steve, Mel, Stef and Michael Metz. We watched Michael and Hailey finish, had some lunch then headed ‘home’. Finally, dinner at the Metz before an early night as everyone was so tired.

 

Day 8 – Monday

Rest Day/shopping day…

 

Day 9 – Tuesday

Tower of London, Queens b’day 21 gun salute out the front. Then drinks and dinner with Brioney’s friend Bryony and Michael.

 

Day 10 – Wednesday

Michael had taken the day off work. In the morning we went to the cabinet war rooms. This is where the government was run from during WW2, and was setup how it was when it was last used. Also it contained a museum of Churchill’s entire life. After this we met up with Hailey and went to the science museum followed by a brief visit to the natural history museum.

 

Day 11 – Thursday

Went to visit Brioneys Grandma north of London, then stayed at her aunties close by.

 

Day 12 – Friday

Drove back to collect Michael and head to Leeds castle. Bit of a boring long drive but we got there. It is quite a picturesque place with lots of water channels, a moat, a maze, a birds of prey aviary/show. The castle itself was nice, but not really what you would think of imagining a castle. It was more an illustrious house on a mini island then a castle. Headed home for a bbq with the Metz.

 

Day 13 – Saturday

Well needed sleep in. Then a hurry to get ready for Brioney’s friend’s wedding in Milton Keynes. Got there with 15minutes to spare after some spirited driving on the motorway. The wedding itself was a funny one, too religious for our liking but they had a good time and suited them.

 

Day 14 – Sunday (Today)

Lazy day. Had a bad sleep (first one) so slept in till 1030. Michael took us out to breakfast down the road. Hint – Don’t order pancakes it is not food, rather than just a pile of cream and icecream on some flour based substance, so it was delicious but not food. Then spent the next few hours doing some work and writing this damn email! Brioney is enjoying watching a ‘Friends’ marathon as if she hasn’t seen them 100 times before.

 

Photos below, apologies about the random order and any that are not rotated – the system reverted them back to original orientation.

 David’s Photo’s

 

Michael’s Photos

 

Brioney’s Photos

LA Day 2 Tour

Posted by David McKell On May - 31 - 2011

Well, Just got back from a tour around LA. I thought it was meant to go for 7 hours but am disappointed to find it only  went for 5 1/2. Anyway I was picked up about  8am from my hotel. The bus picked  up other people on the way back its base near LAX. From here we signed in and  got on the correct bus for the tour. There was about 8 buses leaving at that time. The tour guide was really good with lots of useful/useless facts that i do not remember.

 

First stop was at Venice beach. It disappointingly only was for 20minutes. There was lots to see and do but had to rush everywhere. Took some photos of the beach and what not, then went to the “muscle beach’ side. Lots of really fit guys and girls there. There was some kind of sponsored competition comp on so lots of merchandise and flyers and other useless shit. Did get me a free vitamin water though. The girl handing it to me must have thought i needed it cos iam so massive. Anyway heading back to the bus i was like 2minutes late, the tour guide likes to play with the last person on the bus. The old drive forward and reverse game. As i have played this game many times before i know the only winner is the driver so i let him have his fun.

 

Then after this point is kind of a blur. Iam still yet to look through my photos and see the geotagging to see where i went. But I remember going to Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Chinatown, little Mexico and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

 

It was a great tour i think and worth the money spent considering it included pick up/drop off at my hotel. But lunch was too early and the tour was shorter then expected.

 

Heres the photos. Just remember most were taken from a moving bus and i havent really gone through and done any post shoot editing or selecting.

 

LA Day 1 Photos

Posted by David McKell On May - 31 - 2011

Flight and first thoughts

Posted by David McKell On May - 30 - 2011

 

Ok wow. I think i prepared for this holiday pretty well and so far its going great. But a few things I should have considered could have made my first day better. Anyway woke up about 4am  (slept in until 440am)on Sunday 29/5/11 in Canberra. Left for the airport at 515am and got there 540am. The Virgin staff did not arrive at the check in area until after 6. After checking in, security checks and getting to the gate we still had about 30minutes before boarding.  There was a lot of temperature changes going through Canberra old and  Canberra new. airport, with also the changes and conditions on the plane and Sydney airport i began to sweat a bit. Fortunately everything went smoothly in Sydney. Ie; landing, bus transfer to International airport, check in at Delta (although there was some problem iam not fully aware of but they sorted it), security screens, then i was able to buy at a chemist a mini deodorant spray that fit in my pocket. It doesn’t seem like a big detail but over  a 14+ hour flight and other travelling you want to feel comfortable and not smell. Just made it to the gate just after 9am just after the final boarding call.

 

I had been feeling a little sick during this lead up to boarding. Iam not sure whether it was lack of water or anything else. But it wasn’t too bad. I really should have got panadol at the chemist as well. But gradually on the flight i just got sicker and sicker even thought i was drinking lots of water and ate all the food. I would usually love turbulence, take off and landing but when you feel sick in the stomach and always watching the toilet door it was a horrible experience. Also being window seat didn’t help my mind for planning in the event of needing to spew. Fortunately i was able to hold it together for the full 15hours on the plane.

 

The plane was a Boeing 777 which i think is the biggest plane i have been on. I was row 53 which meant about 5th or 6th last row. There was a little screen in front of each person with a really good selection of  new and old movies, TV shows and music. I didn’t use it much as it made me feel worse. Also in the middle seat was a really nice Australian Buddhist on his way to New York for some once off Buddhist festival. The only problem was he was a giant! Like he could stay in the USA with a basketball career if he wanted to. So this in turn effected me when his size 1 million feet strayed into my side of the chair and when he ate his elbows needed to fold in mine and the other persons side of the chair so he could use his cutlery. Wasn’t really an issue in the scheme of things.

 

The flight from Sydney was in full sunlight  (hot)until about 4PM when it was suddenly night time and freezing cold. Nothing interesting to see out the window so that was closed the whole trip. Except in LA, it would look like Mitchell i think just on a much larger scale.  All the houses were neatly organised  in rows and columns with massive roads joining up. The airport was not like i expected. I was expecting a fairly nice organised airport. we had to walk a long way from the plane to go through customs, and then another long walk to security. Both of which were fairly uneventful. I was worried my bag would not have made the transfer but it was waiting for me on the ground when i got in. After collecting it I went outside to fresh air and a whole lot of cement. Took awhile but the shuttle bus i was after finally arrived with some other passengers on board. We headed off downtown. And for Graeme’s record took 35minutes to my hotel. So maybe 30mins to the hotel he stayed at. It was pretty much straight from LAX to downtown on massive 6 lane per side roads. The intersecting roads were amazing. Its like what you see in the movies, just in real life .

 

I arrived at my hotel at 730ish. They unfortunately could not check me in and said around 12. So i went for a walk around a few blocks which i remember from street view. Sat down and had some breakfast at subway and used the internet there. I tried to pass a few house by walking  but the hotel was still not ready. So i had a quick rest in the foyer until 1pm when the room was ready. I should add that by this stage i was feeling very sick again despite having a bottle of water with me the whole time. So once i got to my room it was panadol and sleep/rest time. I woke up at 5pm still tired but got up. Organised my tour for tomorrow, had a shower and had dinner. They are going to pick me up at 8am and give a 7hour tour of the city which will be nice. The day after iam going to try and organise a trip over to 6 flags amusement park. Looks like e some good roller coasters.

 

Anyway iam off to bed. Not sure when i will have internet as the hotel is a bit pricey. If i need it bad enough i will walk back to subway or i found some1s unsecured wireless in the street across.

 

Oh PS this laptop is shit for typing so any spelling and grammar mistakes are 100% this laptop. 6

Easter 2011 – Bermagui

Posted by David McKell On April - 28 - 2011

5 day long weekend this year, what a waste to stay at home. We decided to break the weekend up into parts. First the friday and saturday somewhere and come back for dinner Saturday night, Sunday lunch and Dinner then back off again for Monday/Tuesday. We didnt know where we were going until the morning of each day which was half the fun of it I guess.

 

We left Canberra at about 1030am Friday morning down the Monaro Hwy to Cooma, Bega then onto Bermagui. The roads were fairly busy to Cooma with lots of other holiday traffic, but from Bega right though to Bermagui it was a nice clear run. The GPS led us from Bega along a dirt road to Bermagui for a good 20KMs which funnily enough was nice. Was a quiet peaceful road with only 2 other cars that went past us.

 

 

Once back on the tar it was a great relaxing drive to Bermagui and the campsite. The caravan park was really nice located between Lake Wallaga and the ocean. There were plenty of free camp sites availiable access to the amenities. However getting the car to the camp site proved troublesome being as low as it is it would scrape on almost everything.