Saturday, 18 August 2012

post olympic blues

How good were the olympics?

so good.

i miss them.

3rd time a pisa

A few weeks ago i did a whirlwind 24hr trip to Italy. It also marked my 3rd trip to Pisa in under a year. Gosh. Pisa is not the type of city/town/tower one would ever need to visit more than once... but at least i know the shortcut between the airport and the car rental place*

One of the best things about travelling in Europe these days is the fact that google maps still shows your little blue dot on a map, without internet access... I managed to drive from Pisa to Santa Margharita, next to Positano, with nothing but my blue dot guiding me. winning indeed.

Another geat thing about travelling in Europe is cheese. And another is prosecco. And another is pizza bases... luckily, this trip involved all of these things. (Albiet all within the 24hr whirlwind adventure, but there nonetheless)

I met my friends Rikki and Gen (another great thing about Europe!) and ate pizza bases, drank prosecco, had a nap (!), followed a blue dot on google maps, bought some inappropriate shoes then came home.

Prob not the greatest cost-per-adventure holiday, but better than being hit in the face with a watermelon. way better than that.
another great thing about europe is that people let it all hang out, which is great for the self-esteem and also provides hours of interesting conversation starting with 'what WEERE those growths on her back' and 'gosh he was hairy' type statements.
another great thing is canons. and orange shoes it seems.

Santa Margharita had lots of little streets which all looked the same... it was very confusing.

This gin&tonic (in a plastic cup) cost me €20. i am happy to help those in need.. but this is silly. i bet the gin in spain isn't €20.

toot toot.

* dont wait for the shuttle bus... it's only over the street, so way quicker to walk!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

**Guest Blog** Mr Tim does London 2012

My friend Alex's dad, Mr Tim, came to London for the Olympics. This is his story... 
G'day from W.A

"London 2012 bronze, silver and gold 
London 2012 has been absolutely fab from the moment QEII and Mr Bean stole the quirky but amazing opening ceremony through to the Brazilian carnivale at the closing. The organisation at the events, and the transport has been efficient, good natured and fun. The crowds that packed every event were incredible, they cheered at anything, and lifted the roof when a Brit appeared, becoming indescribable with  medal. 
Volunteers, and every other Brit, loved poking fun at us Aussies, made worse when they became patronisingly sympathetic. They had cause. As predicted, the Brit cycling team won more gold than the entire Oz Olympic team and TV commentators have seized on the fact that Yorkshire won more gold than Australia! Made me reclaim my English heritage. 
My bronze moment was Rebecca Addleton's interview after her 800m freestyle. She won double gold at Beijing and was one of the many Brit faces of the games. She was so excited to have won bronze at London ( behind a new world record by a US swimmer) and stuck it to anyone who implied bronze isn't good enough. Even caused a voluntary apology from the lady TV swim commentator  (Thorpedo's counterpart) afterwards. Speaking of which,Thorpedo was a hit as a commentator, coming across as articulate and entertaining, despite the "...look.." before each sentence. 
Silver is for the Aussie team which won so many. They and we have to learn that it is an enormous achievement to be at the Olympics. Watching the many unexpected winners and losers, being a world champion does not guarantee anything at the Olys. So a podium finish is a glorious result.  
Silver is also for Victoria Pendleton's interview after winning silver behind Anna Meares in the cycling sprint. There was some controversy, because she had been dq'd after winning the first of the best of three races ( by 1/1000th of a sec) in what the press had been touting as a head to head grudge match between to arch rivals . Apparently in the past they have bad mouthed each other. Anna Meares convincingly won the second race and gold. Victoria another Brit face of the games, was emotional and gracious in defeat saying they were the two best riders in the comp and should have fought the final, and that Anna was the best rider in the comp and a deserving winner. All the more dignified because it was Victoria's final ever race as she was retiring. 
As a proud Dad, I was also so pleased to see Al wearing silver in the wake of apr├Ęs Olly celebrations! A deserving medallist. 
Alex with superstar olympic silver medallist Chappo. The medal is bigger than her head. almost.

Golden moment was Sally Pearson's reaction and those of her fellow competitors after the 12.35 seconds of Sally's final followed by the 20 +++++ seconds wait for the official result (she won by 0.02). You could hear a pin drop during the wait. She was so excited and relieved, and her competitors seemed just as excited for her. As the Brit TV commentator said, it was the most deserving of gold for someone who did not medal in Beijing but has dominated the event for the last two years. Her hurdling is beautiful to watch. 
The ultimate golden moment - Usain Bolt's 100 or 200 , take your pick. The track and field has to be the main stage of the Oly's and Usain made himself the main event.

PC gold, commentators using the term "British" weather, we're in England aren't we?

Tim of England"

See you in Rio 2016, Mr Tim! xoxo 

Monday, 6 August 2012

croatian sailing

Last week i went to Croatia, sailing for a full week.
Today, my tan is starting to peel. The dream is officially over.

Despite the obvious leprosy issue, croatia was epic; there was a toga party which involved us wearing the sheets from our beds in a bar and then continuing to sleep in them for the rest of the week, there was a bizarre peer-pressure induced push up competition which ended with an english man vomiting and then leaving the boat early (ooooh.) there was a club in a cave and a bar with a private beach lit up from underneath and lots of swimming, lazing in the sun and ordering giant cocktails served in caraffes and 'put that on my tab'. winning week.

The boat itself was old and decrepid-looking and had a strange 4-year old child on board who spoke croatian and dirty danced to rihanna songs, the rooms were like jail cells with a tiny port hole we couldn't open in case waves splashed in (this lessson took me a long time, and a lot of waves, to learn) the food made me sick and the captain's croatian-bombshell daughter stirred up controversy on every night out... but it was the greatest trip ever.

I met up with two of my faves, Gen and Rikki, who were doing a big Europe Trip (which, we constantly had to keep reminding each other 'this is not a contiki tour gen') for the week and their 'i'm on a big epic trip and don't have a care in the world except my tan lines' was awesomely contagious (tragically also contagious was the hideous epic cough/hack that everyone on board caught... gross) it was so lovely to see them and have someone who, at 3am one night, would suggest 'yes! let's catch a boat to an island club where the dance floor ends where the private beach begins. that's a great idea'. Such fun.

We sailed for 7 nights, stopping each morning to swim and play (let's never mention the fact that during one such swim/play they chose that exact moment to empty the toilets on board into the ocean... yep) and then we'd dock in a fun new location in the late afternoon in time to swim at local beaches, laze around and ask ourselves 'do you know where we are? no, me neither. shall we have another beer and sit on these beach chairs? ok. yes. good'

another day, another port, another bucket of sweat on our heads.

dubrovnik. one of the few places we knew where we actually were... awesome.
yep. those are the same sheets we need to sleep in. it was a well thought through plan.
these are the faces of pure joy. i have never wanted anything more than a giant toy horse which moves when you stand up. amazing.

apparently, before i arrived, croatia had been rain-free for 55 days... i brought the rain.


We met such wonderful people, both on our boat and ones floating by (about 15 boats all rafted-up together each night so it was like one giant boat party with everyone you know) although there were a few things i wish someone had told me in advance:

1. take a towel. in fact, take two towels. and if you do buy a croatian towel - splurge and get one which will actually absorb moisture and wont just dye your skin orange.
2. sometimes, umbrellas are not UV protective... i do not know how or why, but sometimes it is possible to get burnt from underneath 'shade'. indeed croatian sun, indeed.
3. There are more australians and new zealanders on the water in croatia than bali.
4. New zealanders are better at push ups than the english.
5. 'putting it on my tab' does not make things free.

Til next time croatia,
and i hope even sooner Rik n Gen

note: most, if not all, of these photos are stolen from Andrew and Gen... hope that's ok kids x

Sunday, 5 August 2012

olympic fever

dear olympics,

i like everything about you. i like the guaranteed small chat you can make with people at work and on the street, i like montages of winners' faces set to a power ballad, i like discovering i am fascinated about canoeing one day, then team pursuit cycling the next, i like the colour and the noise and the fact the city is always buzzing with fun, i like the hundreds of pinky/purple volunteers desperate for you to ask them a question, i like their faces when you do ask a question they can help with, i like the outdoor big screens as well as the indoor small ones in every building and event i go to this week, i like the chants and the costumes and the songs, i like how well things are working and running in the city, i like the contagious happiness that comes from Team GB doing so well, i like everything. everything.

except silver and bronze medals, australia. i do not like those.
call me un-sportsmany... but a silver is not a gold.

See you in Rio, olympics. xx

p.s- i am addicted to the series 'emotional moments of the games: day by day' photos. ah-mazing.
pyjama tops are all the rage for olympic spirit...

yep, just a marching band marching by. oh london, you're so british and great.

i've learnt my lesson with assuming golds... but, 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

belgium: a lesson in things working out

On the weekend we went to Belgium for Rock Werchter festival. Given how long ago we'd booked, how little research we'd done and the fact that at the eleventh hour, Kirsty had to pull out of the whole trip because of work (lame), my expectations for Belgium were pretty low. Instead, it turned into the greatest series of awesome events in a very short period of time. Belgium, i'm impressed with you.
These are the faces of girls who are impressed with Belguim.
As soon as we stepped off the Eurostar, Belgium started delivering: we chatted to a man on the street who told us the Tour de France was starting on Saturday a few miles away (guess that explained the buck's party with the husband-to-be dressed in lycra and a bike helmet... well, i hope it does.)
Gosh! the Tour! my mum would be so impressed.
Given our 'eh' attitude to the weekend, we all seemed pretty kewl to leave Brussels in the morning and head to Liege where we walked down a cute street to come face to face with Cadel doing his warm up routine.

oh hai Cadel, look at you without a helmet. scandalous-o.

We wandered around, saw (what i assume were) biking celebrities, die-hard fans (including a fantastic old man who did a great 'aussie aussie aussi oi oi oi' at Cadel which no one joined in for. oh.)
After the Tour kicked off and alex had found a hat, we jumped back on the train where a bizarre old Flemish man dressed in a fabulous suit offered us cheese (and, potentially, offered louise a life of love and escargots for dinner...) and the ticket conductor appeared to be greatful we'd even got onto his train and simply said some flemish words at us, looked happy, waved his hands, and went away.
It appears that train travel is free in Belgium.
This. is the man who 'aussi aussi aussi-ed' he was rad.
there were lots of people doing lots of tricky-looking things with bikes at the tour.
Alex awkwardly kept talking about how easy it would be to tamper with another teams' bikes.
She's such a liability.

At Rock Werchter, everyone was showing the signs of camping for the past 3 days in a dusty field. As the cleanest, least sunburnt people in the field, we sort of floated around being clean, eating frites, drinking beers and lovin' on belgium. We found Dom and Dave (impressively for campers, in ironed shirts) then we found a delightful man named Josh who was trampsing his way around the festival offering unsuspecting women (and Dom) the opportunity to sit on his shoulders for 2mins, for a drink token. We were taken with his entrepenurial spirit (and his envy-inducing tan) and he joined our gang (after we'd paid him a drink token to lift alex up in the air. pimps)
Blink 182 you evade me again. gah.

Even with ripped off sleeves, the fact still remains: it was ironed.

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i know, €2.50 does seem a lot to sit on someone's shoulders...
but TOTALLY worth it!
Poor Dave didn't have a spare drink token, so couldn't experience the joy that the random man in the orange shorts felt high on Josh's shoulders. Sad Dave.
At about 11pm we needed to leave to make the last train back to Brussels. Fuelled by our good fortune this far, as well as the fact it was so warm and delightful, we threw caution into the wind and decided to stay in the dusty field and wing the trip back to Brussels later. (Note: the trip back to Brussels is 30km...) yay! Then Josh let us all go on his shoulders again, for free, so no one was going anywhere. yay!
Luckily we stayed: there were fireworks, a mad rendition of 'killing in the name of' by Chase & Status, more shoulders to sit on, and this. sweet.

cool kids DO say yes.
Even Ryan got a go! Ryan was so popular, it wouldn't surprise me if this dude paid him a drink token to let him sit up there.
At 3am we were sitting on a curb eating frites on the edge of a field in the middle of nowhere, but we had faith in Belgium and its ability to deliver. It did. A cab came, we threw a hundred euros at the situation (euros? who needs 'em!?) and spent 40mins listening to a delightful cab driver play Australian music to us. win.
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3am frites? keep them coming please.
The next day we caught the train (again, free!!) to Bruges for lunch. We're pretty fancy like that, travelling to new cities for each meal... it's how we roll in Belgium. Bruges was pretty and lovey. We ate chocolate strawberries, drank local beer, saw the main sites (from the back of a cab) then caught the train back to London. Fancy ladies indeed.

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Mussels in Brussels! (lies. it was Bruges. oh)

This is the square where the christmas markets are held. fun.
Belgium, you are a bit of orright, and i will have some frites in your honour xoxo

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