Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I still call...

...Australia Home;

well at least for the next 46 days.

Flights home from London were interesting.

Delays in Heathrow meant that we departed an hour and a half behind schedule. Coupled with a 40 min delay circling the airport in Dubai, I landed AFTER the boarding time of the connecting flight to Brisbane.

Exit the aircraft, RUN to security, RUN to the boarding gate... and meet 80 other passengers doing the exact same thing.

Ooops – turns out I wasn't the only person swapping planes from london to brisbane.

Uneventful flight to singapore (well, except for a harsh foggy-landing), more bland air-time to brisbane.

Managed to fit 7 movies into the near 21-hrs of travel.

  • Unstoppable – surprisingly good
  • The A team – not so surprisingly bad
  • Sorcerers Apprentice - meh
  • Inside Job (doco) – meh squared (shocking how it got to that point though)
  • Frequently asked questions about time travel – slow start, but extremely good
  • Ratatouille – still one of the best pixar films out
  • His Girl Friday – rapid-fire dialog from the 40's = yes please.

Met at the airport by a good mate, who dropped me back by about 0200.

The last few days have been about, dealing with the inevitable jet-lag, slowly unpacking, and deciding on my future plans.

The success-rate of those 3 things = not so good, pretty abysmal, and quite decisive.

Ticket is booked for my canadian odyssey.

I depart Australia, vancouver-bound; on the 29th of March 2011.

Return date is locked in just before my work-visa expires on the 17th of January 2012.

Time to pack-up my life, and move halfway around the world.

Photos and other things

London tube station

tate modern

A380 on the way home

nifty tail-cam

Thursday, February 03, 2011

London... foot

for some reason, whenever I hit a new city, my preferred mode of transport, is walking.

I seem to enjoy the discovery of how streets connect together; building a little map in my head of how everything in an area is laid out.

On this particular trip, that's meant 3 very packed days in 3 very different cities.

When you add in the 6-days skiing, it's been a 'holiday' of non-stop movement.

Today was London.

Learning from my paris mistakes, I caught a train into the touristy area to start my day.

Waterloo station, towards the Thames and the giant london eye thing.

The only goal of the day (or indeed my only pre-thought), was to find the tate gallery.

I kind of figured I'd be able to take photos anywhere.

Lets start... paris (on the eurostar heading NW to england)

journey was fairly uneventful, but delayed by enough time that it made all the regular passengers annoyed. met my host at the train station, and had a lovely evening catching up with, and meeting new people

this morning held the promise of a slightly warmer (9 deg C) environment, and even the chance of a little sun later on in the day.

Morning cloud

Getting lighter...

morning for sillhouette of a church

foot-bridge, a little over from the waterloo bridge

Big Ben, through some trees

almost midday, only had a coffee at my accom by this stage.

double-decker and the parliament, does it get any more english than this...

Queens walk

found the tate gallery, it should probably be renamed the Turner gallery on account of just how many Turners they have... seriously, it's a little over the top
just for laughs, I also went to the tate modern (which was several Kms away, in the opposite direction to the way i'd just come...)

flags, flags, flags, flags

westminster abbey


more of the scenic clock

the county hall (london eye is right outside)

inside, is the London Film Museum. which, lets face it, is going to make me curious enough to spend the 12 pounds to take a gander (promises of seeing behind the magic of the movies)

amusingly, just as I was considering leaving, there was an evacuation from the building - and I had a chance to grab a grande-mocha at the starbucks next to the evacuation area... (P.S. I don't think it was anything other than a simple inconvenience for the adjoining hotel, didn't look like the building was on fire or anything...

love that they positioned the old-school pedestal boom next to an articulated dino-skeleton

Daleks - like, real; have actually been used in the making of the TV show...

Charlie Chaplin's hat and cane (there was a whole wing devoted to his life and career)

Lightsabers (the three in the front - are actual props from the "first" two films, while the blaster and saber in the back are commercial replicas)

a collection of actual ewok fur... (this is something you can buy - if you're so inclined)

stormtrooper costume (unsure of its authenticity - there was also a Vader costume and a boba fett)

X-wing model


pretty walkway

looking north

beach on the Thames

nice contrast in buildings...

ok, where's my bike?

millennium bridge

pretty war-ship

London Tower

another angle

London-Bridge ('aint falling down, but they are doing some restoration on the road deck - so it didn't look like it was going to open up anytime soon)


on the deck




well, it's off to bed, for a few hours sleep, before a short day tomorrow... followed by a non-existant day (Sat feb 5th dissappears into the ether due to date-lines, flight times etc)

anyone feel like picking up a worn-out and bearded little aussie at the Brisbane International at 0100 am on sunday morning? (6th)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


...I may have been a little hard on you; at least your chocolate mousse is fantastic.

Those of you who are privy to my facebook updates would have seen the following on february 2nd

“Au revoir Paris, you're certainly pretty at night... but during the day you are one rude, dirty, ash-tray of a city.”

I'm not an aggressive or mean person by nature – but paris certainly challenged me in many ways.

I'm sure that 90% of the fault was mine, but I did not have an awesome time in the city of lights.

I'll speak no more of the animosity that I hold, and instead focus on the good, the pretty, and the pleasant.

But before we get there, I had another day in Vienna, so I decided to go see the natural history Museum, which I'd managed to photograph the previous day, but not actually visit.

Interesting exhibit where an artist has created statues of animals and humans with various amounts of bits missing (skin, musculature, bones, etc) – no photos I'm afraid, but you get the general idea (it's a little freaky to be honest)

They also had a pretty cool skeleton of a T-rex

some interesting meteorites

actually, a lot of space-rocks

and a piece of a moon-rock from the americans

I then collected my bag, and headed off to the airport for my flight to france.

Arrived safely, and made my way to the hostel; with nice and easy directions (which turned out to be more of a necessity than i'd originally thought - once I left the train station, and saw the lay-out of the streets.)

There were people asleep in my room on arrival at 2130, so I tried as quietly to unpack the least amount, and have a go at organising the next day.

I'll freely admit that many of the upcomming photos contain the Eiffel Tower. I figure it's a little like Sydney and the center-point tower/harbour bridge, or seattle and the sky needle – it's just a nice compositional element...

contrary to the usual, linear journey; I'm going to separate the photos into groupings of interest rather than in order of shooting.
(if you think that a linear journey paris in is logical – I challenge you to navigate the city on foot)

1st up are the traditional parisian shots

stuff you'd expect to see if you're from Overseas

Title shot at head of post = no introduction needed. It is indeed pretty, and there are many people hanging around the best angles for photography

a couple holding hands whilst walking down a tree-lined street

the Eiffel tower in the background, and some crazy-scooter-heavy traffic.

A woman walks in a heavy winter coat (to be fair, it was below 0 deg C)

the Louvre

a flag

the skyline

someone “holding the eiffel tower in their fingers” - tacky and touristy, but a necessity

another street-view with the traffic and architecture

Arc de triumph

the Moulin Rouge

statues in gold
europeans really love their statues. The french love to pretend they're made of gold.

The Sacre Couer, supposedly the most visited tourist site in paris (free, and with a great view of the city)

Van Gough's self portrait.
This painting, along with “starry night” are the only two things in the musee D'orsay that I liked.
That they were next to one another makes me wonder why I walked around the museum for a couple of hours – it turns out that alot of the good impressionist paintings are out on loan, as a fair chunk of the d'orsay is under renovation

another shot of the eiffel tower framed by old buildings

another skyline shot

stuff you mightn't have expected to see, but you should.

Awesome enterances to the Metro (just look at the signage)


many opportunities for cheap souvineers.
Especially if you go to any of the touristy areas; expect to approached by every vendor

a film supplies store, next-to and adjoining a car rental place...

Cemetary cat stares into your soul (can I haz a soul pleeze)

Francois Truffaut's grave. (film director/actor)


this one was in the montmartre cemetary, where I saw the cats

awesome design on this headstone.

centre of an intersection

outside a train station

in front of the (currently being renovated, like half of paris) opera-house

The Louvre
as I was only in town for “less than 2 days”, and I was hoping to sleep around 13hrs of that; it's inevitable that some of the attractions would be closed.

Looks like my big one was the louvre.

Other stuff

Guy selling 2nd hand books along the seine.

Building covered in moss

The Eiffel Tower.

One of the two things I wanted to do in town was climb to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel tower.
The ticket is around 5euro (instead of 13 for the lift), and I kinda like climbing things (as you guys might have guessed)

shot of the stairs from the ground

stairs at the beginning

self-portrait part way up the 1st section

there's an Ice-rink on the 1st level

View down from 1st level

massive fly-wheel for the elevator

weird statue-guy on the outside of the elevator

650-ish stairs from ground to 2nd floor – to be honest, it's pretty easy

view from 2nd floor

plenty of telescopes if you're into that kind of thing (I think my cameras zoom was more than enough)

'cause french-speakers don't climb?

like a lot of things in paris, the elevator to the top is currently under repair. The security-guy told me it may be a few weeks before it's back in service...

WTF baloon edition

stairs on the way down

one of the supports for the tower.


Kevin sneaks into a shot of the tower....

self-portrait in a building

contrasting buildings

tourist takes a handheld shot of the tower – I wonder just how many tourists come away with shaky, blurry shots of the tower at night...

two tourists have a snack in front of the tower

finally, the tower – with some crazy-parisian traffic in the front....

ok folks, that's france done.

Next up is London.

Cheers, Ian