Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Hola chicas y chicos. Esta noche escribo el blog en Espanol, porque necesito aprender mas Espanol. Ahora estoy en Galicia, Espana. Estoy trabajo con cuarenta caballos. Trabajo seis dias por semana, y un dia tengo una fiesta. En la manana, limpio cuatro o cinco estables, y en la tarde monto dos o tres caballos, dependencia en el tiempo. En Galacia, hay mucha lluvia, yo no gusta. Pero yo gusta de montar todo dia. Este ano, yo viajo por diez meses, pero ahora quiero regresar a la Australia porque quiero mira mi madre y hermano y amigos. Lo siento por error en esta blog. Hasta luego amigos.
In English (according to the ether):
"Hello small and small. Tonight I write blog in Spanish, because I need to learn but Spanish. Now I am in Galicia, Spain. I am work with forty horses. Work six days per week, and a day I have a celebration. In the morning, clean four or five stable ones, and in afternoon amount two or three horses, dependency in the time. In Galacia, there is much rain, I does not like. But I like to mount all day. This anus, I travel by ten months, but now I want to return to Australia because I want sight my mother and brother and friendly. I feel by error in this blog. So long friendly."
Monday, November 10, 2008
The Spanish consider themselves wonderful dancers. And they are. They can swing their hips and salsa like no-one else (only usurped by the Brasilians, whom I’m afraid, shit all over the Spanish in the dance-like-a-sexy-beast stakes). I’m often set into a trance watching the girls here move their hips and I try I hard as I can to copy them but I always somehow manage to revert to running man or Bec and I’s “Pendulum dance” which really just consists of a lot of jumping around madly.
BUT, one thing I will say about the Spanish is that they have no versatility. Sure, they look great when dancing to Samba or Salsa or Flamenco, but put them at a Pendulum concert, or in the mosh of Karnivool and they would have absolutely no idea what to do. That is where I come in. I don’t believe I’m a great dancer, and have disappointed many Mexicans/Spanish with my ability to tread all over their shoes when they try to dance with me, but you should see me go at a Chemical Brothers concert! I can switch my dancing style with the change of a tune. I can flick my hair about in a girly fashion to 80’s tunes, I can trance around in my trainers to hardcore techno music, complete with glow-stick arms, I can bang my head with the best of them to Mudvayne and I can roll my body to R’n’B (although I prefer to in jest as I think R’n’B dancing is hilarious and I have learnt most of my moves from Bec’s Eminem-loving-boyfriend, Mitch.) Hell, I can even successfully complete some very tricky boyband moves, I have photo evidence of that below!
Friday night I went to a fiesta that wasn’t particularly pumping, but people were dancing all in a circle, there was about 15 of us and they were all doing the side-step, hip-swinging dance that they all do here, and I was dancing like the band was playing Prodigy. It must have been somewhat of a hit with the local boys because one guy asked me to dance and I downright refused because I know exactly what they do when they dance with you. They take you in a ballroom-like pose and swing you around in a series of twirls and dips and the last time I did that was with my friend Paco in Mexico and it ended with a few feet injuries and us fighting because I wasn’t trying to “embrace the culture” because I refused to dance with him again!!!
So, I may not be able to twirl gracefully in high-heels with a Mexican man, I may not be able to salsa with the Spanish girls, but I think I’ve been able to hold my own in the clubs/concerts/fiestas of more than 16 countries this year, chopping and changing my style man! I’d like to see you do THAT Latin mofos!!!!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I was on my couch trying to recover from some weird strain of European flu when Michelle (boss) comes in saying “Right, get dressed, we’re going to a Halloween party tonight with a bonfire and they’re all English so you don’t have an excuse.” And she was right. I didn’t.
So I have this vision of a huge bonfire in the middle of provincial Galacia filled with hot English guys and marshmallows and good tunes.
We arrive to be greeted by a couple of about 55 (now don’t get me wrong, I know a fair few fun 50ish year olds and age is no excuse for being truly fucked up), their daughter of 14 years, a German girl who’s married to an English guy with a toddler and English mum and her daughter (28) who are keeping their horse at the yard. So no hot guys. That’s cool, it’ll still be fun.
So we all sit round the table and everyone seems lovely at first. Until I learn that the English couple are full on vegans who don’t let their daughter watch any form of television, believe in alternative horse care (which involves standing in the rain with your ponies in the middle of the night to make them feel better about themselves) and proceed to tell us how they’re going to save the world through happiness and spirituality. A few conversations with the daughter and I realize she’s a nutcase too. She gives us all pieces of paper with which to make Halloween masks (keep in mind everyone at the table but her is over 20) and we’re invited to make them as funny as possible. I proceed to colour in a transvestite dracula, probably not the best thing in retrospect, but she and her mum thought it was “dreadfully naughty har har har!”.
The little girl brings out a platter. “I’ve been waiting all day to bring these out, you’ll positively adore them! Har har!”. On the platter are eyeballs, mice and fingers made out of condensed milk and coconut which is quite cute and clever, I think, until I see the likeness of the mice to tampons! They’re little white finger things with a piece of string coming out of them and Michelle, failing to recognize the resemblance, picks one up and starts sucking and chewing on it “Mmmm, these are lovely!” Hahaha! Laura (28 year old English girl we’ve been hanging out with) looks over at me and we can’t contain our laughter as we’ve both obviously had the same thought! No one else has any idea how hard it is for us not to laugh, because they’re not the type of people to share our humour.
The night hasn’t gotten completely hilarious yet but is doing very badly at keeping her giggles at the ridiculousness of the situation under wraps! I am in somewhat the same situation.
We go outside for a bonfire (actually it was more of a collection of planks slightly burning) and have sparklers lit for us and handed out to us. We all have to write a wish in the sky with them. How lovely. So I ask where the marshmallows are. “Well, marshmallows have gelatin in them so we don’t have any.” Gay!!! If there’s nothing to perve on at least give me marshmallows, Laura and I comment. Meanwhile, we’re trying to find any beer, win, spirits in the vicinity that may be consumed. Nothing.
Next we all go into the barn for a ‘performance’. This sounds interesting! We’re treated to a concert by Dad and child. “This one is one I wrote when I was 7, its about how I’m supposed to grow up straight according to society.” Says the 14 year old, “This one I wrote last year in Spanish, the words are a work in progress so please be patient”. Oh my god! This is bloody hilarious!!! There are cries from the Mum “Oh oh! Sing ‘Life’s a Bitch’, that’s a good one!” I’m looking at Laura and laughing behind my ghost pie! Then, in the middle of the second song, my ears hurting from over-pretentious 14 year old screeching in my ears, I suddenly fall right through my chair!!! Of course, nothing funnier could have happened at this point in time and everyone bursts out laughing and complimenting on my ability to not drop a crumb of apple pie whilst falling through my chair!!! At least the ‘performance’ stopped!!!
One of the funniest nights I’ve had since I’ve been here! Even though all the laughing was at others’ (and my) expenses! Laura and I had a good laugh the next morning and tried to figure out if it in fact was a dream or if it did happen. Too good!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
There are a number of young horses (most of which are friggin huge!) who like to bite things (fingers and lead ropes) and are very frolicky and fun. I love young horses because, compared to our two gerries, they are always so excited to see you, greeting you with delighted whinnies and nodding up and down. They a handful when they’re tied up but they always look so beautiful, rearing and pawing the ground, despite the fact that they’re being very naughty. There are 3 foals and a couple of preggaz brood mares, foals are lovely to play with and you have to watch your hair but they’re always up for a playful fight. There’s Ben, the English thoroughbred who’s just been trucked in (looks like Black Beauty, absolutamente bonito!) but has breathing problems and needs to be fed, bathed and cleaned like a newborn.
So after I finish mucking out and putting out and bringing in and checking the fences and sweeping the yard, I get to ride. Today we went on the most beautiful trail ride I’ve ever been on, through little villages in the mountains and with views over the whole valley (I’ll try and get some photos next time). They call a trail ride a ‘ruta’ hehe! Then after that I got on a gun of a horse called Tecal (a steel grey arab/Spanish cross) and had an hour’s jumping lesson. Now there’s something you should now about riding – its not just sitting on a horse. Apparently that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years! No no, riding PROPERLY is all about ‘contact with the inside leg and outside rein’, ‘keeping hands down during transition and switching leg contact’, ‘putting the horse at a jump perfectly straight, fast enough to gain momentum and slow enough to maintain control’ and some of this comes at me in Spanish!!!
My first lesson I almost came off because I was leaning forward too far over the jump and I think Tecal can sense I’m not a jumper and freaks out at the last minute! I’m only going over 80cm – 1m jumps and I’m struggling! I’m using muscles I’ve never used before and I’m absolutely buggered after half an hour of riding. I think everyone things I’m a massive amateur but even after 3 lessons I’ve learned so much! And not only about riding, I’ve witnessed a ‘pregnancy check’ (basically a man sticking his hands up a horse’s shoofter), an attempted foal weaning, learnt how to tie multitudes of safety knots, alternative horsemanship like bit-less bridles and countless (possibly useless) information on the performance on different breeds and the best way to approach them. Imagine what I’ll learn after 6 weeks!!! It is hard work, I have blisters on my riding fingers and they’re getting infected and sore, I have bruises from the wheelbarrow and I am homesick, but this is such an amazing experience and I really think I will be glad I did this. I feel a sense of accomplishment doing this, like I’m not just touring the touristy cities and seeing things everyone else sees, I’m tailoring the holiday to me and what I like. Michelle my trainer is taking me to a fiesta in town tonight which should be interesting (especially working the next day!), so I somehow think this intended diet will have to wait until I get home. But I’m hoping I still feel so optimistic after a few more weeks!!!s
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Unfortunately I can’t upload photos onto blogger for some reason but I’ll try and put them up in the next hostel. I’m so glad we decided to stay in Barcelona longer than first intended, although it’s not the most attractive city we’ve been to, its certainly eventful! We’ve met heaps of people here, Americans, Germans, more Aussies and a few locals as well which has provided us with much entertainment (more-so because of the wonderful way they lisp when they talk!!!)
So it turns out they don’t actually speak Spanish here. Well they do, but the main language is completely different, it sounds more Portuguese to me, and it also turns out that nowhere that I’m going on this trip has Spanish as their main language! I’ve been conversing as much as I can in Spanish but I don’t think I’m going to pick up a great deal here. But at least I can get around with basic words and numbers.
The great thing about Spain is that everyone does everything about 4 hours later than the times I’m used to. No one rises before midday and everything is open until about 10pm so you can start the day a lot later and not feel like you have to get up early in the morning! It’s a bit hard for Bec who is an automatic 8am riser, but I’m adapting quite nicely!!! We’re going to a film festival in Sitges tonight (http://www.cinemasitges.com/uk/) at a beach a little south of here that’s supposed to be really cool so that should be fun. We’re meeting up with our friend Braddles on Wednesday which will be fantastico because I haven’t seen him in 8 months and its always good to see a person from home that you can catch up with. So that’s a brief account of recent events.
Hasta luego amigos, stay tuned for photos!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
My personal favourite island was Hvar, but not for the reasons I thought. I was told to go there because it’s the party island and there is heaps to do there but we docked quite late and so had an impulse picnic up near the castle overlooking our boat (amongst some lovely super yachts, mind you, which some of the girls on our boat managed to sweet talk their way onto!). Most of the clubs closed early or were not open at all due to the fact that in Croatia “summer has finished” and therefore also any social life that may have some with it, but most of us were too buggered from doing nothing all day on the boat to care!
We were almost evacuated from Mljet due to a huge bushfire so close to the town that we were a little bit scared… but most people kept on drinking in the bars anyway and we managed to survive so it was all good!!!
We tried the cuisine at every stop (yes, gelato is part of Croatian cuisine….) and managed to get some lovely seafood dishes with bizarre looking squid and other delicacies.
We were treated to some beautiful sunsets at most ports and the general atmosphere was so relaxed and chilled out that I’m really struggling to get back into the usual hectic pace of traveling!
We’re off to Barcelona this week and going to a football game in Camp Nou (apparently a big game against Atletico Madrid) so I shall update you more in terms of photos then.
Sorry guys, that’s all I have time for today, the internet in Croatia is ridiculously expensive and I feel ripped off and abused as I type!!
Ciao amigos, hasta luego!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Trieste was supposed to be a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of the many cities we have faced on our awesome, but not altogether smooth running holiday. A quiet little coastal town, so close to Slovenia, it was selected by Clare and Rebecca (advanced travelers and frequent Euro train and bus patrons, and therefore complete experts on the subject (!)), as the perfect place to position ourselves for a one day visit to a set of caves so thoroughly researched and longed for by Rebecca, otherwise known as Skojan Caves.
After being directed to a set of caves in Slovenia, which unbeknownst to us were in fact a DIFFERENT set of caves to the ones we were intending to visit (one would probably deduce with the help of basic high school geography, that an area known for its amazing underground rivers and rock structures would MOST LIKELY boast more than one set of caves…our bad), a detour was in order to redirect to the RIGHT caves, a fairly expensive venture in terms of both time and money (deep breaths).
We eventually arrived at the caves at 4pm (having left Trieste at 10am…need I say more about the apparent reliability of the “when in Rome” sentiment – never believe the locals, even if they don’t know how to get somewhere they WILL make it up…).
Despite this costly mishap, we had a lovely afternoon in the humid 12 degree depths, the walking path that descends more than 170m underground and winding through stalagmites and stalegtites was lined (romantically enough..) with small lantern lights – a truly breathtaking scene. Bec managed to hit the nail that is her fear of heights right on the head by traversing a bridge high enough to make even the non vertigo sufferer’s knees like jelly (ahem, me…). I felt much like I imagine Shmeagle (to be said in a slimy bubble-in-the-throat tone) would, surrounded by a constant, yet not creepy dripping sound, followed by the rush of an underground river and still-live stalagmites/tites that resembled various amimalia figures. A river enters outside these caves and flows underground until it re-emerges somewhere in Italy. They were in fact the most amazing caves I’ve ever seen and you’ll have to take my word for it due to the stingyness of the Slovenians whom prevented any photo taking…
Aaaaaanyway, after our nice little sojourn, we walk to the station closest to the caves as apparently the free shuttle service finishes before the last tour (go figure). This was no mean feat by the way, we miraculously managed to choose the right path despite some very ambiguous directions and distinct lack of signage (and with some help from a young man from Colorado called Charlie). We catch a train to Sezana, according to the cave people, this is the way to get to Trieste. To our complete and unpleasant surprise, we are told that the next train to Trieste departs at 4am! After trying to decipher the conversation of a few train conductors (most likely trying to get the younger man of the group to give us a lift to Trieste in the hope of being paid in kind…) we refused to give up and walked to the Autostazione and managed (with some more help from a lovely Dutch bus driver) to decipher another sign (in Italian – go Clare and her universal language skills!) that there is in fact a trial bus that began less than a month ago, leaving in half an hour to Trieste! There is a God despite my previous beliefs! After confirmation from a cute Italian man donning cereal in bulk, our elation is well and truly set in.
IN ADDITION (oh yes my avid blog readers, there IS MORE), not only were we really getting home on wing and a prayer, the bus trip set us back a whole 1 euro, 6 euro cheaper than the fare there…and so the vision of us sleeping on a train platform in the tiny town of Sezana, surrounded by seedy Slovenian train conductors until 4am, is vanquished! Hooray!!
So despite the constant obstacles that seemed to present themselves way more often than any obstacle should, we were unbelievable relieved to have stumbled on this accidental method of travel home with a king sized bed, pepsi machines and a roof over our heads waiting for us in Trieste.
We are truly blessed. I’m becoming a Catholic again. (Figure of speech only…don’t get excited Grandma…)
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I’m currently on a train to Rothenburg ob de Tauber which is rather exciting, not because its such a cute little town, but because it has an awesome Christmas shop and Bec and I are so into shiny things and all things festive! Munich is pretty cool but we haven’t had time to explore it very well yet because we missed 2 free tours, one because of my bum steer in the opposite direction to where we were supposed to meet (I know, it wasn’t Bec this time!) and secondly, because we didn’t give ourselves enough time to get to the main square! We did, however, manage to get to the truly kitsch but slightly amusing Glockenshpeil, a clock in the main square with rotating figures and nice bells! The hostel is really cool and I’m glad to have a decent WIFI connection for a change because we’ve exhausted our collection of Shameless seasons and need to download series 3 before we get withdrawl symptoms!
When I first stayed in hostels, it really didn’t bother me how much noise people made, how much mess they made or the things they did but I think its slowly starting to get to me. Last night I opened a window to let some fresh air in and some girl came and closed it after I’d gotten into bed. Now, I can understand that people would want to close curtains, but why would anyone want to be in a room with no oxygen coming in? It never used to bother me that people don’t like windows open but now I’m longing for my own room where I can have the window wide open! I come from a household where doors and windows are always open (sometimes in winter too) and there is never a feeling of mustiness or claustrophobia. I know some people obviously don’t live like this, but its driving me crazy that I can’t dictate my own living conditions. I’m fine having other people in my room, but I like to have a shower when I want, open all the windows and not have to trek 2 floors everytime I want a cup of tea.
Its not driving me crazy to the point where I want to come home, but I will be so grateful for my own bed, a strong shower and my own living space when I get home. Mum, you say that you think I’ll want to move out when I get home to have my own living space, but if anything being at home is ten times better than living with other people who don’t share your lifestyle. I think living at home for a few months will be blissful!! (As long as I get my car and computer back!!!)
Here are a few photos to show you what we’ve been up to in the last week or so.