Friday, October 2, 2009

Canals, bikes, sexy time and muffins: Amsterdam

As Editor In Chief of the blog (until Megan finds out that I promoted myself and fires me) it is with great sadness that I write our last blog entry. Cry-fest-09.

Canals, bikes, sexy time and weed really is how you sum up Amsterdam. By the time we arrived we were already starting to wind down as I mentally prepared myself to go home in two days. On top of that it was also grey and drizzly here as well so we probably didn't see it in it's prime - although I don't think any amount of sun could help Amsterdam scrub up. It was way cool in terms of the general vibe but it was definitely one of the dirtier places we had been - although what did we expect in a place famous for sex and drugs hmmm?

We did the usual routine of check in and go for a wander and before long we found ourselves eating :) We went to a cool little Spanish bar where the man owner had so much eyeliner he made us look like men. Fab food which put us in good spirits for the rest of the night. ..

Now I haven't checked with Megan as to how much I can say here with all the mums in the audience so just use your imagination...

Mmmmmm muffins...

At our cool little coffee shop that we found.

The main touristy kind of street that is just FULL of Cosmic corner type shops to the point where it's so over the top it's funny...

Megans favourite shop! Sadly the silver undies-penis-combo didn't fit her. She said the netting suit should look O.K by itself though...
We actually discovered the red light district on our first night by mistake. It was so low key we didn't realise that we were right in amongst it. I imagined it to be FULL of tourists and bit of a laugh but it was so sad. Just these girls/ladies in neon lit shop windows waiting for someone/anyone to come along. Pretty sad.
But far from sad were the pink bikes I kept seeing!

Oh more sexy time - we took photos from the outside so we could pretend we had been in...

And then I almost cried because my favourite artist/graffiti artist (Sheppard Fairey) had done this big outdoor exhibition thing near the station and I wept and wailed with joy as I took these photos...

And then we both wept and wailed this morning as we said goodbye.

It's been a rad trip but we cant wait to get back amongst it with everyone in NZ.
See you soon Megano! Have fun in your kilt - hope it looks ok with the netting suit!

Brugge - in and out in 24 hours

Hi friends! I am suffering mixed emotions right now... rage at the sniffly snuffler man that was on the plane next to me (you are 50 years old.. stop sniffing please), depression that I am no longer with Megan who is on her way to Scotland and cabin fever after five hours at Heathrow airport.... and I cant even find a maccas! (I know Megan... I know!! Very Traumatic) :). Once I stopped crying over my loss (Megan) I realised this makes me Editor In Chief of the blog..... YUS.

So we left Paris a few days ago and headed to Brugge. The countryside around Brugge was heaps like Christchurch or... the Paraparamu area. Really green and on the day we arrived it was quite grey and drizzly. Our hostess definitely had the mostest - he was the most CLASSIC Brugian (made that up) that I could ever imagine meeting. I expected him to whip on a beer maid outfit and dance us a wee dance. He was just so damn happy and it was such a crack up to hear him replace all the th's with 'd' e.g. den da key will open de room (say this in a fat jolly man sing song type voice). In fact speaking of music he did play some mean piano and our hostel had the best music we have heard all trip! We rented bikes (proper dutch bikes) as soon as we got there and went for a cruise on the cobbled streets of Brugge (cobbled streets rattle your bones so it was quite dangerous to our health and we needed many chocolate shop stops to survive the traumer) and five minutes later we had seen all you needed to see :)

No there was probably a lot we didn't see but it was nice that it was so small because we just got a chance to chill and got take aways and ate them at our hostel because it was SO awesome and then the next day we just hooned on our bikes and visited the uber-extremo fresh food market - nothing like hot chicken and raspberries for breakfast. YUM.

Anyway enough with the banter - here are some pics from our good friend Brugge:

Our hostel common room had a piano, cool photography, chandeliers and the best tunes ever...

And the best bit of our whole hostel was the extreme art in our room: a stingray drinking wine with two crayfish on his plate... hmmmm... abstract!

The bone shakin cobbled streets - pretty but ruthless :) In fact we were so terrified of them that we got a 5 minute taxi to the train station so that we didn't have to wheel our bags along them :)

The main square where the market was the next day. It was surrounded by what seemed like very old buildings and it really did feel like we had gone back in time. Maybe we did...

The chocolate store where we spent approx one week of our pay...

Pretty parks and what not - and white swans just like in the movies. After seeing the swans my trip to Brugge was complete.

The insane number of bikes in Brugge was a huge surprise - I knew they loved de bike yah. But i didn't know they loved it enough to literally have 500+ - 1000 bikes outside the train station in a bike park. So cool!

Mmmmm markety goodness - fruit and veges for our deprived bodies! Oh and greasy amazing freshly cooked chicken.

And now for the only word we learnt while we were there....
Dankyou (thank you)! I just tried to check the spelling of that and given what urban disctionary came back to me with I don't think I have the spelling right :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Paris - city of chic fluro vests

Before we begin, we'd just like to let those out there know, this was a joint effort. Due to its extreme size we recommend setting aside an hour or so. Muchas Gracias. Oh also we updated Barcelona this morning so check that our underneath as well.

We're currently sitting at our hostel in Bruges, we've realised after a bike round there ain't much to do here, but more on that in a future blog. So here you will find Carcassonne (small French town with castle) and Paris together as one.

Right so we arrived in Carcassonne and our first remark was, 'seriously why the faff are we here?' it is the randomist town ever! This is what we did in our 24 odd hours...

Visited the train station, we were later to spend ALOT of time here the next night waiting for our night train.

Captain Annabelle gets her bearings!

I make a stylish entry into the Hotel.

We enjoy the food of Carcassonne, this is chocolate mousse and its not anything like Pizza Hut's mousse.

This is me at the sweet shop in the Castle, I had to physically support myself in here.

Here we are in the Castle of Carcassonne, it is still a living village with a population of about 250 people who make things and mainly cater to the tourists (we were the youngest there by about 50 years).

The castle from the outside, back in the day there would have been a sweet moat. We found out moats really stunk which is prob why people don't have them anymore.

After yet another failed but creative attempt at taking this ourselves (this one involved us cramming the camera into the castle wall) another friendly tourist stepped in. Surprisingly this was only take 2 of 2.

Ohhhh picturesque eh.

Notice here 2 things... one we are on bikes again. Two we are working the hottest denim bike shorts available at short notice in Carcassonne. Belz has become rather attached to hers.

That brings to a close our very brief stay in Carc. It was good times, with a few random characters along the way. But on to PARIS!!!

We arrived in Paris still half asleep and HANGING OUT for a shower after 8 hours on a night train! We splashed out on the uber expensive showers at the train station and were good to go. We checked in at St Christophers (which is by far the best hostel ever invented or at least that we have seen) and headed straight out to see the sights. First stop Notre wawp. I am sure it's awesome if you know the stories but all we could see is the queue which baffled Megan...
So we decided to improvise with some sweet outside photos...

(Megan's note: see what I mean about Belz's fondness for her shorts?). (Belzs note: Megan, they are denim bike pants!!!!).

Creep scariness...

After a full on day of... failing to get inside Notre Dame we checked in for our night bike tour of Paris. We were off to a rocky start when we checked out our crew of 50 year old Amercian mumsies (about 20 of them) and were given our hot high vis vests to wear. What better accessory to rock in Paris than a fluro vest...ummm...

Speed demons...

The good news is that we cruised past some pretty awesome sites like the Louve at night and the 'lovers bridge' which was just awkward in our high vis!

Our guide was actually a douche American who was the epitome of why people get frustrated with Americans and had no respect for Parisian locals but he semi redeemed himself by taking us on a boat cruise with some rouge vino vino and amazing views of the Eiffel tower (sparkling it's 200,000 lights)...

So like I said, we had some rouge vino and got purple tongues to match our high vis. If you think we look wasted you should have seen our guide!!! It was so awkward and everyone was side wise glancing wondering how we were gonna get home on our bikes!

Day du (I think that's how you say it in French) we saw Eiffely in the daylight, whoops. Even went up it (on the elevator) it was awesome and if you were at all confused, made you realise you were definitely in Paris. I still cant get over how massive it was.

Here's a view from the 2nd storey.

Us at the top. Also while we were there I was convinced one of the dudes from Home and Away was there. I never see the show so I have no idea who, but made Belz stalk outside the gift shop with me in the hopes she would recognise him. She didn't and she claims she is a fan. (Note from Annabelle: so in other words - no, he wasn't from Home and Away :)).
Yes he was but moving on.

Oh and here is us again high fiving, don't even get me started on why the tourist who took this choose this angle. But me being the hard out I am, almost asked him to do it again. I refrained.

We picnicked under the Eiffel Tower, as ya do when in Paris.
Oh look its me eating again...

Ok and now we are into the night again, this night was very good times. We were drunk before we left the hostel and we somehow ended up here again...
Some lovely old people agreed to take shots but we didn't see in them the high level of skill needed to capture an action shot...

But trusted ourselves..

We were on our way to the Latin Quarter as we'd heard it was the place to be for a fun night. We crossed the Lovers bridge again (we call it that because people who get engaged put a padlock on the bridge and throw the key into the river) and were looking a little more inconspicuous than our last high vis visit. We had a traumatic experience of a dude in army get up exposing himself to us - as we were approaching we were both looking at him like "what is he doing" and after I'd realised I cried to Megan and she said "oh I thought he had a bread role"... so naive :)

We found the BEST little riverside restaurant and fell in love with their Duck Confit (so much so that we headed back there the next night as well).

Just add two bottles of vino, a shot or two and some sweet made up tunes (sing "photo, photo, photo" in the tune of a conga line song). So stuff went down here - some bars, some photos, some VIDEOS (haha - the best) and we found ourselves on our way home on the last metro of the night. We were clearly still enjoying ourselves and by now we had added some dance moves to the increasingly popular photo tune...

Megan channeling that conga line to the extreme.

After our rigorous routine we needed some hydration and attempted to buy some water but of ALL the lines of water to choose from I chose the one with just one bottle left and it WOULD NOT COME OUT.

I tried and a random man even interrupted his cell convo to get amongst it...

Megan said mean things to the machine and hurt its feelings...

But it hurt mine more... so I cried. I had saved hard for at least 20 minutes for that two Euro.
So next day we were obviously bright eyed and bushy tailed after such a low key night. Luckily we were headed for our fancy hotel and the area surrounding it had some awesome graffiti and street art to check out...

Above is part of an exhibition that was comparing old (1920's ish) with new - same location, new person but similar stance etc. Pretty cool.

Footpath graffitti on a zebra crossing
This area is known for its vintage shops, and unlike Sallies at home, we're talking vintage Gucci, Chanel, LV you name it, it was excrutiating to not even be able to afford 2nd hand Chanel.

Vintage Bar, an old bar turned into a vintage shop, it was the coolest shop I have ever been into.

Here I am with the few vinatge purchases within my budget, enjoying our new boutique surrondings, god what high rollers...

We got dressed up, drunk champagne in our room listening to Rihanna and then headed out for a nice dinner and finished the night off with gelato. Pretty much most girls ultimate evening.

Here's me, modelling said Gelato. 5 flavours, grande, shapped like a flower uhhhhhhhhh

We took our gelato back to our Hotels japanese courtyard garden

But then it was off to bed for us as we had a big day planned....
They arent in order, but it was fantastical day, we saw dancers and Micky and went on rides and ate hotdogs and sung songs and got scared and I became a Princess...

Annabelles favourite ride, Lancelots Carousel

Micky joined us for a photo op, before he had to dash off to make an appearance as a balloon

We became Indiana Jones and our mining cart lost control (it was fun)

I ate this, I also ate 9 nuggets and a donut and 3 sandwiches and a chocolate croissant and an ice cream cause thats what you do at Disneyland. I wasnt proud of myself (but secretly I was).

Oh and a video to end! Thanks for sticking with this blog. To summarise we really loved Paris.