yes, i admit…

… that I miss Copes.

But even more so when I stumbled across this while clearing the 100s of unread items in my Google Reader.

It seems that the Rundetaarn is holding a flea market in the library area on April 2.


For more info, see here.

Oh Copes, you have ruined me for life.



I am also super sad that I will not be around in April! :( Aren’t they just adorable?!

the little prince and princess.


seven months and four days later…

I have:

– visited 15 countries
– visited far more cities
– made far too many plane trips
– seen some amazing places
– totally out museum-ed and church-ed myself
– eaten some delicious food
– made fantastic friends from all over the world
– learnt to say ‘thank you’ in a number of languages
– learnt some spastic Danish
– spent way too much money
– doubled the luggage that I brought with me
– gotten over my distaste for Skype
– experienced weather from -10 to 40 degrees Celsius
– become more independent… maybe? :D
– appreciated far more everything that my parents do for me
– visited family and friends scattered around the world
– been spectacularly fail at updating this blog

And finally:

– realised that there really is no place like home.. even if I currently feel a bit restless… :)

touchdown in sydney.

Thank you to everyone who has read and kept up to date with what I have been doing since I left last July. Since I have been so lame at updating on all my travels while I have been away, I think I will spend a better part of this year catching up, just so that I have a record of everything in one little place of the interwebs. So feel free to keep checking back. :)

In the meantime though, it is back to uni, and really studying. :)


{CDG} bonjour paris!

Side note, I think using the airport codes is a little bit redundant sometimes… in particular, Paris, seeing as I didn’t fly there…!

Anyway, so Monday morning (31st) I was due to catch the 8.55 Eurostar to Paris! Having caught the Eurostar back to London from Bruges, via Brussels, I’ve found that trains are definitely a better option for travel around Europe, if you have the luxury of time. However, it’s certainly not the most economical option, but probably works out well if you have a good idea of where exactly you want to go, how long you want to stay there… so then you can get the Eurail pass… maybe I’ll do that next time! :)

Had to wake up super early and get to St Pancras International ahead of time, to get through security and customs and all that. It was quite busy, but still better organised than when I was in Brussels.


before i fell asleep...

Got some food for the trip from Café Nero, but in the end I ended up sleeping on the train pretty much the entire time.

It’s kind of a great feeling to wake up in a totally different country. :)

Negotiated the metro and arrived at Cadet station.

from gare du nord.

Thanks to Lyndon for meeting me and picking me up. In general, thanks to Lyndon and Edmond for giving me a place to stay! :D Their apartment is super nice, and is quite central… and had a lovely view down into the courtyard. :)

i should have taken the actual courtyard... but this will do.

Once I’d settled in a bit, had a bit of lunch (the sandwich that I hadn’t eaten on the train), I headed out to Rue Mouffetard, which has all these cafés and bars… except, being a Monday, everything seemed to be closed. Oh well, I appreciated the streets anyway, as I do. :)

rue mouffetard.

Stopped by a hotel to ask where I could change my money, and was pointed towards the Panthéon, and so went that a-ways.

the panthéon.

Found a bank that was open, but they didn’t do any exchange. Luckily the lady was lovely and directed me across the road. I decided that I would pay a visit to the Panthéon, and it was quite nice inside, so I’m glad that I did. :)

inside the panthéon: ceiling, focault's pendulum, some painting, ceiling somewhere else.

descent into the crypt.

the crypt.

voltaire and rousseau.

memorial to antoine de saint-exupery, author of 'le petit prince'.

Once I left the Panthéon, I was delighted to see something distinctly Parisian off in the foggy distance… :)

first glimpse of a certain parisian tower.

After that, I wandered around that area, intending to go to the Luxembourg Gardens and see the Senate building, but the gardens were already closed. This is the problem about travelling in winter…

Oh well, I got a decent picture of the outside of the Senate building… I think.

senate building... i think.

I also saw one of the unis in Paris…


Then I decided to keep on wandering until I got to St Sulpice church, which was made famous by being in The Da Vinci Code, despite most of Dan Brown’s claims being completely untrue. Oh well, it was pretty inside, but of course there was a bit of construction going on outside…!

saint sulpice.

I then went on a kind of epic walk all the way to Notre Dame, alone the Seine.

night time walking: the louvre and library (?) from pont des arts.

padlocks on the bridge.

some random bridge.

After walking around in the cold for a while, I finally found myself in front of Notre Dame, closed by then of course, but still pretty none the less.

notre dame by night.

self timer win.

By then I was just super tired and super cold, but I still decided to take the walk all the way back. It wasn’t too bad, but yeah, just really cold. Picked up a crêpe for dinner. :) Got purposely kind of not really lost. And yeah, then made it back eventually. :)


in bruges – part two.

So this morning, I got up quite early to take advantage of the free breakfast thanks to Snuffel. Crazily enough, breakfast finishes at 9.30! It was simple breakfast, toast and cereal, but after having gourging on pastries in Berlin, and forgetting all about breakfast in Brussels, it was a nice change.

Hung around taking advantage of the internet, and by the time I actually got out of the hostel it was a shameful 11am. Oh well. :)

I went on a little walk that I had kind of planned for myself using the highlights from the Use It map.

First I visited Hof Bladelin. Behind closed doors, you would never see this from the street. So I rang the doorbell and one of the nuns buzzed me in.

a hidden courtyard.

Then it was up to see the Rijksnormaalschool, now a teaching school. It’s all about the architecture in this building, something about how in the late 19th century, there was a bit of a revamp of some medieval buildings, but sometimes mixed with… neo-Gothic? Yeah, that’s what the map said; I’m not too crash hot with my architecture terminology. :)


Oh by the way, some of Bruges by day.

a little bit of everything. (side note, i would love to live in a mustard yellow house!)

there are lots of churches around here.

I love these tiny details also. :)

who wouldn't love a treble clef window detail??

Anyway, also passed by the priest school, Grootseminarie. Map says that only three priests will graduate this year.


I also got excited when I saw one of the many bridges go up… :)

bridge go up.

There was also this whole stretch of windmills… well, just four of them.


i see rooftops... with recurring crane theme!

Map says that little remains of the medieval fortifications of Bruges, other than the four gates that lead into the city. This was the eastern one.

ost poorten (east gate).

And then I got distracted by the suggestion from Use It to visit De Kringwinkel. It’s pretty much just a Vinnies, so I spent way too long looking at random stuff in there, and spending a little… Yay for catching Eurostar back to London! :D

entrance to the treasure cave!

Then I went off to find lunch. I had intended to try this Flemish place recommended by, of course, Use It, but by the time I got there, it had just closed. Silly me and spending so much time looking for treasure. :)

Oh well, no matter. Instead I went to the oldest bar in Bruges, Café Vlissinghe, and tried the Flemish onion soup with cheesy toast, as well as a hot chocolate.

café, old style heater is warm, food.

Made my way back to the hostel to dump my shopping, fully intending to climb the famous belfry. I had to look up a few things though, and so by the time I got out and headed over to the belfry, it was past 16.00 and so it had closed already. I panicked for a bit, thinking that I wouldn’t have time in the morning to make the climb, but on checking, I had booked my Eurostar from Brussels at 17.30 or so, so I wouldn’t really need to leave Bruges until after lunch, which worked out fine.

So instead, I wandered around some more, as I do. :)

the town hall, some clogs, and yet another canal.

I made it to the Church of Our Lady, to see ‘Madonna with Child’, one of the few Michelangelos outside Italy, on view for free! (Yes, again, thanks to Use It. I should get paid…!)

madonna with child, and the church of our lady.

More wandering followed. I had fun taking a brief look at all the things in The Old Curiosity Shop (8 Walstraat, 8000 Brugge).

the old curiosity shop.

Then I came upon the Beguinage, one of 12 that makes a part of UNESCO World Heritage. Walking past the gate, you really feel the sense of peace that the women there adhere to. It doesn’t hurt that it is exceptionally pretty either!

bruges beguinage.

I decided to finish up walking there and start finding something for dinner. They seem to eat super early here in Bruges…

on the way...

Of course, being Friday night, and Bruges being a small city, the place that I had intended to go was fully booked out. So after trawling the streets for affordable food, I ended up at… a pretty canal, distracted by night shots!

night time in bruges again.

Then I got to Quick, aka fake-Maccas. But not to worry, then I got some nice dessert from Stridjershuis.

cheese delice menu (a cheeseburger with just the meat, cheese and cheesy sauce), apple pie with hot chocolate.

Then it was time to head back to the hostel.

Oh yeah, so I don’t know if you knew, but Bruges is a UNESCO listed site all on its own?


And ok, now that I’m getting around to posting this, that was actually yesterday, just like how yesterday’s post was actually Thursday. In any case, it’s time for tower climbing and then heading back to Brussels, to get my Eurostar back to London.

BBB trip over.


in bruges – part one.

This morning, I had a number of things to do: check out by 11, find my Brussels souvenir, buy that bag that I saw last night, and possibly try to hit up the flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle/Vossenplein, towards the south.

Last minute packing up, had to clear the sheets, stowed luggage, got my deposit back (yay for increased liquidity!), and then headed off to the shops. I got rather distracted on the way to Springfield (link), and so I lost a bit of time. Got my bag, and then it was off to Lemonnier station via metro.

The metro system is kind of weird to be honest. They felt more like trams… or something? I don’t know. it was a bit strange.

Anyway, got to Lemonnier and then made my way to the flea market.

Saw this cool installation on my way there…

democracy now.

I really love streets in Europe. They are generally always very picturesque.

oh look, it's a street.

I only had a little bit of time to spend there, since I had to be back at the hostel to pick up my luggage before 13.00, since the reception closes from 13-16.00. But I had fun wandering around, looking at all the things that people had up for offer. There were a lot of cups and plates and that kind of thing, as well as electronics, the odd stall that sold piles of clothes. I picked up a few old postcards, more for the stamps than anything, as well as some odd keyrings. :)

to market, to market.

I would have loved to have more time but it was time for me to rush back to get my suitcase before reception closed, so that I would make it to Bruges in time to get a little bit of a walk around while it was still bright.

So rushed back, got my luggage, then went on my search for my souvenir.

waffle break. :)

After a few dud shops, I ended up back at the store that I had looked at yesterday. Caught a few pictures of the Grand Place since the sun had come out to play again, then went in search of the central station.

It happened that it was nearby to the pretty garden bit down from the museum area, so I detoured that way to take some more shots on the Nikon, luggage and all, before heading down to the station.

gare centrale.

And then I was off to Bruges!

a view from the train.

When I arrived in Bruges, I followed the instructions given by the hostel, so hopped on a bus… and kind of missed the stop… by a lot. So caught a bus back and got it right the second time. At least I got to go on a bit of a bus adventure…? :)

Made it to Markt, the main square in Bruges, and juggled luggage while trying to take advantage of the sun and blue skies.


And the famous belfry…

the belfy.

After the distraction of the sun and blue skies on pretty, old buildings, then went to find the hostel. I’m staying at the Snuffle Hostel. It’s near this pretty canal… :)

hello canal!

Checked in at the hostel, and had a rough time getting my suitcase up the tiny spiral staircase, but in the end I made it, and then had a look at the map. I love these maps from Use It. They cover lots of things from locals, and are aimed at the ‘younger traveller’. I found it quite useful in Brussels, and there’s one here for Bruges as well.Finally got out to exploring, and then stopped by at a small café just near the hostel. De Bretoen (Ezelstraat 4, 8000 Brugge) is a cute little place, recommended by my map. I got a hot chocolate and the apple/caramel pancake. The pancake was lovely, maybe a little too sweet. The hot chocolate, however, wasn’t as good after I found a fly in my first cup…

food and pancake making man!

Then I just wandered around the town a little bit, getting some lights.

a little of bruges...

... by night. :)

And I love this. Saw this printed on someone’s door.

at home in bruges.

Until I next get internet access at the hostel….!


{BRU} hi, i’m alive!

Yes, I know I am terrible at updating. I think for the entire year, I will still be posting, just recapping all the days that I have failed to post about…!

So yeah, I am now in Brussels! I got here Monday evening, and spent a lovely day walking the city. I won’t write fully about it, since this is just a quick one, but I will say something about…

manneken pis!


One of the few memories that I could have told you about 6 months ago of the trip that I took to Europe when I was 6 was of walking to see this little statue. I didn’t remember the statue itself, although I knew would it looked like from pictures. It was one of the reasons I was intrigued to come (back) to Brussels, and see if what I remembered was actually how it is in real life.

My memory: I can remember walking through a square, through a little alleyway, crossing a road… and then seeing the statue on a corner of a rose garden.

Reality: Today, I walked through the Grand Place (a square), down one of the side streets (narrow enough to maybe be considered an alley?). I did have to cross one road, but it wasn’t as close to the statue as I thought. The statue was indeed on a corner, but there was no garden in sight, let alone any roses.

Memory is a funny thing…



{SFX} orientation day.

So I did not get out as early as I had envisioned, but joined roomie S for breakfast at the  café downstairs. French breakfast. :)

french breakfast, complete with nougat creme (which tastes like nutella!) and jam.

Then wandering around, trying to make my way to Brandenburg Gate for the New Berlin free walking tour. However, as usual, I got a little lost, but this time I blame it on maps that don’t show all the streets properly… but was amused nonetheless… then ran into Marienkirche, Rotes Rathus, the TV Tower and Neptune’s Fountain.

hackescher markt.

marienkirche and the tv tower.

rotes rathus, netptune's fountain and marienkirche again.

Walked down towards Brandenburg, and passed by the Berliner Dom and the Altes Museum.

berliner dom and, yep, you guessed it, the altes (old) museum.

Then had to run down, to make it in time for the 1pm tour.

Met Jonny and the rest of the group, and then we were taken around Berlin for a good 4  hours or so of walking and sightseeing.

pariser platz, featuring the brandenburg gate and hotel adlon (aka the-hotel-where-mj-dangled-his-baby-off-the-balcony).

markers of the berlin wall.

memorial to the murdered jews of europe.

where hitler's bunker used to be... under this block of flats and the adjoining carpark.

17 june 1953 memorial, outside what used to house the ministry of aviation (in nazi times), then later the house of ministries, with the socialist mural still displayed in contrast.

remains of the berlin wall, marker near checkpoint charlie, me with my left foot in east germany, and my right in west.

checkpoint charlie.

We took a break to warm up, as it had begun to snow a little. Stopped off at Aroma (Friedrichstrasse 200, 10117 Berlin), which seems to be the New Berlin stop of choice (better than the Starbucks in Munich!).

hot chocolate break.

And then we were on our way again!

gendarmenmarkt: deutscher dom, konzerthaus, französische dom.

bebelplatz: memorial to the book burning ceremony held 10 may 1933.

berlin fashion week makes its presence known at bebelplatz...

neue wache (new guardhouse): the central memorial of the federal republic of germany for the victims of war and tyranny

We ended just behind the Berliner Dom and went to the DDR restaurant, at a discount thanks to New Berlin. :)

jägerschnitzel with pasta and spicy tomato sauce.

Then I set off on my own to explore the Pergamon Museum, which was open late since it was a Thursday night.

pergamon museum, pergamon altar, market gate of miletus, the processional way of babylon.

the ishtar gate.

Made my way slowly back to the hostel…

night in berlin: berliner dom, tv tower and rotes rathus.

Before stopping at Rosen Burger (Brunnenstraße 196, 10119 Berlin) to grab a bit of a late night feast. Burgers there are awesome.

late dinner at rosen burger.

Today, I went back to a few of the places to read things, so photos will be a little similar… but that will have to wait for tomorrow I think.