Hello all!

Oh no, I was spammed today with my Hotmail.

I just couldn’t help myself when a friend who I don’t hear from often, emailed me. Of course, I opened it. Worse still, I even clicked on her link.  NEVER CLICK ON LINKS friends! I think that is when ‘IT’ grabs all of your contacts and sends everyone on it an email from you. Now, it is onward ho.

This week, Geoff and I have grandchildren duty. Maria is back at work. Steve is in East Timor. We are the minders of one 5 yr old and one 10-year-old who did not want to go to Vacation Care (as they will in future) as they ‘don’t know anyone!’ This morning, I have been on the computer compiling a list of activities to keep them occupied.

Think of us poor OLD souls this week folks! So, to make my blogging life easier, I have decided to share some things Geoff and I experienced while we were travelling in Europe in  2008 for six weeks. I will also share some thoughts from my Travel Journal (are you surprised that I am always writing when I travel?)

We flew into London on a Sunday in early April 2008. Geoff and I had never been overseas before. We were not with any tour and had planned the itinerary ourselves with the help of a travel agent. We would be travelling on Eurail.  Were we crazy? Yes, were! We had no idea how it would be lugging bags up and down platforms to catch trains, trying to read timetables and platforms in French, German, Hungarian, Italian and Spanish. But we loved every insane moment of it. Here we go…

We would be travelling from London(under the Chunnel) to Paris (overnight) then by train through Switzerland and Austria to a small town just over the Austrian border in Hungary called SOPRON. We stayed here for 6 days. A medieval town. Wow!

Then onto Venice and a cruise for 7 days to Istanbul via Greece and Italy and Croatia. And from there travelling through Italy, France and Spain, stopping here and there and finally ending up in Paris to fly home. We met some wonderful people on those trains! Learning languages, meeting Americans, Australians and others who could speak English. And sometimes we slept (we needed to!)

It was the second month of spring in Europe, not that you would know it as it was sooo cold. What a shock for us Aussies. I wrote in my Travel Journal:

Sun 6th April 2008

 “There it was! Small snowflakes falling from the sky as the mini-bus left Heathrow Airport. The driver said “Look, it’s snowing!” To us four Aussies on board, it was sheer magic. I felt as if blessings were being reigned on us from above. It was 6.30am and daylight was only just coming upon a sleepy London. It was pure magic.”

We settled into our Hotel in Kensington and then went out in the snow to look around as we just wanted to enjoy those snowflakes as long as they lasted.  The snow was over by the next day so we were glad we made the most of it. The next day we were out and about again and I wrote in my Journal:

Mon 7th April 2008 (I take my Journal with me and write as I travel!)

“Warm at last in the little wood-panelled  old Hotel called “The Clarence” squashed (as everything is) between massive buildings in the middle of the city. Where exactly are we? Who knows! Total confusion reigns as Geoff and I hop-on and hop-off  The London Bus Co. Tour bus.

Are we in Leicester Square or Trafalgar or Piccadilly? All I know is: we are on a giant Monopoly Board and Geoff and I are the real live pieces going around the Board, not passing GO and certainly NOT collecting $200 (or would it be 100 Pounds here?) We have almost been frozen on the open top of the bus. But no! We HAD to be up there, didn’t we? The view is so good, we braved the 3 deg. temperature for the sake of the panorama.”

Needless to say, I ended up with a bad cold the next day but kept soldiering on regardless. Geoff and I were out and about in London for the next five days, using our London Pass to go to all the iconic places that one dreams of going. We had a marvellous experience in Westminster Abbey. I wrote in my Journal:

Thursday 10th April 2008

“In the Abbey, a woman Canon (Priest) was giving us some history when I mentioned my surprise at finding that St. Edward the Confessor was buried in a special chapel in the Abbey. St. Edward was a Catholic and this is an Anglican Cathedral? Of course! Westminster was a Roman Catholic Cathedral until Henry VIII came along and ditched the Pope! The church became Anglican.

As we chatted, I mentioned that our parish church in Australia was called St. Edward the Confessor. This snippet of information excited the Canon no end. Apparently they invite churches in England named after this saint to come and have a special service here every year.   Next minute, she is inviting us Australians into St. Edward’s Chapel – not open for public viewing because of its age – to pray in front of the altar.  She prayed for us so beautifully. How wonderful it was, to take a quiet moment amidst the busyness of the tourists mulling around, to pray.  A very special moment.”

By  Friday 11th April we were heading under the Chunnel to Paris. We were indeed excited at what was to come!

So there you have it! A snippet of the first part of our travel in London. Another snippet tomorrow.

Well folks, it is the end of the day now.  Time for me to close and brace myself for the week ahead.  I do hope your week will be good.

Until tomorrow.