Joined May 2017 Message
  • Day52

    Bern

    Yesterday in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 3 °C

    Spelt in until 12.
    Magic.

    Went out with intent to buy salad for lunch at Aldi and some other staples.
    Expect city is closed cause it’s Sunday.

    Walked around and found nothing except Christmas markets which we wandered through.
    They had little fire lit for people to stand around which I liked. Could smell the hot wine. Can’t wait for Germany to have some 🤤🤤
    McDonald’s was open near our hotel and I was 80 % sure a sandwich shop was too so we headed back home and best news ever was sandwich shop was open and sold salad and pumpkin soup!
    So we very happily ate that in the common room at the hostel even if it was more expensive than our make your own salad plan.
    Will added me to his Spotify account so I have spent the aftenoon adding songs and snacking on salami.
    He cancelled his commonwealth bank card before coming so he could get out of paying $50 a week for a boxing class membership lol.
    He put all his other bills linked to his account/card on our account for the time being. I think Spotify will be staying permanently now I’m using too. Boooo. Haha

    I’m totally fine doing nothing but I think Will is a wee bored haha.

    Yeah he bored hahahah. Has been asking if we can change itinerary. Had a look and it’s a no. Where we are located it isn’t possible. Or thousands of dollars.
    I haven’t liked this trip as much having it pre planned. Not the trip part but the lack of flexibility and the domino effect of lost money if we miss a flight or train or something. Causes me more stress.
    Definitely in bern too long. At least we have a private.
    I re looked at day trip options for tomorrow and it’s just too much money, shit weather or just unclear websites that don’t translate properly.

    We have gone out for cheese fondue for dinner which surprisingly was open so I’m pleased by that. Expensive but delicious. This is our Swiss experience haha. 🇨🇭

    We are now smoking some sheesha. The place is so funny. Half built and they heat the coles with a hair dryer in front of you but having a good time doing something lol.

    A man just walked into a glass door, everyone remained silent until he left rubbing his heads.
    Everyone sharing smiles - Very funny.

    No photos as we did nothing.
    Lolz.
    Read more

  • Day51

    Bern

    December 3 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 1 °C

    New Plan: Robert and Helen having a jolly time together so until we organize a friend he will stay there.

    It’s 11am and so far we have told house keeping to go away, eaten cereal with our lovely cold milk from outside, showered and that’s about it hey. Hahah

    Swapped lunch and dinner plans around so went to spaghetti house next door for lunch.
    Excellent food. Still shit prices but semi acceptable. Carbonara was amazing

    We then went to Einsteins house where he lived for 2 years and developed his theory of relativity - E=MC2
    He lived there with wife and son.
    Had the families sitting room on the 2nd floor and then info walls on 3rd floor.
    Fun to read about. Divorced his wife and married his cousin. So that’s cute.
    Also had a daughter (first child with wife) that he has never met and no one knows what happened to. 👏🏼

    We then went walking to the bear pits - bears are the symbol of bern. They got a revamped living space in 2009.
    Unfortunately all in hibernation though so didn’t see anything other than the holes they would be sleeping in.
    Walked along the river. A lovely walk. The water is crystal clear.
    A dude was practicing his opera scales as he was running which was a bit funny.
    Could hear him coming LAAAAAAAAAAA
    and hear him leaving LAAAAAAAAAA
    Bless.
    Had to walk a long way to find a bridge to cross over the river to a place we knew where a lift was to get us back up the valley.
    Naturally it wasn’t free to take the lift 🙄

    It’s bloody cold ok. Even with my beanie and gloves. 70% of snow in about an hour 🤞🏼🤞🏼
    Went and got Starbucks hot chocolate and it was literally less than half full. 60% whipped cream.

    Back at hostel where we will stay. Going to have a read once done writing this and then World Cup later tonight which will hopefully be on the Telly.

    Literally me for the last month “I have glass stuck in my head.”
    Will *scoffs*
    He has just tried to pop the pimple on side of head that’s been there since Grand Canyon.
    “I think you might be right, something’s in there”
    🫠

    Didn’t read. Watched Graham Norton and Miriam Margolyes videos.

    Watching the Argentina V Australia FIFA game. Will was positive until the 2nd goal scored then became a real cranky puss 😆

    Shouldn’t have come here for so long. Don’t have the money to actually do anything. 😂
    3 more sleeps 🥴
    We have no plans for tomorrow or day after. Have exhausted all of Berns attractions 😅
    I had a day trip to Thun on our originally itinerary but even though it’s 18mins away - the train is $150 soooooooo not going because all we were going to do there is walk around anyway.
    Could do day trips to other places to like interlaken or Lauterbrunnen which is the inspiration for Rivendell for LOTR. And I could/would justify the travel expenses if you could guarantee blue skies. But it’s so grey and gloomy. So nope.
    Switzerland is a place you can only come if it’s your entire holiday.
    One week in Switzerland done properly is 6 weeks anywhere else.
    Read more

  • Day50

    Bern

    December 2 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 4 °C

    Had a crappy night cause at about 1 am breeder messaged me which I replied to and knew the next message I got would be telling me if I was getting Summer or not. So didn’t sleep for the next 2 hours.
    Not Summer - got told new dogs name we get in January. This is a story in progress so might not take her but he name is RhiRhi and she is pretty cute. She would need to have 2 litters but Is apparently a better fit for Robert as she is playful.
    Timing might not work out though so we will see how it pans out.

    A very slow morning as our train didn’t come until 1. We checked out at around 11 and spoke with reception about being charged for the room twice. I showed our 2 separate bank accounts.
    He says it will come back to our account but there is a translation barrier still and I’m not feeling confident he understood completely. I have taken an email address in case. I just want my $500 back. 😭

    McDonalds for breakfast/lunch because cheapest thing in entire country and still $50.
    Waited inside the station because it was at least a degree warmer in there.
    Train ride was about an hour 15.

    Check in was a bit dodge. Could see someone in the office but had to wait until 3 before he opened the shutters. I happen to be constructing a message to the breeder at the time denying her offer to take summer for a week if RhiRhi is in heat start of January when we need to pick her up.
    I said I can’t take her if I have to give her back again. So I was crying and of course that’s when the shutters open. Awkwarddd hahah.
    Had to take the lift up one at a time cause it’s teeny tiny.
    We are very happy with our room. It’s got a tv, table, shelving and a sink and some space.
    Beds are 2 singles rather than a double so feels bigger too. Only bummer is toilet is in the corridor but hostel isn’t busy so we are only sharing in theory. Am yet to see anyone on our level.

    Went out exploring for the 40 minutes before the sun set.
    100000000 times cooler than Zurich. Have seen a couple streets and no comparison. An absolute slaughter lol.
    There is an awesome astrological clock archway - UNESCO.
    Unfortunately only walking tour available is on our last day here so I’ve booked it but might not go. Will have probably seen everything by then. 🤷🏼‍♀️
    I’d like to have more info on all the cool stuff.
    SO MANY FOUNTAINS I LOVE THEM. They are colorful 😍
    Found a sort of lookout section and some Christmas markets which we strolled through. Not nearly as jolly as when you aren’t freezing and it’s daytime.
    Went to the supermarket and bought some bread, spread, sausage and milk for us to eat breakfast and lunch at home tomorrow cause prices are genuinely ridiculous here.
    We don’t have a fridge but have put the milk outside our window in a nice 1° environment. Lol
    The view from our room is LOVELY. Even got the camera out to capture it better.

    Will wanted Mexican so we went to papa joes and I’m OBSESSED with the Resturant. It is rainbow and as if someone has gone to a garage sale and bought the most random things they could possible find and put them all together. There was a bridge, fairy lights a little fountain thing.
    LOVE.
    I really enjoyed my chicken salad - Will not fussed by his enchiladas because it had too many vegetables 😆😆
    $140 🫠🙃🙃🙃🙃🙃🙃🙃🙃

    Forgot to say yestsrday the army dudes are really chill here. Bloke just walking around the train station with his automatic weapon slung over his back. Not even holding it. Wicked dangerous bug comical.

    Went to supermarket again and added some snacks to our pile. We are having a rest day tomorrow so I can cry about Summer in peace and keep getting better. Still dizzy at times but definitely better.
    Went through another Christmas markets. Didn’t even try shopping just like the vibe.

    Currently watching the World Cup. Room is cold and I’m snug in my blanket I love it.
    Read more

  • Day49

    Liechtenstein

    December 1 in Liechtenstein ⋅ ☁️ 2 °C

    Slept like rocks. I was worried Will was going to wake up cranky and sick cause he was snoring unbelievably loud cause his nose is blocked but he said he slept amazingly. Yay.

    We gained 3 hours so our 8am leaving of the house in actually an 11am leaving. Feeling good.
    My bites are so bad 😩 I’ve put bandaids on my back of the leg ones.
    My knuckle ones suck because for whatever reason my jacket has a stupid design for the pockets and the spikey part of the zip rubs my hand every time I put them in.
    Walked to the station and it’s the biggest station ever holy crap. Impossible to find anything.
    So confusing we went to find an info place. Impossible to find but did eventually find a board and we think we found our train. These particular boards aren’t overly helpful because they don’t say the exact train number just location which is fine unless you have to be on a specific train number as we do because we bought the cheap tickets haha. 😆 but it’s the right time and place so probably is our train.
    Went and got Will a croissant, only item thus far that is reasonably priced at 1.9 francs. Would have got a drink but not in the mood or desperate enough to pay $8.

    Got some cash out because we think we have to buy tickets on the bus once we change trains.
    There money is cool! The 20’s are fire engine red. There 10 is bright yellow.
    Got a big coin back when buying the croissant which is 5 franc. That’s a $7.80 coin 😅
    Can’t exchange so must use haha.

    On the train now. It’s a very gloomy day but not raining.
    Just had our tickets checked with no issue. Always a relief we are headed in correct direction.
    She asked for our passports - first person to do so.
    Lucky because I only have because we are wanting a stamp in Liechtenstein. 😂
    Once we got off finding the bus was amazingly simple.
    It’s fluro yellow and happened to be the one already waiting at the station.
    Got on and asked the driver do we pay here or somewhere else? Paid him and sat. He then drove us to Liechtenstein. #country52
    Liechtenstein was very quite. We first went to the tourist information center and got our passports stamped for 3 francs each haha. ✔️
    We got Will a coffee then went climbing a big hill to get to a viewpoint and to the castle.
    The castle is closed because it’s a private residence.
    The Prince here has such power. Nothing passed through parliament without his final approval. Or that how it reads on the info boards as we walked up the hill. The castle was cool. Love the old school toilet hole on the side of the building and the dragon heads for drainage.
    Will in a good mood so got some photos yewwww haha.

    I also liked the view point. Disappointing it’s so cloudy so the mountains in the background were covered. Still really lovely. I’m happy the fields are still green and not white.

    Walked back down and went to lunch. Really good quality. Got some tomato soup. Have been dying for soup. Still cost a fortune but have definitely seen worse prices.
    Will tried a Liechtenstein beer.
    We then bought my magnet and went walking to the Post Museum (Liechtenstein’s a hoot and a half 🤪🤪)
    Post museum is free entry and so we did a quick wizz around. Had to go there anyway to buy tickets to the Princes treasury. Bought a double ticket to get access to national museum too because why not.
    Just a lot of stamps at the post museum. Wild to think some people would be absolutely beside themselves with excitement here.

    The Princes treasury was embarrassing to say the least.
    You have to go in one at a time with a token. I went first - one door opened and I walked into a tiny black room and the door shut on me and I had a rather large panic and was very loud about it yelling omg what do I do, I’m trapped, why did you make me go first etc etc and then another door magically opened and their was another person on the other side… mortifying 🤣🤣
    Hello 🫠
    Will got confused and startled by the lady too which made me feel less stupid.
    Couldn’t take photos inside but basically had a crown, A LOT of decorative eggs and some weapons - the coolest bit was a bit of moon stone from an Apollo mission.
    Leaving was just as stupid. One door into a dark cupboard followed by another magical opening.one door won’t open until the other one is shut so you can’t have a sticky beak inside.

    Walked next door to national museum. Whole country has English next to the German except their national museum where foreigners are likely to visit.. ?
    So not sure what we looked at but a lot of taxidermy stuff, old flowers, it had a FIFA World Cup section (not really sure why because it featured everyone BUT Liechtenstein lol)
    Then some Napoleon stuff we think, paintings of all past kings, a religious relics section, and other old stuff. More stamps and eggs here too haha.
    Finished up and walked to the cathedral. Door was closed but let ourselves in. ✌🏼
    Stain glass was very geometric. Bit funky.

    Royal crypt next door which was more a single coffin thing on a boring white veranda building.
    They did have a metal mural of Jesus commanding Lazarus to come out. So I presume that’s the tomb/crypt.

    Then walked back to our bus. Got a different one but it took us to the right place.
    Our train was only 5 minutes away. All very convenient.
    Currently on the train back to Zurich.
    It’s not the train I booked but did originally pay more so we didn’t have to get the specific train/time because we don’t know when we would finished.
    Lady has just scanned tickets - everyone came up as green on her device and ours came up as orange but we weren’t kicked off so yay.

    Walked through Zurich old town and got some nice views of the city. (Added to yesterdays entry)

    Went home. Felt sick again - shouldn’t google symptoms. Never ends well. 10 terminal diseases per search.

    Went for Chinese for dinner.
    Worst country for a service tip to be added to the bill. 😩
    BUT I still like that it’s added for you and is 7% not 20%
    Home now and packed.
    Keen for a rest day in Bern.
    Read more

  • Day48

    Transit/Zurich

    November 30 in Switzerland ⋅ 🌧 5 °C

    Woke up to bed bug saga #2. Thankfully it’s me more affected than Will. I’ve got bites all over my knuckles which is annoying because it’s a difficult place to keep from accidentally touching and therefor scratching.
    Thankful we leave today otherwise getting to sleep tonight would be a challenge for the mind haha.

    Got a reply from our driver he would arrive in one minute so we raced out the door as he was 10 mins early.

    Waited for him on the street and a car stopped in front of us. It was our guide from yesterday.
    Put all our stuff in the boot and got in the car.
    Then said to Will “wait, I don’t think it’s the same man”
    And he agreed so we asked “are you our driver?”
    He didn’t speak English so that’s a no.
    Out we got and got our bags 😆😆😆😆😆
    Could be brothers. It’s hard to see in the dark hahahah
    Pleased he let us get back out and we weren’t kidnapped hahaha.
    Oh dear.

    Our driver, Ramin arrived 2 mins later. 😅
    Drive was quicker cause limited cars at 5:40am.
    He drove us past the F1 pit stop garages.
    We saw them yesterday but was pleased for another look.

    Gave him a tip because he has been so helpful and because to convert to money back at the airport I’ll only get $3 anyway so he can have it.

    Our check in line was straight through the front door so loved that. Line wasn’t too big either.
    Check in lady asked us if we needed a visa for Switzerland and we said no. But she did her job well and checked which was a bit nerve wracking cause it took her a while and a few people to determine we didn’t, all the while I’m thinking omg what if I made an incorrect assumption. 😅

    Got our tickets and went through customs. Got another stamp - had to take my shoes off and everyone was looking at my stripy pink socks 😂
    No food in the departures section. Booooooo.
    Will be fed on plane, hopefully it’s nice and not gross microwaved egg. (It was gross egg)
    Found a very large, expensive carpet magnet. 👀

    Ok so one of the worst flights I’ve ever had. Medically the worst.
    Graphic stories coming up:
    I needed to both poop, vomit and faint. It was the fainting part that I wasn’t coping with very well.
    But I did explode in the toilet. Do airplane toilets have water? No. Just suction. Didn’t work. Had to wipe it clean which was just the worst.

    THANK GOD there was an empty seat next to Will so I moved him over and curled in a ball for the next 1.5 hours.
    Gagging into the bag felt good.
    I skulled water. I thought maybe my blood sugar was down because I was okay lying down but when I sat up I needed to faint.
    Had little cries. Not enough space just needed to lie down but couldn’t.

    Did manage to walk off the plane but naturally it was like a kilometer walk and then because we came from a “dodgy” country we had to go through customs again. Didn’t have to do this on the way through when arriving from France.
    It was very obviously target groups of people lol.
    The alarm kept going off every 5 seconds. Potentially first time through and airport cause MAN.
    Singapore couple had a museli bar on their tray and the TSA guy took it and was like thank you.
    They were like uh??
    And he goes “problem or no problem? “
    And then he ate it………..
    Wanted to find motion sickness tablets but they didn’t t have a pharmacy.
    I found some fruit covered in chocolate. I only wanted fruit but the chocolate gave me a sugar hit in case that’s what I needed.

    Will bought ONE subway sandwich.
    FIFTY FOUR DOLLARS.

    EXCUSE ME WHAT?????????
    So that was terrific 🙃

    Went to our gate. I’ve drunk so much water trying to combat my dizziness I had to pee.
    Boarded and as soon as the seatbelt sign came off I had to pee again. I was so close to peeing myself. 4L wee honestly.
    This flight was better. I had moments of nausea and pretty soon after was dying for a wee again but had a window seat and didn’t want to bother the guy in the isle.
    Made it to the end - had a sleep - was trying to pass time cause I was BUSTING again.
    Near state of emergency had to find bathroom.
    Best 2 wee’s of my life today omg.

    Customs dude was great, liked his job. No fuss getting in.
    Caught the train to their main station. Bit of a hassle buying tickets - card declined a few times the worked fine on another machine.
    Options were confusing asking do we want 3 zones, direct route blah blah. Took a stab at it. No one checked our tickets so no arrests today.

    Walked to hotel. It’s much colder here.
    Zurich is a bit grey thus far.

    Paid.
    Paid twice actually.
    Have to ask for help tomorrow. I asked today as soon as I noticed so went downstairs and got told it’s a deposit but it’s on my two separate cards and both are the exact amount for the room.
    So $450 missing from account for the moment 🙃
    Will wait to talk to the worker who actually checked us in cause his English was excellent.
    Otherwise too hard. They don’t know what I’m showing them.

    Went for salad for dinner because it was the cheapest we could find. Still nearly $60 for 2 plates of salad. 🫠
    Switzerland is going to hurt. Bought cereal and milk (that we hope stays cold) for tomorrow morning.

    It’s 7:15 bed time thank goodness.

    Last 3 pics are walking Zurich’s old town tomorrow.
    Read more

  • Day47

    Baku day excursion part 2

    November 29 in Azerbaijan ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    Things I forgot to add yesterday.

    - There was this cool rock at Gobustan that when you hit with another rock it makes music sounds.
    - when we went to lunch we got stuck in a lift which is a mild fear of mine. More the getting stuck part and no one knowing I’m stuck but we were with our driver and he can speak Azerbaijani so I was less stressed. He pressed 30 buttons and it worked again. We tried to take the stairs on the way back but had to do half half cause one of the doors to the street was locked.
    - we saw the first oil rigs on our drive. They are incased by glass to protect.
    - to get married in Azerbijan you have to take. blood test so both parties have all info haha

    Jet lag is such a problem for me this trip. Can’t sync in time.
    This morning was a struggle but there was hot water so I did manage a quick rinse in before getting ready.

    Traffic was bonkers so driver was a bit late but did come. 🎉
    We scrambled in so we didn’t piss off every else behind us. They do like their horn here.
    It’s raining so even more chaotic.
    Still significantly more organized that other cities. They follow the rules for the most part.
    It took us about 30 minutes to get to the fire temple. Didn’t open for 10 mins so we looked around the gift shop. Found this ornament vase thing which I LOVED but only from one side. It was also expensive( 100 Manat ) so we didn’t buy it but maybe old town has some things. 👀 We’d like a souvenir from here because it is so bloody random.
    Paid 10 Manat less than quoted so that makes up for yesterdays extra 10 for the mud volcanoes. I had assumed we underpaid because we didn’t buy the guide option but we did. Nice girl showed us around.

    It’s called Atashgah temple or fire temple. It has 3 religions attached the building. First fire people who did have a proper name… Hindus and Seiks.
    It was originally used by the fire people with natural occurring fire but they mucked it up when they stated digging for oil so now fire is not from the land.
    It has 26 rooms and she showed us many of them.
    Different things found at the sight and figurines depicting scenes. The usual. They had a punishment room and it’s self inflicted to remove sin and get to heaven. Only for top level people. Took us a few rooms to realize they actual kill themselves, not just hurt themselves with the fire. They lie on a slab and differs methods but the stone Is hot so it’s probably even more painful to half simmer your body for who know how long until you die, rather than an also horrendous, but quicker few minutes on full burn 🥴🥴
    They also starved themselves/ didn’t drink and became paralyzed half bodied etc.
    Sounds fun.
    They had a cremation spot for these people. Other people went on top of building in the center and fed animals essentially.

    One scene was of someone looking after animals-the sight had a specific sacrifice stone for the animals.
    another scene was someone paying someone to pray for them because they didn’t have time.
    Pomegranates are a big deal here but the fact they are red helps with the ongoing fire theme. Lol
    Will nearly took his head off entering each door. I had to bend so he had to BEND.

    Got through it all quite quickly then headed to fire mountain. It was quite built us cities/villages along the way but with a much bigger trash and graffiti problem. A lot of butchers doors wide open. One had a truck of sheep next to it 😔
    Only good thing was they didn’t appear stressed waiting so at least it’s not unnecessarily drawn out for them.

    Arrived at Yanardag. Super basic but super cool. The mountain has been burning for either hundreds of years … or 70 ( depends who you ask 😆😆) because of the gas in the soil.
    Got some pics. It was raining so we didn’t linger but pleased we saw.
    On our way back now.
    Going to give our driver a decent tip simply for offering us a solution because I was so sick yesterday.
    I will then message original driver to see if he can drop us to the airport haha.

    I think we was pleased with his tip.
    I don’t mind at all. He really did us a favor and did it with a smile. I would have eternally been disappointed if we had missed it because of me.

    We are currently in a Resturant called Shakespeare. Had an English menu out front but we weren’t given one inside so are winging it by pictures.
    Best food. First food in ages where every flavor was what I wanted. Love me some chicken fingers and lettuce haha.

    We then went to Maiden tower. Due to the price I climbed it and Will didn’t. He wasn’t particularly interested but I wanted to do.
    Lots of stairs.
    It’s the symbol of the city. Gotta get involved. The view from the top would have been better if it wasn’t raining. The glass had water drops so hard to see out.
    The glass exists because a few suicides because of the tale of the tower, people took inspiration.
    So they put a stop to that.
    Personally not how I’d want to go but moreover I’d pick somewhere higher. Not a 100% guarantee ..

    We then went looking in some shops. I over paid for a few things but i don’t mind. What’s an extra dollar to me. These people sit in these shops day in day out. He had a good day today. 🤷🏼‍♀️
    Bought a new coin purse cause I broke my other one yesterday.
    And a magnet. Not satisfied with the magnet but it will do if I can’t find a better one at the airport tomorrow.
    I loved a carpet one at the temple this morning. Should have bought it.
    We then went to the Palace of The Shirvanshahs. It’s the old royal palace. Really needed your imagination but I liked the throne room, bathhouse, crypt and courtyards. There were a few little pray rooms too. Would have bought a jumper but they didn’t have my size.
    I really want something from country 50 so I settled on a mug. Everything else I wanted will likely break along the journey 😔

    Have organized an airport transfers and have spent an hour cleaning my shoes. Made an absolute mess and clogged the shower. It was already clogged but now it’s in a bit of a state. Ha.

    Very impressed with how progressive it is here. Even Will commented they have statues of Women. How good and unexpected. One was featured on the literacy building as one of the country’s most recognized contributors.
    Like a minute later we walked past a statue of a girl in a tube top on the phone in the shopping district. She even has boobs.
    For a Muslim country this is considered butt naked. And yet there she was.
    We then walked past a lingerie store.
    Good job Azerbijan 👏🏼👏🏼

    Packed. Went out for dinner. CHEAP. Had to use our remaining Manats and now going to bed cause very early morning tomorrow!!
    Read more

  • Day46

    Baku day excursion

    November 28 in Azerbaijan ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    We had a 40 minute mosquito hunt around 1am.
    Unbelievably. Could not kill the little bastard. We were tying to hit him, sprayed him with deodorant, threw towels at the roof with no success.
    We are at least happy he is the culprit of Wills new bites and not bed bug saga #2.
    Will jumped up suddenly around 2am after we had given up and got the prick.
    Great sleep if it had been longer but woke up ok this morning. There was hot water so Will jumped in. My hair desperately needs a clean but it think it will have to wait. The shower is too small even for me.
    We left at 8:40 to go the bank next door - very efficient so left us standing on the street waiting for 15 minutes.
    Something was clearly going on. The streets were littered with police.
    Traffic stopped too and it was a little earily quiet for my comfort …
    There was a policeman standing directly in front of us but he didn’t tell us to move so we stayed put. 🤷🏼‍♀️
    Eventually police car after police car came racing down the street and a few other vehicles. Must be someone very important.

    Then it was like it never happened. Police walked away and traffic and city came back to life.

    Our driver was a little late because of this but he did turn up so that’s always a plus 😆

    Drove for about 40 minutes to reach Gobustan reserve. We went past so many oil rigs it was insane.
    The further out from the city the more obvious the oil money wasn’t shared with everyone. 😅

    Arrived and paid 35 Manat for both our entries and a private guide. She first took us through the museum. She was a bit stiff at first and explained all the info boards very robotically. She would only make eye contact with me. Maybe Will made her uncomfortable 🤷🏼‍♀️
    It was basically this is what a rock drawing is. Here are examples worldwide. Here is what you will find here. Examples of shelters and lifestyle. Some cooking and hunting stuff and animal bones.
    She asked where we were from as we drove to the rocks. She became much more friendly after we said Australian.
    The rock carvings were really cool. Neither of us had seen any before. About 4000 years old and some of them really clear. Lots of goats and hunter depictions. Very very cool. She had a little laser which was very helpful at showing us things we missed.
    We didn’t really need her for the museum part but for this part I’m very glad we had a guide.
    She showed us lots and lots of different rocks and one part where they use to live. They found a child’s bones recently and there is old campfire leftovers. The cave is now open due to earthquakes but it was once enclosed.
    Lots of the rocks had drawings on top of drawings showing different time periods and groups. The area nearby was very flat. You could see out to the Caspian Sea (not sea, biggest lake in the world).
    Our driver drove us all back to the museum, she jumped out and off we went to the mud volcanoes.
    We had to swap cars. Our driver stayed behind and we had new random man to drive us who thought he spoke English but most certainly didn’t
    Nothing like a bit of off roading in a crap box.
    About 15km away.
    The volcanos were awesome! He took us to a bigger one first and we stuck our hand in. Just thick cold mud.
    Loved watching it bubble.
    Then washed our hands in a big salt water pond. He couldn’t explain properly but it was a bit random to be there.
    Then went to a section with lots of little mud piles.
    A deceptive surface - completely ruined my shoes and fell in a 20cm mud pile lol.
    Will told me I was a goose then did it too.
    Had to get back in the car and felt really bad about it cause shoes were a mess.
    He drove us back to our driver and I felt so sick.
    It was now past 12 and hadn’t eaten and the motion was making me so nauseous.
    Had a difference of opinion on price. I got told 20m Manat but he reckoned 30 and tip.
    I asked our driver to help. Driver though it was 30 too so I gave 30 but no tip. I asked for change from 40. He wasn’t happy but gave it to me.
    He was like no 40 is fine.
    40 might be fine for you but not fine for me 😆
    Got back in with our driver and headed back to city. 1pm by now and I couldn’t continue. Had to get food. Stopped at some Resturant and i firstly spent 15 mins in the bathroom trying to clean my shoes cause it was while polish stone floors. Eek.
    Bathroom had no running water which made for a challenge. Did the best I could.
    Will ordered for the both of us (now fired from this job after we got the bill)
    I ate as much bread as I could and some of the tomato but couldn’t do it. Will ate a lot of the meat. Bill was 130 😬😬😬😬😬
    All places we have been to keep trying to change our order. “You will want this”
    No. I have given you my order. I think he got conned into a meat platter rather than 3 separate kebabs options which would have come in under 40.
    Is what it is.
    Extra annoying cause I couldn’t eat it or I would vomit.
    I was so disappointed but had to call it a day.
    Asked the driver to drive us back. he has agreed to do the next half tomorrow morning for the same price so we gave him 50 euro today and will give him other half tomorrow. Happy with this arrangement.

    Got home and crashed for a few hours.

    It’s a big problem the not eating properly or only waiting salads because I don’t like or understand the menus. What I wouldn’t give for a kitchen to cook my own food.
    Need more water too but it’s so costly only buying bottles and Europe’s tap water is gross tasting 😒

    Have had dinner and got Oreos and bread for breakfast. Nothing in supermarket, just alcohol and pasta/sauces. The food diet continues.

    I’d like to stop with the better, not better, better rubbish.
    Hopefully tomorrow I’m better whole day.

    Wills throat is sore again so that’s also fun.
    Read more

  • Day45

    Baku

    November 27 in Azerbaijan ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Felt better this morning but we slept in a loooot.
    No regrets cause we have had a great day. Lol
    Firstly messaged tour man with my overnight decision. I said we want a one day tour, not two and i cut some POI’s off the list to make it plausible. I cut off their main mosque and yet somehow now it has made its way back on the list.
    He will now magically make it work 😆
    So we are going tomorrow.
    Went walking and Will decided he would wear shorts.
    Didn’t take long to notice the stares so we went home and he changed hahaha.
    At first we just walked around. We went through the gates of old town. Pests everywhere annoying us because we stand out as obviously not Azerbaijani but not as bad as many other places AND it was better because they couldn’t switch to English when they needed to make their sale so they then left us alone yewwww.
    One dude told us about his Resturant and we eventually went back to him because he could speak English. He took us down to the Resturant which was actually really lovely. Trees and benches covered in rugs/carpets and pillows and it was all just very bright.
    English menu so that’s a win.
    When I say English it’s like 3 words but I’ll take it.
    The Azerbijan menu is like a paragraph explaining the food and underneath is “lamb with onion”
    Either way very helpful and we ended up getting lamb and some bread things like naan and I got a salad. Not meant to drink the tap water and they would have washed the salad but I took the gamble. Pomegranate is big here so that was the dressings and it was great.
    I fed some lamb to a cat. He was happy.
    They treat the cats very much like the Turkish. 💕
    Dogs not so much. They aren’t considered clean but we only saw 2 of them and about 1000 cats.
    We then walked to the carpet museum 😆😆😆
    The building is even in the shape of a rolled up carpet. Love their commitment to the museum and carpet.
    English signs so yay.
    Had to put my bag in a locker which has our passports in it because it’s law here they be on our person at all times. Did not like putting them in a local swimming pool quality locker but they survived.
    It had some visual which I enjoyed because it helps my little brain see how it all works.
    Some lovely carpets.

    Copied and pasted this from a picture of sign i took. (new iPhone feature - when you read this back in years to come please note this is currently exciting and new for you. You will have forgotten this feature didn’t once exist on your iPhone 7 haha)
    “In 2010 the traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving entered on the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”

    Some lovely carpets.
    What else can I say about carpets? 😆

    We then got some pics with the flame towers cause I need to do a Facebook 50 countries post, obvs 💁🏼‍♀️💅🏼
    (Got better ones later but good to have options haha)
    Walked along the boulevard on the way back towards fountain square. Some awesome buildings across the water. One like a donut.

    Went to Starbucks for a drink and to steal Wi-Fi but Wi-Fi needed a code so just a drink..

    Met our guide.
    His name was Ziya. He was fabulous.
    We were the only 2 for a while which I was nervous about because that means we alone are responsible for his tip 😬😬
    But then another couple came so that helped. I would prefer many more to share the love because sharing is caring but we will take it.
    Lucky he was such a good guide I’m not angry we have to give more money than usual.
    We started outside the old town entrance at the 2 gates.
    Baku wasn’t the original capital. Baku use to just be an old fortified little area - he showed us a picture of what it use to look like - an earthquake destroyed the old place so they had to move and I think they moved back then back again.
    The gates use to be one in front of each other but one got moved so they are side by side.
    He showed us some Arabic script which is very detailed and helpful to historians. Literally says when it was build, who by and who ordered it ro be built. Gosh why doesn’t everything old have such helpful details haha.

    Talked about oil briefly here. They use to be right on the water and they would fill the moats if being attacked - they have reports where they would put oil in the water and burn everyone alive so they have to at least known about the oil since 12th century. Obviously didn’t boom right then.

    F1 drives past here. Apparently locals don’t like the F1 coming, they think it costs too much money to have here.
    It’s the only reason ANYONE has known where Azerbijan is so can’t be bad for tourism 🤷🏼‍♀️
    Went in and he showed us an old bath house/ Hamam. We couldn’t go in but you could see the outline and the “chimney” I suppose you would call it.
    Walked through what I think was the old royals gardens then we ended up at the Maidans tower which is the cities famous landmark.
    We sat here so he could tell us a legend.

    Basically king is a dick. Princess (other kingdom) goes and tells him to stop being a dick. He agrees. Princess and King marry (to make bond). They are in love. Princess now Queen dies birthing their baby. King blames baby and orders it to be killed. It is not killed but hidden. When baby is adult she handles a wild bird which happens to be kings who is in the area and she is invited to meet him. King thinks it’s his wife and falls in love. Realized its his daughter but doesn’t care and still wants to marry.
    Daughter has secret boyfriend btw.
    Stalls the marriage with king by asking for a tower.
    Years pass with out the tower then suddenly there is a tower. She hides in it. Boyfriend and King go to find her in the tower. One is killed fighting the other in the tower. She cant see who - she thinks king/dad has killed boyfriend and is now going to make her marry him. She jumps of the tower and kills herself.

    The end.

    “There are many more romantic versions of this story like she jumps and was saved by the mermaids. You can’t tell a 5 year old about a Princess with Incestuous relations with her dad who then suicides.”
    I laughed.

    It was probably a watch tower but they don’t know.
    Which is why so many stories.

    There was a house for stray cats near by ❤️❤️😭😭

    We then walked through the labyrinth suburban streets which I really enjoyed.
    Only about 2000 people now. People have moved out. If you live with grandma and she needs an ambulance you are up the creek. Will have to carry her out yourself. No cars.
    We saw Muhammad Mosque. It has the first minaret of Azerbijan. Not an operational mosque. Then walked up some stairs and could see the water and the oil boats out in the sea. 98% of oil comes from the sea not land.
    Then arrived at the royals old residence which we plan to visit another day.
    Got some hectic photos of the city. It has old school vibes in the foreground and then oil money in the background with the flame towers. 3 different animations on the towers at night - flames, the flag and then a person waving the flag.


    Tour could have ended here but the next 2 stops were a happy hall or something. Which is a wedding venue which is a replica of another building in (I want to say Germany or Italy) and wife liked when traveling so husband built her her own one.
    He was then killed invaders in his home and didn’t want to get in trouble so killed himself so “there was no happy ever after”….
    Okkkk. Onto the next stop 😅

    Another building (charity building) where some greedy dude paid for it it just to show everyone he wasn’t greedy for not paying his sons medical bills and letting him die. Son had TB and was $50,000 to fix but he has tens of millions cause he was an oil dude so no reason other than bad guy.

    Tour ended at literacy museum with statues of influential Azerbaijani writers.
    Tipped him 30 which is just under $30 AUD. Don’t know if that is good or bad so did a runner.
    He deserved good money. I gave him a review so at least his employees know he did great and he gets more time slots.

    Went to hard rock where I had planned to buy a jumper but they were sold out 😭😭😭😭
    PLANS RUINED
    and then they got my order wrong.

    So sad.

    Did washing at the hotel and skipped the queue and don’t even feel and about it. Whole foyer is taken up by a group of 20 Indian/Pakistani men who make me soooooo uncomfortable.
    Went to ask for a bottle of water and they just stared at me so obviously even Will noticed.
    Go away.
    Our clothes still smell though so that’s a bummer.
    Don’t even want to know the quality of water our clothes were washed with.

    Haven’t had a hot show. Would like to ask reception but too uncomfortable to go because they are all watching me 👀😩

    Bed time. Have to go to an ATM in the morning before we get picked up at 9.
    Read more

  • Day44

    Transit

    November 26 in Azerbaijan ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    I had a really bad headache last night - very happy it’s gone this morning.
    Will had to get up before me to pack *evil laugh*
    It was 5:30 at first alarm. Disgusting.
    Went over to reception next door and handed in our key.
    I am very proud of us. We got the tram instead of a taxi to the airport. Normally dislike this option because so many more things can go wrong - such as the trains not running like in Paris.
    But this decision, which worked brilliantly, saved us 32€ so YAY.
    Only 1.5€ each.
    Took about 30 minutes. Lucky I did research last night and knew it was an underground tram or I wold have been frantically searching the streets.
    Very straight forward otherwise.

    Airport empty. French really not keen on work.
    You could only check in at the counter 2 hours before check in. Why say you must be there with 3 hours spare then?
    We got a juice and croissant at the only shop and checked in on the machines instead.
    We think we got an exit row 👀👀
    Wouldn’t that be good.
    We didn’t get bag tags so have to go to the desk later anyway.

    Our whole plane is a Korean tour group. They have to take up at least 80% of seats. A gazillion of them.
    They are early too and all just waiting In line putting pressure on the workers I like it haha. We get to at least skip that line because we are checked in and go straight to bag drop line.

    Check in was so efficient! I had to show her our vaccine certificates and visas for Baku (I’m glad she checked our documents - I’d rather be stuck here than there) and she gave us new boarding passes.

    TSA took my kindle and Wills bag.
    My kindle passed all tests but Will had honey in his bag. 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ probably a weird consistency on the X-ray machine.
    It got binned.

    I feel dizzy so we sat.
    We have gone through another custom check cause we are leaving the EU and we got another stamp 🕺🏻

    I may have bought another magnet….
    It was just so perfect! 😅😂 It’s a racing helmet with the casino and palace on the visor.

    Have I mention I think I have a skin cancer on my head? Will tells me I’m an idiot daily but this pimple started on the trip to the Grand Canyon cause I remember talking to Helen about it and thinking it was good I didn’t have it for the wedding.
    But it hasn’t gone away and hurts when I touch it. It’s been a month.
    Will cancer was like this 👀
    We shall seeeee.

    Boarded. We are in the exit row yewww. Of all the people on the plane I can confirm I am the person least likely to be of assistance in an emergency landing. Not because I’m weak and can’t open the door but because I’d be mid panic attack.
    Well actually maybe not. If we landed and I was still alive I’d be in a great mood.
    The falling out of the sky part. Not good not good.
    It was a good flight. Had a nap. Got fed ok food. And all in all went quite quick.

    We didn’t need a visa for turkey which took me months to figure out because they have a regular visa and a transfer visa and the wording is not clear at all.
    Transfer visa sounded like something we might need as we are transferring through…
    I was 99% sure I had understood properly and I had. 🕺🏻
    Didn’t even need to rescan bags. Just had to show someone our next boarding pass.
    A transfer visa is for if you want to exit the airport for a bit If you have a long layover.

    Airport is huge.
    We were gate B which was a 19 minute walk to the gate. I have no memory of Istanbul airport from last time but very impressed this time.
    I have decided I am getting some Turkish delight when we come back in a couple of days time. It’s everywhere in the airport and I LOVEEEEEEEE.
    We had Popeyes for lunch which I didn’t like. Thats strike 2/2 for Popeyes. Edible but hardly a standard to be a massive chain.
    They accepted euro cash but pretty sure we overpaid. Would have had to pay a conversion with wise anyway as I hadn’t preloaded any Lira.
    On our 2km walk to our gate we exchanged some Euro for Manat and got ripped off hard core. We exchanged $200 euro and only got 250 Manat.
    Current exchange should be 350 manat.
    The 100 Manat missing is $87.
    No choice though. It wasn’t available to buy in Australia, Wise doesn’t pre load it and we only did enough so we could pay our hostel fee tonight. Will find a better exchange on the streets somewhere tomorrow.

    Airport had a toilet for dogs.

    This is not an exaggeration. 1 in 5 men has hair plugs in the airport. Apparently Turkey is Europes go to for cheap cosmetic surgery like how we go to Thailand.
    I genuinely could not believe the amount of men. And some ladies.

    Had to go to a squat toilet. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve used one.
    Still not a fan. I don’t mind the process in theory. But ladies don’t have a pointer to direct their wee. Floor is covered. If I didn’t have to stand it I wouldn’t actually mind the squat part haha.
    I’m fairness men have a pointer and still do a worse job. I swear they close their eyes and sway.
    If you miss clean it up, it’s not hard.

    Condoms for sale outside the toilets. What everyone is desperate for in an airport.

    Had to do a Covid vaccine and passport check before getting on the plane.

    This is the most important piece of information for the day:

    A man bought a seat in business class for his cat.

    The greatest thing I have ever seen.

    It was so calm. A very well travelled cat hahahah.

    I’m not sure what native Azerbaijani people look like. Turkish, Russian, Asian? Not a clue. I think I pictured middles eastern and I’ve only decided this because I’m surprised by the amount of blue eyes and blonde hair on our plane.

    We did a quick google search before getting on about basic words because English is going to be much harder to come by.

    20 month old on the plane escaped its Mum. He went crawling up the isle and like 4 different people tried to grab him before he got returned 😆

    With one hour to go the crying children have started.

    Dinner was a delicious rosemary pasta.

    Landed and got through passport checks very quickly, got our bags and walked to the entrance hall and found our driver with a flimsy, hand drawn bubble letter sign BUT HE WAS THERE SO 🎉.

    So Baku is super duper clean.
    It was cool to see the skyscrapers all lit up with their flag colours.
    We are keen to go exploring tomorrow. We think we are going to go to the carpet museum. I’m already so stressed we don’t have enough time here.
    Our driver is a tour guy dude so took his details.
    Have been going back and forth with him all evening about a 2 day tour.
    I don’t want to do the tour over 2 days. There is one online for half the price.
    But I take the gamble it’s going to be extremely rushed and that I won’t understand the guide.
    I understand our driver.
    It’s 100 euro per day for the both of us. More than reasonable.
    But then there is entrance fees.
    So I’m very torn and I’m going to sleep on it.
    Originally put aside 200AUD for the tour so bit of a difference.

    I also felt extremely sick this evening so I’m feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Gonna have a big think.

    Our hostel is a bit dodge. Well it’s actually ok but I think a lot of permanent residents. The elevator was so dodgy we went one at a time in case it failed the other could alert someone 😆

    COUNTRY 50!!!!!! 🕺🏻🕺🏻🕺🏻🕺🏻🕺🏻
    Read more

  • Day43

    Monaco

    November 25 in Monaco ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    Will had planned to go to the free Gym in our hostel and then we were going to go to market before catching the train but that didn’t happen. Hahah

    So instead we just went to the station around 10 and had to figure out the ticket machine. One machine was stupid and one was terrific.
    We then had a quick snack while we waited for the train and hopped on.
    About a 25 min ride to Monaco. Lots of cops on the train escorting the ticket people.
    Decided half way to have a panic because we didn’t have our passports with us.
    Haven’t needed them once but today I decided we would.
    We didn’t need them 😂

    Country number 49!!!!

    First we walked to the casino which was wildly underwhelming. It was the size of a large house?
    Had to find a sign to make sure we were looking at the right thing.
    It was perfectly fine with a nice facade I just suppose because everyone talks about the Monte Carlo casino I expected more?
    We then walked down to the start/finish line of the F1 race track.
    It’s literally just lines on the floor but I was so excited. Love the F1!!!
    About 50m away was the Prince of Monaco’s car collection museum. It was only 10€ to enter each which for Monaco i thought was more than reasonable.
    About 100 cars In the collection and even though I’m not a car person I really enjoyed it.
    Even Will got his camera out for some of the cars.
    I liked the F1 cars the best, obvs.
    They had Red Bulls Pierre Gasly and Max Vestrappens (Pierre is my favourite driver) and a Lewis Hamiltons Mercedes. 2014 though so not a championship year.
    Very cool!
    There was a average joe Lexus that Will didn’t know what it was there until we realized it was the Princes wedding car.
    It was all see through in the back so paparazzi could take pics which was different.

    Lots of old school cars. I like them better because they have character.

    We then got lunch.
    We ordered a lot because we were very hungry 😅😅😅😅haha.
    All reasonable really except Wills 9€ crepe which you can get for 2.5€ at the market.

    3 or 4 shops later and I found an acceptable magnet.

    We then went walking up the hill to find some viewpoints.

    Amazinnnnnnng!!!
    I particularly enjoyed looking at the billions of dollars worth of boats just sitting in the harbour.
    3 different viewpoints and all fabulous!

    Saw the princes castle - he was home so couldn’t visit.
    Of note:
    The current Prince has an older sister but she wasn’t allowed the job - this one I’m not too bothered by because of the when.
    I am bothered that he has twin 7 year olds - the girl is older but boy is the heir. *eye roll*

    Old mate Lizzie did a bang up job.

    Traditional is not always synonymous with good.

    Child brides and genital mutilation also come under the “but it’s tradition” umbrella.

    If someone had tried to arrange his marriage to his cousin because iTs trADitiONal be mightn’t have like tradition so much.

    Stupid.

    Anyway.

    Walked back to station.
    Only had 2 of the stupid machines to buy tickets. We figured it out but what a hassle.
    Got the train out to the airport because there was a north face shop there and we took a gamble and it paid off. Will got a jacket.
    Nearly choked when she said the price.
    We read the 5 as a 3 😑
    Thank goodness it’s Black Friday so we got 125€ off and it was 375€ instead.
    Still. He better wear it ever bloody day.
    I’m most cranky because I don’t even like it hahah but he does.
    I read him my journal every/most nights before posting to check I haven’t done any major spelling boo boos but I’ll skip that bit tonight. He looks like a rectangle. 😂

    Caught the train back. Have showered, packed, semi organized how to get to the airport in the morning and got salad for dinner.
    Read more

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOSFindPenguins for Android