Monday, 7 July 2014

The Final Post - A Few Highlights and Stats

This post was created and published in Dubai and, sadly, that's where it seems to have stayed.  So a republish is required. Apologies for duplications!

Well our bags are packed, just brekkie and we are on our way to Dubai airport.  What an incredible amount of memories we have created.  So we decided to put one last post together with a few statistics and some of our favourite places.

Time Spent 
Left home 10am 29th April, Returned 2 pm 29th June - 61 days and 4 hours approx. (yes I know we aren't there yet, but should be roughly right).

Kilometres Travelled
Home to Paris return about 35,700km plus
Paris to Paris approx. 5700km 
Total = 41,400km.

Countries Visited
8 - France, England, Wales, Scotland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy & Switzerland

6 - French, English, Dutch, Italian, German, Arabic

4 - Euro, Great British Pound, Swiss France and the UAE Dirham

Modes of Transport (in order of kms)
12 - Planes, Trains, Car, Walking, Barge, Ferries,  Bus, Bicycle, Cable Cars, Cogwheel railway, Tram, Funicular

Favourite mode of travel - The Lake Lucerne Ferries.

Favourite Places
Lucerne, Switzerland.

Scottish highlands
Lake Como (Bellagio), Italy.
Lynton and Lynmouth, North Devon, UK

Worst moments?
When the train turned into a tram in Brussels and we knew we'd made a mistake. If it looks like a tram, smells like a tram - it's a tram! Even if it's on railway tracks.

When my tooth broke.

Scary Moments
Cheryl and Garrie - taxi rides in Amsterdam and Brussels
Garrie - outside St Paul's, Cliff Walk at Titlis and anything that included heights and outside air.
Cheryl - things that involved plunging down steep mountainsides in small vehicles attached to thin wires

Where we'd go again
UK - still so much to see
Lake Como, ditto above plus a wonderful place to relax.
Switzerland. I still need to see the Valais sheep (below) and we want to take the kids to the Swiss transport museum and we want to see more snow and do more walking
And visit Mt Pilatus...

Been theredone thatticked that box.
Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ghent, Venice, Dubai

Most Expensive Places
Lucerne then Venice

Blog Statistics
68  Posts
2000+ Photos (approx. have taken about 3500 and definitely not all loaded to the blog)
37 Email subscribers
2560 Visits (non subscribers)
Countries of visitors - 10 - Australia, USA, UK, Canada, Switzerland, Russia, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Germany.

What we'd do differently.
- take even less with us.  OK we may have needed more of the cold clothes if the weather turned against us but we could definitely manage with less clothing.
- do more research before leaving and in some cases more pre booking.
- we know what kind of places we like now so booking via Airbnb would be even easier, definitely views, washing machine and room to cook properly. Far prefer apartments to hotels.
- a shorter time frame perhaps. 6 weeks.
- staying longer in each place.
- being fitter before leaving home.

Things we bought to go we loved
- Our Kathmandu gear was great esp. the shirts and pants and the cases.
 - Our GPS system.
- Our beaut little mobile phone.

What We Will Miss
The food
The Beer of the Day
The Church Bells 
The daily surprises eg this amazing waterfall

Accommodation and main Trip sites
If anyone wants specific places I have them. Some we would do again for sure.

Thanks Tina for pushing me to do this blog as I'm sure we wouldn't remember the half if it without it. 
Thanks also to everyone who has joined us on this journey, it's been great to have you along and we've appreciated your emails and comments.

Now we know you are all going to miss the blog. So we have decided we could sacrifice ourselves to more travel, so simply message me and we'll send you the account details for your donation and then we can do this all again soon...

Love and hugs to you all.

A bientot, bye for now, tot ziens, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen. Cheryl and Garrie. Xxx

Friday, 27 June 2014

My Bedouin Dish

So today is our last day of play as tomorrow we'll be up and at the airport early. Mum flies in at about 7.30am local time and we all head for Sydney around 9.30am. Though first let's finish yesterday.  We headed back to the Dubai Mall for dinner as we wanted to catch the water show. We also checked out some shops and bought Garrie the full Bedouin outfit.  The white robe us called a dishdash, the head scarf a keffiyeh and the black band an agal.  
Doesn't he look a treat!
One thing travelling teaches you is how little we know of other cultures and what myths and fears are perpetuated.  This link is easy to read and talks about the differences in what people wear.
Basically what Arabs wear comes from their Bedouin heritage. Burkas are Afgan not Arabic and turbans come from Asia not here.  The white keffiyeh denotes the UAE whereas the red and white is for Saudis.  We are invited to a party where "world dress" is the theme - being a Bedouin will be perfect. In watching the locals we can see how similar we all are. They love theirs kids, their fun, their shopping and are all stuck on mobile phones.

We took a quick shot of our hotel on the way to the shops. Our suite being the second down on the left.

The beer of the day is a non-alcoholic marguerita (well this the UAE).
I had a mango and berry daiquiri
Garrie had crispy fried jumbo prawns
I had prawns filled with crab and lobster.
All yummy!  So then off to the water display which happens on the half hour from 6pm to 11pm. We caught the end of the 8pm so waited in what seemed a good position for the 8.30. Here are a few of the pics.
This really doesn't capture it. It is the most amazing display I have ever seen and this one was set to the theme to The Magnificent Seven. For Eli Wallach who passed away this week perhaps? The light bill board detracts but you can imagine...  The Burj presides over it all.
And restaurants line the area.
On the way home more palm trees caught my attention. These reflected in water.
And a Close up of those we saw from a distance when we arrived.
So today.  Well it didn't go to plan. Garrie woke with a very uncomfortable back. Breakfast first and my granola, fruit and yoghurt was very colourfully served.
After deciding walking might help we set off for the nearest metro station passing this fountain on the way.
To get to the nearest metro station you walk through the Dubai Mall (huge to cross in its own right) and then follow a long, long corridor (air conditioned thankfully) to the station.  The station is a glamourous gold.
And this next shot shows you the corridor and we live well on the other side of the Burj Kalifa tower which you can also see.
It was a long way. As we were almost there Garrie quipped we had just about walked to Australia. I replied that we'd probably find the next train didn't leave for a couple of hours as I hadn't checked the exact schedule.  I was right - on Friday the metro doesn't start until 1pm for some reason.  Maybethe quiet, empty corridor should have clued us in?
We had passed people going the other way and none of them had said a thing.  Determined to help others I told everyone we passed so we ended up a group of Aussies heading back for the Dubai mall. A couple of them had been to the spice souk yesterday and talked of the dirt and high pressure sales people so after all the walking we decided enough was enough.  We had a cuppa in the mall and headed for their Souk.
It's beautifully decorated, clean and in Airconditioning.
Even the floors are fabulous!
Then we headed for the food court for some lunch. We didn't eat here but seems some burger joints are more honest than others...
So time to head back to the hotel.  Not sure if we will venture out again or not. The heat is oppressive. Just take a look at these doors that separate the heat outside from the Airconditioning in.
They run with condensation. As soon as you walk out your sunglasses and the camera lens fog up. Dubai has been interesting but we certainly prefer natural wonders to the man made variety so don't think we'll be back.  One final shot to show the wealth.  Why paint zebra crossings when you can use granite!
So unless we find some extra energy and head out tonight, here endeth our two month odyssey. We have had a ball and just to prove it I'm putting one last post together to send tomorrow with a few highlights and statistics.  See you then. Xx

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Camels, World's tallest building and a Super Mall!

Me and my new bestie.
Let me start with the daylight shots from our room.
And of course, the Burj Kalifa
And here is the view from the loo! Very strange sitting and wondering if anyone can really see you.
We start with a lovely breakfast and here are just two pics from the extensive buffet.
How fresh is this honey!
We stopped by our pool and courtyard - very nice.
Well it's hot here. Currently 39 degrees but has a heat index of 44. Winds at 26kph out of the NW. Cloudy tonight with a low of 29. This morning when it was about 35 we decided to circumnavigate the Burj - just for fun and we took a few pics on the way.
How would you like this job?
If you aren't sure why we are walking around taking pictures of the Burj Kalifa, I should mention that it is currently the world's tallest building at 828m and 163 floors.  It's cladding includes over 24,000 cut glass panels, the 31,400 metric tonnes of steel rebar used, if laid end-to-end, would stretch a quarter of the way around the earth. Level 160 is the world's highest habitable floor, in fact most of the building is residential.  The 124th floor is for whizzing up to in 55 seconds in an obviously high speed lift and seeing out into the dusty yonder.  Garrie having overcome his fear of heights, and me having overcome my fear of small boxes whizzing up and down on relatively thin wire, we decide to give it a go. Here is what we could see from the top.
Oh this is the Dubai Mall where I met my camel mate.
Remember that water picture from earlier at ground level?
Most people are aware of the famous hotel that looks a bit like a yacht.  Well it was very hazy today...but you can just make it out. Lol.
We both enjoyed it, even the outside deck, though the heat drives you back inside. Garrie even bought himself a hat!
And I nearly bought myself a chocolate camel..
But believe it or not I'm almost over chocolate. Want to know more about the Burj?
And so to the Dubai Mall. Our information says "the world's greatest mall" with more than 1200 retail outlets, it also includes a few things most malls don't. A skating rink.
A fun park with some amazing rides, most of which defeated my camera with their speed in the poor light, but I think you'll understand this one.
A dinosaur
A few super Heros
An aquarium with what is supposed to be the largest viewing panel in the world. This is probably true as I had to go one floor up and still couldn't get it all in.
And an amazing fountain. I think this one is my favourite pic of the day.
Of course it has more normal parts, though even they are well decorated.
It also has 31 chocolate, confectionary and ice cream stores so my weakness for chocolate finally cracked. This is chocolate fondue with a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of hazelnut - delicious!
Garrie can never resist a banana split.
Time to come home..snapped this on the way back through the neighbouring hotel.
So just about through my third last post to this blog. One more tomorrow and then a wrap-up with some stats I hope to send before we fly out Saturday. Home Sunday at which point we will both be lapsing into a coma for a while. One final pic - I found this in the hotel wardrobe - and there I was thinking it was the ironing board....
No??? Seriously??? BFN. Xx