One night in London 

Well all good things have to come to an end, and so has my trip, but not before one night in London.  Having lived here for 4 years and visiting a few times since, not much tourist stuff here, but I did have a look around the shops, and while out did take a few pictures, mainly for my nieces and nephew who are reading my blog.

So below are some iconic images of London, double decker bus, black cab, the red telephone box and a very out of focus London tube

I also got a few snaps of Carnaby Street, Piccadilliy circus, leicester square and convent garden

Now over the course of my travels for many years and over 50 countries, I’ve had some interesting rooms, noisy, bad beds, no curtains, hot, cold, dirty, but no matter the cleanliness of a toilet I’ve at least been able to sit on it, even if I didn’t want too, but this one bed apartment took the price for smallest toilet space ever, had to squeeze my thong in for scale

But I give them credit for the creative use of a cupboard as a kitchen/wardrobe/storage

Headed out to a bar I was recommended called Cahoots, got rejected, apparently I needed a reservation, wow that hurt the ego alittle, felt so judged and rejected.  Walked away a bit disheartened, but then stumbled across an old favourite restauant from my time here, so dumplings for dinner it was, and a coctail

Well that’s all folks, ready for the long trip home, by train, plane and automobile, otherwise known as transport with strangers in crouching on my personal space, train ride London to Birmingham, heaps of other seats, but no man picks one next to me, flight to Dubai, middle seat between two men both using my arms rest and with bad cases of man spread, then flight to Melbourne, the woman next to me that thought I needed her blanket squeezed against my thigh and her elbow in my back…..lucky for me I had the best taxi driver home, thanks Matt

It’s been a great trip, so many different experiences and places, a bit too much time on my own, it got lonely a few times on this trip, but also loved doing what I want when I want, mmm not really any different to my single life I guess, lol

Anyway, until the next time, thanks everyone for reading


More Malta

After some warm overcast weather and some relaxing time by the pool I decided I should probably get out and explore some more of the island.  Just across from my hotel is Arica beach, it’s a bit rough, but it’s the end of the day so I just take a walk along and enjoy the view, got to love the sound of waves crashing into rocks

For dinner I wanted to try a local Maltese dish, rabbit stew, while its been 30 degrees today and it’s still a warm night, I really want to try it, so I find a cute local restaurant that has it, wow, it was really yummy, loved it.  Plus they also gave me a free dessert, winning, was a date fried thing, that’s what the waitress said, it was good that’s all I know

Next day sun was shining so I spent the day by the pool, but I figure you get the idea, and probably don’t need a picture to imagine a pool and me laying by it, no need to rub it in, lol

The bay in St Julian is really pretty

Along the coast a little is a town called Selina, it’s got amazing views back over towards Valletta.  After all that lounging by the pool and catching a bus 10 mins and then taking some pics, I’m exhausted, time to rest, oh look it’s a free table outside with a view and a coctail menu…great timing, lol

Almost everywhere you look here they are advertising to go to the blue lagoon, so I figured I’d also go check it out.
Waiting at bus stop, first bus I need just goes past without stopping as its already full….mmmm ok wait 15 for next one, this one arrives and stops, but only allows 2 people on, of the around 15 waiting for it.  Ok, this isn’t ideal, I decide I’ll try one more bus, but I walk back a bus stop, hoping not as many there and I can get on.  Bus pulls up, it’s full, about 10 people waiting, bus driver indicates 2 people….two girls jump on, others are all politely yelling to also get on, I yell out just one, just one….nope….but I figure stuff it and push past the others and jump onboard….haha success, he let me stay.

So the hour long bus ride was spent standing on crowded bus, I am starting to get worried about how busy this place is going to be, then we stop at a beach and practically the whole bus gets off, mmmmmm.  As we continue to my stop, and then at the ferry terminal I buy my ticket and get on small boat with only 30 others, I’m starting to think, ok maybe this place won’t be that busy, oh how wrong I was.

But before I got the the Lagon, we cruised past some cool rock formations and what they called caves on the brochure, I’m no geologist but not what I would call a cave, but still really pretty

Mmmmm still thinking maybe this place not that impressive and not that popular, until the boat turns a corner and I see the lagoon along with the hundreds of people, either in the water or perched on a rock along the small cliff along the water. Omg, this is going to be insane, but wow it’s stunning

I try to find a spot to sit, literally, this was impossible, plus I had the added consideration of needing to be close to water as I needed to be near my bag while in the water, not easy when the only space next to the water is crammed with deck chairs and people, that are not leaving anytime soon.  I stumble along the rocks and manage to find a section you can climb down and find a rock I can squat on….no laying out sun tanning here, this 30cm square rock is my spot.

After a bit I decide that I’ve had enough of this place and I head back, a pretty boat ride back too, but kinda glad to get away from the chaos that was the blue lagoon, it’s always a shame when a place is so popular that it actually ruins it, this is certainly the case here

The bus ride back was much more enjoyable, had a seat, decided to stop at the beach near my hotel, it’s near the Intercontiniental, so I figure should be a nice beach.  It wasn’t horrible, but the water wasn’t that clear, I see now why half the island was at the blue lagoon.  It’s crowded, but I manage to find a free spot for my towel and some relaxing on the pebbly sand.. The view back over the beach was lovely as I walked back to my hotel

My last night in Malta, I headed back to Valletta for dinner and maybe another ice cream from my favourite shop in Europe.  The Upper gardens had a wine tasting night on, sadly you had to buy minimum of four drinks, surprisingly I didn’t want that many, but was awesome with the live band playing

Across the harbour in Birgu they had a festival for St Laurence, and a fireworks display, that I had perfect viewing spot for.  Was a shame they started late as I had to race off to get last bus and missed the last part, they went for almost half an hour, and I’ve decided it’s impossible to get good pics of fireworks.

Well the holiday is almost over, I fly back to Lomdon tomorow, for one last night of my trip, have enjoyed Malta and some down time by the pool and beach, but am starting to get sad that it’s almost over, but also kinda ready to be home again, traveling on your own can get very lonely . 

Time for some sun, sand and coctails in Malta

Got to love the EU, boarded in Bergen Norway, via Copenhagen, and landed in Malta, not a single person checked who I was or my id, no one, anyone could have flown on my ticket.

Arrived in warm Malta, 30 degrees at 7pm, love it.  They drive on the same side of the road here as we do, it’s kinda nice to finally cross a road and not look the wrong way all the time, lol, well kind off, I’m still looking every which way except the way traffic is coming at the moment

Arrive at hotel, mmmm booking this at last minute and quickly hasn’t proved to be a win, it’s what it said on the box, just maybe photos from 10 years ago, oh well, it’s in a great spot near the beach and it has a pool, so boxes still ticked, plus my room has an ocean view, some reason I never got a pic, but this is from the roof top pool, my room was just a little lower

Time for dinner, walk into the town, I’m staying in area called St Julian, I find a waggamamma, I know it’s not Maltese but I do love it and it’s now 9pm and I’m starving, but did try the local beer Cisk with dinner, both where lovely

Next day I head to the capital, Valletta, it’s about a 30 minute bus ride, but all along the coast line and air conditioned, so no drama at all.  It’s a very cute town, walked around the old streets, churches everywhere.  

One of the most famous churches here is St Johns cathedral, it’s suppose to be amazing inside, I made a rookie travel error and am in singlet and things, they won’t let me in, doh, so this is what it looks like from the outside, so imagine very ornate paintings on the ceiling and on the floor, got a photo of the side door you enter from too…. Mmmm not quite the same I know.

Next I walked down to the water and the lower barracks, where you get a great view

Has amazing view of the harbour and Port Ricasoli at the entrance to the harbour, and the Siege Bell

Continued along the harbour and stopped at the Siege Bell and then walked up to the upper barracks, which has a great view across the harbour of Birgu

Naturally about now my buffet b’fast was worn off, it’s been 2 hours, so I find a place for lunch.  I had a traditional Maltese dish called Qarabaghli, mined cooked in marrow.

Can’t say I was a fan, but next I found gold……..a great ice cream shop that Claudia introduced me to in France, so glad this isn’t in Melbourne, I’d blow out!

As I walked around ginning ear to ear drinking my milkshake, I walked past the Palace.  Also they have started decorating the street in preparation of the up coming festival of the church, which is a huge celebration that occurs in all churches in Malta over the summer.

Got a few final pics before busing back towards my town

Been a long day, time for some coctails at the beach for sunset

Very much looking forward to some time by the pool for the next few days, someone has to do it, today it’s me, next time it might be you

Beautiful Bergen, just a little cold, wet and grey

So my run of great weather has finally come to an end, shame it had to be on my fjords trip yesterday and continuing here in Bergen.  On the plus side, I’ve at least now got to use the warm clothes I brought and my umbrella, least I’ve lugged them around for a reason.

Bergen is a cute little town on the harbour and surrounded by mountains, while the tops of these mountains where hidden by cloud the whole time I’ve been here, it’s still a really pretty little town.

It’s known for its fish market which is set up in tents along the harbour and sells both fresh and cooked fish, lots of amazing fresh fish here, King craps, sea urchins, muscles and of course salmon.  You could also get raindeer and whale…..mmmm I’ll pass thanks. 

Another well known attraction here is Brygen which is a group of wooden buildings along the harbour, which have had many fires over the years,in particular the great fire of 1702 that reduced the town to ashes, it was then rebuilt again.

You could walk through and to the back of the buildings, most are now used for shops and restaurants, but it’s rather cool seeing all the wooden structures and crazy angels

Even found a new friend, he insisted on getting a selfie with me

The view from behind shows the crazy roof lines of the buildings

Stumbled upon a place for lunch that said it sold healthy burgers, turns out that’s cause they vegetarian or vegan, with all the pastries I’ve been having, maybe a healthy lunch isn’t a bad idea, so I got the chickpea burger with a ginger lemonade, was rather delicious

They had a vintage boat festival on in the harbour, which meant it was filled with these lovely old wooden boats.

They also had a reinactment of the great fires, with vintage fire engines and police cars coming to Brygen to demonstrate the fire hoses and also using the ladders to rescue someone from the top windows, was rather amusing to watch, including the dropping of a dummy to be caught by the firemen

They also had a demonstration on the water, as the sun had appeared, this was pretty impressive site

I walked up the view point over town, pretty view, think the sun even made a brief appearance, very brief

Went for a walk to check out an area called Nordnes, it’s got some cute streets and houses, it’s also on a point of the harbour, where a couple was getting married, lovely spot, felt horrible when it started to rain on them

Not a chance I was leaving here without having some local fish, I went for so on, just couldn’t face whale or raindeer.

Sadly am saying good bye to Scandinavia, it’s been amazing, hope your guys are enjoying the blog, especially my niece Emma who has been reading it, hello lovely, hope you are enjoying seeing what Aunty Nae Nae has been doing and that you are showing Ryan and Hayley, look forward to seeing you all soon.

Next stop is Malta, time for some sun, beach and pool time

Norway by trains, bus, ferry and foot

You pretty much can’t come to Norway and not see the fjords, I chose to do a trip which would take me from Oslo across Norway via the fjords and end in Bergen on the west coast.  The train from Oslo to the first transport change at Myrdal, for the first few hours was cute countryside, but nothing amazing, but then towards the end wow, it really started to change as we start heading through the valleys and into the mountains.  Warning: this post has lots of photos, impossible to narrow it down, everything so beautiful, plus most are taken from within a fast moving train or behind glass.

On this first leg I was on the wrong side of the train, all the best scenery was on the other side, so a few dodgy shots across the carriage it had to be

As the train started heading up into the mountains the scenery got even more breath taking.  These shots taken near Finse, highest station in Norway at 1,222 meters, and they show the Hardangerjokulen glacier which covers 78km area and is 1,840 meters high

At Myrdal we change trains to the Flam railway, which will take us from 866m to 2m above seas level as we desend down into the flam valley, the train goes through 20 tunnels, including one that does a 180 degree turn in the tunnel.

We have a quick stop at Kjosfossen waterfall, it has a 94m water drop, it was amazing

Back on the train and we continue down into the flam valley, they say this is one of the most beautiful train rides, I’d have to agree, I’ll let the photos do the talking, and they don’t do it justice, plus today is very overcast and drizzly so I imagine even more stunning with clear blue skies.

A very quick hour later we are in Flam which is a tiny village in Aurlandsfjord, it’s a major spot for ferries, cruise ships inundating the tiny population of only 400 people, and is the starting point of my next leg of the journey by ferry, but first I have a look around and grab lunch.  The cruise ship was huge, I kinda was annoyed it was there, but it also was amazing seeing how big it was and yet how small when compared to the walls of the fjord

Amazingly enough with everything I’ve already seen, I am only just now getting to see the fjords.  The cruise takes us along two of the most impressive fjords in Norway, Aurlandsfjord and Naeroyfjord. 

Next the ferry turns and starts heading directly at the walls of the fjord, looking ahead I could see a group of goats, wow, seriously impressive that they are here, how they got here is amazing, not exactly any easy trails

Next we continue on and then move in close to Sagfossen waterfall, which is 500m high, it was amazing, especially how close we got on the ferry

Even with the wet and overcaste conditions this was such an amazing cruise.  Our cruise ends in Gudvangen, where the next mode of transport, a bus is waiting.  Just when I thought this trip couldn’t get better, it did, the bus takes us down the most ridiculous steep and winding road ever called Stalheimskleiva, it’s 1.5km long and had a gradient up to 20% and has 13 hairpin turns.  I can’t believe our bus drove down it, was sensational, you could feel the steep gradient as we drove down.

Along the way we see amazing views of the Naeroydalen Valley and Sivlefossen and Stalheimfossen water falls, each around 120-140m high.

And then finally we board the last segment of the trip, train from Voss to Bergen, again the scenery was amazing, but with the lights in the train and grey sky outside, didn’t really get many shots.

And so 13 hours later and some of the most amazing scenery, I arrive in Bergen, and drag me and my suitcase to my hotel room, totally exhausted, what an amazing day

Slowly getting into Oslo

Turns out they are doing some engineering works on the train lines so a large part of my trip to Oslo will be on replacement buses….oh dear this is going to be a long day….7.5 hours later, I arrive in Oslo, luckily it’s light here until well after 10pm so still got a few hours to check out the city. I only ever planned to have the afternoon in Oslo, and it’s not a huge city.

I walk up through the main shopping precinct and pass yet more kids playing in a fountain, some beautiful buildings, Parliament House and the Royal Palace

I walk through some cute suburban streets as I head up towards a sculpture park

Vigeland Sculpture Park is the worlds largest sculpture park by one artist, with over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, the park is huge, with most of the sculptures being set along a 850m central section down the middle of the park

All of the sculptures are set to resemble the circle of life, and are naked so that the sculptures will be timeless, and are images of life that we can all identify with, this park was pretty amazing, and you could literally spend a few hours exploring and relaxing here

Next I went down to the Aker Brygge area, which is just like the dock lands in Melbourne, only heaps heaps better and people actually go there

It’s got a great view of Akerhus Fortress

A bit further along the waterside, was another area which had a festival set up with live music and food and bars, sat here and enjoyed the music, a drink and a view of the Opera & Ballet building

Ordered some smoked salmon for dinner, I have to admit I wasn’t expecting the waffle, the menu said potatoe waffle, but I wasn’t expecting this, it was nice however

I may have only had a few hours in Oslo, but I like it here, however, I’m really looking forward to the main reason I came to Norway, which is sailing the fjords tomorow, so early night as it will be a long day tomorrow.

A little more of Stockholm 

Still loving the pastries in Scandanavia, and had another this morning for b’fast in Hurnlegarden I also had fruit and juice, honestly, lol

I then walked down Karlavagen, a beautiful street with a walking path down the middle of the road, some cool buildings along the way in this area of Stockholm called Ostermalm.

Next I walked along Strandvagen, which is promenade along the harbour with buildings from the 19th century

The Stockholm archipelago is made up of 30,000 islands, clearly not enough time to visit them all, and some of them are a few hours away by ferry, so I chose to go to one of the closest ones to town, the ferry ride was great for getting a view of Stockholm from the water.

A short 25 minutes later I arrive at Fjaderholmarna Island, the do some exploring around this small island

This island has lots of artists set up creating and selling their items like pottery, glass blowing, painting etc, after checking out the stalls I stop for a drink before my ferry ride back

Got a few more shots on the way back, we also passed a very cool looking amusement park

The warm weather has continued, so much so that almost every fountain seems to be filled with kids splashing around, kinda makes me wish I was still a kid so I could join them, and have it be socially acceptable, oh well ice cream will have to do instead of a splash

So Stockholm grew on me a little by the end, but on the whole I’m happy to be leaving, catching the train to Oslo tomorrow