Sunday, 23 December 2001

I'm home! Back to Australia with no job, no money and living with my parents! The sun is shining though and it is so good to see everyone again. Elise and Annaliese greeted me at the airport with a big welcome home sign which was very exciting - no one has ever done that for me before! Started doing the rounds of all the friends and will hopefully see heaps of people at Christmas Eve at Epping pub. Probably make it to the beach tomorrow.


Sunday, 16 December 2001

Back in Dublin, time to tie up all the loose ends. Can't wait to tell the bank where to stick their stupid bank account that it took me so long to get. I have to return to the scene of the crime at Bad Bobs with an engineer to point out where it all happened, not looking forward to that so much!

Kerry was fantastic, although I will be happy not drive again for a while. 4 full days driving on my own was a bit much. I enjoyed the solitude though of just me and the mountains a lot of the time. It was really off season over there, hardly saw another tourists and most nights I was alone in the hostel. Curled up by the fire and read my book.

Managed to take in most of the Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry, Beara Peninsula and Mizen Head. Miles and miles of spectacular coastline and beautiful mountains. A highlight was Healy's pass, on the Beara Peninsula. The road was built during the famine years - the sign said "to prevent starvation" although I can't understand why building a road could do this? The South side is barren rocky mountains and the North fertile land and lakes and in the distance the hills of the ring of Kerry. I was amazing (and very cold) being up the top on my own, just me, the mountain and the sheep! (and a giant white jesus on the cucifix!)


Tuesday, 11 December 2001

Well, I know you are all waiting with bated breath to hear all the news of Birmingham, Paris and London. I think my brain is slightly numb from 8 months of unemployment and up till now not been up to stringing the words together. But I reckon since I really have nothing better to do here goes...

Alison's Final (almost) European Sojourn (abridged)


Flew into Birmingham on the red eye special to catch up with Katie. She has herself a great place about 15 minutes out of the city centre in a newly renovated 3 story terrace with a garden and a squirill! We hung out and did some shopping (I bought another pair of shoes - that makes 7 pairs to get home! Do you think I have a problem?) and went out to a pretty tacky Irish pub that night. The next day we went along to see a guy play Ice Hockey but it was sooo freezing we left after the first 20 minutes! I was a quiet weekend but it was nice to just hang out for a bit somewhere that isn't Dublin.


The initial plan was to go to the Lakes District but with the weather looking a little incumbant the thought of hanging around in the hostel waiting for the weather to clear did not impress. Katies photos of Paris did though so I showed up on Monday morning at the B'ham train station and booked myself on the next train to Paris. The Eurostar was brilliant. It only took about 4 hours from London and was so comfy, it brings you right into the centre of Paris too.

I stayed in Montmatre under the fairytale white spire of Sacre Coere, my favourite place in Paris, especially at night. The hostel was brilliant, a great find, called Le Village hostel. I met some really nice people there who I spent time with at night drinking coffee and window shopping in the village of Montmatre.

Having seen most of the most famous sights the last time I was in Paris I singled out the few things I had missed and spent a lot of time just wandering and getting a better feel for the place. Of note, I went to the cemetry where Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison are buried (amongst others) and the catacombs where the bones of thousands of ex-Parisians where stacked in patterns when the cemetries started getting full. Also went to the Musee D'Orsay for some Impressionists and to the Rodin gallery, both fantastic. I wandered around Galleries La Fayette to watch the rich people shop and climbed the tower at Notre Dame for some up close encounters with gargoyles and a fantastic view of the city. Stumbled into plenty of other things along the way like the Champs Elysee, Louvre etc but I did manage to spend 5 days in Paris and NOT see the Eiffel tour!

Being on my own was a little scary at times. At least once a day I was approached by a yucky French man wanting to chat, they are very annoying and hard to get rid of. On my first night I was followed all the way to the hostel! Not speaking French made it more difficult to as I couldn't (pardon my French) just tell them to F Off! I had forgotton how much you get out of travelling alone though. People (good and bad!) talk to you and I find that I see a lot more and get more a feel for the city. I think I could probably live in Paris, I really like it, have to learn French first though!


Spent a few nights staying at Neal's place in Hammersmith. In true London style we had a very big Saturday night followed by all Sunday in the Walkabout (I was meant to meet people there but they didn't show) Enough time inside pubs to last me a long time. Some of you Londonsiders out there can probably tell it normal in pubs in London for the lads to get their kit off (and I mean all of it!) and dance on the tables?! Well thats what happened at a pub I was at in Fulham!

Made an effort this time to do some touristy stuff. I am actually warming to London a bit these days and am thinking I may be able to live there. I am a bit over the living abroad thing at the moment though so it woulding be for a while if ever!

Climbed the dome at St Pauls, did the Tower Bridge Expereince, wandered around the Brittish Museum. Spent the next day walking around past the houses of parliament, Westminster, Trafalger Sq, a quick whip around the National Portrait Gallery (which is really great by the way) and then on the Liecester Sq, Piccadilly circus, down Bond St and past Tiffinys and Cartier and though to Buckingham Palace...whew! Sounds frantic but was actually a great day!

Well that's about it. Back in Dublin now, I had to come back for the Jamiroquai concert. Glad I did though, he was brilliant. Such a great performer, he bounces around the stage the whole time, and what a voice. He was wearing this cool hat that looked kind of like an indian headdress only the feathers where made of relective silver stuff that made it look like his head was radiating light. Went out that night to Ri Ra's and went dancing. I was absolutley buggered after that and went home but the others went to a 24 hour bowling alley for a game! I couldn't believe it either!!?

Had a combined farewell party with Zena on Saturday night, another great night that made me realise I am going to miss some things about Dublin especially some of the people I have met.

I was planning to go to Spain but I can't get a cheap flight so I have hired a car for a few days and am going to explore the west a bit more. I hope I don't get too lost navigating on my own! For anyone looking for me I will be back in Dubs on Saturday Night.


Saturday, 1 December 2001

Im coming home! My flight is confirmed. So put me back on your xmas pressie list, I be home for xmas. 22/11/2001


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