22
Jul2014
0

Earlier this year, we went for a week long trip from Luxembourg up to Amsterdam by train. Luxembourg is Europe’s third smallest country with a total population of 550,000. So its not like the Vatican, which is the smallest prinicpality in the world with a population of 839, but is bordered by Germany, France and Belgium but somehow maintained its independence. We visited its capital city – ‘Europe’s most dramatically picturesque’ – to see its ‘spectacular vistas’ according to Lonely Planet. And […]

16
Jul2014
0

Back in March, I went to Texas for a week for a work trip to visit colleagues in Plano, just north of Dallas. I was quite excited about my first US trip that wasn’t California, not least of all because it’s TEXAS. BBQ ribs, Chuck Norris, Tex Mex, Guns, Dallas Cowboys, JFK assassination – there’s a lot that Texas is known for. Considering my workmate and I only had 1 weekend to be tourists, we weren’t going to see everything. […]

23
Apr2014
0

While we wander around the various cities of Europe, we’ve been looking for street art. More specifically, tiled Space Invaders. We’ve found these colourful and iconic pieces in London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona previously. Well, we’ve found more in London, and even more in Paris, and even one in Brussels since then. So here’s an array of pieces for you to enjoy. Until next time, enjoy the show. London Paris     Brussels

09
Apr2014
8

Over the last year or 2, I’ve been continuing to visit various Harry Potter film sights around the country (dragging Rob along with me). This post almost finishes the whole list of Harry Potter sights I aimed to see! Let’s start at the beginning. One of the more iconic sights from the first few films is Platform 9 3/4 – a brick wall between train platforms. However, for the first couple of years I was in Cambridge, Platform 9 3/4 […]

23
Mar2014
2

As some of you may remember, Rob and I are trying to visit every pub in Cambridge. There were 92 when we first moved over and we’ve visited a lot of them! However, we’ve only posted 34.  A shocking effort! So here is a catchup of pubs mostly from the past year, but some are from ages ago. Yes, there were some from the early days that we forgot to post. But never mind that, we’re posting them now! Quinns […]

19
Mar2014
0

The apartment we were staying at in LA had cable, so we would watch some ice hockey or some news (a cougar was spotted in Griffith Park!). On our last day in LA, we turned on the news after going out for breakfast to find that there had been a terrible shooting at LAX and that the airport had been evacuated. Our flight wasn’t until 5pm but we assumed it would be delayed. However, the AirNZ website said our flight […]

08
Mar2014
0

Rob writing here. The next stop on our trip was the La Brea Tar Pits. The last time I was visited the tar pits was around 15 years ago, and as I enjoyed them so much I thought that Liz might as well. The Tar Pits are a natural phenomenon, where asphalt rises up through the earth. They don’t look overly active or impressive, but gases do slowly bubble up through the tar in these open pits below. In prehistoric […]

25
Feb2014
0

Some of you may not know this, but I’m quite into my space stuff. And particularly Mars stuff. JPL, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is one of the most important parts of NASA these days. They’re the ones that design, build and monitor various satellites, probes and, most importantly, Mars robotic rovers. Exciting!!! There are free tours of the facility that you have to book months ahead for, so we made sure to get ourselves a spot for our LA stopover. The […]

11
Feb2014
0

[Catching up on blog posts! Sorry these are quite late!!] After our great trip back to NZ in October, it was time to head back to the UK, but not before we stopped over in LA for a couple of days. Rob and I had both visited LA as kids, so we’d been to Disneyland and Universal Studios, visited the Hard Rock cafe and walked Hollywood Boulevard. This time, all grown up, we decided to try some of the local […]

07
Jan2014
0

While we were back in NZ, it was also my grandmother’s 88th birthday. We went up to Snell’s beach to enjoy a bit of sunshine and celebrate with the family.     Happy Birthday Ten! It was great going back to NZ and seeing our family and friends. We had a wonderful time, but we had to get back to the UK. Before that, we’re stopping off in LA for a couple of days! Until next time…

05
Jan2014
0

In October, we got to go back to NZ for a wonderful 2 weeks, namely for Dad’s 70th Birthday. Happy Birthday Dad! We had 2 parties for Dad’s birthday. One with the family and one with Mum and Dad’s friends. The family one was on a sunny spring day at home with all the cousins and my Aunty and Uncle. Dad’s cousin in Spain delivered a gift over with Rob and I – a delicious looking bottle of Spanish cognac. […]

04
Jan2014
0

Istanbul, we were fascinated to learn, is both part of European and Asian continents. The city spans across the Bosphorus strait which separates the 2 continents. How cool! During the time of the Ottoman Empire, dozens of palaces were built by Sultans and other richy poos all along the waterway banks. Our friends recommended we go on a cruise to see them and since the weather was so nice, we did. Looking back on the city, I loved all the […]

02
Jan2014
0

Topkapi Palace was the home of the Ottoman Sultans between 1465 and 1830 – just under 400 years. The Ottoman Empire was a powerful one – at its peak  it spanned from Hungary in the north to Somalia in the south, and from Algeria in the west to Iran in the east. The palace at its largest was home to as many as 4,000 people and contained mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint. As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. […]

28
Dec2013
0

Underneath Istanbul are hundreds of cisterns – ancient Byzantine water stores. The largest one in the city has been drained so visitors can wander through an underground forest of columns. It’s a stunning sight to see. This cistern was built in the 6th century in the Byzantine era. This cathedral-size cistern is an underground chamber approximately 138 metres by 64 metres – impressive!  The ceiling is supported by a forest of 336 marble columns, each 9 metres high, arranged in 12 rows of 28 […]

27
Dec2013
0

One of the highlights of any visit to Istanbul are the markets – the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, the Arasta Bazaar and more. They’re busy and colourful and full of goodies! Firstly, the Grand Bazaar with jewellery, lamps, rugs and more! Despite the grandness of the Grand Bazaar, we actually only bought stuff from the Spice Bazaar and the Arasta Bazaar. The latter is much more affordable and a good selection of stores. All the shopping, even for turkish delights, […]

24
Dec2013
0

Before we get onto our next Istanbul adventure – MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone. I hope you’re all having a wonderful time with friends and family. Rob and I are hosting a group of friends who are away from home for Christmas at our house in Cambridge. Should be a good day! But enough of that – back to Istanbul when we visited back in September. Directly opposite the Blue Mosque was the even larger Aya Sofya – a building that used […]

23
Dec2013
0

We managed to leave Oktoberfest at 8pm because we knew we had an early flight to Istanbul the next day. We planned 4 days of chilling out and wandering around exploring this fascinating city. Within an hour of being in the city, I was hooked. Why was that? We arrived just in time for evening prayers – a clear voice sings the prayers on loud speakers outside the mosques all over the city. It was beautiful and soothing. It set […]

16
Dec2013
0

Apologies for the long break in our travel blogging. Last we posted, we were in Maulbronn visiting an Abbey. But our main reason for this European adventure was to go to James and Meike’s wedding in Illingon, Meike’s home town. Many of James and Meike’s friends and family had shown up from all parts of the world and we spent 3 days of getting to know the new in-laws and partying. The wedding service was really lovely. It was in both […]

18
Oct2013
0

We spent 4 days in the small city of Maulbronn in the region of Baden-Württemberg for James and Meike’s wedding. The reception was going to be held there, so conveniently many of us foreigners were staying there too. Perfect. But Maulbronn isn’t just a place to stay – it has its own UNESCO World Heritage Sight – Maulbronn Monastery. It’s the best-preserved medieval Cistercian monastery complex in Europe. Considering we had seen ruined monasteries in Yorkshire earlier this year (Fountain’s Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey), we […]

13
Oct2013
0

The next country on our European tour was Germany – the most important country too since that’s where James and Meike’s wedding was to take place! But before the wedding, we had some time to be tourists first. There are two big car companies in Stuttgart – Porsche and Mercedes Benz. It was a tough choice, but the Mercedes Benz Museum was meant to be amazing. And indeed, it was. The building is one huge spiral, where you get an […]