HOT INFO
On The Road
Oct98-?99

Chris Canty

<ccanty@hotmail.com>

Europe 2nd trip:Feb 99 -
Britain-Ireland-?
South East Asia: Dec 98 - Feb 99
Bali, Indonesia - Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand-
Europe: Oct-Nov 98
- London, Edinburgh, Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Prague

Mar 10, 1999 - Killarney, Ireland.
Killarney is the type of town which every tourist hopes to find, yet often don't. A little bit off the beaten track it lies next to the lower lake in the South West of the country, two hours from Cork. Killarney has fantastic pubs, great local characters and an unbeatable location to nearby attractions.
Accommodation:-
Perhaps one of the best hostels I have ever stayed in is 'The Sugan' (064 33104, Lewis Rd). Owned by the thirty something couple Ma and Pa (Maria and Papper), they make it their business to give you an ammusing and welcoming arrival. With nightly singalongs (Ma sings, Pa drums), an open fire place, a pint from the pub next door, condoms hanging from the ceiling, and the occasional free irish stew dinner, it is certainly the best in town. Rooms are 8 pounds, and bikes can be hired for 5 pounds. Warning: One must participate in all singalongs.
Attractions:-
The Killarney national park is only a twenty minute bike ride away, so every day can be used to go further and further into it. Whether it be Muckross Abbey, the Torc Waterfalls or six snow covered mountains, the national park is filled with attractions.
Nightlife:-
Killarney has two great pubs. 'The Grand' is where the locals and the tourists mingle. There is traditional music until 11:00 in the front bar, then a nightclub opens in the back until 1:00. It is full nearly every night of the week. The second is called 'Yer Mans' and is famous for being the only pub in Ireland licensed to serve Guiness in jam jars.
This is where the locals come and relax, and then party upstairs in the surreal nightclub open until 1:00. Ma is sure to be seen dancing there anytime you go.
Next up:- Galway


Jan 22, 1999 - Phi Phi Islands - Thailand

To be put simply, the Phi Phi Islands are a paradise. The crystal clear waters, the white sandy beaches, the coconut filled trees all create an unbelievable picture. It is an oasis amongst further beauty which just has to be seen, and experienced.

Accommodation:-
The accommodation on the main beach (ferry drop off point) is very expensive so I suggest to stay on Long Beach, which is a ten minute boat ride (20 baht) away. The accomadation here is farely basic but offer
prices 1/3 off the main beach. The Pearl Beach Bungalows are OK, but on this Island only minimal time should be spent in your room!

Attractions:-
The Phi Phi Islands are said to have the one of the best diving hot spots in the world. It is fairly expensive if you want to deep sea dive, but by simply hiring some snorkelling gear for around 60 baht, many
underwater creatures can be discovered.

Eating Out:-
The 'PP Pizza Place' and the 'PP Bakery' (both on the main road) offer excellent meals for a reasonable price.

Nightlife:-
The nightlife is crazy, as it seems the main beach never closes down. In an alley off the main road, is a bar called 'Tin Tins' (named and decorated after the Belgium comic). It offers live music, cheap and nasty drinks and a great young atmosphere. The best option when this place is dying down (1.00 am) is the hugely impressive 'Reggae Bar' which looks more like Marlon Brando's home in 'Apocalypse Now' rather than a nightclub. The lights are dim, the music is loud, and usually the sun is shining by the time you head back home. Phi Phi certainly is a party island.

Next Up:- I DON't KNOW!!!


January 8, Cameron Highlands-Malaysia

The Cameron Highlands are the oasis of Malaysia. The journey there is filled with unforgettable scenery, the people are unmistakable, and the coolness of the climate gives the town a mirage-like existence. There are two types of travellers; those that have been to the Cameron Highlands and those that are on their way.

Accommodation:-
The most social and cheapest place ( 6rm Dorm) to stay is "Daniel's Lodge". Its main asset is the comfortable surroundings that it creates, so much so that I often found it a struggle to get outside. With videos
playing all day, good breakfasts and nightly Bob Dylan sing-a-longs, it is an attraction in its self. For outstanding views and a bit more solitude I recommend "Fathers Guesthouse" situated on top on higher ground. It offers everything a budget traveller needs, from free tea and coffee to a small tourist office.

Eating Out:-
The Indian food is fantastic and very cheap in the Cameron Highlands and there are many restaurants and food stalls in main street to choose from. The best however are located near the Maybank towards the east.

Attractions:-
The Cameron Highlands are famous for its jungle treks. Over ten treks are offered to the public ranging from flairly flat scenic walks (trek 9) to the real calf terrors (trek 12). Walks usually take about two
hours but seem to last the whole day, when admiring the scenery.
A championship Golf Course is also nearby, and although it might not fit into the interests or budgets of a budget traveller, the scenery here is an attraction without hitting a golf ball.

Night Time:-
Daniels Lodge
seems to offer the most excitement at night, with alcohol, videos, and sing-a-longs.

Climate:- A fantastic 16-20 degrees, which means you can finally get use that new sleeping bag and sleep soundly in the cool.

Next Up:- Koh Phi Phi - The tropical paradise of Thailand.


Dec 31, 98 - New Year's Eve in Singapore - Part I,II & III
Singapore

Singapore is a land filled with man-made beauty. From its well designed town structure to the hugely expensive shopping malls, Singapore is proud to be a western town in the eastern part of the world.

Accommodation:- Sadly, the beauty of Singapore does not include the budget accommodation. I stayed at 'Lee Travelers Club' at 75 Beach Road which was pretty good. It was very sociable and for s$9 a night it was cheap. Many guide books recommend hostels on Bencoolen Street, however I reviewed nearly all of them, and they were dirty and smelly, with only local Indian workers staying in them. If you want a touch of culture thens 'Ali's Nest' in the heart of little India (23 Roberts Lane) is pretty good, for s$9 also. In the center of town is the YMCA (next to the Dhoby Ghaut). It is not cheap at s$28 for dorms but it does offer very clean surroundings, and free luggage holding for one week (even if you stay only one night).

Eating Out:- Everywhere. There are a huge ammount of cheap food courts, but for the cheapest dining head to Little India or Chinatown which offer meals for around s$4.

Attractions:- The animal attractions such as the 'Singapore Zoo'and the 'Jarong Bird Park' are world class. For s$10 you can spend a day here.
But most people come to Singapore for the shopping and even I (who hates shopping) got sucked into buying 5 new shirts (and I didn't even need them). Orchard Road offers the best range of shopping. The hotel
Raffles,
is fantastic to look at in the night, and no one must leave Singapore without ordering a Singapore Sling at the long bar.

People:- They are weird. The women are the most beautiful I have ever seen yet they seem to be occupied with their own reflection and designer dresses to be interested in having a personality. I'm not sure why the Singapore people resent westerners, but their dislike is often shown.

Nightime:- Singapore holds an ambundance of activity. The Boat Quay has over thirty bars in a row, which turns into a mess of activity every
weekend. I spent a few nights at 'Molly Malones', which offered a familiar atmopsphere. If you want to party with the locals (they don't like this however), then the nightclub 'Sparks' is the best place. It is
on Level 7, Ngee Ann City, Orchard Road. It is hugely popular, with three impressive bars and dance floors. Although not famous its sleaziness, Singapore is as bad as Bangkok. The Orchard towers offers five bars which are pretty dahm scary, but fun if you are in a group.
Watch out, because I was unluckily enough to get something dropped in my drink, and it was not ice.

Transport:- Singapore has the best train system in the world, it is just a pity that the train stations are positioned in places which offer no real benifit to a traveller. Taxis are very cheap, or simply just walk.

Next up- Malaysia


Indonesia- Bali, Padangbai

Padangbai is set in the most beautiful inlet I have ever seen. The village is basically only made up of two streets, and this closeless reflects in the people. I found that the days went very fast in Padangbai, which was odd, because I didn't seem to do anything but lay
on a beach and watch the ferries go out to sea.

Accommodation:- Nearly all the places situated on the beach are the same,with individual bungalows looking out on to the water. Prices range from rp 20,000 in the 'Topi inn' to the up market 'Hotel Puri Rai' which was
around $50 U.S ( but I could not see why). I stayed at the 'Moon Inn' behind the cemetry. It was only rp 13000, and offered a friendly environment in a family owned establishment.

Eating Out:- The ozone cafe, near the volleyball court, is a trend setter. It is probably too trendy for its own good, but the meals are good. However the restaurants on the sand such as the Pantai Ayu, offer
the best restaurant views in Bali.
Try the local seafood.

Attractions:- To both sides of Padangbai, are sandy white beaches, which have been rated by locals the best in Indonesia. They are secluded with only a few drink huts to remind you you are not on a desert island. To the east of the beach are the ancient temples which look over the crashing waves.

Nightime:- The Hotel Puri Rai offers live music until midnight, but that is about it for entertainment.

People:- Perhaps the biggest attraction in Padangbai are the locals themselves. They constantly go out of their way to welcome you, and insist in including you in their nightly volleyball games. After that its off to the pier for drinking contests, which I am pleased to say...I won.

Next up:- The wealth and splendor of Singapore.


Indonesia-Kuta, Bali.

There should be no prisons in the world; instead all convicted criminals should be made to spend a week in Kuta. Not only is it the dirtiest, smelliest and loudest city I have ever been to, it is the most irratating. Only the great sunsets provide a break in the typical daily activity of drugs, prostitution and hawking. Kuta is a town you either love or hate; guess what I think?

Accommodation- There are many cheap places to stay in Kuta, which offer good basic and clean surroundings. Between Poppies Gang I and Poppies Gang II, offers the biggest range of budget accommodation. Places such as
'Rita's House' and 'Rempen'are good for only rp 20,000 (less than $3 U.S.) a night. If you can afford a little bit more I suggest the 'Three Brothers Inn' just off Jalan Padma. It is a huge site, which offers postcard surroundings and even has it's own monkeys. Prices start at 16 U.S. but it is worth it. Remember to bring all mosquito prevention equipment such as bed net and insect repellent. If you notice a room with mosquitos on the roof, just leave.

Eating Out:- There are many little restaurants in the back streets of Jalan Melasti, which offer cheap dining. The best place I went to was the 'Warung 96 International', just south of the main tourist office on Jalan Benasari. A meal will set you back about rp 6500 (under 1 US$). One such place no one should ever go to is the Kuta McDonalds, as after I ate there I was violently ill.

Attractions:- There are not many attractions in Kuta. Many people rave about the beaches but I found it to be quite ordinary. It is worth however travelling to Tanah Lot, for a couple of hours and see the famous temple. The Kuta Adrenaline Park offers bungi jumping, and a lot of Australians seem to hang out around the pool it has.

Night Time:- The Sari Club on Jalan Legian is certainly the place to be,although prepared to be hassled by prostitutes if you are alone. Beers cost rp 5000 and it is open until 3.00 am.
Down the road is the Peanuts Club and Disco, which offers a more dancy atmosphere to that of the Sari club pubby one. If you are just in the mood for videos then Poppies Gang II is the place to go.

Transport:- Everything is pretty close. Bemos (little vans) are the cheapest option but prepared to have travel insurance as I had to crashes in these death traps. Motorbike taxis are also cheap but just as dangerous. Infact, transport on Bali is like playing Russian roulette: You might die or you might not.

The people:- You can tell that the people were once a proud culture, who in recent years, have resorted to hawking for surival. However the Kuta people are the most annoying human beings I have ever encountered. You can not walk down the street with fifty aggressive locals shouting 'Hey you get back here, boss!', 'Transport!', or 'cheap hats, hey you buy my hat now!'. I hate to say this but if Aliens landed in Kuta, and this was their only encounter with earthlings, they would blow up the planet straight away.

Next up:- Padangbai and hopefully real Bali.




Back to the On The Road Index

Dec 4, 1998: Chris has finished his travels in Europe, he flew to Bali, Indonesia yesterday and will be travelling up through South East Asia - Coming Soon - Chris's On The Road - SE Asia Reports

November 25, 98

Prague, Czech Republic
So far, Prague has been the highlight of my trip. If Europe could be described as a desert island, then Prague would be the buried treasure. It was untouched by the wars earlier in time and by comercial tourism today. The Government of Prague choose to restore and preserve their heritage and history, rather than modernise it. Not only is this rare in Europe, but anywhere in the world, so for heavan's sake, TAKE A CAMERA.

Accommodation:- The first two nights of my two week stay, I went to the 'Estec Hostel', next to the huge Strahov stadium. Perhaps the ugliest set of buildings I have ever seen, I was suprised to find comfortable surroundings for 250 Koruna (5 pounds). However, I would not recommend this hostel for two reasons. Firstly it was over twenty minutes away from the town center in the middle of nowhere, and secondly an apartment (pension) in the heart of town can be rented for the same price. For 225 Koruna I stayed in a city apartment which had a toilet, shower, kitchen and T.V. (sheer luxury). It was situated at the corner of Na Slupi and Svobodova (free map at McDonalds).

If it is full, head to the Hlavni Nadrazi train station, where countless people will offer cheap rooms to you. If that doesn't work or you want hostel surroundings, I heard from friends that the 'Hostel Boathaus' (402 10 76) was pretty good. However be very careful of Bed Bugs in Prague.

Attractions:- Prague is one big attraction. It was not only the most beautiful city I have ever been in, it was one of the most entertaining. The first thing you must see is the clock in the old town square. It fills with people on the strike of every hour, as the old clock performs for the crowd (wait until the very end: its hilarious). The Square is filled with stalls which sell puppets, food, bells, etc.
The Prague Castle dominates the city, and at night I challenge anyone to find something more spectacular around the world. Take the number 18 tram or get off at the Malostranska train station, to reach it. Once up the hill explore the churches, gallerys and Palaces within the Castle. The day will go very quickly. On the way back from the Castle don't catch the tram. Instead walk over the bridge directly below it (near the McDonalds sadly enough), where there are local bands, artists and craftman performing all day.

Eating out:- For once, I can eat out all the time! There are cheap places everywhere, but I found a great hidden one, which serves three course meals for 170 koruna (3 pound). It is called the 'Architects Club' and is on the Betlemska Nam ( at tiny street). The sign is on the gates of a dominating chuch, but it is down in some old cellars.

If you are not in the mood for a big meal and just want take-away, head towards G.D.'s on Spalena (opposite the Tesco shopping centre). Whole pizza's are 50 Koruna (1 pound) which is amazing considering a nearby 'Pizza Express' costed 47 Koruna for one slice! By the way, there are hot dog stands everywhere which sell very cheap and suprisingly good hot dogs.

Budget:- If you are sensible, Prague is a budget travellers paradise. In the Tesco supermarket ( next to the Narodni Trida station), beers are 8 Koruna ( 15 pence) while delicious donuts are 3 (6 pence!!) I even managed to buy some shirts and tapes at the Tesco shopping centre for around 5 pounds.

Night Time:- Just explore. There are places everywhere, but the way you can tell the difference between a local and tourist pub, is that the locals like to have all the lights on. Perhaps the huge 'Retro' was the best place to go, as locals and tourists alike, drank and danced all night. In the old square was an ancient cellar transformed into a nightclub, but although it looked amazing it was very touristy. Opposite TGI's (Thank God its Friday) on Na Prikope, is 'the Jazz and Blues Bar'. It was very good, although the beers were sold at tourist prices.
However you must taste the Czech drink, Absinthe, as it is banned everywhere else in Europe. It is made from poppy seeds, so it has some weird after effects, but enough said about that one.

Hints:- Remember to buy a train ticket as undercover cops checked me four or five times in two weeks. Also learn the words 'pivo' as it means beer.


November 9, 98

Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Accommodation:
- I stayed at two hostels, which were two very different places. The first is called 'The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel' at 136 Kerkstraat (31 20 622 0687). It was the biggest Hostel in Amsterdam which made it very impersonal. The minute I opened the door to my room I was confronted by a stoned guy who wanted money...... I instantly went into another room. The conditions are satisfactory and the price 36 NFL(10 pounds) is standard. They offer meals, have a bar, and a nightclub down stairs. It was OK but I recommend where I stayed the other nights called 'The Flying Pig'. It was literally 5 metres away from the heart of the city (Nieuwendijk 100, 31 20 4206822), and was a place that I could never ever forget. It is drug paradise and there actually is a designated place where people can 'mellow out' in peace.
The air is so thick with 'the wonder plant' that spending a night there will get you stoned, even if you have no intention of being so. The price is standard, the locality is ideal, and the atmosphere is fantastic. Do yourself a favour and try it,even for just one night. www.flyingpig.nl

Attractions:- I did the touristy thing in seeing the Van Gogh paintings at the Rijtz museum, and this was O.K. for 5 pounds.
The canal ride was very good, but after Bruges I was 'canalled out'.
The erotica museum was a major disappointment. Looking at ancient chinese pornography,with whip noises in the background is not my idea of fun, so try something else.
The most fun I had was hiring a moped (little motor bike) for five hours and riding out into the country. It was 15 pounds for the time, but you have not lived until having faced death in the face by riding around into unfamiliar road signs. Ask at the tourist office at Liedsestraat 106, for more details.

Night Time:- When I hopped on the Eurobus in Bruges, the guide said 'O.K. who wants accommodation and who wants a sex show'. It was a shock, but after seeing Amsterdam I could understand it. For 20 pounds I witnessed a sex show, that made me feel like a tourist more than a pervert. It was a funny sight, thats for sure...so I do recommend going into one of the many 'strip theatres'.
The Red Light District was a major disappointment. I had heard so much about it, that excited was not the word. But when I got there I was confronted with 100 metres of dull dancing. The famous window girls were either smoking or on their mobile phones, which kind of dulled the sensual attractation of them!!! See it, but don't expect to much.

Budget:- Don't worry about it. After a few joints, you don't feel like eating, or going out, and when you wake up the week has already gone.

Eating out: Food:- I must admit..I went to McDonalds (the travellers sin).

Transport:- Good network of metro trains, and trams.

Next up:- Prague, Czech Republic.


November 2, 98

Bruges, Belgium
Suddenly Eurobus has become Eurobust, but apparently we can transfer our tickets for Bus-a-bout. The dramatic change in the eurobus staff is putting a sour note on the trip, but their anger can be justified.
Anyway....Perhaps out of a storybook, the very small town of Bruges is a mix and match of Europe's finest attractions. The canals of Venice, the Churches of France, the chocolate of Switzerland and the beer of .....Belgium. Choclate and lace shops swarm the area, while the 254 local beers provided an interesting excursion.

Accommodation:- I stayed at Bauhaus International Hostel (Langestrast 135-137, 32 (0) 50341093). It was very socialable with a nightclub, and bar beneath us which was suprisingly quiet. It was 420 Belgium franks which equals about 7 pounds. The beds were comfortable but the showers and toilets did not live up to the leaflet which indicated it was in the top ten hostels in Europe. I did not see any other hostel accommodation besides the more expensive American bar up the road called Charlie Rockets (i think).

Eating out: Bruges is the first town I have been to where I can eat out. The find of the city is a small eating establishment called 'Snack Golden Pita'. It is run by a small family who pride themselves on huge servings and cheap prices. I went here every night, and could barely finish my 2 pound feast. A huge television playing only American action films dominates the setting but this adds to its unique charm. It is only five doors away from the hostel.

Night Time:- Suprisingly there are only a few bars in Bruges. It doesn't really matter where you go, just as long as you taste the Belgium beer. 'Jupiler' was my favourite, although there was a very interesting wheat beer which has a name I couldn't even spell! Just order the 'wheat beer'.

Attractions:-The canals must be ridden on. It is fairly cheap and it lasts 30 minutes as it works its way around the town. Climbing the Belfry tower also should be done, as the extremely flat landscape of Belgium makes a fantastic view. Experience the many chocolate shops by eating everything...it is the best chocolate in the world.

Transport- None needed, but be extremely careful due to the 50,000 bikes on the roads!

Budget:- Bruges was a very pleasant change from France and London. It was quite affordable, only spending about 20 pounds a day. ( 1000 Belguim franks). Just indulge youself before you get to Netherlands and encounter high prices again.

Next up:- The great joint....Amsterdam.


Paris, October 26.

Using my Eurobus ticket, Paris was the first of my many destinations. After a bus,ferry, bus to Paris, I was ready to relax. The Eurobus team were informative as we drove into its realms, yet the traffic was unbelievable, with some intersections ten lanes wide.

Accommodations:- We were dropped of at the 'Three Ducks Hostel'. I will not bother giving you the address because it was disgraceful. The first night I was given a tiny room with three other people. The room was hot, with no flowing air, and I had to sleep with my backback on my bed as there was no room. The so called breakfast (which was included) was a roll. I moved out that morning, and it was lucky I did. The next night it rained so hard that I heard when a complaint was made about a soaking mattress, it fell on deaf ears. So this person had to sleep on the wet floor (without any refund). The toilets had no paper, and it seems 50 people had to share two showers. I moved to a hostel which was excellent. I'm not sure of the name (it wasn't advertised anywhere) but it is opposite the supermarket in Rue De Detot (near the Pastier train station. For 107 Franks I had a shower, toilet and television. Three things which 'Three Ducks' didn't offer.

Attractions: Sadly, it was pouring rain every day of my stay, however I did manage to see the Eifle Tower and the old city. It is hard to believe what you are looking at, when you are confronted by things which
have appeared in hundreds of films, but it does give you a travellers perspective. There is a bus tour for 115 franks, but this is far too expensive. Instead just catch the local trains and buses. Head towards the Louvre, because the buildings around that area have to be seen to be believed. I recommend taking little day trips outside of Paris.

Transport:- The rail system is very good and quite simple. It is not unlike the London Underground. The train is named under a number and the last station of that line. For example (8) Van de siech. Tickets cost 8 franks each, but you can buy a 10 ticket voucher for 55franks at 'Tobac' stores. Instead of buying a map head to any tourist information centre (good one under the tower) and they hand out a free one.

Night Time: Just explore. There is something happening everywhere and anywhere. Just head towards the noise.

Tips: Paris is a great city, yet watch out for the enormous amount of dog shit. The French take pride in their dogs and further pride in the size of their poo. The walkways of France are smothered with poo, so wear tough and poo proof shoes.

Budget:- Not a chance. Eat rolls and cheese and walk everywhere only then might you spend half of your bank balance. However, people on the corner cooking crepes, do cater for budget travellers nicely.

Next up:- Brugges, Belgium. The land of beer and chocolate.


Edinburgh, Scotland., October 18.

After having enough of London, I decided to go to a city that is constantly raved about. Bus to Edinburgh:-
I took the national express bus to Edinburgh, at a cost of 27 pounds. This was 35 pounds cheaper than a train. The bus takes around nine hours, but the English highlands keep you interested (for about 2 of those hours).
Accommodation:- I stayed at a very good hostel called "Brodies Backpackers Hostel" at 12 High Street (0331 556 6770). It was 10pounds a night,with hot showers, no curfews, and an unbeatable location. The beds were the most comfortable I have slept in since I began my travels. Another good hostel is called High Street Hostel, which is just off High Street. This is in most Guide books.

Attractions:- The Edinburgh Castle is the most obvious, and the best. It dominates over the whole city, and for 6 pounds(a little high) I spent three hours in it. At the front gate they give you an audio tour head piece, which explains everything you pass. From a chapel made in 1160 (an actual wedding was on, when I was there), to the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Castle is very interesting.
The Edinburgh Playhouse was featuring Les Miserables for 7.50 pounds (at least 20 pounds cheaper than London), so if anyone is a theatre buff on a budget, it is worth seeing in Scotland rather than London.
'The Royal Mile' is a street that runs off High Street. This is in the center of the Old City, and nearly every shop dates back 300 years. It is only 15 seconds walk from 'Brodies' Hostel.
'Arthur's Seat' is a large hill just on the outskirts of the city. It is worth climbing it.

Night Time:- The main place to go for tradition and lively Scottish Pubs is in Grass Market Lane, near the Castle. It has about 10 pubs near each other. The beer I was having was called Teppers. I have heard that Edinburgh was quite rough, but I didn't see much to warrant that statement.

Transport:- Everything is within walking distance.

Climate:- Sunny, but with a freezing wind. Wear layers.

Budget:- Again Good Luck! Bakeries are the best place for meals with pies and 'pasties' for around 60p. The water is drinkable unlike London, and beers are around 1.50 pounds a pint.

Next up:I'm now off to Paris.


London, October 8.

After a 26 hr flight, and 43 hrs without sleep, I was ready to take directions from anything. Dogs, bins, pencils, anything. I flew Lauda Air. They were very polite and the flight was very comfortable, so I do recommend this Austrian Airline. Their food was nice, but the individual visual system in ever seat stole the show.
I have heard a lot of bad things about London such as the weather is always bad, the people are rude, the underground smells, and your snot turns black (sorry for that last one, and yes everything is true).But that does not deter London from being a very charming place.

Attractions: The usual places like the Big Ben, Westminster, London Bridge and Tower Bridge are all very good, despite their over commercialisation. But just walking along the streets is the biggest highlight. The West End was fantastic as everything was new to me. I bought a 3.50 pound travelcard (purchase from any train station) which covered all train and bus travel in Central London.

Nighttime: In Australia, we say that 'there is a pub on every corner' in London there are no corners because that corner space has been used for another pub.The English must be very thirsty people indeed. The second night I went to a local pub called 'The hand and the Scissors'. It was very small, but the locals there greeted an Australian with open arms. The third night I went into the realms of Earls Court which is supposed to be dominated by Australians. The whole street was alive,and while I drank the local beer, I heard French, German, and Swedish accents all around me.

Budget: Good Luck! Luckily I had private accommodation with my Brother, but I heard that Earls Court was probably the cheapest at 11 pounds a night at places such as 'Ayres Rock Hostel' (just go there, as they are everywhere). Food should be bought at supermarkets or a chain of shops called 'Boots' which stored ready made sandwiches and rolls for around 2 pounds. Bakeries sell pies for around 90p so that is all right. Never eat where people are wearing suits as a cost of a sandwich could go up to 4 pounds.

Climate: It is cold (8 degrees) and wet, and when the sun does come out the English look started. But it is reasonable, and with my Polatec 200 top, it wasn't too bad. However I recommend a light rain coat where ever you go.

Next up: I am heading of to Edinburgh, Scotland today. To ease my sore head, and my empty wallet. Chris.



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