Tag Archives: travel

Matt Edwards Photography

23 Feb

As I sit in a classroom teaching 20 little prep children how to write and read, I cant help but think back to my work at Aston Martin in London, and think how much I miss it. However I am enjoying being a teacher again and am glad that I have such awesome memories of my working time in London. I have also been busy setting up my photography business – ‘Matt Edwards Photography‘. I am enjoying getting my work recognised with more and more bookings coming in. Please check out my Facebook page and ‘Like’ if you haven’t already. Likewise, if you are looking for any photographic work please contact me. My official ‘Matt Edwards Photography’ website is currently under construction so please watch this space.

2013.02.13_Country near Wagners

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Lake Bled in photographs

19 Jul

Lake Bled. I’m not sure the photos do this place justice… you might have to make the judgement for yourself.

{Bled Church, on the mainland}

{Bled Castle with Bled Church before a mighty storm}

{The green behind Lake Bled. This place is surrounded by mountains}

{Gondalas take people from the shore to the Church Island. You can also row yourself there}

{This has got to be the best view of the island. This is from Bled Castle}

The green side of Europe

17 Jul

The train is waiting at the platform at Murska Sobota, a town just inside the Slovenian-Hungarian border. It’s raining slightly and the platform is wet. Waiting passengers are sheltering underneath their umbrellas. We notice this as our train has been stopped to change engines, yet again. For the last six hours, we’ve been travelling and changing engines through Hungary and have finally crossed the border into Slovenia, our next destination. We’ll be in Ljubljana, the capital, by 9pm.

Slightly exasperated by the cities we’ve been to, what with their market squares, Old Towns, endless churches and cathedrals in their baroque, neo-Gothic or eclectic styles, winding streets leading to medieval castles and historic Jewish quarters, although so beautiful, it’s time we see a little ‘green’, get out of the hustle and bustle and get lost in nature. Well, for a little bit at least.

Not long after entering Slovenia, our train is winding through lush evergreen forests and past the occasional corn crop and hill-side village with alpine-style houses, reminiscent of Switzerland. Slovenia presents us with a landscape that is quite different from Hungary, which is mostly flat with little vegetation. As we delve deeper still into the country, the hills become pine-covered mountains and churches perch high on top of them. This is just the kind of landscape Europe is famous for.

Before we head to Lake Bled, we took the opportunity to stroll around Ljubljana’s Old Town (yes another one) and up to the castle (yet again) which overlooks the city. Although this is yet another Central European town, Ljubljana feels different from Prague, Krakow and Budapest. It has a more local feel where you can actually see actual locals milling about doing their food shop at the local market and hanging about in the river-side cafes, having Saturday morning breakfast. We gladly join them in these activities. Lake Bled itself is beautiful, a meer hour and a half long bus journey from Ljubljana. The lake is an amazing cerulean colour, clear enough to see the lake bed near the edges of the shore. As we look to the clear blue water, there are high mountains in the background and a solitary church sits on the lake island. It’s a stunning sight, almost unreal and so so green.

It’s so green, we conclude, from the amount of rain this country must receive. We get caught in a storm late the first night we are there and it doesn’t stop storming until the afternoon the following day. We finally emerge from our apartment (not just a room but a whole apartment!) and climb the hill to the top of Bled Castle. The views are amazing – definitely worth the €8 to enter through the gates. From here the sheer cliff face drops away to reveal the lake it its entirety and you can view the church island as an actual island. No wonder people visit this tiny, alpine village in droves. This is the stuff postcards are made of.

But we can’t linger here long. We’re catching a bus to yet another country, one of Slovenia’s next door neighbours, Croatia. It is almost time to see the beach!

The luxuries of hostel travelling

5 Jul

I’m standing in the small common room that has a table, a couch, a fridge and kitchen facilities. I’m staring into space as I hold down the lever mechanism on the side of the toaster that is meant to click in place to hold down the bread and which ignites the grill on either side, in turn creating toast. I am the replacement ‘click’, standing here, toasting bread for my husband and I. Every now and then, I release the lever to check on the progress of our toast. It’s taking a while…

Matt is sitting at the table in the same common room next to a guy who has cooked couscous and is stuffing it into a water bottle with a teaspoon. He then proceeds to add chopped capsicum and something else which resembles cheese. I guess he is trying to stretch his lunch budget. Right next to where I am standing, still toasting our bread, is one of two bathrooms in the entire hostel. There is a line up to use it, as there is with the one upstairs. They will quickly discover there is limited hot water…

Enter the British girls I share a room with. They have just finished their A Levels (the equivalent of QCS in Queensland) and are travelling around Europe to celebrate. They are bright-eyed and excitable for 10am. They are lovely girls. Matt stayed in the room next door last night and tells me that he tossed and turned on account of the heat so he hasn’t had much sleep. The pedestal fan in his room was hogged by an Australian couple. The other fan in the room failed to work. The still of the night dragged on for him…

This is hostelling as we know it. Our hostel tucked away behind a wooden gate on a small sidestreet in Prague is not unlike other hostels we’ve stayed in. Yes, they all vary to a degree, but essentially, they do what they say on the box… it’s a cheap place to lay your head. This morning Matt asked me if I think we’re getting ‘too old’ to be staying in hostels. He’s 26, going on 27 in November. This begs me to ask the question… how old is too old to stay in a hostel? Even now as I write this blog, there are nine people in the very small common room slash kitchen slash living room slash dining room with us, all most likely not over the age of 22… well, apart from Matt and I. They are nice enough, talking about their studies, their crushes on the character Harry Potter (no, not Daniel Radcliffe, the actual Harry Potter). But they come from a different generation.

As we make our way through Central Europe, will we encounter the same demographic of hostellees? Will we stay in the same room as girls and guys who have crushes on movie characters and not the character’s real-life persona? I think you know the answer. So do we. Still, we cannot deny the fact that hostelling pushes you outside your comfort zone. It pushes you face to face with some of the most interesting, albeit lovely, people. It allows us a cheap place to sleep after a day of exploring a new city, something we’ve relied so heavily on while were using London as a base to travel. It allows you to feel at home by cooking your own breakfast. It allows us to say: “Do you remember that awful/nasty/surprisingly good value-had-everything-we-needed-and-was-an-awesome-place-to-stay hostel?” “Ah… yes, I remember it well.” I’m sure that as we travel further into Europe, our list of interesting – good and some not-so-good – hostel experiences will grow. I do mean it when I say, it’s going to be a fun-filled three months.

Netherlands in the Spring is the definition of colour

2 May

 

Type “tulips in Holland” into Google and what appears is photo after photo of bright and colourful bulbs sitting formidably in their rows in the Dutch countryside; a windmill in the background of a few. Seeing fields of tulips in images on the computer screen makes them seem made up, like you’re looking at a picture of a dinosaur – not able to fully imagine them to be real unless you were to see them with your very own eyes. We can’t vouch for the dinosaurs, but let us assure you that these tulip fields are actually there and the photos on Google are real; of course they are, somebody had to have taken them. But it’s hard to actually know they are real until you’re physically there, cycling past them, taking in the bright colours, row after row, field after field.

Upon glimpsing the first of the tulip fields, we were like Dorothy the moment she stepped out of her damaged house in Munchkinland, suddenly coming into a bright kaleidoscope of Technicolour. We were seeing the colourful fields of the Netherlands and they were beautiful. Amidst all the other ‘colourful’ things you can do in this very easy-going country, making a day of cycling around the infamous tulip fields was high on our list (pardon the pun). For our last Spring in Europe, we had to make a trip to Amsterdam to see the flowers for ourselves. And we didn’t regret it.

 

To market, to market…

16 Apr

There are so many amazing markets in London, all of them full of colour, character and people. With so many to choose from, you could spend a whole weekend frolicking from one cobblestone-street market to the next, and still leave you wanting more. We visited two of London’s best markets over the weekend…

[Borough Market, London Bridge]

If it’s good enough to feature in Bridget Jones, who fictionally lives right next door above The Globe pub, then it’s definitely good enough for us. Crowds are attracted to the Thursday-Saturday market, which first started over 200 years ago! Come here to taste the most delicious British and international foods, purchase the freshest of the fresh fruit and veges, cheeses, jams and preserves, fish, poultry and a variety of other meats from around the world.

[Columbia Road Flower Market, East London]

A feast for the eyes and the nose, Columbia Road Flower Market is THE place to go to pick up a bunch or two of your favourite flowers. You can get everything here from herbs, exotic bulbs, flowering pots and plants from the UK and abroad. The flower merchants compete against for each other to get your custom, but whether you’re here to buy or just to gawk, it’s worth a visit. A charming street lined with equally charming cafes and shops, it’s definitley the go-to place to spend a lazy Sunday…

The countdown begins

25 Mar

Ok, take a deep breath. Breath in slowly… breath out. Breath in slowly… breath out. Here goes… as the end of March approaches, Matt and I have come to the stark realisation that we have only three months left in London. Yes, we knew we were only going to be here for a limited time but where did that time actually go?? Last we checked it was Christmas and we were on a sleigh getting pulled along the snowy ground by mighty husky dogs in Sweden and saying ‘six months left’. It seemed like forever. Now, all of sudden we’re researching shipping companies to ship home our accumulated goods, looking into renewing our travel insurance for the last time and making plans for the trip home. We’ve even booked our flights back to Oz (shock horror!) and now there’s no turning back. Or is there?

Lately we’ve been thinking about how lucky we’ve been in our lives in the UK, or more specifically, London. London has given us throngs of possibilities, opened doors for our careers and thrown us into some of the most memorable experiences we’ll ever have, all without even asking for it. I don’t know how people feel back home, but I don’t think Toowoomba, or even Brisbane, is going to live up to the benchmark that London has set for us. Where in Brisbane will we be able to meet a Prince, shake hands with celebrities on more than one occasion, walk past the most beautiful century-old buildings on the way to work (hell, I even work in one!) and experience exclusive ‘London only’ opportunities like running in the brand new London Olympic Stadium (six days to go!) and to be official photographer at some of the most prestigious events for one of Britain’s ‘2012 CoolBrands’. For some reason I’ve walked across Waterloo Bridge quite a lot recently and every time I look to the skyline and see the magnificent dome of St. Paul’s cathedral, I sigh and feel sad about the thought of leaving a place that is so stunning and that has been so good to both of us.

But then I think of what awaits us back home. Without a doubt, the one key thing about going home is the chance to see all our family and friends again. We have four babies to meet – some yet to be born – and missed witnessing the marriage of friends. There’s no explaining how much we have missed these experiences and more importantly, the very important people in our lives to the point that we feel it has really come time to leave. We are also excited about the possibilities in terms of work – our CVs have been enriched by our experiences here and we cannot wait to settle down and make a home for ourselves again. For the chance to drive and to visit the beach and to experience sunshine for more than one consecutive day in the row will be absolutely lovely to make part of daily life again.

However, I cannot help but take notice of that nagging question still running through my mind… what if we stayed just a little longer? Now don’t go getting all ‘up in arms’, you don’t have to worry, of course we are coming home and I don’t think we would change our minds at this stage. I just think that it’s taken this long for us to actually feel part of the city and we’ve gotten to know it quite well. Sure we’ve merely scratched the surface of things to do here but it takes time to immerse yourself into a city and to set up a life. Only now do we feel that we’ve gotten to that point and it makes me wonder what our lives would become if we were here for a couple more years. Where could London take us given the chance? I guess my consolation lies in the fact that we could always come back, alas not on a working holiday visa, but perhaps if we get to the point where we could be ‘highly skilled immigrants’. The enticement of further possibilities in London will mean that we may never really rule that possibility out. At the moment however we are on that plane back to Australia and are very much looking forward to it. But in the meantime, we’re making the most of our last three months in London and we cannot wait to make it the best three months ever!

today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

I am the world's oyster

Photography, Aviation, Nature, Culture, Nikon, Canon, Qantas, Airlines, Emirates, Airports, A380, 747

LN|Knits

Love for hand-knitted & -crocheted beauty. Proud designer & founder of LN|Beanies and LN|Andes, my two knit brands, my two loves.

...our traveling without moving!...

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w a n d e r l u s t .

it courses through my veins

Mannahisms

Matt & Hannah's Overseas Adventures

willshegetaway

The ramblings of a girl chasing her dream

mmeblog

Our London come Toowoomba Life

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