sarahblack: (Bertie Wooster)
It has been decided! Þorri and I are returning to Narrabri next Friday. It will be an interesting cross-country journey involving a bus and two trains. We'll have to leave Byron Bay on Thursday because one of the trains is an overnight train! It will be lovely to see my grandmother and Lindsay again. (As well as my grandmother's wonderful collection of books!)

As I mentioned in my very brief previous post, the stay in Byron Bay has been a dream come true so far. We could have been luckier with the weather, but I'm definitely not complaining. We've has some amazing sunny days.

However, I haven't told you guys a thing about Sydney! This post will be novel length if I try to go into all the details, so I'm just going to post a few pictures along with a few comments.

Sydney )

Last Monday Þorri and I flew to Byron Bay. We've been spending time with Lindsay's daughter's family as we are crashing at their place. But like I said in my last post, we've also been able to take a trip to Currumbin Sanctuary (Australian animal "zoo"), walk to the most Easterly part of Australia, and hang around the beach for a bit.

Pictures! )

Tomorrow we're going to have a day of pampering at a spa and then we're going to the Lounge Cinema to see Looper. I'm really excited! I haven't had a full body massage since I was here in 2006! The Lounge Cinema is a treat as well. You sort of lie around instead of sitting! It's so comfy.

P.S. I totally recommend The Iron Lady. Fantastic film! Meryl Streep is a genius.
sarahblack: (Haaapppeee Audrey)
There really is nothing quite like staying with my grandmother and Lindsay in their house in the Middle Of Nowhere, Australia.

You never know when some interesting animal might decide to pop over for a visit. My grandmother likes to feed the goana lizards that live in the neighbourhood, and they will come up to the porch and practically eat right from out of her hand.

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Animal invasions and other things )

In the evenings, before dinner, a glass of bubbly with some strawberries thrown in is not an uncommon sight. (Beers, or even glasses of Gin and Tonic can sometimes be spotted by the keen observer.)

Avid readers will find themselves in paradise. Books full of murder mysteries, politics, history, Australian wildlife, Icelandic geography, famous literature, short stories, poetry, photographs and anything you could possibly want to read about, abound.

Would-be farmers would be happy here. Last week we were invited to go with Lindsay to the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute to observe the annual Field Day. This consisted of eating delicious barbecued food and looking at a lot of wheat. We heard Lindsay give a talk on the history of the different wheat species that the University of Sydney has been involved in breeding, and heard about a lot of different research projects that Ph.D. students are working on. Wheat is being made to need less water, resist disease, resist heat, become more nutritious and generally do whatever we want it to do. It's fascinating!

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On Saturdays a market springs up alongside the river in Narrabri - perfect for bargain-hunters. This weekend Þorri and I went with my grandmother to have a look. There was a man with an ice cream machine! He put scoops of vanilla ice cream inside, along with a scoop of raspberries or strawberries or whatever kind of berry that you wanted, and out of the machine came perfect berry flavoured soft serve ice cream! I want one of those machines.

I bought honey from a nice lady who first tried to get me to taste all the different kinds of honey she had for sale, and Þorri bought a lovely straw hat. (No-one tried to make him taste all the hats first.) My grandmother bought some beautiful flowers.

Life in the country is definitely something special. Plenty of animals and plants to keep you company, books to read, naps to take, bubbly to drink and all kinds of activities to keep you occupied.

For example, tomorrow me and Þorri have been invited to see the cotton crops get planted. I've never seen anything like that. (Iceland is not exactly famous for its agriculture.) Apparently there will be huge machines involved. I just hope my hey fever doesn't give me too much trouble.
sarahblack: (Appletini)
My day with Vera and Aarhus was absolutely lovely!

Aarhus )

Then it was off to Amsterdam by night train. I didn't have a sleeper cabin, just a seat, so I ended up not getting a lot of sleep. It was okay, though. Apparently I am still young enough to function without too much sleep.

Amsterdam was so much fun! I AM A CANAL. )

Today I caught a train from Amsterdam to Brussels and the Eurostar across the channel to London from there. My friend Tommi met me at the station and took me to the cozy apartment that he shares with his girlfriend Holly. We started by having juice on the roof of his apartment building and enjoying the view of downtown London, went on to have Italian food and ice cream for dessert, and ended the evening with cocktails at some fancy pub. It was absolutely spiffy!

Tomorrow I plan to sleep in since I have stayed up way too late to write this update. (Anything for my adoring public!)

Off to bed now.

Prague

Sep. 1st, 2012 10:22 pm
sarahblack: (Bertie Wooster)
Prague has been amazing!

I've spent two days exploring the city. Yesterday I went to the Prague castle, the Strahov library, and the Loreta church. The treasury in the Loreta is full of shiny things, the library was very cool, and the castle had a place called 'The Golden Lane' where I was able to shoot a crosbow! I totally managed to hit the target. Once. Out of four tries... I also walked over to the Charles bridge and wandered around the old town for a bit.



The weather was a bit cloudy and drizzly, but I had an umbrella and some warm clothes that I now feel vindicated for hauling around with me.

Today I started by walking around the Vyšehrad area (since I'm staying right next to it), then I went to the Klementinum library - it was gorgeous - saw the Astronomical clock do its little show, walked around the Jewish part of town for a bit (it was boring because all the Jews go on vacation or something on Saturdays) and then I checked out the Museum of Decorative Arts. I really liked the dresses at the museum. Pretty! ♥

Also, I tasted garlic soup, Czech dumplings, rabbit and 8 different flavours of Czech beer.


Sour cherry, banana, nettle and coffee flavours were among the ones I tried.


My impression of Prague is very favourable. It would have been nice to glimpse some blue sky, but you can't have everything. The people seem nice enough - although it's every man for himself on the subway - the food is delicious, and walking around town is sort of like walking into a wormhole and being transported to medieval Europe, except not smelly! I can understand why my friend Elín loved it here.

Tomorrow I'm going to Krakov in Poland!

Marseille

Aug. 13th, 2012 01:10 pm
sarahblack: (Karen Gillian being gorgeous)
The last few days in Marseille have been wonderful. I've been staying with Laufey, a friend I used to work with.

My first days here were really easy-going. I needed to plan the trip ahead, decide which countries to go to and try to arrange couches to surf. So far I have a place to crash in Switzerland, Rome and Vienna.

But after sorting out these boring practical matters, I went for a bike ride around the neighbourhood with Laufey. We stopped by the ocean to have some celebratory cocktails (it was actually her birthday that day) and watch the sunset. Then we had a lovely birthday dinner at a Japanese restaurant where the waiter insisted on trying to get us drunk by giving us really delicious sake.

S5002811_
First time on a bike after a decade or so...


More adventures in Marseille )

Tomorrow I think I will go to explore the Chateau d'If. On Wednesday I'm heading for Geneva.
sarahblack: (Phantom Rose)
Phew! Finally a chance to post!

I've made it to Marseille in one piece after a wonderful week in Paris with Thorri. It was horrible to say goodbye to him yesterday, but I'm trying not to dwell on it. I have a month to see Europe, and then we will be together again! Two whole months together in Australia before Real Life takes over again.

Last time I updated I told you about the Louvre and some other stuff. I'm going to give you a brief overview of the other sights that Thorri and I took in while we were in Paris.

S5002132_


Oui oui, tell me more! )

Yesterday was truly our last day. Thorri had to leave for the airport soon after we woke up, but I was able to stay longer since my train left in the evening. Paris said goodbye to us by giving us beautiful weather, almost as if it were tempting us to stay. I tried not to miss Thorri too horribly (although I let myself wallow with a cocktail for a while) and did some tourist stuff. But eventually the weather tempted me to settle down in the gorgeous little park next to the Hotel Esmeralda - where Thorri and I stayed for our last two nights in Paris - to read and enjoy the view.

S5002806
sarahblack: (Giselle dress)
So much has happened since last I posted! I feel like I have a week's worth of things to talk about. But it boils down to three things:

1. I spent an afternoon with Jessica and Noah in Washington DC on Sunday.

2. I've been doing a whole bunch of tourist things today and yesterday in New York.

3. I've been hanging out with my couch surfing host and his friends.

Click here if you're interested in the details and some pictures! )

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Sarah Black

March 2015

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