If I was to write an “Epic” now, following off from our last one, I would be typing for weeks, the result been a small novel!
So this is gonna be a brief summary.
Vancouver, Victoria, Port Hardy, Prince Rupert
Thanks for helping us carry our bags Bruce + Nic!
Inside passage was beautiful! Alas it was also raining, but then again, what do you expect from a temperate rainforest zone!
All our trips on the Ferries were way cool. We slept outside on the top covered deck (roof and 3 walls, with heaters!), and watched the mist, humpbacks and black and white porpoises go by, FLUKE! *click**click**click* (in-joke).
We went to presentations about bears and the temperate zones of the Alaskan panhandle (a fed bear is a dead bear; if its got a hump, be a lump, if its black, fight back).
The Scenery was indescribable, so I am not going to try and describe it!
Just think New Zealand’s South Island’s West Coast + fjords
Fresh Salmon! OMG Orgasmicallydeliciousyummiemmmmm.
We stayed at the Ketchikan YHA, cooked some fresh salmon given to the host and met some friends (Hi Carol for Xmas!). I forgot where I left Sylvia’s Email (damn). We walked to the top of the local peak (well, only ½ way cos we ran out of time), and saw a beautiful view of Ketchikan, just as it started to rain. Sylvia went off to the peak, while we RAN down the mountain to grab our bags before the hostel shut at 1pm (got there 1min late, but still got our bags. Whew, that was tiring!). That was 2 miles down, 3 miles long.
Nice place, Got taken out to dinner by a Tlingtic’s chief’s son, mmmm steak! Met Carol again (Xmas!) went and saw a glacier (blue) then rushed off to see Skagway.
Because Cruise ships go this way, most of the towns we visited have a substantial part of them devoted to the tourists (i.e. tourist trap), however Skagway was even more so. Still, we got a wonderful free tour of the historical sites around Skagway (soapy smith) before camping for the night.
The next day we caught a bus to Whitehorse, with a really friendly bus driver (it was us and 3 other passengers), he even dropped us off at the Greyhound bus terminal (the bus was a Greyline bus). We passed even more beautiful scenery, and the movie “White Fang” now makes a lot more sense.
70 hours, no sleep, and a cold later we were back in Vancouver. Had dinner with Bruce and Nik (MMMMM yummie curry). We walked over a suspension bridge, watched a boy for 30 minutes while he decided to jump to his death or not (we left before he decided to jump into a deep stream pool over a bluff that he might hit, or not), didn’t see any bears, then caught the plan to London.
Mind the Gap.
*click**click**click* the camera went, we stayed with the most generous and friendly man in the world, Lenio, before Eurostarring to Paris.
The Metro has a smaller billet.
PJ didn’t Show up (hmmm?), so it was the Metro by ourselves.
Dropped our bags off at the YHA.
*click**click**click* EiffelTowerNotreDamnOtherFamousStuff *click**click**click*
Howard growls at us for turning up at 11pm and waking him up, we meet Ann and Kuini, sleep.
France and Bron/Brou
We drove down France during the Petrol Blockade (Why are all those cars Queuing at the petrol station I wonder). I spoke broken French, and we saw 17th century priests golden weave cloaks and stained glass windows about the Kiwi and the Pom that crashed their plane in WWII to save a school. Got to Bayonne and caught the train to Saint Jean Port de Pied.
Somehow the corpse of Saint James ended up in Northwest Spain (Galicia) and soon you had pilgrims walking from everywhere to get there.
When the Moors occupied Spain, St James somehow ended up being St James the Moorslayer. He was the mythical person who appeared in the battles on his white charge to trample over the Moors, ensuring a victory for the Christian Armies.
We walked 800km from St Jean Port de Pied to Santiago de Compestella. Over around 4 mountain ranges, through arid vineyard desert (OMG La Rioja Grapes, There are not enough adjectives in the English language to describe how Devine the grapes that they grow here are, I would just move to Spain alone, just to be able to eat another bunch of those grapes) to the rain soaked green valleys of Galicia.
We have seen Cathedrals in Burgos, Leon, Astorga, and Santiago, not to mention the numerous ruins, castles and villages. We have seen the sun rise over the burnt fields of Burgos, and have dined at twilight in castle ruins overlooking villages in the valley below.
The People. The Beautiful Brazilians, the Spanish locals, The Wonderful French Couples, The Arrogant and Rude French Groups, the Inconsiderate Spanish bikers. Vino y Compeid™ Bread so fresh it is too hot to touch. Been Kissed by a Spanish Wino (YUCK!). Walking in the mist and looking up and seeing blue sky.
And of course, our wonderful friends.
Boy, I haven’t been that drunk since Uni. Still, after walking 800km you would do some partying as well, I would think.
We ate at the Parador (5 star hotel) for free. Did some Tourist Shopping, bumped into all the friends we had lost, and exchanged emails and contacts.
One a overcast sunday we caught a bus to Finisterre. While it was raining, we did one final walk to the end of the peninsular to the real end of our camino. We stood at the end of the old world and burnt my Camino T-shirt (Thanks Mike) while eating Melon and reflecting on our lives. Deep.
Met the Belgium guy (I forget your name, but its written down somewhere around here…) at the place you stay for 3 nights after finishing the Camino
BONJOUR! On the night of our departure we bump into the only friend we haven’t yet met in Santiago. We had lost her out of O’Ceberio and thought we might never see her again. We swapped addresses and went to bed.
Got up, had breakfast with Danielle at the Parador, Caught the bus to the Airport and Flew to London.
Still in London
Lenio has been a life saving godsend. He has let us use his flat, phone, computer and Internet. Heck, he has even cooked us dinner. This man is our savior.
Boy, this place is busy. We got a Cell phone each to help with getting a job, and we have been on the phone every day trying to find a flat. Whoa.
Geri +44 7855 931 172
Richard +44 7855 931 267
We splashed out and got some cell phone holders (me Tigger, Geri Eeyore) from the Disney store. Otherwise our money has been going on the tube and food.
Hey, Remember Guy Fawlks? They still have double happys and bangers. It sounds like a war zone outside. It’s Great. Screw those kill joys back home who ruined Guy Fawlks forever!
England is the capital of Catch-22 Bureaucracy.
To get a bank account, you need proof of an address, and a job.
To get a job, you need a bank account, and a NI number.
To get a flat, you need a bank account and a job.
To get an NI number, you need proof of an Address.
1) Set up a bank account from home BEFORE you leave.
2) Sign up with agencies ASAP.
3) Stay with Antipodeans cos they aren’t as anal about renting accommodation.
It will take us 2 week to sort out our bank account (and Geri still doesn’t have a cheque account!). The Banking systems here are CRAP (you need separate EFTPOS/switch cards to access your cheque and savings account), and the streets are too busy and its cold and raining and wet and windy *boohoohoo*
Well, that’s about it, with all the interesting stories cut out. I will be doing an epic to end all epics when I get settled (that and insidiously take over the world, eeep).
-Richard Maxwell and Geraldine Mora