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I was watching the Jerry Bruckhiemer film 'Almost Famous' the other day (for whatever/ its many reasons, it always inspires me and lifts me up) and two thoughts came into my mind. The first one, admittedly, is a little bit silly and made me giggle: I remember an interviewI heard on the radio with Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters back in the day... where he said thank you to the producers for giving him that moment to Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer' because it never was a song that featured in his memory previously hahahaha! XD... and the second thought was something a little (or a lot) more profound.

The second thought was of the power of music. I guess i've always felt the most free when singing and dancing... that feeling of completely loosing all control, and yet, still feeling safe. That feeling of pure, raw expression... and abandon for everything that doesn't really matter, really. I can never really express myself well in 'real life' but I can with music and dancing... maybe it's because im quite introverted, or maybe it's just one of those things. Music can say so much more than words alone can... it's pictures in sound... the orchestra that plays in living colour in the mind, made manifest in real time for all the world to hear and know about. It crosses all the barriers... a secret language all of its own that everybody can understand somehow. Which led me to thinking about my first festival as a teenager... walking up to the entry of the arena, and feeling that pulsating energy like a heartbeat - but it isn't your own... getting louder, and steadily louder, until you're there and it's all around you. I remember thinking then, as I do now every time I go to a gig or a festival... there's something really spiritual and ethereal ... and unreal about that booming of the bass drum, and that ground shaking guitar sound coming up from below the ground, through your feet, before engulfing you completely. Dissapearing into the noise, into the crush of the crowd. Anonymous and protected in the tribe by the tribe. I guess because of all these acute feelings and sensations I get whenever I hear a clever riff, a catchy rhythm, a sleezy bass-line... that I find it so difficult to assimilate that some people just never get it... that love of creativity and creation in one of the most purest and uncorruptable of forms. They don't even tap their feet. And I just don't understand how they aren't compelled to make some kind of movement.

Which, as a chain of thought, links me on to thinking about dj's. Fuck. I. Hate. Them. ... most of them anyway... those dj's who use circutry as a way of creating a musical fusion of elements are totally free of my hate hahaha! XD... but, all the others... they're just destroying the simplicity of the richness of making rich, textured sound and universal language, and replacing it with making the sound and everything digital in a corporate way... spectators worshipping some geek or glamazon pressing buttons and pointing a finger to the sky (they dont even need two hands to play their instrument! pfft!)... maybe 'the day the music died' (Don McLean) will be coming sooner than we all feared, probably because of these dicks with their buttons. Already, sydney's music scene is drawing its last breath before rigormortis sets in... there's only really two or three real avenues for musicians to showcase their original tunage, which completely blows seeing as though there is a helluva lot of talent knocking about. Anywhoo, I digress...

The point of this post was, pretty much just to write about something i'm deeply passionate about... I've been away from my computer keyboard for far too long a time (I kinda missed just writing hahaha! :D) and to say that i'm super excited to be making sweet, sweet music again too :)... I feel like a piece of me has come back to me :)

Peace out xx

Something in the orange juice ;)...

faaaaaaark, maaan!!! im just back from a MCR (My Chemical Romance) concert at the Hordern Pavillion...and, once again, my head has been blown... CLEAN. OFF. by them!...as it is, i am writing this entry, headless! XD

I will admit that, they werent as great yesterday at the Big Day Out... their sound was crap, and the levels and stuff were all completely off (in the parts with crazy LOUD guitar solos and that, you couldnt hear it over the drums etc etc if you get me? :P)... and, i think they were all really genuinely suffering with the heat too (men after my own heart!) hahaha! XD...i know its always harder in a festival scenario to get good sound, but, hey - they did it at the Reading Festival in the U.K. in late august, so...meh =P in so saying, they were still pretty brilliant :)

but...TONIGHT!!! aaargh!!! AAAAAH-MAAAAAAZE-IIIIING!!!... it was almost as if the band just BURST out onto the stage, like three year olds on a mad sugar high!...and they kept it up - that infectious enthusiasm, energy and pure joy - the whole way through! its the orange juice, kids! THE ORANGE JUICE! hahaha! XD

maybe its because ive seen them play 3 times in the last 4 months, but...you know when you haven't seen a good friend in a while, but, when you do eventually get your acts together and hang out, you just pick up where you left off the last time? ... well, it felt like that!... communication and connection on a personal level between me and the band, through music...and the message?... joy, love, inspiration, hope, and a belief in humankind and what we each as individuals want to do with our lives is possible. sooo much without a single word between us! THAT is the one thing that i think i love about music the most. that, and the ability to be completely free of everything, and just letting the music fill your soul from your toes all the way up. MCR did that for me tonight, though, they arent the only ones... my other favourite bands (who i've seen live) like NIN, Garbage, Muse, System of A Down, Amanda Palmer/ The Dresden Dolls, Korn, The Cure, Manson and a bunch of others, all speak to me in the same way with different things. thats how i know theyre great :)

instead of jumping around like a mad thing like yesterday, i decided to watch the show from the bleachers for about half of the show, to observe from a performance perspective. it must be a wonderfully sureal feeling to be able to inspire all that from a crowd of people and see them all grooving, moving and singing YOUR songs!

long story short, its shows like this one, that make me absolutely certain, that music is what i want to do with my life. i want to inspire all this in people everywhere... and thanks to MCR and the other great musicians out there, it does nothing but inspire the inspiration, motivation, and just, the fucking balls to give it a try and actually get there! :D ... my brain is doing sommersaults XD...

LAST EURO-TRASH POST =P...

LAST EURO-TRASH POST


It is with a heavy heart that i returned to Australia. Even now, being back for 3 weeks, i find myself day-dreaming - like re-running a favourite movie - and thinking of the different things that happened, and the different people i've met over the last 6 months...and my heart smiles.


As i had hoped, i think this trip has made me grow in so many ways that i've lost track. if anything, i feel like i've got a sense of perspective back, that was lacking there for a bit...and, its nice :) I've got to see how other people live, and listened to their worldview, and reassessed my own because of it :)...


It took something as dramatic and devestatingly soul crushing as the death of someone extremely important to me, to set the direction where I would like things to go, and to realise life's too short to just do what you *have* to do to get by...


when i was overseas, i felt this great and overwhelming sense of freedom...of self-expression...and just...of self. i didnt have to hide myself, didnt have to do anything extra to be accepted and to just, 'fit in' i guess... which is why that continent feels like home more than Australia ever has/ will. ...i could be invisible or NOT invisible if i wanted to...it was just...more comfortable and easy. i was free to be happy. i never ever feel like that here...unless im a bit tipsy...even then...im censored.


I think another pretty big change is, that, im more transparent about things - about me - now...i dont care if you like it or not, things are the way they are. I'm not going to document here in what ways and whatever, or what i mean by this statement...i dont feel i need to. What i know is that this trip has allowed me to take back my life, so, yay! :D...


So, here it is... im my mothers daughter (and im proud of that!), i come from the same school of thought/ way of going as my wonderful irish family...i dont understand how people can descriminate against another human being based on colour, creed or culture...understand LESS that so many people dont say anything and let it happen in their presence. Although government representatives most probably went into it with honourable intentions, before long, all governments tend towards corruption. i care about what is happening on the other side of the world, or to some stranger and want to help - even though it doesnt directly affect me. i like to think that i always keep my personal integrity and convictions. I have had something of a dark past, which has made me a stronger and a more compassionate person overall. every action i take stems from love. im creative and happiest when im free to be so. im generally impactical, but, pull it together when i have to. im most likely too honest sometimes. i value loyalty in a friend, lover and aquaintance above all else, because everything else comes from that. I fall in love with the flaws and ugliness in people, not the normal pretty shiny things that most girls fall for. im unashamedly friendly and heartfelt. i can be serious, but, i dont take life too seriously. im blessed and thankful to have the good fortune of being surrounded by quality people, who, for whatever reasons, care for me and try to protect me from the world, but, mostly from myself. i can be incredibly naiive...but, that does not make me stupid. I sometimes hate how the world works - i dont think its fair to judge someone based on the fact that they have facial piercings, tattoos and multi-coloured hair - but, the reality of it is, that people do...


I think that love is more than a feeling...its a verb, so, needs to be actioned...the verbalising of the feeling, whilst important, should come later rather than sooner - words are easy to say. I know how to, and can love someone - and do so with all of my heart and fibre of my being... but, they need to show me, not tell me they love me first, so i know that its real...and i dont see anything wrong with that.


i am capable and able to do anything i put my mind to - anything is possible - i just have to make sure to see it through to the end without being distracted! :D... in fact, i can do some things that most people CANT do, or have forgotten how to do! :)


Someone very wise told me once, that, you should throw out to the universe whatever it is that you want out of your life, and believe in it, and have faith in the thought of it happening... and the universe will deliver. And the more i think about that advice, the more i think its some very good and powerful advice that im going to follow...

So, even though I had to return under duress, ive returned excited, and enthusiastic to finish some of the things that i have already started, and invigorated and ecstatic and loony-tunes happy about my decided direction, safe in the knowledge that, everythings gonna be okay in the end :)  


Thanks for reading this thang, Lords and Ladies! :) Till the next adventure, peace out :) xxx <3


SPAIN, PORTUGAL AND MOROCCO


SPAIN, PORTUGAL AND MOROCCO


Day 1: 29 August: Barcelona


i didnt really get to see any of Barca this day as i arrived in Spain at 2am, and made it to my hostel (the one the top deck people use) at roughly around 3am. my cab driver was very nice though :)...wouldnt really rate the hostel (Urbany Hostel, Barcelona) that much but...the only thing it had going for itself is that every bed had a powerpoint. simple pleasures people hahaha! XD...the things you take for granted when at home: powerpoints hahaha! XD...so, it was nice to not have to scramble and bargain for the use of the outlet to charge my phone, camera, laptop, etc :)


Day 2: 30 August: Barcelona to Valencia


i was up pretty early because i didnt know what time we were supposed to be meeting as i missed the first day of the tour due to the Reading Music Festival...so...i was seriously, 'le tired'...the previous month to this was pretty full on in terms of replacing food with alcohol, and having less than 4 hours sleep a night, but...i will survive (i will survive!...whoooah, as long as i know how to love, i knnow i'll stay aliiive!...) ahhem, ahhem...sorry about that, dont mind me going off on a singing tangent! ;) ...


I met (properly) for the first time (she talked to me in her sleep when i first arrived, but, doesnt remember a word of it! heehee! ^.^) Ruth (a roomie) and the amaaaaaaazing Mel-anarchy (another roomie), and the cute as a button Bek (roomie #3) :). they filled me in on what i missed (thank goodness!!! :D) went down for breakfast (which was amongst the most terrible hostel breakfasts ive had on this trip! hahaha!...how can you fuck up Nutella???!!! honestly! XD heehee!) met a whole crapload of other people who were on tour at breaky...i remember thinking...Daaang! its a huge group!...and only a handful of boys lol!...they had the ratio right! haha!


anywhoo, had a free morning, so, a bunch of us tottled off to Parc Guell...for those who dont know, this park was created by Gaudi. it was pretty cool actually! Mosaic benches, funny eccentric looking wee buildings...it was a bit like a children's themepark or faerietale playground really! it was mad! :)


soon enough, it was time to head back and to hit the road running...first stop: Freixenet Caves...


my mum and dad, and so i (and anyone else who's ever been over for a new years party! haha! :D)) discovered Freixenet the Black Bottle champaigne years and years ago...its awesum because it doesnt give you a hangover - even if you drink several bottles!!! :)... it was a really quaint little facility...where they had cars made in the shape of a cork, and the black bottle etc just out the front! not like your usual "we want you to spend your money here and thats the only real reason why youre here...because the tour organisation gets a cut of the revenue raised if you buy something, so, buy, buy, buy!" like it is with Contiki...it was actually really fun! :)...they had a little train!!! :D it was like The Polar Express!!! :D...im so juvenile XD heehee! XD...


the rest of the day, was a driving day...our final destination being Valencia. saw some pretty coastline on the way :)...


Day 3: 31 August: Valencia


alrightyyy!!! today, we were going to La Tomatina - the tomato pegging festival! i drew little tomatoes on my eyes in honour of the occasion! heehee! ^.^ ...not that you could see them at the end of the day...FUKATYLIT! i got soooo dirty!!! hahaha! XD i wore my wellies from The Reading Fest and my PJ's (hahaha! XD...well...i didnt bring much clothes with me, so... ummm...dont judge me hahaha! XD) and was squelching around until we got back to the bus, where, i took the boots off (with MUCH effort!!!)...no, seriously, i had to peel them off, with the help of some of my new top deck fweeeeends! XD...and the juice that poured out of them...OH my GOD!... G. R. O. S. S!!! i managed to get away relatively unscathed injury-wise, but...the tour leader (Rich) got tomatina-ed in dah eye!!! XD...ouch! =P...couldnt get over the smell hey - poooohey! stinky stinky... needless to say, i couldnt stomach even LOOKING at a tomato for a few days! hahaha! XD


i meant to meet up with the crazy munchin that is Lizzie Melville for La Tomatina, but...who would have thought that one could get so lost?! lol!... ditzy Sine moment number 1000! XD


Day 4: 1 September: Valencia to Granada


"on the road, again!..." pretty much, a driving day today... listened to peoples 'life lists' (cool idea actually!...everyone has to make a playlist, one song for each of the following categories: pump up song, childhood song, love song, a defining/ about me song, end credits/ funeral song, and a stripper song)...


Day 5: 2 September: Granada


Granada was great! :) went to see the Alhambra, which, according to our guide, was once a fortress with palaces, gardens and a tiny city all at once...and Mel-anarchy andi went shopping!!! Mel found a jacket, which will forever be known as my "WOW!" jacket...eeer, trust me...when you see it, you will think the same! hahha!...and also, a pair of black boots that, i seriously have lived in since their purchasing! :D...this wonderful lady knew me for a whopping 4 days, and she knew my style and 'got me' straight off!!!...how amazement! :) feel like ive known Mel for years and years and years! :)


Day 6: 3 September: Granada to Tangier, Morocco


we drove to the pier so we could catch the ferry to Morocco on this day. i was quite possibly the most excited for Morocco out of this whole trip!... i've wanted to go to Morocco since i was a little girl, and i was just hoping it would be all and more that i hoped it would be like - and a complete culture shock...which, indeed it was! :)


the ferry trip only took an hour and a half...and the whole time, we were waiting in line to get our passports stamped!...it went pretty fast really...but...that could have been because i was THAT excited :)


really, all i did was have a wander around in Tangier. it was a nice place, but...eh...not so much out of this world.


Day 7: 4 September: Tangier to Fes


today, we traveled to Fes. the countryside from Tangier to Fes is soooo different from 5 minutes to the next 5 minutes!...very unique :)...i enjoyed the run. by this stage i had contracted the dredded lurgy/ black lung/ plague (ie: asthma)...heh...e.v.e.r.y. time i do a tour longer than a week, i seem to get it. it always starts off with a cold or a chesty cough...which is caught from wherever you catch it from...and in not so long, its asthma. absolutely gives me the irrates! so, i was kind of thankful for a chill day today, so i could catch some 40 winks since i dont seem to sleep at night time =P...


Day 8: 5 September: Fes


started the day off with a tour from a local guide...who was such a cutie pa-tootie!!! :) just wanted to give him a big cuddle! XD then, it was shopping in the medina :D...so many colours and smells and wonderfulness!!! i had a little bit of sensory overload, but, in a good way! :D there was donkeys and camels and tiny little narrow streets, and fruit to die for, and gorgeous little children - some of them wanting to sell us stuff, but, others just being friendly :) we went to a leather making joint...oh GOD!...now THAT was a smell, that...if i never smell that again, it will be too soon!!! faaaaark!!! ...to say it smelled like shit is a TOTAL underestimation, although...that IS what we were smelling!!! XD at least we had mint leaves to sniff to save us from passing out hahaha! XD


bit by bit, people drifted off on their own, i decided to hang with the guide though, because he was interesting to talk to. i like to pick the brains for an hour or two, of someone who lives where im visiting to see how life really is like :) at the end of the night, when we were really all a bit shopping-ed out, and were about to head back, the guide took us (there was maybe 6 of us?) to his actual house, where himself, his wife and family, his parents, and his sister and her family all lived. quite frankly, i think this was the best experience of ALL my travels. full stop. what i came away feeling was, that, although the people of Morocco have such a hard life, its also a very simple life, and they all seem so happy and hospitable, and super friendly, and completely beautiful :) makes me wonder if maybe they have the right way - or a better way of doing things, or at least looking at things; for at least most of the time. if im honest with myself, i dont think i could live in that almost completely sexist kind of an environment, but...i certainly did find it interesting and intriguing and would love to know more.


Day 9: 6 September: Fes (day trip to Meknes and Volubilis)


went to Volubilis where they have some Roman ruins there. i, however, do not deal with the heat very well...like...at all!!!...and this place was soooooo so hot...that i guess i fainted, passed out, whatever haha! XD...i dunno...one minute, i was standing up, talking to people, feeling a little bit faint, but, you know...nothing to worry about...then...SMACK!...when i opened my eyes and came to, i was on the floor! XD...well, jeez! how did i get here??!! hahhaha! XD...so, needless to say, i went and sat in the shade and had a cold coke...Gareth THE most AWESUM BUS DRIVER IN THE UNIVERSE! and the wonderful Mel-anarchy were nice enough to come and stay and keep me company :)...i love you guaaaays! :-*


hopped into the bus again, and went off to Meknes...which was once Morocco's capital city. really pretty cityscape :)


then, back to Fes...as we went out to this Moroccan restaurant that had bellydancers...though... they were kind of crappy belly dancers =P... seen better in Auburn, Sydney O_o...food was pretty yum though! :) i might also mention, that...our accomodation in Fes was THE BEST!!!... we had a swimming pool, and...even a harem room!!! :D after dinner, a bunch of us girls got our hands or feet painted with henna :D...i have retarded dancers feet, so, i opted for the 2 hands :D...its so hard to sit still for 2 hours!...i came out, and went to go out to the pool area where there was some more people, and i forgot, and swiped my hand on my skirt and messed up a part of it, but, in the end, you couldnt really see where i'd wrecked it :)


Day 10: 7 September: Fes to Seville, Spain


said cheerio to Africa and came back into Spain, via the Strait of Gibraltar :) while we were driving, some cheeky Moroccan kids were hitchin themselves on to the back of the bus to hitch a ride with us. i think the kids thought it was a game, but...it was actually pretty dangerous as in...they coulda killed themselves kind of dangerous! Rich told us that they do that and go underneath the bus, to try and get onto the boat OUT of Morocco by hiding there. that the people here would put their lives in so much danger just to pass the border/ water and get out of Morocco, just made me really really sad =P. anywhoo...


pretty much a driving day today. even from the bus, i knew i was going to love Seville :). it just has a really lovely atmosphere and vibe that i really liked :)


Day 11: 8 September: Seville


Rich was supposed to give us a tour of Seville, but, i think he was still feeling pretty off colour from catching some sickness whilst in Morocco, poor thing =P... so a bunch of us set off to find the Plaza de Espan, the Cathedral of Seville, the Real Alcazar, and Barrio de Santa Cruz (best known as the old Jewish quarter). after that, i just wandered around for a bit taking it in, before oing back to the hostel...i was feeling like mould, and a little bit cranky because of it hahaha! XD


Day 12: 9 September: Seville to Lisbon, Portugal


Driving today to Portugal :) went to see Jeronimo's Monastery, and also the Belem Tower...which was pretty cool! :)...and then, i got an ice-cream (coz im an addict for them haha! XD), whilst some of the others got some lunch :)


later in the evening, we went to Barrio Alto, which is where all the cool people o at night *nods* ;D


Day 13: 10 September: Lisbon


i didnt really get up to much today...i felt the worst i had on this tour in Lisbon. i would love to come back and see the place more, when im feeling well and healthy :)


Day 14: 11 September: Lisbon to Porto


On our way to Porto, we stopped at Sintra...where...people have been reported saying that its the most beautiful city in Europe. i dont know if i would really go that far, but...i guess it was fairly pretty.


went to see Benfica VS Vittoria Football (soccer for the ozzies) game, and got to experience the passion of the Portugese people. what can i say, it rocked my world! :)


Day 15: 12 September: Porto


did a tour of Porto with Rich today, and had a wander around. i started to feel slightly better today, so, later in the evening, i went out for a bit...Porto is awesum!!!...people were just dancing in the streets for no real reason at all!!!...i wanna go back one day - like i said - when im healthy. it sucks that i was sick in Portugal, because, i was really looking forward to it, and, then, in the end...i just didnt have the energy =P...they had this great clock in the middle of the street that had little people come out and do a little dance when it hit the hour...that was pretty cool :) the markets along the water were wonderful too!...they had a stall where a lady was selling a bag which had a shoe on it!!!...and other quirky little things :)


Day 16: 13 September: Porto to Madrid


we stopped in at Salamanca which was on our way to Madrid, and...actually, i kinda liked it :) had a nice quirky, artzy feel to it :)...visited the famous library there, and had a walk around the square. again, bought an ice-cream...yummy! :) then, drive, drive, drive onwards and forwards to Madrid :)


Day 17: 14 September: Madrid


all i can say, is, that Madrid really intrigues me, and i quite love it! :D...there is no way in hell you could ever be bored in this city!...i know everyone goes on and on about Barcelona, but, personally, i would take Madrid over Barca. the stereotypical image i had in my head of Spain...of men sitting at tables playing chess or cards with each other drinking coffee...is what i found here... but, that was only one side of Madrid. i think i could grow to love Madrid as much as i love Paris and Berlin...i am going to go back and spend more time there, because, 1.5 days in Madrid really isnt enough. they have an alternative area, which, i never made it to, but, i VOW to go to when im in town again :)


did a free walking tour which was very interesting, and visited a bullring, where i got to use the only spanish i can really remember: Guidado! El toro! (look out, there's a bull!) haha! XD. next time i come (because im gonna stay for a while), i might venture to the Reina Sofia to see Guernica, and i want to see the football stadium next time too. Real Madrid is my team :)


Day 18: 15 September: Madrid to San Sebastian


stopped in at Segovia, which had this AMAZING looking aqueduct!!!...pretty much, just wandered around, and then stopped for something for lunch, then, it was time to head back and hit the road again...


for dinner tonight, we went to a 'Gastronomical Society' place thingy...pretty nice food!!! =]...


Day 19: 16 September: San Sebastian


San Sebastian is known for its surf, and for its awesum food/ tapas. unfortunately for us, it was really crappy weather, so...*i* didnt actually get into the water! hahaha! however, i did end up going to 2 different beaches...feeling optimistic i suppose hahaha! XD...and i tried these baguette things...oh mah god...*drool* ...and... had chocolate pancakes...*double drool*...the pancakes were simply divine!!! ... later that evening, a few of us decided to go to the san sebastian movie festival that was on that night. we ended up watching some movie that was reaally reaaaally depressing hahaha! XD...so...we went to McDonalds...and i got a happy meal...and it made me happy...because...they gave me a cute little fake passport thing...i still have it hahaha! XD...actually, when i was on my way back to Australia, the spanish border patrol people asked me for my passport, and, for a joke, i produced this happy meal passport with a big smile on my face...and the uy just looked at me blankly till he saw what it was, and doubled over laughing hahaha! XD...i then ave him my actual passport :D...after this, when we were on our way back, we noticed there was a live band playing...w were too late to hear the band play, but, we danced to the last few songs that were being played :)...it was a fun night :)


Day 20: 17 September: San Sebastian to Barcelona


stopped at Zaragosa, had a look around... then, onwards back to Barcelona. it was on this night that we (4 or 5 girls) got distracted by a very handsome pirate looking guy called Jack...who we then sold our soul to for a night out. he told us the last place on the crawl was an indi club...im afraid his idea of indi and mine are quite different really, but, all the same, it ended up being a pretty fun night out :)...and we got to fit in a nice perv and a cuddle from the one named Jack :)


i couldnt believe how fast it all went. it was so much fun, with such wonderful people on the tour...some who i think will end up being life-long friends :) had a ball :)


Day 21: 18 September: Barcelona


last day on tour, and it all ended after breakfast...with some people already saying adios at ridiculous o'clock in the morning. pretty much, i was tired and stuff as we got in late, so, had breakfast, then, went back to bed haha! XD


19 September: Barcelona


so, on my last day in Barcelona, Ilhana and i decided to go to the Sagrada Famiglia...WOW! is all i have to say!!!...i DO NOT need to see another church for as long as i live, because the Sagrada is simply breathtaking and spectacular! ...in every corner, nook and cranny of the place, its symbolic of something...and, inside, all the pillars look like trees in a forest, and in the part that represents the darkest parts of the stations of the cross, it almost lookes like a fist and knuckles as the join on the trees! amazing! and all the stone work...actually, all the work involved with it - period - is so precise and intricate and delicate and such workmanship involved that it adds to the spectacularness! its still not finished either!...Ilhana and i made a pinky swear promise to come back when its all finished (supposedly 2030), and we are all old and decrepid, to see the place in its full glory. Gaudi was an effing genius! :)


i kind of fancied going to the Salvadore Dali Museum while i was in Barcelona, but...it was going to cost something like $40EU each to get there!...PLUS entry and all the extras, so...decided to pass. go there another time, and stay closer to the Museum :)


so, we decided to hit a beach, so, we looked at the map, closed our eyes and pointedto someplace on the coast, and decided to go there :)...it was here, we decided to splurge, and get a meal by the beach...and, who should we meet?...of course! yet another irish guy! hahaha! XD...the 3 of us had lunch together, then, hit the beach which was nearby (Barcelonetta)...and there happened to be a movie being filmed there!...it looked kinda boring tho haha! XD... and just bummed about for a while before heading back.


haaah...i really loved Spain, Portugal and Morocco :)

THE READING MUSIC FESTIVAL

THE READING MUSIC FESTIVAL

i thoughroughly enjoyed this festival from beginning to end. i bought earlybird tickets, so, technically, i could have rocked up on the wednesday sometime, but...as it was, i arrived on the thursday...which was still a day before showtime. i bought a 'tangerine fields' ticket that was in the 'white zone' which was across the water, so...i had to walk an epically long way (through aaaall the stages and the camping fields surrounding them!)...but, i got to catch a ferry!!! :D... i was completely pooped by the time i got to my tent, but, at least i didnt have to pitch it!...i was so so glad i bought the ticket that meant someone else put up and took down the tents! (actually, i was never more greatful than on the day i had to leave...hung over, freezing cold, tired as shit...but, at least all i had to do was pack up my crap...and not take down the tent! :D happy days! :D)

i still didnt know the timetable of who was playing when yet, as...they dont put out a free timetable in the paper or on the internet like they do for australian festivals...so, i bought a program on my way, and began to study it and plan my next 3 days excitedly! :D

...im so stupid sometimes...i mean...i even surprise MYSELF with my ditziness at times!...dumb-arse me didnt even cotton on that the weather might be different at a UK festival, so...i was basing my shoe and clothing situation on it being stinking hot...i was ok as far as the clothing attire was concerned, coz...it was hot enough at times...layers are very good for UK festivals! heehee! XD ... however...i had bought a pair of slightly heeled (chunky heeled...they were sensible enough i thought!) boots that i was thinking of donning, however...it was so so soooo very muddy!...and the only other shoes i brought with me were my furry zebra creepers (which i love, and didnt want to get wrecked =P)

...so, seeing that that just wouldnt do, i set off to find myself a pair of cheap wellies :) i needed to do a quick grocery shop too, so, i went out of the premises.

i was a bit apprehensive about going to a 3 day festival in a foreign country on my own to be honest. but i got to thinking, and had a bit of a flashback to the Falls Festival that Lisa Eljed and i went to way back when. we met this guy (because i was playing the bongo's! hahaha!...seee! they WERE the INSTANT friend maker - however irritating im sure they were!!! hahaha! XD) whom we called 'numbers'. we called him this because, he was on a mission to meet 100 people whilst at the festival...and not just 'hello' and walk off kind of a thing...actually have a conversation for a while with these 100 people. i decided i would take a leaf out of his book, and do the same :)... (FYI i met 116 people in the end thank you very much!!! :D)

so i got back, arms full of bags of food and alcohol and a couple of glowy things :D... got settled in my tent, then, went to hang out and dance around with numbers 1-4 who were 'working' in the admin tent :)...they were giving out free booze after a little while, so, i met numbers 5-15 later on this night...some were complete yobbo idiots whom i wanted to stab, but, hey!...in the festive spirit of festivals, i decided not to get violent hahaha! XD... at least none of those aforementioned yobbos were my close neighbours heehee! ^.^

FRIDAY:

todays itinerary consisted of:

- 11.20: Cherri Bomb

- 13.15: Does it Offend you, yeah?

- 15.30: The Naked and Famous

- 16.10: Rise Against

- 17.20: Deftones

- 17.55: Henry Rollins

- 18.45: The Vaccines

- 19.55: Noah and the Whale

- 20.10: 30 Seconds to Mars

- 21.20: Digitalism

- 22.00: My Chemical Romance

i would have to say that there werent too many clashes on the friday night... The Horrors and Beady Eye were on at 22.30, which was in the middle of the MCR set, so...really, that was the only one... would have liked to have seen them though =P...

My sweety at the time came for Friday's escapades, which was great :) actually, he knew one of the bands playing at the NME/ Radio 1 Stage, which was the stage Beady Eye were playing at, so...inadvertedly, i did get to see Beady Eye play...well, sort of! :) ... i got to meet you're man Gallaher too...he's not as much of a douche-hound as he's made out to be, but...you know... still a bit of an asshat =P

without a doubt, the stand-out act of this day was MCR...my GOD!...they were bloody brilliant!!! so much energy and enthusiasm, and it was infectious, and the crowd was...electric, because of it!!!

Cherri Bomb and Digitalism i hadnt really heard of actually, and i only went to see them because they were near to where we were going, or on the way, and ...they were fantastic...expecially Digitalism :)

I was pretty amped up for The Vaccines and Henry Rollins, who played a great set...Deftones ALWAYS hit the spot (no surprises there really), 30 Seconds to Mars were...eeergh...dissapointing! we met numbers 16-20 whilst watching this set...they were super super funny (as are we! hahaha!), so, it made for some great entertainment really! :D... Jared Leto, whilst glamourously good looking...is a bit of a twat. give me Gerard Way any day of the week :)

After the bands were all done, we went to the red campsite, and mucked about on the ferris wheel (which was huge and shiny!!! :D) went to the silent disco for a bit...i dont really understand these silent disco things!...id never been to one before - i know they have them at BDO and that, but, ive never made an appearance at it =P... everyone has headphones on, and dancing to their own beat, which is sorta cool i guess, but... in my head, its pretty unsociable... we werent there for long...luckily, J felt the same as i did about it :)

so, then, the task of smuggling J into the white campsite!...which meant a looooooong walk back through the bushes instead of catching the ferry...it was plenty fun! i felt like Bonny and Clyde ... without the part of getting shot of course heehee! :)... i beguiled security 'with my wits', and hazzzah! we were successful :)

number 14 saw me from accross the way, and invited us to a sing-song that was happening in our campsite, so...we went!...and met numbers 21-30 :) ... some very fun times were had :)...although...i was kind of put on the spot... they asked me to sing some famously australian songs that they might know, and all i could come up with was the pathetic 'Waltzing Matilda', 'Land Downunder' and 'Mr Clickety Cane'!!!... im convinced that we seriously dont have any cult-y songs that people outside of Oz will know! =P

SATURDAY:

started off a sad day... J and I said our tearful goodbyes, and vowed to visit each other, and maybe pick up where we left off... sometime... someday =P...bad timing sucks donkeys balls =P...

to cheer myself up, i decided to go see a band play...there was nobody that i was dying to see too badly, so, i chose to see a band who i hadnt heard of who had a joyous sounding name...'The Joy Formidable'...and they were EXCELLENT!!!...my timetable for saturday went like this:

- 12.00: The Joy Formidable

- 12.55: The Pidgeon Detectives (only saw 20 minutes of this set, coz i was intrigued by another band with a strange name! :D)

- 12.45: She Keeps Bees! :D

- 13.30: Late Night Gimp Fight! XD

- 14.55: Two Door Cinema Club

- 16.00: The Kills

- 16.45: Cults

- 17.10: Everything Everything

- 18.10: Glassjaw

- 19.15: Bombay Bicycle Club

- 20.30: Crystal Castles (only stayed for a half hour though coz i wanted to see Pulp)

- 20.30: Pulp (LONG LIVE JARVIS COCKER!!! far out, he's a funny guy!!! XD)

- 22.15: The Strokes...eeergh...shouldnt have bothered! i always really liked the strokes... not anymore...they dick around too much at their live gigs...i left after about 4 songs...

- 22.15: Jane's Addiction (which were RAD!!! :D)

- 23: The Midnight Beast

i met numbers 31-65 today!...the best thing about this little numbers experiment, is, that...people seem to remember you, and *i* remember people too!!! because i dont have to remember names, it seems alot easier!!!...and, throughout the week, you see each other and yell out "Hey!...its number 13!!!" or whatever :)...i was feeling a little lowly, (obviously) on the saturday, and this simple concept made me feel better :)...i met up with so many of my already met 'numbered people' just out and about this day, and it was excellent :)

SUNDAY:

my timetable today:

- 12.00: Dananananakroyd!!!!!!

- 13.00: Taking Back Sunday

- 15.45: Fight Like Apes (only saw half coz i wanted to see Tim Minchin)

- 15.30: Tim Minchin

- 16.15: Enter Shikari

- 16.45: Warpaint

- 17.20: Friendly Fires

- 17.50: Panic! At the Disco

- 19.00: Interpol

- 19.45: Flogging Molly

- 20.00: Elbow

- 21.30: Muse

i met number 66 to 70 at Dananananakroyd...i was mildly intrigued by the name, and, was kind of keen on doing my best batman impression hahaha! XD, so...thats why i hauled myself up and out that early in the morning...whilst teeeeerribly hungover - possibly even still drunk!...

Fight Like Apes were great, and Tim Minchin was hilaaarious! :D i met 71 and 72 at Tim Minchin...a couple of boys who were nearly as funny as Minchin! XD

i was looking forward to Enter Shikari...i had never seen them before, but, they come highly recommended by a bunch of friends who have seen them :)...they didnt disapoint! :) ...but, my FAVOURITE new found band would from the Reading would have to be Warpaint. i quite love them! :) ... garage meets Garbage! total awesum-sauce! :)

Panic! were a little bit amazing!!! such a wonderful voice!!! :) and again, a really great energy which was infectious :) i met number 73 here...who is a very very lovely boy :)

Flogging Molly were OUTRAGEOUS and RAMBUNCTUOUS!!! and sooooooo much fun!!! Rowan - babe - you were right!!! :) since im amongst friends, i dont mind saying that i was embarrassing and got up in the middle of a snake pit and did a wee irish jiggy-jig! XD i met numbers 74-81 here...all irish of course ;)...

whilst Elbow were good...they kinda put my energetic mood out the window a bit =P loved the orchestra though :) met 82-85, and also hung out with numbers 20, 21 and 30.

Muse up next!!!...now, i know they are ALWAYS amazing...and they havnt disapointed me even yet...but...this was a much more mellow set than they usually do, which...i didnt love so much =P ... they did Origin of Symmetry in its entirety, then, some of the old famous favourites. i admire them for trying to do something new, but, in this case, i think it could have been close to a miss than a hit =P i met numbers 86-98 in muse and just before muse...number 97 was wonderful and i had the most amazing time with him!...he was a gay guy, who was simply hilariously funny, and we were pulling out our interpretive dance moves, and started a 'love train' through the mosh! hahaha! XD so much fun! :D

then, it was time to head back to my tent and sort my crap out ...eeerh =P hahaah! XD the walk is so nice along the river. i tell you, the people who live there have it made! :)... theres swans just...swan-ning about (pun intended), so close to the festival...aaargh! heaven! :)...there were some smart-arses though - they were taking their boat out, at like 2 or 3 in the morning, and just teasing and taunting us who were waiting for the ferry in the freezing cold (it was by the water so it was especially breezy) to come hahaha! XD...met number 99 in the line (Chris Birch, honey, thats you!!! hahaha! :D) who, whilst being a youngster, has a good head on his shoulders, quite mature, and a pleasure to hang out with :) that night, we sat for several hours just chatting and laughing, and drinking my left over beers as there was no way in hell i was carting them with me the next morning! hahaha! XD...met number 100 and 101 whilst out this night...who were 2 english men wearing frilly fringy dresses :)...they were pretty cool guys! :)

MONDAY:

ok, so...i needed to be up and ad-em at 10am (ridiculous o'clock) and out of my tent by 1030am =P...said a quick cheerio to whatever numbers happened to be around me, and went to wait in the line to catch the ferry. as expected, there was a line. a long one. there were people who were, like me, still a little tipsy (some were still maggot drunk), others were sleeping...even in the mud!!!...so, of course, being the eternally smiley social butterfly that i am, started to have conversations with those around me. i met numbers 102-105, who were a couple and their daughter, i also met 106-109 who were 3 guys who came away to do some male bonding/ have a bromance heehee! 110-112 were 3 girls who decided they liked my make-up (a glittery spideey and a wee heart) and my hair (had some 1940's roll thing going on) and actually came up and talked to ME!

finally, we got on the ferry, which took us to the city of reading, not to where the stages were. on the boat, i met numbers 113-116 who were rockabilly girls who by default, we all startedtalking together. they wanted to come to australia because we have soundwave. i told them about SWR (little did i know it was going to get effing CANCELLED!!! pffft!...) and they then really, REALLY wanted to come to oz! XD...hopefully, they found out about it being cancelled and didnt change their plans hahaha!...very cool people all in all!...i should have remembered to get their book-face details or something, but, of course - as with MOST of the numbers, i forgot to do this =P hahaha!... my ditziness strikes again XD

an AMAZING time was had!!! :D...and i have come away with a swag-ful of musical tasty treats to tantalise my ears until i get sick of them :D


THE EMERALD ISLE/ MY HOME AWAY FROM HOME/ IRELAND:

i ended up being in Ireland for nearly 2 weeks...but, it wasnt even hardly enough time. if i have one regret about this trip, it was, that i didnt leave enough time for Ireland...but, then... i was in Ireland for 5 months the last time i was in Europe, and it STILL wasnt enough, so...meh...what can i do? haha! XD...

as far as touristic stuff goes, i wasnt interested in any of it at all this time. plainly put, i just wanted to hang out with all my wonderful family in County Down and County Tyrone :) i am so so sooo very lucky to be blessed with such friendly, warm, funny, creative and extraordinary family here. my soul has gotten filled up, once again, by these wonderful people - who hardly even really know me at all - yet, who have claimed me as one of their own :) ... it still spellbinds me that these people are always so good to me :)

i met some cousins for the first time (Brenda and Teresa - heeeeey!!! :D) who of course, are TOTALLY aweful (heehee! kidding kidding! ;D)...nah, actually, they're really really fun and beautiful people! :) xxx <3

i went to my first Irish wedding, and a hilarious wedding rehearsal! ...the priest was such a cutie pa-too-tie!... i was doing a reading, and so, at the rehearsal, at my cue, i got up to do my thang...but...maybe because my accent wasnt irish - i think that he thought i was a bit slow, and he was like "so, this is a microphone...you speak into it..." ... i know what a microphone is dang nabbit! buahahahhahaa! XD so funny!...however, i wasnt the only one to get a telling off... my other cousin Moira (bridesmaid) got told off for not bringing her bouque of flowers and for racing down the aisle heeheehee! it was pretty funny ^.^ ... the poor priest sorta forgot to say a part of the mass on the day as well, and then congratulated himself on getting through the mass at the end heeheehee! oooh, he was soooo cute :D...it was a beautiful wedding, and a experience i will treasure forever :) thaaaaanks Brenda!!!! :D <3

it was really great seeing everyone again too!!!...though...i kinda got a shock at how much some of the kids had grown!...stupid blonde me thought that they would still be 3 years old! hahaha! XD silly me XD ... there were quite a few new babies and young kids which i was so very excited to meet and play with (on both sides of the family :D)

i have to admire the optimism of my beautiful family when it comes to weather - and - i also have to admit, that i didnt feel like a very good australian at all when i went to County Down hahahaha! my wonderful cousin Pauline put on a BBQ, and invited everyone round (which was completely awesome!!! such a fun night! :D)...but, (me being the stupid australian hahaha!)... couldnt figure out how to light the BBQ hahaha! XD i clearly suck!!! hahaha! XD ...and...well, maybe - actually, most DEFINITELY - it was just me not used to the cold weather, but, it was freezing, and we were having a BBQ :D i loved it! :D another cousin 'Buzzy' came round and played the geetah and sang rebel republican songs, and Julie joined in with the tin whistle, and the rest of us sang along, with Donna leading the way... i cant express how fabulous this was :) there was also a bi of an incident with a lobster which was kinda amusing heeheehee! ^.^ ... thanks Pauline and everyone for organising that, i had a complete ball :) xxx <3 i only wish i had more time to hang out =P

i took a notion into my head that i kind of fancied riding a horse along the beach in ireland, so... another cousin, Sean Falls, and i went off one day to Bundoran (which is just past Fermanagh...and went through the WEEEEEEIRD town called "Beleek"...they seemed to be having a rodeo festival or something?...as you do!) to ride horses on the beach :D... Sean's horse was bloody MAAAAASSIVE!!!!...i mean, Sean's pretty tall, but, shit! that thing was an amazon!!! ... my horse was a granny hahaha!...no, seriously!!! hahaha!... and granny didnt get on too well with Sean's horse hahaha! XD...they were wanting to have a wee bit of a brawl! XD ... and granny was just a little bit lazy, and wouldnt move an inch! heehee! XD...until we were going over the dunes, where there was only a tiny skinny path, where, she decided to go for a bit of a trot (and scared the crap out of me! hahaha!)...Sean's horse did that too! hahaha! XD...it was such a WONDERFUL experience doing this!!!...soooo glad that we did it :) thanks Sean - youre dah best! :D xxx <3

so, there you have it! :) to alot of people, it probably doesnt sound like i did much here, but, i really feel like i did plenty :) special thanks to Brenda for inviting me to her wedding (when we hadnt actually met yet! hahaha!), to Teresa and Sean and Fiona and Pauline for shlepping me around and for letting me stay :) and everybody else who made my stay every bit as wonderful and warm and fulfilling as i knew it would be :)... PS: COME TO AUSTRALIA BIA-ATCHES!!! :D xxx <3


MARSEILLE/ AIX EN PROVANCE:


MARSEILLE/ AIX EN PROVANCE:

i ended up only staying here for 4 days in total, in favour of going to the Emerald Isle for an extra couple of days because 6 days was never gonna be anywhere near enough time for Ireland.

I wasnt too much enchanted with Marseille. People were kinda rude and unhelpful half of the time, and...i just didnt love the vibe of the place very much. so, that was why it was easier to leave half a week earlier than originally planned. in saying that, it had its good points...

on day 1, all i did was explore Vieux Port and the beach as i got there at night...and there was some kind of pirate music theatre pantomime thing being performed on a boat that was moored. i really loved this little bit of eccentricity!!! :D...the place was all lit up like a christmas tree, which was magical at night to just go wandering :)... it made me feel so small, and that life was just happening all around...very humbling...

the next day, i went on a boat cruise of one of the Calanques... it started to pour down with rain, and it ended up being quite a swash-buckling adventure! hahaha!...the boat was rocking like crazy, and water was comin in from every which angle, and, as the boat was at full capacity, i was standing up (coz it was more fun :D), and holding on for dear life to one of the poles and giggling my head off! hahaha! XD...the calanques themselves were kinda cool, but...to me, the boat ride there and back were the highlight :D

i went to the Camargue Wetlands...which...i tell you... its kind of like a different country altogether!...ive never been to the US, but...in my mind, it was kind of how i imagine Texas to be like! :D...there was wild horses and pink flamingoes and cowboys and general strangeness hahaha! XD ... i think this was my favourite part of southern france :)

i took myself off to Aix en Provance because i have been told by other friends who have been, that i would love it and that its got a vibe like Firenze, Italy. it was okay. ... if i want a vibe like Firenze, i think i would just go to Firenze...thats just me though.they did have a couple of pretty cool milinery shops though, and i had a movie montage moment with the lady in one of the shops...just because...well... when there's fancy hats about...thats just what you should do! :D

later on, i had met a lovely french man at the hostel, we went and got something to eat, had a wander around...went to the place where a popular french sitcom is supposed to be set, had alot of laughs, had an ice cream, strolled down the street 'La Panier'...it was great! :)

the next day, i made tracks for the airport, and tried Boulebaisse before i left, because, its supposed to be a famous food from the area... i dont know why i took the notion to do this... i like fish, but...not a whole heap hahaha!...really, the boulebaisse was a lil' too fishy for my tastes hahaha!...but...im sure if you like that sort of thing...it was probably extraordinary! :D ...


BOUJOUR, PARIS!!!

PARIS:

When people think of Paris, people think of romance, the Eiffel Tour, The Louvre...and art in general. And they would be right! ... but, its only one side of the coin. There's this whole other dimension to Paris - the seedier side - that can be found at Montmartre. I stayed in Montmartre for 10 days, and adored what i found, deepening my love for Paris even more than before. Before, i described Paris as Jackson Pollock sipping vodka and dripping paint onto a raw canvas, well... Montmartre, Paris, is like Baz Lhurman's Moulin Rouge fused with both a Andy Warhol movie and with The Zeigfield Follies, drinking Absinthe and watching fireworks and cannon balls being fired, with Edith Piaf and the soundtrack from Chicago being blared from the side-streets, and Picasso's ghost giggling at you and haunting your heels... and THEN some!

So channeling Amelie and Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, I chased the rabbit down the hole into Wonderland once more, and set off exploring Paris' underworld. the hostel i stayed at (Le Village) was on the doorstep of the Sacre Cour, and was near to the metro station (GOD! i love their metro system!!!) so, perfect and near to everything :) i managed to fit in so very much in this time, and i could really go on forever about how much i love Paris...so... im only going to write about some of the things i ended up doing...

my first day, i decided to do a tour with new europe tours (www.neweuropetours.eu) of Montmartre. it was, once again, great! :D ... i would highly recommend ANYONE to do tours with these guys (theyre all over europe...) went to Van Gough's house, to the restaurant that Picasso swapped his drawings of waitresses (on napkins!) for food, to the Sacre Cour, through the main thoroughfare, to see the statue of headless Denise (apparently, he was so hell bent on proclaiming the word of god and stuff, that, even after he was decapitated, he scooped his head up, and carried on preaching...whilst holding his head! haha! XD...he's also the patron saint for headaches hahaha! XD), the Moulin Rouge, the last remaining windmill in Paris, and... the piece de resistonce (drum roll please!!!...) WENT TO THE 2 WINDMILLS!!! aaaah! :D ... where i became a COMPLETE photo whore and photo-ed E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!!! In the cafe really! hahaha! XD...i was a wee bit disapointed that the cigarette counter wasnt there, and neither was the glass that Amelie writes on, but...it was still a pretty magical experience! :D...on my way to the tour, i got stopped by a french fashion photographer and got asked to be photographed as well!!!... i love how everyone is so open to creativity and value it and see it as important here!

the next day, on the advice of a lovely lady i met at the hostel, i went to Giverny where Monet's garden is, on a bicycle riding tour (www.fattyretours.eu) which was so so soooo good...actually, it was almost spiritual. the garden itself is spectacular, and the ride to the gardens is very picturesque as well. my bike was called "poodle" heehee! ^.^ ...and one of only 2 studios he ever painted in, was on site, and it was everything i imagined it to be like... which i wasnt actually expecting.

I went to The Louvre, and...to be really honest...i got bored of it. i stayed for 2 whole hours, and then i left. in front of the The Mona Lisa smelt and felt like a mosh pit, and it was so bloody tiny as well!...and alot of the other paintings and stuff...well... i dont know =P ... im not denying that i think these painters had incredible talent and skill, and the paintings and sculptures were very very well done... i just dont think i really appreciate the period or something. they all began to be a bit same-y and it was all getting to be a bit lost on me. i guess i prefer impressionism and...i guess...more concept art or something?... but, they did have a few amusing signs out where the line was...like a picture of an Eiffel Tour keyring with a big cross through it... "NO EIFFEL TOUR KEYRINGS ALLOWED!!!" heeheehee! ^.^

so, i left there, and went with a french friend i met through a clowning group, who took me to an artists squat near Pere La Chaise. oh, how i wish i had of spent more time here!!!... the place was called "La Petite Rockete", and the people i met here were just so lovely, and let me paint a little as well! :)...what it is is, its a small community of bohemian artists, who squat (legally...coz France is cool like that!) here or use the space as an art studio and music studio. the only rule that the government insists upon in order to keep these groups up and running, is, that, their doors have to be open to the public...or in other words, its a public gallery...pretty cool huh?!...they run art, music and drama workshops here where you can get your hands dirty with it all, or you can choose to just be an observer...its all up to you :)... i could have spent a YEAR here with these people alone - it was so much fun! :)

I went to Pere La Chaise Cemetary twice... once in the daytime (sober - to visit my first husband Jim Morrison; Edith Piaf and Oscar Wild), aaaaand once (drunk) in the night-time (to visit my first husband Jim Morrison hahaha!... and a couple of other creepy graves) :D...and ended up ripping my pants on the climb over the fence in the dark (as the cemetary is closed at night...yeaaah...we were naughty naughty haha! XD), and had a pretty haenous bruise on my thigh from the very ungracious landing haha! XD...but, it was worth it... even if just for the fright that the boys gave me when they jumped out from behind a tall grave stone COMPLETELY starkers hahaha! XD...and, before that, for making me think a ghost was following me haha! XD...i guess im easy to fool!!! XD

in all seriousness though, i felt like the souls at this cemetary really were at peace. ive never felt that at any other cemetary as much as this one. it was a nice feeling :)

i took a burlesque class while i was here as well!...i thought...well, why not?...this is where it all started, right?...its returning to the scene of the crime! haha! XD...which was super fun, and a nice way to end my last day (as i went on my last day) in Montmartre :)

my night-times were generally spent with wonderful company (met soooo many really amazing people at this hostel...*some* even stole my heart away ;D), drinking GOOD french wine (that only cost 1 or 2 Euro's!!!), eating GREAT cheese and bread (i do NOT know how french women manage to stay so tiny!!!... sooo much nice cheese and bread and food in general in France!!!...even their bad food is good!!!) underneath the Eiffel Tour or watching it sparkle from the grass; or out the front of the Sacre Cour on the steps (...people just bring their booze, and everyone has a great time partying with each other on the steps...and on the carousel!!! haha! XD)... one night, the boys wanted to trawl the sexytime stores near the Moulin Rouge (which was actually pretty amusing too!)...there is sooo much to do and see here...i think i may have even had a little bit of a seizure from sensory overload on a few different occassions! hahaha!

its concreted in my mind now, that, eventually...im gonna move here for good :)...WATCH THIS SPACE! hahaha! :D...


Beguiling Budapest :)

I had read sooooo much about Budapest before this trip, and my wonderful friend Sylvia Hegyi had told me a little about the amazing country she calls home, to whet my tastebuds before arriving, and...I would have to say, that Budapest does not disappoint! :) The incredible people I met here have made the week I stayed here a truely unforgettable experience and amongst my favourite travel destinations yet! :) ... I cant wait to go back for another visit - hopefully someday soon :)

In true Sine fashion, my arrival to the hostel i was staying at on the Pest side of town, was kind of highly unorganised hahaha! XD. I didnt think to check to see if the hostel was a 24 hour place, i just assumed (silly me), and when I rocked up in the taxi from the airport to get in, it was all locked up =P ...BUT... the taxi driver was soooo lovely, he took me to another budget hostel that WAS 24 hours, which was super close to this hostel. he waited to see that I was going to get inside and a place to stay before leaving me down... I thought that was super nice really :) ... im sure he just wanted to get home and to bed (seeing as though it was about 3.30 am hahaha! XD)

So, the next day, I got in touch with the hostel I was gonna be staying at for the next 3 or 4 days... hows THIS for service - he picked me up AT THE DOOR and took me himself to the hostel! :)... he was either ridiculously nice, or else... i must have sounded particularly clueless and lost on the phone haha! XD he was such a lovely animated fellow actually! i was giggling from when i first hopped into the car, to when he let me into the place! :) ... he showed me around, then, made me a WICKED coffee and asked me what i wanted to see and things he might recommend to me to go do and see etc... he was a wealth of knowledge!!! and again - heaps heaps funny!!! :) the hostel was a lot quirky and pretty dang cool actually!...he had 1920's style women's dresses hanging on the wall in the hallway, and, personally, i really love it when you can write on walls/ tableclothes etc in a restauraunt/ hostel/ whatever...and there WAS a WHOLE wall dedicated to travelers to write their message to the world on, for the next people passing through to read! :) it was just fabulous! :)

The next day, i was meeting up with Sylvia, and we went for a wander around Margaret Island. Margaret Island is so picturesque! almost like a wee faerie kingdom!...again, i was astonished at how green the trees were...tell me - is australia the ONLY place that has grey trees???!!! anywhoo...

That night, we went to dinner, and i had this FANTASTIC meal - soooo tasty!!! - and some wine, and had a wicked night! amazing sparkling company - even more sparkling than the yummy wine i was drinking - great food...what more could anyone want?! talking and laughing about anything and everything from our different respective lives in our own countries, perspectives, religion, philosophy, love, the stupid and funny things we do, esoterical stuffs, our families ... EVERYTHING...yet... it didnt feel like we were there for very long... its really great when you meet a new friend and feel like you are kindred spirits, and you just click and understand each other almost instantly - i feel like ive known this wonderful woman for many many years, and i hadnt even known her for one...it was just...awesome :)

the next day, i went on a free walking tour ran by

www.freebudapesttours.hu that the animated hostel man told me about...which gave me a bit of an insight into some of the historical things - like the statues and stuff - and what theyre supposed to mean. i had intended to take a leisurely stroll along the river danube to get to the meeting place, but... the weather out of spite i think haha! waited for me to step out of the hostel and get about 7 minutes into my journey before absolutely pissing down from the heavens!!! hahaha!... so...i ran for about 3 minutes (or until there was some undercover bit) with the intention of waiting for the rain to subside...but, the weather had other ideas and, it just seemed to be getting worse, so...i decided to make a dash for it nearly the whole way till i got there hahaha! XD...needless to say, i was a drowned rat - even with my very colourful clown umbrella (that i bought on the way) hahaha! i found the whole thing pretty amusing :D ... especially since i got lost (pffft! naturally!) and stopped to ask for directions... but... the person i stopped didnt speak english, and i cant speak hungarian lol! so...i practiced my italian...and actually succeeded! yipeeee! heeheehee! XD...i actually really really love the rain - it makes everything new and fresh again just for a minute or two, so...i decided to jump in the puddles (i am well aware i have Peter Pan Syndrome, thank you very much before you say so!!! hahaha! :D)...so that was fun :D

I met some other people who were staying at the hostel when i got back, and we decided to go to this fairly famous bar called Godor (with the 2 dots over the "O's") which had a live band playing that were pretty good :)

The next day, i went on a tour of a smaller town called Szentendre. it seems that i was the only tourist actually interested in going to this place heehee!...so... i got to feel like a rich and famous person, being shouffered and carted about in a big fancy black shiny car with a driver and a guide :D the guide was hella funny!...she was about my nona's age, but...still bustling around like a mad woman! i think she might have had a touch of ADD or something because she had the concentration span of a naat, which was, making me laugh all the more! hahah!...she was one of those highly eccentric old ladies with the blue rinse through her hair and pink dame edna everidge sunglasses on even though there was no sun to speak of heehee... bright red lips and crazy glamourous clothes, and called everybody (because she seemed to know everybody hahaha!) darling or honey...she was my kind of an old lass! ... (actually...i think i could have just described MYSELF when im old and complicated! oh dear! hahaha! XD) she had so many stories...from the war up until more contempory times, and was really interesting to listen to. we hopped on a ferry and took a ride on the Danube, went across to the Buda side, she told me about the bridge and the unfortunate story about the lions that are on either end (the guy who sculpted the lions was so so proud of his work on the lions, and said they were his most perfect creation...then, some kid piped up and was like "but, they arent perfect because they have no tounges!"...the guy was completely gutted, and threw himself off the bridge because he was so embarased that he'd forgotten to put tounges in them. ... the lions now have tounges in them... i checked! haha! XD), and went through the castle district (which was way cool! :D)

The next day, i said goodbye to the hostel and the animated man who owned it, and the few people who i met there, and embarked on my first ever couch surfing experience, at Sylvia's palace :D ... what can i say?...i highly recommend it!...everyone should couch surf at least one time before they die :) ... Sylvia makes jewellery, and works from home, so, we hung out a fair bit and she was amazing about writting down very extremely good directions (that even a directionally challenged goose like myself couldnt fuck up!) to things that i wanted to go to and see, and we laughed lots and lots about all kinds of silly things :D ... we went out to go to a couch surfers birthday celebration, where i met a whole bunch of really fun, spontaneous, quirky, lovable and warm and friendly people :) the bar was tucked away a bit (not touristy which was SUPACALIFFREAKIN COOOOL!!!), and called "Shhhhh!!!"...and, once it hit a certain time, there were people who work for the club (as bouncers???) dressed up in jesters hats with bells on them and larish outfits going round to the drunk patrons saying "shhhh" once they got to the streets! hahaha!...i thought it was massively clever! :D an amazingly wonderful night was had by all!!! :D

the next day, i decided to take myself off to a hungarian bath-house (Szechenyi). i have never ever been to a bath-house before! so this was a completely new experience altogether for me! :) i came out of there feeling soooooooooooo relaxed and yet, like i'd done a days work from doing absolutely nothing but relaxing! hahaha! :D...it was great!... i got a massage which made me feel wonderful for at least 3 days afterwards! haha! :D this night, Sylvia and i just went out for dinner at this lovely restaurant she knew of, and met up with one of the fellas she was friends with that i met at the Shhhh bar... apparently, he had been out of the country and rode his push bike back in because he had had issues with immigration because his ex girlfriend was a complete bitch (by the sounds of it...i have never met this said bitch haha!...but...her reputation seems to preceede her and seems by many accounts, pretty true hahahah! XD)...then, went to meet up with some other people at another quaint little artists hub which had different sized papier mache balls and triangles hanging down from the ceiling in what seemed to be an art installation of some kind. we also played fooz-ball...we BROKE the fooz-ball hahaha!... then, we left hahaha! XD... i stole a music/ arts magazine (i guess its like the equivalent of the drum in oz?) called "Think" hahaha! XD...naughty me ^.^

the next day (and my last whole day...waaah!) in budapest, i went to check out the castle district some more, and also went to Hero's Square in Andrassy Avenue... went past The House of Terror, but, alas, ran out of time to actually go inside =[... Sylvia also showed me a more personalised tour of some of her  favourite "make-out" spots (heeheehee!) she used to go to before she became sensible and fell in love with her man of the moment :D

i LOOOOVED soooooooo much about Budapest!!!... the landscape, the interesting history, the unusual things to do here...but...most of all, the wonderful people i have met and made friends with here. Budapest seems to be such an undiscovered gem of Europe, and im sooo glad i have gotten to experience it before every man and his dog wants to come here and wreck it with the poison that tourism so often brings. i loved that i felt like a millionairre (im not!) because, the hungarian franc's are like italian lira used to be... and theres alot of franc's to make up a HUFF. i love that hungarian money is called "HUFF" - its so totally cute!!! :D ... i love that people everywhere are so friendly and helpful. the only thing i didnt like is that Sylvia told me that the government want to ban street theatre and music on the streets - but again...i love that the people are fighting this and doing so anyway :) i also LOVE my friend Sylvia for letting me crash her life and share her friends (and her matress) for 3 nights - and for making me pancakes for breakfast!!! :D and for just showing me an unreal side of a truely amazing and lovable city :) i had the time of my life :)



SICILY :D...

SICILY

Alright, well...i had pretty high hopes and expectations for Sicilia. i will say that from the very beginning. And i had some pretty cool experiences there i would have to say...starting from when i caught a cab from the airport to my hostel. my cab driver was a very animated man, who was incredibly sure of himself! he was maybe 30 or 40 something years old, and i did enjoy the conversation in the car on the way there very much!...even though my italian is still pretty gosh darn terrible, i had improved it enough to be able to have a conversation with him (so, i was pretty pleased about that actually!). when i hailed a cab and got in, i never expected (given my experience on the mainland of Italy) that i would also score a free gelato and be propositioned for a romantic date up some mountain or other from the trip! but thats what happened! obviously, i said no to the date (he asked me AFTER the gelato)...but, i was truely flattered all the same. And thus began the absolute tirade of free shit from handsome sicilian men!!!...seriously, i dont think a day went past in the 6 days i was there without somebody buying or giving me something for free, just to be nice for the most part!...twice it was for my affections, but anyway.

I decided to go for a wander along the Trapani port on my first night there, i was pretty exhausted from the commute...and...what should i see there, but a Pirates Of The Carribean style tall ship! actually, i could see it from my balcony in the hostel.

The 'hostel' that i stayed in was pure luxury...it had a huge deep bath, 2 balconies, MY OWN PRIVATE AIR CONDITIONING!!! and a 4 poster-bed!... and, it was just me! i thought it was a dorm kind of room like all the other places i had stayed in till now! it was right by the beach on one side, and the other side was the port where the trips to the nearby islands left from.

the second day i was there, i went to the islands Lavanzo and Favignana...which were both really nice. went swimming in the crystal clear water that looked like a postcard, had a look at all the touristy souvenier shops, and furthered my research on who has the best gelato in italy (still Venice haha!)

on my way back, i went for an involuntary wander (code for 'got hideously lost!'...because im special that way heehee!) and i happened to witness a nasty spot of road rage!!! hahaha! XD...they were going hung-DINGGER at each other!!! it was quite funny! lolz! XD...i kept on walking, now on the right track, and there was an art exhibit of Picasso looking stuff, and it was free, so...i deviated and went in for a look-see...little did i know that i would then become a muse for the painter who's exhibition it was!...he took my photo, studied me for a bit, and told me it would be ready for exhibition in a few months if i wanted to see the finished piece...unfortunately for me, i was going to be long gone =[ ... but, there you have it, ive been a muse for an italian painter!

I went to the medieval town nearby, called Erice, the next day on a day tour...visited the Castello di Venere (castle dedicated to the love goddess...i had to go heehee! ^.^)...also went to see the windmills and saltpans of Trapani, to the arcaeological site called Segesta, and took in the old Greek theatre and temple. Went to Vito Lo Capo to soak up the sun for a while, and watch the old men playing checkers in the restaurants; and Castellamarre del Golfo...another closeby beach town with a quaint atmosphere. The rest of the time, i kind of just wandered around the small narrow streets...taking photos of millions of doors haha!

I *meant* to go to Selinunte (to hang out with Thom's cousin at Bar Penguino), Mount Etna (for the volcano), Taormina (for the Arts festival)and Messina (where my dad was born)... and even to some of the islands off the coast of Messina, but...(and not for the first time!) i cursed Italy's shitty shit-shit public transport system. i was going to hire a pushy or a vespa, but...after seeing the display of road rage a few days earlier (between an OLD LADY and an OLD MAN!!!) I chickened the hell out! haha!...so... i didnt make it to those places =[

i think that by this stage, id started to get someting like 'traveller's fatigue' or something?...where, everything just seemed too hard to commute to, and i was exhausted just thinking about how i was supposed to get there. of course it didnt help that, whilst Sicilian people are a MILLION percent more helpful and friendly compared to the mainland Italy, when i asked for directions - particularly to get to Selinunte - which, really shouldnt have been that hard because its not that far away!!! - they sent me on a wild goose chase  =P... i caught a bus to way out yonder someplace - on the directions given to me, and it ended up being completely completely wrong, and i had to catch TWO different buses to get myself back to my hostel in Trapani. just goes to show, if you ask someone for help, and they arent very obliging, and they just want to get rid of you...DONT follow the directions they give you! heehee! So, I was in a foul mood after that, and gave up and came back to my luxury apartment and had a bath and listened to utube's of Shakira.

It was this day that i faced my BIGGEST phobia of all time (cockroaches) as one scurried over my foot, when i was in the bathroom!...i didnt call the guy at reception, and i only screamed like a girl for about a minute (till i got dressed and found a shoe). when i found the shoe, i found the deadly disgusting cockroach shortly after, and tried to deal with it myself - seriously, i was getting the cold sweats just looking at the damn thing!...then, after about two hours of me staring at the roach, and the roach staring at me (yeeeeah...it was a face-off!...i challenge you to a duel!!! haha! XD) from my position (standing on a chair), i plunged my shoe at it, and it squished, and its guts made a little smear...and i thought that was progress enough for a couple more hours! i came back about an hour later, and pushed the dead critter to a corner with the towel stand (i wasnt going to touch it - eeeew!) and got a serviette and wiped the guts away and flushed it down the toilet!...major achievement guys, MAJOR! =]

i decided to wander the nearby streets in the daytime the next day, and, lo and behold, a handsome Sicilian saw me walking, and offered me a lift on his motorcycle...why not?! i hopped on, and he dropped me at the busy part of the port (where i actually wanted to go! saved me a 25 minute walk actually!) and he offered to make me pasta for lunch...in his apartment...at least i had sense enough to know his intentions towards me screamed "suss"...usually, i cant tell when someone is trying to pick me up hahah!...it was tempting though...i was totally starving! I said thank you, and waved him goodbye...started my tradition of wandering in a daze (as i do so often) in a little bit of shock at how nutto the guys here seemed to be going for me!...i couldnt understand it!...if i was my usual horrible casper, milk bottle legs complexion - or even if i was still a lavender blonde! - i could maybe see how i might be a bit exotic looking to these guys...but, here i am...black as the ace of spades from all the sun i've been getting, and with dark hair, and i seem to be getting all this attention?...weird =P ...

...so, of course, yet ANOTHER Italian gentleomano wakes me from my thoughts and my daydreaming and my wandering and starts talking to me...he seemed nice, and he was helping me with speaking better italian, so, i continued talking and walking with him...then, he spies this outfit in the window, and abruptly turns me - steers me - into the Dolce & Gabbana shop...i protested - "no, no, no - i cant look in this shop, because, if i try something on, i will love it and they will take AAAALL of my money! best to keep on walking!" hahaha!...but, he wasnt having it...to shut him up, i went and tried on the outfit he saw in the window... it was completely and totally me - but, it also cost an arm and a leg ($315EU!!!) so, i got changed quietly disappointedly, and when i came out, he had paid for it!!!...feeling trapped, as he'd already purchased it, i took out my wallet to reimburse him...and he looked stricken!...seriously, it was like i had slapped him in the face and called him a dirty word!...so, i put my wallet back in my bag feeling a bit weirded out by todays happenings...and he insisted - not asked - but insisted - to buy me pasta for dinner. after dinner, we said our goodbyes, and went our seperate ways. i was worried he was going to want a little something extra for his money - which he wasnt going to get - but, there was no mention of anything like that! he was just being nice! =]

So, that was my experience of Sicily!...next time i go, im resolving to not be a chicken (heehee!) and hire a pushy or a vespa and not rely on public transport!...have to go to Sardegna too next time :)...