Friday, 28 September 2012


Hey everyone,

After a huge night in Barcelona on the VIP pub crawl we woke up to go to the airport after only having around 4 hours sleep. We had packed up our bags the night before and only had to add our PJ's and showering things and we were good to go. Paige hailed down a taxi and we were off to Barcelona airport feeling pretty seedy. We went to the wrong terminal which wasn't the best start and soon after entering this terminal I had to make a quick dash to the bathroom after lifting up the 'wet floor' tape which was blocking the entry before vomiting up the watermelon I had eaten for breakfast (the old vomitron strikes again). We got a free shuttle to the right terminal and then lined up for around 20 minutes in the wrong check in counter as our ticket information was wrong. We finally got through the right check in counter and passed through customs with no worries before getting something to eat and boarding our plane for our 3 hour flight to Prague. 

Praha as the Czech people say is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is the fourteenth-largest city in the European Union and is also the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its larger urban zone is estimated to have a population of nearly 2 million.

Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of twentieth century Europe. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall, and Petřín hill.

Paige and I aren't big on working out the cheapest ways to get to the hostels we stay in so we always catch taxis to the hostels we are staying in. It saves us so much time and by the time we split the bill it is usually not much more expensive then the metro or other forms of transport. We were really happy with our hostel in Prague called the Czech Inn as it was very modern, had a cafe-bar, free wifi in the rooms, washing facilities, friendly and informative staff, an amazing all you can eat breakfast for 5 euro and clean rooms with comfy doonas and pillows. We stayed in Prague for five nights and in the time we were there shared our four bedroom room with two Australian boys from the Sunshine Coast and two Canadian brothers from Winnipeg. We had lots of fun and laughs with both sets of boys who were really respectful about sharing a room and hostel etiquette which was a nice change. 

We had a relaxing time in Prague as well as doing lots of the touristy things which was a good balance for us. We ate lots of yummy traditional food as we always do in new countries and the Czech people specialise in potato pancakes, pork, beef goulash and duck. The Czech Republic has the reputation of having the best beer in Europe and the big beer drinkers we are didn't try any lol We struggled big time with the language as Czech is the hardest European language to learn and understand, but we had fun trying. The money was a little hard to work out at times too but all in all we found Prague to be very cheap. The people in Prague seemed very relaxed and chilled out and we found the Czech people to be quietly spoken. The streets signs were unusual and where red and white in colour which matched the many trams that zoomed around in Prague. There were cobbled stone streets everywhere which made the taxi and bus rides pretty bumpy. The buildings in Prague are unlike any I have seen my whole time in Europe and at times it felt like we were in a fantasy land as the architecture was so unique and amazing. 

There were lots of bars and restaurants in Prague and we were told to look out for cheap specials on the blackboards outside of the pubs. We had some yummy food at a quaint little cafe down the road from our hostel one day and got the waiter to try and help us practise our Czech which was kind of funny. We had participated in many free walking tours previously on our travels and decided to try something new after picking up a brochure at the hostel. We paid around 50 Australian dollars to go on an all inclusive tour of Prague which was awesome. On the tour we got to see 36 of the cities main sites, were picked up and dropped off at our hostel, ate traditional Czech meals at a medieval restaurant and went on a boat cruise along the Vlatz river. Some of the sites I enjoyed the most were the Prague Castle, the astronomical clock, old town square and the old Jewish cemetery. I always enjoy walking tours as it usually allows you see the best the city has to offer and also allows you to get your bearings on where you are and how to get around the city without getting lost.

Paige and I also went up to the 'Letna' beers gardens which are situated within Letna park and are one of the most popular beer gardens in Prague due to their amazing views over the city. We then walked down through the park and along the river to Charles Bridge which is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague. The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil Gothic-style buildings in the world.

St Charles Bridge

Heading over onto St Charles Bridge

We also went along through the lesser town and saw the Lennon Wall. The Lennon Wall or John Lennon Wall was once a normal wall but since the 1980s it has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs which was pretty cool. 
John Lennon Memorial wall

Me and the John Lennon Memorial wall

Besides all of the sight seeing we did have a pretty big night out after deciding to choose a couple of clubs and do our own style of pub crawl. We love vodka and decided that a bar called 'Vodka Bar Propaganda' seemed like the perfect place for us to begin the night. We got a taxi into the centre of Prague and had some really delicious skittle vodka drinks whilst sitting around and enjoying being able to smoke in the club without going outside, yes that's right you can still smoke in clubs and pubs in Prague! Then we made our way across town whilst admiring the beautiful city at night and into an ice bar in the 5 story club called Karlovy Lazne. We payed around 5 Euro to get into the ice bar which was so much cheaper than ice bars in Australia and suited up in our huge silver snow jackets. Once inside is was a chilling -6,6 degrees and we ordered our free cocktails which came in ice cups. We took lots of photos and enjoyed feeling like an Eskimo for around a total of 30 minutes, this 30 minutes was way too long for Paige who hates being cold!lol

It was then onto Karlovy Lazne,the biggest music club in central Europe. It has five levels with music which range from main-stream, dance, hip-hop, R&B, oldies and chill out. We loved every level and to our surprise enjoyed and danced a fair bit on the disco level as well as of course the R&B level. We stayed out until around 3.30am until we decided to run across the road and grab burgers and fries before getting splashed by a cab driving through rain water, sex and the city style, and heading home for the night. This club is definitely one worth checking out as Paige and I had an awesome night here and with so many levels you could never get bored.

All in all we had fun in Prague, it is a fantastic city with amazing architecture and a very different and quirky feel compared to most European cities. I would love to explore more of the Czech Republic during my next overseas travels.

Love the Backpacker
Paige and I inside Prague Castle

Our river boat for the cruise

Paige and I in front of the astronomical clock

View from Prague Castle

The astronomical clock

Old Jewish cemetery-over 100,000 Jews are buried here :(

Beautiful stained glass windows inside Prague Castle

Our hostel :)

Our hostel beds

Lunch at a Medieval restaurant

Prague Castle

Crispy skinned duck, cabbage and potato pancakes-I love Czech food

Me and one of the guards protecting the Czech president
Me and my Canadian roommate Mike

Paige and I ready to go clubbing in Prague

Lock bridges are the craze in Europe

Getting a little crazy after too many drinks lol

Paige and I at Prague Ice Bar -it was -6.6 degrees in here

View from the Letna beer gardens

Me at the 5 story club

Paige and our other Canadian roommate Steve

Our hostel reception area

Loving Prague Ice Bar

Chelsea Vs Reading

Welcome to the blog about my first ever soccer match or as they call it, Football, in the UK and Europe.

I had wanted to go and watch a football match since arriving in the UK as I'd heard that the experience and atmosphere was amazing. My friend Rachel Cummings and her mum were going to a game just before I had intended to fly back into Europe and I thought it would be the perfect time to go to avoid awkwardly going alone. I booked my tickets on the Chelsea Football Club (FC) website for around 70 pounds and although I had seats in a different area to Rach I was stoked and excited about going to watch the Chelsea versus Reading match.

I met up with Rachel at Notting Hill Gate tube station and we headed off to the stadium which was in Fullham Broadway. It was peak hour on the tubes and I remember being squished in like sardines as we stood waiting to get off at our tube station exit. When we got to Fullham their were lots of pop up stalls selling official merchandise for both teams and I quickly bought a Chelsea scarf for 7 pounds to fit right in with the supporters. I hadn't heard of Reading before and had of Chelsea so that was the main reason for cheering them on that night. When we got there I wanted to buy some dinner from the kiosk and was excited to see beef pie with mash potato and gravy on the menu. We met up with Rachel and her mums friend in the stands and I sat with them until people came to claim their seats, secretly hoping no one would be in them so I could sit with my friend Rach, rather than in my designated loner seat. People started to arrive and I had to move to some empty seats in the row behind Rach and her mum but ended up chatting to a cheery old English lad who had been coming to watch Chelsea since he was  7 years old. He wanted to chat and fill me in on the game and the songs the supporters were chanting which was nice of him. 

Before the game started the players were warming up and the MC was calling out the names of new players who had been signed up with the Chelsea club for the season and everyone was cheering as blue and white club banners were being passed over the heads of the supporters and around the stadium. When the game began everyone started cheering and singing Chelsea club songs and the atmosphere was awesome. About fifteen minutes into the game the stadium was getting packed and I eventually had to move to my own seat, making 50 people along the same row as Rachel's stand up so I could get passed ooops so embarrassing!The seats were very close together and I was amongst some crazy supporters right at the top of the stadium and across from one of the goals. I made friends throughout the game with an older English man and a young French guy who were really nice as we cheered and chatted about the game during the match. I was asking them who their favourite players were and they were telling me a little about some of the players best playing attributes and abit about the rules.

When I was watching the football game the soccer ball looked like it was floating along the field as they kicked the ball with such precision and skill. Chelsea was running all over Reading in the first half and looked like far the better team, much to the Reading supporters disgust who were huddled and all seated together in the away teams corner of the stadium. Apparently it is not uncommon for the supporters from opposing teams to get into fights during and after the matches so they are always separated and seated in their own section, usually with police surrounding them. The rest of the stadium was filled with Chelsea supporters and there was never a quite moment during the match as they chanted and cheered constantly to support their home team. 

I ended up getting so into the 90 minute football game because of the great atmosphere at the stadium. The supporters went crazy every time Chelsea scored and the sound was electric as the ball hit the back of the net each time. I found myself jumping up, throwing my hands in the air and cheering after Chelsea scored their third goal to make it 3-2 during the second half. This was very unlike me especially watching a soccer game. The game seemed to go really quickly and was over before we knew it which was a shame because I could have watched them play all night. Chelsea won 4-2 with an exciting goal to secure the win in the dying minutes which was super exciting. 

As I walked out the black security guard who scanned my ticket to let me into the stadium was waiting for me to walk out. He was being super sleazy and was saying how beautiful I was and was asking for my number which was really funny but creepy. I said I was flying home the next day and he seemed to get scared and leave me alone as Rachel's mum approached us. If only guys I actually liked could be so forward lol! We all packed out of the stadium after taking some snaps in front of the football pitch and outside the stadium on the way out. The tube lines were packed and it took a little while for us all to fit on and head home. I walked all the way home from Notting Hill to Ladbroke Grove still proudly wearing my Chelsea scarf.

I never expected to enjoy the football game as much as I did but after going once I would not hesitate to see another match. After the amazing atmosphere and feel within the stadium I feel so lucky to have been able to be there to see a game live. It is one of the highlights during my time in London and I am so glad it is something I can say I have seen in the UK.

Love The Chelsea Supporting Backpacker
Chelsea Vs Reading-Warm up period

Go Chelsea!Rach Cummings and I

Me at the Chelsea Vs Reading game

Chelsea Football Stadium

Chelsea Pride of London

Rach and I ready to watch the game

Me loving the soccer

Amazing to watch

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A VIP Pub Crawl in Barcelona

Hello everyone,

Paige and I had done many cheap and nasty hostel pub crawls whilst on our travels and were usually too drunk to make it to the last club so when we were approached on the street just near the Sagrada Familia to do a VIP pub crawl we were definitely interested!

At first I thought that the girl who approached us may have been trying the scam us but quickly learnt that she seemed very honest and the VIP night sounded like a great idea. Paige and I were exhausted after our huge day of sight seeing on the 'hop on hop off' bus but knew that we wanted to go and have a big night clubbing on our last night in Barcelona. After we got back from sight seeing we quickly showered and got ready to head to a bar called 'Grand Foc' in the centre of Barcelona. We had messaged the girl who was organising the night and told her to reserve two seats for the bus but were a little nervous about showing up and what the expect of the night.

When we arrived at Grand Foc we were pleasantly surprised as it seemed like a nice little cocktail bar and restaurant, however, it did feel a little like we were meeting there for a blind date as lots of people were coming into the bar not knowing what the expect and sitting around tables eyeing each other off lol We got a free strawberry flavoured sangria on arrival and sat around chatting until more people arrived. I noticed a lady looking a little hesitant about where to sit and who to approach that looked pretty cool so I invited her over to sit with us. I ended up finding out that she was from Kilburn which is right near where I had been staying with the girls in Ladbroke Grove, London, such a small world! We enjoyed the cheap sangria's and chatted until around 10.30pm when it was time to get onto the bus and head to our next destination.

We got to ride in a luxury coach which was waiting just outside the bar for us which was so exciting considering we usually get hot and bothered in between walking from club to club on the hostel pub crawls. The music was pumping as around 40 party people boarded the air conditioned coach excited about the night ahead. The second bar on the nights agenda was to Tibidabo-the top of Barcelona. Paige and I had been up there already that day but couldn't see much as it was quite smoggy, so we were excited about seeing what Barcelona looked like at night. The bus took around 15 minutes to reach the top of the mountain where we were lead into a beautiful and classy rooftop terrace bar and received a glass of champagne on arrival. There were spotty little neon lights flashing on the dance floor and we could see the beautiful lights of Barcelona from the bar. We grabbed our drinks and walked out onto the terrace where the view was even more amazing, a great way to start the night. I love getting glammed up and doing flash things so I was in my element as we sipped on champagne as we admired the view and socialised with people from the pub crawl. We stayed at this bar for around an hour before getting picked up by the coach to head to a Latin Bar.

When we arrived at the Latin bar we showed our ID cards and walked into the club through long white draping curtains into a cool, dimly lit club. It had a good feel to it and we grabbed our free shots and ordered some more vodkas. We danced using some crazy Latin moves I was copying from people around me. Nat the lady we had met from London claimed to do Zumba four times a week and we laughed as she tried to teach us some of the moves while we danced. I really like this club as it wasn't too crowded and it played popular Spanish and Latin music which was a nice change and really made us aware that we were clubbing in Barcelona, Spain. 

At around 2am we got back onto the bus for the last time and heard all about the final club we would be heading to that night from the tour guide. We were all excited because 'Opium' sounded really cool and I had wanted to go there since the last time I was with Contiki, in Barcelona. When we arrived we were taken around the back of the club and told to wait at a roped off section. We didn't have to wait very long before a security guard approached us and waved us through ahead of the long queues of people waiting in line at the club. Paige and I felt like mini celebrities as we walked into the club VIP style and saw how amazing the club looked.

We waited for ages in the line to go to the toilets which is so typical at clubs. We then waited a far while to be served at the bar before going and dancing on a very packed and over crowded dance floor. The club had a huge open plan dance floor area and outdoor deck area, where you could step right out and onto the beach. The view was amazing but the smoking deck area was packed full of people and it had lots of roped off areas where the 'real' VIP customers where sitting. We danced and watched the European dancers strut their stuff of the stage platforms, which is very common in huge clubs in Europe. It was getting late, I was getting a little tired and over dancing in a huge crowd.and we had an early flight at 9.30pm, so we decided to leave the club. I did like Opium and it was very flash but was content to end the night after having an amazing time at the three bars-clubs before that. We caught cab through the 24 hour McDonalds drive through before heading back to the hostel, which wasn't 'VIP' at all, laughing and saying all of the Spanish words we knew to the taxi driver. We ended up getting home at around 4.30am and passing out in our beds as soon as our heads touched our pillows, those free pour drinks in Spain really get you drunk ha ha

We had such a fun night and it was so nice to go to the classier styles of clubs in Barcelona. If anyone is ever in Barcelona I would definitely recommend going on one of these pub crawls, for 31 Euros it was worth every cent. Here is the link for all of those that want to check it out....

Love The VIP Backpacker
Paige and I all ready for our VIP pub crawl
Views from the rooftop terrace bar

Opium Nightclub Barcelona

Paige and I at Universal nightclub

Our sweet coach ride for the pub crawl

Back in Barcelona :)

Hello everyone,

So I was back in Barcelona for the second time since I began travelling through Europe. I loved Barcelona this time round so much more than the first because I got to see a lot more of the cities sights as well as still fit in some partying. The first time I visited Barcelona was with Contiki and I loved the partying but missed out on a walking tour because I was too hungover. At the time I didn't really care too much because I hadn't researched main sites to see and had no idea what I was missing out on.  This time I was back in Barcelona with Paige after catching an early flight from Menorca. We almost missed our bus transfer at 5.30am because we were 5 minutes late and the bus had to come back and pick us up after going to another hotel first oooopsss. It was my mission upon visiting Barcelona (or Bathelona as the Spanish pronounce it) this time to do and see as much as I possibly could in the city as I'd heard it was amazing.

Barcelona is one of Europe's coolest cities and is always on the cutting edge of art, design and cuisine. There is so much to do whether it's exploring the Gothic quarter, gawking at the modernista master pieces, shopping for designer clothes along it's bustling boulevards, soaking up the sun on the beaches or sampling its exciting nightlife. It was hard not to fall in love with this vibrant city and fun filled city the second time round. Barcelona is part of the Catalonia region of Spain and is a bilingual city: Catalan and Spanish are both official languages and widely spoken.

We arrived in Barcelona really early and after our flight we caught a cab to our hostel 'Sant Jordi, Sagrada Familiar'. We stored our bags into a secured closet so we could go and do some sight seeing as it was too early to check in and set off. Chloe had told me that this hostel was really nice as she had stayed there when she was in Barcelona, and she was right. It had really cool decor and was beautifully air conditioned which was a bonus considering it was pretty hot in Spain. The common room had a cool skater theme and leather bean bags to chill out or sit on and watch movies projected on the wall. There was free wi-fi and computer access which was a nice change considering we had to pay for both of these things in Menorca. It had a lovely kitchen with great cooking facilities and all in all the hostel had a great atmosphere. 

After asking the guys at the reception desk for directions to the nearest 'hop on hop off' bus stop we were on our way to do some exploring of the city. To get our bearings and find out what we wanted to see the following day we decided to stay on the bus the whole time and see and hear about as many sites as we could that day. We ended up getting the two day pass to avoid paying extra for transport as the city is huge and we thought it would be a great way to see everything and also save some money. Paige and I got on the bus at the first stop which was right near the Sagrada Familiar which is over 100m tall and one of the top sites in Barcelona. After taking some snaps in front of this beautiful building we headed around the city on the blue route which took us past the Gaudi Park, Tibidabo, Barcelona FC stadium, and many other areas that were a little out of the way.
Paige and I at the Sagrada Familiar
Taking in all we can on the 'hop on hop off' bus

Sagrada Familiar

Sagrada Familiar

Sagrada Familiar-one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen!

Park Guell:
Is a Dr Seuss style park filled with colourful mosaics and Gaudi designed paths and plazas. We took photos from the top of the Gaudi park and on the serpentine seating areas whilst looking down at the amazing colours and views the park had to offer. We walked underneath beautiful mosaic ceiling pieces in the Hypostyle room and got photos with the most famous sites at the park, the mosaic dragon.

It felt as though we were in a fantasy land as we looked around the colourful park and we took lots of photos amongst the swarms of travellers trying to get exactly the same shots.
Me at Park Guell
Park Guell with Paige

The very famous dragon sculpture at Park Guell

Entrance to Park Guell

Me on the top at Park Guell

Mosaic ceiling at Park Guell
Barcelona FC Stadium:
We visited the stadium which holds a capacity of 100,000 people on game day. On our self guided tour we followed the yellow signs to make sure we were going the right way and we got to go into the football players change rooms where there were lockers,massage chairs and a communal spa. We saw hundreds of trophies that Barca had won throughout their history and loads of memorabilia from past and present players. We then got to see and walk through to the players' tunnel towards the pitch where they played replayed sounds of fans cheering which allowed us to gain an insight into what it would be like to walk out into a stadium packed with 100,000 roaring fans which was pretty cool!
We also go to see the the benches at the side of the pitch or as they call it the dug out. This was the closest we got to the pitch itself and it was as if we were in the shoes of the team managers. We were able to see what it would be like looking back as a team leader at the 105 by 68 metre pitch and the 48 metre high grand stands.
We then walked through to the Barcelona FC press room, this area seats 120 journalists and is where press conferences happen before and after matches. Two players face the press after each match and are chosen in relation to what happens in their lives both on and off the pitch. We recognised the blue background and the sponsor's logos and it is a great buzz to see it in real life and get photos in front of.

The last stop was were we walked up loads of stairs and into the top middle of the stadium where we saw 29 cabins and sat 35 metres above the playing field. These seats were where the commentators broadcast from a match and it was really cool to be able to sit in their seats and pretend we were commentators for just a little while.

The tour cost around 26 euro but was well worth it! I now want to watch an actual match played at Barca FC stadium as I have been inside it but I might have to wait a few more years for that to happen!
Barcelona FC stadium

Posing up for the press lol
Tibidabo is a mountain overlooking Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. At 512 metres in height it is the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola and boasts spectacular views over the city and the surrounding coastline.

There is an amusement park, a telecommunications tower (Torre de Collserola), and a Catholic church (the Temple de Sagrat Cor) at the top, all of which are visible from most of the city. Designed by Enric Sagnier, the church took 60 years to construct and is topped by a sculpture of the Sacred Heart by Josep Miret Llopart. The Amusement park is the oldest in Barcelona and retains most of the original rides, some of which date to the turn of the 20th century. Paige and I reached Tibidabo by a funicular railway which was built in 1901, was the first of its kind in Spain and a cool way to travel to the top.
TheTemple de Sagrat Cor

TheTemple de Sagrat Cor

We got off at Montjuic which is south-west of the city and in my opinion has the best views of Barcelona, I absolutely loved seeing Barcelona from this location. We walked down the steps of the Museum National d'Art de Catalunya (which is a huge and amazing Romanesque building) where were watched some of a promotional basketball game that was being played with really load music.
Me on the stairs of Montjuic
Beautiful views of Barca from Montjuic

La Ramblas:
Our last stop after travelling all along the red and blue routes of the tour which took around 4-5 hours, was the famous La Rumblas. Spain's most famous boulevard which explodes with life stretching from the Placa de Catalunya to the waterfront of the port. We walked along and checked out the street artists and pop up stalls and then walked into the famous 'Mercats de la Boqueria' where I was once again amazed by the fresh food market, which is a highlight of La Rumblas for me. Paige and I bought some almonds, pistachios and Brazil nuts as well as some of the delicious fresh juices to sip on. I tried the strawberry and banana and Paige sipped on kiwi and pineapple flavoured juices which were sooooo yummy. If you haven't visited the markets I suggest you just to try one of these amazing juices the next time you are there!Paige and I also tried a yummy mixture of seafood and vegetable paella before heading back in a cab to our hostel to get ready to head out that night.
Paige's first time at La Ramblas

yum I love lollies!

best juices ever at La Ramblas
We had a huge day of sight seeing and were exhausted after our massive day. I saw so many things that I didn't get the chance to see last time and there was still so much more we could have seen if we had the time. Next time if I am ever in Barcelona again I want to visit the cities' Gothic quarter, see abit more of the Gaudi masterpieces, walk along both the new and old ports and lay on the beach. This time round we decided to skip laying on the beach as we could do that anywhere and thought seeing all of the amazing sites in Barcelona was a little more important.

Don't forget to check out my next blog to read about what Paige and I got up to on our VIP pub crawl in Barcelona.

Love The Super Exhausted Backpacker