Tick Tock Time Stop

Trip Start Mar 07, 2006
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Trip End Jul 11, 2006


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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Oh Scheisser. If you go to Amsterdam you really should book accommodation weeks in advance. We arrived there last Thursday and three hours after tag-teaming looking for a room we realised this. Our desperate search proved fruitless, with over 60 hostels, hotels, dives and palaces investigated and only one single bed found for 100 euros/night (with only one person allowed to sleep in it!) and a dodgy room in a 3 star hotel for 300 euros/night, run by the world's rudest receptionist and only available for one night when we wanted to stay for two. A collective decision was made to store our bags at the lockers in Centraal Station and forfeit our sleep for one night in partytown.

At first it wasn't too difficult to keep ourselves amused....wandering through the redlight district after a cafe experience was like being part of a Tarantino film without the violence...and the plan was working well until about 2am when everything started to close....damn...no getting comfy in some beanbags in a nightclub until the early hours because by 3.30ish it seemed the whole town was asleep and we were beginning to realise just how long the night was going to be. Enter One Dreadlocked Angel. Cool dude with long blonde dreads called out to us on a deserted street because he thought he recognised us from the Ben Harper concert he and his girlfriend had just been to. We told him he was mistaken but by then he had realised we were Australian and, being a wave starved Dutch surfer, he was keen to talk to us about his love of our country and about his time there working for a surf school in Manly. He asked where we were staying and what we were doing wandering the streets so early in the morning and we told him we hadnīt been able to get a room....to our surprise and initial apprehension he insisted we stay in his apartment. We walked and talked some more and by the time we caught up to his lovely girlfriend Judith, who assured us she wasn't annoyed that Jeff had dragged two strays home, we were convinced we would be safe and the need for sleep overwhelmed us. We ended up having an awesome day with Jeff on Friday as he showed us around his favourite haunts including a cool beach bar with circus/carnival feel on the riverside. Later that night we met up with Jeff's twin sister Noe along with Judith and a fine collection of their amazing friends from all over the world at īThe Doorsī cafe/bar. Another comfortable night spent on the loungeroom floor and after a couple of hours sleep we were up and off to catch the train to the airport to fly to London. Jeff and Jude came with us...they really are mad....they could have slept in but they wanted to see us off...which was really lovely and very touching! Can't wait for you two to come to Australia and let us look after you and make you feel as welcome and lucky as we felt to have met you both. XX.

London: Arrived, caught tube to Fulham...walked towards Saskia/Ellam/Laura's place but collapsed in a shady park along the way for a little siesta. Beautiful day, sarongs on the grass, backpack for a pillow and we slept for hours! Wandered along to Glenrosa St in the late afternoon to a frazzled Mr Mum trying to find two lost bottles for his two hungry sons! Out for dinner with Sas later on followed by the night tour of London in GiniAna (Saskia's Fiat 500). Sunday we slept in and then played for ages with Joaquin and Lorenzo before taking off to Camden Markets in the afternoon. Stopped at Fulham cemetery on the way home to show Andy his first squirrel and then home for an incredibly delicious meal by the magician in the kitchen Laura. Monday caught bus to Portsmouth to spend time with my cool reli's. Watched Australia lose to Italy in the last 5 seconds (argh!) in Julie and Grae's loungeroom, caught up with Donna and Toni and met Terry, Max and Ruben for the first time. Tuesday relaxed and wandered around, Grae gave us a little tour before we left and then we were back on a bus to Londontown. Caught up with my long lost volleyball buddy Kirsten in the same pub I used to work in 9 years ago! It is spiffied up a bit now and the name has changed but still brought back a lot of memories...glad I still don't have to clean the loos!! Dinner with Patrick and Kirsten (it was good to see you girlfriend), hi to her Dad and my workmate Chris - scanning hard at the Wesley I hope! Then home to chill out with the Hull household and pack our bags for another early rise for the flight to Finland.

Arrived yesterday in Helsinki and after years of anticipation finally got to realise my childhood dream of meeting Netta in her home country! Took a couple of hours for Onni and Miina to get used to the Alien Australians in their house but now we are good old friends. It is wonderful to be here with my gorgeous mate of 23 years and to meet her delightful twins and hunk of a husband!! Gotta get off this computer because more beers and Finnish food await and the sauna is on and the babies asleep!
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