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My travels

These were the emails I sent home while I travelled
There are some great memories in here that I had forgotten about
Unfortunately there are many that I didn't document.

The adventure begins... Well I think the adventure really began the Saturday morning after my going away party!! I received my travelling companion Swalulu (for those of you who are unfortunate enough not to have meet Swalulu she is a sheep with a secret compartment on her back which my cheeky housemate Gemma i.e. the supplier of Swalulu decided to fill with a very bold item!). Saturday was fun, a good fry-up to cure the god-awful pain, ice-cream down the spanish arch with the swans and Swalulu, I got to spend the day with some of my favourite people and it was a great way to say "see ya later" to the city that I love so much.

Anyhoo, the highlight of Saturday had to be Edel's injury. Edel being the adorable clutz that she is managed to fall over a suitcase in her hall and fractured her knuckle (donàt worry, I laughed too!). Unfortunately, Adrian and I being as used as we are to Edel's mishaps thought that once again she had stepped into her favourite role of the hypocondriac and was over reacting to a minor bruising and took it upon ourselves to tell the entirely of Murt's pub in Ennistymon that it was nothing really, the girl had fat fingers anyway. YES Edel, we are still feeling quite guilty about our lack of sympathy, especially when you insisted upon needing the services of A&E...

After Saturday everthing just became crazy. I still had to pick up half of my belongings in Galway, I hadn't packed a tap and I still had to say bye to a ridiculous number of people. However I pulled through and by Wednesday night I had short boy hair, I was raring to go and I had managed to make it to Shannon with my passport in my pocket.

I arrived in London on Thursday around 2pm and had to wait until nearly six to meet David. I took it upon myself to find the infamous PRimark on Oxford St. Alas, I didn't realise that Oxford Street does not start at Topshop and go to Tottanham Court Rd, but discovered ON FOOT with a backparck packed for a year that Topshop is about halfway and I had walked in the wrong direction. Panting and puffing like a pig in a heatwave I arrive at PRimark only to realise that it is right beisde a tube station and that because it took me so long to get there I don't have time to go in cos I have to go back to meet David. I was not impressed.

David and I decided to go for a drink. Now considering what we were like in Galway we should have realised that we never go for one drink. We go for a few. We went to G.A.Y. where I sickened David by becoming the object of some French guy's affections. Sweet huh? NO. In classic Louise stlye French boy is actually a weirdo who talks to himself and decides that my bag is a bomb when I go to the bar. Typical.SO I decide that to rid myself of all identity and become a lady of mystery I develop a thick COrk accent when embarrassed and end up speaking in it for half the night!! Anyhoo, we escaped the weirdo and headed back to Davids for a natter and a well deserved sleep.

Following day, I decided to become a tourist and brought Swalulu along for the trip. We went to the Dalì museum which is deadly, we saw the London Eye, Westminster, Big Ben, the usual suspects. Then I decided to find my way to Buckingham Palace. So I walk to St. James park, and wander around until I find the Palace but I ended up walking to a stately home with gastly net curtains. I'm telling you, Cornation Street eat your heart out. SO I ask this woman where the Palace was. Yeah you guessed it. It was the big house with the net curtains. Then as if she didn't think I was weird as I was, I pulled Swalulu out of my bag and started taking photos of her at the palace (while again speaking in my thick cork accent). The guards wouldn't pose with her, some wise crack was made about food and mouth... grrrr....

I met David and I was reminded of my promise from the night before to make chilli so we (David, Balal and I) went to Tesco where we purchased quite a lot of food and even more wine. We hopped onto the bus and I have to say, it was the most amusing bus journey I've taken in a while. Carol from big brother was on the bus (I know her name only from the people roaring it) and this woman actually chased her onto the bus. Cue endless camera phones and what not until she got to her stop. THEN stalker woman starts ringing all her friends (she got off the bus when talking to number 4) telling them all how she was talking to Carol from Big Bruvva... priceless...
Anyhoo, our little threesome rapidly becaome a houseparty where David pulled out all the stops as the host with the most... we then went to G.A.Y. Astoria where again there were many HOT boys (I even got a rose!!)I also developed a fascination with "WE Will Rock You" but I think those that were there don't need reminding of it in the rendidtion of things...sorry again Balal...ahem!!

Saturday Madlyna and Jacinta landed in LOndon. Madlyn and I went a wee bit nuts shopping wise. I reckon I spent about a weeks worth of accommodation in Slovenia! We also disgraced ourselves in PRimark and I think that is all I'm going to say in the matter because one of us still works for the company!!!

So Sunday (today) I flew to TRieste where I managed to set off the beepers with my stupid Penneys boots... so embarassing... then there is a security scare on the plane and they have to search the first fourty seats, the occupants and their onboard luggage...trauma (thankfully I had Micheal Palins new book about Eastern Europe to keep me entertained... cheers for the tip David!) and then I had the most ignorant stinking hostel in the entire world so I stormed out and looked myself into a 3 star hotel for the night!! Ahhhhhh....

TRieste is beautiful, I will get the photos up as soon as I can. Swalulu had a quiet day today though so she won't feature -sob-.I love it though and I've seen the James JOyce statue, eaten authenic Italian food, drank their wine and espresso and now my lovlies I am going for a nice long soak in a nice hot bath before I gallavanting off to Slovenia tomorrow. TO keep in the spirit of things... Arrivederci!!!!!

There is no introduction I think is worthy of Lake Bled. The place is so beautiful that just looking at it takes away your breathe. Bled is in northern Slovenia and it basically is a town which surrounds like bled. In the centre of the lake there is an island which is home to one of the most beaufitul churches that I have ever seen. It is stunning. Overlooking the lake there is Grad Castle ona 100ft cliff. It is stunning to look at and stunning to look from! My hostel was at the foot off the climb to the castle, over an Irish bar (score!!).

On my first night in Bled I met up with some friends of mine from home and had a few pints with them. It was lovely, we were overlooking the lake and the moon was shinning down. It was quite funny because one of my mates Ricky had been in Ljubliana earlier in the day as had I and both of us had come across people walking around with plastic bags tied over their heads to keep themselves dry. How they could breathe I don't know but it was something the two of us did ponder for a while!!

The following day it was a bit overcast but by 12pm it had kind of started to settle a wee bit, so I decided to tackle the 100ft climb to the castle. Jesus it was steep!! I made it to the top but was a wee bit disappointed because there was a wee bit of a fog over the lake and the veiw -while amazing- could have been a lot more. I went inside the castle to the museum and next thing there was a crash of thunder followed very swiftly by some lightening. I went to the courtyard to discover that what had once been a quant courtyard was now a swimming pool. Olympic size that is! After nearly two hours of waiting for the rain to blow over I decided to just make a run for it. Run I did, on my arse for most of it!

I got back to the hostel (best hostel ever by the way) changed into dry things, and ended up meeting some really nice Aussie boys and some Scots boys. We had such a session. When our bar closed we went into town and I ma pretty sure that we just teleported back to hostel cos the memory is quite vague!It was from one of the boys that I actually got my new phone. We bartered and I paid him in both Euro and pints. Fun times... and cheers Steve, I really appreciate it!!

The following day, I chose to beat my hangover with exercise and trotted around the lake. It was beautiful. Being the genius that I am I forgot to bring my camera... I went out onto the island, the church was stunning and then wandered around the countryside a bit. It was so nice. The evening was just a few coffees in the bar (and this cool drink that is a mixture of beer and red bull... badidos I think is the brand. Lovely stuff!)

Next morning, I got the bus into Ljubliana and then onto Zagreb. Of course I had to sit in the same carriage as two Romanians with dodgy id but thankfully the Croatian police just kept smiling at me... really put me at ease!! The journey down was amazing. Very sad though. Everywhere there are statues for those who have died in battle. Ruins are still around the country though both countries have taken great pride in the aesthetics of their countries, I pride which I must admit is enviable. The most profound moment had to be today, while I was in the museum of the history of Zagreb. I was watching a film showing the devastation caused during the war in the 1990's, a war I remember from tv. And suddenly I realised the man in the video was standing in the room I was standing in, everything was blown to bits and then beside the tv I notice some of the furniture on display, in ruins. It actually did upset me so I,m a wee bit nervous about the effect Bosnia and Serbia are going to have on me.

Anyhoo, I must go and return to what has to be the dodgiest hostel in the history of hostels!!

Slovenia part 2!

So the story goes, very briefly...

Went to Slovenia, it was awesome!! Bled was just one of the coolest places I've ever been and I recommend it to everyone!! While in Bled I decided to climb a 100ft cliff to see a castle and while there a thunderstorm started...cut to Louise sliding down the cliff more or less on her arse back to the hostel(which was over an irish bar)and having a day long session with some scottish and aussie boys. For some reason they insisted upon calling me trouble... hmmmm. And yes girlies... there was a little bit of a kiss...

Croatia is just amazing. Beautiful weather, the people are so pleasant. I wasn't overly keen on Zagreb but Pula is legend. I was in a roman anpitheatre, in the chambers underneath, in a venician fortress...loads of places. Coolest part was the hostel had a beach outside the back door... how coold is that. I met a really decent guy Joe there so we may be meeting up in Hvar or Dubrovnic, we'll see what happens... anyhoo... I miss you all but I wouldn't come back for the world!! xx

 Four days of absolute debauchery I think is the best way to describe my time in Edinburgh! Edel and I started out as we meant to go on. Immediately after stepping off the plane we headed to the Royal Mile for a pint to help me recover from the jetlag... the forty minute flight was a killer...

Realising that to go back to Edels house, change and come back into town would take about an hour we thought to ourselve "Fuck it! Let's just bring the gearbag around the city". So we did.

First stop was Rush the Karaoke bar. As I flung my bag under some lady's chair and went in pursuit of a beverage, Edel wasted no time in going up to put our names down for Karaoke. The song "Time of my Life". After a brutal bashing of the song (complete with a realisation that the lesbain community were considering us members) we felt the need to go again. This time I chose the song "Eye of the Tiger".

Whilst waiting to deafen the crowd again, Edel stumbled along (what she called) "boo-ers". This led to the line of the night..."did you boo" (you probably had to be there to get the humour). The boo-ers turned out to be two very lovely boys who sang along when we tested our vocal strengths with our second song. For those of you who care, we kicked ass... running through the crowd with the microphones, dancing like fools, falling to one knee when we hit the high notes... it was great. Though it did occur to us that it wasn't a great sign when people know our names... "Edel you forgot your drink... Edel you forgot your bag"

The boys decided that we would get food. We thought Kebab. They thought 4 star restaurant! Thankfully, they "volunteered" to carry my gearbag across the city, despite "cramps" and Edel and I were treated to a very nice night including a free dinner!!

Then there was the customary touristy stuff (we made such tits of ourselves!), haggis eating (tastes like white pudding) and OKTOBERFEST (Which I will leave for Edel to describe on her blog!) All I can say Edel is "Just do it! They'll never know!", Mad Gav and Andy, Going for tea and of course, Rennet...thats a weird name...did you make it up??

Greetings from Tallinn!! I´m still here I week on, I kind of fell in
love with the people here and hence have struggled to leave the
country! Alas my time here shall come to an end on Thursday morning
when I shall be heading to Riga. I am really looking forward to Riga,
I have heard quite a lot about it!!

Tallinn has been super. My hostel is in the town centre just off a
medieval square and for the first 3 nights I had a dorm to
myself...double bed included! There were two really decent people
staying with me also, Sarah the American and Jonathon the guy who
worked in the hostel. Well the craic was mighty, and Jonathon brought
myself Sarah and Troy to a local bar, the Vailli bar with a disclaimer
issued about the antics of the locals as their friendliness may
sometimes be a bit full on.Well naturally within minutes of the red
head entering the bar I developed an admirer, a weird old dude with a
cowboy hat... charming, Troy of course refused to play the role of
doting boyfriend and encouraged my admirer to the best of his
abilities. After the aquiring of a translator and many dodged kisses,
I was given an old Estonian coin as a good luck charm and made promise
to carry it with me. It was cool! That night (Halloween) we managed to
obtain a pumpkin, a poster and lucky coins for the hostel.It was

The following night, Sarah and I were out on the street when the
Wolfetones came blasting out of nowhere, naturally we had to have a
look. What did we find only an Irish bar run by a cork man full of
pirates and a talking parrot (a welsh stag party), we rounded up the
troops from the hostel,and off we went. This time I ended up with a
pirates hat, and a bouquet of flowers. Fun night!

Greig and his mate Andrew arrived after that, it was so much fun! We
did a lot of the touristy stuff and the boys generally came over to
my hostel in the evenings. We decided that I will be in London for
Christmas to have an Aussie style bbq! Fun or what! Andrew celebrated
his birthday here too so that was a bit of fun!! I think the highlight
of Tallinn for the boys was the pancake place behind my hostel... I
have eaten more pancakes in the last week than I have drank tea which
is saying something!

Sarah, Greig, David from our hostel and I went to a national park on
Monday. There was so much snow. Like in the photo´s. Of course the
boys and I were like children snowball fights included but gosh was it
beautiful! My photos are so cool the way they range from sunny Hvar to
snow covered Tallinn! Amazing!

Right, myself and my cousin Nicola got to France in one piece all excited about the prospect of watching 22 men driving around Magny Cours for two hours in the sweltering heat... well Nic was all about the heat, I was about the driving.
Get to the airport (Beauvais...never again...) and Nicola is stopped by the passport peaople cos they don't believe that she actually is the person in her passport. After about 10 minutes of poor auld Nicola going purple and protesting her innocence, they allowed her in...
On we went to the baggage area where we realised that my bags had decided to go on a holiday of their own and didn't actually arrive at their intended destination... bit of a bollox... As those of you who have been in a similar position will agree, there is a lot of paper work to be filled oou in this situation....
The paperwork led to us missing our shuttlebus into Paris, which meant we missed our train to Nevers (home of the French Grand Prix)... 'Twas a bit of a pain in the arse...
Anyhoo, we managed to get a later train (for which we paid 1.60 as opposed to the required 118 euro (still don't understand that one!)) only we got lost and lost track of time, leading to frantic running through the bloody Gare de Lyon...
We hopped on the train, which was so full we didn't have seats, only to learn that there was no engine for the bloody thing...
Finally we took off to Nevers, arrived and took a cab to our b and b... an old derelect house with no one at home... our taxi driver didn't want to leave us and after a conversation with the b and b owner decided that he was infact going to bring us back to town where we stayed with his sister Elizabeth. It was crazy but fun...
In the space of a handful of dys, we saw a dead body, Nicola called the Formula One world champion a pervert, nearly got caught in a bar fight and more of less suffered from sunstroke...

I´m in Tallinn at the moment. I must admit I haven´t seen much of the place yet because it is pouring rain! All in good time I suppose! After Warsaw Greig and I went to Vilnius in Lithuania.It is such a great city! I stayed at the VB hostel which was mental altogether! One of the boys from Krakow (the dude who lived in Ballyvaughan) arrived the day after me and once I had a buddy all madness broke loose!
Greig was staying in a hostel about 500m away from me but spent so much time in my hostel my dorm mates actually thought he stayed there. The cheeky pup even got my hostel to do his laundry for him because his fancy hostel didn´t provide the service!

I met some really cool guys in that hostel, James one of the staff was just a legend. We went out to a club which in English is Broadway on two of my nights there. The first night james and I decided to go for sandwiches after the club but all we could find was a restaurant selling beefsteak, so at 6am we tucked into the biggest piece of meat I have seen in a long time... so bad but ohhhh sooo good!!James was working in the hostel one of the nights we went out but he magically teleported to the club. His excuse was that he was afraid that we wouldn´t be able to order drinks so he came to help us... the dude had no Lithuanian either so it really was a flimsy excuse!! Of course the photos had to be carefully censored so his boss didn´t realise that he was out with us... funny times!

Lithuania is really beautiful, and Vilnius is just mad! There is a statue of Frank Zappa and a statue of an egg. What other city in the world would think of such things? At the moment Daniel Craig is filming a movie there, there were fake walls everywhere around the city which was mad,but Troy, Brendan and I went to an Irish bar to watch the Liverpool/Arsenal match and I started talking to these guys beside me. Turns out they are all starring in the movie. How I figured it out was the kid in the movie was there also and they were singing some songs. I must have looked at them strangely or something and they explained that they were filming a movie at the minute and that they were just learning some songs for it. I thought that it was pretty cool. Then Brendan went and spilled a beer on the kid... I can guarantee that in 10 years that kid is going to be famous and the beer story will be legend in the VB hostel!

Greig left Lithuania about two days before me but I arranged to meet him in Tallinn. So I hop on an overnight train only to find out that he isn´t actually in Tallinn. However I am in the correct country and he has a bed waiting for me in Tartu. So I literally travelled for 9 hours on a bus to get to Tallinn only to get off and hop on a 3 hour bus out of the city to Tartu! It was so worth it though!! Greig and his mate Andrew had rented out a cubby shack which was basically a shack from the 1970´s! It was so cool! I had my own room and everything! While there, I came across the statue of the two wildes that is in Galway... an identical one is in Tartu! I got way too excited! Anyhoo, I stayed there a night and came back to Tallinn yesterday.

Lithuanian smoke sauna  

If anyone told me this time yesterday that I would run around a Lithuanian national park in my underwear and jump into a freezing river after coming out of a 100 degree sauna I would not only have called them a nutter, I would have called them clinically insane!!
I would have been wrong because that is what I actually was doing between the hours of 10 and midnight last night!
My boss Valdas had been talking about going to a smoke sauna for a night for ages and arranged for he and his wife, myself and James and one of the guests Tim and his girlfriend to go to the sauna. A few more people decided to join in and there ended up being 8 of us (minus Tim and his lady friend).
The sauna is in a national park about two hours outside Vilnius and it is in a log cabin. There are log steps into the sauna, and cobble stones and a wooden stairway lead you up to the log cabin which we called our home for the night. The cabin Had a large fireplace built into a brick chimney which was bursting with heat. There were five bunk beds and each they had thick wollen blankets. A long wooden table sat in the middle of the room and was quickly filled with copious amounts of vodka, whiskey and cider! There was a feast of food also!!
Outside the cabin the sauna owner dude had lit a huge bonfire. It was amazing though we did manage to refrain from dancing around it!
From the sauna there was also some wooden steps to the river which was quite cold. What we had to do was sit in the sauna until we could stand the heat no longer and then jump into the cold river. I can't swim so I had to climb into it instead... talk about coldness! The feeling was great and we did it about five times altogether. If you ever get the chance to do it do!! I will be again!!
We then spent the night sitting around the table drinking a few beers and talking into the night. Our phones didn't work there not was there any tv or radio so it was really really nice and social.
I think one of the most exciting parts of the evening was getting caught in a thunder and lightening storm on our way to the outhouse cabin that was the toilet. It was creepy but soooo much fun!!!
Anyhoo, I'm technically at work at the mo so I have to get back and finish what I am doing!! Later!

The journey continues! I didn't realise quite how neglectful I have been on updating my adventure of sorts. For that I do apologise! I was quite glad to leave Zagreb to be honest. It was an alright city that I am glad I went to visit but I do not see myself feeling a want to return.
From Sagreb I travelled to Pula in the Istrian penninsula. It is actually quite close to Trieste. Trieste is also in Istria so to speak. Oh it was beautiful! The hostel had it's own private beach out the back (granted it was a pebble beach but I think that there is a grand total of six sand beaches in Croatia!) and a little bar that stayed open until about 11.
On my first night there I decided to do a little wandering around the main square/street. There is a fabulous old arch that leads to a quite, cobbled street. Of course I went under the arch, only to come face to face with a broze James Joyce. I thought I was seeing things. Here he was sitting outside a cafe called Ulicks. It transpired that Joyce actually taught English in the building he was sitting at while he worked on Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. Of course I sat and had a pint with him. It would have been rude not too.
As I travelled up the street, I overheard an Irish accent to my side. I looked around and found a group of maybe 8 Irish men who were over on a golfing trip of some sort. Naturally, I wandered over, said hello and stayed for a chat. It was a bit of Craic!
Pula is beautiful. THere are ancient ruins everywhere and I think it has the worlds second largest anphitheatre. It was amazing to walk around it! I stayed there for another night and met Joe ,an English guy who was doing a dissertation on Croatian tourism. We had a few drinks at the hostel bar, and swapped numbers as he was travelling the same direction as I was so it would be handy if we wanted to see a somewhat familiar face.The next morning I took an 11 and a half hour bus journey down to Split.

Split -for those of you who have never been- is one of the most amazing places in Croatia. It is not a tourist town as such so it remains quite busy all year round. I stayed in Split Hostel which was brilliant. The girls there are just fantastic!! So on my first night I managed to fall out of the top bunk. It was so embarrassing. Thankfull I landed on my feet and then fell into the empty buck just across from me. Not knowing how to be cool about the whole thing, I went into the bathroom and flushed the toilet. When I came back everyone was still asleep. I was happy out until the following night. We were out in a nearby bar, there were maybe 15 of us, and two of my roommates turned around and announced "Don't think you've gotten away with following out of bed without anyone noticing." I was mortified!!!
The night was fun except for two British guys who become terribly arrogant once they had a few beers. They came to the night club with myself, the two Canadian girls who had see my "dismount" and an Aussie girl called Bron. Being the idiots that they were, the two boys decided to go swimming at 2am in the morning and both came out of the water with threatening pneumonia. Being the sensitive sould that we are, Bron and I decided to give them our juckets/cardigans to keep them warm.
When we left the club it started raining and Bron and I were getting soaked but we give the boys our jackets to were home and let them carry the umbrella. The only one we had... Cut to a car swerving around the corner, one of the boys hitting itwith his fist. The car stops and this Croatian dude hops out and starts shouting at us in Croatian. What do the two boys do? They disappear. Bron and I nearly had heart failure especially when the Croatian dude hops back into his car and starts reversing towards us!!! We just kept walking (we were on our own at this stage) and the car continued back on its journey. Suddenly one of the boys appeared (the one in my jacket!)and apologised for disserting us. Then we realised the other one had disappeared. We started shouting his name out hoping for a response and sure enough, we could hear him answering from some bushes. The fool, had dived into what he thought was a bush but was actually a drop of a few feet, with the umbrella and had managed to lodge himself in the bushes. However the locals didn't appreciate our shouting of his name and threw water missiles at us. Bron and I left and returned to the hostel.


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