That time we ran away from those Bulls - Pamplona, Spain
July 5th: Today was unfortunately the day Marty and I had to split up. After three great weeks traveling through Scandinavia and Spain, it was time to say goodbye. So after a relaxing final breakfast together and a not so relaxing re-packing of my bag, he walked me to the train station, as I was heading to Pamplona to meet my mate Josh today (to run with those cows). Josh was waiting for me at Pamplona train station (for like three hours) and both of us just wanted to kick back and relax. But that wasn't going to happen anytime soon, with us still over two hours away from our campsite. We had both booked train tickets to Pamplona, assuming our campsite was in there, but really we should of caught one to San Sebastián, as our campsite was only 15 minutes from there. So after an hour bus ride to San Sebastián, a 30 minute local bus and then a 30 minute walk up the biggest mountain of all time, we finally arrived at our Zauartz campsite (lucky we found fellow travelers Laura and Mel), our Josh and I found still be looking for the campsite. On arrival, we were all handed drinks, taken to our small tent and then took advantage of the free beer and sangria. The whole campsite was in party mode, so a pretty big night eventuated. Things of Note: - It was sad to say bye to Dad again but I was so glad we had the chance to travel around Europe together. I wouldn't have changed a thing over the past three weeks, and hope we can do it again in the future. - Today was such a long travel day, and it reminded me why travel day are by far the worst thing about back-packing. - I don't know if either Josh or I knew what we were getting ourselves into when we booked our campsite. Every person was already ********d or 'high as a kite' when we got there (and this trend continued for the next 72 hours we were there!) July 6th: We were woken up to the sounds of pots and pans being belted at 8am, by the campsite staff, warning us that the bus into Pamplona was leaving in exactly one hour. This might sound alright, but the sangria had gone straight to my head last night, leading to one whopper headache this morning. Add to this that there was about a hundred people trying to shower and get brekky at the same time, and the process was very slow. Josh and me just made the bus, all decked up in our "Bulls" attire and headed towards the San Fermin Opening Ceremony. Neither of us knew what to expect but that quickly changed. We luckily ran into our mates from home, Monte and Kerry, who with fellow Wollongong boys Simo, Dom and Russ. Once we were all together, we headed into the square where the flag is raised. This square was single handedly the most out of my comfort zone thing I have ever done. It was like the biggest mosh pit you have ever been in times ten. And then you add into that, that sangria was being thrown around like it was going out of fashion, and it's a recipe for disaster. Luckily I was tall and could eat some fresh air, because shortarse's like Josh were struggling. And at times, you had no control of your actions, as people waves would come through and near knock you over (check out Monte's Go Pro footage if you don't believe me). After an hour of torture, we finally left there, drenched in sweat and sticky sangria (all grasping for fresh air). For the next couple of hours, we all sat under a tree in the main square, with a crew from Wollongong, enjoying some cold drinks. As our only bus home didn't leave till 7pm, josh and I decided to make our own way home early. This turned out to be a good idea, as Joshs' health took a turn for the worst, resulting in him throwing up every half an hour. We finally made it home, after over two hours traveling (because a taxi wouldn't take us, as we were covered in sangria), where we both finally got clean. Josh then went to bed to try and shake the bug he had, while I went up an enjoyed our free dinner and the amazing sunset. I too went to bed early, as the bus left at 5am tomorrow morning to get into Pamplona for the first run. Things of Note: - If girls were to enter the "Square of Death", I actually think they might have died. At the very least, their shirts would have been ripped off and thrown away. - At first Josh and I both joked that his throwing up was because of his hangover and lack of ability to back up, but we soon realized (when his face turned white), that it was something more serious. July 7th: As Joshs' condition hadn't improved overnight, I went in 'Lone Ranger' style into Pamplona, assuming I would see Kerry and Monte in there. When I arrived, I went to the spot we had agreed to meet, but little did I know, they had all missed the bus in that morning. That didn't matter, as I headed to the stadium to watch all the runners run into the stadium and experience the ensuing rodeo and atmosphere inside. There would of been over 20,000 people inside the stadium, all watching the big screens for the action of the run happening just outside. Once the first gun went off, some people legged it and as a result, were in the stadium before the bulls were even released (which led to then being belted by drinks from the crowd). The second and third guns went off (to let everyone know the first and last bulls from the first group were loose). The cheer they got when entering the stadium was near deafening. Most people then made it into the stadium around the time the fourth and fifth guns went off (second group of bulls). Once the last bull arrived, the shut off the stadium and then the real fun started. One wild bull was let free into the arena of over 500 people. The crowd cheered when people touched it but when they grabbed its' tail or horns, huge boo's rang throughout the stadium (as well as locals absolutely smashing the person guilty). It was all over by 9am, and I just hang out with people from our campsite till the bus arrived at 1130am. When I got home, Joh was up and about and feeling much better (he was finally able to stomach some food for the first time in over twelve hours). As a result, we both headed down to the beach for the afternoon. After a couple of hours down there, we headed back up to the campsite and organized to be dropped into the local town to explore it and grab a bite to eat. The local town of Zauartz was really beautiful. A little beachside town, with little alleyways and shops everywhere. This was probably out fondest memory from camping, as the site was way too dirty, smelly and generally our of control for our liking (and yes, we are both precious). We walked home along the beach, taking in a pink sunset and then headed straight to bed, because tomorrow we run with the bulls! Things of Note: - As I had washed my sangria soaked clothes the night before, they didn't really have a chance to dry. This meant I wore dripping wet clothes into Pamplona at 5am in the morning. It's fair to say I was freezing. July 8th: We both woke up at 4am to the sound of those bloody pots and pans again, but we didn't care as much, as anticipation had kicked in, that we were about to finally run with the bulls. We got into Pamplona about 630am and headed straight for the track. There we met Kerry, Monte and the boys, who had secured a good position. We stood there, pretty much squished, for over an hour, with the nerves well and truly being present. We were then allowed to walk up the street to where we wanted to start. We started just past "Dead Man's Corner" which is the only bend in the track and has caused the most injuries over the years. As soon as the bulls were loose (on the second gun), all of us boys started moving (especially Dom and I who started to leg it). After about two minutes running, the first group of bulls passed us (which when the adrenaline really kicked in). Once they passed, our plan was to get into the stadium before the second group did, to ensure we got in for the rodeo. Luckily all of us got in. The rodeo was the most hectic part, with people getting owned by both the bulls and the locals (for hurting the bull). Check out footage from Monte's Go Pro below to understand what we experienced. By 9am it was all over but the adrenaline was still there, and stayed around for a while yet. Before catching the bus back, I caught up with Al, before he flew home to Australia that afternoon. Once Josh and I finally got back to the campsite, we showered and packed up our gear, as we were moving into San Sebastián for a couple of days. We got a lift down to the train, caught the train from Zauartz to San Sebastián and finally made it to our accommodation (which was university rooms being rented out due to the students being on break). We relaxed here for a while, did some food shopping and then headed into the main part of town to meet Monte and Kerry for dinner. It was just what the doctor ordered, steak and veggies. A gelato session followed before we headed back to our place, for a much needed sleep (an average of four hours a night, over the past three nights, is not sufficient). Things of Note: - It was so good to finally have a real bed again and to be able to spread our stuff out a little. We were both well and truly over our camping experience. - Marty stitched me up with the shaving cream he gave me. I hadn't used it once and it somehow exploded all through my toiletries, causing a massive clean-up mission. - The bus on the way into San Sebastián from the University was easy. But because it does a loop circuit, we had know idea where to get off on the way home, which led to us being driven around the town on a wild goose chase. We eventually got dropped off like a kilometer from our place (walking would have been quicker). - The adrenaline that I felt this morning, whilst running with the bulls, was nothing else I had ever felt before. As such, it's hard to explain, but you are scared and nervous to not get hit but at the same time, need to get into the stadium at all costs. Once in there, we were all so buzzing, we needed to keep playing with the bulls. July 9th: Josh and I both had a really good sleep in this morning (as we were both exhausted). When we awoke, we had received multiple messages from both Kerry and Monte, asking where our place was. They wanted to know, as there had been a stuff up with their booking and they had no where to stay that night (so they ended up staying on our floor). So we waited for them to get to our place, and then headed back into town for lunch and the beach. For lunch, we had these really nice (and cheap) home made baguets from the supermarket. A casual €3 for a roll, cheese and meat. We then ran into Cam and Jay, who were in San Sebastián for the day. We all enjoyed lunch together before we headed to meet the other boys at the beach and they went and caught up with some other mates. We stayed at the beach for a couple of hours, before heading back to our place, to unwind and prepare for the night ahead. So we bought some extremely cheap vodka and rum (like €5 a bottle) for pre-drinks. But as the drinks were warm, we needed ice. I went out and looked around at our local supermarkets, but no luck. So Josh and Monte trekked it to the nearest service station and grabbed ice. The were gone for a while (which made Kerry and I think they might be lost), but the service station was actually that far away. As a result, Josh and Monte would take upon themselves to remind us that they got the ice and that it was the biggest effort in the world. Anyway, we finally headed out, met the other boys in town and bar hopped from small bar to small bar throughout San Sebastián, as they didn't have any nightclubs (it was fun all the same). Things of Note: - Monte and Josh made the biggest deal that they got the ice. Sure we needed it bad and it took them a while but it is just ice, at the end of the day haha - Monte pretty much wanted to kill me before bed, as I fell onto him on the floor. The look he gave me was of utter disgust. July 10th: All of us woke up late, being really hungover (especially me as last night took a turn for the worse of me). So once we all showered and the boys packed up all their stuff, we headed back into town. The boys checked in at their new hostel, and we all grabbed a cheap kebab (something the boys have been raving about). We then met the other boys down the beach and enjoyed the weather there for a couple of hours. After a good session at the beach, Josh and I headed back to our place to organize our plans to Mykonos tomorrow. Unfortunately, Josh and I didn't have enough between us for the bus, so we had to trek it home (taking 45 minutes). Josh and I then headed back into the boulevard to climb to the top of Monte Urgell, and visit the Jesus statue that looks over San Sebastián. The whole walk took about two hours, but the views we experienced were phenomenal. We then had a quick dinner and then headed home, as we were both exhausted. Things of Note: - San Sebastián could very well be my favorite place I've visited in Europe, if not it makes the top ten. A combination of beach lifestyle, cool city and good climate makes it ideal to visit. - Today was my lovely sisters birthday and of course I rang her. Although she thought I had forgotten as I contacted her when it was the 11th in Australia. July 11th: Today we had to move out stuff out of our accommodation and dump it at the boys for the day (as our flight to Mykonos wasn't till later tonight). So once we dumped it, we grabbed a feed and had once last session down the beach. After this, Josh, Kerry and I walked up along the other beach and the boys swam out to the plontoons. Sniity burgers, that reminded us all of Chickos, we next on the agenda. We then chilled out, showered and then said bye to the boys (who I'll see in two weeks in Croatia). Josh and I then started our long trek to Mykonos. It started with a bus from San Sebastián to Bilbao and then a two hour wait at the airport for our 11pm flight to Barcelona. Once in Barcelona, we had to kill two hours from midnight till 2am at Barca airport (which saw us sleep) before we caught our three hour flight to Mykonos. Things of Note: - Although it saved us a nights accommodation, I would never do what we did to get to Mykonos again. It's just such a pain in the **** to get on two separate planes, not to mention you're tired the whole next day. July 12th: We arrived at Mykonos airport at 6am local time and were both shattered, having very little sleep. A taxi took us to the main square at the Old Port, just outside Mykonos Town. This was the start of journey, through the street mazes, to find our apartment. Having walked around for probably an hour, and in all honestly, probably passing it numerous times, until we found it (with the help of a local and wifi). Unfortunately the owner wasn't there, so we dumped our bags with these girls that were staying there and went for breakfast on the harbour. We then wandered around the island for about an hour, to experience Mykonos. Josh then got in contact with the owner, via email, to let them know we were here and ready to check in. By the time we checked in, we were both exhausted but wanted to push through till an afternoon siesta. So, the owner directed us to the local buses, and we ventured to the other side of the island and Paradise Beach. This had been recommended to both of us by many people and it didn't disappoint, with beautiful sand, clear water and hot women. We stayed there for a while, before heading back for lunch and a siesta. On the lunch menu was our first (of many) experiences with gyros throughout the trip (which is kebab meat, salad and chips on a pita bread). We both awoke a couple of hours later and decided to head back down to the harbour for dinner. We ended up splitting a large meat platter, which consisted of different forms of chicken, pork and lamb. Here we watched the metterarian pink sun set. We then experienced the Greek nightlife, by walking around the lively Mykonos Town, stopping in at one of the bars for our drink of choice, piña coladas. Despite our siesta, we were still tired (and because of the sun), so we then headed to bed. Things of Note: - There is pretty much no road rules at all here. As a result, I nearly got absolutely cleaned up by a car while walking on the road. - I don't know what it is, but the sea water is extra salty here and it killed both our eyes and skin. - One of the first things I noticed here was the abundance of stray cats that just lurk around the streets. I would of easily seen over fifty in the three days we were in Mykonos. - The white buildings in Mykonos Town are just amazing (especially at night). They are just how they are depicted in all the photos (check out my photos for proof!) July 13th: We both slept in this morning, still feeling the effects of the flight the previous day. As soon as I got up, I took some washing around the corner to the laundromat, as I was running low on everything. After that, we headed down to the harbour for breakfast, and this also have me a chance to follow the live stream of the U/16 National Basketball Final, which NSW Country won for the first time in ages. By now, we were both desperate for the beach, so we headed back to Paradise (despite us still be pretty burnt from the day before). Coincidentally, we ran into my mates Tala and Britt there and sat with them talking for a while, while enjoying the 2 for 1 cocktails on offer. We continued drinking throughout the afternoon and into the night with the girls from downstairs. Later on that night, we headed into Paradise Club for their white party (but it turned out to be a massive dud). Things of Note: - The damn laundry lady forgot to wash my clothes and they just sat there in a bag all day. And as it was a Saturday, she couldn't do it tomorrow, as she was closed. - No will ever go hungry here, as there a gyro/souvlaki shop on just about every corner. And with then wing so cheap, it's hard to so no. - I think we missed the boat on a good night out the night before. No one was playing tonight, but we assumed every night would be big here. Apparently no one could back up from Benny Benassi the night before. - Quote of Josh when playing card with the girls downstairs before going out: "Someone is going have to help me shuffle these cards, my hands are too small", as there was two decks. July 14th: Both of us woke very under the weather, but we knew the perfect cure for that was a gyro and the beach. In a stroke of good fortune, the bus we took today went via Paraga Beach, which we didn't know much about. But as soon as we both saw it, we jumped off the bus and headed down there. It had a beachside hostel (with a pool), clear as ocean and less people then Paradise. I personally couldn't enjoy too much sun, as my face was still burnt but we did enjoy relaxing by the ocean. I say this, because the water was extremely salty (not so much while in), but when we got out, our skin stung for about 15 minutes. So we headed up and laid by the hostel pool, listening to beats and enjoying the view over the beach. After a couple of hours there, and us establishing that it was our favorite beach in the Greek Islands to date, we caught the bus back. To change it up, we decided to grab some salads for dinner, having already had two gyros for the day. These salads were amazing and that's a lot coming from me, a person who doesn't eat salad. Following dinner, we needed to stay out of the wind, as it was raping our skin, so we walked around Mykonos Town for one last time and had some ice-cream before heading to bed (as we had an early ferry tomorrow). Things of Note: - Both Josh's and my skin is struggling big time here. When you combine the sun, the extremely salty water and abnormally strong winds, our skin is drying out like crazy. As a result, at times it hurt to open my eyes, as my eyelids were starting to crust over. July 15th: Today we had to catch our four hour ferry from Mykonos to Ios, so we packed our stuff up and headed to the port (with the help of some locals, who we split a cab with). The ferry itself felt like it took forever, stopping in both Paros and Makos before arriving at Ios. Thankfully the lady from our hotel was at the port waiting for us and she took us directly to our room. Unfortunately, when we got there, I wasn't feeling too crash hot, so after we went shopping for some supplies, I stayed in the room and rested, while Josh trekked it down to the beach, for a look. Once Josh returned, we headed down to the "Fun Pub", which was also the sports bar. We both enjoyed chicken parmigianas and beers, while watching the euro basketball on television. We stayed there for hours, playing pool and darts (neither things I'm good at). Following this, we saw that the adjacent street basketball courts were lit up, pretty much begging to be played on. So we went up and bought a cheap rubber ball and got some shots up. We mucked around there for about half an hour before deciding to call stumps. Just then, two "wanna-be ballers" challenged Josh "Just call me T-Mac" Anderson and myself, also know as Cort "Can't guard me" Ward, to a game of two on two. In the end, they couldn't handle the heat, with us destroying them 11-2. By now, we were well and truly tired, so we called it, knowing we were pretty much the best basketballers on the island. Things of Note: - Today my skin officially started waving the white flag. My face started to crack and peel, causing my eyes to constantly water (in bright areas) and my nose to run like a tap. This would continue for almost a day, until most of the dry skin had left my face. - I like the feel of Ios much better then Mykonos (even if I feel like ****). The fact that it's a 15 minute walk from the main town to the main beach (and that's pretty much all there is), is very convenient. - The statistics from the two on two game read: Ward: 8 points, 2 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals Anderson: 3 points, 4 assists, 1 steal, 5 turnovers. Clearly we can see who the anchor was. July 16th: In good news, my eyes had finally stop to weep, as had my nose. Unfortunately, my skin wasn't getting any better on my face, with Josh calling me a "zombie". As such, we had a quiet morning, where I skyped a few people and then we headed down to the neighboring poolside bar. We laid here taking in the views and rays (only on my body) for a while, before heading back to our room for lunch. Being the defending champions and all, we thought it would be rude not to go down to the court again and see if any other "wanna-be's" would challenge us. Obviously everyone was too scared, as no one turned up. While in the town, we booked our next couple of ferries to Santorini and Crete. By now, it was late afternoon, so we decided to head back to the pool bar and have a couple of cheeky piña coladas, while overlooking the main beach. Following this, we headed back up to the Fun Pub for their trivia competition, dinner and a couple of beers. Josh even got involved in the 'killer' pool competition there, something I stood well clear of, as I'm terrible pool. Following this, we left the sports bar and headed into the village, to hit up some of the local nightclubs. Things of Note: - If Josh had held up his end of the bargain and got some questions right in trivia, maybe we could of had a chance of winning it all. For example, one question was "which islands are situated furthest away from any civilization?" After thinking about it, I said "Hawaii", but Josh rubbished the idea. With no better idea and answer sheets needed, I quickly wrote Hawaii, and thankfully I did, because it was correct. - It was Josh's turn today to have **** eyes. All night, his eyes continued to weep, so much so, that he had to cover his right eye, whenever we were outside, to protect it from the stupidly strong winds. - After being told to do it by everyone, we finally completed the seven shot challenge, which bagged Josh a free singlet, as it wouldn't have fit me. July 17th: As a result of last nights antics, we were feeling sorry for ourselves. None the less, we headed back up to the sports bar, to watch the third and final game of origin. We luckily reserved a table the night before, but were blown away by how many people were there. Honestly, it felt like a quarter of the whole island was inside the pub, meaning that a quarter of the island is from either NSW or Queensland. As most know, the referees (and injuries) robbed us of any chance of winning, and it know stands at eight straight series wins for the bloody Maroons. We shook off this misfortune and headed back into the village for a wander around. Josh's eye was still giving him strife, so I want solo for the rest of the afternoon. Unfortunately for him, I walked up to the top of the village (where the chapel stands), and got a view over the whole village (just beautiful). I then walked down to Far Out Beach and stayed down there for a while, taking in the scenery, atmosphere and beauty. We then met back up at our hostel, and then headed for one final meal at the sports pub. The place was a lot quieter then a couple hours before, which suited us both, who just wanted to enjoy our parmigianas, while watching some sport in peace. Following tea, the daughter of the lady who ran our hostel (who was stunning) dropped us down to the port. But little did we know, more bad news was headed our way. After waiting at the port for about an hour (meaning we assumed the boat was running late), a guy from the ship company comes in and informs us that the boat had been cancelled due to bad weather. This meant we had to change our ferries for tomorrow and organize accommodation for ourselves that night. So after a shitfight of cancelling one nights stay in santorini, changing tickets (with a jerk of an attendant), and finding a cheap place to stay at the port, we finally got to sleep (just after midnight). Things of Note: - The only thing I can think of as to why the ferries would of been cancelled (due to bad weather), had to be the wind. It couldn't be the clear skies or the milkpond, that is the ocean around here. Anyway, very annoying to say the least. July 18th: We awoke, grabbed our stuff (as it was already packed) and headed down to the harbour for breakfast. Here we could enjoy a meal, while keeping an eye on the port. But by 11am (the expected arrival time of the boat), we were still waiting, and stayed waiting for another hour, until the ferry finally arrived. The ride from Ios to Santorini itself only took an hour, and I can't explain how relieved we were to finally get there. Despite not being able to find our driver at first, we eventually made it to our place in Phira. But as we only had about 24 hours here now (because of the ferries), we wanted to make the most of it. So we dumped our stuff in our room and hired a quad bike for 24 hours. So we jumped on the bike, and drove to Kamari Beach, Perissa Beach (where we stopped for lunch) and finally the well known Red Beach. As cool of the beaches were (especially the Red Beach), they weren't as picturesque as some of the beaches I have seen so far (mainly because of the black volcanic sand). Following this, we both had showers, lathered up our dry skins with moisturizer and headed out to watch the sunset. Unfortunately for as, we took a wrong turn and end up taking the long way to Oia and missing the sunset. Things of Note: - Im defiantly sick of these ferries. How hard is it to keep then on time, when the longest journey they do between islands is a couple of hours. - We both knew there were very little (if not none) road rules to speak of in Greece, but we experienced it firsthand on our quad bike adventures today. - Despite soccer supposedly being the national sport of Greece, Josh and I decided that in fact paddle-ball (similar to tennis but on the beach), is their national sport, with everyone on every beach playing it (despite the sound being really annoying). July 19th: I woke up early this morning, so I could drive all the way out to Oia and Phira, to see the Ilias. These are the buildings on the side of the cliffs, and are absolutely breathtaking. I walked around here for ages, not being to get enough of the view and scenery. I then headed back, met up with Josh and got dropped back in Phira. From here we walked down the hectic cliff faces, towards the Old Port. Here we caught our boat to the volcano and hot springs tour. The boat cruise itself was awesome. Sailing throughout the green oceans of the greek islands is something I'll never forget. Our first stop was the volcano, and at first site, it just looked just like a big pile of black ash. And to be honest, it really didn't change all the way to the top. The best part about it, was that it was still an active volcano, and the view we all had of the Santorini coastline from the peak of the volcano. We then ventured back down to get on our ship, to head to the hot springs. Josh and I were both hesitant about getting it the salt water, having not ventured in there for a while, because of our skin. But for some reason we thought the hot springs would help our skin (dumb). As soon as we jumped in the ocean, it stung our skin (and necks especially), and the closer we got to the hot springs, the burning got worse. As a result, neither of us stayed in there very long, as we both felt as though the water was full of acid, on our skin. After drying off and stopping the burning, the boat finally made it back to shore on Santorini. And as we stood at the bottom of an hours long ascent up the cliffs, we decided to hire donkeys to ride on and climb us up the hill (great decision). Although it saved our legs, my donkey "Eeyore" nearly took as long to get up the hill as I would of, as he kept stopping (as the video shows), and Josh's powered up the hill. By this time, it was about 3pm, and we had two hours to kill before we had to be at the harbour. So we walked around the cliff faces, enjoying the spectacular views of Phira, and then enjoyed our last Greek islands meal together. Following our meal (with a second to none view), we trekked back to our place and then headed for the port. We got dropped there just after 5pm, and as our boat didn't leave for another 30 minutes, the guy that dropped us down said our boat wouldn't be there yet. So I just sat down in the shade with our bags, and Josh went off and got our food. As the clock approached 6, I said to Josh "You reckon that could be our boat?". Not knowing himself, he went and asked the Port Marshall. Nek Minit, he comes sprinting back saying "Hurry up, that's our boat!" So we both legged it, with all our bags, to this boat that is about to leave. As a result, we are dead set the last two people on the boat. The cruise felt like it went forever (nearly four hours), as all we wanted to do was get the Crete and sort our our bus. When we got there, we had to hike it to the bus station and organise tickets. As there were no more buses today, we had no choice but to find a room somewhere in Crete. It wasn't too hard to find our place, and as soon as we did, we went out and enjoyed our last Gyro of the trip. Following this, we pretty much hit the hay. Things of Note: - Me, being the idiot I am, somehow forgot the sunscreen today. As both Josh and I were shedding skin like snakes and had sore skin, being in the sun all day, without protection, was not a great idea. - Josh was fuming that we nearly missed the boat, and in fairness, it was probably my fault we nearly missed it. But it didn't matter in the end, as we got there in one piece. July 20th Today marked the last day Josh and I would travel together, and mark my word, it was a long one. It all started at 6am, when we got up and packed our bags. We then headed to Maccas for the brekky Josh had been craving for so long, but unfortunately for him, McDonalds doesn't open till 9am in Crete (weird I know). We hopped on our three hour coach at 7.30am, and it felt like we had been on there for ages by the time we arrived. As the coach ran a little late, we missed the hourly transfer to the airport by five minutes and therefore had to wait for that. This at least gave us a chance to have breakfast. The transfer to the airport took another 30 minutes, but in the first good news of the day, we didn't have to wait long to check in, as there were no lines. Things turned around quickly as I was only allowed 15kg (compared to the normal 20kg), so I had dump some stuff in Josh's bag and carry my sleeping bag with me (which turned out to be very annoying). We then got held up at border patrol as we were not European citizens. And then again at customs baggage control, where the attendant said I had to somehow fit my sleeping bag in my already full backpack or leave it behind. Like hell I was leaving it behind, so I filled all the pockets of my big jacket and somehow got the sleeping bag in my bag (something that impressed Josh and myself). But the final dagger was that our flight was delayed for nearly two hours, meaning we had to wait even longer to get to London. Once on the flight, we were both starving and couldn't wait for food. But the day kept getting worse, because by the time the flight stewards had got to us, all the good food was gone and we were left with soup. Once we landed in the motherland, we quickly got through border patrol (a new personal best time for me), and headed to our bus transfers (which both took over an hour), which dropped us a nearby train stations. All in all, by the time I got to Ray's at like 6.30pm (which is 7.30pm Greek time), we had been travelling on bus', planes and trains for 13 hours straight (to say we were over it and exhausted, was an understatement). On arrival, I dumped my stuff, and then headed out with Ray to the well-renowned "Lucky 7" burger joint, which would turn out to be the best burger I have had on this trip to date (very close if not). This was followed by a couple of craft beers at one of Ray's regular watering holes, with his mate form home Chino. By the time we got home, I was exhausted and passed out straight away. Things of Note: - Travel days are the worst, and this one probably takes the cake for the longest and most annoying one over the past four months. - Although it originally saved us both over $150 each by flying out of Crete instead of Santorini, in hindsight we should have stayed the extra night in Santorini and just flew out of there. Especially when you consider the cost and time spent on the ferry, the trek we had to make to Crete airport and how much easier it would of been to fly out of Santorini. In future, the easier option will be taken. - I showed up that douche of an airport officer, by somehow fitting my sleeping bag in my backpack. - Something most of you will find funny, as I know there are a lot of haters of my nose-ring, going through customs at Crete airport, the buzzer went off, because of the ring. July 21st As I had such a huge day yesterday, I had no trouble sleeping in and having a relaxing morning of catching up on sport, washing and chatting with the housemates. I also skyped good mate Cassidy, who was one of the coaches who just brought home a good medal for the U/16 national championships. He was still buzzing, and it was over a week later! Once I got my act together, I met up with Josh and his sister Gemma (who he was staying with) at Brick Lane. Many people such as Ray and Kerry had bragged how good it was and we weren't disappointed. Much like Camden Markets, there was a lot of fresh produce, antics and cheep clothing. Following this we ducked and wheaved our way through Shoreditch's large array of shops (as East London is one of the fashion capitals of the world supposedly). I then left those two and headed to Temple 'Walkabout' Pub, where I was meeting old friend Foggo and his girlfriend Abbey. We sat and ate lunch, watched us capitulate in the Ashes and chatted for a good couple of hours. With us watching Lord's, we all decided to do the tour of the worlds greatest cricket ground on Wednesday morning. I then headed home to have dinner with Dean and Peta (Rays housemates), as Ray was out. The night was pretty relaxed, with me catching up on a couple of television shows. Things of Note: - It was painful watching the Australian cricket team play today and a couple of drunk Poms rubbed salt in the wounds at the Pub. - Really good catching up with Mr and Mrs Fogarty today, chatting about their time teaching in Egypt and their future travels an work plans. July 22nd Another lazy morning of booking air tickets to Split and Sydney, but I was out of the house around 11am, to meet up with University mate Camo, who had been over in England on an Ashes tour. We enjoyed lunch and an extended chill wag about everything from cricket to Bathurst. We then went our own ways, with him going to do some touristy stuff before he headed home tomorrow, while I headed down to Wimbledon to have one final dinner with Josh. After he picked me up from the tube station, we hung out at Gemma's for a while playing the video game 'Buzz', which Josh claimed he was the best at. Following the games, Josh packed up his gear and we headed to the pub for his final English meal, as well as a couple of beers. Gemma and I then went to where his bus was picking him up to see him off for the final time. He had a massive 50 hour journey home in front of him, including a seven hour bus ride to Paris (overnight), a flight from Paris to Vietnam, a ten hour stop over in Vietnam and then a flight from there to Sydney. Glad I wasn't doing that. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. Things of Note: - While at dinner, I tried the beer called "Fullers" and it was by far the worst beer I've had to date. It epitomized a ****** pommy beer, being warm and disgusting. I couldn't even finish it, it was that bad. - Josh talked a lot of talk about this 'Buzz' game but didn't walk the walk, pretty much coming last every game, with me even winning on my first go. - It was sad to see Josh go, as I've had an awesome past three weeks traveling with him. And although not everything went according to plan (Josh getting sick, both our skins buckling in the sun, being stitched up by transport on multiple locations and even having to share a double bed), I really think we have became better mates then we were beforehand and someone I hope to stay mates with for the rest of our lives. - After a lot of exfoliating and scrubbing, both our skins are finally returning to normal. july 23rd Today was D-day for me. The day I would either get my VISA back and therefore continue my travels or if it got denied, I would have to start the whole process over again (and probably be forced to go home early). I'll admit I was nervous that morning, as the process of getting back had dragged out since the end of April. I would of looked like someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disease that day, checking that I had everything about 10 times. Once I got there, I went through two sets of customs before even talking to anyone. I then had to wait before being called. Once called, I bounced through four different people (including a diagnostics lady, who took my fingerprints), before being told I would have to wait two goes before I would know if the VISA had been granted. So I went and had lunch, shopped and pretty much killed time in Croydon before heading back to find that it thankfully had been granted and that I would receive my VISA personal card (instead of a sticker that goes in my passport) in the mail, within the next couple of day. Relieved, I headed home, and had a quiet night in. Things of Note: - All I'm going to say is, thank god that ordeal is over and now I can stop worry if my trip was going to be cut short or not. - As my Oyster Card was only zones 1-3, and Croydon is in zone 4, I decided to walk from there to Crystal Palace (which looked close on the map). One thing the map didn't account for was the amount of hills I ha to climb, let alone the walk taking me an hour. Lesson learnt: just pay the extra money for the train. July 24th: First order of the day was the Lord's tour with Foggo and Abbey. As the tour started at 10am, I had to be out of the apartment about 830am, to ensure I was late for another date with the couple (was over an hour late on Monday). The museum at the start of the tour was amazing in itself, as it contained the original 'Ashes Urn', along with a lot of cricketing memorabilia, most which would be priceless these days. Once the tour started, we ventured around the stadium, seeing the famous members pavilion (where the batsmen run through on their way out to bat), both the home and away dressing rooms (which are huge and have plaques of every player that has made 100, or gotten 5/10 wickets in either an innings/match), the training grounds, the grandstands, the newly added media centre and then down to the field itself. After we finished the tour, the three of us had lunch together, before they had to head towards their train (which was taking them to Liverpool). So we said out goodbyes and went our own ways. I then walked around Regent's Park, seeing the Queen's Royal Gardens and a good view let the city from Proposal Point. By now I was over walking, to say the least, so I headed into the city and met up with my mate Rousey, who I haven't seen in ages. He is over here doing a Contiki with his mate Jacob. A few beers were had that afternoon with the two boys, and Jacobs brothers friends, as we did a mini pub crawl towards the oldest pub in London. The pub is called "Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese", and was rebuilt in 1667. As such, all the corridors are extremely small and it is maze like inside. After that pub, we went our separate ways, as the boys were going to Ireland tomorrow and I had made plans to go out with Ray and Chino. On arrival home, it's fair to say I was fairly cooked already an the boys were just starting. This meant they (especially Ray) set an astronomical pace on the Captain Morgan and cokes. When we finally headed out, we ended up at Shoreditch, which is Ray's favorite place to go out. Let's just say the rest of the night is history. Things of Note: - England's greatest ever cricketer W.G. Grace had such influence in his hay-day, he once was quoted saying "the people here today have come to watch me bat, not you bowl", after he got out for a duck. As such, with his reputation, he put the bails back on the stumps and continued to bat. It didn't always go his way though. One day it was quite windy and Grace had just started his innings. After not making many runs he was bowled down the leg side, when the ball just clipped the bail. Grace put the bail back on the stumps and said to the umpire "quite windy out here today isn't it?" And the umpire replied, "yes it is, but that won't bother you in the change rooms". - The Lord's field has a 2 meter slope between the right side of the ground to the left side (when looking from the media centre). - It takes approximately 27 years on the waiting list to become a member of the famous club. - With Mr and Mrs Fogarty starting work in Vietnam late this year, I have no idea when I will see them next, which is why it was so good to see them. July 25th: I didn't realize how drunk I was till I woke up this morning with a migraine (I'm still adamant I wasn't that drunk and blame it all on Ray). As a result, the morning wasn't productive at all, with me washing my clothes probably being a highlight. Thankfully the afternoon got more enjoyable and entertaining, as we had organized the previous night to go and watch the twenty/20 match at Lord's between the home team Middlesex and the visiting Surrey. To be honest, we didn't expect that many people would turn up to watch a county match on a Thursday night, but there was well over 20,000 people there (seeming full as it only holds about 25,000). The game itself with awesome, with internationals such as Azhar Mahmood (Pakistan), Adam Voges (Australia), Kyle Mills (New Zealand), and Iain Morgan and Chris Tremlett (England) all playing. Unfortunately, the great Ricky Ponting was a late scratching. The crowd even got stuck into Hoy, some larakin from Surrey, who was diving everywhere and had fluro shoes on, because he dropped an absolute sitter on the boundary. As such, every time the ball came near him, the crowd erupted. Following the match, and a comprehensive victory to the visitors, we went out for dinner (at lucky 7 burger place again and enjoyed a root beer float) and a couple of beers. This didn't last long, because we couldn't get into The Elk, where Ray wanted to take us (line too long), so we ended up at the Slug. For anyone that has been to London, you will know that the chain of pubs called "The Slug" is for Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans, who are all retardedly drunk. As we weren't nearly drunk enough, we stood out like a sore thumb and didn't enjoy it. This result in us turning in early. Things of Note: - I don't know what Ray did to me last night, but I felt ordinary till halfway through the cricket. - I couldn't believe that Lord's (of all grounds) allowed spectators to take their own food and alcohol into the stadium. If only we had known that going in. - Lucky 7 has yet to let me down and I highly recommend it to anyone that is in London. July 26th: After a good sleep, Ray and I headed out early to meet Chino at the Shepard's Bush Walkabout Pub, for lunch and to watch the Friday night AFL and NRL. Of course, my Eels were playing and of course, the one game I watch live, they get pumped by the Bulldogs. After the footy had finished, I headed into Oxford Street to do some shopping, in particular at my favorite London store, Primark. I spent all afternoon in the city, before heading back to the apartment. Once there, Dean was waiting for me, as we were heading back into the city to meet up with Ray and their kiwi mate Tom, for some beers and the farewell Chino, who was heading back to Melbourne tonight. Things of Note: - As soon as I arrived Oxford Street, I remembered why it annoys me so much. Absolute chaos (and it's a weekday!) and people everywhere, in particular Primark (the only store I want to go to). July 27th: Today was a lazy, miserable in London (which in fairness, I had to experience, as I had been very fortunate with all the sunshine lately). I spent most of the morning blogging and uploading my photos to the server, because I wouldn't get a chance in Croatia. The quiet day also allowed me to wash all my clothes and organize the rest of my trip with Cam (in which we decided through Morocco, southern Spain, southern Portugal and even Gilbraltar. (Which is owned by the England). By then, I had a bit of cabin fever and had to get out of the apartment. So I headed into Piccadilly to do some shopping, in particular get up to date with all my patches I've been collecting (of every country I've been too). That night, I came home and had dinner with Ray and just relaxed at their place, as we had been out the past couple of nights, not to mention it was still raining cats and dogs outside. Things of Note: - If you thought the tube was busy on weekdays, think again. Weekends are crazy, especially when they close a whole line for the weekend (stupid Northern Line). And when you need to catch that line, it's annoying when you have to go roundabout ways to get where you want to go. July 28th: With nothing planned until dinner, when I was meeting up with Rousey and Jacob again, I had another quiet morning of skyping people. After lunch I decided to finally go and do the Arsenal Stadium Tour, something I had planned to do tomorrow (as I thought it would be busy on weekends). Thankfully for me it wasn't. On the way there, I was nervous and had goosebumps, as this was one of the things I've had on my bucket list for ages. Now I have only got to see a match there! On the tour, I ventured through the Platinum Room (where all the rich people sit and watch the match), the players entrance, both the home and away change rooms, onto the playing pitch, Arsenal team bench and the media centre. I had chills in the home change room and walking out through the tunnel in to the stadium (it was amazing). Unfortunately the boardroom and chairmans rooms were closed for maintenance, as the season is about to commence. After this, I went into the museum (couldn't go into the shop, as it was closing), and got more of an understanding on how this great club came to be and had grown over the years. Following this, I headed to Russell Square to meet up with Rousey and Jacob for dinner. In another example of my bad sense of direction, I somehow got lost with Rousey's gun instructions of how to get to their hotel. Anyway, I eventually found it and we headed out. On the way to find a feed, we ran into Sando, a guy we went to University with. What are the chances really. London is massive and for him to walking past the same corner, at the same time we were, was just freaky. As such, we had a quick chat there but he had to go do some work stuff (he's now a Contiki tour guide), so we decided to meet up with him after dinner for some beers. So the three of us decided on this Asian restaurant (that Sando had recommended). All our meals were great (I had black bean beef), the we were all shocked in how quick the meals came out. It would of less the five minutes after ordering that we received our meals (as quick as our drinks). We then met up with Sando for a couple of beers. I didn't stay as long as the others as I knew the trains closed early on a Sunday night. So I left at 1030pm, and I assumed that I would easily get home within the hour, as the tube usually runs till 1230am. But that wasn't the case. I made it all the way to Stratford, maybe 15 minute train ride to my stop, but then the tube closed and I was told that buses were the only option. Having no idea, I asked asked a couple of bus drivers where my bus took off from and they all had different answers. This led to me walking around the bus station for over an hour before finding a bus. But my trip was only just starting. Supposedly the sign read out my stop but I didn't see it, and as a result, I went all the way to the end of the line. In this case, the end of the line was at some random hospital. So I was stuck at 1am, in the middle of London (somewhere), in the rain and not knowing how to get home. I waited for the next bus but the bus driver said there wasn't really a bus for me. In other words, it meant either catching multiple buses or walking. I decided on the latter. Thank god I found a McDonalds for free wifi (with directions home), because otherwise I would still be lost somewhere in East London. I got home about 2.30am, wet from the rain and sweaty, because I decided to run most of it. By then I was exhausted and crashed straight away. Things of Note: - Here are some interesting facts I learnt on my audio guide around the Emirates: * The Arsenal Football Club pioneered the use of white balls (to make it easier to see in the mud) and flood lights. * The club used to be called 'The Arsenal' but dropped the 'the' so that they were always first alphabetically. * The captain on the day decided wether the team wears short or long sleeved shirts, as the club feels the continuity adds to team bonding. - The Arsenal train station is the only tube station not named after a place, as the club lobbied (decades ago), for the station to be named after the club. - On the tour, there is a time capsule from 2004, when construction started in the new Emirates Stadium. This is so, when it is opened in centuries time, the club had an idea of what was important to the club at this time. - The audio guide I had for the tour was the best to date, with interactive features and videos on there. And if I felt I wanted to know more, there was a member of staff at each checkpoint, to answer any questions. - F**k you London Transport! Just when I was going to give you a rap about how good you were, you let yourself down with one bad night. One positive was that I made friends with a local wild fox, that was just roaming the streets. July 29th: I was extremely tired when I was woken up by the sound of an airplane going over the apartment (a pretty regular occurrence), and didn't feel too well (which Rousey, Jacob and I later established as the asian restaurant from last night). Once I got myself together, I headed into the city for a very busy day. First port of call was back to Emirates Stadium, to buy a team scarf. I would of bought one yesterday but the bloody shop was closed. I then headed out in a boat shoe mission to all the Primark's around London. This ended up taking all afternoon (with me stopping at five stores in total) before finding a pair in my size, in a color I liked. Once that ordeal was over, I met up with Rousey, Jacob and his brother for a final meal together. On arrival, they told me how lucky I was to leave when I did, because they didn't leave until 2am, which resulted in a fair bit of spewing both of them and a very quiet day. Keeping with pommy tradition I enjoyed yet another bangers and mash, and a beer which Rousey pretty much forced upon me. I left relatively early to ensure I I got home in one piece and didn't have another bus fiasco. So I wished the lads good luck on their Contiki, which starts on Wednesday and bid them farewell. Once home, I chatted to Ray and Dean about how their home hunt is going, before heading to bed. Things of Note: - The reason I looked so hard for boat shoes was, I thought it would be rude not to own a pair when I was going on a sail Croatia ship next week. - Really good catching up with Rousey and getting to know Jacob over the past couple of days. Even though we hadn't seen each other in over a year, the banter between us hasn't changed one bit (which is a measure of a true mate, in my opinion). - To ensure I'm not stressed out in the future, I've tried to book as much as I can while here in London. From flights, to La Tomitina entry tickets, to Octoberfest accommodation, all has been pretty much sorted. July 30th: As I had booked to go to Wales all day tomorrow with my mate Madds, today was realistically my last day in London, and I still had a lot to get done. I first headed for a cheeky look at Camden Markets. But I couldn't stay there long, as I was meeting family friend Ellie Martin and her friend Fi for lunch. I waited for them for over an hour at the London Eye and had nearly given up on them, before Ellie came running towards me. After catching up, we found the nearest pub and had lunch, as they were both hungover and starving. We then headed back to the London Eye to purchase tickets for their night session, before heading into Oxford Street, which the girls were desperate to check out. After dropping them there, I headed south to Wimbledon for my free haircut. While in Wimbledon with Josh, I manage to receive a card saying free haircuts given by trainee hairdressers. And as mine was only shortening the sides and thinning out on top, I'd assume anyone aspiring to be a hairdresser could do. Luckily I was right. Following this, I headed back into London for dinner with University mate Moo Moo. He himself has been on a European trip, so it was good to catch up and trade stories over a couple of beers and dinner. I wish I could of stayed longer and chatted to him, but I had to head back to the London Eye and ride it with Ellie and Fi. I'm glad I ended up doing it at dusk, because you got to see the busy city all lit up, while still being able to distinguish where everything is. It gave you a whole new outlook on London in my opinion. I then headed home and organized myself for my trip to Wales tomorrow, after saying my final goodbyes to the girls. Things of Note: - I was that close to leaving, thinking the girls had stood me up or had already left. But luckily I kept faith in Ellie and waited for them for over an hour. Surprise, surprise, they were late due to London buses. - As it was raining most the day, I'm glad we decided to do the Eye at night. Firstly, because we wouldn't have seen anything during the day (with all the clouds), and secondly, because the city looked beautiful all lit up (with mainly blue lights for Prince George). July 31st: I had to get up at the crack of dawn this morning, as I had be at Victoria Bus Station at 8am to meet Madds and catch my coach to Cardiff. Lets just say it was a struggle getting out the door but once out, it was easier. The bus ride took just over three hours, but that went quickly, as I slept most of the way and chatted to Madds the rest of the journey. But the closer we got to the Welsh capital, the weather seemed to be getting worse. Once we got of the bus, we discovered that the weather wasn't a bad as first thought and actually quite muggy (due it it raining on and off every half an hour). Our first port of call was the information centre and Cardiff history museum. Here we learnt about how a small town in the river Taff has gradually been transformed into a world renowned port city. We then stumbled upon the local Cardiff markets, which ha plenty of little stalls of fruit, fresh produce and accessories. We even saw a place that had dried mangoes and strawberries (which we tasted and they were just like lollies). Following us taking advantage of the cheap as food, we headed to the main attraction of the city, the Cardiff Castle. We started the tour off with what we thought would be an informational video but it was probably the worst educational video I've ever experienced and I probably am now more confused about the history of the Castle. The audio guides we ha weren't much better, so we just walked through the army barracks (bombed in WWII), the gates, the castle grounds, up to the top of the keep and through the living quarters, ourselves. By now, we were both starving, so we stopped in one of the many awesome local pubs and grabbed a feed. It was cheap as, costing not much more then £5 for a burger and a pint of their local drop, Brains (which was filthy). Our exploring continued past the Millennium Stadium, the town hall, through the local Brut gardens and past the well-known Animal Wall. . This took ages but we were in no rush. Being a bit tired by now, we both grabbed a coffee, which also have me a chance to exchange all the shrapnel I had collected in my time in the UK. We then made our way to the beautiful Bay Area and stayed there the rest of the afternoon. Automatically, we both regretted that we hadn't gone down there earlier. It ha plenty of little cafes and even a beach setup on the boardwalk, for the summer there. After this, it was time to get back on the bus for our three hour journey to London. By now, I was exhausted and just wanted to get home. So as soon as Madds and I arrived back, said goodbye and went our own ways. And as soon as I got home, I crashed out. Things of Note: - The first welshman we spoke to had bad accent ok top of a lisp, meaning we had no chance to understand him. - Here are some historical facts I learnt about Cardiff on the day: * records show first forms of life there date back to 2300BC. * Owain Gkyndwr is famous for capturing the castle back in 1404. * 18%252525 of Cardiff is covered in parks and green spaces. * The Millennium stadium brings £5 million annually to the city. * There are 185 schools in just Cardiff alone. - As I've experienced a lot of sloped staircases throughout Europe. So I finally asked why they were built like that and the simple answer was jut the simple wearing down of the staircases. - The Animal wall contained over twelve animal statues on the walls of the castle. But only nine of them are original, which is distinguished by their red glass eyes. The wall was originally built in 1892, by the owner of the time (supposed richest guy in the world at the time), because he wanted to have a zoo inside the castle walls, but as that was declined, he built statues of animals trying to escape from the castle. - The sirens were exactly the same in Cardiff as they were in London, being deafening and completely over the top. - On the walk down to the Bay, we were stopped by a crowd congregating to watch the shoe 'Sherlock' being filmed in a local restaurant. - Neither Madds or I knew that there was a welsh Celtic language or how prominent it still is today. Check out the signs to see examples of this. Power Rankings of my Top 3 Things to do in London: 1: Camden Markets - an absolute must. It combines cheap stalls, ethnic foods and plenty of shops, where you could easily spend half your day and still not see it all. 2: Lord's - for any sports fan, especially cricket, it is just spine tingling going and doing the tour. When you combine it's rich history and the amount of memorabilia there (including the original urn), it's probably the best sports ground tour I've done. On top of that, I was lucky enough to watch a match there too! 3. London Eye: At first, I wasn't sold that it would live up to the hype. But once your on it and looking over the whole of London, you understand why it is such a big tourist attraction. Special Mentions: Riding the tube in peak hour (pure chaos), Emirates Stadium Tour. Post Contiki Destinations Power Rankings: 1: Santorini - would be close to my favorite place this far. When you combine the views, the buildings, quad bikes, riding donkeys, the food and how relaxed everyone is, I will definitely be going back there one day. 2: San Sebastián - absolutely loved how there was a massive beach culture combined with the heritage of their gothic old town. Best beaches so far too. 3: Munich - I know I've already been there and will go there again for Octoberfest, but I can't get enough of city. Germans could be the nicest people I've met so far, along with great food and things to keep you busy, the place couldn't put a foot wrong in my book. 4: Ios - Josh and I would of enjoyed it a lot more if we had stayed at 'Far Out' beach (booked out) and weren't both imitating snakes with our peeling skin. Loved how everything was so close and is definitely the party and recreational Greek Island. 5: Barcelona - my favorite place I went with Marty. Although we walked the souls out of our shoes and saw everything in two days, the city was beautiful. Great food and history is always a positive! 6: Bergen - by far the best place Marty and I went on our Scandinavian Tour. A combination of the buzzing shoreline, amazing views and historical buildings really pushed all the right buttons in my opinion (especially as it didn't rain!) 7: Stockholm: a close second behind Bergen, with the Old Town being a highlight for me. Also loved the Ice Bar, smallest street in Scandinavia and the fact the city is made up of over a hundred little islands (connect by bridges). 8: Mykonos: our first stop in the Greek Islands. Amazing in its own right, with the white buildings of Mykonos Town and amazing braces like Paraga and Paradise. But apart from that, there's not much else. 9: Copenhagen - lovely city, with plenty of rich history and landmarks, like the world famous Little Mermaid statue. But the fact that I nearly got cleaned up by a bike every five minutes wasn't ideal. 10: Oslo - lovely city, with a buzzing pedestrian street but as it rained most of the time we were there, it turned me off. I did love the three museums (including the Viking museum) and gardens with the statues. 11: Edinburgh - cool city, with activities like Arthur's Seat and underground city tours, which are must do's. But the smell and local people turned me off a bit. 12: Cardiff - another lovely city but we were only there for eight hours and pretty much saw the whole city. 13: Glasgow: possibly the worst weather and coldest I've been on the trip, the town of Glasgow didn't offer much and thoroughly let me down. That concludes yet another one of my travel blogs. I am now heading south to do Croatia Sail with the boys from home. So stayed tuned for my next blog next week. Ps. Not all the videos from Running of the Bulls and Greece have been uploaded (as I have had a couple of difficulties with them), but they will be up soon.