Europe · 31 Days · 48 Moments · September 2017

Mark & Naomi's Grand Adventure 2017


26 October 2017

Today was spent walking around Hyde Park with me trying to get close to a squirrel. We then went to Pizza Hut for lunch and on to the iconic Abbey Road to walk the path of The Beatles before we fly home tomorrow.

25 October 2017

Yesterday we had a delicious lunch at a local Italian restaurant and then spent the day walking around The Natural History Museum. While I wish it hadn’t been school holidays we still had a great time checking out the dinosaurs and the stuffed animals.

24 October 2017

Tuesday was spent travelling from Paris to London via the Channel train. Once we settled into our place in Chelsea we met up with Adam and Nick for a drink and ended up getting drunk with them till Midnight. We drunkenly sang the theme song to Jurassic Park on the way to KFC then headed home for some sleep.

23 October 2017

Today we intended to go to the palace of Versailles but on organising I realised that it’s closed on Monday’s, poor planning on my part, so we had a delicious lunch at a local restaurant and then walked to a gaming arcade and spent the afternoon playing The walking dead arcade game. It was raining all the way back but it didn’t deter me from stopping in and buying some delicious macarons from Paul’s bakery. Back off to London tomorrow and less than a week until we are back home with our fur babies.

22 October 2017

Yesterday we caught the bus out to Pere Lechaise cemetery to visit Jim Morrison. A long time dream of Marks has been to visit him. He wanted to jump the barricade but I was a party pooper and told him there were too many witnesses. The cemetery itself is actually quite beautiful to wander around in. We also went to Oscar Wilde’s grave which was covered in kisses. While we were there I spotted Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl! I was too chicken to get a photo with him so we took a paparazzi snap.

21 October 2017

I was still unwell Saturday so rested most of the morning. In the afternoon we headed to the Eiffel Tower. It was raining so we hoped the lines wouldn’t be too long... we were wrong. We waited an hour just to get the tickets and waited again for the lift up. It was worth it though, as freezing and windy as it was the views were magnificent and we were up the top just as the sun was going down. Afterwards we stopped by a restaurant to warm up and I had some delicious lamb shanks while Mark tried the es cargo aka snails.

20 October 2017

Later that night we met up with a tour group and took to the streets of Paris on The Dark Heart of Paris tour to learn about Paris’s dark history. Notre Dames beautiful iron gates were said to be the works of Lucifer himself through the designer after the designer promised him his soul. You can see the re-occurring 666 in the irons design. And the square is where the town gathered to watch people burn for their crimes. I also saw my first giant rat.
On Friday we spent the afternoon wandering around the Louvre. Saw the infamous Mona Lisa & Venus de Milo and many other incredible artworks & sculptures. Just the detail in the building itself is exquisite. A must see for any Paris adventure.

19 October 2017

Today we had pre booked a tour through the catacombs so we got up late and had lunch at a cafe along the way. Our tour was 2 hours and took us through the history of the catacombs and the home of the bones. There was a small section with carvings that took the artist 5 years to make. Our tour guide was fantastic and gave us a spooky story at the end about a Paris vampire who still lives down there to this day. It was incredible to see all those bones that are hundreds of years old buried and nameless under the city. On the way home I shopped in Sephora and we got some groceries before chilling out.

18 October 2017

By Wednesday we were on the road again. We took a midday train from Amsterdam to Paris high on our last joint. I had picked up a cold and was not feeling great so we had an early dinner and I went to bed.

17 October 2017

On Tuesday we reluctantly said goodbye to Brandy & Matt. We spent the rest of the day laying around and smoking what was left of the weed... I mean coffee.

16 October 2017

We were all feeling a little worse for wear on Monday so we got some Moon Rock and headed to Vondelpark for a day of chillin in the sun. It’s a big beautiful park and we sat watching the dogs for hours before having lunch in the park cafe. After lunch we walked back through town and stopped back into the fair where we went on the swing again and had fairy floss & ice cream. Afterwards we caught a cycle cab back to our street and had drinks and dinner in our local cafe while playing card games. A great day all round. I crashed out about 10 but Mark and the others did tequila and partied till late.

15 October 2017

After the canal ride we got a bite to eat and walked to Ice Bar. We had cocktails before we went in and two shots once inside. It was so cold in the bar, -10 degrees, we had to wear jackets and gloves. Even the glasses were made of ice and melted as you drank from them. We defrosted by having more cocktails and shots in the entry bar then drunkenly made our way to the red light district. We stopped into the Red Light Bar for more cocktails and a few games of pool. Then it was time for the main event, a live sex show at Amsterdam’s Moulin Rouge. It wasn’t very sexy but made for great entertainment and we egged on some British lads sitting in front of us to get involved in the banana show. It was pretty late once it finished so we got some food and caught a cab home.
Sunday we met up with Brandy & Matt after a late breakfast at our new local the cafe Binnen Buiten. We caught a tram to central and picked up tickets for a canal ride, the ice bar and the body works museum. We popped into a coffee shop before catching another tram to our canal ride. We timed it perfectly as the sun was going down as we went along the canals. It was beautiful.

14 October 2017

Saturday night we headed back into central via cab and had a late dinner at a ribs restaurant called @James. We wandered along and found a fair with rides so we decided to go on the swing. It was freezing but showed us an incredible view of the city. We decided to try and find some cocktails so we popped into 3 bars on the way home. By the time we got home it was 3am and we were buggered.
On Saturday we met up with Brandy & Matt at 1 and took a walk past the I Amsterdam sign. We wandered around the city centre stopping into The old church coffee shop and then headed over to The museum of prostitution where we learnt the best way to get men’s attention from a window. From there we took a walk along the strip outside central station and had “coffee” at the 420 coffee shop. We then walked home for an afternoon nap.

13 October 2017

For breakfast on Friday we headed to a place across the street which we'd seen the day before. Best breakfast I've had in Europe so far and I'm fond of a good brekkie. After a late brekkie we came back to our amazing air BnB place and crawled back into bed to chill out together. In the afternoon we made our way back out for a nice lunch. Mark's best friend Matt (who he hasn't seen in over a year!) arrived with his girlfriend Brandy in the evening and we met up for a nice dinner and a catch up. Was a great first full day in Amsterdam.

12 October 2017

On Thursday we were off again. We headed to Amsterdam early in the morning. The flight was a little turbulent but once we arrived we fell in love. After we got settled we wandered around the city for a couple of hours getting stoned in coffee shops and exploring the lane ways. Although it was cold it's a beautiful city. So many bikes! After a chilled afternoon we decided to get some dinner from next door. It was some of the most incredible Italian/Napoli food ever! Also this is my favourite photo of Mark.

11 October 2017

Tuesday & Wednesday we went back into town again for lunch but just wandered around. We returned to V Lounge once more before we left. It was so relaxing, a really nice chilled pace after the chaos of Barcelona. The property we stayed on even had 3 dogs for us to dote on.

9 October 2017

In the evening we went to celebrate our anniversary by having dinner in Fira overlooking the caldera. We'd spotted a place earlier that day to go for dinner. I had the lamb shanks, which had become a favourite for me in Greece. Unfortunately the food wasn't incredible but the view was and the brownie with ice cream was pretty good. The ended the evening with a cocktail and a blanket in V lounge. It was very romantic.
Monday was our 5 year anniversary. We walked into Fira and looked through the souvenir shops. Everyone was so friendly. The view from the cliffside over the Volcano Caldera was incredible. It really is just like the photos. We bumped into Peter, Francy & Will whom we'd met in Mykonos and they let us know about V lounge so we agreed to catch up with them later and went and had some lunch. The view from V Lounge was amazing and the French martini and fries were perfect. We stopped and had a gelato next door then meandered back towards home for an afternoon nap.

8 October 2017

On the Sunday we took the ferry to Santorini. The weather was windy and overcast and I was glad it was just a transit day. The suite was beautiful and similar to Mykonos except with a hot tub in the room. We spent the rest of the day relaxing inside.

7 October 2017

While we weren't hungover yesterday we were very tired so we lazed around all day taking naps and reading and swimming. To be honest we barely left Flaskos and we didn't even explore Mykonos but it was such an amazing place we were happy to be where we were by the pool. Our kitty friend even came back for a cuddle.

6 October 2017

Friday was spent chilling by the pool with mojitos and a book. The island is full of cats and a stray kitten decided to follow us to our suites from the pool. She reminded me soo much of our Lilly back home. In the evening we went out for a late dinner and had incredible lamb shanks in red wine then partied until 4 am at Skandinavian bar with some fellow Perthians we met and two Israeli guys. It was a crazy night.

5 October 2017

On Thursday we got up at stupid o'clock to catch the ferry to Mykonos. We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking and eating at the poolside bar. Flaskos studios was beyond my expectations. This place is incredible and they are the friendliest staff.

4 October 2017

Today we flew from Barcelona to Athens. Since we are only here for the one night we decided to go on a little adventure after an amazing dinner at Daphne's, where both Angelica Jolie and Hilary Clinton have eaten (just to name a few). We headed up to the Acropolis even though the Parthenon was closed we had an amazing view over it and the rest of Athens from a rocky hill. We then wandered back through the alleys home where we watched an old man dance to street performers. We also saw loads of wild street cats but Mark didn't find that nearly as exciting as me.

3 October 2017

Once home and away from the civil demonstrations we lazed about on the terrace and watched the sun go down. Barcelona felt like a real adventure.
After taking a taxi from the base of Montjuic into La Rambla for some food (and a toilet) we realised this strike was very serious. We stopped into the "coffee shop" to make the most of our expensive membership but on the way out back through La Rambla we stopped into the centre square. We felt in the thick of it so to speak, we heard the chanting coming from the 3 main roads leading into the square and realised we need to leave and quickly. We ducked down several side streets and it took us 10 mins to feel properly out of the crowd. It was hectic but we support Catalonia's decision to be independent after seeing how passionate the locals are, let alone the violence that was brought down upon them on Sunday by the Spanish police.
Unfortunately for us on our last full day in Barcelona, Catalonia had a strike in response to the violence that took place at their voting rally on Sunday. We decided to take a walk through the gardens of Montjuic and hopefully see if the Castle was still open. It was not. But the gardens of Montjuic were magnificent, fountains and ferns everywhere. It seemed magical to me until half way up to the castle I realised there were no toilets open either. Words of wisdom... plan ahead.

2 October 2017

In the coffee shop a local man began talking to us in Broken English about the local situation being shown on the news. With little to no understanding, being high as a kite and the language barrier we spoke with him briefly and decided to leave. Once out of the coffee shop we thought a Gelato would be a fantastic idea and continued towards home to rest our weary feet, picking up snacks along the way of course. In the evening after a restful period we headed to Pura Brasa for what was one of the best burgers I've ever had. Mark ordered the 650g steak, no surprises there, and we shared a pitcher of Sangria. It was a beautiful evening but exhausted from all the walking I was fast asleep by 10:30.
Heading away from the gathering locals and police we walked down the La Rambla and had a cocktail and watched the street performers. I felt a little drunk after our cocktails and as we walked back along La Rambla we kept getting asked by men if we wanted to go to a coffee shop. I said to Mark I think they are talking about weed shops so he googled it and lo and behold it's legal here to smoke weed in "coffee shops" if a local grants you a membership. So we allowed the next man who approached us to take us down an alley to a members only coffee shop where we paid to become members and then paid again to enjoy the local culture. *wink wink* While it was expensive and probably partly a tourist trap there were a lot of locals there, they were accommodating and the weed was very strong.
We are being spoilt for weather on our trip. Barcelona is a sunny 23 degrees so we had some breakfast at Federal Cafe then headed off through La Rambla to the Gothic Quarter. We took a look inside the Barcelona Cathedral and continued on our walk allowing ourselves to get a little lost. Tensions are high here in Catalonia due to the state wanting independence from the rule of Spain. On Sunday an illegal vote was held in which 90% of voters requested independence, however it is not legally recognised by Spain's government. Many people were brutally beaten and injured by Spanish police including young and old alike. There is much civil unrest here and every night at 10pm the people of Barcelona bang their pots and pans and cowbells as a show of solidarity and peaceful disobedience to the Spanish President.

1 October 2017

On Sunday we flew from London to Barcelona via Gatwick. By the time we got to our incredible rooftop apartment we were starved. We found a local place that does organic Burritos. This was definitely the best Burrito I have ever had. Afterwards we ate ice cream on the terrace and watched a movie before I crashed out.

30 September 2017

After an afternoon nap and fighting with the air BnB washing machine we headed to The George for dinner. A 16th century galleried coaching inn, we dined in a pub frequented by none other than Shakespeare & Dickens! I had the most incredible lamb shanks and Mark had his usual steak. I highly recommend for a good feed and great service.
Of course before we left London I just had to do some shopping at Oxford st, much to marks dismay. I filled him up with food for fuel at Piccadilly Circus and off we went through the thralls of pushy people to find a few bargains. Turns out I'm too in love with shopping on the Iconic and after a few hours I only left with a few basics and some sore feet.

29 September 2017

Last night would have to be a highlight of our trip so far. The London Dungeon was fantastic. We did the night tour and boy we were not disappointed, the crass puns and cheap scares were enough to have us laughing to the end. Not once did the actors break character and they were so talented and engaging. If you like Melbourne Dracula restaurant you'll love London Dungeon after dark. Maybe it was the 3 gin cocktails at The London Dungeon or the further 2 Katherine Hepburn gin cocktails at The Riverfront or the fact that we are in The great city of London a million miles from home with each other but there was something so magical about it all that my drunken self cried a little with happiness.
Once full on some delicious Pizza & Cheesecake we made our way to St Paul's cathedral and paid an excessive entrance fee to see some monuments to dead people. Unfortunately I couldn't take pictures inside but Mark was busy being a heathen a touching stone titties while I admired the mosaic dome rooftop.
After the tower we were determined to have Pizza Hut so we walked the 3.5km to the nearest one. While we were walking we got some great shots of some old buildings. The Pizza was hard earned.
Yesterday we had another jam packed day. We started at Tower Bridge and did the tour across the glass bottom floor and through the engine room. Did you know only 10 people died in the 8 years it took to build it?!

28 September 2017

Thursday was a much slower paced day after the last packed two days. We slept in then headed to Regents Park for a wander a caught some snaps of some squirrels. I don't care if they are rodents they are adorable rodents. We then met up with Adam again at Camden Town where he showed us around Camden Markets & cyber dog. After that we shared a few drinks at Worlds End Pub with his friend Nick & headed back home.

27 September 2017

To counteract all the booze, we made our way home and stumbled into Guiseppes Italian Restaurant. This would have to be in my Top 3 Italian restaurants ever, and I love my Italian food. From the atmosphere to the customer service to the food this place was AMAZING. They even had a live singer which had the whole restaurant singing to The day the music died. We even got a free authentic limoncello shot from Sicily, which definitely meant I was trying not to stumble home, I didn't even care that it was raining. Another fantastic day in London.
In the afternoon we caught up with my long time friend Adam at Philomenas Pub and had a delicious and hard earned lunch. We continued on for drinks at another local pub until I had to call it before I got too tipsy. Was a great afternoon.
Yesterday we spent 4 hours wandering around The British Museum and even that was not enough time to see everything. It's such an incredible place, even the grand entrance was enough to make you say "wow" which we must have said at least 50 times through the day. My favourite part was the Egyptian exhibition and Marks was the Vikings & Early Britain. Mark even brought me a skull bracket which I adore.

26 September 2017

In the evening we spent a couple of hours collecting tickets at Namco Funscape. It was like the biggest Timezone you've ever seen, it had two bowling alleys and an indoor bumper cars. You just know I was in my element. We wandered back along the river and looked over at Big Ben getting some work done and enjoyed dinner & pimms at the Underbelly Festival. It was a great way to end the perfect first day and I slept like a log.
After the Tate modern we were starved so enjoyed a nice lunch out by the river at The Anchor. We were lucky the weather was so beautiful that we slowly walked home through a park and had a nap.
The Tate Modern housed some incredible art, unfortunately a large section was under construction but we managed to see some Salvador Dali & Picasso among many other talented but less well known artists. Surrealism is Marks favourite. "Moments when memory and dreams, past and present collide."
After the cathedral we wandered along the river to The Clink Goal and couldn't resist going in. They had examples of horrific torture devices used back when Queen Elizabeth the 1st reigned. London has a gruesome history. I was particularly disgusted at the use of dropping people in boiling water and the graphic description of how slowly they would die. There were even torture devices for women that were too chatty, thank god I wasn't born in that era.
We started our first full day by walking from Borough to London Bridge just talking in the city. We stumbled upon the beautiful Southwark Cathedral. Everything was so detailed and intricate. As you walk along the corridors you walk on top of plaques were I assume people are buried.