Kelliefish13's Blog

Travel writing, Poems and Stories


Leave a comment

Rome – We are getting the hang of this.

Our next stop was Rome where we had learnt our lessons and where much more organised (or at least Robbie was). We made a list of things that we wanted to see and sorted them into musts and coulds, plotted them on a map and found that mostly they grouped together nicely, yay go us! Our hotel was really really close to the train station which was a massive bonus, though I had planned it that way when booking but didn’t realise how useful it was. It meant when we arrived it was easy to find and a short walk. It also had a metro station so when ever we wanted t go somewhere it was really easy to get too, and to get back to our beds once we were tired and on our way home again.
So turns out Rome is massive, which for some reason came as a big surprise for me. But it is well set up for tourists, they had 3 day tourist passes for all public transport, which makes it much cheaper and easier. Which you can get on its own or in a Roma pass which gets you in 2 historic things free and the rest discounted, we really should have got one of these but had a little trouble working out what was included so weren’t sure if we needed one. Would have been good but oh well.
We had a blast going around and seeing the amazing old things, I was blown away by how big most of them are, especially considering how old they are.
I kept getting scared by crossing the road, the cars seem to go so fast and don’t stop for you at a crossing unless you start walking out onto the road, a few times I had my eyes close for the first part as Robbie lead me across and we went on a few odd route so we could use the crossings with lights on them, I think you could get used to them it would just take me awhile.
We learnt that in the evening lots of the fountains (I loved the Trevi fountain)and monuments are full of tourists but in the day you can actually get to see them.One of the other fountains
We were glad we went to Vatican City and saw the Sistine Chapel but didn’t actually enjoy it that much since it took such a long time of going through different rooms (all filled with amazing art) were we were jammed in with hundreds of other people we had had enough by the time we got there and just wanted to escape. The Chapel definitely lost its appeal when there was standing room only everyone was talking and taking photos(even though there are signs everywhere saying no photos, silence), so the guards kept yelling at them. We finally found a little corner with seats against the wall to tuck ourselves into for a little while so we could look at the art and I started to enjoy it again but was still disappointed as that was something I had been looking forward to seeing for a long time.
However the next day was Easter Sunday and we got to see the Pope give the service(?) from the front of St Peters Basilica which although we were miles away, and I’m not at all religious, I really enjoyed. Even more so after I had found a toilet. We found all over Italy water is easy to find there are lots of places to fill up water bottles for free, toilets on the other hand are hard to find and often expensive (I promise never to moan about London prices again.
Other we loved were
-Colosseum huge, amazing history and currently full of cats.

Feeling a wee bit small in the Colosseum

-The Roman Forum also huge, covering lots and lots of space but with a huge range of different things. Bring food though we didn’t and didn’t have any idea how big it was so were really really hungry and missed a few things at the end. We could have spent most of the day there.

Chillin out in the Roman Forum


-Castel Sant’Angelo, was even cooler afterwards when watching Angels and Demons on a rainy day and going I have been there! Plus it has a cool bridge leading up to it.
-The really big park we went to and wandered around, green space needed plus we saw turtles.
And to finish off the Gelato was amazing, Robbie couldn’t handle his chilli chocolate scoop though, turns out ice cream can burn

Advertisements


1 Comment

Italy – Florence, the learning curve.

Florence Briges at sunset
Florence was an amazing place and I’m sure we walked around and through the city at least 3 times a day, partly because we kept getting lost and partly because there was always something going on, something to see that we had missed. It is a city full of art and there is no way that we could see it all in 3 days, but we gave it a good try. We learnt a lot in Florence about travelling and sight seeing. Lesson number 1. Plan what you want to see, at least a little bit and order them into what you really want to see and what would be cool if it fits in. Then circle them on the map and work out which group of things you want to see that day. We of course didn’t do that and instead spent lots of time walking in circles and missing some of the things we did want to see. Plus we had really really sore legs by the end of the day.
Lesson number 2. 1 big museum or art gallery in a day is plenty. We tried doing more and found that after the first one we had had enough and stopped reading the signs and looking at things properly and appreciating them. Why wait in line, pay lots of money for things that you no longer care about seeing because you are tired and overwhelmed.
Lesson number 3. Lines are long, get up early and line up before they open or book in advance and pay extra. When your only there for a couple of days 4 hours is much to long to be standing in line. Luckily we worked this out by looking at the length of the line and not by standing in it, neither of us would survive 4 hours in line, the one hour we waited before opening was bad enough, even with yummy pastries.
Lesson number 4 afternoon naps/breaks are really really good. Spending some time lying down and reading a book or watching tv gives your legs and brain a rest so you can carry on later with out being grumpy and horrible, not that we were ever grumpy and horrible… nooooooo.
Lesson number 5. We both need sometime in green spaces eg parks etc. On our last day we took the bus to the top of a near by hill which had parks at the top and chilled out and took cool photos out over the city (we also like going places high up), and had a really good time and felt much better afterwards.
Florence was where we really got challenged and we came through the other end and still had a great time.

Robbie up high.


1 Comment

Which is more exciting Rock climbing or Italy?

Yesterday I finally found a rock climbing place in Oxford! Actually a friend told me about it and we went together, and I think I did kinda know about it but I had decided as, as it was in a uni gym it would be crap. Turns out I was wrong, and it was awesome I forgot how much I love climbing. Even more so as I can go bouldering (without the harness on slightly shorter walls, with massive pads covering the floor). So much more freedom, and no stupid harness in the way, though I did have a few moments near the end when I was at the top of the wall where I really wanted someone to belay me down, instead of climbing a bit lower then jumping. My muscles were tired!

So now I am more excited about going climbing again on Monday that I am about going to Italy next Saturday. Which seems rather wrong, but I have a feeling its more to do with the known verses the unknown. I know what to expect when going climbing and I don’t really for going to Italy. So many new experiences to have!

It will be my first trip to a Country that doesn’t speak English, where I don’t have a friend there to show me around. So it will be up to Robbie and I to work it out and find ways to communicate.
So I have been trying to learn Italian for a few months now and it turns out that learning a language is not easy and takes time and lots of practise. Rather unfortunate if you ask me. I have found that learning vocab is fairly easy but rather slow as there as sooooooo many words to learn, its putting them into sentences that is hard. Especially when there is masculine and feminine to think of too. On the plus side I am really enjoying it and hopefully I can try and put it to use on our trip, though it will probably mean I make some terrible mistakes like ordering fish flavoured ice cream or something.


Leave a comment

Wow I have been here a whole year.

Well actually a year and 13 days to be exact, and Oh boy I am not the same person I was when I left NZ.
I arrived in Coventry excited, nervous and absolutely shattered after an extremely long flight. Full of wonder and awe of this new country which seemed to have all its colours muted but vaguely resembled many movies from my childhood with rows of houses stuck together and people talking funny.
The weather was cold but a few patches of snow made it worth it, I have never seen snow falling before.
So many new things to see I went a little made with Castles for a while and I think I saw 13 in 4 months or something like that, don’t ask me which ones I only remember the cool ones. Not all castles are created equal and time changes that too. My favourite castles are the falling apart ones.
I love seeing new places and meeting new friends. My house mates in Cov were fab and taught me lots!
Teaching here was an experience too, slightly different curriculum, teaching styles, classroom set ups but overall not really that different. Accents however at first caused a few misunderstandings and miscommunication, along with a few occasions where nothing was being communicated at all (the blank stares give it away), trying to understand 3 year olds with strong brummy accents was rather tricky for a while but we got there. And then there were the word differences with the most hilarious (to the kids at least) being pants, which here means underwear and has caught me out far too many times.
As a teacher I have become a lot more confident in behaviour management (meaning a strict and mean when an older class muck about, or positive and over the top in the lower ones and almost anything in between). I no longer care that occasionally when I walk into a year 6 class I over here whispers of oh no not her again, we will have to do some work (though I do love it when they are really happy to see me back).
Seeing so many different plans, classrooms, teaching styles means I now have a much bigger knowledge base to work from. Teaching different ages means I have more of an understanding of the progressions and stages children go through.
Along with that I have met and worked with so many amazing wonderful children and know that we have lots of hope for our future.
Supply teaching has been the best professional development I have ever had.

Personally I have grown up heaps. Become more knowledgeable, so much amazing history here that is fascinating to learn about. I care about my appearance more, I have even taken up wearing dresses and make up regularly. Plus I am going out having fun and meeting new people more often, something I normally hate doing, I like having my close friends and sticking to them. So many other things too, will comment on them later.

This year has been amazing, how has your year been?? What have you learnt?


2 Comments

I love technology

I love that I can skype call my Mum, Dad and Siblings who are on the other side of the world, talk to and see them for over an hour and pay nothing for it.

I love that while talking to them I can tell them my address and they can use google maps to find it, and see what parks and things are nearby. Then use street maps to get a picture of my house and the houses on my streets.

I love that I can upload my digital photos onto facebook, add captions and tag people in them. Then friends and family back home can see the places I have been.

I love that I can send a link to my blog and my friends and family can hear about some of the things I have been up to.

I love that I can use skype, google talk, msn, etc to keep in touch with people. Help out friends/sisters with dramas from my bed in a completely different time-zone, with people who are scattered all over the world.

I love that what ever city in the world I am going to I can go to couchsurfing.org and find a group of people to hang out with for a while.

And there is sooo much more.

My Mum went to America when she was 18 and kept in touch with letters (that took ages to get home) and phone calls that cost a lot of money (so she came up with some creative ways of getting around that).

Travelling these days is so different. In some ways its so much easier, you can keep in touch with people back home and you can meet up with people from your country almost where ever you go.

Is this better?? or does it take away from the whole experience??


1 Comment

Edinburgh

My Partner, Robbie, and I spent 6 days in Edinburgh during the fringe festival. We had a fabulous time.

We arrived at night heading to a backpackers on Princes St so we got my favourite fairy tale effect of seeing the castle and other buildings all lit up, its like arriving in another world, one full of magic. We went exploring Princes St in search of cash machines and enjoying the views. Then back to the pub next to our Hostel for a pint and some live music (an interesting mix of Scottish and American but lots of fun).

The Fringe fest was fantastic, the city was alive with people everywhere, well at least all through royal mile and cornmarket st. Walking down the Royal mile was always interesting, buskers performing, pubs with tables spilling out onto the footpaths, mini stages with groups singing from them, tourists shops playing bagpipe tunes loudly and merchandise lined up on the edge of the shop covering every part of it. But the most entertaining was seeing the actors and comedian trying to get you to take their fliers and come to their shows. They would wear bizarre costumes, do silly things, speak in weird voices, stand anything they could find, sing, dance, strut I even saw somebody lying down pretending to be dead (though apparently that wasn’t such a good move as one of the comedians admitted to stepping on them later, though that may have told for humour and not actually done, damn exaggerating comedians).


Our first day there we only saw one actual show the rest of the time we spent looking around in wonder, so much to see! Especially since Edinburgh is an amazingly beautiful city anyways and Robbie hadn’t been there before.


We ended up watching about 3 shows a day and doing some sightseeing and lots of yummy food eating in between times. We saw some great shows, some average shows and one really sick and twisted show and a few that were just weird but still good. I think my favourite was the history of Scotland one, where they took the piss of everything it was great! I also really enjoyed a comedy duo act, I forget who they were but they had lots of songs and silly stuff and a series of jokes I couldn’t understand until the next day in the supermarket when I discovered what a babybel was (small round wax coated cheese) and suddenly understood, Shakespeare’s shorts was also very funny.

The tricky bit about deciding which show to go to is that its hard to get much information on each show and there are so many shows to choose from. A flyer may have a sentence or two and some pictures describing the show and the guide book gives you the title and maybe a sentence if you lucky to go by, which is how we got to the sick and twisted show.

Robbie wanted to see some theatre so I looked in the guide book and saw one with the brothers Grimm in the title, ohhhh fairy tales I think and show it to Robbie and we come to the conclusion that it will be fairy tales but maybe the darker ones going from the title and the sentence description. So we booked tickets and went along the next day.

Yes there were fairy tales and yes it was dark… and sick and twisted and creepy though very well acted. They told us stories from the Pied Piper, Hansel and Gretel, and Sleeping Beauty but they added a bit more to each. In total adding rape, cannibalism, domestic violence, murder, and incest into those 3 stories…. was not at all what we were expecting! We wandered away feeling shocked and horrified and decided to try and be more careful about what we chose to go see.

We discovered that the free shows were fantastic and didn’t require fluffing around to get tickets first. Though it paid not to sit in the front row unless you wanted to get picked on for the whole show. Though when a group of male first year uni students got told they couldn’t hide at the back and needed to come sit in the spare seats at the front, the comedian didn’t know what they were getting them self in for as those guys gave back much more than he bargained for making the show much much funnier as the guys were very quick at coming back with smart answers leaving the comedian speechless several times.

But the Highlight of the trip was the Edinburgh Tattoo. Robbie bought tickets tickets online just before we left and had them posted to our hostel. We waited in a massive line really a big crowd herded into one place, we joined it part way down the first st coming off the royal mile down from the castle (where all the coaches park) right up to where the stands were in the car park of the castle. There was a lot of people. We had our bags checked, then slowly made our way up with police and military officers on either side of the crowd keeping everything in order. Of course as soon as we got to our seats it started to rain but we were prepared and it didn’t last long thankfully.

The castle had all the torches burning and during the show had different images projected onto it, it was amazing.

The show itself was spectacular, the bands marched through the castle gates with their impeccable uniforms and timing. No one was even slightly out of time. The spot light was on them and the bag pipes were hauntingly beautiful.

There were different bands from all around the world who all did an amazing job. But the NZ guys were the best hands down (though I may be a little biased) they marched in in perfect timing into different formations then four of them put down their instruments and started dancing, very silly dances it was hilarious. They did some other great stuff then all put down their instruments to sing Pokarekare Ana and then do the Haka, which looks rather funny when all in military band uniform.

Other highlights were the imps a group of children aged from 5-16 doing tricks on motor bikes, all from bad parts of London. They were great and showed amazing control over their bikes and no fear at all. The Polish??? group who had mountain horns and did traditional dancing in the middle of theirs, and the finally where everyone was playing at the same time. It is one of the best performances I have ever seen, actually I think it may have been the best.

There were lots of other things we did while there my favourite being climb to the top of Arthur’s seat, which had an amazing view and lots of fun places to explore on the way.

Edinburgh I think is one of my favourite cities, though I have so many other places to see before I am done, I have a feeling it will still stay a favourite.


Leave a comment

Wales the first part 2

After the castle we headed towards town, past the big Manor house, past the sheep that still had their tails, down a cute country road, past some very cute houses, still terraced even in the middle of no where, past a cute post office/cafe down to the bus stop where I inspected my shoes and jeans which were now slightly cleaner from the long grass but still very wet.

We waited and waited, Hagrid decided to go in search of food at the cafe, I wrote post cards sitting at the bus stop, Hagrid came back with lollies having had a lovely chat to the lady at the post office, and waited, and waited. Then the lady from the post office appeared asked where we were going then said jump in and kindly took us all the way into Carmarthen telling us about Welsh schools amongst other things. In Carmathen we went in search of food, which I found in the shape of a yummy roast pork roll mmmmmm. Then we headed off to our next place by train, thank fully the train was warm and dry so I was almost dry when we got off.

We got off at a train stop surrounded by caravan park, though they dont have Campervans like we do, the are more like rectangular mini houses on wheels (though sometimes not) that seems pretty firmly in place. We walked past these, and carried on and on. Then we asked some children outside a church for directions at the T intersection as neither of us knew where to go and carried on. We came across a farmer further down and asked for directions again which he gave us but warned that it was quite some way to go, we didn’t believe him and carried on, past another Castle which looked beautiful in the setting sun but had closed for the day. We found the little town stopped to buy food for dinner (not wanting to end up somewhere with no food like we almost did the night before) checked the bus times and discovered it was ages until the next and kept walking. By which time we had walked quite a way and thought it can’t be too much further. The the farmer we had asked for directions from earlier went passed then stopped and asked if we would look a ride which we gratefully took, and discovered that it was in fact quite a way and would have taken us a long time to get there, this was the 3rd time that day someone had stopped to drive us where we were going, very kind and friendly people. After warm shower I found tv and a book to entertain myself until Hagrid came back for his walk so we could make dinner.

The next day we decided to take the path along the cliffs back towards the Castle. It was spectacular, high cliffs with crashing waves beneath them. It was a fantastic walk. But of course it rained and the path was muddy so soon enough I was wet and muddy again but that didn’t matter.

It was quite a long walk but well worth it and finally we rounded a corner to see the beach and the castle. The surfers looked like black seals in the waves in their thick black wet suits, we decided that we would go for a swim if we could find somewhere dry to put our gear.

We walked past an ancient rock formation that was meant to be a burial place for a king I think.

Then down to the beach where we saw a girl come out of the water with no booties she told us that it was freezing! We looked around but there were no dry places to keep our clothes and bags from the rain so we didn’t stop for a swim. We walked around the Castle and had a peek inside but it didn’t look that interesting and we would have to pay so we went back to the train station to head for our next stop.

Tenby (I can’t remember when it was we stopped here but it was somewhere on our way) beautiful little beach town. We were amazed by the different colour houses and the massive search and rescue boat (though I think they call it something else) which was in a building at the top of a massive ramp which the boat slides down into the water when ever it needs to go out. That would be soooo fun to go down.


We explored that town, which still has a big stone wall around most of it, then headed down to the beach. The town is on top of the cliffs so we climbed down the stairs to the sand looking at the little gardens that had been put on the different ledges on the way down, so cute!

The beach was incredibly windy (even by NZ standards) so we went exploring the attached island which had a tunnel through the middle of it. It also had a building on top of it but that was fenced off, though I could see a possible way up scrambling on the rocks it was a bit precarious and with the wind blowing so hard I decided against trying. Hagrid bought a kite and had lots of fun flying it in the wind.