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a travel blog by craigandcorrine

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Exploring Cambridge

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Yesterday we rugged up and headed for the university town of Cambridge in the UK. The historical town is close to where Corrine's family live so it was a short bus ride in. Most of the ice on the paths had melted so it was easy to walk on the cobblestone paths.

We checked out the sights of the old colleges and even went for a ride on a punt, (Cambridge's answer to the gondala) along the River Cam. Even though Cambridge University is celebrating it's 800th birthday most of the building are older than that. One even being built by Henry the 8th.

The colleges have been home to some famous people over time, including Sir Isaac Newton, A A Milne (the creator of Winnie the Pooh) and even Prince Charles. One of the libraries houses original illustrations from Winnie the Pooh and first editions of Shakespere. I don't think they are available for loan though. It is said that Shakespere even got a lot of his insperation from Cambridge, it is easy to see why.

Cambridge is a very pretty town and we are going to make a big call and say it is probably one of the most romantic spots in the world. If you are in the area go and visit.

Blog you later.

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on December 29, 2009 from Cambridge, United Kingdom
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Hopping around London with Froggy

London, United Kingdom

Jumped on the train to the home of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, thats right folks ... London.

We didn't chose the best day to go considering it has been the only day it has rained while being in the U.K. It rained all day and into the night.

Our first stop was to have a cup of tea with Lizzie, but the old bird double booked so we watched the changing of the guards instead. Disappointed that Lizzie had forgotten that we were coming we did the next best thing, caught up with Jay an Aussie friend for lunch in a pub.

After saying our farewells it was time to see if London Bridge was falling down. Thankfully it wasn't and we wandered over it in the wet. Onto Westminster Abbey which was the highlight for Corrine. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos inside and it was to wet out side. When you see the abbey on T.V you don't realise that there are so many nooks and crannies. We got to see the tombs of many famous and historical figures including Sir Isaac Newton.

After our trip to Westminster it was time to head on over to Leicester Square to meet up with another Australian friend, Christian or as we all know him - Froggy. We did something that is typically "Froggy" which was have dinner and go to a show. We saw Avenue Q which was fantastic. We had such a good time it was a real shame it had to end.

After spending the night at the Frog Mans it was a quick trip into Harrods and then back to Newmarket to count in the New Year.

Blog you later.

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on January 1, 2010 from London, United Kingdom
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New Years Eve

Newmarket, United Kingdom

Happy New Year!!

We spent New Years with Corrine's family at her cousins House. It was a good night with three of her five aunts and uncles there. One that she had not even met before.

A lot of booze was consumed, a lot of bad photos of people were taken, a lot of hugs given and received. A few tears were also shed with the promise of trying to get the whole family together for another new years in the future.

It was a great night and it was sad that it had to end.

Blog you later.

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on January 1, 2010 from Newmarket, United Kingdom
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Paris, France

We made it to Paris on the Euro Star. We went through snow covered fields through the North of France which was very pretty. Once we got to Paris though there, was no snow to be seen. Only very cold wind.

We got to our hotel, no view of the Eiffel Tower from our room but it was clean and a place to rest our heads after walking around all day. There was no fridge but we made do, Corrine came up with the great idea to keep our drinks out the window to keep them cold. Make sure you check out the photo. It worked great too.

Our first full day saw us get up early to go to the Louvre as it is free entry on Sundays. We had a relatively short wait in line, only about twenty minutes which we spent people watching. Once inside we checked out the Egyptian section, the second largest collection in the world, only to Egypt. We then made our way to see the most famous lady in the whole of Paris, Mona Lisa, the crowds surrounding the famed painting were unbelievable. People were pushing and shoving, We don't think that they realise that she is not going anywhere. One lady even put her hand on Corrine's shoulder and pulled her out of her way to get to the front. It was ruthless!

Next stop was the Eiffel Tower where we joined the masses and climbed up the stairs. A few hundred steps later we were at the viewing platforms on the tower. The journey back down was a little bit easier. We failed to see what was so romantic about it, waiting in line with thousands of other people then climbing up with your legs getting more and more tired each step then once on the viewing platform with loads of other people. It was so cold that everyones nose was running. NOT ROMANTIC AT ALL!!!

As night settled in on Paris, we saw the Eiffel Tower under lights then we traveled to the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees. Where we walked down the street and took in the atmosphere.

The next night we checked out the outside of Moulin Rouge which was very pretty. After wandering the streets of Paris it was time to go back to the hotel and rest up for our journey to Amsterdam.

Blog you later

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on January 4, 2010 from Paris, France
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Beer and red lights

Amsterdam, Netherlands

After traveling a few hours and swapping trains a couple of times we were finally in Amsterdam, the city famous for it's coffee shops as well as it's red light district. We got into Amsterdam in the evening and by the time we got to the hotel there was not much to do except for a walk through the red light district, this is what we did.

I must say it would not have been as seedy if there were no tourists walking around and gawking at the girls. We even saw a guy leave a little shop front looking very sheepish. We found it rather daunting walking down some of the alley ways that the shop fronts faces, with the girls calling out and trying to beckon would be clients. We found out that the reason for the “red light” is because many years ago when sailors had finished a long stint at sea they came into the town to look for some entertainment and the women that were available used to wear little red lights around their necks.

The next day we went to the Anne Frank museum which was an incredible experience, the museum is the house that Anne Frank and her family hid out until the day that they were taken away by the Nazis to different concentration camps. Unfortunately Anne only died one month before liberation, thinking that she was the only one left surviving from her family. Her father survived the was and it was him, Otto Frank that decided to try and get Anne's diary published. Since the 60's the house has opened it's doors to countless tourists wanting to see and in turn paying respect to Anne and her family. If you are ever in Amsterdam this is a must see.

We then got to see more of Amsterdam's past when we visited the Amsterdam Dungeon. This was an interactive and educational ghost tour. It included a mini ghost train styled roller coaster to finish.

Next was the Heineken Experience where we toured the original Heineken factory and got to see how the Heineken brand has changed over time. Included free tastings which went down very well.

To top the day off whilst walking towards the Heineken Experience we got to experience walking around the streets of Europe whilst it was snowing. Such a weird feeling but totally cool. There was enough snow by the evening that little snowmen were appearing all over the place.

Now off to Berlin where the weather reports are saying it will be a maximum temperature of -6 degrees. Looking forward to it.

Blog you later

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on January 6, 2010 from Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Blizzards and Berlin

Berlin, Germany

Another Train Journey, another major European city, Berlin the stop this time. After settling into our Best Western accommodation (almost felt like home except for the white stuff on the ground outside the hotel and the freezing cold weather) we ventured out a visited a German Pub for a meal and a German beer.

After advice received in Amsterdam, our first museum stop was the German Historical Museum. We saw that Germany did in fact have some history before the both World Wars but that history involved what seemed to be a lot of different wars, including a 'thirty year war'. Got to touch some medieval clothing and see a lot of clothing, posters, letters and military weapons from over the years.

We then visited Checkpoint Charlie and its museum. This point and area was one of the major crossing points between East and West Berlin whilst the wall was up. It was amazing to read some of the stories and tales of the lengths people went to get from East to West Berlin.

Night time in Berlin and it was ghost tour time. We met up with our night watchman and he took us around the Nikolai Quarter, the home of Medieval Berlin and recounted many stories of what happened back in the day. We got to finish the tour off with a drink in the oldest Berlin Pub dating back to the 16th century. For those who are interested in medieval history of Berlin check out www.baerentouren.de

Next day the snow had started to fall again and we decided to go on a city bike tour. We had half expected it to be canceled due to the weather but Tom our tour guide warned us that it was going to be bloody cold and there will be some bad jokes. He was right on both accounts! What started off as light snow falling turned into the closest thing to a blizzard we have seen, however Tom gave us a great insight into the history of Berlin and we visited all the major sights, including Hitlers Bunker where he committed suicide, the only watch tower left standing that soldiers kept watch in to make sure no one escaped from East to west while the wall was up and of course the Berlin Wall, what small part of it that is left standing anyway.

Corrine will never forget Checkpoint Charlie after her little incident. She managed to lose control of the bike and fell over doing the splits, because of the slippery surface it required both Craig and another man to help her back on her feet. For those who visit Berlin in the future be sure to check out Fat Tire Bike company. www.fattirebiketours.com/berlin We had a great time and it was well worth being in the freezing cold.

Next door to the hotel was a little kebab shop that had some great food. It was there Corrine decided that she wuvs wodka.

For those heading to Berlin thinking that all Berlin has to offer is pubbing and clubbing you are going to miss out on a load of stuff. Berlin has a fantastic history both very old and very recent, make sure you check it all out.

Tomorrow we head off to Prague.

Blog you later

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on January 10, 2010 from Berlin, Germany
from the travel blog: World Tour
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A castle a clock and cheap drinks.

Prague, Czech Republic

Our train out of Berlin took us to the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic. We were continually amazed at the intricate beauty of the baroque and Gothic buildings that defines this city.

We had a look at the famous Castle that overlooks the city and imagined that we were the king and queen. We even had a look at the dungeon that held the prisoners and even the medi-evil devices that would have kept the criminals restrained ... OUCH

We went on a Ghost Tour and learned about some of the executions and the like that happened in the middle ages and even saw where the Knights Templar Prague Headquarters used to be.

The astronomical clock was an awesome spectacle with all the dials ands hands although neither of us could tell the time from it. On the hour two little doors open and statues of the 12 apostles rotate. A moving statue of a skeleton "rings" the bell.

Unfortunately the Tyn Church was closed while we were there due to Climatic Reasons, we can only guess what that actually meant.

One thing we did see a lot of were fire engines racing along to remove ice and icicles that were hanging down from building that were melting and causing dangerous hazards for the people driving and walking underneath them. It was very strange to see since we come from a part of the world that never sees snow.

After walking around on slippery train platforms, roads and footpaths it was in Prague that Corrine fell victim to the slippery-ness while stopping to let a car go by she slipped and fell, the only injury was pride.

The beer and vodka in Prague are so cheap, it is cheaper here to buy a pint of beer than it is to buy a bottle of water at home. Beer is so important to the Czechs the hop vine even features on the Coat of Arms.

Blog you later.

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on January 13, 2010 from Prague, Czech Republic
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Krakow, Poland

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on January 14, 2010 from Krakow, Poland
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Oswiecim, Poland

Arbeit Macht Frei - Work Makes you Free

Not for over a million Jews, political prisoners and others that were sent to death at the largest Nazi death camp that was used during the Second World War. This is where we visited today, it was a tough day. Not something that we can say that we enjoyed but something that we are finding hard to describe it is an experience that we will come away from never regretting and one that we think everyone should try and do, that way you can have a tiny glimpse of what millions of people had to endure. Even if fate did not take them to Auschwitz-Birkenau but to another camp. Even after spending a day there we still cannot comprehend what life would have been like for those poor souls who had to suffer through it.

We were going to put this blog with our Krakow one but thought that it deserved to be on its own.

We arrived at the infamous gate and walked through it all the time realising how lucky we are to be able to walk back out. You could not help but feel an overwhelming sense of sorrow, that only got worse as we saw material evidence of the atrocities that occurred not so long ago right where we were standing.

Glasses, combs, hairbrushes,artificial limbs, suitcases, shoes (around 10,000 pairs) and even pots and pans were piled high only showing a small percentage of what was really taken from the lives of people. Every thing that could be recycled was taken and that included human hair, which was reused for items such as blankets, clothing and rugs. A huge pile of human hair was on display, about two tons once again a small percentage of what would have been stored in warehouses. This isn't even taking into account the hair that had already been used for items including womens stockings. Unless you have seen it there is no way to describe the quantities that were there.

Something that struck us both was the shoe polish that was left behind, it made us really appreciate the fact that the people that were taken really believed that they were going to the East to start a new life. Would you take shoe polish to your death?

We got to see the gas chamber where people were sent to their death, some didn't even last a day, they were taken straight of the trains and marched to the gas chamber, these people were told that they were going to go for a shower and were even given soap to stop them from being suspicious. For the people in the camps that were no longer useful they knew what was about to happen to them, they were to frail to fight. We saw where the bodies of the dead were cremated, sometimes the crematoriums were running 24 hours a day just to try and keep up with the load.

It was a life changing experience and we know that we have missed so many things in this blog, but even writing about what we saw would never give justice to what you experience and get to take away with you while visiting.

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on January 16, 2010 from Oswiecim, Poland
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Cruising Cracow

Krakow, Poland

From Prague we visited Krakow, it took two trains. The second train we went on we did not think that we were ever going to get to our destination. The train was so old and rickety plus the heating did not really work. We breathed a sigh of relief once we finally arrived at the station.

Getting to the hotel was an easy walk. Then it was time to go and search the old town for food. We ate our first ever Georgian meal, it consisted mainly of cabbage and bread like products.

The next day we made our way to the Wawel Hill to the Castle and Cathedral, in the middle ages the hill is to said to have a dragon living in a cave underneath, a man tricked the Wawel dragon into eating sulpher by stuffing animal skins with the chemical, the dragon died and Krakow was safe once again. The Cathedral was very impressive, we got to see the crypts of saints and people who once ruled the city. Krakow's biggest export would have to Pope John Paul II who was the bishop at Wawel. There is a statue of the late pontiff and even some of his clothing that he would have worn as the Pope in the museum. The catholic community of Krakow are very proud of their home grown pope. Which is evident everywhere.

The next day we went to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, which have written a whole separate blog about if you want to check that out.

As we were getting off the tour bus Corrine rolled her ankle quite badly which put an end to our evening plans on hitting a pub or two. We will try again at a later stage.

On our final day in Krakow we went to Kazimierz which was once the thriving Jewish Quarter until WWII, the area is still trying to find its feet. The name Kazimierz may familiar to you since that is where Steven Spielberg filmed the movie Schindler's List. This is the actual town that Oscar Schindler actually had his factory and hired hundreds of Jews to make pots preventing them from certain death in concentration camps. Unfortunately for us the factory was not open so we could not have a look.

We both really enjoyed Krakow, it is a very beautiful city.

Our next stop will be to Ski, fingers crossed that there will be no more injuries.

Blog you later.

permalink written by  craigandcorrine on January 17, 2010 from Krakow, Poland
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