Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Film Photography

At any given point in time, I will always have at least 3 rolls of undeveloped film. Right now I have 3 rolls and two unfinished rolls in two cameras. The upside is that when I do receive the shots back, it's almost like a time capsule because they can be anywhere from 3 weeks to over a year old. I recently developed two of my disposable cameras. Oh my. These were cameras I had purchased at the Reject Shop for $5 each and perhaps it was just the ones I bought (although I did buy them at different times), but they are horrible. Super grainy (past the point of being even remotely nice) and a crazy amount of light leaks. Crazy amount. Nonetheless, it is still quite cool and I am still in love with film photography. That being said, I think I will go back to purchasing decent film for my cameras (maybe after I finish my 8 rolls of BW film though....).

These are the best 6 shots that I had developed.

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This makes me a little sad as I think it would have been so much nicer without that horribly obnoxious light leak.

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Monday, 9 February 2015

Switzerland Part 2

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9th - 13th January 2015
For the remainder of my time in Switzerland, I visited Bern and Geneva. Spoiler alert, I wasn't a big fan of either city. Perhaps it was because my mind wasn't really into visiting those places or because I didn't think either one would trump the experiences from the previous days. A self fulfilling prophecy in a way I suppose. Like everything in Switzerland, the train from Zurich to Bern (and Bern to Geneva) was expensive. We bought each ticket at 25 CHF (35 AUD) per person for a 2 hour train journey and that was already on a supersaver sale. I was only in Bern for one day (arrived late in the evening and had a train to Geneva the following day at 7pm) and it was more than enough time for Bern. A hostel bed was around $40 AUD a night in a dorm and it was an ~interesting~ experience. Ergo the entire room just smelled of feet. Yum.

When I was on exchange, there was a Swiss guy who was from Bern and he believed that it was the most beautiful place in the entire world. I have to disagree. Whilst it was pretty, it definitely isn't near the top of my list. One of the good things about Switzerland is that if you stay at a hotel/hostel, you are provided with a free transport card for the duration of your stay. And that is how we ended up at Gellert Hill (which requires a funicular ride to get to the top and would otherwise have been ridiculously expensive).

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It must have been the river that ran around the city, but it reminded me a lot of Columbus, Georgia. Although architecturally it was completely different.

A funny story. When we caught the train from Bern to Geneva, we got off at the airport train station instead of one in the centre of the city as originally planned since it was closer to our hotel. However, I didn't do enough research and it didn't cross my mind that highways/ motorways don't exactly have pedestrian crossings. Naturally, the train station was on one side of the highway and our hotel was on the other side. Apparently I'm a little reckless and I did consider crossing the 6 lane highway. But we didn't.  A twenty minute walk later (including a 200m stretch in practically pitch black parkland) and we made it the hotel. Thankfully.

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The only reason for visiting Geneva was for CERN and I am not a science person by any means and found the guided tour so. incredibly. boring. It was also weird to suddenly be hearing French again (since the other places in Switzerland spoke Swiss-German).

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Overall Thoughts
Switzerland was even prettier than what I had imagined. It was also shockingly expensive and I am from Sydney, a very expensive place to live in. But also, the Swiss Franc is doing amazingly well.  For the duration of our trip in Switzerland, we didn't eat hot food since we were just eating out of the supermarket. Migros was really nice and the salads and pastries, although expensive (similar to food court prices), were super super tasty and of quite good quality! It's hard for me to comment on Switzerland as a whole, because it included both amazing moments and also quite horrible moments too.

Would I re-visit?
Yes. But only in the warmer months for hiking.
Thursday, 1 January 2015

Bruges

Bruges! The last city in Belgium that we visited and now one of my favourite cities of all time!

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Shhh I'm actually not a big fan of waffles. But when in Belgium.

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Windmills!

Bruges was actually quite busy with tourists, especially in the main square. However once you stepped three streets away, the crowds disappeared. We loosely followed the route provided on Silent Strolling through Silent Bruges which was a lovely walk.

Overall Thoughts
Belgium was a country I had always wanted to visit. It met my expectations in being both quite beautiful and also .. not. The contrast between super nice and super dodgy looking areas was quite significant. I find the language situation quite interesting and the governance of the country too. 

Not entirely sure if I would visit again as a single minded goal, but maybe if I was in a neighbouring country. 
Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Sick whilst Travelling


I used to say that I have a pretty strong immune system. I don't usually get sick and when I do, it's usually only once a year. Being sick when travelling is horrible and thankfully, my health is usually on the up and up. However a week ago when I was in Belgium, something flared up and I was hacking up my lungs and finding it hard to breathe. I have mild asthma and it only becomes a problem when I am sick and also during bush fire season. It didn't seem to go away and A. convinced me to go to the doctor (initially the hospital) to have a diagnosis and also to get a new puffer since I think the one I brought over got damaged on one of my many flights. Well the experience at the doctor in Berlin, Germany was interesting. She took my cash and put it in her own wallet. What. And she also took an extra €0.01 from me. The bill came to €44.99 and she told me to pay €45. Yes €0.01 is nothing but the whole experience was just so bizarre. Especially when she gave me change in €0.10 and €0.20. Right now I am almost €78 out of pocket in medical expenses (including my prescriptions) and hoping that my claim with my travel insurance goes through. Turns out my asthma issues was secondary and the primary issue was inflammation of my throat. Or something or other.
On the bright side, my asthma is a lot better, if not completely under control. The cold winter air doesn't exacerbate it too much now. Downside, I am still coughing a little but the numerous days of really bad coughing has resulted in my muscles under/around my right ribs to be very very very sore from the strain of coughing. Right now it is quite painful even to breathe deeply and it is horrible when I cough. I am heading to one of Budapest's famous baths - Széchenyi Bath - and hoping that it will help me a little.

Antwerp

Antwerp had been on my list of cities to visit ever since I read about it on WishWishWish a few years ago. Sadly the weather was less than stellar. It was actually quite horrible with super crazy winds and rain for the large part of the day. It was the weirdest thing leaving the train station and just hearing Dutch everywhere. Despite having a good friend -Sunbear- who is Dutch, I actually don't know any Dutch at all. Except for gezellig.

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What I loved about Belgium was the streetart.

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Also walked though the red light district where the women were in the window, scantily dressed. Weird. Also very awkward to have a lot of solo guys casually strolling through that area.

Perhaps it was the weather, but I didn't enjoy Antwerp very much. It seemed so shopping oriented with the super long shopping strip. I guess it's because I didn't come all this way to simply shop at Zara, H&M, Topshop, Forever 21 etc. Then again, I'm not much of a shopper.

Also, I hope everyone has a wonderful (and safe) New Year! To those who read my blog, thank you for commenting and being so wonderful. See you in 2015 (yikes!!!).
Monday, 29 December 2014

Brussels or Bruxelles?

18th/21st December 2014

Brussels was interesting. Quite cool, but a little weird too. I guess Belgium is a little weird too. This video" "explains" it better than I can. Seeing signs having three languages (or generally at least two, Dutch and French) was a little amusing.

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These incredible clouds on the way to Brussels

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This was so cute!

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The European Union Quarter was so clinical.

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The most interesting part about Brussels was when we visited a court room at the Palais de Justice and we got ushered out by two police officers after a while with very large guns (apparently rifles) that were almost as tall as me.

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And what is a visit to Belgium without frites! Finally, in an corner of the world where mayonnaise is plentiful! My favourite sauce is either mayonnaise or tomato sauce and American mustard mixed together.
Sunday, 28 December 2014

Kilkenny & Dublin

We made another day trip out of Dublin to the town of Kilkenny. Luckily we got the reduced price for the Kilkenny Castle which resulted in each ticket only being 1,50 Euros. A bargain if I can say so myself. Tours like this always weird me out a little as it's really odd to have rooms recreated. Obviously, a room and its items cannot be 100% original or authentic, but it's really weird knowing that the entire room is fake.

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Back in Dublin (on another day) we took a tour of Guinness. I actually had never tried Guiness until Paris when A. bought one to accompany his dinner. I'm not a fan of alcohol. Or more accurately, I don't care for alcohol. I don't have any moral objections to it, I just don't drink it.

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Learning how to drink a Guinness. This glass was so cute.

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View from the top floor.
Overall Thoughts
We were blessed with pretty good weather in Ireland. Overcast (generally) but thankfully not wet. The interesting thing was that our hostel was 50m away from a nightclub which resulted in a lot of noisy nights. Thankfully I can sleep through noise these days, but was still a little annoying having music being blasted till 5am. Aren't there any regulations or bylaws?

Would I re-visit?
Dublin no, but the rest of Republic of Ireland,. yes. An emphatic yes. I would love to visit the West Coast. Sadly, I didn't have the time (and I guess money) to make this happen this time around.