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Posted by hengel 22:51 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Picturesque Portugal

The land of "Super Bock" and piri piri chicken

sunny 26 °C

OK so I went to Portugal and yes it was totally sweet. But my tale does not begin so sweet, it starts with me setting my alarm but not turning it on, hence making it to Stansted airport at 7:55am for my 8:00am flight. My destionation was supposed to be Santiago de Compostela just north of Portugal, but the next flight was not until the same time the next morning. After discussing with the friendly Ryanair representative I managed to secure a seat on the next flight directly to Porto, at 6:30pm that night. As a result I had to spend the next 11 hours of my life stuck at Stansted airport sleeping, reading, roaming around and bored out of my brain.

So let's get onto the good bit, the cool parts of my Portugal experience.

My first Portugese stop was Porto the home of the Australian drunks beverage of choice, Port Wine. One day of my days in Porto I hopped on the train and headed to a beach called Espinho for a little bit of relaxation. Turns out the Atlantic was a bit too rough and real cold to swim in, but at least there was a bar on the beach serving the northern Portugese brew with undoubtedly the greatest name for a beer on earth, "Super Bock".


When I was wondering around one day I came across this young lady sitting on her balcony overlooking the street. She was just taking it easy in the warm afternoon sun, aspiring for that "all over" tan.

Whoa easy there, before you all email calling me a pervert, that's just a mannequin. I don't really know what she's doing there, it just looked funny that's all

One final picture of the historic port area of Porto


Lisbon is the pumping capital of Portugal and was a really awesome place. Lots of little streets and a cool bar sort of suburb where everybody just stands out on the streets with their drinks and has a good time. The next picture is the view down a street with a classic Lisbon tram.


Here we have the view of the bay from a hill


Here we have a badass Lisbon guard in front of some government building. Please note the sword, huge boots and tights pants


The southern coast of Portugal is called the Algarve. I visited a town called Lagos and stayed at a hostel where the ratio of Australians was higher than any other place I had ever stayed. The entire town itself was completely overrun with english tourists. I don't think there were any Portugese people living there at all.


I went to the beach here as well but rather than swim I just jumped off this huge rock. It was only about 12-15 metres high. I only hit the bottom the second time I jumped off, but don't worry it was really deep.

That really is me about to plunge to the depths, I am such a badass.

Well that kind of wraps up some of the highlights and stuff. Here is one more item for you all. When I was in Seville I checked out this building that had all these small tiled monuments for each of the provinces in Spain. This one had a map on it, I'm pretty sure that I know some people from this town.


Oh and one more quick item. The man asleep in chair is back! This version is entitled "Portugese man asleep on park bench". This old fellas head kept falling back and nearly snapping off.


Posted by hengel 12:55 Archived in Portugal Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Holland's Highlights

Be warned, the Netherlands is not all that it seems (plus it's a lot like it seems)

rain 19 °C

OK then let's start with some facts:

Late Update!!
- The Netherlands are home to possibly the world's largest collection of salt based confectionary. When looking for lollies be warned: try one first because when you get that bag of goodies back home, no doubt they will be salty and disgusting. As usual the dutchies love them

- There are tonnes of people in the Netherlands that are huge and by huge I mean massive. On the right is Gijs and on the left is Ben. Ben lives in the house behind us, luckily only the door is really low


- People really do wear clogs and not just for ceremonial purposes, but for everyday life. Milking the cows, going to tractor pulls (more on this later on) and going to the shops, just knocking about, anything

For the record this old dude is the bloke who now owns the farm where Dad was born (and his Opa Hengel and his Opa Opa Hengel built it... you get the picture)

- People ride bikes everywhere. They go on special cycling holidays where they drive somewhere just to ride their bike around. They love bikes so much they even have them in their coal mines


- There are tonnes of cows. Apparently the Dutch eat about 16kg of cheese per person per year and that milk has gotta come from somewhere. They love milk so much that you can buy this stuff called "Karne Milk" which is basically a carton of sour milk, not the best tasting stuff but they love it.


Secondly, some lesser know facts about the Netherlands:

- They have their own fair share of LARGE attractions. For example near Achterveld there is the egg:

Please note that I had to ride a bike to get there

There is also the giant cigar:

Please note that is not just a turd with a cigar label in a plastic tube.

- There are lots of funny signs and street names

Literal translation, "Middle Arse Way"

Literal translation, "Ass Chatter Way"

I completely understand why the dog on the sign has a big smile, he just took a dump on someones neat, freshly cut grass.

Other Highlights:

- Driving down a street in Kerkrade where one side of the street is the Netherlands and the other is Germany. Street signs on side were Dutch and the other German

- Going to a tractor pull. Not the kind where two tractors battle it out but one where a suped up tractor pulls a massive sled in the dirt. This bad boy had 4 jet engines on it


The winners of each division we driven around on the dias in front of all the spectators.


- Visiting the Dutch "Alps" and the highest point in the Netherlands, a staggering 322.5 metres above sea level.


Posted by hengel 06:59 Archived in Netherlands Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Very Late Photo Update Part 2

Not as long as the last wait but still long

sunny 34 °C

Continuing on from earlier we moved on from Bled in Slovenia to Ljubljana the capital of Slovenia where we watched the World Cup Final at some dodgy pub. What was even more dodgy were the dodgy Horse burgers that we got for dinner from the "Hot Horse" restaurant that some bloke recommended to us in Bled. This picture doesn't really show how dodgy these burgers were, because I don't think any of us actually finished one.


After Slovenia we headed for the clear warm waters of the Adriatic along the Croatian coastline. The first stop was Split, there was not a lot here except for the old town which was formerly an ancient Roman summer palace.


From Split we took a day trip to Hvar, a smallish island off the coast and about an hours ferry ride.


Here we spent the entire day swimming and finding better swimming spots and places to jump into the water. In this next picture we spent a good hour and a half jumping off the wall on the right.

jump hvar.JPG

After Hvar we got back in the Parter and headed to Dubrovnik deep at the southern end of Croatia, we had to drive through 15 km of Bosnia & Herzegovnia to get there. But this town is absolutely amazing and totally full of tourists. But the beaches were spectacular and we had a great time.


dubrovnik 2.JPG

We said goodbye to Dubrovnik on the overnight ferry to Italy and in particular Bari, where the ferry arrived. Upon arrival we headed straight for Naples. The Lonely Planet strongly advises against driving in Naples but we were lucky to have no problems with accidents, break-ins or having the entire car stolen. Apart from the food (the home of the pizza) I would say that Naples was a fair shit-hole.

One night in Naples was enough before we headed to the glory of Rome. Some might say Rome is a fair dump too with all the ruined buildings everywhere but the tourists keep coming. I reckon they could just bulldoze some of those ruins and put up some nice apartment blocks... kidding. Rome was amazing and I got to see some of my favourite landmarks like the Colosseum and the Vatican.


We saw this bloke in a place called Piazza Navona, he had these little hand puppets and did the same routine each day or so. He even had a little Michael Jackson there with smoke machine and lights.


This is me at the Victory Monument. They went all out on this one, pretty spectacular


Me again at the Vatican


Swiss guards are funny


So that wraps up the last few weeks, there are plenty more stories to tell but that can be done later. Over and out

Posted by hengel 02:03 Archived in Italy Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Very Late Photo Update Part 1

Long delay again, hope this helps

Ok this is going to be a fairly disjointed blog entry but anyway I can do what I want can`t I?

It has been a while and I have skipped over some places that I will go over next time I upload some pictures. This collection is from the first time we went to Austria (after the Australia versus Japan match) until now but some things have been skipped and others have not.

Innsbruck, Austria. Our first stop outside Germany during the World Cup. Amazing place nestled between the alps. We went white water rafting here which was awesome. We flipped the boat on the first bit of white water we got to. The bloke running it said that river was really high so that kind of made us feel better for flipping straight away...


Vaduz, Liechtenstein. Yes I have been to Liechtenstein


Stuttgart Fan Fest, Germany. After finally scoring a bed to sleep in whilst in Germany we went to the Fan Fest for the Australia versus Croatia match. As you can see we were kind of out-numbered.


Prague, Czech Republic. Huge town nice and old too. This is the view from the old castle here. The town square was real big and impressive but overrun with tourists and horse drawn carts.


Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. A small town in the south of the country. Nice and quiet and very beautiful, the river looked great but we didnt go in, bummer.


A hearty meal in Cesky Krumlov


Krakow, Poland. Great place, except for Auschwitz which is just up the road. Pretty intense place but something that must be seen.


Budapest, Hungary. Nice place, apparently has the oldest subway system in the world. It certainly seemed to be pretty old and rickety. This is the view from the Citadel on the top of a hill near town over looking the Danube.


Vienna, Austria. Nice place like everywhere else. Plenty of old people around and lots of shopping to be done. Coffee is very expensive here but apparently it is a thing to be done here. Some were about 3-4 euro a cup



Bled, Slovenia. Beautiful place, there is a crystal clear lake here with amazing blue water. We went swimming beneath the Castle on top of a cliff overlooking the lake. Great place



Posted by hengel 10:12 Archived in Slovenia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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