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-   -   A Naive Aussie's TR - Completed! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3075707)

zanzibar138 03-06-2013 05:36 AM

A Naive Aussie's TR - Completed!
 
CONTENTS

Day 1 - The Journey Begins (Melbourne - Perth)

Day 2 - The Journey Continues (Perth - Hong Kong - Paris)

Day 3 - Jetlag? What Jetlag? (Paris) Part 1
Day 3 - Jetlag? What Jetlag? (Paris) Part 2
Day 3 - Jetlag? What Jetlag? (Paris) Part 3

Day 4 - The Hills are Alive (Paris - Innsbruck) Part 1
Day 4 - The Hills are Alive (Paris - Innsbruck) Part 2

Day 5 - Innsbruck from Both Sides (Innsbruck) Part 1
Day 5 - Innsbruck from Both Sides (Innsbruck) Part 2
Day 5 - Innsbruck from Both Sides (Innsbruck) Part 3
Day 5 - Innsbruck from Both Sides (Innsbruck) Part 4

Day 6 - Back on Tracks (Innsbruck - Lucerne) Part 1
Day 6 - Back on Tracks (Innsbruck - Lucerne) Part 2

Day 7 - Take Me to the Clouds Above (Lucerne) Part 1
Day 7 - Take Me to the Clouds Above (Lucerne) Part 2

Day 8 - There's Real Snow Falling from the Sky! (Lucerne - Montreux) Part 1
Day 8 - There's Real Snow Falling from the Sky! (Lucerne - Montreux) Part 2
Day 8 - There's Real Snow Falling from the Sky! (Lucerne - Montreux) Part 3

Day 9 - Climb Every Mountain (Montreux) Part 1
Day 9 - Climb Every Mountain (Montreux) Part 2

Day 10 - Lovely Weather for a Sleigh Ride Together (Montreux - Paris)

Day 11 - Riding Along on Our Push Bikes (Paris) Part 1
Day 11 - Riding Along on Our Push Bikes (Paris) Part 2

Day 12 - Walking in a Winter Wonderland (Paris - DLP) Part 1
Day 12 - Walking in a Winter Wonderland (Paris - DLP) Part 2
Day 12 - Walking in a Winter Wonderland (Paris - DLP) Part 3

Day 13 - Is That Blue Sky? (DLP) Part 1
Day 13 - Is That Blue Sky? (DLP) Part 2
Day 13 - Is That Blue Sky? (DLP) Part 3
Day 13 - Is That Blue Sky? (DLP) Part 4
Day 13 - Is That Blue Sky? (DLP) Part 5
Day 13 - Is That Blue Sky? (DLP) Part 6

Day 14 - I Never Line Up For More Than Half an Hour (DLP) Part 1
Day 14 - I Never Line Up For More Than Half an Hour (DLP) Part 2

Day 15 - Show Time! (DLP) Part 1
Day 15 - Show Time! (DLP) Part 2
Day 15 - Show Time! (DLP) Part 3

Day 16 - Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow (DLP) Part 1
Day 16 - Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow (DLP) Part 2
Day 16 - Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow (DLP) Part 3

Day 17 - Learning the Hard Way (DLP - London - Hong Kong)

Day 18 - Happy Anniversary to Me! (Hong Kong) Part 1
Day 18 - Happy Anniversary to Me! (Hong Kong) Part 2

Day 19 - Grizzlies, Geysers & Gulches... and the Rest! (Hong Kong) Part 1
Day 19 - Grizzlies, Geysers & Gulches... and the Rest! (Hong Kong) Part 2
Day 19 - Grizzlies, Geysers & Gulches... and the Rest! (Hong Kong) Part 3
Day 19 - Grizzlies, Geysers & Gulches... and the Rest! (Hong Kong) Part 4
Day 19 - Grizzlies, Geysers & Gulches... and the Rest! (Hong Kong) Part 5
Day 19 - Grizzlies, Geysers & Gulches... and the Rest! (Hong Kong) Part 6
Day 19 - Grizzlies, Geysers & Gulches... and the Rest! (Hong Kong) Part 7
Day 19 - Grizzlies, Geysers & Gulches... and the Rest! (Hong Kong) Part 8

Day 20 - The Finale (Hong Kong) Part 1
Day 20 - The Finale (Hong Kong) Part 2
Day 20 - The Finale (Hong Kong) Part 3

zanzibar138 03-06-2013 05:37 AM

Day 1 - The Journey Begins
 
Melbourne - Perth

Id organised to have the whole day off work today in case I needed to take public transport to the airport. It looked like I was going to, so I got up early, finished packing, and got organised. Then DH called to say he would be able to take me after all! So I spent a bit of time sitting around impatiently waiting for him to get home so that we could leave lol! The trip to the airport was relatively uneventful, but we were right at school pick up time, so the traffic was pretty bad around the school areas.

Since it was only a domestic flight, I had already checked in online, and did the self-service luggage check-in. Once we passed through security, I picked up my pre-ordered foreign cash, then DH and I found a bar near the lounge to have a drink while we waited.

The flight was about 3.5 hours. We were about half an hour late taking off due to a backlog of planes waiting for the runway after the bit of stormy weather wed had that afternoon. We made up a bit of time on the way, but we still arrived late. It was a big plane, with on-demand entertainment (which is pretty rare for domestic flights). Unfortunately mine wasnt working properly and I only had access to the kids channel! I started watching Up, but it got a bit funny halfway through and I didnt bother watching the end (Ive already seen it numerous times and own it on DVD). I watched some TV after that, did some Sudoku, and watched the journey map for a while. We were given dinner on the flight, and I chose the teriyaki beef which was quite good.

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Since I didnt take my mobile, Mum came up to the gate to meet me. My luggage came out nice and quick, and soon we were on our way.

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We called my grandparents to see if they would be meeting us in the morning before our next flight. My maternal grandmother was going to, but Dads parents couldnt make it, so I had a bit of a chat to them. I helped Mum finish off packing and then we tried to check in online for our flight. Unfortunately we hit a bit of a snag we had been seated across the aisle from each other with a random in between. I tried to call the airline the get it sorted, but after being on hold for 45 minutes we decided that we'd just go to bed and sort it out at the airport in the morning.

zanzibar138 03-06-2013 06:53 PM

Day 2 - The Journey Continues
 
Perth – Hong Kong – Paris

We were up bright and early to catch our flight to Hong Kong which would connect to Paris later that night. Mum lives not far from the airport, so we just took a taxi. Turns out Granny and my great aunt Aina were just getting there at the same time as us. We weren’t able to check in yet, so we went straight to a café to have a bit of brekky.

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The café had a nice view of the Perth city skyline.

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After brekky Mum and I were able to check in, so Granny and Aina just waited for us in the café. Unfortunately we weren’t able to fix the seating arrangement as the plane was completely full, however she was able to seat us together on the onward flight to Paris. As it turned out, the guy sitting next to Mum was very nice, and offered to trade seats with me.

After checking in, Granny and Aina left us, and we went through security and immigration. Mum wanted to get some duty back on some electronics she’d bought recently, so we lined up there for a while. Unfortunately she was unable to get anything back. We just had time to do a spot of shopping and tried to work out if there was free wifi available before it was time to board.

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The flight was about 8 hours, and actually went pretty fast. Since it was a daytime flight, and our connecting flight would be overnight, I didn’t want to sleep any, so I made good use of the on-demand entertainment.

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We had lunch served on the plane.

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Afternoon tea was also served before landing.

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Coming into Hong Kong it was very hazy, and it seemed like we were still way up in the clouds when the wheels came down on the runway!

Since we were connecting to another flight, we didn’t have to collect our luggage or go through security/immigration. We had 5 hours to kill in the airport and not much that we actually needed to do. We started off with a visit to the Disney store.

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After that we had a look around at some other shops, but they were mainly designer label clothes and bags. We ended up at a little lounge type place for a bit of light sustenance.

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And some live entertainment.

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We had to get the shuttle train to our boarding gate, so we left a bit of time for that. Then it was finally time for our next flight.

This flight was to be nearly 13 hours, and was overnight, so we did try to get a bit of sleep on this one. But not before some dinner.

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And a movie.

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The flight actually went pretty slowly because there was a fair bit of turbulence for the first few hours, then it was too hot… It was pretty hard to get any sleep! But I managed to doze on and off for a few hours. We watched the journey map for a while, trying to get our bearings. Then eventually we were ‘woken up’ for brekky. From there it went quite quickly and we were landing before we knew it!

zanzibar138 03-06-2013 09:07 PM

Day 3 - Jetlag? What Jetlag?
 
Paris

It didn’t take us long to get through immigration and pick up our bags, then we were off to look for our private pick up that I had booked. There was supposed to be someone standing at the exit with a sign for us, but there was no one there. We had a bit of a look outside the airport, there were some shuttles lining up, but there was no one there with a sign with our name on it, so we went back inside. We thought we’d better give them a call, so after getting a bit lost and confused we found a payphone, but it wasn’t accepting our credit cards. We finally went to the information desk and the kind lady there offered to call the company for us. Turns out that he was waiting for us outside, he just hadn’t bothered to get out of the car, not sure how he was expecting us to find him! By the time we were in the car and on our way, it was probably about an hour and a half after we’d landed.

The trip into the city was reasonably quick and fairly uneventful. Since we were staying on the airport side of the city, we didn’t get to pass any famous landmarks or anything on our way. By the time we reached Paris, the sun was just about up, and it was looking like a nice day. I was quite pleased that I actually recognised when we were getting close to our hotel from the research I’d done on Google Maps using street view lol!

The hotel was directly across the road from Gare de Lyon train station, and looked unassuming from the outside. It was equally unassuming on the inside, not saying that’s a bad thing, it was friendly and homely. Dad had already checked in the night before, and it took us a while to explain the situation to the lady at the counter. Eventually we were given the room number and pointed in the direction of the lift. It was the first of what was to be many teeny tiny lifts, and Mum and I only just fit in with our suitcases. Since we were only on the first floor, we didn’t bother to use the lift after that.

We walked down the teeny tiny hallway to the room at the end, and knocked on the door. Luckily Dad was up, showered and ready waiting for us to arrive (I believe it was still before 8am at this stage), so he was able to let us in straight away. I didn’t take any photos of the room at this stage as Dad had already messed it up lol! I was pretty pleased with how it looked though, a little poky with 2 beds in there, but enough room for us all, and a decent sized bathroom.

We spent a while catching up with Dad, hearing about his week in Finland and catching him up on our journey so far. Then we thought we’d do some sight-seeing, so Mum and I had showers and got changed. Even though the bathroom was a decent size, the shower had pathetic water pressure, the type where you have to stand there for half an hour to actually get wet. It took us a while to decide what to wear. I eventually decided on my thermal jeans with my light thermal skivvy, t-shirt, and my light coat.

For some reason Dad thought breakfast was included in the cost of our hotel. Although he was incorrect about that, it was a great spread, and pretty good value at 11E per person (I mean for a hotel buffet breakfast).

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Finally we were off on our very first sight-seeing adventure! We decided to start with Notre Dame. I had already printed off a map of our walk, but we collected a tourist map of Paris on our way out too, then we were off!

We crossed the bridge just down from our hotel and walked along the other side of the Seine.

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After a short stroll, we could see the cathedral in the distance.

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Then we were walking across the bridge with all the padlocks on it, and getting harassed by people with clipboards trying to get us to sign something. Looked a bit suspicious to me...

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We arrived at the back of the cathedral, and spent a while wandering trying to find the entrance lol! Mum and Dad had been here before, but with their tour they were basically just dropped off right at the door with priority entry and told they had 10 minutes to explore. They much preferred this visit.

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We eventually made it around to the front, and found the end of the line. The line looked long, but it wouldn’t have been more than a 15 minute wait. I snapped a few pics while we were wandering and waiting.

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Finally we were in! There was actually some sort of service happening, and it made it quite overwhelming for me. I started to tear up a bit and felt in total awe that we were witnessing what would have been occurring here for centuries. Mum and Dad had been disappointed on their last visit, and had somewhat dulled my expectations, so I was totally blown away by the beauty and intricacy of the building. Being a sunny day, the stained glass looked even more amazing.

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I had planned to climb the tower, but the line looked ridiculously long for that so we kept going and said we might be able to come back early one morning when we were next in Paris. There were a couple of touristy shops in the vicinity, so Mum got a Paris beanie (she hadn’t brought a beanie with her, so was counting on buying a souvenir one) and I got an Eiffel Tower Christmas tree ornament (I try to collect one from each place I visit).

Continued in next post...

zanzibar138 03-06-2013 09:15 PM

Day 3 - Jetlag? What Jetlag?
 
Continued...

We decided to continue our exploration on foot, and planned a route to Champs d’Elysee via the Louvre. We crossed to the other side of the Seine from the island, and saw this building from the bridge.

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We worked out it must be Hotel de Ville, but didn’t figure out exactly what was inside it. We took a few more pics as we walked past.

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We kept walking along the river, and passed lots of plant and pet shops. We eventually stumbled across the end of the Louvre, and turned away from the river to follow the building. I could not get over how big that end wall was!

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Mum got excited when she figured out that we were on the same street as Angelina’s famous hot chocolate, but we never did come across it so it must have been down the other way or something. We went through to the Louvre courtyard instead and got harassed by dozens of people trying to sell Eiffel Tower keyrings and stuff.

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And caught our first glimpses of the Eiffel Tower.

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Then made our way towards Champs d’Elysee. There were lots of people out enjoying the sunshine.

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It was about here I realised that I was getting terrible blisters on my feet, and that I wouldn’t mind sitting down for a while. I suggested we take a side street of Champs d’Elysee to look for some lunch. The place we found was small and crowded, but they did a good croque monsieur!

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There was a chemist right near the café, so we stopped to get some bandaids for my feet. I had brought bandaids with me, but in my excitement to go sight-seeing around Paris, had forgotten to put them in my day-pack. I had to sit at the bus stop to put them on, and felt a bit weird taking my shoes and socks off right there lol!

Continued in next post...

zanzibar138 03-06-2013 09:22 PM

Day 3 - Jetlag? What Jetlag?
 
Continued...

All band-aided up, we hit the shops! One of the first we came across was Adidas, and Mum had said previously that she would be very interested to see the running clothes they had over there, so in we went. It was a bit disappointing really, pretty much like the ones we have in Australia. But most places seemed to have their spring ranges in, so maybe all the serious winter stuff was already gone.

The next point of interest along the shops was the Disney store!

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This was also very disappointing! No real theming to speak of, and most of the merchandise was kids clothing and toys. There were a few mugs and knick knacks, but really no adult stuff to speak of.

We didn’t see any other shops of real interest to anyone in our party, so we just kept walking and eventually came to the Arc de Triomphe.

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We decided to cross under the road to get to the island and had a look around. There was a decent line to go up to the top so we decided to give it a miss on this occasion.

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After that we were all feeling pretty exhausted from all the walking we’d done and our feet were hurting, so we thought we’d head back to the hotel for a bit of a rest before dinner. We took a similar route, but for something a bit different, headed to the river between Grande Palais and Petit Palais so that we could see Invalides.

Along the way we stopped for a bathroom break in one of the malls along Champs d’Elysee. It was 2E each which I thought was a bit rich. However, for that you had a themed toilet, and a maid went in and cleaned the toilets between each use. There was also a ‘spa toilet’ option. In the end I was pretty curious as to what you got for that lol! Anyway, my toilet was library themed.

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On our way towards Invalides, we came across some mounted police.

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(By the way, you will probably notice a lot of horse-themed stuff in my photos. I practically grew up on a horse and Mum and I both adore them, so we tend to be on the lookout for them lol!)

We stopped at the corner to get some photos of Invalides and the bridge.

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Then turned to follow the river making a beeline for the hotel. Along the way we saw another padlock bridge.

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All the stalls on the side of the road had opened up, and most of them seemed to be second-hand book stalls. I was a bit tempted by some vintage French Mickey comic books lol! But being so exhausted with sore feet made it easier to resist stopping to browse. I really just wanted to teleport back to the hotel and sit down!

Of course we did make it there eventually, and we were all very pleased to sit and rest for a while. None of us could particularly be bothered going far for dinner, and there were a few restaurants around our hotel. We went into one of the ones right next door!

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I was so exhausted I forgot to take food porn, but the meal was very nice.

When we got back to the room, we got our stuff a bit organised for the morning, and were pleased to have a fairly early night, knowing that we would have to be up early in the morning to catch our train.

zaccy 03-06-2013 10:46 PM

Glad you are back safely - will be reading you trup report with much interestpopcorn::

areweindisneyyet 03-07-2013 02:17 AM

Loving it. Keep it coming.

markpsych 03-07-2013 02:36 AM

Thanks for sharing :thumbsup2

PrincessInOz 03-07-2013 02:41 AM

I'm late; but I'm finally here. Going back to catch up.. :thumbsup2

PrincessInOz 03-07-2013 02:58 AM

Loving the report and the pictures. Seems like it was a great start!

zanzibar138 03-07-2013 02:58 AM

Welcome everyone :wave2: Thanks for stopping by!

Carrie_Cat 03-07-2013 03:48 AM

Bonjour :wave2:

Bit of a disaster your private transfer :rolleyes2 Are you supposed to be telepathic or something ? That's why private transfers and shuttles are not liked here in Paris and we use taxis. They don't care about their clients or their business and it shows.

The Hotel de Ville is the Paris town hall where the Mayor of Paris presides. You can go in a see some of it when they are having expos in there.

Looking at your photo of the back end of the Louvre if you were on that street that you see at the back of the photo,and keep going down it as Angelina's is closer to Tuilleries metro than Palais Royal so well past the Louvre entrance.

The locks are vandalism and the petitioners are a real pita and you did right to avoid them. It's a scam where when you sign they want money and don't leave you alone. Did you see the gold ring scam as well when you were about ?

You walked so much and it looks like the weather was good to you for your first day :goodvibes

zanzibar138 03-07-2013 03:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carrie_Cat (Post 47725129)
Bonjour :wave2:

Bit of a disaster your private transfer :rolleyes2 Are you supposed to be telepathic or something ? That's why private transfers and shuttles are not liked here in Paris and we use taxis. They don't care about their clients or their business and it shows.

The Hotel de Ville is the Paris town hall where the Mayor of Paris presides. You can go in a see some of it when they are having expos in there.

Looking at your photo of the back end of the Louvre if you were on that street that you see at the back of the photo,and keep going down it as Angelina's is closer to Tuilleries metro than Palais Royal so well past the Louvre entrance.

The locks are vandalism and the petitioners are a real pita and you did right to avoid them. It's a scam where when you sign they want money and don't leave you alone. Did you see the gold ring scam as well when you were about ?

You walked so much and it looks like the weather was good to you for your first day :goodvibes

Lol! I may have had a bit of go at Mum about making me book a private transfer instead of just getting a taxi... I was getting a little bit stressed :crazy2: Dad just caught the train and said it was very easy.

Thanks for the info about Hotel de Ville - I'll have to let Mum and Dad know. And I'll have to tell Mum exactly where Angelina's is for next time too. If she'd have told me she wanted to go there I could have looked it up for her before we went.

We saw those petitioners everywhere - they even approached us and our tour guides while we were on tours! In the end we pretended we didn't speak English :rotfl: Didn't come across any gold ring scam - what's that one? We were very careful and managed to avoid anything nasty.

The weather was awesome for our first few days - we didn't really realise how good until later on in the trip :lmao: It was very pleasant for wandering around.

Carrie_Cat 03-07-2013 04:12 AM

They drop a gold ring on the floor and then pick it up and offer it to you pretending that they have just found it and it must be yours. People take them as they don't know what to do and then the scammers want a reward.

It's great fun to watch :rotfl:


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