Friday, July 27, 2007
So i walk in the door to find my whole house spotless from top to bottom! Floors mopped, carpets vacummed, bathroom cleaned - even my bedroom was tidied and my bed was made with clean sheets! To top it all off my grass was cut too! I promise you i did not leave a list!
I've come to the conclusion that mothers are a bit like maps, sometimes they can be very frustrating, but at the end of the day you would be lost without them!
I'm heading off again tonight for one week to help lead a Scripture Union camp at Castlewellan Castle. The first 3 days we will be training a group of 16-18 year in leadership. They will then be taking on the responsibility of leading the camp for a group of 30 P7's who will arrive for the last 4 days. The theme for the camp will be 'It's Your Move' - teaching the p7's how to deal with change as they move to secondary school using the Biblical model of Daniel. Please pray for the camp leaders and the young people - and the weather!.
I wonder if i will come home to find my drive power-hosed or spoutings cleaned???
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
At this stage of our trip, after seeing 6 other cities, we are a bit weary of seeing the city sights because each church, castle and square looks much like the rest, so in order to spice it up a bit this time we opted for a Segway Tour of Prague (thanks for the idea Craigo!! The 2 hour guided tour was fantastic fun as we got to see the whole city without expelling any energy or shoe leather! I'm going to try and upload a video of the segway action on a separate post. The footage will show Niall raking it on a patch of grass and nearly falling off after hitting a pot hole! I laughed a lot at this but what unfortunatley wasn't captured on video was myself 2 minutes later hitting a pot hole at top speed (a hefty 12mph!) and completely tipping the segway and falling off! I thought i had wrecked the whole thing but the guide wasn't even concerned so i just climbed back on and cracked on! Segway tours are becoming more popular in many cities around Europe so if you get the chance, give it a go for a good couple of hours craic!
A few other random thoughts on eastern europe:
- Sausage dogs - seem to be an obsession with them here as we have seen many!
- Pedestrian crossings - EVERYONE waits for the green man, even if the coast is clear. Maybe this is a discipline that has been passed on through communism to the next generations (?) but it is amusing to observe.
- C&A - it's great to see that this department store has not gone bust but is alive and thriving throughout much of Eastern Europe!
So that's me for now, probably see ya in norn iron soon! Is it still raining there?
Monday, July 23, 2007
Warsaw was ok but probably my least favourite city so far as it is much more spread out and i didn't really feel there was much to see. It probably didn't help that the temperatures now are soooo hot that it's much less comfortable to walk around cities.
On Saturday we caught the train to Krakow and i have really fallen in love with this city! If you haven't been here then make it a must for a city break. The old town is really amazing with the hugest town square i have ever seen. There is a really good buzz about this place with lots to go and see.
On Sunday we took a bus to Auschwitz. When we first discussed travelling to Poland we definitely both wanted to get to see this place and it was definitely worth the trip. It's hard to put into words how harrowing it is to visit the place where approximately 1.3 million people (mostly Jews) were sent for extermination. I think what hit me the hardest was seeing the mass pile of childrens shoes. Approximately 230,000 of the people sent to the camp were children and almost all of them did not survive. I don't think anyone can ever understand how anyone could ever inflict such brutal cruelty on another group of people. It's sobering to remember that this attrocity only ended just over 60 years ago.
Today we visited the Saltmines near here which was interesting and then took a walk around the old town of Krakow. Tonight we catch a 8 hour train to Prague to spen our last 2 days there. Home on Wednesday night - sniff, sniff!
Aside, i think we have a tall bald stalker from USA! First met this guy in a tour in Tallinn then he turned up at our hostel in Vilnius and in Warsaw and now in Krakow too! We have not spoken one word to this guy the whole time so it's all a bit humourous! I'm expecting to bump into him in Rigmarole next week!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Since arriving in Vilnius yesterday we have been walking around the city. It's more spread out than Riga or Tallinn but again really beautiful. You can see that this city is a little bit behind on Riga or Estonia but with evidence of lots of construction, it is catching up very fast. We visited the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul today which has a breathtaking interior that would rival anything i have seen before, even in Rome.
I have been really surprised by the Baltic cities we have visited. I think i naively expected to see more poverty here than home, more litter, poorer quality food and generally 'less trendy' if you understand what i mean. On the contrary, i have seen more wealth in these cities than i would ever see in Belfast. For example i have seen more Mercs, BMW's, Bentley's, Hummers, and other top range vehicles than would be the norm at home. There is definitely less homeless people and begging here than in Belfast. Also there is less litter, excellent quality food and everyone is extremely fashion conscious. I understand i am only seeing city centre life and there are bound to be other areas that are less well off that would perhaps explain the influx of nationals into the UK and Ireland, from some of these countries.
Oh yeah, my reflection on Finland is that the boys love their skinny jeans. I think Niall was going to get a pair too but i talked him out of it!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
So i awoke this morning with that slightly nervous yet excited feeling that comes with heading off. Nervous because we only have accommodation booked for the first 2 nights and the rest we'll figure out as we go! However I love travelling and in the next 2 weeks I'm going to experience the culture of 6 countries i have never been to before which will be fantastic! On top of that i will meet plenty of people from many more countries along the way which is part of the enjoyment.
I hope to keep this blog fairly up to date as i go with some pictures too so keep on dropping in if you are interested!