Results tagged “Buses” from Eurasia 2012

Had a very slow day Thursday. I woke up at 5:15 when I thought the lamp was on. But it was just the sun shining through the bathroom window onto it. Closed the door, but didn't really sleep anymore.

So just took it easy. Stu enjoyed the big bed :)

At 10:30 I suddenly realised I hadn't gotten ready and I wanted to repack my suitcase. Blah. So was a little bit rushed to check out by 12pm.

After we checked out we wandered around and found an Excelsior Cafe for drinks and nibblies.

Then walked through the park and up to the Tokyo Government building to go up the tower.

Then back down to find some late lunch (just maccas :( we were almost out of money).

Back past Excelsior Cafe for another coffee for the sweetie, then upstairs to the hotel to get on the bus to the airport. We decided that the "Limousine" bus at 3000 yen per person would be much much easier than dragging my broken suitcase all over Tokyo on the trains, and not that much more expensive than the NEX anyway (our passes had long since expired). It was door to door and saved quite a lot of hassle.

Got there with reasonable time to spare, so went to the Qantas lounge, and sat in pretty much the same place as last time - even the plane was at the same gate! (different plane though).

I was near the back in a row of three, but fortunately only one other person on the aisle so noone next to us. The sweetie had booked separately and got himself an exit row seat for more legroom (although the thickness of the door made it look like it actually had *less* room?) Noone directly next to him either.

Niether of us slept :(

I watched Margin Call and Inception and some Big Bang Theory.

Couldn't eat much dinner (too many snackages in the Qantas lounge). They turned the cabin lights on at 4am :( Trying to match the sun in Japan or something?? And breakfast came a little while later.

Tried out the new egate thingie at immigration, but the machines didn't like either of us - probably because of our glasses reflecting or something - will take them off next time.

Customs wasn't too bad. Had to show them our wooden stuff. There was a sign up saying they were filming Border Security there today, but alas didn't see them.

Then over to the domestic terminal. Had a short break in the Qantas lounge.

A very full Dash 8. Had a lovely view over Sydney, flying over the St George and Sutherland Shires, then south of south west.

Arrival, picked up bags and got a lift home (thanks heaps Dave!!)

My computer's keyboard, mouse and monitor are so strange and huge! The house is freezing.. we might have turned the heater on for the afternoon.

So fifty six days of travelling for me. Wow!! Saw so much amazing stuff. A couple of blahnesses, but overall a great trip :)

Distance covered on the GPS: 8066.9 km + 284.5 km
Steps walked: 10296 + ?
Photos on the Canon: 47 + 3
Photos on the Sony: 60 + 135
Videos: 1

So today marks the longest I've *ever* been away from home (previous record was USA in 2004 at 42 days).

Last night I thought I'd try and do a web check-in for my flight from Billund to Copenhagen. So I googled the airline to find it, and saw some articles about it going bankrupt. Uh-oh. Clicked on the airline's webpage, and there's a single page there in Dutch. Got Google to translate it, and sure enough, they went out of business a couple of weeks ago and all flights are cancelled. You're freaking kidding me right? No!! Fail!! Well at least I found out the night before and not in the morning!! And thanks heavens for which is a brilliant site for working out transport around Denmark.

So this morning I had breakfast and checked out, then hopped on a bus to Vejen. 58 kr - not too bad.

At Vejen got to the platform and some Russians were also trying to get tickets to Copenhagen. They got themselves a family ticket. I just got an adult single. 346 kr. Fricken ouch!! Good thing the machines take credit cards! So the train came but it was a tiny little train of three carriages, one set aside for families and NO FRICKEN LUGGAGE RACKS!! (except overhead ones). So I had nowhere to put my bag. And all the seats are groups of four, not two. So me and my suitcase took up three seats! Denmark trains fail! Fortunately it didn't get full enough to need the extra seats, but it came very close! Was very stressed about it for most of the trip :( I also finished my book - sad making! (both the book itself and the fact that I've finished it).

Arrived in Copenhagen, tried to figure out how to get out of the station in the direction I wanted (getting grumpy at Denmark already). Got out and had to walk the long way round the station to get to my hotel. Checked in (yayy!!), dumped my stuff and headed out again. Found the entrance back into the station that I probably wanted on the way out. But there's no sign, just a small doorway. When in doubt, follow the crowds. I'll try and get a picture of it tomorrow.

Then to try and get a ticket on the metro. The ticket machines are very confusing and the signage is worse than Paris. Much worse. I asked a local what sort of ticket I needed (apparently a 2 zone, even though I was staying in the zone 1, 24kr) and managed to get on the right train.

So off to Osterport and a walk to find the Little Mermaid (I also walked around some of Kastellet which is this little star shaped fortress which is pretty cool).

I knew there'd probably be a few people, but I thought the statue would be a little bit further out of reach and you'd view it from the shore. Turns out you can go right up to it, as dozens of people from multiple tour buses were trying to do. hrmmm.

From there on it was a really long walk zigzagging my way back through Copenhagen.

Past our good friend Mary's house..

Into the Marmonkirken (just missed a dome visit)..

Up past the Rosenborg palace..

Down Kobmagergade and up into the round tower (I was almost not going to go into this one. It was only 25 kr but wasn't really in the mood. Luckily I decided to, it was pretty worth it)..

Down Ostergade to Nyhavn to see the Lego buildings..

Back past Christiansborg..

And Tivoli Gardens (oldest amusement park in the world, but you have to pay even to go into the place)..

And the Rathaus.

So a pretty good effort for about five hours of wandering.

Then I tried to find dinner. Prerequisites: had to have a Carlsberg, and had to be under 100 kr total (I'm rapidly running out of money and needed the rest for the train tomorrow). I couldn't find anything that met these requirements other than getting the beer at 7-Eleven and a burger from The Scottish Restaurant. Sadly (or happily) the beer was cheaper than Maccas!! So weird.

Something wierd happened to my phone when I got here. It's somehow got a time that is *very* wrong - not just a different time zone, but even wrong minutes. So it's nearly three hours out. Very strange.

Distance covered on the GPS: 315.6 km
Steps walked: 22251
Photos on the Canon: 120
Photos on the Sony: 111
Videos: 2
DKK Spent: ?

Had a nice slow start today. Breakfast at 7:15 then back up to the room to sort through all the paperwork I've accumulated since the beginning of the trip. Photographed and packed up everything from Australia to Amsterdam and was out the door a little later than I wanted to be. Checked out but left the bag at the hotel.

First stop was the post office. I packed up and sent home all the aforementioned paperwork, nearly 2kg of it! Partly to not have to lug around an extra two kilos for the rest of the trip, but also to reduce weight for my next flight which will be on something small and I don't want to get charged excess baggage!

Wanded up to the Rathaus which looked pretty spectacular in the morning sun.

Then down to St Nikolai's. This church was bombed during the second world war but the spire survived so they've left it as a monument. You can go up it for 3.70, so I did (I've done something Dave2 hasn't done! Yay me! hehe). Unfortunately they're doing restoration work on it at the moment so you can't see out to the west :( Came back down and went through the photo gallery of some of the photos taken of the destruction during the war.

Next up was St Michaelis, which is the church featured on Germany's two euro coin. This one you can also go up, for 4.00, and it has a much much better panoramic view. Unfortunately there was a big group of kids up there at the time which made it noisy and crowded :(

Kept wandering down to Landingsbrücke to see the piers and docklands.

And then hopped on a train back to the Hauptbahnhof. Grabbed my bag and went back to the station and picked up a roll for lunch while waiting for my train. Was slightly worried because I couldn't see Kolding on the station list, but the train number and time and even platform were correct so hoped for the best. On the train I did finally see it saying Kolding.

So train for next three hours. No GPS track. There must be something about the Germany express trains that causes grief with the GPS :( Had trouble getting mobile coverage too.

Got off at Kolding in Denmark, where I was going to need to buy another train ticket to get to Vejle. Why this country can't use Euros I have no idea. I went out and scanned all around for an ATM but none to be seen. So went and asked at the ticket office where I could find one. They said try one of the banks a hundred metres down the road in town. Like seriously guys? I know Kolding is nowheresville, but would it kill you to have an ATM at the station?? So I get back to the ticket office after getting some money and it's just after 5pm so they've closed. !?!?! Gah!! OK so the smallest money I had was a 100 dkk note, and the machines only take coins (I needed 48 dkk). So went into the 7-eleven to get some chips (lunch tomorrow - that's my excuse) and asked for some change as well. All sorted, ticket purchased, onto the train I go (good thing I had plenty of time and that there was a lift!)

So a short trip to Vejle where I got off to transfer to a bus. Thankfully that was pretty painless, although did confirm with a local that I'd be able to buy a ticket on the bus.

A little while later and I'm at the Legoland Hotel!!! Everything here is *hideously* expensive (I think dinner was going to cost me $60). But the hotel is awesomely cool. Lego everywhere and Lego-themed *everything*, including carpets, bed linen, decorations, soap, shoe shine, sewing kits (!!). Went for a wander after I checked in to have a look through the place.

Then had dinner at one of the restaurants, an all you can eat buffet for previously mentioned astronomical price. Still a bit full .. oops!

Distance covered on the GPS: 90.2 km (plus Hamburg to Kolding which I just couldn't get a signal for :( )
Steps walked: 15102
Photos on the Canon: 214
Photos on the Sony: 78
Videos: 0
EUR Spent: ?
DKK Spent: ? (too many!!)

Well something from yesterday didn't agree with me and I woke up in the middle of the night feeling completely nauseated. After a while I decided I needed to go be sick if I wanted any more sleep. So did that. Why is it the only night I really need a toilet it in my room I don't have one?

Got up and decided to use the fact that Europeans don't believe in mornings to go early to the Anne Frank House. Got there at 8:35 for a 9:00 opening and there was already a bit of a line (Australians and Americans either side of me). Got in at 9:10. It was very cool to be able to see the place Anne and her family and the others actually lived in. No photos allowed anywhere though. Not a huge amount of content so you can move through it relatively quickly (I spent a bit over an hour there). Funnily enough I've never actually read the book, so bought a copy on the way out. Also tried to get into the courtyard in the middle of the block, but couldn't find an entrance, so couldn't see the annex from behind.

Came back to the hotel to drop off the stuff I'd gotten, then headed out again to try and get a Holland Pass. Eventually found the place that sells them downstairs from the main tourist office outside the Centraal station. But I think any Tours and Tickets place will sell them.

First item on the agenda: a canal cruise! It was an hour long cruise that went out into the large area of water on the other side of the station, then back through a series of canals. So that was very pleasant (except when there was no breeze - it was actually quite hot in the sun today!).

Dropped back into the hotel again, and got some fries with mayo from Manneken Pis downstairs. After the glowing reviews about Amsterdam fries, I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. These were big and chunky and just average really. Give me McDonalds fries any day. Mayo was nice enough but the best mayonnaise ever is still Kewpie mayonnaise. I asked for a small but Europe doesn't seem to believe in small anymore either, so I couldn't even finish them.

Next up, got on the Tours and Tickets bus tour. But it was pretty average. Not helped by the fact that my headphones didn't work so the whole first half of the trip didn't have any commentary. Part way through they stop at a diamond factory (Gassan) for an infomercial. Still, it was cool seeing some *very* nice diamonds.

Then had to try and figure out the tram system here. The terminal at the Centraal station is pretty pathetic. The only maps they have up are regional ones, none for just the city. So unless you know which tram you needed to catch you were screwed. Fortunately I did know which tram I needed, having researched that beforehand. You can buy tickets on the trams. They recommend these chip cards (you can get a daily for 7.00). But I just wanted one or two trips (2.70 each) so just got a single. It's valid for one hour, but it's paper so didn't look like it had anything electronic in it. But it also didn't have any printing on it to say what time you got it, and the driver didn't say anything about authenticating it. As I got off I waved it front of the reader and it did actually do something. So no idea if I checked on or off. But it didn't matter cause I wasn't going to need it again.

My destination in fact was the Heineken Experience. It wasn't crowded when I arrived, but as I was walking through the history section there was this big group that made it all a bit unpleasant. Fortunately they moved off a bit faster than me. After the museum bit, you go into the rooms where the big old copper tanks are. Then past the horses that are still employed there. Then you walk through all these rooms of silliness really. Things like a "be the brew" "ride", make your own bottle label, rooms of just various videos playing, a wall of bottles with lights behind it etc. You get two free drinks (250mL) on the tour, so had those, but wasn't much fun drinking alone. Just used their free wifi and read news feeds. And finally through the shop. But didn't look around because I wanted to go catch the shuttle canal boat, which takes you to the "Heineken Brand Shop". But really I just wanted the canal ride. They even served beer on the boat which was a bit of fun.

Got to the shop but it was all *way* overpriced for what is essentially advertising for the brand. And the "free gift" was a branded photo of yourself. The idea was you take the token from the brewery and get a coin to use in the photo machine. Some others said they were going to just keep the coin, so that's what I did too.

Got outside and asked someone which way to Dam. So started walking. After the three beers I'd had I decided this was the way to appreciate Amsterdam heh.

Finally got back to the hotel then went out for dinner. Found a place that had what looked to be reasonably priced food. But the "teaser" menu was different to the menu you they give you at the tables :( So when I thought I was ordering something small, like I'd seen on the teaser menu, I actually got something much bigger. So I couldn't finish it and was charged 5 euros more for it. I was pretty pissed off. Enough to get on TripAdvisor and rate it poorly. And not blog last night. Grunt.

Distance covered on the GPS: 36.8 km
Steps walked: 15674
Photos on the Canon: 240
Photos on the Sony: 73
Videos: 4
EUR Spent: ?

Last time we were in the UK I was completely devastated to find out that Legoland Windsor doesn't open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for certain parts of the year. So as well as the Harry Potter studios, Legoland was at the top of the priority list to do this time.

So off I trundled today.

And what a glorious day it was!! Mostly sunny with the odd cloud or two, thickening a little in the afternoon. Totally made up for last time.

Firstly let me tell you that getting to and from Legoland by public transport is a major pain in the butt. I had to take three trains and a bus each way. Not only that but Windsor and Eton Central station is completely un user friendly and information on how to get to Legoland is nonexistent once you're there. But I don't have a car so I had no choice.

OK so I started by getting a tube train to Paddington. No problems there, just one train from Earl's Court.

Now I'd read somewhere online that you could get a "combined" ticket to cover the train, bus and entry to the park. Well the dude I talked to wasn't too sure about that, but he did sell me a train ticket, as well as a ticket for the bus and park entry. £46.90 all up for return trips. OK so far so good. Checked at an information desk to make sure I was setting up to do the right thing. The idea is I'd go from Paddington to Slough on the express train, then hop on a train from Slough to Windsor and Eton Central, and then I'd have to go hunting for the bus stop. The ladies told me to go out of the station, turn right and head down the road a bit. OK, this should work.

So got on the express. Had to hunt through the train to find a seat that wasn't reserved. It left at 8:21am. Been on the go for half an hour now.

The trip to Slough is actually very quick - only about twenty minutes or so. At Slough you change to what seems to be a shuttle train that just goes between Slough and W&E Central. It was there on the other platform so just walked across and hopped on. Easy.

When I arrived at W&E Central, things started to go downhill. They're doing station works, and there's all these shops and arcades around the station, so it's really not clear which is the actual exit of the station. I found an opening that faced the castle so hoped that was it. But there's no signage *anywhere* for Legoland. It's like noone ever tries to do the same thing as I was trying to do.

So I got out to the castle and turned right, but really had no clue at all if I was going the right way. I eventually came across a bus stop and found some tiny print on one of the timetables on the bus stop something that mentioned buses from Legoland. From. Ok, so I thought I'd go cross the road and see what the other side said. OK so there was an A4 sized sheet about the Legoland shuttle. You can take a 191 or a 200. First departure: a 191 at 9:38. It was 9:10. OK so sat down to wait.

Clearly the lack of signage is not just me imagining it. Several other confused tourists came and asked me if this was where to catch the Legoland buses. I said "hope so!!"

The bus was a little late, but did come, and my ticket worked. Yayy!

Arrived at Legoland around 10:05. But then I had to find someone that would convert my train/park entry ticket into a park entry ticket the machines would understand. The regular gate people couldn't do it so had to go to guest services. Luckily the lady there knew all about it but said they don't get many of them.

So at 10:15ish I finally enter the park!!! Only took two and half hours.

The place is pretty huge. And the map is more of a guide than an accurate map. So it was crowded but the crowd was very spread out. So the queues were generally pretty good. The exceptions were the little train that goes around - it spent as much time in the station as it did going around, and the Laser Raiders. This took 45 minutes to get through the queue, and it wasn't even that good! You sit in these little carts and fire lasers at lights that pop up for points. Except I was by myself in a carriage so had noone to compete with. That's 45 minutes I could have spent doing other things :(

I went to the roller coaster first up and got straight on it. And a couple of other rides too. Late morning I passed by Miniland and it was *shining* in the sun, so went up and got my big camera out of the locker (£1 each use) to photograph it. I went on the pirate ship twice (it was *fun* !) and the roller coaster twice. They have a Star Wars miniland experience, which is a scene each from all six movies. Didn't buy anything (except a hotdog for lunch) cause it was crazy expensive and I can get stuff cheaper on the Lego website.

Six pm and it was time to leave.

Went back to the bus stop and caught a 200 at 18:10. Very heavy traffic coming out of the park and through the streets, and the bus was full of very tired kids and a couple of screaming babies. It was a *very* long bus ride :( The 200 bus stops at "Theatre Royal" first, which is where everyone else got off. But I wanted to go back to where I started so I wouldn't get lost. Turns out the "central" stop is just one stop along, and the Theatre Royal stop is in between the two railway stations. W&E Central goes to Slough then Paddington, and W&E Riverside goes to Waterloo.

I *just* missed the 18:47 train, so got a juice and then got the 19:07 train to Slough. Fortunately the express was running a few minutes late, so up and over to go catch that, and didn't have to wait nearly half an hour for the next one. Back to Paddington, back on the tube, and arrived back in Earl's Court at 20:00.

After all that travel and walking you'll have to forgive me for just getting a cheeseburger from the Scottish Restaurant at Earl's Court on the way home.

Last night just after midnight, I get this phone call, presumably from reception, asking something about my 9:00 wakeup call. ?!?!?!?!? Certainly hope that doesn't happen again tonight. I was in a deep sleep, so was completely disoriented. I thought I was still in Egypt. Took me a minute to realise where I was.

Three days in London before Harry Potter. Will come up with a plan of attack when I wake up at stoopid o'clock tomorrow morning.

Distance covered on the GPS: 101.8 km
Steps walked: 21445
Photos on the Canon: 417
Photos on the Sony: 113
Videos: 0 (?)
GBP Spent: 65.29