Welcome to my travel blog! Over the next 10 weeks I will be travelling throughout Europe and will share my adventure here. The name of this blog is a Latin phrase which translates roughly to mean 'to gain, understand, perceive'. It explains perfectly what I hope to experience in this trip; a sense of understanding and appreciation for life all around the world.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Downfall of Snow

I must admit that much of my glee at seeing snow has worn off at having to face the unpleasant reality that it grounds planes. I went online to check in to my flight to Amsterdam tomorrow morning from Gatwick airport in London to find out that Gatwick has been closed and is not likely to open until the weather improves (which is is the long way of saying not for a while). After panicking for about a minute I began trawling the internet for other flights from Heathrow to Amsterdam, as Heathrow is open (and I hope to God it stays that way!). I finally found a flight (about 3-4 times as much as the one I had already booked) so booked this, only to have the computer freeze halfway so I was unable to pay. At this stage the flight is confirmed, I just have to find a way to pay them. I tried calling (from a payphone buried in snow!), but the lovely automated voice told me it would be 10 minutes at least because everyone is calling due to the bad weather (we're talking about spending 40 pounds on a call before even speaking to anyone!) So, I have my confirmation number and it says its booked so I'll just get to Heathrow really early and find who to pay. Surely someone will accept my money!! What is most frustrating, more than the cost, is that I have family meeting me in Amsterdam and I don't want to spend my time in airports when I could be seeing them and I certainly don't want to waste their time either!

I have learned a good lesson here: snow is great and fun - as long as you don't have anywhere to be.

Other than this hour of stress, I have really enjoyed my time in London. It's super easy to be here is you are Australian, if not just for the fact that one in every 5 people here is an Aussie! I think there must be more of us at the hostel than any other nationality combined. I had breakfast this morning with some guys from Monash Uni in Melbourne and we talked about the Chaser on ABC- almost felt like being at home!

I also really enjoyed seeing two shows while here - Phantom of the Opera and my absolute favourite, Les Miserables. The Phantom was totally over the top and fantastic for it and Les Mis was as stirring as ever. Les Mis was staged at a theatre right near Chinatown in London, so for a moment I felt like I was back in Melbourne, eating my noodle soup with blackbean sauce.

I also went to the British Museum yesterday - once again I've been before however this time I've got years of archaeological studies at uni behind me so this time it was more special to see the pieces now that I know far more about them! This time I was particularly interested in the Assyrian stuff - the winged horses are simply breathtaking.

And this time I have photos to share!

This is how dark it is by 4.30pm. Right outside the Natural History Museum, they have set up Christmas lights and ice skating!

The below shot is one of the winged horseman that guard the palace of Sargon II of Assyria, during the 7th century BC (I think). To get a perspective, a grown man would not come up to hte man's knee. Impressive.

This is a winged spirit in Ayssrian mytholgy - he appoints the King with the special pollen in the pail he is holding and uses the cone in his hand.

Fancy some real estate in South Kensington, London? Think again. That's right, a 2 bedroom arpartment for 2.5m pounds.

The snow that has delayed planes all over the country.

Time now for lunch and there was a shop I walked past the other day that was selling old maps and books - tragic I know but I have to check it out!


  1. Looking at that photo of 4:30pm, I can see why everyone in our London office seems cranky right now. Depressing.

    That's bad news about the planes. Looks like you'll need to check your other flights as you travel around!

    Did you pick up any prints or books?

  2. Yes that is the only thing I don't like about the weather here (other than it ruining plans) - it becomes dark so early! The optimum hours of sunlight are between 10-1. That's not a large window!

    I received an email just a few hours ago from my airline telling me they've cancelled the flight so if I want a refund I have to call them. I have no hope in hell o getting through to them! Everyone is going to be calling and I would probably spend the cost of the flight just on calling them.

    I'm going to have watch out for the rest of my trip i think - a lot of the budget airlines depart from small airports, which are the ones most likely to be affected during a snowstorm. My trip could end up taking a very different form to what I had originally planned I think!

    I didn't get a chance to go back to the map place yesterday as I was running around trying to organise everything. I'll try to get there today.