Showing posts with label 2020 World Tour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2020 World Tour. Show all posts

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Virtual World Trip Day 4 : Cyprus

Well, today finds us in Cyprus, a large island in the east Mediterranean Sea, owned by both Greece and Turkey, which I had absolutely no idea of. It seems the whole island would have been a paradise on earth, with 340 days of sunshine per year, if it hadn't been for some political unrest back in the 70s causing Greek Cypriots in the north to be uprooted from the homes and swapped with Turkish Cypriots in the south. Then there was established a border with a no-mans land of abandoned homes in the middle.

We haven't done much today except go clubbing and laze about on the beach getting attacked by Scottish midges! Aargh! How did they follow us here!?

Damn, this is almost as exhausting as a real holiday! Home tomorrow.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

World Trip Day 3 : Greece

At Meteora
It was great to be back in Greece again after all these years! This was actually my first English teaching destination back in 1999, when I went to teach near Meteora at Kalabaka in central Greece, actually mentioned in the below video. Amazing place to wake up to every morning.

And now some things to NOT do in Greece!

I don't remember ever getting into trouble for waving my hand at anyone, but I do recall almost getting in a fight because my friend flicked a peanut at someone's back in a bar...

Once a week my boss, Spiros, used to drive me to the neighbouring village to teach there and then drive me back. One day on our return journey we almost ran over a few chickens in the road and Spiros joked, "I don't feel like chicken tonight," which was a lot funnier than I think he meant. I had to explain.

At The Oracle Of Delphi

This is a good video about some amazing traditional Greek food in Athens:

Feta cheese pies are just what the doctor ordered for a drunken walk home at night.

Kalabaka was my first experience with the amnesiac effects of tequila. I woke up one morning with cigarette burns on my hand and sand in my socks and no idea how I got home the night before. And lemon juice on crisps! Mmm!

And now can I remember some words in Greek?

Kalimera - Good morning
Kalispera - Good afternoon
Kalenoche - Good night
Ti kanis - How are you? /What are you doing?
Kala - Good / Fine
Then perazzi - It doesn't matter
Efharisto - Thank you
Parakalo - You're welcome
Skase skooliki - Shut up, worm!

Funny thing about the twin meanings of 'Ti kanis,' is if a kid is being naughty in class and the teacher shouts, "What are you doing!?", the kid can innocently reply, "I'm fine, thank you." One of the kids in my class tried this with me in English, which I thought was hilarious. 

At the Parthenon
Three of my university pals came to visit me to see in the New Year, century and millennium, and apparently they'd been discussing whether I'd learnt any Greek on the drive up. So when after getting all their orders for coffee in a cafe bar one morning I just relayed the information to the young Greek waitress in English without even bothering to translate a word of it, they all cracked up.

My plan to take them all to a nightclub for the bells backfired as when we arrived there shortly before midnight we found the whole place locked. So we actually saw in the new millennium walking along a country track in the middle of a bunch of fields. A memorable experience no doubt!

Greece was an exceptional place to begin my English teaching career and I dreamt of Meteora often after.

Tomorrow, Cyprus!

Friday, 31 July 2020

Virtual World Trip Day 2 : Sweden

Turning Torso Skyscraper, Malmo

We woke up early and after a delicious breakfast of even more Danish pastries and bacon we hired an old beat up Volkswagon bus and drove across the Oresbund Bridge into Sweden. 
   Wow! What a country. So much hotter than Denmark. Hard to imagine since they're so close together, but phew!
   As soon as we left the hotel for our morning walk we bumped into a friend of my son's and I said, "Oh, Hi, I didn't expect to see you in Sweden!" He replied, "Coming out?" And I said, "Naw mate, we're going for a walk round Sweden. Maybe later :)"
   Had a great walk around Sweden. Saw a bunch of butterflies just like the kind you see in Scotland, and a grey squirrel real up close like.

Some useful words and phrases in Swedish:

Hello : Hallå   /Halloa/
Goodbye : adjö   /Adieu/
Please : snälla du /Snella doo/
Thank you : Tak

one : ett 
two : två   /tvaw/
three : tre 
four : fyra 
five : fem

I didn't expect to see you in Sweden : Jag förväntade mig inte att träffa dig i Sverige

   Today on a friend's advice we went to visit Skansen, which is a huge ethnographic museum on one of the many islands smack bang in the middle of Stockholm.


Amazing place - you need a map to make sure you don't get lost!
   As Sweden is such a long country, you can experience the warmth of the south and the coolness of the north.
   Check out the national anthem!

In Sweden of course they still use the Swedish Krona and with a population of just 10.3 million, there's plenty of space to go around.
   Sweden at the moment is having a bit of a problem with the Corona Virus, but that doesn't bother us because we're only there virtually.
   Have a look at this great video of 13 things to see and do in Sweden:

Looks pretty great, eh? Can't wait to go there for real someday!

At Vasa Museum

In Stockholm's Old Town of Gamla Stan

But the main reason we chose Sweden is because it is of course the home of Minecraft and our son wanted to visit Mojang HQ since seeing Grian's visit there:

Sweden was awesome! But after all that walking we were exhausted and fell asleep as soon as we got back to our very homely home from home hotel, even before I wrote this blog post. 
   Tomorrow : Greece!

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Virtual World Trip Day 1 : Denmark

Well, today was very exciting as at last we began our 2020 virtual family world trip! We 'flew' from Edinburgh to Copenhagen (on our sofa) with very little luggage and the flight seemed to take almost no time at all. They even have X-box on planes now! Bit disappointed to find that the weather in Denmark is almost exactly the same as in Scotland, but whatcha gonna do, eh?

Our son chose Denmark is it's the home of Lego, his favourite creative toy. We’ve been to Legoland at Windsor before but never to Lego House, which is defo one of the planned stops on our world tour this year :) I personally am looking forward to Danish pastries and Danish Bacon. We actually have already been to Copenhagen – I believe it was eight or nine years ago but it was just a whistle stop.

In Denmark of course, they use Krone rather than Euros, and some interesting facts about the Scandinavian country is that it’s an archipelago of some 443 named islands, one of which is called Zealand (perhaps the namesake of New Zealand), and Greenland and the Faroe Islands are actually autonomous Danish territories. The Denmark national anthem can be viewed here.

Life in Denmark is a bit more expensive than in Scotland, and the public transport all runs punctually, so don’t hope to catch that bus you were running a bit late for! Denmark joined the EEC in 1973, and there’s a five mile long bridge connecting Copenhagen to Malmo in Sweden called the Oresund Bridge, which is quite an amazing feat of engineering in itself! We thought about walking across the Oresund Bridge into Sweden, but decided against it. Perhaps we’ll cross it tomorrow on our way to Sweden.

Before arriving in Denmark we studied up on a few basic words and phrases:

Hi – Hej (Hi)

Goodbye – farvel (farewell)

Please – Varvenlig

Thank you – Tak skal du have

Virtual Denmark is nice – Virtual Denmark er rart

Bacon is delicious – Bacon er lakkert

1 – en

2 – to

3 – tre

4 – fire (fear)

5 – fem

But we were pleasantly surprised to find that most people here speak English!

Today we visited the famous Mermaid Statue, which was built in 1913 to commemorate a performance of The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen by Hans Christian Anderson. She has lost her head a few times over the years, but who wouldn’t, being stuck to a rock in the harbour day in day out?

We also enjoyed the amazing Tivoli Gardens, which had fantastic rides, games, shops and restaurants.

Next we went to Frederiksborg Castle which is home to the National Museum and a great maze. It was constructed in the early 1700s, when it was the home to King Christian IV. Now it houses many great treasures and works of art.

Finally we arrived at Lego House which, apart from being a popular song by Ed Sheeran released on 11/11/11, has a tonne of great stuff to do in and around the man building, without even having to buy a ticket!

At last, after a long day, our feet were killing us and we returned to our nice wee hotel for a long soak in the bath, another Danish pastry, some delicious Danish fare, a Danish beer and a movie on TV. Home from home! 

Oresund Bridge Photo Credit CC BY-SA 4.0