Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What's New In Vienna?

Hi All

Nothing much to report as yet I'm afraid. Both Marco and I have been suffering from the inevitable germs on the plane, also the weather has turned a little shall we say "Melbourne". This morning it was 9 degrees, windy and raining. Hardly happy holiday weather but nice for staying in and catching up on some reading.

It's Marco's 38th birthday tomorrow, so we have some serious cake eating to look forward to. I'll be posting a picture of him filling his mouth with cake (inhaling as Maxime would say!) some time tomorrow.

Bussi to All

Monica & Marco

Monday, May 28, 2007

We Made It!

After approximately 36 hours in airports and airplanes around the world, we arrived in Vienna at 11am local time to a wonderful sunny day, and a balmy 27 degrees. We have met the new Remo, just a baby dog at only 1 year old. Although he means well, when he is running at you with saliva in his “beard” (he’s a giant Schnauzer) and his full 48kg of body weight …. it’s a pretty daunting experience. Marco’s parents house here in Stammersdorf is more beautiful than ever, with the flowers in the garden in full bloom and all the foliage in the fields around looking very “Sound of Music” – which I managed to sing a few bars of while we took the dog for a walk. Look out for pictures of the garden and surrounds in future posts.

You are probably nodding off to sleep right now, thinking you may never bother to check this blog again if Monica doesn’t write something more interesting. So here’s the trip up in a nutshell:
  • Arrived at Brisbane airport insanely early for the flight (4 hours) which proved fortuitous as it took over ½ hour in the queue just to check our bags. Let’s not speak of the security line!

  • Relatively uneventful flight, with the usual Qantas service aside from the fact that we were in a 20 year old plane that didn’t look big enough for the job. Anyone who knows me will remember how I LOVE flying (tongue firmly in cheek) so the sight of what looked like a 737 waiting for me to board didn’t exactly fill me with joy. It wasn’t just me – the man in the queue in front of me said “are you sure we’re at the right flight, that plane doesn’t look big enough to fly to Hong Kong”. Well it is an 8 hour flight overall.

  • Of course we arrived in 1 (crumpled) piece. I’d forgotten what it feels like to stand outside in Hong Kong, humidity combined with a mass of humanity creating a smell unlike any other. It was 33 degrees and about 90% humidity when we arrived. Note the beads of sweat on our foreheads in this picture.

  • We spent 6 hours in the airport in Hong Kong which included a funny meal at one of the airport restaurants. The waitresses found Marco very funny (god knows why) and practically applauded him on his chopstick technique. I’ll take the credit for that! We were the only Gweilo’s in site.

  • Next leg of the journey 12 hours to London on a Cathay Pacific 747-600. You know the ones, giant double decker planes that I liken to flying elephants. It was a long flight, although the service on Cathay remains excellent, and really does put Qantas and British to shame.

  • We arrived in London to a typical morning, heavy fog, 9 degrees on the ground and drizzling. It was certainly a shock after the warmth of Hong Kong and the other 400 travelling bodies on the 747 we’d just left.

  • Suffered through the indignity of the virtual strip search in Heathrow to get through the security check in point. Perhaps cosmetics companies should consider creating a line of “no-bomb” makeup that doesn’t require you to walk around with a zip lock back full of your personal toiletries for the whole world to see.

  • After sitting in the BA plane on the tarmac for over an hour (apparently Brussels decided there was too much air traffic over Europe and we weren’t going anywhere until someone else landed) we made it!

Now you know as much about our trip as I do. I look forward to something more exciting to tell you after my jetlag has subsided.

Monica & Marco

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

When Are They Leaving?

Hi There

I can hear you all saying "They sent me the link to that blog, they told me they were going .... so where are they?"

Well, we're still in beautiful downtown Brisbane in Australia. Here's some more details about our trip:

26/05 Brisbane – Hong Kong
27/05 Hong Kong – London – Vienna
02/06 Vienna – Barcelona
04/06 Barcelona – Valencia
06/06 Valencia – Pisa
08/06 Pisa – Lubeck (Hamburg)
09/06 Lubeck – Vienna
25/06 Vienna – London - Hong Kong
01/07 Hong Kong – Sydney
02/07 Sydney - Brisbane

Ok, end of blog. Only kidding, we're looking forward to keeping you up to date on what happens at each of these planned (and all the unplanned) destinations on our trip.

Can anyone recommend a good book? It looks like we'll be spending a few days in and out of airports.

Best Wishes To All

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Trip to Horseshoe Bay

This trip isn't actually part of our Great Europe Tour but it's an opportunity to add a little interest to this site before sending the link to you. Over the May Day long weekend (5th May to 7th May) the weather was perfect for a little trip in the south of Moreton Bay to a little anchorage known as Horeshoe Bay. This anchorage lies off North Stradbroke island and offers good protection and minimal swell during a prevailing Northerly wind. As we were sailing pretty much downwind the skipper thought it might be a nice chance to drag out the mouldy old spinnaker. The crew are generally opposed to the spinnaker as they consider it to be a weapon of mass destruction. For those non-nautical types who may be reading this, a spinnaker is basically a very large sail made of light weight cloth specifically designed for light wind conditions and ideal for downwind sailing.

Things were going along nicely, managing roughly 5 knots in virtually no wind with no difficulties at the helm. As this picture shows, the crew were actually having a pretty good time.

That is until the inevitable single catastrophic event that comes with every sailing trip - no matter how perfect the rest of the trip may be. As I said, everything was going along swimmingly, until the sea breeze kicked in at around 3:30. A sudden gust saw the boat heeling over at an alarming angle, prompting the skipper to cry "ease the sheet" (that means let the rope go so the sail has less power). The diligent crew did as they were asked, in spite of the sheet flying off the winch during which time the sheet ran free and managed to take several layers of skin off the crew. The decision was made to down the sail, which proved harder than we imagined.

The long and the short of it is that the spinnaker came down in a most unauthortodox fashion, leaving us drifting toward a danger mark, but generally safe and unharmed. That is, of course, aside from the crew's leg which had a white streak of missing skin, only matched by the crew's new finger print which had been sanded down by the running spinnaker sheet.

The rest of the weekend was blissfully uneventful with the chance to catch up with some old neighbours from the marina - we all ended up at the same anchorage. I suppose it wouldn't be sailing if there wasn't at least 1 life affirming moment in the trip.

Cheers & Enjoy.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hi This Is Our First Blog Message

Hello World :)

This blog has been set up to track the progress of the Malgarini Great Europe Tour '07. It's our opportunity to share with you the joys of travel.


Malgas in Oz