Category Archives: Travel

Keeping my promise

Is there anyone still out there?

It’s been a while but I made a promise to myself and thankfully I’ve kept it. We came back from our four week Australian/Tasmanian extravaganza at the end of January and I decided not to post again until I put the photos from the holidays online.

Of course, when you take 1,200 photos and 6 rolls of film it takes a while to sift through them and pick out the best bits. We’ve edited the collection and I’ve put a select few up for your perusal. You can have a look at them here!

Normal service will resume, but life is hectic at the moment making up for four weeks of beaches, wine tastings, walking, wildlife, beer, friends, camping, fishing, fairy penguins and tennis!

Bear with me!! 

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Exciting times…

I’m not dead. I’ve been busy trying to wrap things up before the Christmas break and our holiday! Oh boy, I can not wait.In eight days we’re getting on a plane for 24 hours and won’t have to think about work for a month!

We’re off to Tasmania for three weeks and Melbourne for a week! It’s the first real holiday we’ve had this year, there’s been holiday scrimping going on all year and even a bit of next year to blow it all in this trip!

A friend from university who I also studied with during my doctorate is getting hitched to a Tasmanian down in Tas. We fly into Melbourne on the 26th, stay until the 31st and fly to Tas for New Years. Then the stag do is on the 2nd, the wedding on the 5th and then we have two weeks of travelling about to see the place. Back for a few days in Melbourne then home again on the 24th.What a Christmas present! But we’ve been a little relaxed as far as preparations go so we’ve got it all to do with eight days left.

The project in work has to be put to bed, Christmas has to be celebrated properly (we got our tree on Saturday), plenty of social events between now and then, the presents have to be wrapped and so on. Busy busy, but then we don’t have to think about anything for four weeks!

Apart from that, everything is quiet over here in the land of cheese and chocolate. Nothing to report, I’m back but for a limited time only!

And on the left…

Back from a weekend in Berlin visiting the brother. We got a lot done over the two days:

  1. Saw the hotel where Jason Bourne finds and follows Pamela Landy
  2. Saw the square where Bourne is on the tram and grabs Nicky
  3. Saw the train station where Bourne eludes the police and jumps the fence
  4. Saw the train station where Bourne stashes his bag in the locker. (I may have even used the same locker! Going to check tonight!)

All in all a great weekend.

Oh and we saw the Reichstag and other stuff as well.

Is he a school teacher?

Irish-ism has made it the whole way to Switzerland! I had to re-new my passport recently and as there isn’t a consulate in Basel I had to get in touch with the embassy in Bern. So I dropped them an email and the form arrived in the post with all the necessary bits and pieces.

“Lovely”, said I, as I scanned through the form and ticked off everything I needed to send back. Previous passport, birth cert, the right size photos, the usual stuff. I then got to the back page and they required a witness to sign it. The eligible witnesses were as follows, although I can’t remember all of them:

  1. Doctor
  2. Guard
  3. Lawyer
  4. School Headmaster
  5. Priest
  6. Accountant

So there was a good choice but I didn’t have any. My doctor here doesn’t know me from Adam, likewise for the police. I don’t have a lawyer or accountant and my school headmaster hasn’t seen me in eleven years. I haven’t been to church here so I didn’t feel like going in and asking the local padre for an autograph. So the logical choice for my witness was my boss. As he wasn’t technically on the list and I had left the renewal to the last minute, I couldn’t risk anything going wrong. So I gave the embassy a call. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Ah, hello, I’ve got a quick question regarding the witness eligibility on the passport renewal form.

Embassy: Sure, what do you need to know?

Me: Well, I was wondering if my boss would fit the bill. He’s a professor of Biochemistry at the University of Basel.

Embassy: Is he a doctor?

Me: He has a doctorate alright but he isn’t technically a medical doctor.

Embassy: Ah, well he won’t do then.

Me: Could I put him under School Headmaster? He could technically be one!

Embassy: No, sorry, it’ll have to be someone on the list.

Me: He holds a professorship and a doctorate in biochemistry and has worked all round the world. He has had his own lab for twenty years, has published in plenty of peer-reviewed scientific journals, has also edited a number of those in his time, he’s married with two kids, plays the French horn and is an all round nice guy. Honest as well. Are you sure he won’t do?

Embassy: Nope, he’d have to be a medical doctor. Do you have a priest? Or a lawyer?

Me: Neither, but you’d take a school headmaster over my boss? Or an accountant? I’m going to have to think about it. Thanks for the help.

Embassy: No problem, bye.

So I went and got the boss to sign it and sent it off. They didn’t bat an eyelid. I should give up being honest and just get on with it.

Titter…

A Swiss guy, looking for directions, pulls up at a bus stop where two Irish men are waiting. “Entschuldigung, können Sie Deutsch sprechen?” He asks. The two Irish men just stare at him. “Excusez-moi, parlez-vous Français?” The two continue to stare. “Parlate Italiano?” No response. “Hablan Ustedes Espagnol?” Still nothing. The Swiss guy drives off, extremely disgusted.

The first Irish man turns to the second and says: “Y’know, maybe we should learn a foreign language…”

“Why?” says the other, “shure that bloke knew four languages, and it didn’t do him any good.”

Alpine bound

Yes indeedy! Eva’s brother and his girlfriend have arrived for a few days and so we decided to take a road trip down south and have a weekend of hiking. I’ve packed the horn (the Alpine variety of course) and all other essentials and we’ll be off around six this evening.

We’ve planned to stay in a mountain hut close to Kandersteg and see what routes take our fancy. The weather forecast looks favourable and it’s good to be getting some time in the mountains before the weather turns for the winter. We’re a bit disappointed this year with how little time we’ve spent in the Alps. We’ve been walking a few times in Jura close to Basel, but the two to three hours to get to the Alps have put day trips out of reach. So if you’re going to go it has to be for a weekend and they seem to be always in short supply!

So we’ve made more promises to get more trips in next year and this weekend is a good excuse to scout out some new areas for us. Of course the skiing season is quickly creeping up on us and I hope we’ll get a good season this year and a few trips to the piste. I have to fine tune my back flips!

Checklist

  • Clean underwear
  • Toothbrush
  • Can of lynx deodorant
  • French phrasebook
  • “101 funny Spanish/Argentinian insults” book
  • Official Irish World Cup Rugby Jersey
  • Rather large Guinness Novelty Hat
  • Tickets for the Ireland v. Argentina Rugby world cup game
  • Hip flask
  • Passport
  • Euros
  • BOD’s autobiography for the train
  • Camera
  • Singing voice
  • Strong belief we can win by four tries and more than seven points

Right, I’m off. Bring on the Argentinians.