The 21st of August will mark exactly one year since we left Australia on the adventure of a lifetime! We packed our lives into a storage shed in North Brisbane and said goodbye to our family and friends as we jumped on a plane to the other side of the world! We wanted to experience a totally different culture, a different way of living and what place is more different then the warm and sunny Queensland that we grew up in? Cold and damp London of course!
When we first arrived in London we didn’t know a single person, we had no home, no job, not even a mobile phone to use! A fresh start was in order and that’s exactly what happened. We soon moved into our new flat in Canary Wharf and settled into our new lives that involved a daily commute to work on the tube and weekends filled with jugs of Pimms at the pub and fish and chips with mushy peas.
As time flew by – before we knew it 2 months had gone passed. We decided to celebrate with a week in Ibiza. The days were filled with swimming and sun bathing and the nights with ample amounts of cocktails. If we had known how dark and cold winter was going to be, we would have stayed a lot longer. As November approached, the days started getting shorter and we had to go shopping for new jackets… In December the sun didn’t rise until we were well on our way to work and by the time we left, it had set again. We then went shopping for even warmer jackets! Christmas in Prague and New Year in Scotland were amazing but they lacked the snow that everyone had promised us! Apparently it was the mildest winter on record! We still thought it was cold enough!
As the 26th January approached we began to feel very Patriotic and when the time came to celebrate Australia Day, we pulled out our boxing kangaroo flag and headed to Clapham to spend a day drinking with our Aussie friends! We drank Bundy Rum, ate meat pies and shapes and even managed to chew on a cherry ripe on the train ride home.
By the start of February, we were convinced we had developed “Seasonal Affective Disorder”, otherwise known as ‘’SAD’’, (where you feel glum because your lack of vitamin D provided naturally via the sun). Totally overwhelmed by winter and just how long it could drag out, we turned down an invite to dress up as sheep to celebrate Waitangi day with our Kiwi friends, to stay inside where it was nice and warm. At 10pm we looked out the window to discover it was snowing! The moment we had been waiting for all winter! We spent a glorious few hours outside having snowball fights (which Matt won, of course!), and making a snowman in our garden before bed and waking up the next day to a white London and to find our snowman had been decapitated and a massive manly appendage had been added 😦
A few weeks later, it was again time to get away to Europe for a winter Holiday. We spent 8 days travelling through Brussels, Berlin and Amsterdam. It was amazing! Belgium waffles, mussels in Brussels, cheese, clogs and windmills, Bratwurst, Currywurst and German beer. Our tastebuds were extremely happy and so were we! We spent an unforgettable night in Brussels drinking Belgium beer in a little eccentric bar watching the snow fall outside. We then went chocolate shopping on the walk home, where we purchased far more then we needed, (we assume the Belgian Beer might have influenced that spending spree). Amsterdam was a different place altogether with its nightlife, trams, cafes and ladies of the night. We were constantly avoiding injury from the locals on their pushbikes, that’s why they have the saying “if you hear a bell… run like hell”. The next 4 days were spent in Berlin, the stories and history was remarkable. There was evidence of the war on every corner, making this place unbelievable with so much information and history to take in. We ended our trip with an afternoon at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp just outside of the city. Here we saw where the imprisoned Jews lived, and read stories of how they were treated. We found the experience really deep and moving. Even though it was cold and constantly trying to snow we didn’t want to leave this country!
Alas, we had to go home to London so that we could spend the next seven weeks working to pay for our next adventure… Egypt! A lifelong dream for both of us to visit this country and even though it was politically unstable at the time, we were determined to go! The best part about travelling to Egypt was that London was still less than 10 degrees, however in Egypt; it was 30-40 degrees! We spent the next 10 days in this amazing country, seeing things we learnt about in primary school and completely perplexed to believe that we were really there: right in front of us! The Pyramids of Giza, The Valley of the Kings and treasures from Tutankhamen’s tomb… we saw too many remarkable sights to list! Definitely the best Easter so far!
Back in London Spring had arrived! The days were getting longer and slightly warmer, which made us keen to get out there and experience London! We filled the next few weeks with fun filled activities watching the Rugby Sevens at Twickenham Stadium, attending Charlton football games (our local team), Keeping close to our roots at Bogan Bingo, watching the London Marathon and celebrating QLD’s state of Origin game I victory at the ‘Walkabout’ (10 hours later of course).
Before we knew it, June had arrived and with it came a move into a new house in Greenwich and a holiday in Croatia. Eight days sailing around the Croatian islands! On paper it sounded amazing and it reality, it was! It turns out, that Hannah decided she is not really a boat person and couldn’t wait to get back into a comfy bed on land and furthermore, it was always quite a shock to wake up every morning at 6am to the sound of the engine starting (especially when you had a hangover most days)! Every day was a different adventure, in a different town, and every night was a different kind of party! When the week was over, we went home with an incredible hangover and were in dire need of a copious amount of drinking water, vegetables and a good, long sleep. But it was definitely worth it!
Since then, we’ve spent a weekend in Paris and one in Barcelona with Hannah’s family. It was a much needed boost to see them as we haven’t seen any family since before Christmas when Matt’s Uncle George was visiting London and his Sister Laura just before that.
So why start a blog now you might ask? Well we have wanted to document our adventure from day one, but never got around to doing it. So with the inaugural anniversary of our departure from Brisbane International Airport approaching, we deemed it was an appropriate time to recap on the fantastic year we have had, in addition to that, it gives us an opportunity to share with our family and loved ones, the year we have yet to come! There are so many other stories we could share with you, but they will have to wait for another time as its Sunday evening and we think a beer at our local – in ‘The Old Dart – is in order. So instead we will leave you with our top 10 experiences so far!