Photos

Monday, October 8, 2007

Marrakech

Considering the frequency of posts on this here blog I wouldn't be surprised if nobody actually read this. For those that do here's what's happening:

Maddy and I are in Marrakech having arrived a week ago at about 2am local time. It is Ramadan however and thus nobody sleeps at night, they're too busy eating their only meals of the day.
This place is a constant rollercoaster of great and terrible experiences but always exciting and interesting. Once you get past the constant requests, offers, and demands of the locals for change, hashish, and inflated prices, you start to see a lot of more of what this place really has to offer.
Our hotel is cheap and cheerful in the extreme and the staff range from eccentric to insane (possibly with hunger given the time of year). The street life is incredible, including wonderful food stalls that fill the main square every night; touts from each try out their unique approaches to get you to choose their stall above all others. One calls himself Denzal Washington, one stops just short of abuse, and our favourite wooed us with Kath and Kim impressions and delicious lamb skewers.
After spending most of our time in Marrakech city we decided to go on a day trip to the incredible Atlas Mountains just 50km from town. Our guide Muhammed comes from a Berber village just south of where we were and had a great relationship with the locals which we were able to share in. Far from being a big tour group it was only Maddy, Liz (Maddy's friend who met us here on Monday), myself, Muhammed, another Berber guide, and our mule Mermusha. Muhammed went out of his way to assure me that the mule was included in the price.
We walked along the trail that the local men and women take from the weekly market back to their home along a river running through the High Atlas. This meant crossing the river many times, resulting in several wet shoes, and a few hairy moments. We stopped for lunch and a swim in a small lagoon of ice cold, flowing mountain water. After this we headed up and saw just some of the incredible views offered by the mountains. It was certainly one of the most amazing experiences any of us have ever had.
On returning to the village from which we started our expedition we met up again with our taxi driver who took us all the way back to town (grand taxis: Creamy mercedes that the driver packs full of people and does trips between major centres for about the cost of a cab to the city from Webbs Ave). The sour note, and another example of the constant contradictions of this place, was that I discovered that I was missing some 800dh (about 110 australian) from my money belt. The only time it had been out of my sight was when we were swimming and we left with Muhammed and our Berber guide, at their insistance. Not wanting to have any bad feelings about a wonderful day we organised to see Muhammed later on and I spoke to him about it. He seemed shocked and very upset that it had happened and insisted on paying back all the money. I didn't want this but only wanted to feel completely ok about my relationship with him. The agreement was for him to pay half and to investigate with his guide whether or not something may have happened. His sincere desire for us not to have any negative feelings about him or about Morocco were clear and impressed me greatly. Perhaps it is hard to understand why this meant so much to me unless you've experienced the great uncertainty of Marrakech where it is hard to tell the difference between people you wouldn't look at twice and those that you could trust your life with.
It is with these mixed feelings that we spend our last full day in Marrakech before heading to Tangier. However it should be said that the positive far outweighs any negative, and all of it is part of the experience of this amazing place.
Hope you are all well and enjoyed reading something about our experiences here. I'll try to update you about the rest of our time here and perhaps something about our farmstay which is coming up in Spain!

Love,

Ben

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Father's Day and Lily's Grand Final


We had a lovely afternoon tea at the Brittons. A photo to mark the occasion:


We went to Menai for Lily's Grand Final yesterday.

They won!!

It was a bit close and tense but all went well!!

We are fine hope all is good with you!!


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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Verona

Hi all,

Sorry to hear about Les but glad hear (and see) that he's ok. Tell him that I understand what it feels like and not to worry :) Florence was nice but a little overwhelming for us with tourists and heat and next to no locals in sight as they've all gone on holidays. We escaped to Verona for a few nights and really enjoying it here, it's like a mini Florence and it's beautiful, although a little quiet as well as it's a uni town and it's holidays. Still next is Rome where there is guaranteed to be plenty to do and lots of fun to be had.
So the intinerary will be from here on:
Rome

south to:
Napoli/Ischia/Amalfi

east to:
Bari/Barletta (as in La Disfida di Barletta)/Lecce

ferry to:
Croatia - Dubrovnik & Split

back to:
Milan

for a flight to:
Morocco! (Sept 30, in time for Maddy's birthday on Oct 2)

Will update you on things from there,

love to everybody!!!

Ben

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Les has been in Hospital!! But he's allright.

Les was taken to Canterbury Hospital by ambulance last Saturday afternoon. He was kept in until Sunday after lunch with waht was diagnosed as an"episode" of asthma - not surprising given his genetic pool. Clare was a bit worried but the hospital was geat and he is fine now although he needs to have Ventolin this week but probably not permenently!!

This video was taken at home on Sunday so you can see that he is fine!!


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It was great to get your email from Florence ...it seems strange to see Florence as hot!! I have been there twice in winter!! Glad CT was so good will have to tell Kathy and Peter.

Mum said to say that she wore your jumper to work today!! 3 days to go!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Great to talk with U. God bless Technology!!

How good is Europe???

A couple of videos to keep You in touch


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Friday, August 10, 2007

Just Catching Up

This is a video from about four weeks ago now I just hadn't managed to process it.

I'll write more later!!


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Monday, July 30, 2007

Champs Elysee!!!!

Well we managed to get a great spot on the Champs to watch the Tour yesterday mainly because I made us get there early but had misunderstood when they were coming in - by about three hours! Still it was worth it once the helicopters appeared overhead and the crowd started buzzing then, suddenly there they were, zooming past with me frantically trying to spot a peach coloured number 41. It was really amazing to be there and we ended up with some older aussies who were entertaining and helped us out with our yelling and Aussie Aussie Aussies. Such a great experience but kind of funny because the crowd doesn't really know what's happening, and the French didn't really have anyone to cheer, plus when it finished everyone just kind of looks around til they work out who one. Mind you the riders all look very happy and relieved when they cross that finish line! If you saw Cadel on the podium, Maddy and I were over his right shoulder about fifty metres back in the crowd (finding a well deserved place to park our arses after about 5 hours standing in the one spot).
Paris is treating us both well and we have a wonderful little piece of Montmatre to spend our evenings in. Today we're headed to the Louvre and tomorrow to Versailles, so we're keeping busy and I'm sure the time will be over before we know it. Hope all is well, love to everyone,

Ben xoxoxo

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Smartarse!!!


Mum just told me (via Skype - you must try it!!) that you got a HD at Uni!! Are they giving them away these days???
The photo is sunset last evening!!

Where are you (both?) is it Paris yet??? Remember we'll always have Paris!

I'm having great fun on the farm at Junee. Looking after the sheep. The old term is Shepherd, nowadays it is called sheep husbandry (very NZ). The ewes are lambing at a great rate at the momet so most of the work is in checking the sheep andbeing midwife if necessary ( or executioner if it goes wrong!!) and move the sheep to fresher pastures (very biblical) (Should that be greener or is that new age?)

If you don't think we are doing any work check http://www.fontenoymick.blogspot.com

I hhope all is well and thet you both are surviving the heat!! Evans is the only one who isn't on drugs on the tour!!! When you look at Vinakourov I think I'll try a transfusion myself!!

LOL

Dad (Mum by proxy)

From Berlin

Currently sitting in Berlin after a week here and not nearly enough time to see this crazy town. I've been all over the place with Toby who left on Monday morning. I'm staying with Joseph (friend from Sydney) and Emmanuelle at their amazing house in Neuköln, which Joseph affectionately refers to as the Cabramatta of Berlin, still, like everywhere in this city, even this place is not without it's hidden charm. So many things to see and do in this place, day or night. Toby and I did a wonderful walking tour that showed us most of the main sights like the Brandenberg Gate, the last remenants of the Wall, Bebelplatz (site of the Nazi book burning and now one of the many incredible, understated, powerful memorials throughout Berlin, our wonderful guide Charlie described it as the presence of absence, Germans have a great awareness of this). We've also done our own touring and have seen Checkpoint Charlie, and it's rather useless musuem, Potsdamer Platz (formerly no man's land between the walls now swanky expensive shops and restaurants) and today I went to the Zoo and got to see the star attraction KNUT! The cute cuddly polar bear who is now kind of dirty and teenaged but still quite a sight, especially with hundreds of people trying to catch a glimpse.
Yesterday I went to the Jewish Musuem which was an amazing experience, the building itself is quite breathtaking and the musuem has a great history of the Jews in Germany. I also went to a record store in someone's apartment that is the best for reggae in all of Berlin. If this sounds strange consider that I have so far been to a five bar club in a run down shopping mall, a drum n bass party at what looked like housing estate but turned out to be several clubs and a cinema, and a bar on a deserted street that was totally open air. In Berlin nothing is easy to find but everything is worth looking for. Tomorrow Joseph and Emmanuelle return after being away for the last few days so I will have company again until I leave for Paris on Thursday night to reunite with Madeleine! Not sure how tomorrow will pan out, I had plans to see some more musuems or maybe just revisit some great places in this great city.
That's probably the best update I've given on anywhere so far and it's probably because I love this city.
Love to all and everyone,

ben

P.S. I need postal addresses please, I have more postcards than I know what to do with, start with MattClareLes, Sue, & Jack and we'll go from there.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Money transferred

I put $500 over. Let me know if you want more!!! It's not my money!!! yet!!!!

All well here.

Will send a video probably tomorrow Dad

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Remembering to use this thing

Hi All,
Thought I'd send you a message to say that i'm doing well and enjoying Amsterdam with Toby, plenty to see and do, we've most liked biking all over town, usually getting lost but eventually finding our way. The coffee shops and red light are seedy as expected but the city itself is beautiful and so easy to get around. We've been to the Van Gogh musuem which was great and still have a day and a half to do things before heading to berlin. I'm not sure if i'm goin to Vienna but I'm gonna sort it out from Berlin. Hope everyone is doing well in Sydney, sorry for my lack of contact but Amsterdam is expensive and difficult when it comes to phones and internet. But it is still and very cool city and we've got more of it to see today. Keep me posted on happenings at home! Maddy's on the plane now which is pretty exciting and it won't be long til we meet in Paris! Love to all!

Ben

p.s. can dad please check my balance and maybe transfer some cash in my savings?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A word from Mum and Dad

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From Ade with Wags and Licks

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I'm learning too!

Dad's like a pig in mud working out all this 'stuff' So I thought I should at least say 'hi!'

Go the Blues!!!

Bird was outstanding!!!



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Friday, June 29, 2007

cologne!

So im here and ive got a bed, and had a full night's sleep as well. Spent most of yesterday just wandering around in a bit of a daze, i'm going to have a bit more of a plan today, which will probably involve climbing the steeple of the massive Dom Kölner cathedral, it's quite amazing actually and totally dominates the city, which means i have to get a little further afield to really find what's going on here.
I feel much better for some rest today and can't wait to get out and explore properly around the rhine and the rest of the city.
Hope all is well back home, I'm sure i'll have plenty to report after only a short time here. I think i'll be here for the weekend then maybe catch the train somewhere else for a couple of days and then come back for Summerjam.

- ben.

Blog is Open to You Now

I don't think it was the German computer!! I have changed some settings!

It is half past 4 am here...don't ask me why I am awake!! Anxiety???

They say it is inherited ..watch out!

Ade says Woof and licks!

Love Dad

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We're missing you already!!!


It is only 24 hours but we have already started to miss you!!

It is funny to think that you have gone for so long. As Nanny said: "IthinkI miss him more than the others, ... little Ben!!"

We hope you have arrived safely in Germany (It is around 6 on Thursday night here so you have been gone about 27 hours .. so hopefully you are there by now!!)