Saturday, 20 June 2015

Salzburg, Austria

The unfortunate occurrence of my visa ending has to have some kind of silver lining, right?

Of course there is! Something that pretty much all those my age do these days - TRAVEL!

I had a couple free weeks before the start of my Asia trip so where better to spend my time than in the relaxing city of Salzburg before the more happening cities of Hannover and Berlin.

I took the cheap option and flew into Linz to take the train to Salzburg. The trains were a bit of good luck, had a whole train compartment to myself! It was very Harry Potter-esque.

I checked in to my hostel, YoHo International Hostel and had a quick nap after arranging dinner with a fellow traveller I had connected with on Facebook.

We had a lovely Austrian dinner before buying a cheap bottle of wine each and making our way up to Hohensalzburg Fortress. We sat on the fortress wall, playing our drinking games, watching the sunset over Salzburg.

It was such a lovely view and then the rains came! Luckily, the rain only lasted as long as the wine did! 

Luckily, the next day saw the sun shining brightly and a short walk bring the sweat on!  Unfortunately I had not looked at the extended weather forecast, otherwise I would have made more of the sun on Wednesday instead of making use of my bed for a nap! 

Thursday I woke up early to go on a tour to the Eagle's Nest. 
The Eagle's Nest was built high up on a mountain in the 1930s as a present for Hitler's 50th birthday. It was purely for conferences and Hitler only visited around 10 times. 

Unfortunately, I thought the actual building wasn't worth the price, but the view is absolutely to die for (and 6 - 8 people did die during construction).

Even on the rainy, cloudy day I went the mountains are magnificent to view. And I even met a lovely couple from Adelaide up there!

Thursday night had me back at the same restaurant, Zum Eulenspiegel with a bloke from the hostel. They have their own gluten free menu so I had some Austrian cuisine options. Unfortunately the rain stopped us from exploring Salzburg Old Town at night so we made our way back to the hostel for the nightly viewing of Sound of Music. 
I had to have a refresher of the songs as on Friday morning I was on another tour, this time to the different locations of Salzburg that are featured in the film.

We drove past the Von Trapp villa, the lake in the boating scene, the gazebo and the church in Mondsee where the wedding took place as well as the different locations featured in the 'Do Re Mi' song.

Typically, the sun had to come out and stop the rain AFTER the tour had ended. I made the most of it and wandered into the Old Town where I stumbled across a fresh food market! Score! No more paying €3.50 for breakfast! And the size of the strawberries! I'm pretty sure they were bigger than my nephew's head when he was born! 
Luckily, the fresh fruit, cheese and ham have sustained me all today as I have been cooped up inside the hostel due to the miserable weather.

Hopefully Germany will bring out the sunshine for me on Monday. 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Time Flies

Today is my last full day of work. After tomorrow's half day that will be the end of my time working during this stint of my stay in the United Kingdom. 

As an Australian, aged between 18 - 30 I am lucky enough to qualify for a Tier 5 Working Holiday Visa. 
The visa entitles you to work and live in the United Kingdom for a period of two years. You are also able to leave and enter the country multiple times. 

In the last two years I have been able to travel to 19 different countries and many more cities. I've had the opportunity to skydive in the Swiss Alps, hot air balloon over Cappodoccia, tubing in Turkey, experience an ANZAC Dawn Service on the Gallipoli Peninsula, see The Backstreet Boys in London's Hyde Park, ride a camel in Tunisia, be a supporter at the first Invictus Games and visit Auschwitz Death Camp in Poland.

I've also had the chance to live on both the east and west sides of London and try my hand at a few different jobs, from call centres, waitressing and bar tending to live in care work.

With my last 3 days of my 2 year stint in the UK I will be (finally) stepping on to the tourist trap that is the London Eye and catching up with friends - not to mention packing! So much packing!

On Tuesday morning I start out on another adventure, exploring the sights of Salzburg and Germany before spending just under a month in Asia before stepping my feet back on Australian soil! 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Capela Dos Ossos - Alcantarilha

As part of my job I was lucky enough to go to Portugal last month with one of my clients (I work as a live-in carer - not an escort!) and two of his friends. 

We stayed in a lovely apartment just on the outskirts of Lagos that was decked out with all the equipment that we could need. Hazel and Bryn, the owners of Funchal Ridge, recommended many places in the Algarve to visit. We decided to follow them up on the recommendation of Capela Dos Ossos in the small town of Alcantarilha. 

We skipped the new main motorway and stuck to the old highway (got to keep away from those tolls!) following directions from a road map!

We came of the highway and straight on to tight, cobblestoned roads.

As well as the map we had the use of phone GPS as we weren't entirely sure of the exact location of the Chapel. We came to a T-junction and followed the GPS and a very vague sign and ended up 5km away in a little village that seemed to be closed for siesta. Executing a quick u-turn, turns out the Chapel was where the T-junction was!

Looking up to the main church in Alcantarilha

The Chapel is situated behind the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and was constructed in the 16th Century and built on the site of the old church cemetery. 

The interior is lined with skulls and thigh bones of dead parishioners. 


The Chapel is about 4m x 4m and the doorway is barred so that the bones can not be stolen. 
 A crucifix of Jesus Christ is placed high on the back wall. 




I personally didn't find the Chapel eerie or scary, but that could have been due to the sunlight streaming through the doors behind me. 

We ended up having dinner with my client's family near Carvoeira and didn't arrive back to Lagos until after dark. 

Despite the cold night air that had come in, the darkness worked in our favour as we found this beauty in the middle of a roundabout coming through Lagos. 

Massive chairs!

Of course we had to take a few photos of them!