A Travellerspoint blog

London Life

Well the money finally ran out and my ski bum fantasy has come to an abrupt end. Lisa and I have set up base camp in a share apartment living with a couple of English girls living in West London around 20mins on the train to the centre of London (She Bu for those of you that have spent a little time here).

The apartment is a crazy looking place above some shops that was used as an art gallery 10 years ago. The walls are different colors with some pretty strange features including a velvet wall that you can draw pictures on, and a lime green loungeroom. The bathroom takes the cake though - lets just say I think they must have put the wrong kind of mushrooms in the risotto they were eating the day they decorated...

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View from the loungeroom
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London loves your money so luckily we've both landed on our feet for work. Lis has been contracting at various hopitals in London and i'm wearing a suit and pretending I know what i'm talking about as a Marketing Exec for a global property consultancy KnightFrank. www.knightfrank.com

We've got lots of travel planned in Europe over the summer but thought we'd better get in a few English experiences before we head to the continent.

First stop was the Football (aka Soccer) when my buddy Adrian was visiting from Australia.

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Another mutual mate of ours got us the tickets as he follows the team that were playing an away game. We sat in the away stand which is one of the ends behind the goal, they have to seperate the fans at the games over here so they don't punch-on.

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Great atmosphere and thought i'd try getting some video of the action just as the only goal of the game was scored.

Next stop was a day trip down to Brighton Beach around an hour and a half from London. Seaside town though if you look closely the stones on the beach have a lot of waves to pound them before they start resembling sand.

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Some of you might recognise this view, picture fatboy silm on a stage at one end with 40,000 filling the beach dusk till dawn - woop woop!

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Next stop was Easter in Bath, site of the best preserved example of the Romans in England as well as lots of other impressive old grey stone things.

Bath bridge

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Bath Abbey where the first king of England was coronated.

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The Roman Baths. This is where the Romans used to chill out between conquering nations. It's a natural hotspring that they built a bath house and steam room around over 2000 years ago.

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Last stop on the way home from Bath was Stonehenge. They still don't know what it was really used for but there's plenty of theories so here's mine. I think it may have been the equivalent to the Aussie shed. Guys from the local town got together and built it to have somewhere to escape from their 15 wives and use the excuse they were just popping down the road for a quick religious ceremony...

The happy tourists at stonehenge

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Thought I'd leave you with one of our unplanned English experiences. The last time I saw the Queen was at school in Australia when she was visiting and we all ran out to the road and waved at the big black car driving past with the white gloved hand waving out the window. This time I was walking to the train and saw a crowd gathered outside a new firestation so stopped to see what was going on. Few minutes later a big black car arrived and out she hopped to open the firestation. The crowd were yelling 'give us a wave' but all we got was a nice view of her ass as she jumped back in her ride.

The Queens Bum

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Thanks for all your stories and updates, look forward to hearing from you soon. clintwright1978@gmail.com and lis lre200@hotmail.com

Posted by ClintW 08:08 Comments (0)

glaciers and fondue

Chamonix French Alps

yep you guessed it, more snow. To get you in the mood for this one i'd grab a nice hot expresso, croissant and don't shave or shower for a week (that includes you girls), as this time it's 5 days in Chamonix in the French Alps...

Had a good mate from Canberra meet me in London and we headed for our apartment slopeside in one of the largest ski areas in the French Alps. Seven different ski areas along one of the most impressive valleys i've ever seen.

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They live, breath and worship skiiing here

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First day was a pearler, clear skies and it hadn't snowed in a while(which in these parts means less chance of an avalanche) so we headed for the gondola that took as straight to the highest Glacier around - 4000m

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We'd read about the terrrain and what to expect but when you jump in this gondola with 40 others and you're the only two people without a harness, crampons, and ice pick it does make you feel a little uneasy.

Top of the gondola.

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Looking down to the Glacier we were about to drop in on.

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First time i'd ridden a glacier and with no sign of anything that resembled a ski resort including ski patrol or marked trails, we tucked in behind a guided group and stuck to the main trails. We soon realised the reason for the harnesses were in case you fell into a crevass in the glacier so they could pull you out.

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Gotta love the french, you can still get an expresso that would rival any laneway barista in Melbourne at 4000m. Trust me, you need the caffeine hit when the runs are 17km long!!

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Some great views and cool iceformations along the way, like this icecave - if you look closely you can see my buddy who seemed to enjoy exploring strange dark french holes........in the ice.

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Good times and to top things off, deck chairs and beers in the snow, love it!

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The calm was definitely before the storm and the snowgods delivered their fluffy white goodness in a big way. 9ft of snow in a two day blizzard which closed the resorts and kept us in our apartment like two caged tigers.

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The Fondue was good though and although i don't have a photo we found a tenpin bopwking alley that served beers till 3am which could be a dangerous combination if you're full of unspent ski adrenaline and wearing cool french bowling shoes next to polished wooden dance floors - i mean bowling alleys. Let's just say our photos are probably on the wall there with big red crosses through them. Don't worry Mum, we said we were from New Zealand hahahaha...

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The following morning we awoke to avalanche bombs exploding which means the resorts are making the mountains safe for skiers and boarders to go up.

View from the balcony of our apartment

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Spent the day up to our armpits in snow ripping the mountain to pieces in sub -20c temperatures. The type of cold that socks are used to warm things other than your feet! By far the most epic snow conditions i've ever experienced, steep and very very deep.

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On that note my skibum fantasy world comes to an end with far too much money donated to people that pull you up ski hills. Lise and I have got ourselves an apartment in central london 10minutes from Oxford st. I've got a haircut and a real job. Once again i'm wondering why some guy ever invented the tie and trying to find the best deal on dry cleaning for my suits. Next installment will be London town where the sun is shining, the people are friendly and life's a breeze...

What's happening in your neck of the woods? clintwright1978@gmail.com

Posted by ClintW 06:23 Archived in France Comments (0)

Colorado Cruising

The Rockies

Most of you are probably reading this as you're getting into the start of working week so up front I just want to say I have no apologies for the following photos. Life as an unemployed ski bum is, and always has been the best!! Be assured i'll be rejoining the rest of the penguins in the real world very soon...

So following my Californian adventure, me and Tyler loaded up the boardbags and jumped on a plane to Denver, gateway to the Rockie Mountains.

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Our good friend Michelle lives in Denver and she made sure we felt acclimatised to the altitude in fine fashion with a couple of dirty vodka martinis.

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The last time I saw Michelle was during her trip to Oz a couple of years ago and we chased some kangaroos up on Mt Ainslie. It was great to catch up with her on home turf, or snow I should say. Here's a shot of her frontyard.

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The following day we headed for our lodge in Keystone resort. My buddy Tyler works for a company that owns a 5-star resorts in the Rocky's so we were rolling in style on the staff rate at our mountain side pad complete with hottub, heated pool and frozen lake for iceskating!! Here's the view from the balcony.

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I'd been praying, and sometimes swearing and throwing stuff at the snow gods in Cali and finally they delivered. Brekenridge, Vail and Keystone up to an altitude of 13,800ft for those that know their ski mountains.

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Hiking the back bowls at Keystone - smash powder face!!

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The mercury clocked in at a chilly -25c at the bottom of the mountain so you can imagine how cold it was at the top. Lets just say it was the first time i'd experienced green isicles hanging from my nose errrrr...

A little post-mountain shannanigans kept things warm at night. My old roomie from Cali in 2001, Frank the Tank and his lady Theresa were in Colorado so a few bevvies and some very bad dancefloor moves helped us through the chilly nights

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So what do you do in the Rocky's when your legs are too sore to board anymore, hit the hotsprings - they pipe natural spring water at 45c into these pools ahhhhhh.....

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then hire one of these beasts for some backcountry cruising

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An epic Colorado snow adventure etched on my hamstrings as i hobbled through customs enroute to London.

Lise met me off the plane in London and surprised me with tickets to the Australia vs Denmark in the soccer for my birthday - yes my birthday, send presents now! They belted us 3-1 but what a way to start my stint in England. Jimmy Barnes was in town and crackled out the aussie anthem and you'll see by the green and gold in the crowd we were amongst friends here.

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The snow gods must have followed me over from the Rockies cause the second day here after an unusually warm winter for the poms i was thinking about cracking out the board and carving up the park next door to the friends place we're staying.

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So London for now while we get a few things sorted. Stay tuned

Loved getting your news from back home so keep it coming!! clintwright1978@gmail.com

Can't believe the Aussies lost the cricket. We'd better smash them in the Rugby later in the year or i'll have to wear a disguise and speak in Spanish over here.

Posted by ClintW 12:12 Comments (1)

Lake Tahoe California

Two weeks in the states and feels like two months with everything i've been up to. Started off in fine form with a cancelled internal flight from San Fran and having to rent a car and drive out to Lake Tahoe after a 15hour overnight flight. Got some great looks from the people at Thrifty when I went to jump in the wrong side of the car, stupid Aussies, crikey! Got to my buddy Tyler's (worked with him last time i was over) and straight into some boarding.

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Lake Tahoe, around 3 hours east of San Fran, is surrounded by ski resorts and I got to ride three of them during my week here. They've had a pretty ordinary season and the snow was a bit light on

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Better than you'd find in Oz though and when you've got your buddies scoring free lift tickets for you and an esky of beers in the back of the truck, it's all good!

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Me and my buddy Tyler enjoying some post ride beverages.

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In the desert around 2 hours from Tahoe, a smaller and way dodgier version of Vegas is a place called Renoe - The biggest little city in the world.

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We booked a dodgy hotel room and headed up there to watch NOFX - a punk rock band.

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In Colorado now and the snow gods have well and truly blessed us. It's been smash powder face for the last couple of days (fresh snow
for you non-skiers) and some of the most epic riding i've ever done. More on this in my next blog. Wanted to leave you with some of the things i love about the US of A

Drive through ATMS

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The right to bare arms - don't worry Mum they weren't loaded

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Nachos - true mexican style

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Tattoos - check out the art on my buddy Tyler. You wouldn't see that at the Kambah tavern!!

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Feel free to leave me a message or email at clintwright1978@gmail.com

Posted by ClintW 17:31 Comments (0)

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