Europe


Recently I had to travel to Atyrau, Kazakhstan for work. I wasn’t really keen on doing so, especially since my darling couldn’t accompany me. The trip was arranged in a rush to coincide with everyone’s schedules. So tickets were booked on a Thursday and I flew out on the Friday. The trip there was long Perth – Singapore – Istanbul (14 hour layover) – Astana – Atyrau. I left home at 330pm Perth time Friday and arrived at my hotel at 5pm Perth time Sunday.

At Astana I had to get a visa on arrival. The form was confusing, most people didn’t speak English and I was unsure about the whole process. Fortunately I encountered an English gentleman (who was in international import export auditor) who confirmed I was doing the right thing. The immigration agent looked very ill, like she was going to collapse at any moment. Maybe that increased the speed of my processing? So after being processed through immigration I had a 4 hour wait for my Atyrau flight. Finally arrived in Atyrau airport, which is very small. Waited an age for my bags and then was taken to my hotel, or what I thought was my hotel.

The Chagala chain has two hotels in the Asia side of Atyrau, the old and the new, from the outside you would be hard pressed to discern the difference. So I had to call the taxi back to then get to the new Chagala. I found out on my return home that the area both hotels are is not very safe! Fortunately I chose to wait for the taxi to come. I finally checked in to my home for the next two weeks. Very basic and relatively old. It was at least somewhere to sleep and it did have wifi so I could FaceTime with my darling, so all was not too bad. After showering and changing I headed down to get some food at 6pm, only to find the restaurant only opened after 7pm. So back to the room and fell straight asleep. The trip home was much better, 26 hours door to door.

I didn’t get much chance to explore or take photo’s with my camera. Though I did take some pictures with my phone. Though I did travel from Asia to Europe every day. If you travel to Atyrau be sure to use taxis as even the most skilful drivers would find it a challenge driving here. The climate is fairly mild in Autumn, though there is a hint of the biting cold that is to come in winter.

It is an interesting place that I would like to learn more about, though I am not sure if I would have ever gone there by choice.

A filling station

A filling station

The Asia Side of the River

The Asia Side of the River

Part of the New Chagala Atyrau

Part of the New Chagala Atyrau

A meat lovers paradise

A meat lovers paradise

Caucasus mountains from the plane

Caucasus mountains from the plane

The airport

The airport

The city skyline

The city skyline

View from the bridge

View from the bridge

The Europe Side of the River

The Europe Side of the River

A hotel on the Asia side

A hotel on the Asia side

From January 2007 to May 2008 we lived in outer London. There were a few highlights, the centre of London and the museums, the close proximity to Europe and the snow. Growing up in Perth we didn’t get snow, though I did experience a white Christmas when we went back to England in 1976. My darling grew up in Brunei and had never experienced snow, so the times it did snow was a special treat for her. Here are some of those pictures, still portrays the magic for us.

Snow in the back garden at Sudbury Hill

Snow in the back garden at Sudbury Hill

Our back garden full of snow

Our back garden full of snow

Catching up on missed childhood fun

Catching up on missed childhood fun

Ice skating in Hyde Park

Ice skating in Hyde Park

This weeks challenge is geometry, one photo I have that is a great juxtaposition of old and new geometry is of the forecourt at the Louvre. The much maligned pyramid against a backdrop of classic French architecture.

Here are a couple of Near and Far photo’s, taken with my little Powershot! I like to frame with something in the foreground and lead the eye to the background, hope you like.

Central Paris

Texas Capital Building – Austin

Hollywood Boulevard

Lucerne – Switzerland

Have you ever stood in the middle of a town or city and thought “I could spend the rest of my days here”? I got that feeling when we visited Lucerne (Luzern) in Switzerland in 2008. Seriously tranquil and chilled, with an amazing vista of the snow-capped mountains 360 degrees. The nearby countryside was also something to take your breath away. Our three night stay was not really enough to soak up the atmosphere fully and to immerse ourselves in the local delights, but it was enough of a taster to make us yearn for more. The food was hearty and tasty, though my poor command of German did require us to use the point and nod method of meal selections. This is definitely a place we have on our “love to go back” list.

Some people thrive on name dropping. They look for every opportunity to say they have met or know this person or that person. Do they think that the fame will rub off or that others will be impressed because they know this person or that person? Maybe it is just an ice breaker for some people, like those of us that are socially inept and don’t know how or where to start a conversation or even join in. For me though meeting or having met notable people is not really something that I dwell on or use to impress, though I have met a few.I sat down and thought about all the people, that have reached some level of fame, that I have either met, spoken to or associated with. So, for one time only, do my share of name dropping. Some of these people may be familiar to you, others not. This is not my intention to big note or anything. I just wondered how many people actually DO know or have met people and don’t talk about it. Whilst others have been in the same train or some other random happening with people and they brag it about constantly as if they are their best friend.

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The Emerald aisle is reknowned for its happy friendly people, some say because of the copius amounts of guiness consumed, and its green filled landscapes. Growing up in Australia,which has a big connection with Ireland, and being a lifelong U2 fan, I have always wanted to visit. Living in London presented this opportunity. (more…)

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