Jaza's World Trip


Exploring Zürich

Seeing that the weekend was over, and that Mark and Susi were back to work as usual, today it was up to me to keep myself occupied in Zürich. I didn't particularly have any sights left to see in the city: however, since my new ATM card is being sent here by courier (after I lost it), and since it hasn't yet arrived, I basically have to stay here and wait for it. So today, I decided to explore the city on my own a little bit. Sadly, my effort to go and visit both the Science Museum and the Kunsthaus (art gallery) were thwarted (not open on Monday — apparently, this is common for museums in Europe); however, I did find a nice coffee shop in the technical university, with nice cheap hot choc (and a heated interior, away from the bitter Zürich cold) inside. Plus, I saw a bit more of the city than I'd bargained on encountering.

Filed in: ZürichSurpriseWanderingToursIronic

Ortygia tour

From my little milk stop in Cassibile, this morning I continued straight up the SS115 highway (the main highway of Sicily's east coast), and by 11am I was in beautiful, famous Syracuse. It was a quick and easy ride: as with yesterday, I continued to be blessed with beautiful weather (something that I don't take for granted these days), and with flat and smooth roads. Although it's one of Sicily's major cities, I actually thought that Syracuse would be much bigger: I was surprised at how quickly I managed to whiz through the moderate sprawl of outer suburbs, and to reach the island of Ortyiga, the historic centre of the city. This gave me plenty of time to cruise around on my bike, and to give myself a leisurely tour of Ortygia.

Filed in: SyracuseHistoryArchaeologyQuaintToursGreek

Stonehenge tour

One of the most famous historical attractions, here in England, happens to be right down here in the south-east. That is of course Stonehenge, the millenia-old mysterious standing-stones, that lie in the middle of the bleak high plains near Salisbury. Since it was a drizzly Sunday over in Bath (not that it drizzles exclusively on Sundays, naturally) — and since they do tours from Bath to Stonehenge daily, for quite a reasonable price — I decided to hop on a tour bus, and to see this important monument. What can I say: they're very old, and they're very mystifying; but really, they're just rocks.

Filed in: SalisburyMysticalRocksDrearyToursArchaeology

Walking tour of Bath

For lack of much else to do, this morning Christina and I went on a walking tour of Bath, which is held for free every morning by the Bath historical society. We survived about half of the 2-hour tour; after that, it was so cold and so boring that we couldn't take any more. We saw the Roman baths (the outside, at least), some of Bath's old houses, and other important architectural landmarks. We also heard a bit about Bath's history as a holiday spot for London's high society, and as a favourite town for high-roller gambling and other aristocratic pastimes. No idea what the tour contained after that, because we bailed out on it.

Filed in: BathSnobberyToursHistory

A day in Oxford

For my first sojourn into out-of-London England, today I went on a day trip to Oxford: lovely medieval town, and home of the world's most famous and most prestigious university. I was fortunate enough to be guided around the uni (and the town — they're virtually one-and-the-same) by my mate Garth, who showed me several areas that are generally off-limits to the public, and that are well worth seeing if you have the opportunity.

Filed in: OxfordHistorySnobberyUniversityTours

The London guide-yer-bloody-self tour

My hostel, The Generator, advertises a free tour of London, that's meant to leave from the hostel's reception at 10am daily. This morning, seven of us (including myself) turned up at 10am for the tour: we waited for about 45 minutes, but no tourguide showed up! Kwap. Apparently, the tour actually leaves from Monument tube station, further downtown; but someone is meant to come to the hostel, and take the daily Generator group down to this station. Whoever was meant to do this today, they clearly shirked out on their responsibility. We finally gave up, and went to Monument station ourselves — but by the time we arrived, the tour groups had already left. So it was time for a day's guide-yer-bloody-self tour of London.

Filed in: LondonStunningLateToursWandering

Paul's Harvard tour

We haven't seen much of him so far: so today, my dad and I went and met up with Paul; and he took us for lunch, and also treated us to his own special tour of Harvard. Since Paul is currently working at Harvard, as a professor, it was much more unique and memorable than the standard tour that we went on last week. Lunch was great, too.

Filed in: BostonToursUniversityFamily

Harvard University tour

One of Boston's most famous attractions (for tourists and academics alike) is Harvard University, one of the most famous, prestigious, and expensive universities in the world. Harvard is easily the top (as well as the oldest) university in the USA, and it's probably rivalled only by Oxford itself in terms of reputation. Harvard is also the second-richest non-profit, non-government institution in the world, surpassed only by the Roman Catholic Church. Today, my dad and I went on "the unofficial tour of Harvard", one of the guided tours that you can do of the university's main campus. And so, therefore, we can now say that we've been unofficially introduced to the place.

Filed in: BostonToursStudyingUniversity

Ilha grande boat tour

My mate Tom and I decided to go on a boat tour today. They do a tour once every day, which takes you around the island — on a cool little motorboat — to several different bays and beaches, and which includes a spot of snorkelling as well. We set off at 10:30am this morning, from the dock at Aquario, and there were six of us in all (plus our captain / tourguide): three Argentinean girls; a girl from Bermuda (an island in the North Atlantic, still a British colony); and Tom and myself. We had a very fun day, and the weather was sensational. Lots of cool colourful fishies to see under the water around here!

Filed in: Ilha GrandeBoat ridesToursBeachSnorkelling

Bike ride down Cotopaxi

Did a fun little day-tour today: downhill mountain-bike riding, on dirt tracks down Volcan Cotopaxi. This is a very popular tour, and one that you can easily arrange from a number of towns, including Quito and Baños. It was very cold at the top, but once we were headed down, we soon warmed up. Had a daredevil group, enjoyed the lovely scenery of Parque Nacional Cotopaxi, and got well taken care of during the day (transport-wise, food-wise, etc). A bit of a bumpy ride — but after the Death Road in Bolivia, you can do anything.

Filed in: CotopaxiCyclingToursAdventureBumpy