Thursday, July 30, 2009

Off to Eastern Europe

Tomorrow I will finalize my move from Birmingham by flying to Prague in the Czech Republic but I have no plans on staying there long.

I plan to leave the city the same day to head up to Wroclaw, Poland for a few days before returning to Prague. That said, my day looks something like this (if all goes well)

8am Wake up
10:30am Head to airport
12:50pm Fly to Prague
4pm Arrive in Prague (2 hour time difference)
5pm make it to the Prague train station
6pm Catch a train from Prague
8pm Arrive in Nachod (Border Town)
8:30 catch a bus across border to Poland
9:30pm - 10am Hope that there is a connection sometime in this range for me to make it from Kudowa Zdroj up to Wroclaw
Meet the person from the first couch I am surfing at 2pm in the middle of town.

I don't speak the language, I haven't allotted time to sleep, I am trying to do it all on the cheap, and I am making it up as I go. I LOVE TRAVEL

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Leaving Birmingham

Knowing that my lease is ending and that I have booked a flight to Prague for the 31st of July I went out and had a few drinks with some friends. Not really sure what the motivation for the photos were but I think Dani (top left) started the trend. Here is the rundown from top left to right the whole way down. Dani, Amy, Ben, This Guy, Ben, Luke, Emma, Hayley.

All in all it was a pretty good night... for a Sunday.


TEFL Complete

After 20 hours in class spread over 2 days my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) class decided to celebrate our escape from the classroom. We are all one step closer to teaching abroad. Goodbye England....I fly out on Friday to tour Eastern Europe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Packing my life up... Leaving the UK

On July 31st I officially move out of my flat in Birmingham and leave the country on a European tour before ultimately (if all goes to plan) ending up back in the USA sometime in September.

I have to consolidate everything between my 2 bags and leave one here while I travel and pick it up on my way back to the US.


Now I just need some scales to make certain I don't exceed the weight limits on the way home (I exceeded them on the way here but managed to sneak it in free of charge).

Amy is in on the pack as well seeing as how the lease is up so it will be a busy week or so here in Birmingham.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Travels in London

Here are a few shots of my time in London....

The Tower of London



Me and the London Eye

Sherlock Holmes' famous address
A royal guard
Buckingham palace

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Video - Africa in Pictures

video

Essaouria, Morocco

After coming back to Marrakech after the Sahara desert I caught the bus to Essaouria and took in the beach life. (Granted the bus broke down en route so the 3 hour trip took about 5). The town has a great beach although it is quite windy but given the heat in the rest of the country the breeze was welcome.

The wind does create some epic kiteboarding conditions... a sport currently out of my price range.

Africa is the land where the sun sets.


The atmosphere is laid back and even the lifeguards know it.

It was great fun and a nice change of pace from the streets of Marrakech.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NO PICS; Still Alive

I now find myself in Essaouria Morocco and enjoying the beach lifestyle. the keyboars here are still impossible to type on and I get no internet at my cheap hostel - 6 Euro a night and I am loving the relaxation and the lack of heat due to the wind here that makes kiteboarding and windsurfing epic. pics to come

Monday, July 13, 2009

En Route to the Sahara Desert

When I get to my next internet I will properly add some text to these photos. Long story short I headed to the desert the other day and had to ride a bus for 2 days with some sights along the way. Here is some coverage.


The roads went through the High Atlas Mountains at the beginning and all looked like this.

The landscapes were all epic.

En route we also stopped at a gorge that had fresh, cold water running through it. This was a great way to cool off after being on a bus with no AC for hours on end.


I also visited the town where the first arena scene in Gladiator was shot.


Before getting on the camels we did get one bit of luxury and got the chance to spend an hour at a pool before heading off on camel back.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The trip into Marrakech

I caught the 10:50 train

Typical second class seating in small rooms off of a hallway


Note the little Marrakech sign


Despite the epic heat there is some vegetation here.


The city does get dark as well.


More to say in the coming days.

Shots from Casablanca





Pics from the trip to Africa

Birmingham 5am

London Underground 10:30


Landing in Tangier Africa - 3:20pm


My room in Casablanca 6:30pm


A fist full of Dihram

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

UPDATE MOROCCO

Since typing on the computers here is so arduous I have decided to try and beat the system. This message has been typed on my own laptop and uploaded to my camera so that it can be posted on the computer. Here is my synopsis of Morocco thus far:

I woke in Birmingham at 4:30 in the morning and got ready to catch my bus. I first had to catch a bus across town to make my Megabus connection to London. The trip to London cost 4 pounds. Once in London I had to get 8 stops on the Underground away another 4 pounds and a short train to the airport 14 pounds (note that 3 hours on a bus from Birmingham was only 4). I then stood in line to get my boarding pass for over an hour before having to run to my flight. I really hoped that eating in the airport was going to be an option.

My flight came first to Tangier and I got to see the Southern coast of Spain as I flew in. This was a great part of the trip already (granted I was on about 2 hours of sleep and no food so it was easy to get emotional over anything.

Once landing in Casablanca I had to make it into town from the airport and luckily I had read up that the train was cheap. A little wait and 4 dollars later I was in town but still not at my hostel so I hopped a short cab and made it here. Somehow I booked a room with two twin beds to myself but it is cheaper than the hostels in Europe and I like the privacy so I kept it.

I made it here around 6:30 so I had been traveling since about 5 in the morning. Needless to say my first night was not too big. I bought some local breads and food and walked around the block before committing to a night of ipod movies and staggered hot sleep. I did figure out that it is easier to sleep during the days here because the heat keeps the bugs at bay until night…. Sadly I am not here for the nightlife.

Today I walked all around the city and through the market. I also visited the Mosque here that is the largest in Africa. It was an amazing building and I only wish it was open to tourists. The call to prayer here is frequent and very loud (it sound like someone on an exaggerated megaphone yelling at all hours of the day).

I also booked my next place to stay in Marrakech for tomorrow so I am planning on waking early and catching a train. I will be staying there for the next 3 nights before moving on either to the mountains or back toward the beach and up the coast.

I have not eaten a lot since I got here but luckily I did think ahead enough to pack on a few pounds before making the trip. I was trying to slim down in England then I realized that it could be a mistake for this trip. The facilities are mostly squat toilets although there is the occasional western style (normal) one to be found and hotels use them as a selling point. At the Bellagio in Las Vegas you can request a room with a gold toilet and in Morocco you have to research to find a room with a normal one.

Well I guess that is about enough from me for now. The computer at this hostel will not let me post to the blog but it will allow for some facebook messages so if you want to see any of them just add me with the name Jonathan Walker Collins. OK I have to get back to dodging the heat.

Morocco...

I am now in Morocco and hhave taken some great pics but the internet here is awful so if they dont post forgive me.... plus the keyboards here are rearranged so it takes forever to type. I am currently in the city of Casablanca. I arrived yesterday after 13 hours of travel so I slept the first day away and have spent today exploring. The plan is to head to Marrakesh tomorrow to spend about 3 nights before venturing into the mountains or back toward a beach.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Packin my bags... flight tomorrow

It is now just a few hours before I have to wake up to go to London so that I can fly down to Morocco. OK so this is not my bag but I was too lazy to take a picture of it.


I am excited and plan to try and sleep after some tomato soup. I am not sure where all I will make it in Morocco but I am hoping it is as fun as I think it is going to be. Wish me luck.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Escaping Swine Flu

A recent report here in England has put out this warning for the future.

"Swine flu: 100,000 UK cases a day by August

Health secretary Andy Burnham announces that the disease can no longer be contained

Thursday, 02 July 2009

More than 100,000 people could be diagnosed with swine flu every day by the end of August, the government said, announcing that the disease can no longer be contained in the UK."

(This could be how it is spreading)

It is nice to know that to escape this rapidly spreading illness I will be retreating to the continent of Africa... wow.... that just doesn't seem right. By the end of July I move out of England and hopefully escape the more than 1 million cases every 2 weeks. It was also noted that Birmingham is a hotbed for the activity.

(Time to get my vitamins in Morocco)

I fly to Morocco on the 6th of July.