A Travellerspoint blog

Once again, why me?

Why am I constantly at the mercy of the who's who of laziness and incompetancy?

You remember my KLM drama, correct?
Air Tanzania, anyone?
Well now the editors of Lonely Planet seem to have a vandetta against me.

Before leaving Canada, I purchased a copy of Lonely Planet (As I always do). This time it was thee 'Scandinavian Europe' edition. I only had Monday in Oslo before my scheduled flight to London. So I jam packed all the Norwegian sights I've been itching to see into that one day. I head to National Gallery, closed on mondays. Munch Museum, same. Nobel Prize centre, ditto. All museums in the city of Oslo are closed on Mondays, despite what the Lonely Planet has to say.

And as I said, I already had my flight to London booked. On the airports website, it said that trains to the airport leave 3 hours before all flights. Except when I arrived at the bus terminal, it turns out that they leave 3 1/2 hours before departure time. Making me miss my bus then my flight. All because people cannot get a few simple facts straight.

Like I said, why do I constantly have to suffer the consequences of the world's genetic misshaps?

-AC

Posted by AshleyC 01:53 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

From the Arctic Circle, to the Great Lake waters...

sunny 15 °C

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At the Arctic Circle

That of course, is a line from the Canadian version of 'This Land is your Land'. I thought it was a fitting title for this particular entry because I just went to the Arctic Circle. Kind of an amazing feeling going all the way up there. And its not the picture you think of when you visualize the Arctic. They have paved roads, trees, and whatnot. And yes, 'Santa Claus' lives just a few steps away.

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Near the small town of Rovaniemi, Finland. Also in the small town, is the world's northernmost McDonalds.

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Infront of the world's northernmost McDonald's

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Yes, corporate America is trying to make even Inuit people fat.

Being that far north, it doesn't get very dark at night. Which is a drag if you want to see the northern lights, as I hope to one day. You can however, check out the exibihit dedicated towards it, along with everything else that has to do with the Arctic, at Arktikum. A museum geared towards our planets northern regions.

As of tomorrow, I'm in Sweden!

AC

Posted by AshleyC 23:38 Archived in Finland Comments (0)

Disconnected in Estonia

Ok, I'm in Estonia now. Rule #1 when visiting Estonia, make sure you have a functioning mobile upon entering the country! As some of you may know, my mobile conked out in Zambia. And after arriving in Estonia, I wanted to book my hostel for Helsinki, and I couldn't do it online. Anyway, so I buy a phone card and proceed to look for a pay phone. I wish the lady that sold it to me would have mentioned that THEY DON'T HAVE PAY PHONES IN ESTONIA! My new 'plan' is to go straight to Helsinki anyway and go from hostel to hostel and hope for the best. This is why I don't like to plan too much. When it really matters, everything blows up my face! The phone is probably one of the most primitive inventions of the industrialized era and I can't get to one!

Wish me luck!

AC

Posted by AshleyC 03:11 Archived in Estonia Comments (0)

A backpackers guide to Russia

Photos to come...

Out of all of the countries that I've been to that were particularly difficult to navigate through, Russia ranks among the highest. Not only is the language difficult to understand by ear, but it has its own alphabet. And it may look easy to understand at a first glance, but looks can be deceiving. For instance, 'H' in Russian, is 'N' in English, and so on. And not too many people speak English, so you result to alot of miming.

My first stop was in Moscow. My hostel left little to be desired. The place was tiny, dirty, the shower wasn't always functioning, staff were incompetent. If you go to Moscow, avoid the 'Sweet Moscow' hostel. But all the only gives you more incentive to see the city. My first stop was obviously the Kremlin.

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As I've said many times before, I beleive that all religions are nothing but hocus pocus. But I have enough respect to foreign cultures to atleast acknowledge their existence in the world, despite how many casualties or oppression they may cause. The Kremlin is a series of cathedrals and various government buildings situated within the gigantic protective fortress. But the piece of architecture that really impressed me was the Pokrovsky Cathedral. Clearly, the Russian feds didn't keep the local architects from experimenting with LSD.

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After Moscow, it was off to St Petersburg. I kind if liked it more than Moscow. Even though there was less english posted than in Moscow, the locals seem to have a greater kinship with foreigners. Well all except for one cab driver. I was with a girl from my previous hostel and after spending the entire morning walking around the Peter and Paul Fortress, we decided to take a short cab ride. The ride should have cost us no more than 100 roubles (around $4), but then when he pulled over, he pressed some sort of magic button on the meter and it jumped from 80 roubles to 800! Needless to say, he did not get 800!

Obviously my first stop was the Winter Palace. Holy mofoing mofo! That is one palace!

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I later went to the Hermitage. Now, I've been to more than my fair share of art galleries. In my opinion, this ranks among one of the best. It houses more than 3 million pieces. If you were to stand infront of each piece for 1 minute, it would take you more than 5 years to see every piece at the Hermitage(many of those pieces are coins).

It is highly believed that Moscow is the most expensive city in the world. If you went there, you would see why, Both Moscow and St Petersburg are extremely high end cities. You won't see a WalMart or a Dunkin' Donuts anywhere. Even Starbucks is considered 'low brow'! Everything is Gucci, Prada, or public humiliation. I'm fairly sure that I am the only female currently in Russia that is in flats (hiking boots!) But their lifestyle begs the question, if you spend that much on disposable expenses, whats left for things like rent and food?

Anyway, next stop, Estonia!

-AC

Posted by AshleyC 02:46 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Aushwitz

I am writing this entry during my visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

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Work will make you free

I went to Dachau 2 years ago and I can never get used to seeing these places. But I think its something that everyone should do. Walking in the footsteps that the Poles (among others) took while being brutalized and worse is very harrowing.
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One thing that is a constant in my mind whenever I'm exposed to such senseless acts of inhumanity, whether it be holding a child with HIV or walking through the barracks of a concentration camp is how on earth can this take place under the watch of any high power and still celebrate it? How on earth can we appreciate the creator of HIV? Or the one who looked the other way while the Halacaust occurred? In short, if any particular compassionate deity does exist, they are no more than the world's greatest underachiever.

I have one more day in Krakow then I have a flight to Moscow. Yes, orginally I was going to take a train into Russia, but there isn't enough time for me to get a tranist visa to Belarus. Which sucks two fold. I had to cough up an extra $300 for airfare and it will be one less country to my 'country count'. For those that don't know I have set a goal for myself. I plan to spend my 50th birthday in my 100th country (30 down, 70 to go). So don't make any plans for January 21st 2033!

AC

Posted by AshleyC 01:52 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

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