Tag Archives: walking tour

Copacabana Bars

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9:45 am on December 29, 2012.  We had the free breakfast and chatted with Mauricio and Stuart. 

It was great staying at their lovely home Casa Verde with the friendly Mauricio and Stuart and their cute dogs. 

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The only downside is that the location is far from the beach.  It’s a 45 minute drive by bus (plus wait time for the bus) to the beach.  We said good-bye to Mauricio and Stuart.

We waited a few minutes for the bus to Copacabana.  It was another hot day out.  I fell asleep on the bus even though it was hot and humid.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I arrived at the new apartment at 1:20 pm.  The apartment is in a great location – about a block away from Copacabana Beach.  We met Elizabeth and her husband who were really nice.  Ivan asked about restaurants nearby and she told us about a few per kilo buffet places.  She mentioned a natural one and Ivan said yes that sounds good.  He asked where it was and she said she could show us.

About 15 minutes later, we left the apartment with Elizabeth to Restaurante Natural Beterraba.  Ivan and I picked food from the buffet selection which did have chicken, salmon and lots of vegetarian foods.  It’s priced R$3.49 per kilogram.  We filled up our plates and then sat down to eat.  The food was pretty good.

We back to the apartment and used the internet. 

At 4:45 pm, we walked to Copacabana Beach.  It was now overcast and not as humid.  The tide went out far onto the beach, so we got wet.. some areas my shorts would get wet.  The water was really cold since the sun had gone in. 

We walked for a long time.  Loud music was playing from a big stage, but then it stopped when we came closer to it.  Near the stage, we saw HUGE waves that would break by the beach.  The waves could really knock you out. 

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Ivan noticed sand art with Santa Claus and girls in bikinis.  It was really quite good.

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We walked further and saw more sand art.  Then, we started walking back to the apartment.

Ivan nipped out to grab sorbet popsicles at Delicias do Cerrado across the street – we had these passion fruit popsicles at the bird park and thought they were delicious.  Ivan got two banana popsicles for him and Lil Dave and an avocado one for me.  They have a big selection of fruit popsicles.  I want to try mango next.

Ivan and I took showers before heading out at 7:15 pm.

We walked to General Osorio’s Square which is outside General Osorio Metro Station for the Rio Walks’ Bar to Bar tour.  We met our tour guide Beatrice and the two older Brazilian ladies who were also doing the tour.  There was supposed to be 7 Spanish people joining us, but they never showed up.  It was nice that it was only four of us since it feels like a personalized tour.

Beatrice was going to take us around bars in the South Zone of Rio.

Our first stop was at the bar Belmonte.  Beatrice recommended the empada which is a pie, sounds similar to en empanada but it’s not even close to one.  Ivan and I got a camarao (shrimp) fechada empada and a bacalhau (cod) aberta empada.  The cod empada looked more like a fish ball. 

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The shrimp empada was my favorite which looked like a muffin, but they both tasted good.  Ivan and I also shared a strawberry caipirinha.  Caipirinha is the Brazilian cocktail made from sugar, rum and lime.  The caiprinha was strong and had lots of strawberries in it. 

We started walking by the beach.  Bea told us that there are certain posts (areas) on Ipanema Beach where different personalities hang out.  Post 9 is where the young hip crowd hangs out.  Between Posts 8 and 9 is the gay spot and Post 10 is for the wealthy people.  Post 11 is where you go to see celebrities and Post 12 is where families with young kids hang out.  Find out more about the posts here.

Beatrice told us how one part of Brazil didn’t want to become independent from Portuguese rule.  One man helped Brazil become independent by playing the trumpet to cheer on the soldiers to keep fighting.  We saw the statue of this man in the street.

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The group went to Garota de Impanema bar which means Girl of Impanema.  The Girl of Impanema lived down the street from this bar.  The song was written at this bar.  Beatrice was planning on taking us here, but it was so busy at the bar that there weren’t any seats available  She told us that the shrimps with marinara and herbs and the crab served in a shell were great dishes at this bar.

Ivan wanted to find a place for espresso.  We went into one café, but it was already closed.  Beatrice knew of a place, so we walked on.

Bea told us that the best ice cream place was Italia.  Ivan thought we should stop and get some.  Ivan and I shared a delicious Belgian chocolate ice cream in a cup.

It was off to our next bar at the bar Devassa.  Devassa means naughty girl.  Devassa is known for the beer that they brew. 

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Ivan and I ordered a caipirante (a special caipirinha) which was supposed to have strawberries, bananas and a touch of cinnamon.. but it came with bananas and mangoes instead.  We also shared the casquinha de siri which is like the crab in Garota de Impanema bar, but it’s not served in a shell. 

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The crab was really tasty.  It came with farofa which is toasted manioc flour mixture.  I thought the farofa tasted like what I think sawdust would taste like – not good at all.  We also drank an espresso to wake up a bit.

The group started walking to the Leblon neighorhood which is the wealthiest neighborhood in Rio. 

I asked Beatrice why people wore white for New Year’s Eve. She said that white means peace. People wear the clothing to represent what they want in the New Year. Pink and Red means you want love and Yellow means you want money. Lingerie stores like Loungerie sell packages that include underwear for what you want in the new year like all red or pink lingerie.

The next bar was Bracarense which was voted the best bar in Brazil in 2001.  I’m not really sure why it won since it wasn’t anything special.  The bar is known for the draft beer which is Brahma.  Ivan and I each got a beer – mine was mini sized. 

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Ivan and I shared a cod ball and enjoyed it with the bar’s own pepper sauce.  The sauce was a little spicy.

The group walked to Jobi Bar which is a bar that’s open very late til 5 am.  It’s a bar where lots of people flirt.  It wasn’t anything special and Ivan and I shared a beer.

The next bar was Chico & Alaíde

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Ivan and I shared a tasty passion fruit caipirinha here.

Our last bar was Hipódromo which is located in Gávea.  Ivan and I decided just to get a sparkling water. 

This walking bar tour was fantastic.  Beatrice is so friendly and she’s always smiling.  I highly recommend taking this tour to try some new foods and check out the bars in Rio.  The bars weren’t the fanciest bars, but it’s nice to see the bar culture, try the caipirinha and beer and learn some Rio history.

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Favela Tour

Ivan and I left the house at 1 pm on December 28, 2012.  Lil Dave went to meet up with his long lost monkey cousin who’s a gangster – he’s going to show him around his favela. 

Ivan and I grabbed some snacks at the Hotel Marina Palace.  We were picked up for the Favela Tour at 2 pm.  Our guide was a man named Everaldo.  The bus was filled with English, American and Dutch people. 

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The first favela we went to was Rochina (pronounced ho-sin-ya).  This is Rio’s largest favela with a population of 250,000 people.  It has the good and the bad with the most expensive street in a Rio favela and poor sewage which means unsanitary conditions where lots of people get tuberculosis.  Everaldo introduced us to some of the artists and shops owners in the favela. 

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There was a great view of the Rio from this spot.  We had ten minutes to browse the shops.

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The group went back on the van and went to a house in the favela.  On the balcony, we had a great view of the colorful buildings of Rochina which is situated in the hillside. 

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The group piled back on the van.  Everaldo knew a lot about the favelas.  There are 950 favelas in Rio.  20% of the population in Rio de Janeiro live there – not all the residents are poor with doctors and lawyers living here.  Communities are formed in the favelas to build associations to get services like sewer, garbage disposal, water and electricity.  That’s why you see lots of trash on the streets.  There are gangs and drugs in the favela, but for the most part the favelas are a safer place to live probably since there’s no police here.  Police visit once a year and they will announce the time and date of their visit.  I still noticed two policemen who patrol the area with big machine guns. 

Our next stop was Para Ti community school.  A percentage of the money raised from the Favela Tour is donated to this school.  We didn’t get to see any students since it’s Christmas break.  Kids ages 5 to 15 attend this school.  From the second floor, we saw a nice view of the Villa Canoas favela which was the next place the group was headed to.

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The group got back in the van and we drove to Villa Canoas.  We stopped at a bar where we could buy drinks or a caipirinha.  Everaldo asked that we don’t take any pictures for privacy reasons since we were walking right in the alleys of the homes.  This favela is a lot smaller with 2,500 residents. We walked through the narrow alleyways.  Villa Canoas is a lot nicer than Rochina with a better sewage system. 

Everaldo told us that in the 1800’s, 20,000 veteran soldiers were brought back from a war against the Canudos and had no place to live.  They decided to build houses in the hillside.  Somebody found favela beans in the hills and that’s how the name was coined.  Although, I was looking at favela on Wikipedia and it says differently.. it says that it had to do with Canudos’s Favela Hill — a name referring to favela, a skin-irritating tree in the spurge family indigenous to Bahia.

The Favela Tour was great to learn more about the favelas and actually be able to walk around two of the them.

Afterwards, everybody was taken back to their hotel.  We got dropped off at Ipanema beach and we walked to a square. 

Ivan and I went to a grocery store and picked up toothpaste and razors.  I got some lozenges for my sore throat at a pharamacy.

Ivan was hungry since we didn’t have a proper lunch, so we stopped at Koni Store for a snack.  Ivan and I shared a shrimp yakisoba and a salmon sushi.

We wanted to try a caipirinha, so we walked to the beach and found a stall selling the drink for R$10.  Ivan and I each got one and sat on plastic chairs on the beach. 

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My caipirinha was salty and sweet at first, but then the salty flavor went away.  It was quite strong and tasty.

Ivan and I got the 354 bus back to the house and we arrived shortly before 8:30 pm.

Later that night, we went to the Italian restaurant Cozzi Restaurante for dinner.  It’s a mile away from the house.  Ivan and I shared a white fish with shrimp on top and a penne with shrimp and a great arrabiata sauce.  The dishes were pricey (about $20 USD each), but they were a decent portion and tasted great.

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Walking Wine

On September 18, 2012, Ivan and I had the free breakfast at the hotel.  We left the hotel at 11 am headed to Portugal.

The roads seemed even quieter than driving through Spain.  Seems like the Portuguese hate driving even more than the Spanish do! We arrived at Portugal at 1:45 pm.  Ivan drove us further on and arrived in Porto at 3:30 pm.

We met the Airbnb guy and put our luggage down in the room.  We had a room to ourselves.  The room had cute red and pink wallpaper.

Later, we went into town and parked it in a parking garage.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked to Bar Porto com Arte to check out the Sunset Wine & Food.  The bartender said he wasn’t sure how many people were going to attend.  Ivan asked about the walking tour since it’s run through the same company – he wanted to know if it might be too late to join since the tour starts at 5:30 pm.  He said you have plenty of time.  Ivan said no, it’s almost 5:30.  The guy said it was 4:30 pm.  Portugal is an hour behind from Spain which neither of us knew.

We didn’t have much for lunch, so we stopped at a restaurant to have shrimp wok which was a nice change from tapas.

It was time for the Pancho tours free walking tour which meets at Praça da Liberdade.  Our guide was a friendly Portuguese girl named Mia. 

We went to many places like the University, train station, Santa Catarina street, the clock tower and the National Theatre. 

Some of the buildings in Porto have beautiful tiles on them.  They do this to make the building look prettier.  Since Portugal is a poor country, they use tiles.  The churches and the train station have the prettiest tiles.

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It was interesting to find out why pastries are popular in Porto.  The nuns used egg whites to make their outfits stiff.  They didn’t want to waste the rest of the egg so they started making pastries. 

The group stopped at Livraria Lello which is the 3rd best bookstore in the world. 

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Mia said we shouldn’t take pictures.  Ivan took one and the guy upstairs went mental.  He told him to erase it and Ivan pretended like he did.  The guy god mad and started pushing Ivan.  I told him to stop hitting him.  We went downstairs and Ivan took another picture.  The guy was still following us.  The guy at the cashier came outside.  Ivan said I can take pictures outside.  The guy said no, this is my house.  Ivan said this is a business not your house.  The guy who pushed Ivan started chasing after him.  Ivan was worried he was going to grab the camera.  A Portuguese guy kept staring at Ivan.  I said What? He’s the one who got hit.  Go away!  which he did. 

Mia said that it’s a beautiful place but the customer service is really bad.. which was pretty obvious after what happened.  Mia said that J.K. Rowling got inspiration from the bookstore for Harry Potter.  Supposedly she wrote the first Harry Potter book in Portugal.  But, we’ve heard otherwise that she wrote it in a café in Edinburgh, Scotland.

We stopped by a pastry shop and tried a few pastries.. the apple one tasted good.

We also found out that some of the college kids wear black capes.  You don’t have to wear it.  It looks really hot and makes them look like wizards.  The kids who wear the capes all wear black.  Ivan said he would make it funny by wearing a tie and carry a wand just like the kids in Harry Potter.  Go here if you want to see a picture of the kids in capes.

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We got a nice view of the city from one of the six bridges in Porto.

Porto is very hilly so we were walking up and down. 

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It’s a pretty city. 

I definitely recommend this free walking tour. 

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Hopefully, you get Mia as your guide since she’s cool and very interesting.

For dinner, we went to ODE Porto Wine House.  The guy who served us was very nice.  He told us that the restaurant didn’t use microwaves and didn’t fry anything.  It’s recommended that dinner is 2 1/2 hours long. 

The appetizers were served at a community table that had a big wooden table and lots of bottles of wine in shelves.  Ivan and I started off with an unpasteurized sheeps milk cheese with an ODE cocktail (porto secco with lime and sparkling water).  The cocktail was refreshing.  The cheese was stinky, but tasted terrific.

The rest of the dinner was upstairs.  Five tables were in this room.  The food was delicious.  We got a great salad, sardines, vegetable soup and octopus that was grilled for 4 to 5 hours.  Our meal was enjoyed with a lovely red wine.

For dessert, we got the wonderful sleeping volcano nearby a tangerine glacier.

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It was a cake with chocolate inside and a tangerine ice cream.  What a wonderful meal!!

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Improv Dancing

Ivan, Lil Dave and I got the bus into the centre on August 16, 2012. 

Ivan wanted to check out a cool pop up café called Hunt and Darton Cafe

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When you walk in, there’s a table filled with goodies like sweets like cakes and Ribbon wafers.

Ivan ordered regular tea while I got the mint tea in two big teapots.  I got one with the Queen on it and Ivan got a teapot that looked like a building. 

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We both got the roughage plate which is a wonderful salad with beet, pumpkin, goats cheese and sunflower seeds. 

On the table, there’s a triangle plastic paper which had different things on it like games that you could play with your food and how to drink tea properly.  This is not your run-of-the mill café.  There’s music playing on an old record player.  The table has a real pineapple on it and salt & pepper holders that are Ken’s head on a Barbie doll with clothes on.  The owners Jenny Hunt & Holly Darton wear pineapples on their head.  This is my kind of place.

They have guest spots who do something different everyday.  Unfortunately, we missed the fortune teller who reads your fortune with asparagus. 

I love this café.. why can’t we have a cool cafe like this in Las Vegas?!  We will definitely be back here again for lunch, tea or maybe both. Apparently this café just spends a few weeks in each town, then packs up shop, and moves to somewhere else to open for a few weeks! Such a cool concept!

Next, we went to The Greatest Walking Tour in Edinburgh.  Ivan likes to surprise me and only told me that we were going on a walking tour.  Our tour guide was a man named Cuth and his assistant a girl who wasn’t very bright.  The man told us that there would be a tour guide inspector on the tour.

We were given red balloons with The Greatest Walking Tour in Edinburgh on it. 

 

Cuth had a long, closed umbrella that he used so the tour wouldn’t lose him.  It kept getting caught on things like a lamppost or construction railing.

The group was listening to a story about Bobby the Skye Terrier in front of Greyfriars Bobby pub.  John Gray was a man who worked as a night watchman who died in 1858.  His dog Bobby spent the rest of his life (14 years!) at his master’s grave at Greyfriars Kirk graveyard.  What a loyal dog!  Anyway, the tour guide was asked the name of John Gray which he didn’t know (I just wikipedia’d the information to give you information on the great story).  He realized that the man might be the ‘tour guide inspector’ that he was trying to impress in order to get into the tour guide’s union.  At this point, I realized this wasn’t a REAL tour, but a spoof of one.  I should have known since we were at the Edinburgh Festival which is filled with all types of theatre.

At one point, I noticed somebody was following us who looked like a detective.

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Ivan didn’t see her.

The guy who Cuth thought was the ‘tour guide inspector’ actually turned out to be another tour guide who didn’t want Cuth trying to move in on his tour guide territory. 

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They fight which was funny since it was like watching a video game.  Cuth tells us that he recently broke up with his girlfriend who he still seems to love.

We actually see the real ‘tour guide inspector’ (which was the lady I saw earlier)  later on and she tells us to act normal, so that she can judge him fairly.

This tour spoof was funny with misunderstandings.. but the story at the end was a bit daft (silly).  Ivan and I think they could have written a better plot.. it was entertaining though.

It was time to see some improv at the show Paul Merton’s Impro Chums

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We got seats off to the side in the front row, but we were sat too far.  Ivan and I are used to seeing Paul Merton with The Comedy Store Players in the first or second row (oh, so close!) at The Comedy Store in London.  The Impro Chums consisted of Paul Merton, Suki Webster (Paul’s wife), Richard Vranch, Lee Simpson and Mike McShane.  Almost the group of The Comedy Store Players.  It was funny, but not as funny as The Comedy Store Players.  Funny improv and some singing.  It was my first time seeing Suki Webster live and Ivan’s right.. she’s not very funny at all.  Paul Merton was, as always, very funny… The bit where he has to translate for the foreign language is always funny.  Lee Simpson was doing the language (which he’s always very good at) and he’ll say something very long winded and Paul will say something very short and funny. 

We had to leave the Improv show early to get to our next show.

We hurried to go see the free show The Dark Room which is based on a text computer game.  Do you remember those?  I remember the game Zork.  The host John Robertson would say in a dark, spooky voice ‘You find yourself in a dark room. What do you do?’  There would be a few different options to do like Go North, Sleep or Find a Light Switch.  Each option would lead to more options and sometimes it was a dead end and you die.  Ivan said that it was poking fun at old text-based computer games.  It was a bit weird.  An annoying part was a guy named Brendon Burns an Australian comedian, who thought he knew the right way to go because he’s played before.  He didn’t seem to know anything though.  The show was okay, a bit odd and unfortunately nobody won which according to the host Is a rare thing indeed.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked around Edinburgh.  Ivan went to Top Man and I bought a few things for Ivan’s birthday that’s coming up in September.

Later, we went to the Festival Fun Ceilidh Dinner which includes a 3 course meal with a band playing and line dancing. 

Ivan got the vegetarian meal while I got to try haggis for the first time, Lil Dave got the banana option.  Our starters were the same being organic leek and potato soup which was actually quite big and tasted good.

Ivan got a vegetable tart which looked alright.  I got the Findlay’s Portobello haggis fritter with mashed potatoes.

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It was fried and looked like black rice inside.  Ivan and I both had no clue what was in haggis… I knew it was something gross similar to a hot dog in America.  It tasted alright, but it was really heavy dish especially with the mashed potatoes it came with.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.. but I don’t think I’ll have another go.  We enjoyed our meal with a lovely red wine.

Dessert was traditional Scottish Cranachan with fresh local raspberries.  It reminded me of a parfait and it was tasty.

Everybody seemed older than us.  We didn’t think anybody would know any of the cielidh dances, but we were wrong.  Everybody knew ALL of the moves – in fact I think we were the only ones there who didn’t! We were amongst all the pros!  I had no idea, but Ivan knew a few of the dances.  It didn’t matter though since the band named the The Sensational Jimi Shandrix Experience would teach us the dances. 

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There was a big birthday party group, all Canadian, that was most of the dinner guests.  It was a good thing they were there since they loved to dance. 

It was fun learning the moves although I don’t think I was really that good at some of the dances…plus it would have been nice to have let the food go down a bit, before we started going crazy on the dance floor and spinning our stomachs around like a washing machine on fast cycle.  Ivan wanted to keep going, but it was getting tiring dancing so much.  Line dancing is fun, but it requires a lot of movement which makes you knackered (tired).  I took a break between songs and then we were off to dance again.  One song was super fast and we were going round and round in a circle.  I couldn’t believe how fast the dance was.  The band was right that it would be like running a marathon afterwards.

I had fun at the Festival Fun Ceilidhl Dinner.  I really enjoyed the line dancing and the food was good.  I’m glad I got to try the haggis since I like to try the local food.

Credits: Paul Merton’s Impro Chums photo

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Couchsurfing Walking Tour

Ivan and I didn’t get much sleep last night.  I kept coughing and couldn’t sleep.  I woke up Ivan since I was tapping away on the laptop.  We woke up at 9:45 am on July 20, 2012.  

Ivan and I left our backpacks with the hostel while we went on a tour.

We went to the Republic Square for the meeting point for the free Belgrade Walking Tour.  Our tour guide was a Serbian named Mari. 

The tour stopped at Skadanilja which is the Bohemian Quarter.  Here, Serbians will drink one drink normally, the second on the table and then the third under the table.  Mari said the waiters will still serve you under the table.  I bet the sixth drink you take while you’re on the floor about to pass out.  The guide talked about the local brandy rakija.  She got four volunteers and they got to take shots.  I didn’t think it was fair since there wasn’t enough to go around.  But, the guide said it’s because they are non-profit and don’t have much money.  I think the shot would have helped me wake up.

There’s writing in Belgrade that’s written in Cyrillic or Latin.  People get to choose if they write in Cyrillic or Latin, so this is why the street signs are in both languages.

We stopped at Silicone Valley – a street where people go to show off.  You’ll see girls with fake boobs, guys in expensive cars and people spending foreign currency.  Back in the 1990’s, Serbia had really bad inflation.  You had to spend your money right away, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth much.  Money would be valued high at the start of the day and keep decreasing as the day went along.  It was hard times with many bombings happening.

We walked near the zoo.  There was a famous monkey named Sammie who lived there.  He escaped the zoo six times.  Mari reckons the last time he was trying to get to a party.  I think he just wanted some fresh air and to find more bananas.  Lil Dave thinks he shouldn’t have been confined in a zoo and he just wanted to explore the city AND find better quality bananas.  Another famous animal is Moya the alligator.  This alligator is the oldest in the world – even surviving from being bombed in the war.

Our guide has a monotone voice that could have put me to sleep.  Plus, most of the places weren’t that exciting really.

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We stopped at the Belgrade Fortress for a short break. 

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We headed to the Upper City.  Our guide told us about the blue bridge which was called the Party Bridge.  In the 90’s, NATO wanted to bomb the bridges in Belgrade.  Serbians went to the bridge to have a party with drinking and music.  Serbians didn’t get depressed, they just took things how they came and went with it. The bombings were just another excuse for a party for them!

The group stopped at ? which is the oldest cafona in Belgrade.  It had a few names before like Serbia.  The church didn’t like the last name of Es Condidos (probably spelling it wrong)… so, the restaurant put up ? as a temporary solution that has lasted 1000 years.  I guess it’s stuck with the name.  Everybody calls it Question Mark.

Our guide told us about a great freebie at the bank museum.

Freebie Tip!  – Stop by the Bank Museum to get a free copy of your face on a Serbian bill!! You even get a free chocolate.  One of the best freebies ever!!

Ivan, Lil Dave and I really wanted a bank note with our faces on it.  So, we went straight there.  We thought more people from the tour would take advantage of this freebie.  But, we only saw 3 German guys from the tour in the museum.  We each got our pictures taken and got a free chocolate after.  So cool!

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The tour was good.  I prefer English speaking guides because they’re usually more informative and funny.  Mari was trying to be funny, but it wasn’t really funny.  She wasn’t natural – it seemed like she was reading from a script.

We were all starving.  Ivan found a place along the main tourist street.  We sat down at Via Del Gusto.  This place has free internet – just look for Hot Spot and there’s no password.  Ivan started off with a tomato soup.  Lil Dave got a banana penne and a banana shake.  I got a Spaghetti di Mare (seafood, basil and tomato sauce) while Ivan got trout.  Ivan’s plate of trout was huge!!  This place has good food and the prices are very reasonable.

Ivan called the couchsurfer we were staying with for the next 2 days.  Nenad said he’d meet us at Republic Square.

Ivan popped back to the hostel to grab all of our backpacks, while I continued my meal. Luckily he is big and strong so is able to carry all of our luggage himself. (editors note: He is VERY big and strong and let that never be forgotten!!!)

We walked to Republic Square and waited a few minutes.  The Serbian couchsurfer Nenad said hello to us.  He took my small backpack and we were off to the bus stop.

We had to take two buses to get to his apartment which is 25 minutes from the square. 

We met his lovely girlfriend Tanja.  We chatted awhile about traveling, Las Vegas, our honeymoon and our couchsurfing experiences.  They’re sooo friendly and laid-back.  They’re a cool couple and we knew we were going to have a great time with them.

Tanja made a delicious satarnsk dish for dinner which consists of paprika, eggs, tomatoes and onions.  It’s quite simple and very tasty.

Nenad left for work while Tanja went to the city centre to pick up two Polish couchsurfers who also would be staying. This is an example of how kind they are – instead of just telling couchsurfers what buses to get or to get a taxi (which would only cost about 6 US dollars), they always get the two buses to the centre to meet the couchsurfers and then bring them back to their house. Very kind of them!

Ivan I washed up the dishes and used the internet while Tanya was out. We also looked through their possessions and helped ourselves to any alcohol we could find (joke!!).

Tanja came back with the two Polish couchsurfers.  It was a guy and a girl who weren’t dating (yeah right) who recently met…which we thought was strange.  I took a shower.

We talked about traveling.  Later, Ivan started talking about hypnosis.  Ivan is a trained hypnotist.  Tanja has done hypnosis for therapy before, so Ivan thought she should try hypnosis.  The Polish weren’t interested – I think the guy was too scared to try it.  It’s nothing scary at all! 

Ivan hypnotized Tanja.  She didn’t remember her name thinking it was EIEIO.  Ivan told her that she would laugh at anything he said.  He talked about the shooting in Colorado and she was laughing.  At one point, she didn’t remember anybody in the room.  Ivan said it’s alright we’re friends of your boyfriend.  Ivan gave her a glass of water and told her it was apple juice, then strawberry juice.  He then said he made her a great gin and tonic.  The first time she tried it, she said no.  Ivan thought she was going to say it was water, but she said this is still strawberry juice.  He made ‘another’ gin and tonic.  This time she said it tasted good.  Ivan brought her out of hypnosis.  She said she could still taste the gin and tonic in her mouth.. saying it was bitter….which just goes to show really how strong hypnosis can be!

Everyone was very tired by this point, so we all headed off to bed. Nenad and Tanja were kind enough to let us have the bed in the bedroom while they slept on the sofa bed and the Polish couple slept on the floor.

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Frankfurt Tour

Hi ho, Jennifer here!  Ivan and Lil Dave were already up at 9:30 am on June 26,  2012.  I woke up at 10 am and went to shower.  We got a taxi to the airport.

Today, we are flying from Anchorage, Alaska to Frankfurt, Germany.  We used the free internet at the airport.  I think all airports should offer you free internet…it seems this is mostly an American thing. Same with hotels really – loads of hotels in America offer free internet, whereas its quite rare in Europe.

Our plane left at 12:55 pm.  I fell asleep almost immediately on the plane for some reason even though I got enough sleep last night.

We watched Worst Week on the plane.  We recently watched hilarious British comedy tv show The Worst Week of my Life and finished it and found out there was an American version.  It’s funny, but not as funny as the British show.  Ivan and I both fell asleep for 2 hours.  Then, we watched an episode of Parks and Recreation.

Our plane landed about 9 am in Frankfurt on June 27, 2012.  We got the train to the main train station where we stored most of our luggage.  The train is run on honor system – there are no gates or even places to validate your ticket.  If you’re caught though, you’ll be fined 40 Euros. I guess those German really are a trustworthy bunch! If they implemented this scheme in London, I think revenue would decrease by about 90% overnight and the system would totally be abused (and I would be at the front of the line!! ha ha)

We met at square for the Frankfurt on Foot Walking Tours. We had decided to do a walking tour, rather than just hang out at the airport all day, which is what most people would do.  Our group consisted of 6 people (3 Canadians, us and an Argentinian woman) and 1 monkey.  The tour guide was an older American guy named Dave.  When we met him, he looked like a homeless person holding up a sign for money. Turns out everyone else thought that also. His excuse was that he said he knows how much it costs to get a hair cut and shave yourself daily…hence he doesn’t!

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One of the Joerg Ratgeb Frescos

Our group stopped at many sights in the city including City Hall, Alt Nikolai Church, St. Bartholomew, Jörge Ratgeb Wall Paintings in the Karmeliter Cloister, Book Burning Memorial, Jewish Holocaust Memorial Wall, Jewish Ghetto Wall, Bull and Bear and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and Goethe House.

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It was interesting seeing the old buildings right next to the modern buildings.

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It was a great 4 hour tour which flew by. 

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Dave really knows his Frankfurt history!! He’s very knowledgeable and funny.  It’s great when a tour guide talks about a city’s history and makes it interesting and Dave did just that!  If you’re ever in Frankfurt, you MUST check out this wonderful tour!

We walked back to the Opernplatzfest which was a festival right by the old Opera house filled with stalls with many different cuisines like Thai, sushi and German.  Ivan and I shared a tasy apple wine with fresh strawberries and a flammkuchen (which is similar to a pizza) with cheese on rucola. 

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It was delicious!

Ivan, Lil Dave and I took the train back the main station to retrieve our luggage.  Then, it was off on the shuttle to the small airport where Ryan Air flies out of.  It took an hour and a half to get there.  Ivan and I both fell asleep on the bus.

We had liquid in our bags and the stupid lady at the X-ray machine wouldn’t let us through without the liquids being in a plastic bag.  How dense can you be?  Does it really matter if it’s in the bag? It’s only there to make it easier to see that it’s liquids.  She was so by the rules that she wouldn’t let us through even though I said I’d put it in a plastic bag – but it had to be a ziploc bag.  I told Ivan that I bet they’re in on it with the store so that they get a kick back for sending everybody there to buy a ziploc. 

I felt like a zombie – so jetlagged.  I couldn’t wait to take a shower and get some decent sleep.

Our plane left at 9:40 pm from Frankfurt headed to London, England.  Ivan and I both got an hour’s sleep on the plane.

We arrived at 9:45 pm (the time went an hour back).  Thank goodness, Ivan pre-arranged a taxi.  We would have been so knackered (tired) if we had to take a bus and then a train.

The driver took us to the airbnb place we were staying at.  The place is right between a Gordon Ramsey restaurant and a pub owned by Gandalf.

We arrived at the place at 11:17 pm. 

Later, Ivan and I ate some baked beans before showering and then going to bed.

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