yay, we are here! (this is the new york new york hotel by the way just in case you thought i got on the wrong plane. i like the addition of the roller coaster behind the statue of liberty!). i can't help but think the photo looks fake, like a model?
we ventured out last night but didn't go very far as after going back in time 8 hours we were all starting to lose the ability to speak and my eyes were stinging like hell! (i guess thats what you get for staying awake for over 24 hours).
we ended up at the hard rock cafe for dinner (a little cheesey i know) but it was my first ever visit to a hard rock cafe and at least it was in vegas (and not london). the burger was amazing actually but i guess i shouldn't expect anything less for a burger in america.
i went for the chipotle and guacamole burger with onions and cheese (yummy). i also got my first frozen margarita! (the first of many i hope).
we saw the lion enclosure last night in the MGM hotel. i was intrigued to see them but at the same time i don't like the idea of lions being enclosed in a hotel. and i still think its pretty odd. they are obviously extremely tame and used to human contact as there was a man inside the enclosure with them. he patted their heads like they were domestic cats which i thought was a little wrong to treat them like pets. they were 2 female lions and kev said he bets the man wouldn't be doing that if they were male!
(a statue of liberty made of jelly beans. can i eat it?!!)
so far vegas has been everything i expected it to be. crazy, ridiculous, over the top, big (like HUGE), but amazing and such a feast for the eyes. i got very excited opening the curtains this morning (or afternoon? who knows) and seeing las vegas outside and i cannot wait to get out again and get exploring. we have a whole day ahead of us!
wow! on saturday evening kev and i attended our friends party to celebrate their recent marriage (the one which took place in cyprus). it was such an amazing party. lots of fun and dancing (and drinking!)... the atmosphere was fantastic. many of us were still up at 4.30am (including the bride and groom!). i was so happy for carrie-ann and james, they really are the most wonderful couple.
another friend of ours created a little 'marrioke' film (he filmed all the clips in cyprus in the air-conditioned hotel as it was soooo hot and sweaty outside). seeing as its on youtube, i'm guessing no one will mind me putting the link on here?! (bit late if its not). its really fun (and i'm the bridesmaid in the purple).
i'm currently relaxing at my mum's place before we fly to las vegas tomorrow. i really can't wait! we are taking our laptop so i hope to put a few pictures on here whilst we are away. but then again, i might be too busy exploring the sights of vegas and drinking frozen margaritas! bring it on!
today we woke up at kev's parents house and ate a delicious fried english breakfast (well, the bacon and sausage were actually grilled) with proper irish potato bread (thanks to kev's dad's latest trip to visit family in ireland). it was delicious! i miss english bacon and sausages so much. what a treat.
then we set off on our little road trip to the cotwolds. i LOVE road trips! we borrowed the car (from kev's parents) and hit the road. the motorways can be pretty boring but i played DJ with the ipod and we sang along and before we knew it we were on the country road heading towards the old market town of stow-on-the-wold where we had planned to stop for lunch. it got me thinking what does 'wold' mean and good old wiki told me my guess of hill was correct. its an old english word used to describe a range of hills consisting of open country overlying limestone or chalk (i'm sure you probably didn't wanna know that but i thought i'd tell you anyway!).
it is a typical old but lovely english town (with a market square, a church, a fish and chip shop, lots of tea rooms and LOADS of pubs!), and it was a very typical english summers day with drizzle and grey grey skies (aahhh, the english summer. i certainly don't miss you).
for lunch we went to the kings arms and i drank a lovely pint of strongbow. it was SO good.
they do sell strongbow in the irish bars in vienna but it doesn't quite taste the same. its just not as crisp and fizzy and cold somehow (but i still drink it obviously!).
my goats cheese and caramelised onion tart with salad leaves was pretty damn good too!
we wandered around in the drizzle and couldn't help notice that the average age of visitors to the town is probably about 73. there were certainly a lot of 'shampoos and sets' around! we also had a chuckle when we saw this sign on the entrance door to a pub.
i didn't want to get too close to the door with my camera for fear of the bar staff seeing me but the sign says 'BARRED. We hereby give notice that Alistair Darling Chancellor of the Exchequer is banned from this pub until further notice'. (i should probably point out that he is now shadow chancellor since the labour party lost the election in may).
before leaving the town and heading to our hotel to check in, kev insisted that we stop and purchase a cake from an amazing looking bakery and tea shop (i do love a good english tea shop).
he chose the vanilla slice and let me try a bite. i have to say, it was THE best vanilla slice i have ever eaten!
and this is how to eat a vanilla slice! (hee hee).
for fear of going a little stir crazy in the apartment i decided to go out today and treat myself to some lunch. unfortunately it was alone, but i enjoyed it nevertheless!
i've walked past the point of sale (in the 4th district) a million times (okay, slight exaggeration) but i've never actually been in before today. there are some nice tables and benches outside on the street (good for people watching) but they were all taken so i sat inside at a nice high bench looking out of the window. i had my laptop for company as they have free wireless internet connection (woo!). i sipped a few white wine spritzers (at lunchtime, naughty me) and ate the POS burger.
it was good. but me being impatient burnt my mouth on the boiling hot potato wedges because i couldn't wait! all the food looks pretty good (they have a big breakfast menu and bagels and salads amongst other things) and i like the chilled atmosphere in the place. i will definitely be returning!
i'm now home and feeling rather sleepy (think it might be those spritzers at lunchtime!) but no time for a little afternoon nap as i've got to iron and pack my suitcase AGAIN as my boyfriend and i are flying back to england tomorrow for the wedding (part 2) in the cotswolds (our friends who got married in cyprus are having a big wedding party in england to celebrate). then we have a few days in brighton catching up with friends and family before flying to las vegas (yeah baby!) for 5 nights. i'm SO excited! when we return from vegas i'll be heading up to manchester to stay with friends before flying back to vienna. i'm gonna be living out of a suitcase for 2 and a half weeks... but i think its gonna be a lot of fun!
taking pictures of my breakfast is about as exciting as my day is gonna get today i think. well, i say breakfast but its more like brunch as i've just wasted 3 hours reading blogs in bed. wasted time or worthwhile? i'm not sure. (in case you're wondering, its mixed berry jam on the toast).
now that our friends have gone, kev is at work and i'm alone in the apartment again i can't help thinking 'what am i doing'? it seems unbelievable to me that we have now been living in vienna for 5 months. but what have i achieved in those 5 months? i still feel like an alien here, i still have no job, i still can't speak the language. and i'm still at a total loss as to how to go forward from here. i would like to do something creative, but fear i'm not creative enough. this city seems like such a wonderful place when we have friends here but then it seems so unwelcoming when i'm alone. i guess i have a lot to think about. and maybe too much time on my hands to do it!
first things first, i need to get in the shower and stop looking at the internet! then i think i'll look for a recipe and make something nice for dinner.
we've had more visitors this week! its been lovely having our friends nicola, pete and their little (and very cute) son oliver staying with us. we've had so much fun! (even though i've now been introduced to the world of the wiggles and i can't get the very catchy songs out of my head! those guys seriously know what they are doing).
i've enjoyed showing them all the sights of vienna - which i have to admit has involved rather a lot of beer and food stops (not that i'm complaining!).
on friday i was rather excited as we discovered that ottakringer do cherry beer! we stopped by at the temporary bar they currently have at rathausplatz (whilst the open air film festival is being held there). it is delicious! (but i'm yet to discover where they actually sell it other than here. i haven't noticed it in any supermarkets or bars?). i'm now on a mission to find it!
we also bought a huge cheese pretzel. i'm not normally much of a pretzel fan (i like the small crunchy ones covered in salt) but the addition of the cheese was soooo good.
(as you can see, we had already started pulling it apart before i remembered to take a picture so we tried to fit the pieces back together again - minus the bit already in my mouth!).
whilst wandering we found at the museumsquartier a new little outside summer bar called aloha. how cute! (it reminds me of the disney film lilo & stitch). i love the pink umbrellas and we couldn't resist stopping for a white wine spritzer. rude not to!
we visited café mozart on thursday as we were really hungry and it was the closest place so we thought we'd give it a try. its in a prime location in the city and so is a little touristy (and pricey) but my mixed wurst plate was yummy (its 3 different sausages, 2 different mustards, grated horseradish and a gherkin!).
(sorry the picture is blurry!)
on friday night we enjoyed a great meal at la norma. kev and i have been there a few times (and so i've mentioned it on here before) but we all fancied pizza and it didn't disappoint. i'm not sure whether it was because i had drank too many cherry beers in the day and then too much wine with dinner but i think it was one of the nicest pizzas i've eaten in ages (but in my slight drunkenness - okay probably more than slight - i forgot to take a picture. damn it!). i did however remember to take a picture of pete's dessert because it, well, what can say... looked like this......!
they are actually profiteroles but pete assured me they tasted much better than they looked. i'll take his word for it!
we started the meal off at an outside table but had to take cover inside the restaurant when a HUGE crazy storm came over vienna.
i've never seen so much lightening and it rained and rained and so we had no choice but to stay in the restaurant and drink more wine, limoncello and amaretto. what a shame! and a great way to end what had been a fantastic week.
it was my birthday on saturday which coincided with pride in brighton! (my hometown in england).
the parade and party (to promote equality, bring awareness and eliminate discrimination against the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities) has been running for 18 years (so since i was 14) and i've not missed many in those 18 years. its just got bigger and bigger each year... and many say it is the best in the UK, even better than london. it always takes place on the first saturday of august and so my birthday is always very close.
our day started with bucks fizz, croissants and yummy homemade cakes at my friends house in the morning before heading out to watch the parade...
this is my friends lounge window - love it!
a birthday cake float!
check out the man in gold!
many organisations are represented at the parade including local groups, businesses and the emergency services. its an amazing day/night (but it was crazy busy) and so we headed off to the pub pretty early whilst everyone else fought through the crowds and toilet queues at preston park. i had a fab day and i feel very lucky that i got to be a part of a huge (and very important) party in the city on my birthday!
here is a picture of me doing silly dancing at the end of the night! ha ha