Eurotripping – Part III

21 03 2010


Highlight: Montreux is beautiful, the most serene town I have ever been to, the whole place is so quiet and peaceful and just so, so gorgeous. The sun is out, but there is this thin layer of cloud that makes it warm but diffuses the light. There is the constant calming sound of water lapping against the shore of Lake Geneva. It was also a sort of pilgrimage for me with my lifetime of Queen love, as it was where they lived and worked for the final few years when Fred was dying – I think if I had to choose a place to go this would be a good choice. There’s little reminders around too – a statue of Freddie right on the shore of Lake Geneva (I spent ages trying to recreate the album art of ‘Made in Heaven’ – didn’t get too far off…) and their old recording studios under the Montreux casino (Rock trivia: it was the burning of the original Montreux casino during a Zappa gig that inspired Deep Purple to write ‘Smoke on the Water’) which are still to this day covered with messages of love from Fans around the world. I didn’t add anything, but I captured it with a couple of photographs.

Lowlight: Not really a lowlight, but it did ruin the fact that this was my Switzerland stop of the eurotrip. I jumped on a boat on Lake Geneva and ended up in Evian (as in the bottled water!) which was also another lovely little sleepy lakeside town. Unfortunately when I stopped to grab some pasta and a bottle of Evian for lunch (how could i not?!) and went to pay with my Swiss Francs the owner said ‘No, Euro, this is France’ – oops.

Favorite photo:

From Lausanne, January 2010


Highlight: AMANDA!!!! I was supposed to be in Paris for this stop, but somewhere around Turkey Amanda Palmer announced a mini-european tour, so forget Paris, I have Amanda to watch.  Bordeaux got booked and off I trundled to see her. Bordeaux was bigger than I expected, I was thinking quaint little town surrounded by rolling vineyards and freeflowing wine everywhere I went. But it wasnt. It was a big city which was too damn cold.  ANYWAY. Amanda did a ninja gig at a local bar, so I made it to the airport, onto a bus, onto a tram, found the hotel, checked-in,dropped luggage, found bar and watched her play a 5 song set on her uke. She was great, she is just so cool. Even though this goes against the format I have established of highlight/lowlight/favorite photo for this eurotrip section of my blog – I don’t care – here is a video of her doing Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ that night:

Then the next night was her actual show. It was cold, I nearly wasnt allowed in because of some internet ticket sale issue, and the audience were not like the ones in Australia and the UK – it wasnt the freakshow party that it normally is (and admittedly, that’s part of the appeal of an Amanda Palmer show – it’s almost as much about the audience as it is about her – everyone is a part of it) She did a great job though, worked hard and tried to win the crowd with some French chatter and singing.  Ohh, and she did a signing afterwards and I got to say hi again, and even did the dorky fan thing and got a picture! whee!!

Lowlight: Paris. Only because I had hardly any time there and all I wanted to do was go to the Pompidou which, luckily, was open til 10pm. So got there at 7.30pm, had scheduled myself half an hour for the video art collection, an hour for the temporary exhibition and an hour for the permanent collection. Made it to the end of the temporary exhibition, was just making for the permanent exhibition and was told the gallery was closing. What??? It’s open til 10pm I insisted, pointing at the guide. Yes, the centre is open til 10pm, the gallery shuts at 9pm though. I was GUTTED, this was the only thing I wanted to do in Paris, and I didn’t even get to make it there. Ah well. An excuse to go back one day I suppose.

Favorite photo: (it had to be…)

From Bordeaux, January 2010


Highlight:  On my last day in Brussels a girl I had met in the Hostel headed out with me to find waffles for breakfast. After finding them I still had some time to kill before my train left for Amsterdam, so I dropped my luggage at the main train station and we went to the Musical instrument museum. This was so much fun. You got a headset which would pick up radio signals broadcasting to just in front of the display cases – when in the radio zone, sample music for the instrument in the case would play. So we decided that we would make up a traditional dance style for each piece of music we heard.  As the instruments in the museum were from all over the world it was good fun, but it  ha looked pretty crazy to anyone else as we were the only ones who could hear that particular piece of music. Unfortunately they didn’t have any didjes, so I couldn’t show off ‘ corroboree dance.

Lowlight: When I travelled I had a huge heavy backpack strapped to my shoulders and waist, had a handbag over a shoulder and a front pack on my chest. I spent the whole time with the debilitating fear of my feet slipping on icy pavements from under me and falling on my back only to be stranded on my backpack like a turtle – unable to get up again, arms and legs flailing until someone found me and rolled me over. Well. In Brussels, I fell. Luckily i fell forwards and didn’t get stuck on my backpack. But it was still pretty hard to get up, and I knew it must have looked funny, so I kept laughing at myself while trying to get up which would make me slip again. That would have made a great video for someone to submit to Australia’s Funniest Home Videos.

Favorite photo: I need to preface this photo with an explanation – ‘Mannekin Pis’ is  this fountain with this peeing boy, he is also pretty much th mascot of all of Belgium, everywhere you go, there he is – you can buy chocolates shaped like him, keyrings, beer steins, shot glasses, whatever. So being such a big deal, you expect something pretty spectacular. No. Not even.

This is it.

From Brussels, January 2010


Highlight: Julian and I got to hang out in Amsterdam, which was so much fun – I always have a good time with him, and it had been so long since I had last see him. I wanted to see a show at Concertgebouw, another one of these concert halls that are considered to be the Worlds best.  Julian had a ‘rough idea’ of where it was from my hostel – so we walked all around the city, asked numerous people directions and no one seemed to know. Eventually, after about an hour and a half of walking we chanced upon it and made it there. I went in to buy us some tickets and the lady asked if there was any youth discount – I was obviously well and truly out of it, but Jules might get one, so I asked what the cut-off age was – it was 30!!! Hurray! I’m still young as far as they are concerned!  Being under 30 meant that we could go back 45 mins before the show and buy rush tickets for 10 Euro. As we were about an hour early for being able to buy them we went and found beer and had Dutch tapas, which basically consisted of various potato and cheese concoctions, all deep-fried. Healthy. We went back to buy out tickets and then decided that a ‘coffee shop’ might be a good idea before the show – we took 15 minutes to finally found one, bought a smoke to share realised we only had 15 minutes now to get back. Shouldnt be a problem though, as this time we know where we are going, it should take less time to get back than it did to get to the shop in the first place – right? Wrong. We took 25 mins to get back and could not figure out why. As we were locked out of the hall until the first piece was finished we examined where our plan had gone wrong. Then we remembered the 2.5m long clog we found and had to have a photo shoot in. Damnit. Anyway, as we were going in the usher said ‘dont forget to come out at interval for a drink – wine is included in the cost of your ticket’  best news EVER. So in we went, heard incredible music in a beautiful sounding hall, came out for a free wine, went back in and found our real seats (pissing off a guy behind us who was upset by Julian’s height blocking his sightlines) and enjoyed the rest of the show – including a piece of music Julian recognised as being from the modern era level of the computer game ‘Civilisation 4’.

Best 10 euro experience EVER.

Lowlight: Julian, his girlfriend Esme and I went to the cinema to take in Avatar in 3D. With Dutch subtitles. This wasnt that much of a big deal, obviously you just ignore those. Except of course that there are portions of the film when those giant Smurf-Cats are talking their native language, and the subtitles are still in Dutch. We managed to annoy most of the cinema audience by having Esme translate the dutch to english for us. She was very obliging.

Favorite photo:

From Amsterdam, February 2010



3 responses

21 03 2010

What a great writer you are. Looking forward to reading your first novel now!!

22 03 2010

Lauren I loved hearing your voice with Amanda Palmers it reminded me of all our drives to and from Ikea.
Also I LOLed so much as i imagined you rolling around on the slippery ice with all your gear-Hilarious
Love your updated Blog

22 03 2010


I find it very hard to believe that our little bay girl “Lolly Shell” is so grown up and has become an international citizen. I should have realised all those years ago that the little girl who challenged the show bag salesman (Royal Melbourne Show) because the plastic vomit was missing from her bag of goodies would one day take on the world!

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