Tuesday, December 22, 2009

October - December: All roads lead to home

Well we’re in the back end of the season now and it finally blossomed in to a cracker.

In a topsy turvey three months that I’ll never forget, I went back to Central Europe, took over the Presidency of the Wandsworth Demons Australian Rules Football Club, returned home after three years to figure out that it didn’t really feel like home anymore and I got promoted.

The start of the 4th quarter started with me sitting in a university apartment block approximately 20 minutes drive out of Prague. After agreeing to take a tour group from Prague to Oktoberfest to Vienna and then on to Budapest.
But Oktoberfest beckoned, and nothing could stop me and my leaderhousen returning!!!!












In the interests of brevity, I won’t go in to too much detail about Oktoberfest, as you can read about my previous adventures in the two posts below:

You may even notice the appearance on Suzanna in the 2006 blog. Well after 3 years we found each other again. And by the look of the before and after shots, I found Atkins.







2006 2009

A good time had by all in the two days there, and once again I enjoyed watching the reactions of people who had not been there before - and watching them fail to pace themselves for what is literally and exercise of consuming your own weight in beer and roast chicken. And alas, some failed early and some lasted. For all those that head to Oktoberfest, by the way, the best fun happens afterr 6pm when the locals start flooding in. Go strong early, but not crazy, because you're still got 4 hours of attempting to keep up with the German locals. On the flip side, buy shots for someone you want out of the way - works a treat.

After several days of hard drinking it was great to simply kick back in Vienna in a small Austrain restaurant, with a schnitzel, struddle and some wine. A little group of us stayed until close with a big, old Austrian in the corner playing the piano accordian - it was so clichéd it was great.

This was my final tour for the year, and it was by far one of the best groups I’ve taken around. All really good value and enjoyable fun. Sometime you feel like you are actually working when you’re taking 50 odd tourists around Europe and showing them the sites, but I actually had a real good time with this group; primarily down to a couple of people.

Finishing up in Hungry I had made the God-awful decision to catch the 7am train from Budapest back to Munich and Oktoberfest, and good damn getting out of bed was hard. I quick summary of that – NEVER AGAIN!! Good Lord that was bad. I met a few mates there to continue the festivities.….but until next time Oktoberfest, may I say:
But back to London town and killing time before getting on that big old plane to Aus. I was quite nervous to go home. It had been so long and I had no idea what to expect, who to see and where to go when I got back. Capping it off, Mum and Dad did the loving parent thing of deciding to go on holiday for the first few days of my return, which meant I was in a hotel or on my friend Catherine’s couch for the first five days - in my own home tow! They laugh now; but it ain’t going to be so funny when I miss the family day at their retirement home because I’m in Bora Bora (hi Mum…)!

Arriving in Melbourne at about 4pm I had two hours to get ready and meet Catherine before the Demon’s 20th anniversary dinner and the celebrations that were going to be taking place over the next week – including standing in a suit at the races on a 38 degree day with no shade! Catching up with friends I made in London who had now moved home was good, but I spent most of my time with my old Melbourne friends; well mainly Catherine really. We were pretty inseparable at Uni, and in the time between when I moved back from Sydney to Melbourne before heading to London, so it was good to spend most of our time just creating chaos wherever we went; and that she now has more partners in crime.

(now remember to click play...)
I also managed to make a trip up to Sydney – barely (never fly Tiger Airways) - to see some friends, past and present, and was a little surprised that I felt more at home in Sydney than Melbourne. Might be because I lived there for the three years before moving to London, but was a little weird all the same.

I was excited to come back to London though. I did miss the old girl and was looking forward to returning. But not before a stop over in Dubai to say hello to Rachel. I still have no idea what happened on the night that we went out, but don’t go drinking with flight attendents.


So we were both out the door on the 24th of December, but I was at least heading back in the New Year. But I had to make it through the Christmas break first. Now I'm a bit of a scrooge. I'm fine to say it, and I'm fine being it, a fact that seems to be enjoyed by the girls at work given their fun with my desk when I was in a meeting.

But this year it was going to be different: I was planning on having a family Christmas. The past four have either been on a snowboard or in a Castle in the Scottish Highlands.

Several of us were heading up to Cockermoutn (yes that's its name) to celebrate the holidays
with the Nicholsons, the long suffering parents of my mate Gary. And weren't we the toast of the town. Four Aussies arriving in a far Northern town to spread the Christmas cheer - I felt like a frigging reindeer such was the excitement. And God did I eat too.

There was a Christmas feast, fresh meats, homemade bread, homemade sausage rolls, pork rolls, biscuits, muffins, scones and cheese....and that was breakfast . I did a before and after weighing session for the four days to see what the change was - 3.6kilos gained in 4 days - and heart burn was my best friend. I went back to London to have a rest before heading even further North to the windswept streets of Newcastle - or fake tan town - to see in the New Year in a brisk -4 and snow.

The running joke about Newcastle is that the colder it gets, the less clothes are worn. No idea where that comes from, but they do know how to throw a rollicking good time!
Me dealing with Newcastle weather
Locals dealing with Newcastle weather

The Northerners were a great craic.
So bye bye to 2009, and hello to 2010. December has led up to be the perfectly closing party to a great year; so let's just see what tomorrow has in store.

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