January 23, 2009


NOTE: Catch-up post

We ended up selling Ace for the same price we bought her for to Alice, a twenty-something chick who told us, "I wasn't even planning on buying a campervan, but I was bored at work and started looking at Gumtree and decided I wanted one."

She didn't even ask us to start the engine, nor did she try and haggle us down at all.

How's that for an impulse purchase?!

January 21, 2009

Back to the UK

NOTE: Catch-up post

One thousand six hundred and fifty five – the number of freckles on Lindsay Lohan's stomach, the amount of times per day Craig thinks about food, and the distance (in kilometers) we travelled in two days to get from Cesky Krumlov to the UK.

Like bats outta hell we drove across four countries (five if you count the UK), praying we would get back to England incident and accident free. 

God musta been on his lunch break, cause just a few hundred meters after we crossed the border from the Czech Republic into Germany, we drove past a German police car parked on the side of the freeway. We'd seen lots of the green and white patrol cars on the super-fast German highways, and we'd shat ourselves every single time – we'd heard plenty of stories about the German police screwing over foreign motorists for teeny misdemeanours such as not having 3cm of tyre tread. So when this particular cop car started tailing us, and then proceeded to pull us over, you can imagine we were pretty freaked out.

Surly and authoritative – just the way I like my police! We scrambled around frantically when they requested our passports and registration papers, jumped out and eagerly unlocked the van doors when they asked, ripped out the entire contents of our backpacks so they could see there was no drugs or weapons inside, and stood there patiently while they searched our van and ran passport checks on us.

Eventually, they let us go – fine and jail-term free. But the whole event just confirmed we were doing the right thing by abandoning the van trip.

Other than a stop overnight in Frankfurt and some seriously painful traffic jams on the German motorways, the rest of the journey was pretty uneventful – the Big Guy Upstairs musta finished his Chicko roll and choccy Moove.

The relief we felt when we hit the road in the UK was akin to that felt by the entire world when George Bush handed over the keys to the White House. We were back to driving on the left side of the road, we could read all the signs, and if anything horrible were to happen (like a ball joint breaking and careering off into a ditch), we'd be able to communicate to passers-by and mechanics alike. 

But it wasn't all fun and games. We had planned to live in a caravan park just outside London until we sold the van. But when we arrived at the camping ground in Chertsey, we realised that not only were we in an absolute hole about 50 kilometers outside of London, we were also paying £15 a night for the privilege of staying there.

This was not on. So after a few frantic phone calls to my London-based pal Jackie, we arranged to stay at her place in Clapham for a 'couple of weeks', until we found jobs and our own place to stay. Our London experience was about to begin....

Down on our luck and dossing on an friend's couch – doesn't get more Aussie-in-London stereotypical than that!

January 20, 2009

Coming soon...

Life in London
What living in the English capital is really like.

Carving it up in France
We pull some, er, ultra rad moves on the slopes.

Us in Amsterdam
Our photos were stolen, but we can still post a story, right?

Holy Hogmanay
We ring in the new year with our pals Groove Armada.

January 19, 2009

Cesky Krumlov, a police encounter and the beginning of the end

NOTE: Catch-up post.

If I had to describe the town of Cesky Krumlov in three words, I'd probably go for quaint, charming and picturesque (thanks thesaurus.com!). Cesky is the ideal pit-stop for the travel-weary backpacker, a place where they can simply stop, relax and take their time exploring the cobblestone streets of this pretty little town.

But for us, Cesky will forever be tainted with the title of The Place We
Decided To Ditch The Van – or something to that effect...

Completely exhausted from our Oktoberfest adventures, we packed up our tent, said goodbye to The Tent and journeyed into the third country of our van tour, the Czech Republic.

Grey skies, dodgy roads and a high percentage of people who looked like serial killers – our first impressions of the country were pretty crap to say the least. Driving down the narrow country lanes, we both played hypotheticals – 'What the hell would we do if we broke down here?', 'What if a ball joint broke now?', 'What if those people standing there with rifles see our Great Britain number plates and want to kill us?'... sure beats number-plate bingo!

There's nothing like a policeman coming up to your vehicle's window in a foreign country to put you at ease. Since the main area of Cesky is a vehicle-free zone, we drove as far as we could and I jumped out to go find us some suitable accommodation for the night – since we were both really sick from four freezing nights in a tent, we decided to treat ourselves to a decent night's sleep in a hotel. While I was running madly about the town, some police saw Craig illegally parked and decided to pay a visit. Luckily, they were very nice about the whole situation (and spoke English to boot) and directed Craig to a nearby carpark. Unable to find anything in our price range (cheap), I stumbled upon a van-less Craig searching for me.

Over it, we decided to head into the nearest hotel and, luckily for us, the prices were somewhat bearable. A warm room with real beds, our own en suite and a TV that had 471 channels in every language but English was exactly what the doctor ordered. After lying around and showering, 
we decided to loosen our purse strings that extra bit further and treat ourselves to pizza for dinner – justifying it by telling ourselves that we were kitchen-less and had no other choice.

'You don't want to go back to the van now, do you?' joked Craig the next morning after after sleeping in an actual room in an actual bed.

'No!' I started crying, the thought of ever having to drive anywhere or sleep in that horrid van ever again filled me with dread.

A serious conversation about how much we hated the van and were struggling to enjoy ourselves because of the constant worry about our safety ensued. I just knew that if something Bellebrune-esque were to happen again, I just couldn't cope. We saved up for two years and gave up our jobs so that we could have the time of our lives, not to watch our bank accounts plummet while we eagerly counted down the days before the trip was over.

The decision was made, a 'for sale' ad was promptly put on gumtree.com
and a huge weight was lifted from our shoulders. We were gonna head back to the UK the following day, sell the van and postpone our travels until summer, after a stint of living in London – and all this was decided over the free hotel breakfast, we Couchsitters don't mess around, y'know.

So, sorry Cesky, we did think you were beautiful, but we couldn't really take it all in – we kinda had more important things on our minds.

January 14, 2009

Craig likes big butts...

...and making a fool of himself at the office Christmas party!

Check out this vid of Dish clearing the dance floor, stealing the DJ's mic and belting out a stirring rendition of Baby's Got Back while busting some Chris Brown-worthy moves.

While impromptu karaoke would usually be an office-party etiquette 'don't' – especially when you've only been there for eight weeks – this cringeworthy performance somehow catapulted Craig to 'office legend' status, with people clamouring to chat to him at the printer.

Go figure.

Legend or loser? You decide.

Disclaimer: From Couchsitters to Globetrotters accepts no responsibility for any neck problems caused by watching the video. View at your own risk.