Here Comes The Planet 45 – Tanzania 02

Our group, which has now taken to calling itself “Team Toto”, moves on to the main part of our African adventure when we meet up with the Dragoman tour that will be taking us around east Africa. We’ll be spending over a month with most of these people and our tour guide, Steve. The beginning of a new adventure!

In this episode we check out the Forodhani Night Market and the Darajani spice market in Stone Town before heading to a spice and fruit plantation tour where we get to sample lots of exotic fruits and see some impressive tree climbing. We stay in northern Zanzibar on Nungwi Beach where we get the chance to visit the Mnarani turtle sanctuary and tick something off Nicolette’s bucket list – swimming with turtles!

Also, people are rightfully worried about being bitten by turtles. Because it frickkin’ hurts.

Also, cute kitten!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Advertisements

London and Visa Applications.

Luke and I returned from Iceland with altered circadian rhythms, a craving for fresh food and somewhat lightened wallets.

We booked a cheap B&B in West Drayton, apparently home to the kind of people who enjoy spending a sunny Saturday afternoon with their shirts off, large stomachs on display, drinking pints outside a sticky looking pub by the side of a major highway, shouting at each other incomprehensibly. The B&B was a tad dodgy and the room was tiny but we were close to a train station so we could get into the city.
After an unexpectedly dark night’s sleep after the twilight of Iceland, we caught the train (remarking frequently, as I’m sure all Australians do, how amazing public transport is here) into the city. Our current mission was to acquire our Tanzanian visas.

So we navigated to Bond St, dropped off out passports and forms and then went back after 3 hours and they were ready to collect. Simple! All other embassies take note. If there was a TripAdvisor section for embassies Tanzania would get 5 stars from us.

While we waited I had lunch (Luke watched because he said he wasn’t hungry) at a place called ‘Pitt Cue‘, which I’d read about in one of the newspapers. Only about 30 seats and a very limited menu, they served American style bbq dishes. I had the ribs, which were possibly the best beef ribs I’ve yet had (not that there’s been much competition) and a really great potato and (bone) marrow mash. I highly recommend it if you’re in London and like meat. There’s no booking, you just show up about 15 minutes before opening and are seated elbow-to-elbow with strangers. The service was quick and friendly. The prices were high-ish but this is London, after all.

Served in a tin dish, it made up for in taste what it lacked in presentation. Which isn’t helped by me taking the phone in dim light with my phone.

I also spent a bit of the wait time window shopping around the area and found a shoe shop that many of my female friends would love. Insanely colourful, decorated heels, some reminded me of Carmen Miranda, others were like drag queens crossed with Mexican wrestlers. Β The prices weren’t bad and I’m sorely tempted to go back and get a pair of the less insane ones.

I don’t know where I’d wear something like these, or what I’d wear them with but damnit, I’d find a way!

The next day we tried to book two more nights at our B&B so we could go in to the Rwandan embassy on Monday but they were all booked out, so we took it as a sign and decided to head back to Cambridge and grace Andrew with our presence. Lucky guy. First though, a trip back to Camden markets for a wander around in the sun. We ate a giant burrito between the two of us, had ice-cream made freshly in front of us using liquid nitrogen (this means there’s no ice crystals and I must say, it was exceptionally creamy and smooth) and I bought a couple of things.

A splodge of heaven.

After this, what with the weather being pretty much perfect, we agreed Hampstead Heath would be the ideal place to chill out. We were oh-so-wrong. The closer we got to the Heath the more my eyes itched until, once we got there, I could barely concentrate thanks to my sneezing and scratching. Curse you, hayfever! I took some tablets… actually I took a lot of tablets… and we headed back to Van Failen. Luke drove home and I semi-slept in the car then crashed out for several hours after Andrew told me I looked like a hedgehog. I’m still not entirely sure what he meant.

Vienna

Despite initially feeling that Vienna wasn’t quite as nice as Munich, we have seen and done some lovely things here.

We chose a hostel (Wombat’s) that is right next to the Nachtmarkt, markets that run along a long, wide median strip between two roads. It’s a bit less than a kilometre long and the stalls open from early morning to fairly late at night, except on Sundays. As an aside, we are quickly learning that being in European cities on a Sunday means few shops or anything else open so you have to plan your excursions and grocery shopping accordingly.

The markets have lots of great fresh food, although it’s worth doing a sweep up and down to find the best prices as they do vary a bit. We bought soup for breakfast yesterday – it was served inside a bread roll so all we needed was a spoon. Very environmentally friendly! We’re hoping the guy will be back there tomorrow so we can have it for breakfast again. This whole idea of serving hot food in bread rolls is definitely one I’ll be taking home with me.

Gulash served in bread in Krumlov – I forgot to take a picture of the soup in bread in Vienna.

I bought fresh pasta, pesto and vegetables to make into dinner last night. Even though hostel kitchens are always pretty basic the one here isn’t too bad and we ended up sharing our meal with another traveler, Alex, who started chatting to us in the kitchen.

Yesterday we also did a walking tour of the city. It was pretty good, but nowhere near as good as the Munich tour. Nothing beats a tour guide who is funny as well as informative. There seem to be free walking tours everywhere in Europe. The idea is you tip the guide what you think the tour is worth at the end. Doing some sort of tour is a great way to start off in a new city – get one’s bearings and then have an idea of where to go back to. Although we did find Vienna mysteriously difficult to navigate and got lost a few times.

We had trouble finding the Sacher Hotel one afternoon but eventually made it for a piece of the original (well, not *the* original) Sacher Torte. As one might expect, the place is filled almost exclusively with tourists, but the cake was really nice and the iced chocolate was even better. If I hadn’t been trying to moderate my calories somewhat we’d surely have found a few more places selling tortes in order to compare.

One of the last things we did in Vienna was spend an evening at a coffee house – the Kafka Cafe, which several people I know (Anth, I’m looking at you) would’ve loved. Old leather booths, locals sitting around smoking and chatting, endless streams of coffee and beer – it was great. We got chatting to a local girl who’d spent time in Ireland and spoke perfect English with an Irish accent, which was slightly disconcerting. She assured us we’d found the best cafe in Vienna. Lucky us!

Tulips at the markets.