Publishing shared google reader items to twitter.

March 16th, 2011

Seems Feedburner by google which I’ve been using up until now is unreliable with posting to twitter, so this is a half post on what I’ve done to try getting it working, and half a post trying to test if it works with my wordpress at least 😛

Because Google reader’s rss feed of shared items is formatted a little strangely I made a short php script to parse it into a nicer format. OK, mainly getting rid of the annoying ‘Shared by <username> ‘ bit.

&lt;?php

$username = "Psykar";

$url = "http://www.google.com/reader/public/atom/user/10440293858886564202/state/com.google/broadcast";
$page = file_get_contents($url);

echo preg_replace('/Shared +by +'.$username.'/',null,$page);

?&gt;

To find your shared items url, just open reader, get the url which gets replaced, and remove the html entities %2F either side of the ID
eg for mine:

http://www.google.com/reader/view/#stream/user%2F10440293858886564202%2Fstate%2Fcom.google%2Freading-list

is 10440293858886564202

Plug this ID into the URL above

http://www.google.com/reader/public/atom/user/&lt;userid&gt;/state/com.google/broadcast

I then used feedburner to import this php script (hosted on my server) and activated the ‘socialize’ feature, which should be publishing all my shared items to twitter now, in a nice format.

Replacing notepad on Vista

March 11th, 2011

Having fun today trying to replace notepad on vista with my favourite text editor of late – Notepad++

I followed most of the instructions here:

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/12617/how-to-replace-notepad-in-windows-7/

and got the replacment notepad.exe file from here:

http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/commun/misc/NppLauncher.bin.zip

But found that upon trying to run it, I would get a very annoying warning:

Despite my efforts, unchecking this box would still produce the same error, even running as administrator.

Even going into the properties of the file and ‘unblocking’ it wouldn’t stick.

 

I found this blog post:

http://blogs.xntrix.com/2007/09/replacing-notepad-on-windows-vista-with.html

But the links in it are dead!

 

My solution in the end: Copy the notepad.exe file I had downloaded somewhere else, unblock it there then copy it into the directories mentioned.

Silly me for not doing that to start with – because obviously it’s not the same executable you find in the notepad++ program files directory.

File recovery

December 22nd, 2010

So someone left us with a corrupt USB stick at work a couple of days ago, no joy with that, but she had a USB stick which was still working which she had deleted the same data off recently, and it hadn’t been used since.
After a crapload of mucking around and a lot of reference to

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DataRecovery
http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-365703.html
http://matt.matzi.org.uk/2008/07/03/reconstructing-heavily-damaged-hard-drives/

I combined elements of all the above to the following script which recovered most of the deleted files.

The main trick was the arguments on icat – I was confused for a while because it was finding all the files, but only creating 4kb of them. Turns out I needed the -r -a arguments.

Script is below, run on a file created by the following command

# The -r argument is used to recover only deleted files
ils -r /media/Images/USBImage | awk -F '|' '{print $1}' &gt; /tmp/inodes
#!/bin/sh
imgpath="/media/Images/USBImage"

# This was due to taking the raw disk data rather than just the partition
# The offset was found using autopsy - part of sleuth tools, used for this.
imgargs=" -f fat -o 63 ${imgpath} "
outpath="/media/Images/Recovered/"

for inode in $(cat /tmp/inodes) ; do

	ffind ${imgargs} $inode

	if [ $? -eq 0 ]
	then
		echo "INODE: $inode"
		INODEDIR=$(ffind ${imgargs} $inode | awk -F "* " '{print $2}')
	 	echo "INODEDIR: ${INODEDIR}"
		REALDIR=${outpath}$(dirname -- "$INODEDIR")
		FILENAME="${outpath}${INODEDIR}"
		mkdir -p "$REALDIR"
		# I found this worked better than the method used by one of the links
		# to create directories. What happens is a directory inode may create
		# a file if a later file tries to write to a directory which IS a
		# file, the file is removed and the directory is created instead
		if [ $? -eq 1 ]
		then
			rm -R "${REALDIR}"
			mkdir -p "${REALDIR}"
		fi

		echo "FILENAME: $FILENAME"
		#echo "${imgargs} $inode &gt; $FILENAME"
		icat -r -s ${imgargs} $inode &gt; "$FILENAME"

		echo ""
	fi
done

Wooden letters in the mailbox?

August 30th, 2010

So I opened our mailbox to find black painted wooden letters taking up the whole thing – An ‘M’, a ‘N’ and two ‘I’s.
Viral marketing or some random stunt? *wanders off to google*

A park bench adventure among other things

August 5th, 2010

Salzburg was cute. Went on a biking tour around the ‘Sound of Music’ movie locations. This was after wandering for 2 hours in the rain to find a place to stay – with almost everywhere booked out.
Onward to Munich, and having to stay an extra night due to Dachau concentration camp actually being closed on Mondays. Involved a night each in two different hostels due to how busy they all were! The camp was sobering, but somehow disconnected from the atrocities that were once committed there – given how clean and touristic it is now.
Down to Fussen to visit Neuchwanstien and it’s sister castle – built by a crazy king in the 1800s who wanted a medieval castle, now the inspiration for the Disney fairytale castle. I turned up at 9pm and couldn’t find a bed after an hour… and receptions started closing. I slept on a bench outside the tourist information centre.

Amusingly that sleep was probably better than the night train to Venice (after a stop by Munich to pick up a laptop charger I’d left behind – and of course a visit to an Augustiner beer hall)

Venice while touristic is amazing. Also the most expensive place I’ve visited yet. Wandering lost through the streets was fun, finding markets churches and streets dead ending onto canals at every turn. It was even fun to wander in the rain.

Florence was nice – like a quieter and smaller version of Vienna. More friendly and of course full of gelati. Saw the orginal David, and a replica on a hill. Ran into Michelle from Melbourne who happened to also be going to Cinque Terra when I was.

Cinque Terra – simply beautiful. The coastline itself is quite spectacular, if not entirely unique, however no other coastline like this has 5 small historic and rustic towns built into them. The 7 hour hike between them was breathtaking and full of photo ops, gelati, stairs and amazing pasta and pesto.

I’m beginning to dispair of finding time to catch up with 3 weeks of blog posts! Hopefully my memory doesn’t fail too soon.

A quick update

July 24th, 2010

Been too busy to write full entries so a quick run down on the last couple of weeks.
After Switzerland I spent two nights with Robert – the guy I met in Egypt. Watched some football of course – being the finals weekend.

Then I headed over to Rothenberg o d Taube (lit. Rothenburg above the Taube (river)) a quaint medieval walled village full of tourists.

Then 3 days ferrying down the Rhein – staying in a castle, a hostel, and a cute little bed and breakfast run by a woman who knew next to no english. The Rhein (not Rhine as I keep misspelling while I type this) has castles galore – oftentimes you could see two at once, on various hills overlooking the river.
I visited Rheinfels (one of the largest castles in Germany – now a ruin) and Burg Eltz (one of the best preserved castles in Germany – still owned by the Eltz family) both were amazing.
Then onwards to Berlin, where I wish I had’ve spent longer than 2 nights, but I’d already booked Prague, where I ended up staying 4 nights. Both amazing cities for their history.
Now I’m chilling in Vienna. Or rather boiling, while fighting off oversized slow mosquitoes. The city itself is amazing architecturally. For me it’s the sheer volume of magnificent buildings – someone who knows what they are talking about might say there is no variety or something, but I don’t know any better!
Tomorrow I’m off to Salzburg, day after I may head back to Munich so I can drop by the Dachau concentration camp – which I missed on my first visit – as I need to visit at least one.
Then on to catch a few more castles in the south of Germany, and then in to Italy finally, where I hope to spend the majority of my remaining time in Europe. Venice first, and we’ll see from there.

So, yes I am still alive, and when I get the time I’ll write a bit more about the places I’ve already been =)

Switzerland

July 19th, 2010

With my tickets all reserved already the trip to Interlaken in Switzerland was relatively straight forward, if very long. Barcelona -> Montpellier (France) -> Geneva (Switzerland) -> Bern -> Interlaken. I think I left around 9am, and got in to Interlaken around 8.30pm (As the game was playing)
Armed with a list of a few hostels I again set about finding myself a place to stay without having booked anywhere. My experience in Paris was stressful, mainly because I didn’t have a good map. Interlaken was small enough and I’d made sure I had better maps 😛 The first hostel I tried came with great reviews, and the bar was absolutely packed for the game. Unfortunately they were booked out, so I wandered off to the next one, which did 🙂 Annoyingly Switzerland still uses their own Swiss Francs (which is fair enough – Switzerland has a great financial history of being independent – how many movies mention this? :P) so I took a stab at what I’d need for 3 nights, which worked out to within 2 francs!
I was planning on going up to Gimmelwald in the alps, but the last cable car (which you need to get up there!) goes at 6pm, so a night in Interlaken it had to be.
I watched the remainder of the game, had some McDonalds because everywhere else was shut, got some sleep, then got up early (9am) to head on to Gimmelwald. Walking to the station the scenery was already amazing, and paraglider after paraglider kept landing in the field I was walking past.
Getting some picnic-y stuff from the co-op I got the train, then the bus, then finally the cable car up a sheer cliff to Gimmelwald. The scenery kept getting better. Mountains back home have NOTHING on the swiss alps. Cliff faces over a kilometer high, rushing creeks everywhere to be seen from the snow capped mountains yet to melt after what was apparently quite a long winter.

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08-Jul-2010 13:23, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

After a wander around the town, and a quick snack, I decided to try my luck at the local youth hostel. I had emailed them a couple of days ago but figured a walk in was worth a shot. My heart sank as I walked in – the receptionist was talking on the phone ‘Sorry we’re all booked out tonight…. Yes tomorrow too, sorry’. I asked anyway and she was like ‘no we have 6 beds actually – we get a lot of walk ins, and just had a cancellation of a group of 4’.
I found this quite amusing, but I have got the picture that a lot of hostels have a similar principle and always save a couple of unreserved seats for the single stragglers without a booking. OK sure the hostel was full of about 60 high school kids from the states,but I could put up with that.
Happy to have somewhere to sleep I appreciated the scenery all the more, and took a quick snap from the patio to upload to facebook 😛

From the porch

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From the porch

Gimmelwald has escaped development due to a supposedly bogus ‘avalanche zone’ classification – even though the nearby town of Murren has been significantly built up and is actually higher up the mountain. Lots of mountain huts, many hay barns, the occasional bed and breakfast ‘pension’ and a multitude of romantic little chalets. It’s hay making season at the moment, with glorified lawnmowers and hay trucks not much bigger than a car scooting around the place.

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08-Jul-2010 18:34, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

To get some supplies for my planned hike up the Scilthorn the next day, I headed to Murren and stocked up on some ham cheese tomatoes and pears. Unfortunately they were out of bread (reasonably priced bread at least), so I had to make a trip via Murren the next day anyway. The walk from Gimmelwald to Murren is advertised as 50 minutes. The walk back is advertised as 30. In reality it’s about 20 each way, along a sealed track, dodging the occasional motorbike or hay truck. Down a few switchbacks and I was back at my hostel. Grabbed a pizza and a beer and sat outside to avoid the school children 😛

And so hiking time. The map the hostel had given me said it was about 5 hours. The first sign I saw said 7. By Murren that was down to 5. It took me maybe 4 and a half. It took me a while to realize it, but I was actually walking up a ski run! They had barriers and stuff up to stop the wayward skiers from barreling over the edge. As I got higher there was still snow around! I hadn’t expected to be going that high myself. Before long I actually had to walk through some, which my shoes weren’t exactly designed for, but it was still mid 20s so the small amounts that did get in them dried out pretty quickly.

More snow walking :(

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More snow walking 🙁09-Jul-2010 14:32, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100

It turns out that the peak I thought I was climbing was actually hiding the one behind it which I *was* climbing. Up and up, beyond the tree line so it was just grass rocks snow and water. The path was well marked and eventually I came to the final leg – a narrow spit with sheer drops each side for about 30 meters and then up to the restaurant on the peak of the mountain.
The restaurant had been built as the cable car to the top of the mountain was finished in the 1960s, and is (or was? it wasn’t clear) the highest revolving restaurant in the world, at just over 3000 metres.

The top in sight. And a paraglider!

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The top in sight. And a paraglider!09-Jul-2010 14:45, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

If it looks vaguely familiar you may have seen the James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” – where this restaurant was a major setting. The film was actually shot here before the restaurant opened to the public in 1969, and it was actually ‘destroyed’ in the movie. They have a room where at the press of a button you can watch sections from the movie which include the restaurant.
Having some more of my picnic I then started down, and followed a different sign, which actually had Gimmelwald on it, and a time of only 3 and a half hours! The path was much steeper, switchbacking across a grassy rocky hill, crossing a creek occasionally. This was obviously a less travelled track, narrower, and gown over with grass at times and flowers everywhere – not a ski run 😛

Flowers everywhere

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Flowers everywhere09-Jul-2010 13:10, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100

Getting near the bottom of the hill and I had two choices – Gimmelwald in 1 hour, or Gimmelwald in 1 hour and a half via ‘Spruce’ – which I vaguely remembered from conversation the previous night was a waterfall. Easy choice – and was rewarded by the track going behind and around an amazing waterfall hidden away in what is presumably a spruce forest 😛

Coming out of the forest and there was Gimmelwald spread below me.
Turns out I’d missed the quicker route in the morning because I’d taken the ‘shortcut’ towards Murren. Given I needed bread anyway, and it led to a nice circuit rather than retracing my steps it worked out OK. But only 3 and a half hours back vs. the 5 or so on the way up.

Back at the hostel, and Lasagne time! I had judged my money well and after the lasagne had just enough swiss franc to pay for the bus and train back to Interlaken – but not enough for the cable car. I’d already decided to hike down from Gimmelwald to the bus stop anyway, and didn’t find out just how close I was to this until I got to the bus stop at the bottom cable car station. It was a nice hour walk, past a whole lot of extremely high waterfalls – not as much water as Spruce, but falling 3 or more times the distance! When it joined up with the main creek the water was this strange bluish-white.

Amazingly clear and amazingly flat

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Amazingly clear and amazingly flat09-Jul-2010 17:24, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100

Not just from the rapids – I think the colour is also due to the fact it’s molten snow. It was a very strange colour for water.

The previous night I’d looked up various routes to get to Munich from Interlaken – there was no direct train, and it really depended what time I got to places as to what as quicker. Getting to Interlaken and using the terminals there it turned out I only needed one change though. Going via a town called Karlshrue onwards to Munich I headed!

Barcelona

July 15th, 2010

Each new city makes me realise how unfriendly Paris is for tourists. Barcelona, follow signs to metro, bang there’s a map you can grab, buy a T10 – ten tickets for the price of about 6, and headed off to the hostel I’d booked a couple of days ago. The reviews on this one were particularly good saying they ran sangria / tapas / barbecue nights – a great way to meet people no doubt.
True to their word, when I arrived there were signs up for a barbecue that night. So I got settled in (Hooray for free wifi again), wandered down to the supermarket to get some beers and hung outside on the patio chatting to people while we waited for our food 😛 Ended up running into Dan – one of the Americans from Madrid! Although we didn’t end up talking much.
The barbecue was brilliant. Only 4 euros I was expecting to have to cook and stuff, but the staff did it all for us – didn’t even have to do dishes! Although I did stack some at least. In the process plans were made to head out to a club in the city called Apollo. However, being Spain, we couldn’t leave just yet and had a rather tame game of kings – with no cup – instead just a version of ‘I never’ with 5 fingers, so after you had done 5 of the things you lost and had to scull. The questions were not exactly revelatory though.
When we finally did head out, we just made it for the last metro train – at 12.30 – which was lucky because the hostel was a fair way out of town. Get into the city and spent probably an hour wandering the streets asking people for Apollo. Everyone kept saying it was too early for it, but we got there about 1.30 and queued for 20 minutes, paid 10 euros and headed inside. The music was apparently ‘alternative’ – but was worse than some of the clubs I’ve been to back home – sure they put on some OK songs which I guess could be called alternative, but they mixed them badly and there wasn’t really much of a dancing atmosphere. Someone who actually knew the place then dragged us down and around this strange path outside the building and back in to a more house music sort of place which was a bit better.
We ended up catching a taxi home around 6. Heading up the huge row of steps to the hostel we ran into two girls also from the hostel. Not feeling entirely up for bed yet we ended up joining them.

Random group on the stairs at 7am

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Random group on the stairs at 7am06-Jul-2010 07:23, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 160

Mandarins, I had to have one.

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Mandarins, I had to have one.06-Jul-2010 07:16, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 5.6, 24.8mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400

I got one

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I got one06-Jul-2010 07:18, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400

Their english wasn’t brilliant being from Germany, but we seemed to get along, and before I knew it another couple of hours had passed and plans were made to meet around lunchtime to go do some sightseeing – specifically La Sagrada Familia – the famous temple by Gaudi. Silly me, despite going to bed at 7.30 am couldn’t sleep that well and woke up at 10.30 and got up anyway. After some breakfast – cereal and milk left by previous people in the hostel and so in the ‘free’ basket – I caught up with some internets before Anja and Wiebke (the two German girls from the random morning on the stairs) turned up, and we headed into the city. Wiebke was Anja’s younger cousin – only 15 – and was having a short holiday with her during their summer break.
We attempted to catch the bus into the city – as the receptionist at the hostel had said it takes us right past La Sagrada Familia. However, it was extremely difficult to follow where the bus was going – as we didn’t have the route on a map. We eventually figured we’d gone too far and got off to find a metro station and get back on track. Sadly La Sagrada Familia was mostly covered in scaffolding, but it was still a very interesting piece of architecture.

Temple de La Sagrada Familia

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Temple de La Sagrada Familia06-Jul-2010 14:53, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100

Looks like fruit on a pole!

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Looks like fruit on a pole!06-Jul-2010 14:55, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 5.6, 24.8mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100

The front

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The front06-Jul-2010 15:00, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 100

Conversation was interesting at times when I said something they didn’t understand, and Anja occasionally having to translate for Wiebke, but it was fun and after La Sagrada Familia we continued through the city, visiting a few more Gaudi buildings, and going inside one – Casa Batilo. By myself I probably wouldn’t have – as it did cost 13 euro, however I was very glad they convinced me. The architecture was like nothing I had seen before – every single surface was an art piece and almost no straight lines in the entire building.

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06-Jul-2010 15:57, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 640

Casa Batilo (another by Gaudi)

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Casa Batilo (another by Gaudi)06-Jul-2010 15:44, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

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06-Jul-2010 16:00, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 400

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06-Jul-2010 16:00, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 160

Through the glass (audio guide told us to!)

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Through the glass (audio guide told us to!)06-Jul-2010 16:22, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 100

The audio tour they had was brilliant- I got it in English and the two girls got it in German obviously. It was amusing to see that the english speaking often finished before the German – I guess that means english is more efficient? 😛

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06-Jul-2010 16:30, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 160

The rooftop

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The rooftop06-Jul-2010 16:31, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

I was there :P I like this one actually.

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I was there 😛 I like this one actually.06-Jul-2010 16:34, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100

Arches

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Arches06-Jul-2010 16:40, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100

After the casa (literally ‘house’) the two girls wanted a break, and so McDonalds it was. Apparently almost every meal they had had so far in Spain was McDonalds, which was slightly sad – we fixed this up later in the day however.
We then took some advice from the hostel receptionist (who had actually marked off an entire walking route for me!) and wandered down La Rambla.

La Rambla

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La Rambla06-Jul-2010 20:15, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 200

World famous, I could immediately see why. The streets were lined with static art performers — but not just the standard painted statues, but other weird and ridiculous things such as pirates, Indians, headless horsemen, conquistadors and Romans. My favourite was a table with a mannequin sitting next to it. The mannequin was missing it’s head, and painted all bloody, while the table had a persons head sicking out of it – as though it were the mannequins – obviously it was someone sitting underneath the table with their head out,but it was very cleverly done. A close second was a standing man with a fake arm holding a cane attached to his feet – as though he were leaning on it slightly. His actual arm was instead inside a fake head – which looked nearly identical to the actual persons. As such it looked like the man had two heads, one coming out of his torso.
I wasn’t game to take any photos as obviously they expected money if you did.

Ew...

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Ew…06-Jul-2010 18:00, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 100

The girls got some postcards and we continued down, past portrait artists and buskers to the christopher columbus column at the end of the road.

Christopher Columbus

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Christopher Columbus06-Jul-2010 18:19, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100

Wandering out onto a boardwalk which goes to the mall, we sat on the edge,dangling or feet and wondering at the very strange buoys floating nearby – in the shape of a boy, with their hands on their groin and a red star painted there.

Odd buoy...  Or is it boy?

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Odd buoy… Or is it boy?06-Jul-2010 19:08, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 5.0, 20.18mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100

The girls then wanted to find a garden maze which was in their tour book. Having nothing better to do I decided to follow, and we headed off on the metro yet again. It was a good thing I’d got my T10 after all. Wandering around near the station we figured fairly quickly that we had the wrong address – and the maze didn’t actually have an address associated with it- only a street name -not even a metro station nearby. We scoured the map, and nearly giving up I finally spotted the street name in the far top right corner of the sizeable map. It looked as though the garden itself was off it! Undeterred we headed to the nearest metro station and wandered up the road,eyes peeled,and did eventually find it – at 8pm when it shut at 9. We luckily still had time to complete the labyrinth and headed back into the city for a Chinese restaurant the girls had found on google maps.

The maze

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The maze06-Jul-2010 20:15, Apple iPhone 3G, 2.8

Me

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Me06-Jul-2010 20:17, Apple iPhone 3G, 2.8

The girls - Anja and Wiebke

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The girls – Anja and Wiebke06-Jul-2010 20:19, Apple iPhone 3G, 2.8

After determining said restaurant did not actually exist – at least not at the address they had, we settled on a pizza restaurant and had (surprise!) pizza, together with a nice bottle of Italian Pinot Grigo. Exhausted we headed back to the hostel, to exchange facebook and email details and then to bed.

Lagos to Barcelona

July 15th, 2010

So after some breakfast I caught the train back to Lisbon. Strangely this time I had to pay a reservation, even though on the way down the conductor had just accepted my Eurail pass. 4 Euros is hardly a big deal though.
I arrived at the Lisbon hostel around 4, and the guy who does reception was actually there! I explained, he got me the thongs – which he wasn’t sure about and had just left on the floor in the room, and then said I was welcome to stay for the day until my train to Madrid came! Great! Free wifi while I wait! 😛 I had considered going to do some more sightseeing but the tower I wanted to go to shuts at 5 so it wasn’t really worth it.
The hostel was empty except for the receptionist at the time… so I did some planning, and caught up on some blogging. I had hoped to meet some of the people who had been here before, and eventually, around 6.30, Serina (from UK) and Regina who had been to the castle with us turned up. Needless to say they were a little surprised, but happy luckily 😛
We chatted, ate some food, and Regina then had to leave to catch a bus to Madrid. The Australian girls then turned up as well, I cooked some more frozen pizza in a microwave, and ate some of Serina’s breakfast quota of bread beans cheese and ham toasted sandwiches (I wasn’t going to but she insisted! I say breakfast quota jokingly though 😛 ) Then off to catch the sleeper train back to Madrid. Not after a facebook add here and there which hadn’t quite happened when there earlier.
At the station in Lisbon, and low and behold, I run into Andrew and Will again. However, after my horrendous experience on the way to Lisbon I’d booked a couchette this time, whereas they were sticking with the seats. Quick hellos, a phone number passed on for the hostel I was staying at as they hadn’t planned anything and we jumped on the train. The couchette was great. At 31,90 euros (they use a comma instead of a decimal point, weird) vs. the 7 for the seat, it was comparable to a hostel bed and MUCH more comfortable. Had a chat to the guys in the cabin, wrote some more blog stuff, and dropped right off! None of this waking up 10 times in the night with a stiff neck. I can’t imagine I’ll do it every time, but it was actually a better sleep than some hostels – consistent background noise which was relatively quiet. Lagos was unsurprisingly noisy at nights 😛
However the train was running nearly an hour late, and as such I missed my connection to Barcelona. 10 euros down the drain, and as the next two trains were booked out, a 3 hour wait to boot. Made it there eventually though, an uneventful train ride.

Lagos

July 9th, 2010

It turned out that Will, and a friend off his, Andrew, both from Christchurch, were also heading down there. They were cutting it fine with the train time though so I left before them to get to the station. At Tunes, where we had to change trains I did run into them again – turns out they had made it with about a minute to spare. Bit close for my liking. We arrived in Lagos and headed our separate ways however – they were going up to a festival out of town somewhat, I had booked a hostel in town. We were both heading for Barcelona on the same day as well, so it was possible we’d run into each other again.
It was clear immediately upon arrival this was a tourist town only. Walking from the station and there were booths everywhere promoting various water sports, or trips to the Grottoes. I found my hostel easily enough – it was a large affair, seemed to be condusive to group bookings, and as I discovered later that night – condusive to drunken parties.
For the day I headed back into town and found a nice little Indian restaurant and had an ‘Indian Kebab’ – basically curry on nahn bread – then found a bar to watch the football. I think it was the Holland game, but the one later that night – Uruguay v Ghana – stole the headlines.
Later in the afternoon I headed to the train station to book tickets to Barcelona. Amusingly I ran into Andrew and Will again, they were doing the same thing. We chatted and they left to go back to their festival, I found a supermarket for some frozen pizza.
With my cooked pizza I was lazy and watched the football at the hostel in the evening.
One BIG problem with the hostel was you had to pay for WiFi – this was new for me… I paid for a couple, but at 1 euro an hour it wasn’t something I wanted to keep doing indefinitely. At some other hostels, hanging out in the common area surfing the internet was an OK way to meet people amusingly enough.
I was debating going to bed early (meaning midnight), but the 3 guys in my room – friends from Sydney – invited me down to the courtyard, and I had a couple of drinks there before heading out to a bar. Bars in Lagos…. wow. Firstly it seemed as though there were 10 on every street. Secondly – no security. Thirdly – beer bongs in a bar?! As we were walking there one of the guys said – ‘we’re finding you a girl tonight! got any condoms?’ Gives you a bit of an idea… my reply ‘Sorry mate, girl back home – you can have two for me.’ For the three in my room (whose names I don’t remember and don’t really care) it seemed shots where the go. Three shots later and it was my round, yet somehow they had all disappeared. I found that a little strange – normally it’s the reverse. I made a token effort to find them but I think they may have realised I wasn’t quite down with Lagos’s night scene – at least the parts of it I’d seen so far.
I have no issue with going to a bar and having a couple of drinks etc. But it seemed as thought he sole purpose of it was to pick up chicks / guys (depending on your preference) – not just to have fun. Their reply would no doubt have been ‘but that IS fun’
Anyway, I headed back to the hostel, and never saw the guys while they were awake again.

I got up relatively early (omg 9am!) and grabbed some breakfast, then headed out for a walk. Lagos may not have a nightlife to my liking, but it certainly has a coastline! I wandered past countless beaches, and essentially climbed down cliffs to get to some more.

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03-Jul-2010 16:42, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100

The grottoes

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The grottoes03-Jul-2010 16:27, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 2.7, 6.2mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100

Annoyingly I had left my thongs back in Lisbon though… The best one I found involved the most cliff scrambling, getting to the bottom to discover it completely empty. Around to the left I found a few caves, and the tide was low enough, so I went in one and had a short nap… which turned into a longer nap for about an hour.

Caves

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Caves03-Jul-2010 15:24, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

View from my cave

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View from my cave03-Jul-2010 15:31, Canon Canon PowerShot A3000 IS, 8.0, 6.2mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

In that time only two more people turned up – a young couple in their canoe, who upon reaching the beach promptly undressed. Definitely more nudists here than back home I think. I did skip one beach when I saw at least 12 or so…
Unfortunately the peace at this one was ruined eventually by a small cruise ship turning up, which proceeded to play loud music and have someone sing happy birthday and run drinking games via a loudspeaker. I moved on. I made it far enough that I was back at a big beach again, and so found a café and grabbed some lunch. Of course the football was on there too, and I watched the first half of Germany v. Argentina. Silly me decided to keep walking at the end of the first half though, wish I had’ve stayed to watch the demolishing they gave them at the end. Ah well.
I took the inland shortcut back, intentionally getting somewhat lost, and in the process ran across what seems like a roller-blade time-trial. It was actually quite organised with a loudspeaker and everything. The track was a small obstacle course – and little Portuguese children were set up in pursuit fashion, racing around with parents cheering them on. It was somewhat unexpected – Lagos had seemed almost entirely made up of tourists until then.
Earlier in the day I had gone to pay for more wifi access and the receptionist let me in on a little ‘secret’ – that just down the road there is free wifi on the street. I wasn’t able to find it in the morning, but on the way back I spotted it – a ‘cultural centre’ with a courtyard, which was just open to the public with free wifi. There was a bar but it didn’t seem as though a purchase was needed to just hang out there. Not quite feeling the Lagos vibe, I spent the better part of the evening there, and did have a beer or two just to be polite 🙂
For dinner I took a recommendation from the little tourist map – and found a 5 euro meal that was full size. Great stuff, and I did talk to a few people, but decided in the end I’d get another early night, head to Lisbon earlier in the day and try and get my thongs back, instead of spending more time in a town I hadn’t really enjoyed so far.