Around the world holiday 2009

Here are the photos and stories of mine and Sanna’s around the world holiday trip in 2009. Remember you can click on any photo to open it up full size.

Bangkok, Thailand

First stop was Bangkok in Thailand. First time for me in Thailand so this was good for me to visit a new country and to experience it. Wow Thailand is cheap!

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Here Sanna is relaxing by the lovely pool in the 5 star Marriott resort of Bangkok which by Western levels was very cheap.


We found some very strange food from what we are used to but we were game to try it. This was a cool snack that was made of ice and coconut juice and different jellies. Some of the jellies had the texture of what I’d imagine an eyeball to be like to chew, ewe.


Sanna was game to try it and it was actually very very nice, cool and refreshing with a mix of ice and the lovely refreshing coconut juice combined, great in the hot humid Bangkok weather.


Here we are off on one of the canal boats with the big engine on the back zooming along to the famous Bangkok floating markets. I always remember seeing these boats in one of the old James Bond films, where James Bond uses the propeller to chop through someone else’s boat.


On the boat to the floating markets.


The Bangkok floating markets, it was very interesting and lots of cheap cheap tourist ‘tat’ and cheap fresh fruit.


Posing for a photo on the central bridge of the markets.


Back at the Marriott resort and while we were relaxing by the pool I spotted this small bird who seemed to be very sleepy and would hardly open his eyes. I could stroke it and it didn’t even try to move away, it seemed very weak.


I nicknamed him ‘little birdie’ and felt a bit sorry for the little thing. Tried feeding it some scraps of bread but it didn’t want to know. After watching it on and off over the afternoon I felt it might have been on its way out, poor little thing.



Next stop after a long flight was hot summery Europe! We flew into Rome, a busy, hot and slightly crazy city. So much history everywhere, lots of crazy drivers on the tiny cobbled roads and so many tourists everywhere.

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Here we are approaching Vatican city, the hope of the Pope from our city bus tour.


Inside one of the passageways of the Vatican city.


Once of the most famous landmarks of the world, Rome’s Colosseum


Inside the Colosseum and we took a audio guided tour who explained about the role of the Gladiators fighting the beasts in the arena.


One of the passageways to the central arena of the Colosseum.


Another famous Rome landmark the Trevi fountain, our hotel was just 200 meters from here so we visited the fountain several times.


We met up with a Sanna’s friends brother Aaron, who’s an Australian working in Rome having a go at running his own tour company of Vatican city. He gave us some insight into living and working in central Rome.


We spent 2 days in Rome and then it felt good to leave the very hot and busy capital behind. Next we drove north to the famous city of Pisa to of course see the leaning tower, the most famous construction mistake in the world.

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Here we met up with one of Sanna’s old friends from Southampton university Lara and her boyfriend. They were locals living just East of Pisa and over dinner and some lovely Italian Red wine they told us what it was like to be Italian. The country, Italian politics, food, culture and all about the mafia.


The famous cheesy photo of pushing the leaning tower of Pisa


and here’s me being super cheesy doing it too.


Next day we were joined by our old friends Mad and Loic who flew into Pisa airport from where they currently live in Paris. They had come to join us for 4 days to explore the beautiful Italian Tuscan region with us together.

This is Florence and in particular the river that flows centrally through the city.


A photo from a lookout overlooking Florence


A strange lion wrapped in barbed wire sculpture we found in one of the Tuscan towns.


Me gazing out over the beautiful Tuscan countryside.


A beautiful photo Mad took of Sanna and I in a local sunflower field.


Loic trying to steal a new Red Fiat 500. There were lots of Fiat 500’s in Italy, it looks to be their next national car, the car for the people of Italy just like the old Fiat 500 was in the 1960’s 70’s.


I love Nutella! in fact I deliberately don’t buy it when we go food shopping as I know I’ll eat it all the time. This has to the be biggest jar ever 4.5kg’s!! Nutella heaven!


we stayed on the converted farm they had bikes you could take out free of charge. We took the bikes out for a ride 2 days in a row to ride between villages. Both girls were complaining of sore bums on day 2, wimps 🙂

We said our goodbyes to Mad and Loic and they departed on the train from Florence station where we dropped them off.


On we went and we drove to the Modena city area, what is known as the spiritual home of the Italian supercar. We stopped at the factory’s of Lamborghini, Ferrari and the little known but my favourite car in the world the Pagani.

Here I’m checking out the new Lamborghini Murcielago SV, hot off the production line as Lamborghinis flagship car, they have only just started making this model and none had left the country so far.


Another stop at the tiny Pagani showroom/factory, they only make around 5 cars a year and easily are the most prestigious, unique and most celebrated Italian supercar maker in modern history. This car I was lucky to find is the new Pagani Zonda Cinque and costs 1.5 million Euros + taxes, they are only making 5 cars.


After a long drive and a short train ride through some mountain tunnels we arrived to Cinque Terre (translates to 5 villages) on the coast.

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A view of one of the villages looking down from a coastal walking track. I believe this was either Vernazza or Corniglia.


The same village but closer up, picture postcard perfect.


An aussie girl not used to having stones on her beach. “where’s the sand!” she said


As viewed from the sea, the village of Riomaggiore where we stayed for 2 days.


After the lovely stay on the coast at Cinque Terre we headed North via hire car past lake Como and towards the mountain passes. Their was one mountain pass in particular I was keen to find which was the shown on a Top Gear episode as what they though was the best driving road in the world, it is called the Stelvio pass.

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The Stelvio pass is the highest paved road in Europe at 2800 meters high and is made up of a series of the steepest roads you would ever see. We had the crapest Ford I’ve have ever had the miss-pleasure to drive with a 1.4 litre engine and it struggled to get up and down the pass, getting in 2nd gear whilst climbing the pass was a luxury that only occurred a few times.

Here we are approaching the pass from the South.


At the top and looking down, this is the famous angle to view the pass from you’ll see in magazines and TV  programs. You could smell the brakes overheating on our crappy car when we were driving near the bottom. They used to do a rally stage driving up the pass, they may still do.


It was freezing at the top and there was permanent snow.


Travelling down the other side the roads and views were beautiful.




We dropped the car off on the Italian – Austrian border and caught a train to Salzburg, Austria where the Mosburgers wedding was. Here all the big family is together after dinner on the 1st night, the Bedfords and the Mosburgers, the ‘Bedburgers’.


Alex and Doro’s wedding in a small church in Salzburg. The local shooting club came and fired lots of old muskets off into the air for the wedding, you can see the smoke from the muskets in the distance.


Having a drink outside the church just after the wedding.


Here is the balcony from the guesthouse we stayed in, a very traditional Austrian looking building.


A partly dry riverbed on a short walk from our guesthouse I thought provided a lovely photo of Green living plants and dry rock.


New York, USA

After the wedding in Austria it was time to hop on a plane and fly over the ocean to the united states and New York City. It was the first time Sanna and I had both been to New York so this was exciting for both of us.

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This is taken the day we arrived as we explored Times Square which is where our hotel was located. Its like Piccadilly circus in London but gone mad! It proved to be even more spectacular at night when the Neon’s become even brighter.


This is the view from the top of the Rockefeller building, one of the tallest buildings in New York and gives a great view of the Empire State Building as you can see here.

Did you know originally the spire on the top of the Empire State Building was designed to allow trans-Atlantic airships to dock for passengers to embark and disembark. After the Hindenburg disaster in Germany 1937, airships poplarity dropped and the spire was never used for its purpose.


Transformers, Robots in Disguise!!


Ah the famous Statue of liberty, the biggest tourist trap I’ve ever been to and the tightest security for any tourist attraction I’ve ever been to also. It took over half an hour just to be security screened before you could get on the ferry to the island.


An interesting bumper sticker on the back of a Police car I thought. Would never see that in Australia on a police car.


We visited a trendy roof top bar which had great views of the city and the Empire State Building as the sun went down.


We caught up with Sanna’s Aussie friend Rumania who has lived in New York City for just over a year now. She loves living there and says its the best place to be to have fun as a young single girl. Cheesecake is famous in New York, the portions are large and the Cherry one I had was the best I’ve ever had.


Times square at night time, a buzzing place to be day or night.


Whilst Sanna was off shopping for some designer brands I went to a recommended museum by Rumania the USS Intrepid, one of the US Navy’s most famous Aircraft carriers used in the 2nd world war and several wars and engagements afterwards. It floats in the water just West off of Manhattan island.

The main hanger deck is fitted out with lots of war planes and helicopters from the 2nd world war to present day.


Two Sidewinder Missiles hanging from the ceiling of the hanger deck. Growing up playing so many military flight simulators on the PC I knew these missiles well, short range air-to-air, it was amazing to see real life ones.


My favourite war plane from the days of playing all the military flight simulators, the F16 Fighting Falcon. It was so technically advanced for it’s time and is still in service with some country’s even today.


A photo mix of the United States and the British concord of British Airways, a cool combination I thought.


Wall St and the New York Stock Exchange, the single place that has caused so many PROBLEMS affecting the whole world.


Wall St and all the security gates in place around the stock exchange, presumably to stop all the people who have lost all their money from attacking in spite.


Brooklyn bridge, a famous landmark of New York but not that much to look at really. Doesn’t really compare to our Sydney harbour bridge does it.


Ground zero where the twin towers used to sit. Recently as enough years have passed they have started building and the massive site is one huge construction zone now, it was hot and dusty.


Cooling off in one of the city’s parks I made a couple of friends who seemed to like me splashing loads of water all over them.


then they chased me around with water to get me back, they were funny to play with.


Well that’s New York over with and the end to our 3 and a half trip away around the world for 2009.

20 hours later we were back in good old Sydney and it felt nice to be back. There is nowhere in the world that combines the good career prospects and outdoors lifestyle like Sydney can. Home sweet home.

5 thoughts on “Around the world holiday 2009”

  1. Hi Mark,
    My name is Damiano, and I’m an Italian Pagani’s enthusiast. You can check some of my entries about it (and other cars as well) at my blog.
    BTW, I’d like to ask you if you took more image of that gorgeous Zonda Cinque, and if you were willing to share them.
    Besides, do you remember the when you were there at Pagani? I’m working at a Pagani registry together with some friends, so it would be important to know if the shot was taken in July, as I assume.
    Thanks for you time, looking forward to hear from you.
    Damiano / The Italian Junkyard

  2. Hi Damiano,
    I cannot remember the exact date I was there sorry. I have many stories about my visit to the Pagani factory.
    When we arrived no one was on-site and whilst trying to find someone to talk to we wondered into the factory and around the factory, no security, no one, nothing, it was very strange.
    This lead to an interesting story which I shouldn’t really post up on the web.
    But I can say I took a few photos whilst in the factory and on the stand being built was a chassis carbon tub setup I can say was no current Zonda I know of. Maybe the successor to the C12, the C9?
    I took photos but I will not be giving copies to anybody. I think magazines would be very interested in the photos I took.
    Eventually someone found us and he said we were trespassing even though we said everything was unlocked and there were no signs anywhere and escorted us from the site.

  3. I was lucky enough to meet mr H many many years ago in my home town of Goodwood at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
    I talked to him for about 10 minutes about the design of the car, which at that time was pretty much unknown by the public.
    He told me about the problems they had with designing the exhaust system and the traction control system, I remember.
    A few years later I realised who it was I talked to that day as he told me about his car and how he designed it.

  4. Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done

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