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European Trip: Explanation and Summary

Me and Des at the Arsenal game we sawOne of the downsides of having a non-anonymous blog is that you can't blog a lot of stuff because of it, and going overseas for a few weeks is probably one of them.

As you can probably tell, we have just gotten back from spending the better part of the last three weeks in Europe. It was almost torture not being able to blog about planning the trip before-hand, but I did manage to write a few offline blogs while we were over there.

Just to quickly sum up the reasons for and the planning of the trip: there was a big family wedding in Cyprus that a lot of my family here were going over there to attend.

We had all planned to spend three weeks in Cyprus in addition to the wedding, and one of the first things that came to my mind was: "Darn it, i'm not going to be that close to London and not try to go and see an Arsenal match".

Because the Cyprus trip was planned in advance for the past 10 months or so, I was eagerly waiting the announcement of the Premier League fixture list for the current season to see if a game was on in London while we were in Europe, and then also waiting to see if i could get tickets.

Luck went my way for the first part: the fixture list was announced in July and an Arsenal home game was scheduled for the 18th of October; probably the most perfect date in the whole three weeks as the wedding was on the 12th.

However getting tickets to the game was always going to be a big challenge: not one Premier League game at the new Arsenal stadium has ever gone to a general sale, and the lowest level of membership has only 5000 of the 60,000 seats reserved for them. Not great odds.

However sometime during last year I stumbled upon the Arsenal Australia Supporters Club, which is the officially sanctioned supporters club in Australia. The football club in London allows members of overseas supporters clubs to apply for tickets to games in London, and providing that you get in early enough and it is not a massive game (e.g. Man Utd, Spurs, Chelsea etc), generally they will get you tickets considering how far you are travelling to watch the game.

It was tough waiting out the process, but I eventually found out in late August that I had successfully gotten tickets. A huge 'thank you' to Graham at Arsenal Australia for organising and getting us the tickets.

Other than London, because we were travelling outside of Cyprus we were sort of obliged to go and see a few of Des's relatives in Greece too, and we also thought it would be a good idea to catch the train from London to Paris and spend a day there.

It was slightly nerve-wracking planning the Paris journey: a few weeks after we booked the trip the big fire occurred in the Channel Tunnel, but luckily that was mostly sorted before we got there.

So what had started as a small blip to go and see Arsenal, eventually saw us planning a big European side-trip through Thessaloniki in Greece, then London and a day in Paris before flying back to Cyprus to return to Australia with the whole family.

So that was the plan. I took the EeePC with me and offline-blogged into OpenOffice documents whilst I was over there.

Below are a list of the entries I wrote over there which are now online on the blog. I've added photos to most of the entries, especially the side-trip ones.
- Euro Trip Day 1 and a half: Flights and first day in Cyprus
- Euro Trip Day 3: Satanic Clothing and Financial News from Home
- Euro Trip Day 5: Relatives and Monasteries
- Euro Trip Day 8: Today's the Big Day & Not the Time to be Travelling
- Euro Trip Day 12: McDonald's Missions & Side Trip Begins
- Euro Trip Day 14: Arriving into London & Arsenal! Arsenal!
- Euro Trip Day 17: London Tourist & Paris

We just got back from the trip on Friday. The trip back was exhausting for me and Des (we caught nine flights in 20 days as well as the train to and from Paris), but we are glad to be safely back home. It was an awesome experience, especially the Arsenal stuff; it really was a dream come true to be over there and experiencing it.

We're taking the next week off from work to recover and have a bit of time at home sorting stuff out before we return to work the week after.

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