Pauly on Tour

The boy from Waipuk having a look around.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Morocco.

I did a quick trip to Morroco on easter weekend. Sam and Scott and Becks had planned the trip for a while and at the last minute I couldn't bear the thought that they were goning to get good waves without me. (I've a bit of jealous streak showing there huh) They were staying out near the main surf destination in Morocco called Taghazout, but I could only get a flight to Marakech which is 3 hours drive inland, but luckly the surf wasn't so good that day so the boys came and picked me up. We were blessed with an amazing desert sunset on the drive to coast.


Morocco's coastline is stacked with point breaks and reefs so is great for surfing, while we were there the swell wasn't quite big enough to shine, but we did get some good waves. The best spot in the conditions we surfed was boilers, named so because the waves break across the boiler of a wrecked ship, so it was a cool spot to surf.

We decided to shift where we were staying to be closer to the ocean, and were living right in front of one of the best breaks in the area called Anchor point. Here is a little vid of me surfing at Boilers:
Surf Video MPG

Morocco was once a French colony, and this past culutral influence is still very present as well as the number of french tourists.
The locals are amazing linguists and most speak french as well as arabic, and in the touristic areas sufficient English. There is lots of poverty in the areas I saw, we kept a supply of lollies for the kids to watch our cars when we surfed. The seafood was great in the area, and the water seemed pretty clean in areas away from the citys.

There are old ruins everywhere which adds to the atmosphere of the place, Sam and Macca saw some craxy goats that love hanging out in trees.



On our last day a local guy came past with his Camel offering rides as I was just about to go for surf, so I couldn't resist the photo-op. Unfortunately we all got a stomach bug from the previous nights dinner (except old Sammy-Iron Guts), so this made the travel plans a bit more of a mission to put it lightly. Sam, Scott and Becks all flew out that afternoon from Agadir, but I was flying the next morning from Marrakech, so it was a 5 hour night bus ride and no toilet for me! Haha, well it had to be done and before the bus left I spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach watching the sun go down, and then went to a local barbers to trim the locks and get my first cut throat shave.

I met this cool little kitten that prefered playing with my backpack rather than going back to the french bakery owner. It turned out to be a fun trip despite the guts, and got chatting to a guy who takes tourists on trips through the desert which sounded amazing, so I think another trip will have to be done in the winter when the big swells are running. You can even surf in the morning and by the afternoon you can be snowboarding in the mountains.

Much love,

- Paul

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Hills Are Alive....

Hey yawl,

Just so you don't think all I do is go on trips to go surfing, I thought I had better blog about my snowboarding trips to Austria I did during the season. Haha.
Sorry I am well behind schedule with the blogs, but will catch up soon.

I managed to get to the ski fields in Austria twice while there was some snow, which was a very hot winter so most of the fields had to use snow makers, it was still cold enough to freeze the little water falls in the shadow of the mountains, parts of the lakes were frozen as well.

The first time I flew to Salzburg where Johanna picked me up and we headed to the mountains. We stayed in a luxury hotel that is a health centre, so plenty of post snowboarding sauna's and spa's were the go.

Johanna's father Manfred came and met us during the weekend, he like every other Austrian it seems is an amazing ski'er so he got a cool video of me on my first day, kooking it on the slopes. They were really good coaches, patience being the key.
Here is a link to a video (You will need quicktime, 7 or 8 to view it) http://www.annode.net/paulsmith/content/video/Travel/FirstdaySnowboarding.MP4

I had a great time on the mountain, and had much more fun when I wasn't always falling on my butt. It was strange to see people riding along on fake snow trails and just a few meters to the side was brown grass, real snow is better to ride on, so Johanna took me to the areas that were higher up.

I met Johanna's Grandfather who had been in the Germany army, and was 19 when he was captured in Italy by NZ soldiers. My Grandfather was in Italy as a soldier and perhaps he may have been one of the soldiers. He told me that if you were a German soldier captured during combat in Italy you were sent to British POW camp, but if you surrendered you were taken by the Italian partizan's, which were alot harsher in their treatment. His regiment was surrounded by the British and knew the would have to surrendered, so they flew a white flag, then agreed with the Brits to have a mock fight and spent the rest of the war in a pleasant British POW camp by the lake.

Salzburg and the surrounding areas, are simply amazing, beautiful lakes in the valleys of amazing snow covered mountains.







In the middle of Salzburg is an old fortress which has commanding views over the city, and through to the mountains.
There are so many ski fields in the region, most of the skiing mountains are set up with lifts which join so you can ski for a whole day across different mountains.

Calum (a flatmate from Hamilton who was studying in Vienna) came and met us later in the week, and we moved to another hotel, which was more rural, but very cool. It had an old Sauna that had a mechanism to drop a metal cage of heated rocks into a pool of water. The roof was curved so the steam came back rushing down onto our backs, the seasoned Austrian sauna veterans could handle 3 sessions in there, I was ready for a lie down after the first. I would have photos for you, but the other naked people wouldn't have appreciated it.

My second trip was a sneaky little extended weekend mission, as Johanna and some friends were heading to the slopes with the prospect of fresh powder on Monday. It was great, my riding was good and even tried doing some little jumps, but some of the best parts of the day was just relaxing in a deck chair at a hut on the middle of the mountain, shirt off in the sunshine enjoying the view across to Germany. We briefly went through Germany as there is a small area where Germany splits the Salzburg area.

I am actually really looking forward to go snowboarding again. But am happy to wait as the summer is pretty nice here in the UK.

Love to you all, especially to my niece Neeve Kate just born two days ago on the 7th June. I can't wait to meet you!

- Paul

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

The hiatus has ended.

Hi all,
Sorry about my lack of posting but I am back with avengence!

Things are all good here in London, the sun has settled in, and now can travel to and back from work in daylight. The flat has gone tennis crazy and we have been battling it out on the local courts every chance we can get.

Sam, Becks, Scott and I travelled down to Bournemouth to surf the pier. Which was chillingly novel experiecnce. We were very under-equiped for the English winter water temperature, and many underwater screams could be heard by the local marine life, as we duck dived. Our NZ bravado, of "The English are just soft, we don't need all that gear" didn't last long, and each morning surf was quickly followed by a trip directly to the local surf shop to buy more neo-prene. Gloves, Booties, Hoodie, and Vest for under our suits added much needed warmth.
Bournemouth seemed a place for stag parties and hens night's, with lots of bars, and gaming parlours along the beach.

We fared better on our last trips to North Cornwall, where we got some really good waves.
There is a beautiful backpackers in Bude, which is about 4 1/2 hours drive from London.
The couple that run it, are really cool and styled the place on backpackers in NZ.

Bude is a really nice area, a mix of rocky penisulars and pretty sandy beaches. I imagines in summer the place is a bit of a zoo, but it was nice and quiet while we where there.

Now summer is here, I am hoping to travel more around the UK, hopefully travel to my family's homeland of Scotland, and see what the waves are like up there too.

More posts to come..
- p

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Winter Christmas!

Well it's been a while since I updated the blog, but not much travelling has happened since.
I got the video editing job in Soho, and am editing music ads for tv. Its been really good to make the move into video production finally.

The flat is going well and it is my turn for Sunday dinner tonight, so I will be busting out my signature spinach + cottage cheese cannelloni dish.

Sam & Macca and I have been out to the coast a couple of times to go surfing, its a bit of a mission but on the right weekend it's well worth the drive. We called in at Stone Henge on the way home as well.

London has really come alive with lights nearing Christmas, and we have had lots of lovely clear days and cold nights to get that winter Christmas feeling. The parks in London are great and a nice way to feel like you have left the city. Here are a couple of pics of a flat trip to Richmond park just at the turn into autumn.

I am heading up to Iain & Jo's for Christmas in Derby which will be really nice. The I am heading to Austria to meet Johanna so and hopefully to go snow boarding. My flatmate from NZ, Calum is going to be in Austria, so we will meet he and his German girlfriend Connie in Prague to celebrate the New Year.

Christmas wishes and love to you all,

- Paul

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Back surfing the tube!

Hi friends and family.

Since our last blog, Regy, Johanna and I traveled north with a guy we meet in Peniche. He had a rent-a-car too so we formed a convoy and blazed the highways.
Our trip north took us through lots of spots, we often darted out the coast then into the mountains when we thought there would be something we wanted to look at.

We spent a lot of our time in Porto, which is a really beautiful city both day and night. The city is split by the Duoro river which has good wine growing regions up river, and the city is home to some of the most famous port makers in Europe.

We did venture north east to a little mountain village of Geres, which has thermal spa's and is only 13k's from the Spanish border and some of the locals spoke Spanish instead of Portuguese. Our pensao was set into the hillside and was a nice retreat from the hail thunderstorm we arrived to!

The trip went really quickly and all too soon Regy and I were back on plane for London and Johanna flew back to Vienna. Regy and I have been back in London for 2 weeks now, rocking around in the tube and enjoying the night life. I have moved into my flat a lovely little place in Acton.

Reg's parents Graham and Linsay flew into London a few days ago, so Reg has been hanging with them while I went up to Derby to see my brother Iain, and his wife Jo.



The surrounding countryside of Derby especially the Peak district is really a wonderful place to be in, lots of trees and nice villages set alongside babbling brooks, which they call rivers here :)
I found myself inspired to sing the postman pat theme tune on plenty of occasions as we drove down the stone walled country lanes.


I had a lovely English experience, when Iain and I walked his friends retriever dogs through a neighbor's farm, plucking berries from the thickets, and crossing sties as we went.

In the weekend we had a great Sunday afternoon and evening at "The Old Ship" on the Thames with Reg's parent's, brother Angus and a good crew of kiwi's. Bags and Laura came down from Wales, and Reg has gone back up with them to spend the week in a cottage near the coast.

I had a good job interview yesterday for a junior editor position, so hopefully will hear back soon. I am hoping to head up to Wales today or tomorrow with a friend of Reg's. This travel bug is hard to shake I tells ya! The surf board is going with me as always, so more tales to come.

love to you all,

- Paul

(click on the photos to view a larger version)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bom dia gringos

Well we have been in Portugal for a couple of weeks now and been lovin the sun, sand, surf, food, beer etc.....

We arrived in the capital of Lisbon and went straight to a small coastal town of Peniche to meet my good friends Scott and Sam, the surf was flat so the days were passed in the appropriate way of sampling the local cerveja┬┤s (beers).

Sam and Scott left on the friday so we went to Lisbon to have a look around the tourist part of the city, which featured a beautiful castel Castelo Sao Jorge on the highest point, and some beautiful buildings and churches. The nightlife was excellent as was the food.

Portugal is pretty small so everthing is quite close to drive, and there are so many surf breaks along the coast. We hired ourselves a car which is easily the smallest car both of us has driven, and instanlty felt the freedom of being behind the wheel again and the chaos of driving on the right hand side with the notoriously agressive Portugese drivers.

A highlight of the drive was stopping in Sintra, a beautiful wooded hillside town with a moorish castle and royal palace on top of the peaks. The palace has a vibrant pink and yellow exterrior and was a romantic escape spot for the Portugese royals, filled with ocean style carvings on also had a huge garden filled with imported trees and ferns, and mini castles in the lakes just for the ducks and swans. The royals knew how to live here!

We are in Peniche at the moment having spent a few days with Johanna and her friend Almut as they came up to learn to surf. Peniche is a small fishing peninsula with lots of waves on both coasts so it is good in lots of wind directions. We have had some good surfs at a right hand point break called Consolacoa, old people flock here to lay on the rocks as they contain a mineral which is good for reumatism. So it is like surfing in the middle of a retirement village.

Tomorrow Johanna,Reg and I are going to make our way north towards the wine region of Porto, so the photos may be a bit blurry for this part of the trip.

We have had a great time so far here, and only a week left here. Hopefully the week will contain lots more surfing in good waves, and some more sight seeing.

Thanks for your comments, it is nice to hear from you all.

- Paul and Reg

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

London Calling...

Hi everyone, after an awesome couple of days in Amsterdam we have arrived safe and sound in London.

We were very kindly offered accomodation in a houseboat by Phil and Yvonnes friend's Ria and Gerda, and we loved it. Thank you all.

Phil picked us up from the airport at a blurry eyed 5:30am and after circling the location a few times we found our way to the houseboat. My friend Silke and her boyfriend Stefan drove from Germany to join us in the afternoon and later that day we cruised up the Amstel on Ria's dinghy.

It was a great way to see the city, Captain Reg safely avoiding the tour boats and larger vessels when we braved the harbour with our 6horse power outboard gunning the wakes.

We had an interesting night out on Saturday in the heart of old town, and managed to stumble onto the plane to Heathrow the next day.

Now in London we are staying at the flat I will be living in this year. It is mostly a crew I grew up with in Hawkes Bay Sam Edwards + his girlfriend Becks, Scott McKensie, Jason Miritana, and 2 English girls, Erika + Charlie. The flat is really nice, modern and easy to get to the local tube station Acton town. Here is my address for those that don't have it:
75 Brouncker Road, W38AF, Acton London.

Reg and I did a tour around London yesterday on a double decker bus and a boat up the Thames. The tour was excellent, such amazing architecture and we learnt alot of history about the city and the buildings.


Even having lived here Reg was impressed again with the detail in the old buildings, seeing the shcrapnel holes in an old church from the German bombers was very cool. I am looking forward to exploring the city in more detail while I live here. We are going to see Reg's brother Angus' band play in town tonight.

We fly to Portugal early tomorrow morning to meet up with Sam Edwards and Scott McKensie on the coast in a small fishing village called Peniche. So hopefully lots of good waves for us on the horizon.

will post again soon,

- the boys