Friday, 26 September 2014

Bonding with Berlin

After a tearful goodbye to Amsterdam, we boarded the train that would take us to Berlin. It was supposed to be 6 hours, HOWEVER a pesky delay meant that it was more like 8 hours. Praise be for having bought the book 'Gone Girl' at the airport and hefty supplies of Milka chocolate! ;)

When we eventually made it to Berlin things continued to go a bit downhill.
My boyfriend speaks zero German, and my own knowledge is fairly limited so we found the language barrier quite debilitating, much more so than in Holland for some reason (quite frankly, anyone in Europe puts us firmly monolingual Brits to shame, so this one was probably our fault haha)

Whilst in the station, the information desk was helpful and gave us good directions to our hostel, with clear instructions on how to use the public transport system... or so we thought! When we got out of the Hauptbahnhof (Berlin's central station) we realised that Berlin's transport system was quite a lot more complicated than we'd expected - I'd heard of the U-Bahn, but there was also an S-Bahn, and a tram, and buses... SAY WHAT.

When we FINALLY got our bearings and located the tram that we felt (99%) confident would take us to our hostel, we collapsed in a heap in the corner with our backpacks. However, we'd barely been sat down 5 minutes when we looked up from our tired daze to see an old man in a uniform yelling at us and gesturing to take earphones out (which we weren't wearing - he was just being a rude !*%?). We had absolutely no idea what he was saying, so we apologised and said we were English - but he just yelled at us some more. Suddenly we looked around and realised we were the only ones still on the tram, and that everyone else was walking across the street. Turns out there had been some problem with the tram line which meant we had to get a replacement bus, which would have been fine but since the bus had no stop announcements, we had no idea where our hostel was.

SOMEHOW, we found the hostel. Hallelujah, hooray, joy of joys... at least until the check in guy said "you know you guys are staying in a caravan, right?"

I wish I could say the trip got way better from there, but sadly somehow Berlin didn't quite do it for me.
I think because I was so taken with Amsterdam's architecture, Berlin disappointed me a bit. The areas we were in were quite a lot more modern, and it was also just a bit big and overwhelming for me.
Having said that, we did have some highlights there:
The Berlin Wall was really moving, and I loved the graffiti on it.
Kaffee und kuchen. NEED I SAY MORE.
Drinking beer in Alexanderplatz and doing some serious people watching.
We even had a nap in front of the Reichstag, cheeky ;)

The dreaded caravan...

Next stop, PRAGUE!


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Three Days in Amsterdam

For those of you who haven't read my last few blog posts, I have just got back from me 'olidays!
(RECAP: I spent 2 weeks having a ganders around Europe)

 I had an absolutely AMAZING time, which I can't wait to share on here through many, MANY photos ;)
I thought about doing one big post, but I decided it would be more fun to chunk it up into the different cities I visited. (Isn't "chunk" a lovely word? But I digress.)

So that brings me nicely to my first leg of the tour, which was AMSTERDAM!

We stayed in the Student Hotel which was essentially a very posh hostel. The city has a cracking transport system with loads of trams all over the place - our hotel was a bit further out but was about a 30 second walk from a tram stop. It was waaay cheaper than staying in the centre so if you're on a budget like we were then I'd definitely check this place or somewhere similar out. :)

Basically, Amsterdam is the BOOBIES. 

The main thing I'd wanted to do was go to the Anne Frank house (although if you do go I thoroughly recommend getting there EARLY as the sight of the queue nearly made me call for the smelling salts). It is definitely worth the wait though, as it's an amazing experience and beats any other museum I've been to hands-down.

The market scene in Am-dam is also amazing, especially the Bloemenmarkt (gigantic flower market which you can see in le photos). I don't think I've ever seen so many tulips in one place in my LIFE. 

Vondelpark is also the dogs dinner. It's a ginormous park in the centre of the city (think Central Park in New York, on a less grand scale). We took a picnic there and it was so lovely - at least until the sun disappeared to be replaced by rain 30 seconds later. But I'd say that's more the fault of the stratosphere than Amsterdam's itself, so we'll let that one slide.

But maybe my favourite thing we did was get an evening river cruise around the canals of Amsterdam. Everyone's always told me that it's a city that needs to be seen from the river, and I will definitely be passing on that wisdom to anyone and everyone. It was so beautiful, in fact, that I turned around halfway to inform my boyfriend to send me a card, for I would be moving to Amsterdam. That's a LOT coming from a confirmed proud Brit. ;)