Location: Berlin, Germany
after a really long dayof train travel from Denmark we finally made it back to Berlin for our last couple of days in Europe. Im so exhausted but we are staying with another family who are really nice so hopefully after a good nights sleep we will be refreshed enough to set out for a bit more sight seeing tomorrow.
Denmark was good. We stayed at the uni in Arhus with Sabina, and her family had us over for dinner and showed us around which was really niceof them. We saw the old city, the queens palace, went ice skating (and i didnt fall over!!!!!) and drank lots of wine. The good thing about the palace was that whn the queen isnt there you can walk around the estate and she doesnt mind! No sight of princess Mary though as they live in Copenhagen.
We would have liked some snow (as the only snow weve seen was in Switzerland) and really thought we would get some if we went to Denmark but it wasnt cold enough (bloody global warming!!). It was very cold and windy though.
So yeah, the last few days here are gonna be just doing all the the last minute things like spending time with Chris and trying to absorb some of the history of Berlin. We were here for 3 nights over new years but because the shops were closed we only really hung out with Chris and then went out on New Years Eve.
Now that was a strange night. I must say, Berlin is an awesome place to party for new years. At three in the arvo the fire crackers started going off and echoing through the city as if it were a war zone. It was kind of scary! Having your own fireworks in Australia is illegal, and having people dropping them off their balconies as you walk past really freaked us out! Cool atmosphere though....
Later that night, after a tasty dinner of Indian food, we met some of heddys friends and walked to town to see the firworks. Its funny because i think i saw more people letting them off in the street on the way than i did in the sky!
After midnight we planned to go to this big dance party/concert thing and on the train on the way we thought there was some kind of attack! The train stopped and all this smoke filled up the carriages! after freaking out for a few minutes an announcement came over telling us to get off and exit the station. It was probably just a fire but the smoke smelled weird and the thought of being trapped underground really freaked us out! So yeah that was a bit of extra excitement!
I really like Berlin, its a cool place that im looking forward to seeing more of. Which means i should probably go get some sleep because there are a few big days ahead of us!
Only 4 more sleeps until we leave! Im reallylooking forward to being home and seeing everyone. I really hope we dont have any delays on the way back! I might not get the chance to write on here again but i will try for some more photos tomorrow.
there is a landline dad so il give u the number and we can talk!
Location: Kassel, Germany
Sorry its taken us so long to get our asses into gear and update the journal. First of all I want to say Merry Christmas! Hope everyone ate lots of food and drank lots of beer (in true Lawrence style).
The lead up to christmas was so cool...our first christmas markets were the ones in Nürnberg with Peter and Sylvia. I can see why they are so famous. There were so many lights and so many people! And the smell of Glüwine and Bratwurst is amazing. Peter would say that after we had walked around in the cold for long enough that out noses turned red it was time for some more glüwine. I like that motto!!!
We had so much fun with Peter and Sylvia I wish I could have spent more time with them. They said to send their love to Mum and dad and the girls. I told Peter its his turn to come and visit us next!
Right now we,re in Kassel with Götz´ family. It was so good to finally get here and relax. We were picked up at the train station by Gotz and driven (very fast alomg the autobarn whoo hoo!!) to their house in a little village outside Kassell. We instantly felt at home knowing that we could unpack our bags for 2 weeks yay!! (we usually only stay at the one place for no more than a few nights so we are constantly living out of our backpacks). And Fred and Renate are so sweet and welcoming.
Christmas in Germany was very different to what I do at home. Haley, Heddy and I got to decorate the (real) christmas tree on Christmas eve which looked spectacular by the time we were finished! Then we went down to the local church (and I tried to sing carols in German but it didnt work) and came home to opening presents and a huge feast of Roqulette. The food was amazing. You all sit at the table, take what u want and cook it yourselfunder this big electric grill. It was so tasty but I must admit Mum, I do miss your cesar salad and salmon steaks in the oven for christmas lunch!
After stressing for ages that I wouldnt get to talk to my family on christmas (because i had no phone credit :-() i decided to open the presents from Mum that I have lugged around Europe for 8 weeks. You did well Mum, that vegemite toast on christmas morning was awesome!
I was really happy when you finally got through and we could all have a chat. You guys should send me some photos and an email so I know what u did this year! Did u put the christmas tree up?
I hear its been quite hot in Bris vegas? Its -2 outside right now, but we havent had any snow! So no white-christmas for us. Its actually just started to rain now so hopefully it will end up snowing in the next few days.
I miss Brisbane so much I cant wait to get back! Its not long now! Samantha I cant wait to be driven around in the old woo-day!! And Kate, dont teach her how to do burn outs just yet ok, shes only had her licence for a week.
On Saturday we are heading up to Berlin with Heddy for New Years Eve - and Chris is going to take us out!! Then its up to Denmark for 3 nights then back to Berlin, wheren we fly out on the 9th! We get in on teh morning of the 11th in Bris if all goes to plan.
Happy New Year everyone!
And Sas and Tamsin, have a GREAT time in Asia. I miss u guys so much and I cant wait to catch up when I get back.
See u all soon!!!
Location: Contiki, Europe
We were given our tour song - Built this City (...on rock and roll) - an old song from the 80s. It was played evert time we left a city full blast on the bus stereo- often this was the last thing we wanted to hear because of our hangovers and the fact it was often 7 in the morning. It never failed to wake us up and have a traditional sing-along (and maybe some air guitar). As it was drilled into our brains during this trip it will always be remembered as our Contiki song.
Our first night of contiki was spent on a river cruise with flowing (free) beer and wine, and a leisurely stroll past hookers in windows and cafes (the grasshopper hehe) through the red light district. What a start to our trip.
The next day we were given a cheese and clogs demonstration by some dude in a "Stoned Dutch" (no, not vonDutch the brand, Stoned dutch) tshirt. it was probably not your typical demonstation but good nonetheless.
Spent the rest of the day navigating Amsterdams canals and visited the van Gough and Anne Frank Museums - quite an eye opening experience.That night we ate some traditional dutch food in a really nice restauant in a fishing village and then saw a traditional dutch sex show - another eye opening experience.
Next stop was Germany where we got to sample some local beer and wine at night time in the bottom of an ancient wine cellar. The one-street town located on the Rine river was surrounded by castles on the hills which was really nice and something wed never seen before.
We then stayed in Luzerne for two nights where we were just amazed at how clean and crisp the city was compared to even Brisbane. We didnt stay in the hotel at Mt Pilatus but we still went up the top to see the view and freeze our asses off. It was really beautiful but it was good to stay in town and be able to explore the night life. It was a huge night. The day after we just managed to stomach a swiss fondue lunch which was really good but most of us couldnt stomach the free wine :-(
Austria was next. Just a brief stay in Innsbruck where we visited the old city and the christmas markets. We had some local dishes in a restaurant but were surprised when the dogs were served first.
We moved away from the Germanic countries to Italy...the land of gelati and nutella(yay ), pizza, pasta, pick pockets, incredibly unreliable public transpost, and sleezy and forward men.
Venice was our first stop and we were lucky enough to ride a gondola around the canals. Three bottles of champagne later and we nearly got to experience the water too. St Marks Square was awesome (but covered in pigeons and their poo) but all round it was probably one of the most amazingly unique places we will ever see. Go see it soon because Venice is literally sinking and we had to walk on special platforms to avoid th water.
We finally got to see Rome and all the historic sights wed spent so long learning about in school. It was breathtaking walking up to the Colosseum at night, very imposing especially the way it was illuminated. We had an awesome pizza dinner at a cute little street bistro and pizzas that were themed to rock bands eg. pink floyd and depeche mode.Our tour manager scared us by warning us that gypsies would try to steal our bags the moment we stepped off the bus at the hotel but all in all our group avoided any trouble by being aware. Our hotel was great if you ignored the holes in the door - dont ask, the lack of hot water and the fact that we were given 4 rolls between 6 for breakfast, true italian hospitality :)
Florence was lovely after Rome and we got a great view of teh city from above, the sreets are full of historic beauty and the weather was warm. Overall a lovely afternoon and always gelati was the highlight. Although our hotel literally looked like a jail we had a great night out at a traditional tuscan restaurant Certosa in a castle on top of a nearby mountain. Once again the free wine got the dancing happening and we ended our night at an electronic space disco with karaoke, needless to say the next mrning on the bus was less than pretty.
Location: London, England
We woke up this morning bright and early for a day of historic sight seeing. Today we saw the Tower of London and St Pauls Cathedral - geez thats one big church, we even climbed the 250 steps to get a bird's eye view. We also visited an operating theatre from the late 1800's which gave us a graphic view of what it was like to be injured/sick back then, some pretty scary stuff all in all.
Sorry no pics yet, these comps dont have the programs to upload them
Location: London, England
Today the sun is out and there is not a cloud in the sky so we went to see the changing of the gurad and then walked up the mall to admiralty arch to trafalgar square (i almost didn;t recognise it without the pigeon poo!). We then wandered up to Covent Garden where we ate scones and tea in a little piazza with trendy shops and a little cafe which was being serenaded by an opera singer! There were some cool markets with prints of London sights where we bought our first souveneirs.
After that we got the bus tour which took us around the West End. We saw the Marble Arch, Park Lane and Mayfair and Knightsbridge. We got off to wander through Harrods which was all lit up with christmas lights and saw the new Bond girl in the Harrods window promotion.
On the way home we stopped at the little local pub "The Raven" for some not so cold beer, a bottle of very tangy spanish wine and massive burgers. By this time we were not nearly as jetlagged as the night before but a little bit more pissed!
Location: London, England
Just another update on our third day in London. Well yesterday we had a seamless transfer (via the Big Bus tour) to the backpackers where we are staying and the place is really lovely, its a few more stops out of london but the streets and houses are really nice - just like in all the movies.
We then hopped aboard the tube to leicester square where we were bombarded by the theatres and people flogging cheap tickets. we didn't buy any but I'm considering seeing dirty dancing or cabaret depending on how time goes. We then walked to picadilly circus and had lunch at china town in a little japanese diner, the food was awesome and really affordable at $8 Aussie each for two courses - woohoo, I have been releasing my inner scrooge. We then hopped on the bus and did a great
all round tour as the sun went down, we sat at the front of the top deck and this gave us fantastic views.
We then stopped off at Westminster and saw the rememberance day tributes (nearly everyone here is wearing poppies today). Then we caught the tube home again and had dinner at the restaurant downstairs for the backpackers.
So far everything has been really impressive in terms of accomodation and friendliness of staff etc. The only thing holding us back is on- going jet lag but it only hits us at night and is getting better all the time.
Location: London, England
Well we finally arrived in london after delayed flights in both
sydney and singapore and then missing our frankfurt connection and traversing the tube but we made it and are damn proud that we did :)
London is amazing even though we are exhausted and have done zero sight seeing, we are staying very centrally in london and have been for a walk around the neighborhood. Its so beautiful because its really crisp and alot of the christmas lights are up already.
Tomorrow the 'lighting ceremony' is happening at one of the big
deparment stores so will try and see that in the evening. also the
big bus co are having a sale where you get two days sightseeing for the price of one ticket A $50 so will make the most of that and give our feet a rest (Have already blown the budget on compeed) ;)