Archives for August 2014

08.30.14

Switzerland!

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My hotel

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After Munich I split up from the group. They were headed back to Barcelona and then to the USA. I wanted to make a few more stops before heading back to the US. Everything is just so close in Europe and I felt like it would be a waste if I didn’t take advantage of that. Plus Tom really wanted to save Spain for a trip together. I decided to take a tour of Switzerland since it was only a short plane ride from Munich. I stayed in Zurich at a hotel called The Adler, which I highly recommend. It was very cozy in the center of the city. There were shops and restaurants all around it, and it was only a 10 minute walk from the main train station. My room was really small but it was very cozy and I slept well. The first day there I toured Zurich and did some shopping. I didn’t bring enough sweaters with me to Europe so I ended up buying a light jacket. Our trip was wonderful but 85% of the time it was overcast and/or raining. Zurich was so cute. It reminded me of Amsterdam a little bit. The next day I did a tour traveling from Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, and Geneva. It was a long day, but it was nice being able to relax on the bus. If I ever went back I would love to go see more of Bern and Geneva. Zurich and Lucerne were very similar. I would visit Lucerne for a day of shopping if that’s what I was interested in. Bern is a smaller town with a lot of charm, our tour didn’t get to spend too much time there. Over-all Switzerland was very scenic and EXPENSIVE! The shopping is fantastic, but everything costs more so I don’t think I would go here to shop. I did of course by my Swiss Army Knife there, how could you not!?

08.28.14

Berlin and Munich, Germany

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Our authentic German evening

 

 

 

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I would describe these two cities as opposites. We really didn’t like Berlin, at all. The people were scary rude. We were going to take a cab to the hostel and the first cab we came upon rudely responded “Take the bus!’. WTF…… so we ask another cab, and he says “Walk”. Ok a-holes, we understand that we can walk but it’s 10pm and we have tons of luggage. We weren’t about to walk 2 miles with all the bags our group had. That started the trip with a sour taste definitely. Once we got to the hostel – very small room with 6 beds and one bathroom, we changed and went out to dinner. We had very good Indian food that night. For some reason I wasn’t feeling that great so I couldn’t finish my meal. At this time I was missing Amsterdam more and more. After dinner we decided to go to a club called Matrix…..well because it was the only one open. First off, they carded and half of our group left their ID at the Hostel. They had to take a cab back to the hostel to pick it up and then come all the way back, what a pain! And who cards in Europe!? It was 6 Euro to get in and once we made it in we noticed that the music was bad. We are talking about 90’s music and then the occassional song from 40’s, 50’s, oh heck 60’s and 70’s too. It just made no sense. There were 2 rooms so we expected that each room must be playing a different type of music. The room we “thought” was the EDM room was fun for the first 3 songs……..and then it happened…..they played the Jitter Bug! Like WHAT? How the heck did they move from EDM to swing? Then we moved to the other room, where we noticed that all the guys were just dancing together. And there was a cage where all the men were in, dancing together…..straight men. The other side wasn’t much better with the music. They played “Blue”Eiffel 65 TWICE! That is a rookie move for a DJ. The club sucked in other words. I spent a lot of time outside breathing fresh air and trying not to piss any othe other club goers off. Even if you accidentally walked in their path they would snarl. It just wasn’t my scene at all. The night before we had so much fun in Amsterdam and everyone was so friendly, so this contrast was so painful. Ok I am going to stop here about this night because it just kept getting worse…..

Next day we wake up and head out for breakfast. It was beautiful and sunny so we sat outside at this cute cafe. We started to notice that there were bees everywhere. I’m not talking about 1 or 2 every once in a while, there were like 5-7 on our hands, food, in our drinks EVERYWHERE! They were all over the place. I swatted at one in my drink and it stung me…… We finally moved indoors where there were only 1-2 bees around constantly. Later that day on our siteseeing walk my cousin found a bee in her coffee!!!!!! The locals said this is normal for that time of the year….. We walked around site seeing and we weren’t too impressed. For the most part the people were rude, the places were crowded and industrial looking, and we just didn’t enjoy it. We left the next morning – thank God! We were so happy to leave Berlin. I’m sure others have visited and just loved it, but our visit this time didn’t go well.

We took a bus from Prague to Munich. My cousin Amberlee had been to Munich before so she was excited to go back. We knew we had to visit a concentration camp because it is a MUST SEE experience. It is such a black, evil part of history that I cannot even believe happened such a short time ago. We went to Dachau just outside of Munich. Upon arrival we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Before visiting Dachau I thought I knew so much about the Holocaust and I thought I would be so interested in every detail. Actually I was planning on making a trip to Auschwitz in Poland because that was the camp I had studied the most. It’s very different reading about something and looking at pictures, because the real intensity comes from being there and walking the halls that those innocent people lived and died in. It was intense. I can’t believe how heavy this visit was. We  all know about the Holocaust, but actually seeing it in person was another level. We could hardly speak the entire tour, actually no one but the guide really spoke at all. We were led through the rooms and given the history and it was horrible. I never want to see another concentration camp again. It was really hard to be there and to realize that all of this evil happened only a few decades ago. How can humans be so evil? Our guide mentioned that the children were murdered once they arrived. I couldn’t handle the thought of Audrey being taken from me and murdered in front of me. They just murdered these infants and toddlers and piled them up.  What kind of crazy would you need to be in order to murder a baby!? That was it for me. I couldn’t take my mind away from seeing Audrey in these horrible places. I think mothers experience these tours through the eyes of their babies, well at least that was my experience. Ugh I can’t even think about it without getting teary eyed.

After Dachau we really needed a break to relax because we were not in any mood to site see or be social. Eventually we were ready to emerge from our rooms and do some walking. We went to the Palace and around the City Center. We ate some German food and we decided to have an authentic German evening at a Beer Garden. None of us really drank beer but we felt like we HAD to in order to complete our German experience. The glass was HUGE! And the pretzels were even bigger. The rest of the night was lots of fun. We met some people from Italy and we all went to a bar to hang out. I had to call it a night at 3am in order to go back to my room and pack. The next morning we all had a very tired breakfast together at 7am. I was heading to Switzerland and they were going to Barcelona that day. It was sad to split up with everyone.

08.26.14

Praha! Prague

 

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I DEFINITELY had to pose with this haha!

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Our first beautiful meal together in Prague!

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Yes that is totally a Golden Eagle that I got to hold in the castle gardens! She was 15lbs and my arm was shaking under her weight. 

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We loved our time in Prague. I can definitely see myself staying in Prague for another visit. Prague is a lot cheaper than other countries and they are not part of the Euro. The city is beautiful and cozy. We also rented an apartment here from Airbnb.com but this apartment wasn’t nearly as nice as the one in Amsterdam. Can you tell I’m partial?! It was still nice but it was kind of claustrophobic for me because it was an attic apartment so the ceiling slanted steeply in every room. There wasn’t as much light either. But it was better than any hostel. We spent a lot of time walking around Prague. We took a free walking tour from Prague Royal Walk Free Tour. It was tiring and it took a long time. We barely got to the castle and cathedral before they closed. We walked through the castle gardens and they had exotic birds there. My cousin took a picture with an owl and I got to hold a Golden Eagle! She was HUGE! I was shaking because my arm wasnt strong enough to hold her, about 15lbs. That was a lot of fun, and now I can say that I did it. I was scared though because she could have easily poked my eyes out. Of course we ended our last day in Prague with a bar and nightclub. There were plenty of options and the people were great. We actually met 4 men who danced for Thunder From Down Under in the club BAWHAHAHAHAH. That is too funy because we just tried to get away from them all night. The next day we hopped on a bus to Munich! A long motion sickness bus……..

I loved Prague. I think it’s the most liveable city I’ve visited on this trip. I would like to go back one day with my baby girl.

08.23.14

Amsterdam!

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Enjoying some Heineken Beer since it is brewed in Amsterdam!

 

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A great experience visiting the Anne Frank house. Trying to walk in her shoes during the visit was so hard to imagine. What a black spot in history.
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I loved seeing all the bikes with different child seats. It’s a different way of life when transportation is mainly on bike! How cute is this double seat for some little bums!

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BYE Amsterdam we LOVE you!

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WOW, that is what I have to say. This city is pretty and fun! I can see how some people could think it is “dirty” but that is mainly around the tourist areas. The red light district in particular is covered with litter and overflowing trash cans………and I don’t even need to mention the other dirty things in that area. We went out there and it was so crowded everyone was there to see what it was all about. We did some touristy things before finding a nice bar. None of the locals in the red light area are locals, just tourists. The best part of our trip to Amsterdam was out great apartment! We rented an apartment on Airbnb.com and we were definitely spoiled by it. Going to a hostel after that place was a hard transition. Our apartment was in a convenient location with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It was nice and open so even though the space was small we were very comfortable. The wifi and entertainment area was great! We had movie nights. There was also a kitchen and a washing machine. We met our landlord when we checked in and he was awesome. Him and his friend actually took us around town on our last evening. It was so much fun, and one of the highlights of our trip. They were gentlemen and they really took care of us.

Ah Amsterdam I thought I wasn’t going to like you but instead I love you! We did so much here and let’s just say we had a wild time! The canals and trees, the peaceful brick apartments right by the water, the house boats lining the canals. Once you get past the “tourist” area its really a pretty place. I will definitely be going back!