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Showing posts from August, 2017

"I literally need to launch myself into a washing machine" Ourpenultimate stop in Amsterdam.

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"I literally need to launch myself into a washing machine", said George after we'd attempted to shower as best we could with the hostel's poor excuse for a shower.

Noticeably more so after an over night journey, but we've come to the conclusion that we are ruined. My feet look as though I've not worn shoes for days, our hair is more often than not bunched up or naturally doing its own thing, I can't remember the last time I wore makeup and my nails have mostly come off, just a few tips hanging in there. Basically, though we're loving every single minute of our trip, we won't deny that the luxury of a proper home shower is a very exciting prospect.

There has been a rating of showers on my part throughout our trip. The winner quite obviously going to Venice, but we have had a variety. The worst has to be Genoa where the shower itself was private with a door, but there was no way you could get changed and keep your belongings dry in privacy. We qu…

Go to Prague, just go!

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During our last day in Budapest and throughout the entire 7 hour journey to Prague, we somehow managed to eat and drink barely anything. Yeah, I'm as baffled as you at this fact as I love my food so I don't know how I managed, though we worked out during the afternoon upon arrival in Prague that this would be why we felt so fatigued and irritable. The couple sitting with us on the train were annoying us beyond measure with their PDA, my mind was going AWOL with unnecessarily stressful thoughts and neither of us could keep awake for longer than a minute, but we finally figured why. We were 'thangry' - so thirsty that you become angry.

As soon as we got off the train in Prague we raced to a shop to buy and down two large bottles of water which semi revitalised us. What tested our 'Thanger' a little further though, was the rude customer service guy at the station looking at us as if we'd asked him to solve a difficult equation rather than asked which Metro pa…

BOOZERpest

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We were tired before we'd even left for Budapest so it was comforting to know that we'd booked a bed on the sleeper train from Ljubljana at 00:15. As the sun went down and darkness was all we could see out of our train windows from the start of our journey, the lights of Ljubljana train station woke us up a little, but the lights of the 'golden arches' woke us up a whole lot more. We had a 3.5 hour wait at Ljubljana before we could get cosy and go to sleep, so we had to kill time which obviously meant eating unnecessary amounts of McDonald's. Obviously!

The drama began as soon as we saw the yellow signs. We could see at least 3, indicating that a McDonald's was in close proximity, however after following the arrow we arrived at an empty building. The destroyed shell obviously used to sell what we were looking for but had since been entirely gutted. This is a direct representation of our feelings at that moment, having psyched ourselves up for this for the entire…

sLOVEnia

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If Italy was the most slow moving, relaxed place that we've visited so far, then Slovenia definitely holds the prize for the most polite. The ticket lady on the train took us under her wing instantly and didn't allow for us to use any initiative by telling us the exact stop we needed to get off at as if we were children or clueless (we probably looked it). On arriving at our hostel which was so easy and quick to find - good because our backs had got used to not having to move every other day in Venice - the guy at reception shocked us with a very business-like handshake. Everybody we passed on our first circuit of Lake Bled smiled and said "Hi". While I was struggling to get back down the rocky mountain we'd climbed to watch sunrise the first morning, two helpful locals offered their hands. Even the waitress at the second bar we went to exclaimed, "of course you can" so enthusiastically that it was as if we were small children and had asked her to find…

Posh backpackers go luxury for four nights in Venice

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Our time in Venice began with a thirty minute walk through the beautiful, unusual place. This would have been fine if it wasn't during the hottest part of the day with 15 kg on our backs. The only thing getting us through the walk - which was filled with many expletives towards anything and everything that got in our way - was the knowledge that we'd be staying in a HOTEL (yeah, you heard) for the next four nights.

Knowing that check-in wasn't until 2pm, we begged and pleaded to be let in early. In fact, I think the man at reception just took one look at us two sweaty messes and realised instantly how desperate we were to shower. The other chap who showed us to our PRIVATE room - none of this shared nonsense - must have thought we'd been living on the streets for the past fortnight judging by our reaction. We almost cried with happiness when we entered the cool, clean, spacious room with a bath and a fridge, even sky TV. Pure luxury.

Another best bit of our stay in …

The Eternal City featuring questionable hostels, crazy driving andstreet nuisances galore.

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From our first chat about going Interrailing together to when we booked, Rome was always a top priority. We arrived in good spirits having had a direct journey, everything running pretty smoothly and we were well aware of the heat so were pleased to find that our hostel was only a 5 minute walk from the station.
However, things took a turn when it came to our residency for our three day stay. Google Maps had directed us to a street on which everything seemed to be boarded up apart from a few grand looking doorways, so we stood confused and wondering where our luck had gone. A man approached us explaining that this was what we were looking for, so we entered with the immediate impression that this hostel was going to be somewhat dodgy. In the meantime, we were getting a bit panicky as a lovely lady we'd met by the station was waiting for our return. We'd promised to buy some discounted city sightseeing bus tickets and we liked her so were happy for her to receive the commissi…

The skinniest streets & the biggest Port I've seen - Genoa, we like you!

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As soon as we arrived in Italy, I knew something about the Italian lifestyle - they don't rush. Yes, while waiting at Domodossola station for our connection to Milan where we'd get yet another connection to Genoa, the world seemed to literally slow down. Even people without fifty minutes to spare like us, weren't running for their trains. I mean, even the digital signs telling us which train had just arrived at the platform so that we could work out if it was ours or not weren't in any hurry. It's lovely.
We arrived into Genoa ten minutes late and aimlessly, slowly wandered to the taxi rank because there was no way we were walking up that hill to our hostel having been travelling and eaten nothing all day. With that in mind, as soon as we'd put our bags in our rooms and showered, we headed straight out for some pizza and a refreshing beer (I didn't realise how thirsty I was).
Being slightly disorientated in our new place and due to the fact that the stree…

Beautiful Switzerland, even in the rain!

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Our first indirect train journey went surprisingly smoothly. We began with the knowledge that we had a ten hour trip ahead of us with four changes, all with only a few minutes between trains and so we felt fairly tense. All stations en route seemed only to have a few platforms but no, not ours. Our stops were all in stations equivalent in size to London Kings Cross and so we had to get set, ready and sprint to our connections, lugging our month in bags with us.
At the first change over we got stuck behind parent and toddler which is a bad combo to follow when you're itching to get past and not miss your train. Though we smiled and waved, assuring them it was OK, we were deeply frustrated. But we made it having run as fast as possible with the weight of a body on our backs.
The second change was probably our most flukey one. We initially had twelve minutes to play with but due to crossing the France-Switzerland border and travelling extra slowly through security, we were only lef…

When they say there's a heatwave in Barcelona, they really meanit........(sort of)!

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A beautiful train journey down France and another midnight trek across a European city brought us to our (this time) lovely accommodation. We actually had a view of life rather than concrete walls, so felt much less enclosed. We also witnessed actual adults staying there so it couldn't have been bad. We were shattered having been so full on in Paris and lugging our huge backpacks (next time remind me not to bring so much) everywhere, so when we finally got into bed around half 1am we were more than ready for a nights kip followed by a day on the beach.
And that is exactly what we had. We woke feeling alive again, looked out to our view of the beautiful sunshine and bustling city life and headed straight for the sea. Despite constant tannoy reminders that Barcelona was currently experiencing a heatwave and we need to take extra precautions like not stay exposed to the sun for too long especially between 12 and 4pm and avoid drinking alcohol, we stayed fully exposed in the sun betw…

12 exits, no lanes - welcome to Paris!

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After an absolute trek to London South End airport of all places (I'd mistaken it for South world and thought I was doing Mum a favour), we arrived in Paris and were driven to our "hotel". I say this with great hesitation as a hotel it most certainly was not. Rather a dingy 4-walled space, surrounded by strip clubs and peep shows, tucked away through a seedy entrance and up the most enclosed staircases which weren't good for my claustrophobia at all. So, as you can imagine, we promptly escaped to explore.
We started as we intended to continue by having a glass of champers 207 metres above Paris with the view of just about everything. The Eiffel Tower standing magnificently on one side, Notre Dame on the other and so much in between, our time spent at Montparnasse was definitely the best way to begin our adventure.
The return to our room wasn't so pleasant however. We'd walked an hour from the glimmering Tower in all its glory where we'd planned to sit an…