lazy and confused: vienna

The train ride to Vienna was as per usual. And we got to the hostel only to find we had 3 flights of stairs to climb to get to our room. But it was kind of cool becasue since there were other apartments in the buildings it felt like we were living with the locals.

Since we got in late afternoonish we took some time just to veg and relax as it was much needed. When traveling nonstop for a month, sometimes you just need a break. When we got hungry we found a place around the corner to grab a nice traditional Austria dish, Wiener Schnitzel…along with a nice Austrian beer it was just what we needed to refuel.

After a good night sleep we were finally ready to see what Vienna had to offer. And we headed towards what we thought was St. Charles Church, apparently it’s a must see. And, we got lost. Vienna is a really confusing city to navigate even with a map. The streets are all named the same thing and nothing really makes sense….we ended up at the Votive church instead, which was pretty nontheless, lol.

We managed to get our bearings and started to make our way to St. Charles (sidenote: when I wrote St. Charles the 1st thing I thought of was the road that runs through Elmhurst, got some home vibes going) and managed to see most of the city along the way. We finally made it to the right church, even though the girls tried to challenge me that it wasn’t the right place…hey I was just following the map.

The church was actually kind of a let down, they made it seem like there was this great panoramic view from the top but once you got up there you couldn’t even see out becasue there were grates on the windows. Not to mention the scaffolding all over the church just to support the stairs the lead up there. V odd, if you ask me.

From there we headed to the Nasch Market which was only a few blocks over. This might have been my favorite part of the city. It was everything a city market should be. Vendor after vendor selling veggies, fruits, dried fruits, sweets, falafel….anything and everything really. We found something to eat there before we headed to the palace.

It was a easy train ride over on their metro system. And once we got to the palace we got to walk the grounds for free and it was absolutely gorgeous. I wish that it was later in the season so that we could have seen the flowers in bloom, but still it was nice to enjoy the views. I was actually really jealous becasue there were a ton of people running through the grounds and I wish that Leeds had a place like that. But, it’s so hilly here running really is no fun. In that respect, I’m ready to get back to the flat land in Illinois.


                                                         Only about 2 weeks till then.

Cheers.

~meesh

P.S. Shoutouts to my viewers from the Netherlands and Philippines you guys are the best! ….now giving shoutouts so you know you want to get involved and maybe you’ll get one in the next post.

Vienna pics

berlin

Berlin marks the official halfway point. But, that also means that I am running very far behind on my posts. Since my last exam at Uni was today my plan is to do about a post a day until I get catch up. I did the math and I believe there will be 7 maybe 8 until I all caught up with spring break, which will be perfect timing as I can then post about my very last trip that’s coming up.

The train ride into Berlin was also worth noting because little did we know the train we where on had been in operation for too long so we needed to switch trains. But, since they were making these said announcements about switch trains in German we had no clue. If it wasn’t for the sweet old man who explained to us what was happening we might have never made it. Thankful we managed to successfully switch trains in Hanover. Though, we were highly confused as to where we were to sit. The train was all first class cars and we had second class tickets. It took us longer than it should have to realize we just had to sit where we could find a seat.

Courtney and I had to walk the entire train to find seats, but we finally did and it was a quite comfortable ride from there. At least we weren’t stupid enough to leave our passports on the other train like some girl did when we had to do the switch….After that we decided to take a cab to the hostel in Berlin rather than trying to walk, we were beat. And, thankfully we were able to get our laundry done at the hostel….more on that in a bit.

With the afternoon to explore we headed to Checkpoint Charlie and then enjoyed a nice German Beer nearby. The next morning we were anxious to see what our visit to Sachsenhausen would have in store for us. But, first we went to go pick up our laundry…. In a nutshell they forgot to do our laundry because so it wasn’t ready and so they offered us free breakfast to make up for it. They only gave us 2 plates for the 4 of us so we just shared off that but then the guy tried to make us pay the difference because it was only 2 bags of laundry not 4, even though there were 4 different peoples laundry in there. The guy was an absolute dick (pardon my french but he really was). DO NOT EVER STAY AT THE CITY STAY HOSTEL IN BERLIN. For the full story see my trip advisor review.

ps. I stole your pen and I don’t feel bad about it at all.

After that nice morning pick me up we headed for our tour…and we knew the day was turning around when our guide Roy, made a High School Musical Reference about 2 minutes in. When we finally arrived I was a bit of a mess. I really didn’t know what to expect. But Roy, did seriously an awesome job at giving a detailed description of the camp. It just bothered me that some people in our group were being so disrespectful and just standing in the back making jokes the whole time. Not cool.

The visit to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial was worth ever penny. Like the Ann Frank House is was a very introspective thing, I could have spend hours there taking it all in. I will say though that when we went to the crematorium I felt like I wasn’t allowed to breathe.

Once back in Berlin we headed to check out the Berlin Wall. It’s definitely one of those things where you don’t realize it’s significance until you are there seeing it for your own eyes. I liked just being able to run my fingers along the wall to see what it felt like. And, I appreciated that I could do that as so many things are ‘do not touch.’ A lot of the wall still remains today and we only just saw a small section. If I ever get back to Berlin I’d like to walk the whole thing.


                                     Cheers.

~meesh

P.S. I’m trying a new format style with all the pictures at the end. Click the ‘Like’ button if you like it or leave a comment with suggestions! I want to hear from you all!

more photos here

a most delicious day

After getting on a train that we weren’t sure would take us to Brussels we were off. No worries it was the right train and we made it to Brussels. And, with a good old fashion map we made to our hostel. This hostel was probably had the best decor, it was so random but so great. Now I’m really only mentioning this night of the trip because in this hostel we had a 6 bed female room. We met our one roomie a nice aussie chick, she was cool. The 5 of us then went to bed without having met roommate 6….well we had quick the rude awakening from her in the middle of the night. So roommate 6 comes back real drunk and with a male to our FEMALE dorm…they were being obnoxious and making a fuss and the aussie said something but they didn’t seem to care. Then he leaves and she proceeds to make a phone call mind you, at like 3 am…and she had the bathroom light on so the whole room was bright. What a b….I was not happy. You’re in a shared room, like be respectful…i’ve gotten ready in the dark before because people were still sleeping the room and I didn’t want to turn the light on.

But, ok moving on. The next day was Courtney’s bday, so we started the morning right by treating her and ourselves to Belgium waffles. Heaven on earth. It was like eating clouds (word for word what I wrote in my journal). Full on waffles we headed out on a free tour with Yas, our guide. He was super chill and the tour was the perfect combo of stories and sites. Two thumbs up. He told us where to get the best fresh frites and 2 euro Belgium beers, the tour finished at the Mont Des Arts, seriously the best view of the city. Mannekin Pis and the Gran Plaz were great too.


            

Photos: mont des arts, mannekin pis, tin tin, gran plaz

We took just about all of Yas’s advice in regards to food and got fresh frites covered in mayo and then 2 euro beer. I’m actually surprised by how much I liked the beer because I don’t drink beer ever. It was called Orval and for that price I should have gotten two, lol. After picking up some Belgium chocolate we relaxed before getting some traditional Belgium dinner, at least i think it was traditional food they eat. But, actually all the food in Brussels comes with frites….like really though, it’s great.


            

Photos: more of the gran plaz and the surrounding area

The night was ended at Delirium a much talked about bar in Brussels as it has over 2000 beers to choose from. I choose the Delirium Red and after accidentally ordering twice and running away before they could yell at me we found a table to sit at downstairs. Clearly I don’t like ordering drinks at the bar. But, the highlight had to be the table of Belgium boys sittign next to us. It was one of their bdays so we all sang together and had a good laugh or two. And we met locals so go us!

Photos: delirium

Definitely one of my top 3 places of the whole trip.

Cheers.

~meesh

Pics here!

london adventure part 2

Because I know you were all so anxious to hear about the second half of my day, yeah right, lol. Let’s see…

After getting a beer and ordering some food we settled in and frankly I was just happy to be able to rest since I’d pretty much been on my feet since 7. As we were sitting there, the pub started to fill up and by the time we left it was like trying to leave the club at the end of the night from the middle of the dance floor, that’s how crowded it was. When we finally managed to make it out we were greeted by a huge group of people that were hanging out, outside with their beers, the place was that full.

IMG_4090Photo: Failed attempt to show how crowded it was…

Side note: This family showed up the the pub with their 4 daughters or something like that and these girls were fairly young like in their early teens and they were just causally drinking beers with their parents and it was a little like, ok then….

By that time we figured we’d head over to the stadium. We managed to meet up with Maddy and then by some miracle not only got ourselves to the right train and made it just in time, as it was about to leave. I literally was almost running to the train because it was cold and I was determined to make it on. Which we almost didn’t fit, it was definitely a tight squeeze.

IMG_4217

IMG_4215Photos: the stadium

Also, forgot to mention that somehow I figured out the whole Oyster card thing and then Tom tried to convince me that I didn’t get the right card and I almost had a panic attack because I believed him. It’s fine, no worries I bought the right thing, sometimes I doubt myself too much, lol.

Anyways after a short train ride we got off and pretty much followed the crowd to the stadium. And we made it, I felt so accomplished and at the same time so far from my new home in Leeds (because I actually was).

After finding our seats and getting some advice on which team to cheer for…..apparently Millwall are “such ducks” so clearly we’d be cheering for Fulham. That worked out nicely because our seats were in the visitor section and they were the visiting team. I really wanted to get one of those like typical football scarves but being at the Millwall stadium they obviously weren’t selling any Fulham stuff 😦

IMG_4213 IMG_4206 IMG_4204 IMG_4200Photos: pre-game warmup and partner stretches 😉

And because I had my camera with my I proceeded to take about a million pictures of the players and their butts lol…good thing I brought the lens that has a really good zoom…

IMG_4197 IMG_4190Photos: pre-game handshake and huddle

The game ended in a tie, though Fulham did almost score but they called “off sides” on it which Tom said would be too confusing to explain so we just went with it. But for me, the whole experience was a definite win, there really is nothing like being in a stadium full of 90% men that are truly passionate something and also loveeee to chant about it.

IMG_4186 IMG_4185 IMG_4178 IMG_4177 IMG_4175  IMG_4164 IMG_4158 IMG_4157 IMG_4155 IMG_4148Photos: game time

It was actually quite refreshing, aside from the chanting their was really no distractions that would take your focus off the game. They really just let the players do their thing which is something you don’t see in the US because no one can pay attention to something for more that 2 seconds….

IMG_4141 IMG_4139 IMG_4138Photo: a little halftime entertainment

Once the game ended it really hit me that I still had to get all the way back up to Leeds….and the sun was already setting. But nonetheless I’d made it this far, what was another 3 hours? I did finally make it back and it was no nice just to be home. It was a long day, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

IMG_4119 IMG_4115 IMG_4123 IMG_4103IMG_4173Photos: a few close up shots

Traveling alone showed me just how strong of a person I really am and made me realize that their is so much out their in the world waiting for me. I will be back for you London and one day it will be indefinitely, until then…

Enjoy.

~meesh

P.S. for more pics of the cute football boys click me & huge s/o to Tom for inviting me and putting up with me all day, you’re a gem

the pubs rules no. 1

After like 24 hours of no sleep and our last meal having been on the plane the night before around 11, needless to say we were starving Thursday night after we had gotten all settled in.

We had wanted to go to the Old Bar in the Union because we had heard the food there was pretty good. And that way we would be able to walk through campus a little bit and see how to even get there from our flats. Somehow we managed to find our way over there, and it’s really not far at all. I really think it’s a shorter walk than what I used to walk down at U of I.

Anyways we make it to the union and of course the Old Bar is jam packed…there was no open table and it’s kind of like you just find a place to sit, you don’t wait to be seated.

But, this isn’t really the point of the story….so because that place was pack we headed up the street to find another pub. And because we were so hungry we literally picked the first place we found…I think it’s called The Eldon.

IMG_3292Photo: It wouldn’t have been right if I didn’t order fish and chips as my first meal in England…

We got in and got a table, sat down and started waiting to be served. So….this is where pub rule no. 1 comes into play….

We had sat there close to 15-20 minutes and no one was coming to take our order or anything and of course I’m like “Omg I’m so hungry I’m going to die,” you know just making complaint after complaint. Then we see other people going up to the bar and ordering and we were like mmmmh maybe you have to go up there to order?

Of course I wasn’t about to jump up and be the guinea pig, but one girl decided to just go for it and what do you know…you have to be assertive if you want to be served in England. If you don’t go up to the bar and take matters into your own hands then you will go hungry because they won’t come to you that’s for sure.

IMG_3293Photo: We ended up going to the Old Bar for lunch the next day, after orientation and I got the Mac and Cheese…i think there was literally a block of cheese in it…

Knowing that there was food on the way were all relieved to finally be getting a good meal in. And with that we learned the first of many pubs rules we still have to learn.

Enjoy.

~meesh