27.10.2008 - 25.11.2008
With great intentions I updated our travel blog after a few short weeks of neglect, and then somehow our travels went into overdrive with too much to see and no time for blogging! so I will try to catch up once again
After our stop in Granada, we had originally planned to stop at Valencia on our way up to Barcelona. What we didnt realise is that the MotoGP was on at the time, so all accomodation was booked out (completly booked out!) so next option was a 12 hour train (either all day or overnight) to Barcelona, during the booking process our bank card wouldnt work (for the 140euro tickets, thats each!) so we ran up the road to get out some cash instead, with the last few tickets on hold as this was sold out as well, but our card didnt work at the ATM either, seeing it as a sign we gave up and planned to think about it again tomorrow! After a quick rethink, we bought flights direct to Barcelona for 140euro for the two of us, A much better option!
We had now been to Barcelona quite a few times, (4 times in the past year alone) so for a change of pace we rented an apartment for a week and Rishi enrolled in a weeks intensive spanish course, while I opted to lounge around all day and see some less known sights
Our apartment was great, and was a bit of a splurge
We ended up in the less touristy port end of the Gothic Quarter, which was a great central location
The week went too fast, and Rishi loved her Spanish course (a lot a lot a lot a lot!!!! - Rishi)
Next stop was somewhere we missed on our last trip, Amsterdam
You always get mixed reviews from people who have been, and we were now keen to see it for ourselves
Accomodation is the hardest part about Amsterdam, you can pay 90euro a night for two people to sleep on an old boat where you would struggle to find the room to swing a cat! We found a great Guesthouse just across from the main city centre (10 mins walk) which worked out great
The first thing you see when you arrive at Central Station is bikes everywhere, and it was cold, about 4degrees and people were everywhere on bikes
This was the worlds first(and only?) multi storey bike storage out the front of the train station
Being just outside town, what better way to get around so we hired bikes for our entire four day stay!
We had great clear (but cold) weather for the entire time, most days we just picked an area and cruised through on our bikes stopping wherever we liked, There are some fantastic museums and gallerys
Including Rembrandthaus, Rembrandts original house which had an exhibition that ran through his life and included the most extensive collection of his etchings along with the original etching plates
Unfortunatly the Rembrandt-poppen-haus wouldnt fit in my bag!
We also got to the Rijksmuseum which had a fantastic collection of everything and anything (their version of the Lourve, and almost as big) which also had the Contreversal Damien Hirst diamond skull on display
Which was intresting, but definatly all hype
But we spent most of the time admiring the canals, the bikes and the people riding them and trying to find somewhere to lock our bikes
The food was up and down, and varied, we ordered a beer snack here which was described as ox sausage, it tasted better than it looked!
And of course we strolled the red light district at night, which was more tourist parade than anything else, but it definatly a more sleazy feel over the weekend
Next we jumped on a train to Berlin, were we didnt want to leave 2 years ago
We spent 7 nights here 2 years ago, and had dreamt of living and working here, so we were intrested to see after all this time how it has changed
Things have definatly moved on, and the areas we liked last time have pushed further out as the city has developed, but the feeling of the city is still there
We revisited some places, like the Reichstag, great by day or night (no snow this time either!)
Karl Marx Allee, Communist housing development
Berliner Dom, I took this exact photo last time!
There was a building here last time we visited, and they decided to knock it down after all (apparently due to an asbestos problem!)
And the TV tower is visible from everywhere
We managed to meet up with a friend of Rishis from Sydney, Hannah who is now living and working in Berlin, something we talked to her about after our first trip, and hers two years ago
She took us to a new restaurant run by one of her room mates from Paris, which was a great night out
We read some tourist magazine and spotted an unusual event, a Parkour demonstration at a big indoor skatepark in Friedrichshain which we checked out, Parkour is a french invented sport where you basically just jump all over everything (very hard to explain) but it is certainly big in Germany
We sampled many Curry Wurst, this one is apparently famous, not too sure why!
And we even managed some culture, at the uniquely named Hamburger Bahnhoff Gallery, which unknown to us was 12euro entry (just dont convert it to AUD we told ourselves!)
And of course, we sampled most of Berlins beers on offer, including a selection in an old fashioned beer hole in Mitte