Personal, travel

What comes next

Hi guys! Long time, I know.
It’s been almost a year since coming home from the trip of a lifetime, and saying I’m going stir crazy would be a massive understatement.
I guess I’ve found it difficult to write about travelling when I’m not actually travelling, and obviously there’s only one solution for that. Go travelling again!
Since I’ll be starting a new job in August that will give me more hours at a higher pay rate, my savings will be picking up again, which means I’m planning to go away again next year. Needless to say I will be writing while I’m away, but since this particular is from 2013, and therefore a tad outdated, I’ll be writing on my personal blog instead. Besides, I kind of like the idea of keeping this series of entries purely from last years trip, rather than diluting it with all my personal garbage. Think of it as a time capsule, if you will.
So, if you’ve enjoyed keeping up with my travels, want to read way too much into my personal life, or just want something to do, head over to http://www.thewanderinglenz.wordpress.com .
As of now, I’m calling an official close to my European summer, 2013.

Peace out!

N

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Eurotrip2013, London, Personal, travel

This is it

It’s officially the last day of the most incredible trip of my life. 3 months worth of adventuring, meeting fantastic people who I hope to keep in touch with, delicious new food, and more fun than I ever thought imaginable.

My flight leaves in 10 hours, and I still have a full day in London ahead, but a few parting messages, I guess.

To all you lovely lovely people I’ve met along the way: you know who you are, and you’re all amazing people who have helped make this trip unforgettable. So much love to you all.

To my mother: it was mostly because of you that I had the motivation to go on this trip, so thank you. Your encouragement to pursue the things I want to do is absolutely inspiring, and is always appreciated, even if I don’t always show it. Can’t wait to see you, and see my fattie ❤

To T, even though she's sitting right next to me (lol): you're like the best travel buddy I could ask for, because you put up with all my crazy and stay chilled when I'm stressing, which has been unbelievably helpful. These past couple months have been an absolute blast, dude. Hard to believe it all started about a year ago with a "hey, would you be interested in this?". All the ups and downs, but no regrets. Except not getting tickets to the Cripple of Innishman.

And finally, to all you who have been following my shenanigans from home: I had no idea that this many people would be interested in things I do (even if I do know most of you) so thank you for your awesome comments and all the support. Chances are I'll keep writing, so watch this space! I'll be back!

*cue dramatic triumphant music*

Peace out, guys. It has been a hell of a summer.

Xx

N

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Eurotrip2013, London, travel

Back to the Beginning

It seems surreal that it’s been an entire 3 months since I left Sydney. Now we’re in the final countdown, and I must say, it’ll be good to be home. But I still have about a week of London to recap, so a quick daily summary:

Day 1: We started off with breakfast at Speedys, which has been thrown into the spotlight as the filming place of BBC’s Sherlock. I must say, the British know their breakfast. Then off to the British Museum for a few hours to escape the rain. Then off to the West End, baby! Since T and I are both massive theatre geeks, we’ve booked 3 shows months in advance. Tonight was Wicked, which easily makes it into my top 5 favourite musicals, along with Cats and Rent. After a fantastic show, we wandered up to Piccadilly Circus and people watched until about midnight, then slowly made our way home.

Day 2: The rain was dictating that we wouldn’t do much today, so we headed down to Leicester Square to catch a movie (the City of Bones, if you’re wondering. And it was kinda cool), and go and scamper around M&M world like toddlers. We also hit Hamleys, a 5 storey toy shop, which was absolute chaotic heaven. We each now have a stuffed animal wearing a Union Jack tshirt. T got a rainbow bear, I got a snow leopard.

Day 3: It was raining (again – what a shocker) so we went down to Westminster to have a look at the abbey and Big Ben, then found a little patisserie for a late breakfast. Patisserie Valerie, it was called, and it has fantastic milkshakes, and great chocolate mousse. There are a bunch of them all over the city, so go one of those if you have the chance. We had another musical to go to, this time it was the Lion King. I remember going to see it with family when I was about 10, and I remember being absolutely blown away. And it still has that effect; by the end of the first song, I was full out crying. What can I say, I love me some Disney.

Day 4: Looking back, we haven’t done a lot of touristy things. Today we went to Kings Cross station in the morning, to see Platform 9 3/4 (yes, it’s a thing). We walked from there back to the West End for lunch, went and watched the City of Bones again, then headed home to shoot some pool and watch a movie. I think we just don’t have the energy to have more than one exciting day in a row.

Day 5: The Harry Potter tour! We caught the train out to Levesdon studios, and got the full tour on the making of the most successful movie franchise in history. Behind the scenes work has always fascinated me, so I found this particularly interesting. They have full sets, props, costumes, the works. You can try butterbeer, ride in Hagrids motorbike and in the Knight Bus, it’s just a HP fans idea of heaven. There was a moment when I rounded a corner and saw a huge scale model of the castle, lit up from the inside with candles. The music was playing, and I just started tearing up again. You can fully appreciate the amount of work that has gone into each and every scene. Don’t get me started on Harry Potter, I will likely never stop.

Now we’re heading to Camden town tomorrow, the seeing Les Miserable tomorrow night. Then a day to get all my things packed, then on the plane home!

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Amsterdam, Belgium, Bruges, Eurotrip2013, Photography, travel

From Belgium to Amsterdam

From my vantage point in a cafe near the Waterloo markets in Amsterdam, I finally have the mental capacity (and fast Internet) to recap the past week or so.

I left off around our passport fiasco in Bruges, I believe. Well after my couple of days in Amsterdam and Tiashas couple of days in Brussels, we headed down to my mothers cousins place in Venray, a tiny little town in the south of the Netherlands. We spent five days there, which was a lovely break from constantly watching over our things in hostels.

What did we do there, lets see….. We went to the zoo in the next town over, Overloon, and found a giant patch of blackberry bushes to snack on on the way. We got taken on a carriage ride through the forests for a few hours, which was absolutely beautiful. Quite a lot of time was actually taken up just cycling around exploring the town.

So after a few days to recharge, Tiasha convinced me we should spend a few days in Brussels on the way to Amsterdam, and my goodness, I’m glad that we did. There was a music festival going on while we were there, so all the musos were in town, and it gave the city a really chilled out vibe. We hit a couple of chocolate shops (mother, I honestly tried to save you some truffles, but they just sat there, mocking me), drank some beer, ate some waffles. All in all it was a pretty nice couple of days.

Now we’re here in Amsterdam, and it feels surreal. This is the penultimate stop before I head off home. We spent 6 months planning this trip, and now it’s almost over, and I’m not sure I’ll know what to do with myself when I get home!

But I’m getting sidetracked. So, Amsterdam. It definitely makes my list of Top 10 favourite cities. And not just because of their tolerance of certain substances that are illegal back home, but because this is just such a downright cool city. Although everyone zooms along on their bicycles like kamikaze ninjas on wheels, nobody seems to be in a hurry. There are markets everywhere selling everything from string bracelets to grandfather clocks. Buskers with dreadlocks and rasta hats on every corner, playing Bob Marley covers. Old men playing chess on the giant board in the square. Yes, the entire town smells faintly of weed, but it doesn’t detract from the charm of the place.

Now we’ve been here a few days, we have a regular spot to eat. Right next to the Waterloo flea markets, called Lunchcafe Waterloo. I absolutely recommend it if you’re in Amsterdam. The food is seriously cheap, lovely staff, great atmosphere, and it has some of the best satay sauce I’ve had in my life. We’ve been here for about an hour now, sitting in the window people watching, eating fries.

Now, photos! These are all from Belgium, I haven’t gotten around to uploading all my Amsterdam ones yet *smacks self on wrist*.

I’ll hopefully update again before we get to London, but if I don’t get around to it, see you in the UK!

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Belgium, Eurotrip2013, tiashadee, travel

Hitchhiking across the land of chocolate and beer

Hey everyone,

It’s the ever elusive Tiasha here, ready to write about her experience hitchiking in Belgium, from Brussels to Antwerp.
I know, I know, mostly everyone’s first thoughts are going to be ‘What?! You went hitchhiking! At 19? As a girl?…that’s a bit dangerous isn’t it?’
Well here i am to give you the cold hard truth that you deserve to know. Hitchhiking is only as dangerous as you make it for yourself.
As girls, we unfortunately have to be more careful than guys would have to be, it sucks, but that’s how the cruel world works for now.
So, some tips:

1. Stick with a buddy. I was with a friend I’d made in Brussels, I probably wouldn’t have done it alone. We got lucky and met a young, cute guy who offered to drive us to the highway going towards Antwerp. That was an awesome start, his name was Water. I kid you not, his fathers name was Walter and they decided to knock of the ‘l’ in the name. Apparently it’s quite a common name in Belgium. Water.

2. Feel free to turn down creepy men or women, families are always the best option. Our second driver was on the creepy side, physically i mean, he looked scary. But as it turns out, kids, don’t judge a book by its cover. He was a highly intelligent individual who worked in advertising, spoke 6 languages and refused to teach us Dutch swear words because ‘that wasn’t his way’.

3. Daytime is the best time. We got in a car with a jolly looking man who had, what quite frankly was, one impressive moustache. Turns out he worked at the local Pringles factory. As we were driving down the highway, there were signs for a detour, so he turned the car off the highway and turned around to us and told us to us ‘not be afraid’. Naturally that’s the exact moment we started to be afraid, until his ringtone went off singing “don’t pick up! It’s the bitch! Don’t pick up! It’s the bitch!”- on the other line was his wife. After that, how could you be afraid of the man whose moustache ironically matched the pringle man’s stache.

So 3 cars later, we made it to Antwerp, we did something spontaneous and nuts and now we have a couple of stories to tell. Basically what I’m saying is, the world is mad anyway. Maybe doing something a little crazy, on your own terms, is the best way to face it.

Ciao! Until next time
Tiasha

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Amsterdam, Bruges, Personal, travel

Chaos, calamity, and Amsterdam on the fly

Ok, things have been a little bit hectic for the past week, so an update!

T lost her passport while in Bruges, so sadly, she’s not allowed home and I had to leave her behind. I jest, I jest. But she did have to go up to the embassy in Brussels and get a temporary passport since she was not allowed on the Busabout bus without one, so I went on to Amsterdam and we’re hopefully meeting up tomorrow before heading down to Venray to stay with some of my family.

So to begin the recount of the past couple days, lets start with Bruges. Bruges is very close to my idea of heaven, considering its culinary specialties are chocolate, waffles, beer and French fries. Needless to say we basically lived off those four things for about 2 and a half days. No regrets. The whole town is full of similar streets of dark brown brick houses with colourful door jams and window ledges, with the occasional church and a few squares scattered here and there. We mostly hung around the tower square, eating waffles with chocolate and cream, people watching in the sun.

Then the morning we were meant to leave, T discovered that her passport was missing. Well that put a bit of a spanner in the works! With half an hour until we were meant to get on the bus, we hatched a very quick plan, that T would stay in Belgium and try and get her temporary passport, and I would go on to Amsterdam and stay for a few days, then we would figure it out from there. Which is what we’re currently doing.

In the meantime, Amsterdam has been pretty fun, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve been hanging out with a couple of people we met in Bruges, and we all went to the Red Light District last night. To say it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen is an understatement. You walk down streets that are lined with glass doors with a red fluorescent light above them, and behind the doors are mostly-naked girls in tiny rooms, generally looking bored or chatting on their phones. We have a theory that they’re chatting to eachother, judging people who pass their doors.

Then on the other side of the metaphorical coin that is Amsterdam, I’ve been a bit of a ball of stress, trying to find accommodation at a days notice, which is particularly difficult during the high season. Thankfully I scored a bed at Flying Pig Uptown the first night, which is a pretty fun place. Then they were all out last night, but I ended up staying at a hostel downtown, leaving all my things at the Pig with only a change of clothes with me. Turns out it was quite useful, since we were destined for a late one and the hostel is right downtown. Now I’m back at the Pig, reunited with all my stuff, figuring out tomorrow, and trying to keep everyone informed at the same time. Something tells me that improvised travelling isn’t my forte.

I’m currently in bed nursing a bit of a hangover, after going out til 2am two nights in a row, and I’m not feeling particularly witty right now, so I’m going to go have a nap, and hopefully upload photos soon. Mother, I’ll keep you posted on what we do, don’t stress!

Xx

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