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Wet in Amsterdam

8 May

condom display in Amsterdam

If only it wasn’t so miserable outside! Yesterday morning, I woke up and tip toed out of our couchsurfing host’s flat in Frankfurt, Germany to catch an early train to Amsterdam. The rapid trains are super fancy. Stefanie, Jess and I scored seats in a 6 person cabin with a table and temperature control – I’m sure that will be my last bit of comfort for the next while.

The hostel in Amsterdam was a bit hard to find. There are too many bikes, mopeds and cars whizzing by. It’s a little ridiculous at times. Nevertheless, the city is an organized chaos. The bike riders even have their own street lights which helps.

Yesterday, I took a trip to the Sex Museum, which is small but educational and a little weird. The museum has an early pornography exhibition, erotic media lounge and bizarre sex memorabilia. There are erotic photos from the late 1800s (I had no idea our ancestors were so kinky!) and even old chastity belts on display. The Sex Museum is a must-see in Amsterdam! Continue reading

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Landed in Europe

6 May

I just arrived in Frankfurt. I’m staying at a couchsurfing host’s very cute flat 30 minutes from the airport. The flight was terribly long and exhausting. You would think they’d give you a roomier seat on an international flight, but no way! We flew Air Transat. They served dinner after midnight and breakfast at 5 am our time. It was bizarre.

When I arrived at the airport, I purchased my seat reservation for the train to Amsterdam tomorrow and then I followed the directions to our host’s flat. This area of Germany looks like Canada, except the houses have super tall and slanted roofs. Once I was settled, Sabine took us to a traditional German restaurant. We each ordered something different and shared. It was all delicious! Sour kraut, breaded meats, sauces, onions, potatoes! But now, I’m severely full and a little jet legged. It’s time for a recovery nap.

Tomorrow I’m leaving at 8am to catch the train. I should mention that I forgot my Nikon DSLR battery at my aunt’s house, so now we only have Stefanie’s camera to take photos. It’s a bit disappointing, considering I was looking forward to testing out my photographic abilities here in Europe. Oh well – I shouldn’t dwell!

Happy birthday to me.

26 Apr

 

Kyle made me this box with a puzzle inside

So many life changes have happened since my last post. Where to begin? The most important thing is that I am now 22!

Well, Oli and I moved in with Kyle on Saturday (that was a lot of capitals). I was nervous about the ride up here – it was Oli’s first long car ride. I put a pillow on my lap and it was high enough so that he could lay down and look out the window. The car ride made him so sleepy – and me too! I struggle to stay awake during car rides. Oli was so excited when we got into Toronto. In the first 2 minutes, two groups of people stopped and played with him on the street saying how cute he was. I can already tell he loves it here. Continue reading

Couchsurfing 101

11 Apr

I thought this would be a good time to write about a little thing called couchsurfing. After talking with so many people about this big eurotrip, I’ve realized that most people don’t understand it, think it’s crazy or both! Rather than having more people freak out when I tell them that three girls are going to be sleeping in a stranger’s home, I thought I would just write a blog about it and let them figure it out.

To make our eurotrip more budget-friendly and exciting, we decided to spend most nights couchsurfing. The website sums it up nicely: “CouchSurfing is an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world.” Basically, we log onto this community website and search for people to stay with in various cities across the world. Each traveler and host must create a profile with information about their interests, occupation, age, location, bio, ‘couch’ information, photos, etc. There is a reference and verification system, ensuring that people are who they say  and that you have the best CS experience possible. Continue reading

Death by credit card.

26 Mar

I booked my Eurail pass. Wait, let me rephrase…. I booked the MOST expensive Eurail pass.

The craziest thing is that my train pass cost more than my flight to Europe! I’ve spent over one third of my Europe budget and I haven’t even landed. Oh well, that’s traveling for you.

This week has been a roller coaster of sorts. Jessie had a freak out and almost canceled her flight. She was paranoid that we’d be abducted into the sex trafficking industry. I am not even joking. She was seriously freaked out. Don’t get me wrong, there are always dangers while traveling, especially for three young women …. BUT I think her paranoia stemmed from talking with people who have never traveled before and basing their assertions on Hollywood movies (Does anyone remember ‘Taken’?). Eventually, she calmed down and is feeling excited again.

My itinerary also changed. Now, I’m traveling to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, South of France, Cinque Terre, Florence, Rome, Venice, Interlaken, Grindlewald, Prague and Berlin! I’m sure this isn’t the final draft, and I sort of like that. Sometimes, it’s just about going with the flow. Viva Europe!

On a roll…

22 Mar

Wow. Life has been extremely busy for yours truly, but there is light at the end of the tunnel…

Despite my jam-packed schedule, I’ve managed to draw up a pretty decent itinerary. There’s a few kinks of course, but Stefanie, Jessie and I are getting together  this Thursday to get down to business. Our planning fiestas haven’t been so successful. We end up watching silly Youtube videos and making nachos. Last week, we managed to book two nights in Amsterdam. The fact that we’re staying in the marijuana capital of the world during the weekend forced us to book early. It was just the push we needed!

I’m ordering my Eurail train pass soon and fine tuning the itinerary some more. As of right now, I’m visiting Frankfurt – Amsterdam – Paris – Barcelona – South of FranceCinque Terre (Italy) – Florence – Rome – Venice ?????? That’s all I know until Jessie picks her number one destination. Will it be Switzerland? More Germany, France or Spain? Who knows, but I’m eager to find out. Traveling in a group of three and seeing everything on your personal list is hard. So, we agreed to start by each person choosing their number one destination and then go down the list from there. Mine was the South of France. I’ll admit, Stef and I did try to casually persuade Jessie into some places. We’ll see if it worked!

6 weeks to go!! I can’t wait!

The joys (and horrors) of booking

1 Feb

The power of the Internet has failed me (stupid unreliable servers, stupid credit card!). However, after a day of calling 1-800 numbers, I finally booked my flight to Europe.

YYZ to FRA from May 5th to June 15th.

For those of you unfamiliar with airport codes, that means Toronto to Frankfurt (yes, Germany). Now, I wasn’t planning on going to Germany – it’s just too big and I don’t have much time, but I found a great deal! Round trip with taxes for $625 CAD. Pretty awesome, no? The Air Transat reservation person seemed to think so… Continue reading

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