Can you believe it’s day 62 already, readers? As of writing this, it is 27 days and about 6 hours until I land back home. Where have the last 3 weeks gone? How can I have less than 4 weeks left in Europe? It’s truly mind boggling, really it is. Then again, I can hardly believe it’s 2010. 2010! Remember the Olympics? 10 years ago! Jeez. I’ll tell you what, I’m getting old. But i digress... from the topic I hadn’t even started. How is that even possible?
Anyway it’s day 62 (ZOMG) and I’m sitting (cross legged, knees covered by a quilt because I’m too lazy to pull it further up) alone in my 6 bed dorm in Berlin. Alone. In a 6 bed dorm. Surrounded by 5 clearly freshly made and therefore post check-out, pre check-in beds. Where are my 5 room mates? It’s actually a little bit eerie, but I’m not sure why.
So what have I done over the last 9 days? I’m sorry I’m two days late but this way I only have to write about 5 days in the next post. Woot! The last week-and-a-bit has taken me from Ireland back to the UK and onto the plane to Munich. My last flight until the final destination- home. With our second day in Dublin, day 54, we did the free walking tour. I’m sure you may have noticed we like these tours. If you do go to Europe, do them wherever you can. They’re a great way to get your bearings. In fact, they have them in Sydney! That night we went to a thai restaurant for dinner. It was excellent, though not as good as tommy thai in West Ryde of course. But the pad thai was pretty incredible. I’ve come to learn just how many thai restaurants there are in Sydney! I mean, find me a suburb without one. They’re here, in Europe, but not as many.
Day 55 involved a 3ish hour ferry ride (hopefully the last boat trip I have to endure) to Holly Head wharf, then (2h? Can’t remember tbh) drive to Cardiff, Wales. The one good thing about the ferries is they have duty free shopping. I finally got YSL Parisienne, after lusting after it since... well since it came out. Damn you Kate Moss. 50ml EDP for only £37 ($70). Impossibly cheap. Of course Steph, being in the room, insisted on doing the actual purchasing, since she has this fear I’ll end up penniless and sleeping on the streets of Germany. We also found these really awesome purse-sized perfume bottles. They’re glass free (plane approved!) and have a little valvey thing at the bottom so you can FILL THEM UP FROM ANY PERFUME YOU LIKE! Well any perfume with a nozzle... JUST LIKE A ZIPPO LIGHTER! It’s super exciting. I got the pink one, to match my perfume :) Awesome sauce.
Some awesome things about Cardiff are:
1. The shopping
2. The shear number of Indian restaurants
3. The Doctor Who exhibit at Cardiff Bay
Being there only one night, I’m sure there are many other awesome things but I didn’t get to experience them. I would have liked a bit more time there, the shopping street really is quite awesome. But after our one night, and a visit to the Doctor Who exhibit (ftw!) we had a long drive to Bath, England. On the way (well technically not because we actually went to Bath to see if we could check in first etc.) we went to Stone Henge (!). It’s actually more awesome than I thought it would be because they rope it off so you can’t get too close. Which sounds horrible, but it means there are no people in the way of good photos. And really, what’s the use of going up close? It needs to be viewed as a whole anyway. I’d love to spend a full 24 hours there and photograph it under varying light from every angle or something. I’d need a lot of caffeine though... It’d also be fantastic to see covered in snow.
The next day we said good bye to Brittania the car and Gerald the GPS (Steph was heartbroken) and made our way (on foot) back into the main town of bath to take in the sights (i.e. cute little shops) before making our way back to London (via the train.) The hotel in London was a bit unusual. It was like an old terrace house with lots of bedrooms, converted into a hotel. I would have loved it to be my bedroom. It had this awesome big window (I believe they’re called bay windows in dreamy romantic novels) which was begging for a seat. It would be my reading/youtubing seat. That night we did our laundry and had dinner at this fantastic Italian restaurant across the road. I had gnocchi, it was awesome. We went to bed fairly early though, since we had a 4am wakeup to look forward to (yay!).
At 5am on day 58, we three climbed into a taxi, destination Heathrom Airport. Mum got on her flight to Rome, and Steph and I on our flight to Munich (via Hamburg, for the cheapness). Now, my one piece of advice for anyone going to Oktoberfest. Do. Not. Stay. In. A. Tent. Unless you know it’s going to be unseasonably warm. The thing about tents is, they’re cold. Very cold. In fact, you’d be better off attempting to sleep standing up outside your tent than lying down in it. Because you’re close to the ground, the cold just radiates through you and nothing you can do will make you warm. Honestly. I slept in a long-sleaved shirt, 3 jumpers, leggings AND trackies, a scarf, a beanie and explorer socks, as well as wrapping myself inside a fleece blanket, like a little furry burrito, and I was still to cold to sleep. And when you do miraculously find just the right position (most likely uncomfortable) to radiate maximum body heat within your burrito, some wanker will make noise. Like the guy in the next tent who snored like a chainsaw. I dreaded bed time each night. It’s so good to be in a hostel again...
Being the 200th year, Oktoberfest was, unsurprisingly, well packed. I’ve never seen so many people! And a surprising number of children I might add. Who brings kids to a beer fest? Our camp had its own bar, which we visited on the Saturday night, when the fest was just TOO crowded for us to handle. In the 5 minutes me and Steph stood there, chatting, we got hit on 3 times. 3 times! In fact, a warning: don’t go to Oktoberfest if you hate men. They will hit on you. A lot. Even the old/fat/gross/ugly ones who have less chance than hell freezing over will try. It’s irritating. Don’t try the “I won’t wear makeup” approach, it doesn’t work.
Beign the genius I am, i bought a torch from the little gift shop at our camp site, so we could have a light in our tent. Being also a bit of an idiot, I didn’t think about the fact that, since it’s one of those torches you need to hold the button down to keep it lit, you can’t really hang it in your tent and use it like a lamp. Steph suggested a bandaid to keep the button down, which worked a treat! I rigged up our little light and hung it, then realised I couldn’t really turn it on and off with ease. Ah well a torch is a torch.
Yesterday, day 61 was the day we got to say goodbye to the tent and each other as I moved on to Berlin and Steph got on the long flight home. I woke up with some mysterious illness that I can only assume was food poisoning since I don’t like beer enough to drink enough to make me sick. I threw up in the morning and felt pretty wretched all day. The only thing I ate was about half a packet of peanut m&ms, which I then threw up about an hour later. I took the hint and stuck to liquids after that. I arrived in Berlin, at 6:30pm, unable to function properly, with no bed reserved for the night. Thankfully i had the address to the hostel Steph stayed in last year, Wombats, which is supposed to be the best value-for money hostel in Berlin. It’s won awards and stuff. I got in a taxi and the driver got me here and luckily they had space for me! For one night only. I was pretty thankful to climb into bed (the top bunk, AGAIN). I rugged up out of habit, and not only did i find myself warm enough, but I actually had to remove my socks and jumper! I was too warm! Oh the novelty of it all.
Today dawned like any other. I’d set an alarm for 8am, ready for check out at 10. My 5 room mates were all showered and gone but about 8:10am, which I though was a bit unusual. I decided to read for about half an hour. When I put my book down, i checked the time on my other phone, and realised I’d made a big stupid mistake. The phone i’d set the alarm on, hadn’t been used since England, so was still on English time- i.e. an hour behind German time. I’d set my alarm for what I thought was 8am but was really 9am! At 9:43 I sprung out of bed and into the shower. Embarrassing, but i was only 15min late to check out anyway. After I checked out, I asked the reception lady if she could recommend any good hostels in the area, and miracle of miracles, not only was there space for me to stay tonight, but she did some reshuffling and 15min later I’m booked in until the 3rd of October, when my Topdeck tour starts. So i get to enjoy this rather fantastic hostel for another 5 nights. Win at life. Of course, I had to wait until 2pm to get my key and get into my new room, so i did some wandering around my local area today. I found a grocery store after a bit of searching (whilst wondering which way to walk down a street I saw a bright yellow sign that said “we have cheaper prices!” in German, thought perhaps that would be a “Surpermarkt” and luckily enough, found it to be one) and picked up enough pasta ingredients to feed me for 3 or 4 nights. I also found a rather impressive charity shop, and my most exciting thrift store purchase to date: a pair of leather shorts. After months and months of wanting a pair, and searching high and low for some I could afford AND fit into, i’ve found them! They fit perfectly, and were only 19€ ( $30). They are a bit 80s in their style, a bit too long for today’s fashion and they kind of flare out at the bottom. But I’m going to just fold them up a couple of times and stitch them in place (once I find a sewing kit) and both problems will be solved! Take that Mink Pink and your $80, probably-not-even-real-leather-despite-being-beautiful-pair.
So that brings me to where I am now. An hour later, still on my bed, (no longer cross legged though, my legs are straight out and I’m leaning against my pillow. Reclining one might say.) still sans roommates (seriously, why don’t I have roommates? The hotel is booked out!) and just a wee bit hungrier.