Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Day Five- Mishaps in Munich

Hi again, so I’m writing this over a year after I actually went interrailing and I don’t expect anyone to read this. Especially due to my history of leaving this blog unattended for months at a time. But I’m mainly writing this for me, one because I have a fair amount of spare time at the moment between trying to convince someone to employ me and two because the little notebook I have with all my notes from the interrailing trip is falling apart. If I don’t write them up in some form I will definitely lose them so I may as well carry on what I started and put them online. Even if I am the only one who reads them!

So because I haven’t updated this blog for so long here is a short recap of what happened on day four-

We got very stuck because we were unorganised and failed to book our hostels in advance. Advice- book your hostels in advance. Don’t be “unorganised bastards” as the Australians we met called us.

The night we spent in our final resort hostel was not a particularly fun one, with parades of people coming in and out of the room all night. At one point a guy with a pony tail (memorable feature) tried to climb into someone else’s bed simply exclaiming “oh” when he saw the stranger sleeping in his chosen spot. We were then woken up at stupid o clock by a girl who spent a good two hours putting on her makeup. But overall I’m sure we had a better nights sleep in the hostel than we would have done had we had to head to the train station for the night.

When we had collected our things together we headed back to the Pension from the day before, questioning why we hadn’t just stayed there when we first found it! The woman in charge seemed to be very happy to see us again and despite the terrible language barrier tried her best to ask us for any news on the royal baby.

No room is complete without a fake flowers

Standard bed but comfy!
The room in the Pension was nice with very comfortable beds. And left over German Prince and Princess Coke bottles which were a personal highlight for Dan and myself. We did spend most of the day in this room, spending most of our time in Munich booking hostels and campsites for the rest of our trip. Thank god for wifi and iPhones, although I was yet to enter the age of an apple phone and had to use my iPod, good old apple. (I am not sponsored by apple, although if you happen to read this apple feel free to send me a new iPhone…)

The best names for coke bottles

That evening we headed to the nearest beer garden where we enjoyed a stein and some of the weirdest food I have ever eaten. I decided that I wanted to go for something typically German so chose what I thought was pork, a dumpling and cabbage. This dumpling turned out to be a potato dumpling, with croutons in the middle. I have never been more shocked to find a secret filling in my food, whose bright idea was it to put croutons inside a potato dumpling? I assume it was the same person who decided to bypass the normal dumpling recipe with potatoes.

My German meal

And the unwanted surprise in the dumpling
It was quite an odd beer garden, I wouldn't say i'm an expert, but I definitely didn’t expect people who I assume were beer garden supervisors to walk around shushing anyone who were acting a little too loudly. We left the beer garden and had an earlyish night, we had to head to Milan the next day and although we had a hostel booked now it was best to play it safe!

Pretzel bigger than his head

Cheers Munich!
Tune in next time (If there is a next time it may be in about a year) to see what we got up to in Milan!

Day 4 Nuremberg and Munich Click Here

For info on the Beer Garden we went to Click Here

Follow me on Twitter Here

Credit for the better photos goes to @dan_magid

@KarlTaylor7 was there too

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Freshers Advice!

Dear Freshers,

Starting University can be a scary experience, you’re going to be leaving your family home and moving in with complete strangers and if that’s not scary enough if you are self catered you’re going to have to feed yourself. The week before I left for Uni I spent most of my time searching the internet for advice on meeting flatmates and what to do in fresher's week. So being the helpful soul I am I've decided to put together some tips and advice for fresher’s week based on my own experience. I am definitely not an expert but maybe i'll be of some use! Here we go…

Try and meet your future flatmates on Facebook first
Nearly every halls at University will have a Facebook page dedicated to helping you find your future flatmates. These are great to use to get to know the people you will be living with for the next year. Four out of five of us found each other on Facebook before we met at Uni. The conversation was cute, cringey but overall very helpful!

Our original group message on Facebook!
Bring more cutlery than you think you need, and make it recognisable
If you’re anything like me you will lose all of your cutlery by the end of your University experience. I have absolutely no clue where any of it went and by third year I had a grand total of one knife and a tea spoon. If I could go back I would definitely bring more cutlery, and make sure there was something slightly different about them. To help me find the cutlery thief!

Make the most of your parents before they leave, get them to take you shopping.
Once your parents leave you its going to be up to you to do all of your food shopping. Make sure to get a good shop out of them before they head home. They will probably want to stock you up with absolutely every essential. Just to make sure you don’t live off noodles and pasta (which by October you probably will be.)

Bring name tags
One of my flatmates brought name tags with her which we gave out during our first predrinks of fresher’s. Although it sounds pretty lame it did mean that learning the names of about 50 new people was much easier and meant we avoided awkward situations on the first few nights.

First night out, with clearly visible name tags!
Buy a map
My flat was home to a map of the UK, we used this to mark down where everyone in our block was from in the Country. Again, not the coolest thing to have but it was a great conversation starter!

Our map during Freshers Week
Avoid twitter and Facebook on nights out
Now if you do drink it is very likely that you are going to be very drunk on at least one night of fresher’s week. In the event of being very drunk try to avoid Facebook and Twitter, as Hannah Montana says, everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days. But try to make those mistakes a few months into Uni, you really don’t want to be that girl or guy when you’re first meeting people.

These are not my statuses, they were generously donated by a flatmate...
Take pictures, lots of fun to look at in the morning
Fresher’s week is the perfect opportunity to take photos which you can use for blackmail during the rest of your University life. In my flat we had a wall of Fame and Wall of Shame. Many of the photos came from fresher’s, and many of them could not be more cringe worthy if they tried.

Cup on head is a great look
Go to your welcome lectures
Surprisingly fresher’s isn't just about going out. As hungover as you may be after a night out you should probably try to make it to your welcome lectures. Definitely a great way to make sure you have signed up to the right course and meet your new Coursemates.

Sign up for clubs and societies
In fresher’s week there will be loads of fresher’s fairs advertising the different societies your Uni has to offer. Make sure you go! One of the best things about my Uni experience was my involvement in Student TV. A society I might not have joined if I had just stayed in bed and avoided freshers fair. You will probably find yourself on the email list for groups that you have no interest in, but you don’t know which ones you want to join until you try! I received emails from archery society for my whole first year. Pretty sure I never put my name down for it.

Just have fun! 
The most important thing! You only have one first fresher’s week. This is when you will meet some of your best friends and make memories which you will talk about for the rest of your time at University. You might also spend the next three years trying to piece together “Messy Messy Tiger Tiger Wednesday” although some mysteries will never be solved.

And if I can leave you with one thing, you will look back on photos from fresher’s week in despair. It does get better. Below is the first photo taken of me at University. Absolutely diabolical. This is why I hate TimeHop. 

Cringe and a half.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below! I'll do my best to answer, remember stay safe, have fun and share your crazy adventures! My next post will be some of the entertaining stories I remember from my Fresher's week!


Follow me on twitter here

Friday, 27 December 2013

Day Four, Nuremberg and Munich- Always pre-book your Hostels.

Our fourth day of travelling was when our organisation ended. We had booked the hostels for Krakow and Prague in advance but we were heading to Nuremberg with absolutely nowhere for us to stay when we arrived. We thought we would give ourselves room to be flexible and it would be easy to find hostels when we got to the cities. I don’t think we could have been more wrong.

Unsurprisingly we got lost again on the way to the train station, we walked at least twice as far as we needed to and my bag definitely got heavier as we walked. When we finally arrived we booked onto a coach which would take us to Nuremberg and headed to the coach section to wait to leave. We had about an hour to wait so I headed to the toilet as I was worried that the coach wasn't going to have one on it. I spent about twenty minutes getting lost in the train station, when I found the toilets of course you had to pay to use them so I spent some Euros on a big bottle of water, got the change in chezch money, which I no longer had a reason to use and then finally made it to the toilet.

When I got back to the boys I told them I had had an absolute nightmare, Dan asked if it was because I bought fizzy water. They really need to make it more clear which water is which. Fizzy water 2 us 0. Karl then took our left over money from Prague to buy some “treats” coming back with some proper water, an assortment of chezch pastries and a bread roll with some bacon stuck to it with cheese. The best way to spend our money.

The Infamous Water

What an appetising snack 

The bus finally arrived and of course it had a toilet, so I spent money on the toilet and fizzy water for no reason, I thought after the pizza woman stole from me my money issues would end not get worse. But get worse they did. The bus journey was actually really relaxing, there was plenty of room and unlike the trains there were no delays so that’s always a plus!

Dan ate the weird roll. Apparently it was surprisingly nice. 

Here is where I’d like to write about all the crazy things we got up to in Nuremburg but unfortunately our un-organisation left us stranded. We walked around the whole city, went into a couple of hostels to check for room and then asked a helpful woman in tourist information if she knew if there were any other hostels we could try (she was not helpful with her response, turned out that there was no room in any hostel or inn.)

The only place we really saw in Nuremberg

We did however find the "Noris Bikes" which would have been fun.

We made the decision to head straight to Munich; there would definitely be free hostels there? It also wasn’t too late, so if we set off straight away we could find a hostel in decent time. The train to Munich was an interesting one, the man opposite Dan declared “I aint got no time for squeezing ma legs.” When he saw his bag and we had to attempt to move it so the man would have enough room, luckily he didn’t say anything else during the train journey so I think he got over it. 

As soon as we arrived in Munich we saw a banner a we left the station for an A and O hostel which according to the sign was fifteen minutes from the train station, we left and headed to where we hoped the hostel was. After walking for about twenty minutes we decided we were going in the wrong direction and turned around towards the town centre to see if we could find anything there. The first thing we found was a “Pension” similar to a B&B, we went in to find out it was run by an elderly woman who spoke very little English. She showed us round hectically and spoke to us in very broken English telling us about all of the things that were broken. It was a really homely place but for some reason we decided to find a cheaper hostel somewhere else. We spent hours walking around with absolutely no luck. Eventually we tried a travel agent who was helpful and rang around a few people, she printed off a map and we attempted to follow that to find somewhere.

Taking a break by the little fountain.

The first but not only fountain to cause as great amusement. More of that to come in Genoa.

After a little more walking I noticed a notification on my Ipod which only happens when I have internet, I looked at it and saw that we had been saved by Eduroam, we were walking past Munich University and connected to their internet. We quickly used it to find directions to the original hostel we tried to get to. After about four hours of none stop walking and a day of barely eating we finally made it to the hostel. Which was about five minutes past where we originally decided to turn around from.

Never again will I complain about eduroam!

Just when we thought things couldn't get much worse, we walked into the hostel and were greeted by a large queue of people waiting to check in. I asked the Australians behind us if they had prebooked for the hostel or if they were like us and they replied saying they had and calling us “unorganised bastards.” They also let us know that they couldn't be bothered with “bus s**t” and had been flying everywhere. Lucky for some.

Eventually we made it to the checkout and managed to get beds for the night, but we were going to have to find somewhere else to stay the next day. With our day of aimlessly wandering around finally over we went to bed, prepared to get up and book the hostels for the rest of our trip and hoping that we would find somewhere to stay the next night without repeating the days events.

                         Weird Sign of The Day

For more information on A and O hostels click here

Information on saviours Eduroam here

Follow me on Twitter here

Credit for the better photos goes to @dan_magid

@KarlTaylor7 was there too.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Day 3 Prague, The One With The Beautiful Sights and The Thieving Pizza Lady

After a good long nights sleep we got up and ready to explore Prague. Of course we had seen some of it the day before but that was marred by the massive bags on our backs causing some sort of complaint from Karl every other step. Luckily we had a room to ourselves in the hostel which we could lock so we could leave all of our belongings safely in there. This was a good job really because the contents of my bag had scattered all over the room and I had no intention of packing them that day.

Unfortunately we were let down by the weather today, heading out in shorts and a vest top was a mistake made apparent a soon as we left the hostel. All of the locals were covered in layers while the tourists were walking around looking pretty ridiculous. It was like walking around the Atlantic in a summer dress and flip-flops. Of course Karl said that Dan and I were exaggerating but he’s ginger, it was honestly warmer in the ice bar. 

We spent the first hour of the day wandering around in the icy weather trying to find somewhere for lunch. Being indecisive as usual we ended up in small local shop and bought some baguettes there. What a mistake. We settled for the “Czech Crocodile Sandwich” brand, and although at first it appeared to be chicken I don’t think the contents of the sandwich could have been further from it. I wouldn't we surprised if it turned out to be seal, they would have survived in the cold climate and I feel like seal would have that texture. 

Never Trust a Crocodile
After eating we went to look around Prague. We started at some really pretty gardens full of fountains, peacocks and Mario and Luigi style plumbers trying to get themselves out of a fountain on a dangerously rocky boat. I wish they had fallen in.

Mario and Luigi are Real

Such a Pretty Garden!


Casual Peacock

Despite the grey sky the gardens really were beautiful
Later in the day we headed to Prague Castle which is definitely worth a visit. It’s massive and the guards are brilliant. Unlike the guards at Buckingham Palace the Prague Castle guards are extremely happy and clearly think they have the best job in the world. Maybe their Royal family are great to work for; I might have to Czech it out.

Czech Him Out

Playing with the Guards

They wouldn't let us in!

Joining the Troups
We spent some time relaxing by a lake full of children feeding the swans. I won’t lie. I was hoping that a swan might go a little rabid and create a nice viral video for me, but unfortunately (or fortunately for the children who could have lost a finger) no swans attacked. The sun actually came out for about five minutes while we were here, Dan and I made the most of it. Karl sat under a tree.

This swan is not biting the child.

My new friend

How not to catch a Swan
There was a massive Market going on while we were there with loads of food and street acts, the food was all local and smelled 10 times nicer than my seal sandwich earlier but money was still being carefully looked after and nice food couldn't be a necessity. It was nice to look around though and the man creating giant bubbles with some sort of home made contraption was great entertainment. 

This woman loved the band, we dubbed her Czechy J

Before we headed back to the hostel for a bit we walked across the Charles Bridge which is definitely one of the top things to do in Prague. The view is beautiful and there are artists doing caricatures and street or bridge acts which were actually very talented. I wouldn't be surprised if they appear on Britain's Got Talent in the near future. The view is amazing too, and the bridge itself is breathtaking at night.

Charles Bridge at Night

My personal favourite picture from Prague
That night we went to the other side of the city to get something to eat. For some unknown reason we decided on a dingy takeaway which kept all the pasta in tubs ready to heat up in the microwave. I decided on a pizza, paid and sat down. It was when I counted my change I noticed my fatal error. The Czech currency, like the Polish, comes in ridiculously large notes. So 100czk and 200czk notes are the common currency. I discovered that I had accidentally handed over two 200czk notes instead of the one. I told the previously friendly woman about my mistake and she suddenly spoke a lot less English than she previously had. In fact I'm pretty sure she spoke better English than me before she realised she could get a nice tip from a dumb tourist. They counted the till at the end of the night and although it was clear on the staff’s faces they knew exactly where my money was it was also very apparent that it was not coming back to me. I won’t be czeching back there any time soon, (last Czech joke I promise.)

After the unfortunate money incident we walked through the part of town which I never really wanted to see. If we had been there any later I don’t think we would have left alive. An unsuccessful attempt to find cads in the shops in said seedy streets and we headed back to the hostel. We had an early Czech out the next day.

Day 2 Prague Click Here                                                  Day 4 Nuremberg and Munich, Click Here

Follow me on Twitter here 

Credit as ususal for most of the photos goes to @dan_magid

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Day Two Prague, The One With the Ice Bar, the Unnecessary Reservations and a Sausage in a Box

Our first morning in Krakow began as the first night ended, with loud Germans. Throw in what appeared to be a dying bird and you don’t exactly get a pleasant wake up call. But we were up and ready to head off to Prague, one of the good things about our Krakow hostel was that they left out breakfast, typically the Germans had eaten the majority of it, but there was enough food for a good meal.

When we arrived at the train station we realised a flaw in our plan, we had to reserve to get onto the trains we needed. Now we did know that we would need to make reservations on the long distance trains but we didn’t think that we would have to reserve seats to get onto the smaller trains. So we joined the long queue of confused looking Brits waving around their Interrail passes and made reservations for our first two journeys. We then went to buy some snacks for the train however left this a little late and ended up running through a shopping centre with our massive backpacks on, luckily we made it with seconds to spare (this may be an exaggeration.)

Updating the twittering world!

I'm pretty sure that the first train was the Hogwarts Express and we managed to secure a cabin for ourselves, something that rarely happened on later journeys. This was one of the nicest train journeys we had, barely any stops and the time flew by, although when we did stop i'm certain it was because of Dementors. The genuine Hogwarts Express experience.

On the way to Hogwarts
Our next train ride of the day was an entertaining one, I hadn’t laughed so much for a long time. It started off innocently when the man that runs the food trolley came into our cabin and asked if we had seen his crocs. Sure enough the missing crocs were underneath my chair, a little later I went to buy some food as I hadn’t bought anything at the last station. When I got to the restaurant carriage the man working there told me that they didn’t have any sandwiches available but he could make me a “frankfurter with bread” which I assumed was going to be a hotdog. But when you assume you make an ass out of you and me, and I tend to do that a lot. What I was handed was two hotdogs in a box with five pieces of bread. Not even an equal amount of bread to make a sandwich with. After this entertained Karl and Dan for a while and I had constructed several mini sandwiches the trolley man came with complimentary snacks, juice/water and a biscuit. However not the nice biscuits, they were for first class only. This was also our first encounter with unwanted sparkling water, something that would haunt the rest of the trip.

My unexpected meal

Free Juice (Although I asked for Orange)
The downside to the journey between Krakow and Prague was the fact that our reservations were not checked on the first two trains leading to a very irritated Dan. Because of this we decided to get on our third train without making a reservation but as we got on we saw the signs on the doors stating that we would need  a reservation, thankfully they did look at them on this train and it wasn't a complete waste of money. If you are Interrailing read the small print carefully, i'm sure most people know and we were just optimistic but if its not a regional train make sure you reserve! 

The hostel in Prague started off our long chain of having 0% luck in finding the hostel. It wasn’t that the instructions were bad, we did actually manage to find the street it was on at one point but we didn’t realise we were on the right street and walked right past the hostel. About 30 minutes later, after several stops to relieve our backs and a trip into a bar where 3 overly helpful men raced to show me where to go on Google maps, we found it. The hostel we stayed in was Hostel Arnosta, it was a big place with helpful staff, there were plenty of showers and although there were only two toilets there was never a queue to use them. The only minor issue was that the wifi didn’t work in the rooms and only seemed to work if you sat on the stairs near the reception so there was a constant group of people sitting around there and making use of the wifi.

A similar room to the one we stayed in.
That night we decided to try out Pragues famous night club Karlovy Lazne. It’s the biggest music club in Central Europe and with five floors really had something for everyone, at 180czk its about £6 to get in and it was worth every penny since there really was something for everyone there. When we went in we went to an ice bar, you pay 140czk (About £5) to get in and it gets you  a cocktail (which comes in an ice glass.) The walls, bar, tables and sculptures were all made of ice and it was kept at -7 degrees so was pretty freezing but we were given big coats and gloves so it was unlikely that we would get hypothermia. I would happily have spent more time in there but i'm not sure how my body would have coped with the cold.

An Ice cold drink.

Looking cool.
Ice Queen

We spent a long time in the club going to all the different floors and finding out what the music was like on each. There was Radio Hits (which was basically a selection of odd foreign songs,) dance, oldies (cheese,) R&B and chillout. It was a really good night and definitely worth going to if you are ever in Prague. After we had tried out all of the floors we headed home and although Karl steered us off in the wrong direction when he didn’t think I had taken us the right way we all got home safe and sound after having an amazing night. 

Practicing my Rocky
For more information on Hostel Arnosta Click Here

For more information on Karlovy Lazne Click Here

For more information on the Ice Bar Click Here

Follow me on Twitter here

Credit for most of the photos goes to @dan_magid who had a much better camera than me and is pretty good at this photo business.