OK OK Okkk now! Massive apologies for the nonexistent update on the blog but for good reasons I swear!!! Im going to have to blame it on napping. But any back to what we have been upto and whats been going on!
For a start I must say that Nicole has improved her directions, now it maybe the fact that she used to live in Denmark, but I think she is improving well for now anyway.
So Krakow, Poland.
This is the place where we went off to Auschwitz which was one of the scariest places ive ever been.
When we walked through the gas chamber and then into where they turned the bodies into ash, your heart stops. They had a furnace that 3 bodies could be piled into at once and these furnaces run 24/7. The Nazi’s had human extermination down to an art. They used the ash to grow the crops that fed the concentration camps- it was disgusting. The worst part was before they had a “shower” they stripped off all their clothing and they had this clothing on display. They had shoes from big men and they had shoes from children…. terrible stuff. And they uncovered tons of human hair which was also on display. It was cased in a window about 20m long and about 5m wide. It was just horrific!
Ok so on a lighter note it was so great to see Auschwitz and to see what the jews went through and their pain, its something I recommend- but expect it to change you a little, or a lot.
So Auschwitz was about a 2 and a half hour train from Krakow, which was great because you saw a lot of the woods the jews would have hidden in. Just reminded me of all the war movies about world war 2 ive seen. And it just made it real! So Krakow is a nice place, they have an old town with a castle which is really nice. It was so cheap in Poland too which was handy. Going out every night for dinner and shopping was so cheap. Got some shoes it was great!
So from Krakow, Poland we went to the capital which is Warsaw. It was a massive city with a beautiful old town. I think it was about 28 most the time there, which was nice but annoying with a full back pack on (mmm sweaty) but i would rather it be 30ish than 20ish!
So from wondering around the streets of Warsaw’s own town we took an over-night bus to Kaunas in Lithuania. We only had one night here as we had to be in Russia on the 25th for our visa’s. Lithuania was nice. Probably the nicest hostel we have stayed at. People were so helpful and friendly and it was so cheap! Our aim was to get the Riga in Latvia, as it had a beach and i was craving water (it being 30 degrees everyday!). So from Kaunas in Lithuania we caught another bus to Riga!
Riga, Latvia. Such a nice city with a lot of history. Being taken over by Russia, then germany with world war 2, and then Russia again! The people have had their fun being exploited by both countries! Riga is told to be the paris that never sleeps of the east. It was so much fun! As it didn’t get dark till about 10:30pm, so we found ourselves eating tea at this time (like everyone else does), then having a few drinks ofcourse. We had 3 nights in Riga which was nice. The second day of our stay we caught the train to the beach was awesome! They had a dance floor on the sand, with a DJ playing music. There was also a volley ball court, and the beach was packed! So many people for as far as you could see. I will say I was probably the whitest guy there, as everyone was either Italian or German and had epic tans and man bags. So many guys in speedo’s but i wasn’t ready for that challenge yet! Haha
So from Riga (which I strongly recommend you go to) we had a 12 hour long bus ride through Estonia to Russia! It all sounds nice apart from the fact I wasn’t feeling to good… and threwup… everywhere (in a bag). After which I did I was fine for the whole trip. No idea what on earth I caught but it wasn’t nice and sticked around till we got to finland.
So the county side of Estonia was very pretty until we hit the Russian border.. where we no longer felt safe. Although it was meant to be scary and from what had heard about the boarder it wasn’t really that bad. First a lady came onto the bus and took all our passports and came back with them 30mins later, then we all had to get off the bus and go through customs which they pretty much just looked at our passport and didn’t scan any bags and just let us get on the bus again. So it was strange getting though so easy.
Ok so Russia, St Peterburg. We were staying at a hostel called Tiger hostel which had an English logo. We go to the address and its not there! We asked a few other places and they said it was around here but we couldn’t find it. All the signs were in Freaking Russian (but I mean as you do in Russia). After an hour trying to find the place, we asked a local hotel, and they helped us call the hostel- and finally, someone came down to find us. Which was great! Works out our hostel was up 5 flights of stairs and guess what happens when theres stairs… not only do I have a bag on my back and front but Nicole has a wheel bag which needs to be lifted. So what do you think happens….?
I have to grab the bottom of the bag and lift its whole weight up the stairs with mine as well! Fun!! Not!!
So our hostel was strange as most hostels are, but for some reason this one was stranger.. St Petersburg is such a lovely place and ill let Nicole explain about it all in her side of the blog so keep your eyes out for it!!!
Finland-sweden-denmark to come soon!!
As I’m sitting here on the train to Krakow, Poland, with lighting in the grey sky, and a view of the depressing wet buildings out of my window- and I try to imagine what it would be like back in “the olden days”. I’ve nearly finished a book about the terrors of World War Two, so this is definitely adding to my imagination. Tomorrow we are going to Austwich… I’m not sure how I feel about this, but everything around me seems to be preparing me for it. It’s not like I can be excited to see how much pain, and horror helpless human beings were forced to endure. It’s not like I can be intrigued to go there.. to be an onlooker of their historical grief. Can I feel that I am paying my respects? Or will I just feel a nauseating disgust? I don’t know what to expect, but it I’m sure that not even I can imagine what happened behind those walls- I do know I’ll have to face it tomorrow though.
On a lighter note, after Berlin we made our way to Poland. On the last day of Berlin we had a great time…. getting lost and walking around for hours on end (maybe an hour and half). This is probably the only time that my amazing directional senses have served me to be correct. However, I had to prove this by walking a massive backwards circle around the outside of half of Berlin. It is actually really funny now that I look back on it… and Nathans great excuse was that I needed the exercise.. thanx babe!
Berlin and Prague are very different cities, although they have one thing in common- HOTDOGS. And hotdogs you see, don’t really make my lovely boyfriend smell like roses. In fact, getting a running commentary, I know a lot about what they do to him. Great. (He thinks his hilarious…but when the rooms are so SMALL he starts running for it too..).Prague is like a fairytale, literally. We caught the cable car up the other side of the river in Old Town and walked down across the fruit orchards, and Vineyards to the Castle grounds and magnificent church. The views of the bridges going down the river were breathtaking. I’ll leave the rest to Nathan, but I’ll make sure that he doesn’t forget to tell you about how I found a restaurant using a map. .. I am actually quite good at this stuff. One more thing, we are really good at playing the part of tourists, camera and map in hand, daypack on our backs. Or even lugging around our massive backpacks to the next destination. Today I even wore runners with jeans. As soon as we made it to the station I swapped them for my thongs, I’m not ready to commit fashion suicide just yet!!!! *insert blonde girly giggle* (Although I’m getting there!)
Hi from Berlin!
So our trip started with one of the most boring flights ive ever been on. The movies were crap, the wine was crap and my company was crap (just kidding)! we managed to get in a little sleep which was good so it wasnt all bad. We had our first stop over were Nicole made her first directional mistake, “hey babe, i think we are at terminal 3” I said ok baby lets go there.” next thing when we are at terminal 3 (after a tram ride) and I look to the screen and it says terminal 2!! so started the rush to back to the terminal where we got off to find that our plane had a flat tire and that it took an hour to replace! The next flight was a lot better where i took charge of the directions :)
So we landed in Frankfurt and it was so sooo easy to get on a train and find our stop to our hostel. Although the lady at the counter had no idea what we were saying, it was nice that we had our own bathroom and bed to get over our jet-lag. we arrived at our hostel at 8am and we were lucky enough to be able to check in then! so we ditched our packs and went to explore frankfurt!
so we went walking in whatever direction the wind wanted to take us, found some pretzels that were only a $1 and took some cute tourist photos of Nath eating them. Pretty proud of ourselves, being able to find our way to the train station and then to Frankfurt Main, we felt kind of confident getting out of the dodgy area that our hostel was in. Frankfurt was pretty, sunny, and .. kind of.. left you thinking, surely theres got to be more? We just walked around the free way… trying to read German information signs about old churches can be quite fun. We really should have read up on our history beforehand, lets just say that. We also learnt, that we should have gone to the gym a bit more… haha :)
Spending the couple of days we had exploring and drinking beer in beach chairs by the river, we were so excited to get to Berlin. 4 hours and $100 later, we arrived in Berlin- not at the station we were supposed to, not at the station on the ticket… but the station that Nathan thought was right. love you babe :) but anyway, after running down the train towards a freaking out Nath- after being on the toilet dordelling around as i do, i find him with all my bags and an intense, hurry-up-face about to run out the door. quite funny really. So as im apologizing and catching my breath on the station platform, looking at the train drift away in the distance… i look at the station name. oh whats this? Nathans FIRST direction mistake. mwahaha :) although, to my surprise, indapendant Nate goes and asks for help.. no way! and we make to our hostel, very easily, very safe and very sound.
The hostel has a nice young lady that speaks english, so thats our first plus. The area doesnt scare me as much, and i dont make up stories in my mind of what could possibly happen to us- also, the window doesnt have a metal roller over it like our last hostel (god knows what they were attempting to keep out of a second story window.. ). The walls are painted in bright child-like colours and it feels like were going to have a good time here. Then we get to Berlin- Nath is having a bit too much fun spotting the gays. hes a worry that one. actually i stand corrected, his love for cars has him in fits walking down every street here, im learning quite a lot of things that i didnt think i needed to know… however a second a go, i found myself pointing out a car to him- so its catching. Even the speed of the trains seems to get him going. (im going to cop it now haha). Berlin is such a beautiful and vibrant city, with history seeping out of every building, behind every corner. I love it. This morning Naths pink arms matched his t-shirt, as i bragged about the sandal tan i have zig zagging across my feet. Although as we stepped out into the natural light his skin looked fresh and coloured, he was quite proud. were having the time of our lives.