I know I’ve been AWOL…

Hey everyone, I know I’ve been AWOL since coming back from my travels but it’s taken a while to get back into the swing of things here – for one, it’s much too cold and rainy here and I don’t like it at all. Anyway, I thought I’d try and keep writing things here mainly for my benefit but hopefully you’ll like the things I come up with.

For this post I thought i’d write down a couple of interrelated thoughts I had whilst being away, and I hope that it’ll be somehow relevant to your lives too because I know I can’t be the only one at this in-between stage.

I think I’ll start with this:

“We all have two lives. The second starts when we realise we only have one.”

This quote, by Tom Hiddleston, has resonated with me since I came across it. I think it’s something that once you’ve seen it and you’ve let it affect the way you think about your life, you’re never quite the same. Whilst travelling around Europe this summer thoughts such as this one kept popping into my mind. The idea of living the life you really want to live, rather than doing something or being somewhere you think you should be or because you think (or you know) that’s what others want you to do, is really important. At the end of the day, this is your life – you only have one, don’t waste it trying to please someone else – they should be concentrating on making their life the best it can be too!

So whether that means leaving your stable but draining job to pursue a dream, looking for jobs you know you’re over qualified for just to save some money before travelling the world or something else –  I say go for it. It’s scary and some people won’t agree with your choices (they’ll nag you and it couldn’t be more annoying or off-putting) but stick with it. There’s a phrase that says we’re always waiting for something; whether it’s waiting for Friday, waiting for winter, waiting until “one day” – well why wait any longer? Time doesn’t stop for anyone.

Sitting on the beach in Mallorca, watching the sunset, Sophia and I would answer “life questions” – you know the ones that make you think about your morals and your life values and how you could be a better version of yourself? Some blew our minds a little too much though, so maybe we’ll work up to those. But anyway, you know the ones I mean. For one thing it’s a great way to really get to know someone but it’s also a perfect way to get to know yourself, making you think about things perhaps you hadn’t thought of before. I know that for me, it helped reaffirm some of the choices I’ve made recently because I’m sure, just like many of you, I’ve been debating many things and the “what am I doing” question has cropped up more than its fair share of times. But sitting on that beach, it cleared my mind and I think I know the direction I want my life to take. So you may not have a beach to sit on or a sunset to watch that’ll help with your mind-clearing process but, whatever way you think about your life, just remember that you only have one chance.

It’s already day 25..!

Okay so we’ve been in Mallorca for five days and after the first one was basically cancelled due to sickness the following four were spent at the beach. It’s so nice to have no agenda, nothing we desperately want to see or need to queue up for hours for. Just relaxing by the beach, taking our time, and not having to worry about packing up and getting on a train every few days. So there isn’t really much to report other than this is the perfect way to finish our European travels, even if I have burnt myself so that find it hard to wear clothes/lie down/be a functioning human.

The place we’re staying now is the best of all our hostels (Hostel Atlanta in Palma if you want to look it up) and I’d easily come back. The location is perfect and the rooms are clean and tidy with new towels every two days and the food is delicious. The staff here are so friendly and helpful – one’ seven from near Bristol so we’ve had many evenings of jokes and banter which has been hilarious. The nearby restaurants are Spanish yet seen to be run by English people – fine by us, they’re all super friendly and are all up for a conversation about dear old England.

Anyway, that’s about it on the update front so we’re going to get ready and enjoy our last day – it’s come round scarily fast, can’t we just stay here?

Here are some sunset photos for you, simply because they’re beautiful. Hope you’re all jealous!

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Just one quick question for you all – what shall I do with this blog once I’m home? I’d like to continue it but I’m not sure what with until i get to travel again… Any suggestions are more than welcome! Thank you!

“Everyone’s a little gay, let’s celebrate..!”

Im so sorry for the delay in my posts, Sophia and I haven’t been well and I’ve also been without wifi so this post may be a little longer than the others but ill try to break it up a bit so you don’t get too bored!

Part One:
August 2nd. Gay Pride in Amsterdam. I don’t think there are enough words to describe this celebration, and as the woman I spoke to on the train said, “you have to see it to believe it”. And she was right.
The Amstel canal was packed four or five people deep all the way along, waiting for the parade of boats to commence. I’ve never seen so much pink – everyone was wearing clothes, hats, shoes, feather boas; any pink garment they could find – unfortunately we didn’t get that memo. Many LGBT charities and organisations had boats, as did sponsors of the event, adorned with dancers, drag queens (some better than others it has to be said!), confetti canons, sequins, flags, glitter, feathers and the like. The streets were full of pride flags hanging from windows of houses as well as shops and volunteers were also giving out little wave-able ones.

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During the parade there were also street parties happening in the surrounding areas – one of which was stumbled across and although it was only 3pm, everyone was already getting into it; dancing away! We joined in for a few minutes but then made our way to find Starbucks for a sit down and of course to find postcards. I’ve been collecting them from each city we’ve visited so that I can create a scrapbook of our travels once I’m home – I also have tickets, confetti and now my little pride flag to add to my collection.

The parade was due to end at 6pm but after getting caught in a downpour which completely drenching us, we didn’t really feel like waiting in the rain for another two hours. This did mean we didn’t get to see Conchita Wurst, the drag queen who won Eurovision for Sweden earlier in the year, who was on the last boat (or so we presumed).

But with or without Conchita we had a really fun day soaking up the atmosphere in such a great celebration where everyone was so happy! Street music/dancing should be mandatory. We’re pretty exhausted now though after walking round the city, I wonder if we’ll have the energy to get ready and go out…

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Part Two:
So we somehow found the energy to go out after Pride…
We took the metro to a club called Trauw – the one I mentioned in one of my first posts. The queue was insane but we joined it anyway, but unlike Brits we might have pushed in along with some Germans we made friends with on the metro. After waiting for over an hour and moving no more than 10 meters the bouncer then told us that Trauw was full and that we wouldn’t get in even if we waited for hours longer. We then decided, along with the Germans and two British guys we met in the queue that we’d get beers in the little bar next door.

We stayed there for perhaps half an hour and then made the group decision to venture into town to find another club – the guys didn’t want a gay club, but considering every place had a gay night on due to Pride that was almost impossible. The two Brits left and so we waited for the bus with the Germans still in tow. The bus drove past us however and so we walked 40 minutes to the centre. Now, at 2am I don’t know what I was expecting to see but number one, I’d never seen so much litter in one place and number two, I’d never seen so many people up and about! It was like the night was just beginning (which evidently it was…) and so we easily found a bar to pop into – mainly to use one of the only free toilets we’ve come across since being away.

After having girls dance on the bar, smashing more than enough glasses in the process, we left and found a gay bar with a busy dance floor that our new German friends didn’t hate. Hurray! They played a few Dutch songs which we didn’t know but there were Spanish ones that I did know as well as my favourite, Katy Perry, so in my books it was pretty perfect! We stayed there until about 6am and then left so that we could sleep before exploring the city the next day. We said goodbye to our Germans (who were so sweet) and made more friends on our way home; they’d been to Pride too and were so funny although one of them tried to steal a chicken nugget which is never allowed. They walked with us some of the way and after many hugs and cheek kisses goodbye, we went our separate ways.

Part Three: August 3rd
We got in at 9am. Sophia was feeling rough, not just because of our night out but also because we’re both coming down with something. I left her sleeping to explore Amsterdam as much as I could on 3 hours sleep… I visited the Van Gogh museum which was spookily quiet but actually pretty interesting and then I stood in line for the Anne Frank house. I waited an hour which I think is about average and if I hadn’t been feeling so ill by this point I would have enjoyed the wait as it was beautifully sunny. The house/museum itself is definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in that part of history, it was quite emotional seeing photos and magazine clippings from Anne’s wall that had been saved and of course, the original bookcase was almost haunting to touch. There are many artefacts to look at as well as videos with interviews from Anne’s father, Otto, and Miep (one of the women who helped hide Anne and her family) we’re interesting but very sad to listen to. One of the things Anne’s father said, after reading her diary, was that not many parents truly know their children.

Below – the sunrise we saw after our night out and the sunset of the same day

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After a little wander back round the city we both went to sleep, trying to catch up on the hours lost before our 7am train to Copenhagen (with 2 changes in Germany). By this time I’m also ill and doing anything takes a while let alone changing trains, carrying 11kg on my back and generally acting like a functioning human. We also saw the sunrise and sunset today. I’m tired.

August 4th:
So now it’s august fourth. After falling asleep on the train and then being woken by Sophia saying we were on a ferry, I was disorientated to say the least. We made it to our hostel, which is nice but way to communal for how we both feel; we have a dorm with 10 other people and bunk beds with no ladders which is altogether too much effort. We basically checked in and then went to bed. Illness has got the better of us.

August 5th:
Once again we’re confined to our beds. Apart from being annoyed at being ill anyway I was especially sad because we couldn’t see The Little Mermaid statue, which was sort of why we came. We did think about going but after the 10 minute walk to the shop killed me (I had to sit on the floor every few minutes) we thought the hour walk to the statue wasn’t the best idea.
So we’re now in bed, which has become standard, because our flight to Mallorca tomorrow is at 6am. We’ve used all our medications and so it’s now up to nature to cure us before we fly because I for one am not looking forward to it. Hopefully my body won’t do anything crazy and gross.

Aaaaaand on that note I’ll leave you alone! Thank you for reading such a long long post, it may not be my best writing but I hope it was somewhat entertaining (or something?). Sorry also for the lack of photos but they weren’t allowed in the museums and us feeling ill don’t make pretty pictures, once we’re better and settled in Mallorca we’ll be back on track a bit more. All your sympathy will be most appreciated although Imodium may be more useful hahaha…

Sehr schön..!

Sorry this update is a little late, yesterday was a busy travelling day!

Our time in Cologne was so nice – we met up with Gesa and her sister Inga the first night and they showed us Cologne nightlife which was really good – especially considering it was a Tuesday. We started with traditional German beer which lead onto cocktails (possibly the best I’ve ever tasted – they came with marshmallows!) and then we got the u-bahn (underground) to the club. We got caught in a thunderstorm not 10 seconds from the club entrance and got drenched which was both funny yet wholly annoying. The club was also an Irish pub and Tuesday was “international students night” so there were plenty of people there speaking English which made life easier for us both! They even knew some songs in English that we didn’t know!

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Sophia was a little worse for wear the next day but I dragged her out anyway to meet up with Gesa one last time. We saw the cathedral (Dom) and the Hohenzollerenbrücke, the main bridge into the city which is completely covered in padlocks – like the gate at Juliet’s House in Verona but a million more! Sophia and I put a padlock on there too although ours was a little amateur compared to some that were engraved with names, messages or special dates; which were all so sweet to read.

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We drank typical Cologne beer by the Rhein which was lovely (beer isn’t my drink but this was actually okay) and we took photos and chatted which was really nice. We then walked through the old part of Cologne, through the shops which were so beautiful and quaintly German but we ended up in Starbucks, of course. It’s okay though, we’d had typical German food when we arrived – bratwurst und kartoffelsalat (German sausage and potato salad) which had been delicious!

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After a lovely day in the sunshine, walking around Cologne Gesa left us to go back to her hometown and we went back to our hostel to do washing – the first place with a washing machine and we made good use of it!

Yesterday we didn’t have time to see anymore of the city as we had to catch our train to Amsterdam – which is where we are now! I think that’s everything I have to say at the moment but I’m sure I’ll have more stories for you in the next few days!