My Favourite Day

My Favourite Day

It’s ya girl, coming at you from her apartment, she is home, but her heart still longs to be on vacation. So instead of sharing all of my days on my blog, I figured I would save my journals for me, but share some of the highlights. So the first of these: my favourite day.


My favourite day in Budapest was perhaps the most unusual, it was my fifth day there and up until this day we had been doing the more tourist-y sights in the city, and today was different.

As with the rest of my trip, I let my friend Tom make all of the plans, as the leading tour guide/local for my time in the city. Every once in a while I would be charged with the task of making small decisions, such as the type of food we would eat or whether or not we should stay in or go out. This day was no exception, this day was all at the hand of Tom’s guide. I believe he had heard about the chairlift from a friend and that was enough- we were off with some directions in hand.

We had to tram across the city, from the centre to the Northern corner. But I found this an exciting part of the experience, I was ushered around to places I am unfamiliar with and upon arriving I was always faced with a great experience, each better than the last.

This day exemplifies this, as this city is filled with beautiful lookout points, this was the hardest to get to. First a tram to the station, then a 45 minute bus ride through Buda and up Buda Hill. I may be one of the few, but I find taking transportation to be a great part of the experience, as it gives you the time to relax and see the city. In this case, it offered us a chance to see the residential side of Buda, with large houses and vast gardens. It was something that you may assume doesn’t exist if you spend your time in the city centre. Plus, the bus did half the work for us, bringing us up the hill, so we didn’t have to walk it. A great plus when the person you are traveling with is equally as lazy and slightly hungover as you are. Which brings us to the chair lift, or “Zugligeti Libego”, which was an unexpected experience. As we arrived at the chairlift we bought our return tickets for our trip up and back down, but I quickly realized that this was more than we bargained for, we were quickly scooted up onto the lift and forced into a 1040m lift up the side of the hill. Photo Apr 23, 9 14 25 AM.jpg             This, though simple, was a lot of fun. Well at least for a little while. Tom and I are both scared of heights and were greeted by a great challenge of fear vs. laziness in our decision to ride up instead of walking. It was so different from everything we had previously done and although scary, it was really funny and entertaining to watch Tom squirm in his seat as the lift bumped and slowed. Photo Apr 23, 9 24 39 AM.jpg

By the time we were nearing the top, we began to see snow, if that is any indication of how high we were. When we arrived, we hopped off the lift and vowed to find a different way down. From there we were on our way up, yes, more up than the 500m we had already gone. After walking up a little further you are greeted by a lookout point better known as “Erzebet Kilato”. This is the highest lookout yet, it is a small castle-like building with four levels. However, as we reached the top, it began to snow. That didn’t stop me from continuing on the theme of “facing my fears” and going to the top level while barely surviving being blown right off by the wind and snow. We wandered around, but there wasn’t a whole lot going on up there, and as it had been decided that we wouldn’t be taking the chairlift back down, we set off to find our alternate way down.  IMG_6295 copyPhoto Apr 23, 9 38 08 AM.jpg

Instead we took a nice long walk through the forest to find our alternate way down- the children’s railway. But first a small hike, where I found myself constantly hoping we were going the right way. A 200m walk became no less than 1.4km. But the walked offered us a new break from the city and it’s smells. We took in the sights and smells of the hill as we made our way to the railway.

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Finding the railway was like finding Narnia, it is a small building hidden in the forest with a few children playing on the tracks. (I guess here I should explain that the railway wasn’t made for children, but was made by and run by children). So here we found another delightfully weird experience. Being ushered onto the train by young children in uniforms who take their job extremely seriously. The ride down was more comfortable, we rode through the hills, with views of the countryside and the city as well as journey through the green surroundings.

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Once at the bottom we rode back to the city. At this point the sun was already beginning to set. We headed back to the apartment where we stayed until Tom’s phone had enough power to go on and from there we went out for dinner.

We made our way back to the Buda side of the city for dinner to a cozy grill place, which was a great change from the Italian-Hungarian places that we had been eating at. (the most popular food style here). Here is where I realized how good of a day I had, I was tired, but in a good way and I was in good company. Yes, it was simple and nothing typically exciting happened, but it was good. A nice change from the super populated city, filled with many random experiences and new views. We chatted over dinner about our day and it was comfortable and relaxed, a feeling that I hadn’t really felt since arriving. And this feeling stretched over how I was feeling in the city, comfortable, relaxed, excited. The city’s weird secret places make it a trip for the books and this day especially.

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The evening was no exception, we took tram #2 along the Danube to see the beautifully lit castle hill by night. Budapest is strange, its busy, populated and has a crazy night life but it is also home to many great attractions that they put on display by night for everyone to see. We ended the night like any friends hangout- watching Grease in the apartment. Once again, I realize that this may seem too simple to be part of my favourite day, but this is a small privilege that our cross border friendship lacked, being able to just chill together and watch movies. So there you have it, my favourite day. By the way, the simplicity of this day doesn’t mean my other days were boring, but in its casual nature triumphs over the rest. However, there are many other exciting experiences to share yet!

Thoughts From Terminal 1

Thoughts From Terminal 1

That’s right, ya girl is back at it again with the crappy travel blogs. But seeing at today was an unexciting 2 on the excitement scale, I figured I would just start this series off with some thoughts while migrating through the airport. 

  • To pass the time, people watch (wow revolutionary). It is surprising the type of people that all show up at the airport. Mostly because all manners and grace are gone once you are past security and you see barbarians strewn across 3 seats or a nervous wreck plowing through their suitcase.
  • It is truly an exciting experience being at the airport- make sure you take it all in, I know it can it be a stressful place but it is also filled with excitement and that feeling should be remembered.
  • Why are these places so complicated, I feel like I walk/stand on the people movers for so long I feel like I’m in Narnia.
  • Also the Toronto airport is a bit unorganized in the sense that as soon as the first boarding call is made, everyone runs to line up and leaves no space for any one else walking through. 
  • Also while being at the airport, I find that I am trying to be extra “Canadian” and say thank you and sorry. 
  • But that being said, it is hard when a woman cuts you in line to not yell “exqeeze me bitch. Back of the line”.
  • Also, traveling alone is rather boring, because when things like that happen you have no one to turn and laugh to, everything is a private joke with just you, boring. 
  • When going through security I thought I was being so helpful, I had my watch off, phone out and coat off. 
  • Well that went to shit when I realized I left both my iPod and camera in my bag and became an embarrassing mess. *whoops*

Anyways, my plane is about to board, I’m glad I got to bring you some thoughts while I wait.

Airports

Airports

Oh  hey, hi there! Yes, I am alive, and yes, I will continue to say that every time I get too caught up in netflix to make a blog post. I recently went on vacation with my family to Florida and after arriving back a day late after spending the day in the Orlando airport.


 

But anyway, back to the focus of this post. I truly love the airport, it is a chance to people watch in a weird global bubble where people are coming and going from places all over the world. However, the airport can be extremely trying at times and so this post is dedicated to just that.
Delays: No matter what class you are, nothing can exempt you from the dreaded delay. Bonus points if you have a connecting flight that you miss or have to run too. However, this can easily be taken as an opportunity for an extended vacation, or at least an afternoon in a city you didn’t expect to hang out in. good for you, ya mighty traveler!

Food: personally, I try not to eat more than a snack at the airport but when you are at the airport for an 11 am flight that gets cancelled, you are slowly pushed to buy an over priced meal that is probably twice what it is worth. *I’ve learned since writing this that Toronto airport has some of the highest taxes on food and purchases, which makes more sense as to why Mc.Don’s dollar menu is creeping upwards of 5$

People: I love people watching (as previously mentioned), but it is particularly confusing why once people enter the airport they tun into haggard beasts with no manners. Like, your flight was delayed 20 minutes, that is no excuse to lay on the floor of the terminal as if the end has come. -and of course as soon as i finished writing this my flight was cancelled and karma kept in Orlando an extra day.

Security: I will never understand this process, it is longer than necessary with people who do not understand what ” empty your pockets” means. This is also the process I find differs the most airport to airport. In Orlando, security is very disorganized and can get out of control. But in Schiphol, security is when you board the plane, which makes for less people but also less chance of missing your flight.

No matter where you are or where you are going , the airport brings exhilaration of an adventure to come that only it can bring. Just know that the airport can come with bumps and isn’t always smooth, but it is always interesting! Happy travels!

-Brittany

 

 

The Last One.

Here is my PSA for why twentysomethings shouldn’t travel alone, otherwise known as my last day.


So Demi and I woke up at 5:15am so that I could get ready, which just meant putting on stretchy clothing and pretending to be mentally prepared. At 5:45 Demi took me to the train station after filling my entire backpack with snacks (bless her). She helped me with my bag and sat with me until my train came.

It was an odd feeling since I had already had my dramatic goodbye a few days before and so now I was doing the thing I feared the most, saying goodbye again. Nothing feels worse then saying goodbye to people with undisclosed futures. Neither of us knowing when we will see each other again, but that is the reality.

On the train I was left to my thoughts, which left me mostly stuck thinking about my unhappy feeling I was left with after my last day. In reality all disappointments while traveling allow for different experiences but having expectations can really kill your mind. I thought of all the things that could have happened and felt a bit sad at the reality I was left with.

(I can be strangely philosophical at 6 am in the morning.)

Once at the airport I went into full panic mode trying to find my check in section and getting lost, mad, and finally making it to have a damn bottle of dry shampoo in my suitcase (which I still haven’t replaced). It’s cool that they had to get it, I understand that, but to do that they had to go through my carry-on which I had not organized and basically exploded upon opening.

I mean the rest of my time was spent lonely wandering through the airport because literally no one that I knew was awake yet. But once we boarded everything was cool, until the plane was delayed an hour and NO ONE would say why. ???? wut ????

Eventually we got into the air and I was stuck in limbo between 4 channels that were just “comedy”, “drama”, “action” and “children” and each had an hour an a half of programming. It was a 9 hour flight. Who let Satan choose the programming for my United Airways flight? I can assume I watched both the action and comedy sections at least twice. So. Many. Regrets.

Once we arrived in Chicago I was once again left struggling to figure out where the hell I was supposed to be and stressed that I didn’t have enough time. First going through claiming my stuff, then baggage claim, then check in, then security once again. Here airport security asked everyone transferring flights to leave their suitcases in a pile which was extremely questionable but I accepted the potential loss and continued on my way.

After a second sift through my now extremely unorganized suitcase I was allowed to eat and do the homework that was due while waiting for my transfer back to Toronto. Did more thinking about why I ever thought an unnecessary transfer would be an okay way to save a couple bucks (I am definitely my father’s daughter..)

Finally I boarded my last plane back Toronto, which departed at 8:30 so I had been up for like 20 hours. After dealing with the reality that I had lost my aisle seat to this large ignorant man who thought it okay to steal my seat, I made it into my seat and passed out. Aside from the discomfort of having neither armrests, I slept pretty good for the hour we flew. (Also I need to mention that this 1 hour flight had an immense list of in-flight entertainment that made me extremely angry.)

We landed in Toronto at 9:30 and I did the whole process again. Claims, baggage claim, and finding my ride. It was such a comforting feeling to see my friend Coleman after today that I could have cried.) It was an exhausting test of strength that I will quote as the toughest day of my trip.


This trip ends with Coleman and I driving back to St.Catharines and leaving the adventure behind. I’m not quite sure how to end this because writing these has been my last claim to this trip. No, ending these blogs won’t mean the memories will fade, but I will have to fully return to the reality that I have now been home for two weeks.

To anyone who has read till now, thank you. I hope that this was mildly entertaining or insightful in anyway. To all of the people I seen on my trip, you are all truly amazing people who I was lucky to meet and spend time with, thank you.

She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain.

Unfortunately traveling can’t always be great, and there are bad days. Looking back I can appreciate the good parts and overlook the less-than-desirable parts. But let this be a lesson to the future traveler.


This morning started off at 7 am (ew.) got up feeling anxious, but proceeded to pack and change to head to the train station. This is where I had to say goodbye to Christina which sucked but I know I’ll being seeing her soon (I didn’t shed a single tear). After our non-tearful goodbye the journey back began. First was a 50 minute train back to Mannheim then onto another train to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt I went on to Dussledorf- which had the prettiest views I was lucky enough to experience from the train.

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In Dussledorf my transfer was directly across from I was on, but the old man in front of me was having a time and a half so I had to watch as my train got ready to pull away from the station and run literally 8 ft to catch it (with my damn suitcase). Damn you old man.

From Dussledorf I went to Arnhem, so far on this journey the weather had been beautiful actually the first sunny day since I got there, but upon crossing the border to the Netherlands the clouds moved in and I was just in time for more bad weather. Once in Arnhem I went and got a ticket back to Nijmegen to go back to see Demi and Tom.

I was excitedly on my way to Nijmegen when my plans got changed last minute. Upon my arrival in Nijemgen, my plans were cancelled which left me stranded in a coffee shop that had shitty wifi. I was feeling pretty bummed out until I received a message saying plans were back but they definitely weren’t what I expected them to be. After some debate, Tom came to the station and brought me back to his place and we spent the next couple hours chatting over coffee in his living room. At around 6, Demi returned back to her house and Tom took me back over to her place.

Together with Demi’s family and cousins we had a nice Dutch dinner (literally only Dutch because they were) and talked about my trip to Mannheim and discussed English/Dutch things. Post supper, Demi, her brother Wessel and her two cousins sat around and chatted over tea until choosing a movie to watch, as the only Netflix expert in the room they let me choose the movie, so we went for a throwback and watched Hot Chick. Of course I don’t really think they got it which was hilarious but all together a pretty good evening. After the movie we took her cousins back to the city and returned so I could pack.

At about 12 both Demi and I headed to bed for a baby sleep before my train in the morning. Its over, but today helped me find closure in a trip I was scared to end. It was obviously different then my first trip and was extremely hard to say goodbye even if its just until next time.

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Magicial World of Karlsruhe

Magicial World of Karlsruhe

Prepare yourself for the most German day yet.


This morning we woke up at 8 am in order to get ready and go to Karlsruhe. I don’t know a whole lot about what we are doing there but it should be fun. (Yay Surprises!) At 10 am Christina and I (+ my luggage) met with Luiz and Alex at the train station got coffee and tickets and caught the train. We traveled east from Mannheim to Karlsruhe, the village with Pascal lives. He met us at the train and brought us to his home where we were introduced to his family, shown the rooms and headed out to explore the town.

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While exploring the town we seen Pascal’s church, his school and the city hall. After that we headed uphill (I’m beginning to see a trend) to the side of a hill with the best view of the village.

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Had a bit of a panic attack half way up between a vineyard and a fence where there wasn’t enough space to breathe. I mean looking back, I should appreciate  the fact the we were casually walking up the side of a vineyard in Germany because that pretty cool. When we made it up you could see a bunch of villages and vineyards. This was the best view of normal Germany I had seen so far and I loved it.

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On our way back down we had to stop to pick up the ingredients for schnitzel, well schnitz-pom-sal (schnitzel, fries and salad). Pascal took change to help lead us through making schnitzel and it was probably the best I had ever had just talking about it makes me hungry. After dinner we all laid down for a couple hours (thank god) to get a nap in before our big evening.

What big evening? a traditional Oktoberfest.

Both of Pascal’s parents dressed in their dirndl and lederhosen and brought us to the event. It was the coolest way to experience tradition by going to a small place and seeing how people of all ages come together to drink. Pascal’s parents treated us to our first liter beer and a shot of schnapps to get the night started. From there we all chatted, drank and danced with strangers.

They played both traditional music and part music with live bands which was really cool. Keeping up tradition of the mayor breaking open the first barrel of beer. By the end of the night I had blisters, memories and a tram back. We somehow had a long night but managed to be back and in bed by 12 and asleep within the first 5 minutes of entering the house. Thank god though, because I was in for a long day of training tomorrow.


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Oh and the witch of Karlsruhe…

Hungover in Heidelberg

Hungover in Heidelberg

Another day, another log.


This morning I woke up hungover and uncomfortable. I slept on a pull out couch in Luiz’s house and honestly…. I have never regretted jeans more.

Once we were up Christina and I got ready and left back for her apartment, I was feeling very sick with the cold I had so when we got back we chilled and ate for a few hours to pass the time.

It became time to get our shit together and actually get ready. The original plan was to meet back with Luiz and his friend Alex and I honestly don’t think we met till close to 3. So, when we made it to the station we grabbed our tickets to go to Heidelberg. Waiting at the station we learned that our train was delayed 5 minutes, but when 5 turned to 40 we asked a German girl what was happening and she told us “kids playing” which I thought was maybe still German because that isn’t a real reason. No it was, kids were fricking playing on train tracks so there were no trains going to Heidelberg (only in Germany). The delay let us meet up with Luiz and Alex. I haven’t mentioned Alex, but he is also goes to my university and was also here for reading week (kinda cool huh?). After 20 minutes we boarded our train and took that, a tram and a bus to get to the center.

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From there we walked up to the castle where we could get the best vantage point of the city that lies below.If you read my previous entry about Utrecht then you’ll know how strongly I feel about walking up hill or exercise in general. I mean, the view was definitely worth it but the walk there was the worst.

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From the top you could see all of beautiful Heidelberg.(Literally all I wrote about the view. Cool.) I mean, it was an amazing view and since it was misty and cold there was no one else there, which was perfect.

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After touring the castle we took our time exploring around the grounds in what I can assume is off limits. We headed back down and went for food at a restaurant Stephan had recommended to us. It happened to be a falafel place that was situated in a back alley off the main drag. It was kind of scary and exhilarating, but I guess it turned out okay. I mean when you think of Germany you don’t think “man they know their falafel”. The bathroom in the restaurant consisted of the back exit to the restaurant, an outdoor alley, then a tiny bathroom at the end of the alley (IT IS AS SKETCHY AS IT SOUNDS).

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I mean, it mostly sucked because I don’t really like falafel and it made me feel gross and sick. Post-gross meal we walked around the shops to pick up some souvenirs and more pretzels (literally my life blood). We caught the tram back to the train station and trained back to Mannheim. Yeah, a pretty early night but I think all the traveling had start to catch up to me and I was exhausted from doing a lot less.

So after tramming again back to Christina’s we watched netflixed and chilled while I repacked. Christina was falling asleep and I was suddenly wide awake (probably a mix of scary movie and adrenaline). Today was awesome and Heidelberg is gorgeous.

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