Posts Tagged With: flight

A Trip to Hell on Halloween and other fun activities of the past weeks

Hello everyone!

Apologies for not posting anything lately, but I have to write so many essays for uni that I don’t really have any energy left to write my blog.

Anyhow, lots of stuff happened since the movie review. I went to Berlin to attend a conference, saw fireworks in London and finally registered with a GP. I had planned to write a huge post about Berlin on itself, but since that is already over two weeks ago, I’ll just summarize that trip for you.

I travelled with my friend (and former study colleague) R. and we started out from my place on a nice Wednesday afternoon, not thinking about anything that could go wrong. However, when we arrived at the Coach station to catch a bus to the airport, I knew this trip would not go quite as smoothly as we thought. There were many people waiting and apparently had been waiting there for quite some time already. The coaches were all delayed and everybody was wondering whether they would make it in time for their flight. We managed to miraculously get on a coach only about 15 minutes later and started to relax a little. But oh no, more trouble was to come. We were unlucky enough to get stuck in a traffic jam because there had been an accident on the road ahead. We had been in the coach for an hour already and technically should arrive in about twenty minutes when I looked at my google maps app to check where we were. I was shocked. The app told me, we were still an hour from the airport!

I shouldn’t have looked. From that moment on I was convinced we would miss the flight. Of course we had calculated a bit of puffer time, but an hour delay? Nah, we didn’t have that big of a time cushion. So when we finally arrived at the airport at 6:12 (technically, the gate should close at 6:10) we ran to the check-in counter to get them to call at the gate and wait for us. The staff told us that we were too late and had missed the flight and that we could purchase new tickets for the next day.

But we thought “Hell, no!” and ran for security check anyways. No harm in trying, eh? Of course, I had to go through a very thorough security check, beeping all over and taking off shoes and belt. Duh. My friend got through without beeping and started running for the gate, me following on her heels as soon as I was properly clothed again. When we arrived at the gate (which said final call, not closed, btw!) we were completely winded and ready to drop dead. There was quite a long queue, so we asked the people which flight they were waiting for. Guess what – IT WAS OURS! IT HAD DELAY!

We were quite glad and happy and smug that we had actually made it and NOT believed the staff at check-in. However, the happiness quickly diminished when the flight departed with over an hour of delay. When we arrived in Berlin it was only about 35 minutes delay, so we must have flown very quickly, but it still meant that we had missed two of the three train options we had selected to get to our hotel. Then we had to wait for our little suitcase, which technically is hand luggage but was taken from us anyway.

I went ahead to get the tickets for the train, but unfortunately there was a French couple in front of me, unable to properly use the ticket automaton. If my French would have been good enough to help, I would have done so, but Je ne parle plus le francais. My friend ran past me to stop the train from leaving, but even though we STILL missed it!

At that point, as you all can well imagine, we were furious, exhausted and depressed and just wanted to get to that hotel. So in the end, we took a taxi (we were internally crying about the amount of money that cost us and debating whether we should have just travelled without tickets) which then finally brought us to our destination.

The hotel was very nice, we got our room cards and then – oh glory! – we were able to sleep in very comfortable beds. It was after midnight at that point. We had started in London at 3pm. We had anticipated this trip to take us about 5 hours – not almost 9.

The next day however was quite positive, the conference was interesting, the people friendly and our presentation went well. In the evening we enjoyed a gala event with champagne and butter-filled Brezeln. On Friday, we headed home again and this time everything went well – almost too well, since we had allowed enough time for anything to go wrong and we ended up having to wait at the gate quite a while because we were so early. But we didn’t mind.

Yep, so that was our little horrifying trip to Berlin. It’s not my favourite city in the world and I was happy to be back in London again. It was Halloween that day, by the way and I had planned to go to a party, but I was too exhausted so I ended up doing a Halloween movie night with my friend (watching Scary Movie and Twilight. Both horror movies, yep! 😉 ).

Then Saturday evening, I went to see fireworks at Alexandra Palace with the au pairs from my neighbourhood. One of them had her birthday on Sunday and we were celebrating into that by watching the fireworks. It was quite lovely. Unfortunately, I had to work on Sunday so we didn’t stay out long afterwards.

I also went to see a movie last weekend at the International Student House. They regularly show movies for free, though nothing that is currently showing in the cinema. I went with my friend R. and the Norwegian girl (H.) I have mentioned before to see Pompeji (also known as Pompe II 😉 ). Not because we liked the movie but because of Kit Harrington who also plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. If you have never heard about Pompeji, the story and especially the ending might come as a shock to you. But I remember reading quite a lot about Pompeji when I was younger so I knew what would happen and could simply enjoy the Hollywood story they made out of it.

I guess this is all for now, I’ll have to tackle the next essay now. And what a choice I have: Taylorism, a case study about Luton Airport or comparing income inequality in Germany and the UK. Yay!

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There and back again

My dear readers, I have embarked on a new adventure. Guess where I am – yet again!

London has called me back and I have followed that calling. It has been over a year since I left and I remember telling my lovely host mom and the neighbours that I would come back.

Well yes, I did. And I’m staying with them once again. Yay! https://i0.wp.com/www.fanboysoftheuniverse.com/images/uploads/Yay.jpg

The journey here was relatively eventless. Possibly because I have by now made the trip to London a few times and I no longer get overly excited by that. Everything went smoothly. The flight arrived only about ten minutes later than planned and I got my suitcase without waiting (I actually had to walk quite fast to catch it – otherwise it would have gone around the belt a second time!). The queue in front of the bus was longer than I had hoped but not as bad as last year when I first arrived (remember my very first post?).

At Golders Green I was challenged by the fact that it is indeed no longer possible to pay for your ticket on the bus. I actually had to get an Oyster card for that 20 minute trip, but oh well. I probably won’t get my student oyster card before next week, so now I’ll just use the normal one until then.

I made a quick stop at Waitrose to get something to drink and cereals for breakfast tomorrow – the Waitrose hasn’t changed a bit! I found everything in the same lanes as last year (or maybe they changed it inbetween but are now back to the old way? Who knows…)  https://i1.wp.com/media.tumblr.com/tumblr_macgdfyqFW1rwmb58.gif

At my new home I was greeted by my neighbours, since my host mom is on holidays. I was treated to a lovely dinner (lasagne and cake for desert!) and now I’m sitting in my room, the suitcase is empty and most stuff at the same place as last time I was here. There aren’t many changes around the house, the biggest and for me most tragic, however is: The flatscreen in my living room is gone! Imagine my face when I saw that: https://i2.wp.com/www.troll.me/images/sad-guy/why-just-why.jpg

 (Of course, I’m exaggerating. It would have been nice to have, but I’ll live without it.)

Well people, that’s it for today. Over the weekend, I’ll go on a few reconaissance missions around the area, see what has changed. On monday, uni starts with that whole orientation stuff (or in German, because I love the word: Gedöns.)

I’m pretty sure that will be exciting and I’ll tell you about it. So stay tuned! (And subscribe, if you haven’t done that by now…)

 

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Amsterdam Adventure Part I

Here we go! The long anticipated entry about my trip to Amsterdam!

It was another journey that started in the dead of the night with my alarm going off at 2:45. God, I wanted to keep sleeping! But I also wanted to go to Amsterdam, so I dragged myself out of bed and on the road to the night bus station. It was so early that no regular bus was running, let alone the tube. I had purchased tickets for the easybus Gatwick Transfer from West Brompton and since I have never been there before, I wanted to have some puffer time. I changed at Baker Street and arrived safely and on time at the pick-up point. It was not really a bus I was getting in, rather one of those big taxis where about a dozen people fit into, which was a lot more comfortable. I slept on the way to the airport, it was about an hour and a half.

So far, I have always travel to or from London Stansted, so this was the first time at Gatwick. It is a lot bigger, so I had to walk for a while to get to the security check. I stopped at a Boots shop to purchase ear plugs – a wise decision, as you will see later. I had loads of time anyway since I had calculated for a lot of buffer time (after the stress with Galway, I really didn’t want to take any risks), so I read my book and waited for my friend Colette to arrive. She came just in time, apparently she had taken the first tube and there had been delays already – seriously, at that hour? Geez, what’s up with this city? But she made it and we both boarded the plane. Since we hadn’t purchased the tickets together, I had a seat in the front and she in the back. Oh well, it was only about one hour anyway. I actually had a whole row for myself, but since I slept soundly through the whole flight (I didn’t even noticed we had started), it didn’t really matter.

When we landed, the weather in Amsterdam was much the same as in London – grey and rainy. We felt at home immediately! (Just joking.) Schiphol Airport is also very big and confusing and we walked about a bit until we found a Starbucks to have breakfast. It was expensive, as always, but at least I got Hot chocolate and an egg and bacon sandwich to fill me up. It was eleven o’clock local time, and I hadn’t eaten anything since three in the morning, so it was about time. Colette and I then went to purchase train tickets to the city center. It was easy enough and soon after we were sitting in a train to Amsterdam Centraal. It takes about 15 minutes to get there, how lovely is that?

At the station we looked for lockers, since my friend didn’t want to carry her bag around the whole day. Quite understandable, for that thing was heavy and you couldn’t wheel it. We found the lockers at the very end of the station and safely locked the stuff away. I kept my little suitcase, and we then made our way out into the city.

Since we had no idea where we were going, we just kept strolling along the main road, looking at the little shops and restaurants and trying to get a first feeling for the city. It was not really raining, so we enjoyed walking. Our friend, Hannah, would arrive later in the afternoon and we had some hours to kill before that, so we went into almost every store along the way. I bought a shirt at New Yorkers and Colette some earrings at Bijou Brigitte and we spent quite a while in Waterstones looking at the books and exchanging novel recommendations. Colette has a book blog, too, you might want to check it out: Colette’s blog. After about two hours of walking around, we were getting tired and settled down in a small cafe called Le Pain Quotidien. They had lovely homemade ice tea which we enjoyed very much. We spent about an hour in there and with about another one to go, we headed out again to grab some chips. On our way into the city we had tried some chips with weed sauce – yes, you read correctly, weed sauce! It is apparently mayonnaise with weed in it – it tasted disgusting. But the chips were very good and we decided to give it a try with normal mayonnaise sauce. The place is called Manneken pis, I recommend you trying a portion of chips there if you ever get to Amsterdam.

We were eating our lunch when I got a text from Hannah saying she had arrived, so we made our way back to the station to meet her. Finally, our little adventurous group was complete! After collecting Colette’s bag, we decided to find our hotel and to settle in. Since we had no idea where to go, we asked for help and were directed to tram line number 1. We purchased our tickets and enjoyed our first ride on the Amsterdam tram. We got of at some place that sounded remotely like Leicester Square and I took the lead to find the hotel – since I had the address and all. It took us quite a while, not because we were lost but because that station was most certainly not the closest one to the hotel and we were all tired and didn’t want to carry our stuff around much longer. Luckily we finally found the place (It’s called Hotel Vivaldi). It is a two star hotel, more like a hostel, but it suited our needs and was not too expensive. We checked in and got the room card. The funny thing is that the hotel is divided into two buildings – the lobby and reception is in one house and some of the rooms are in another, about 100m down the street. That’s where our room was, too. But I didn’t mind and since I had read some reviews beforehand, I knew what to expect.

The room was rather small, just enough for the bunk bed and single bed and some room to turn. We had our own bathroom, which was nice, but there was no window and not even a ventilation system, which would be annoying later. For now, we were happy with our accommodation and settled in. We didn’t get WiFi in our room for now, so after we had a short break we went over to the lobby to get access and tell everybody via mail, Whatsapp or Facebook that we had arrived safely. It was about 5:30 when we decided to look for a place to eat and we headed out. There was a place close to the hotel that seemed to offer breakfast and pancakes and all and we decided to try that out in the morning – it looked a lot more appetizing than the breakfast room at the hotel, even though that would only cost 3€. For dinner, we were looking for something cheap but good and that took quite a while. There were some restaurants and diners, but they were either too expensive or looked dubious. After walking for almost half an hour we finally settled for a small Italian restaurant that had reasonable prices. The food was okay, not the very best but it tasted good and filled us up. It was still early when we finished and we kept walking around a bit more, looking around the small flower market close-by. We then returned to our place and once again found ourselves in the lobby for internet access. We had decided we wanted to watch a movie in the evening – since Colette had brought her laptop – so we rented Tarzan on iTunes. There’s nothing like a good old Disney movie at the end of a long day! The three of us got ready for bed and emerged ourselves in the jungle with the gorillas. We agreed to set the alarm for ten the next day and then snuggled into bed. I plugged in my earplugs, because our toilet just wouldn’t shut up and there were other people in the building making some noise, and I slept happily until the next morning.

Well, this is it so far, I won’t overwhelm you and write about one day at a time. I hope you enjoyed it so far, I will be back after a short break!

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