Posts Tagged ‘rain’

Our trip to Amsterdam marked the end of our EUrail passes – over the past 2 months it’s taken us over 11,000 km by train, boat, and bus, to 12 different countries. Well worth it!

We left Braunschweig early Saturday morning and arrived in Amsterdam around 14:00.

Amsterdam Central Station

Weather called for rain… and sure enough, rain it did! However it did let up at night!

We made our way to Dock 2, where our hotel boat awaited - the Friesland

Cozy room...

A nice view of the Amsterdam (VOC vessel recreation from the 17th century)

The other rooms

The hotel from the outside

The 17th century Amsterdam VOC vessel next dock over!

Standing on the bow (and no, that isn't a huge ship behind me, it's a ship-shaped museum called NEMO!)

The officers ate well at least...

Cozy

Captain's bed!

Some pistols

The bathroom's not half bad!

Bit small though...

Yar! FIRE THE LASERS OFF THE STARBOARD BOW!

PEW PEW PEW!

AVAST MATEYS! WE BE TURNING THIS SHIP ABOOT!

But first, a drink for your weary captain!

OM NOM GLUG GLUG GLUG

Nap time.

I don't remember vacuum cleaners existing in the 17th century...

After touring the ship extensively, we headed into NEMO, an interactive science museum (similar to the Science Center in Ontario). It was pretty interesting but a bit beneath our engineering prowess. We still spent a good hour or so in there though!

We started to tour the city next… Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera with me all the time, so there aren’t too many pictures…

Shiny.

Amsterdam's Bibliothek

Another view...

So that's how they build buildings!

Fast food vending machine

A Grand statue indeed...

A Palace

A plastic bicycle!

The Sex Museum (which we didn't end up visiting unfortunately...)

She had a beard (unfortunately you can't tell with this picture quality)

In my new Amsterdam swag. Glasses, furry hat, and scarf.

Wow. I don’t seem to have any pictures of the canals… or bridges… Looks like I’ll have to go back!

We arrived in Luxembourg at around 8PM… in the pouring rain.

Nevertheless, we started walking and taking pictures!

Stumbled upon a very cool giant passageway, looked like it was once a river, but now filled with trees, and grass

Cool lighting everywhere

Another view of the stairs

The bridge

Interesting column...

Good thing my cameras waterproof! ...right?

Another shot of the streets

Interesting fountain

Train station

Now, the plan was to catch a night train back to Hannover… Problem is, it was leaving from Metz, France at 23:53. And the train to Metz had been cancelled. However, they provided us with a bus!

The bus to Metz!

We arrived with 5 minutes to spare… Only to find the train station shut down, and security everywhere. No trains leaving.

Hooray. Damn strike.

We ended up staying in a 2 star hotel over night:

For $33 euros, not too bad.

In the morning there was a single train to Saarbrucken, Germany. We headed there to find a working transfer to Braunschweig!

Saarbrucken, Germany

Cold pole?

Very strange... statue?

After a bit of exploring we caught the next train to Mannheim, where we could transfer to an ICE home to Braunschweig!

Since we were there, we decided to hangout in Mannheim for an hour, and see what we could see…

Don't do it!

 

Now that's a cop!

Poor Mercedes...

Found a palace of some sort!

The church inside the palace...

Inside of the church

Found a bigger church!

Very impressive inside

Finally we caught a train back home. One day later then we originally planned of course! Oh well, we saw a lot more then we were going to!

 

To Castle Eltz!

Posted: October 23, 2010 in Germany
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Our EUrail pass is finally coming to an end… we have 3 days left after this trip!

Grabbed an early train to a place called Moselkern, a small town close to Castle Eltz. But first we stopped in Koln!

Had 45 minutes to kill, so we climbed a giant hill and found Fort Constantine!

Great view!

And of course, who would I be without doing a flag?

Or my silhouette

Walked back to the train station and continued on our way to Moselkern!

Arriving in the small town of Moselkern

We started following signs...

Sounds like a challenge!

10 minutes later...

First glimpse!

Can you spot Ian?

There he is!

The entrance

Stopped for lunch - Lasagna and cheesecake/chocolate cake

The armoury

Was is dast?

Yeah. It's an AXE-GUN.

Another

Some interesting treasure...

Inside the courtyard

We also had an actual tour of the inside of the castle, but sadly, no pictures allowed.

Hiked back to the train station and off we went! To Luxembourg! (Hey, it’s only 2 hours away, why not?)

 

 

We went to Prague this weekend! It was about a 9 hour trip in total because we missed our train in Leipzig and had to wait an hour. On the bright side this detour gave us an extra hour in Dresden, Germany, which was actually pretty cool! I seem to have misplaced the pictures on my cellphone unfortunately…

ANYWAYS we made it to Prague around 3:30PM – we each exchanged 50 euros at the currency exchange and got about 920 crowns. Unfortunately we didn’t realize there was a TWENTY PERCENT commission at the train station currency exchange. Those 50 euros would of actually been worth closer to 1200 crowns!

We wandered around the streets looking for our super cheap hostel… (10 euros a night!).

We found it:

Our hotel...

Seemed more like a redlight district building… the interior was much the same…

I want that shag carpet...

Similar colour scheme in our room...

We headed out, planning to catch a tour… Sadly we had 5 minutes to get across town… So it didn’t happen.

The famous Astronomical Clock of Prague

Close up

A blacksmith in the square!

My 16% Czech beer!

Czech dumplings, cabbage and duck! Only cost 350 crowns!

The Golem Cafe

A view from the bridge

Next to the bridge

Wandering the streets

Some palace...

Neat lighting

Everyone was having their picture taken in front of this... So Ian climbed on top.

The hourly trumpeteer!

Market Square

Potatoes anyone?

Underground tour

Our tourguide

Compliementary underground drink

All in all, Prague was awesome, and I kinda wish we could of stayed longer! (that and the hostel was so cheap!)

We woke up today feeling refreshed, planning to hit the beach for the day. Sadly, we forgot to check the weather again, and our assumption of beautiful weather constantly was once again disproved. We had breakfast (the classic Italian breakfast, cappuccino and a croissant) and decided to stay another day anyways to relax. We had to switch cabins, but they were essentially the same (bit of a bigger bathroom though!)

Since the beach was out of the question, we tried going to play tennis, but no one was there to let us into the courts. We decided to do the laundry instead.

The shower stall served as a makeshift washing machine.

... as did the sink!

It was nice to have semi-clean clothes again. Unfortunately, since it’s only 15-20 degrees today… they haven’t dried yet… Hopefully they are dry by the morning…

Socks out to dry...

So, due to the bad weather we watched some more episodes of The Big Bang Theory. We headed to the supermarket a bit later and found out its closed on Sundays. Looks like we’re eating cereal and cheese for dinner! (we might grab a pizza from Funky Pizza).

Tomorrow we’re taking the early shuttle to Colombo station, and then we’re back to Rome Termini from which we’ll be taking a 4 hour train to Venice!

We rented two 125CC scooters for 45 euros for the day.

Our scooters

On our way to San Gimignano! Did you know there aren't street names in Italy... or easy to see ones anyways...

Now, seeing as we were in Italy, we imagined it would always be hot, so when I asked Heinz if we should bring jackets, he said no.

An hour later on the scooters we were shivering. An hour after that it started to rain. A little chilly to say the least.

Kinda wet.

After winding our way through the country side of Italy (curvy roads everywhere!) we followed city signs to cities on the way to San Gimignano, since the street names google maps gave us were useless.

Beautiful scenery though!

After 3.5 hours we made it to San Gimignano, the city of towers!

San Gimignano!

We climbed the tallest tower for 5 euros – amazing view. For those of you who don’t know, this city is in a well known video game called Assassins Creed II.

Ta da!

Another fun shot

Beautiful city

It was around 4:00pm (we only had an hour or so to visit the city) and we started to hear thunder, so we purchased some rain coats from a souvenir store… the shopkeep didn’t mention they were children’s sizes…

Atleast their waterproof... right?

We started our trip home, leaving at 4:30PM from San Gimignano. We were hopeful, there was a train to Rome for 8 and we were suppose to have the scooters back before that…

An hour later we were still winding around country roads… And it had started to rain. We followed signs to cities in the direction of Pisa, but it was as though we never got any closer. Finally we decided to go on the freeway the FI-PI-LI, which I assumed was the Firenze-Pisa-Livorno highway. It had started to rain heavily and it was a brutal ride. When we got on the highway, it headed to Firenze first (a city east of Pisa) . . . an hour later we made it there. Then we made it onto the exchange to the Pisa highway… 76km away from Pisa (we had seen a sign earlier that said it was only 40km away)… by now it was pouring and extremely cold. We stopped at a gas station but the snack bar had just closed. The staff felt sorry for us though and wadded up paper towel for us to stick in our jackets – the one waitress gave me an actual towel to stuff in my jacket. It actually helped a lot.  They didn’t speak any english by the way.

We rode another hour in the cold windy and freezing rain conditions . . . on a highway, with 125CC scooters. We stopped for gas again and were told that it’s illegal to ride 125CC scooters on the highway (90km limit) but the gas station attendant said they probably wouldn’t notice at night (150CC is the minimum). We went into the attached snack bar and warmed up using the hand driers in the bathroom and bought some high-calorie snacks to keep our energy up. A bag of cookies, a bag of potato chips, and 3 toblerones. The cashier gave us garbage bags and we constructed better rain suits. Then we continued.

Took another few hours, and the rain lightened up a bit. Our makeshift rain suits really helped! We finally made it to Pisa, and rode around for a bit trying to find the small section of town we were familiar with, we hit a stroke of luck and found the market square and made it back to our hotel. We dropped off the scooters and checked our hotel to see if they had any rooms available, they did. Gave us a triple for 30 euros each (same price we paid previously for a double). We dried off a bit, called the scooter rental place and went back into town to get some dinner. We had spaghetti with eggs cream and bacon (it has a name I forget though…). The food never tasted so good.

We made it back to the hotel around 11:00 and collapsed in bed. It had taken 5.5 hours to get home from San Gimignano, in less then ideal conditions…

This is the way I think we ended up going…

All kinds of fail. Not the most direct route by any means...

Remember all pictures can be found on the picasa web albums page under the gallery tab!

…To Paris?

Posted: September 8, 2010 in France
Tags: , , , ,

After forgetting part of my Europass (questionable still if it was even required…)  and busing frantically back across town, we finally made it onto the train to Hannover.

Upon arrival, we hit another road bump. Our EURail passes had not been activated and the ticket windows were closed for the night. We were told it might be possible to have them activated on the train, so we threw caution to the wind and gave it a try. We were in luck, the Ticket Master activated them for us.

BUT.

It turns out, France was on strike – no government services. They wanted to change the retirement age to 62 instead of 60, and the French people wouldn’t have it. So no train service in France. This resulted in our train going to Mannheim instead! We arrived in Mannheim around 3:00AM (a 5 hour train ride from Hannover), and then got onto a shuttle bus that would take us to the train station in Paris.

Our shuttle bus to Paris!

We arrived in Paris at around noon. Longest trip thus far! Managed to sleep on the bus though.

Paris EST Train Station

We tried renting bikes again… and it worked this time! Unfortunately about halfway to the arc I got a flat tire. Traded it out for another bike after a few kilometers of bumpy riding.

Renting a bicycle

The Arc!

The weather was miserable, raining on and off, but altogether it wasn’t that bad. We did get soaked a few times though… After making to the Arc we were a bit more comfortable navigating Paris streets… Drivers are crazy though, so, when in rome… We weaved in and out of cars on our bicycles and made it to our destinations a lot faster! Next up on our sightseeing was the Eifel Tower!

Man it's big

We climbed the stairs as high as we could (cost 3.50E!) and then took an elevator (5.00E) to the very top! We also ate some stale bun sandwiches from the restaurant in the middle. Here are some pictures:

Stale over-priced sandwich...

Looking out from the Eifel Tower

Quite the view!

Now when we said we were going to Paris I decided I wanted to do something. So I did. Here it is – The sign was just ever so convenient!

Ta da!

We continued our trek with two new rent-a-bikes and made it to the Lourve!

Heinz next to the glass pyramid

Myself by the glass pyramid of the Lourve!

We continued on and made it to the famous church of Notre Dame!

Notre Dame!

Not the biggest I've seen...

After Notre Dame we made it back to the train station where we left our bags. Thankfully it was pretty much a straight line from the church to the station. We got our bags, ate a cheap dinner and started looking for hotels. The first 8 we checked were all full, and pricey. We found one with one vacancy for a 4-person room for 102 euros, we took it (just in time too, more people came in right after us!)

The hotel room is actually pretty decent, four beds, a nice bathroom (complete with bidday), but it’s getting late and we have a train to catch tomorrow morning to Belfort!

Hotel room

Good night everybody! Remember all pictures (not shown in blog) can be found on the Picasa account! Check them all out here; but be warned, I didn’t go through them because I didn’t have time. You’re seeing everything on my camera! http://picasaweb.google.com/jamie.hobson