Thursday, 26 July 2012

Beautiful Prague.

Prague, oh my.

First of all! Apologies about the lack of posts! We have been so busy! I will try to keep posting regularly! We are having the best trip, currently in Salzburg and head to Budapest tomorrow! Enjoy Prague :)

If you have never been, I suggest you go. Do not miss this little city on a trip around Europe because it is extremely beautiful.
We took the ~six hour train from Berlin to Prague (as yes the eurail passes arrived.) We arrived at the station and it was pretty hectic. We managed to get ourselves onto the right train line, then get off and then get onto the right tram! Our hotel was a short walk up a GIGANTIC hill, I tell you that hill was hard work. Cobblestones and luggage wheels aren't the best together either. We stayed at a little Hotel called the Golden Star and it was just below the Prague Castle, it was adorable.

We hit up the net to find ourselves some self guided walking tours and found ourselves lucky with a free tour around Prague. It was a three hour tour with a guide, plenty of people seemed to be doing the same as us so we were excited. The guide took us through the city's past which covers era's I didn't even know existed.

The architecture is basically a scrapbook of styles over the past centuries. A mixture of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroq, Art Nouveau and even the communists style are all seen. Plus plenty more! Somehow, despite their differences they form together to create a style of their own and the Old Town Square is a perfect example.
I bet you are impressed with my name dropped architectural styles.... another thing our tour guide taught us!

For those of you who like beer, this category does not involve me, I hear Prague is known for its beers and heavy beer drinkers! Gonz was happy with that as you could buy a large beer for little more than $1AUD.

We only had one and a half days in Prague so the free walking tour really saved us. It gave us all the history about the sites we visited (this is sometimes hard because of the language barriers.)

We covered:

  • Churches, churches churches.
  • King Charles Bridge. This bridge was the idea of King Charles IV (obviously) who wanted to build a bridge that would last forever. Back in the day they were known to consult an astronomer to help them figure out when this day would be. Don't quote be on my history lesson, I learnt it on the walking tour.
  • The Jewish Quarter.
  • Old town square.
  • Little town (which is near where we stayed)    and
  • Prague Castle.

Our hotel was adorable, right at the bottom of the castle.

Old town square... see all the different architectural styles I was talking about!

on our walking tour.

King Charles bridge. 

We ate:
  • Czech donuts. They are basically a dough mixture that they wrap around a pole that spins around and cooks the mixture. You then get a topping. I got coconut and Gonz got cinnamon. They were really yum and I am glad I don't know the calories involved. 
  • Most food seems to be incredibly rich in meat and carbs. One meal I ordered came out and it was literally the size of a house. It was really dry and not very nice so I left most of it. But it's size was impressive.
  • Although it isn't a very "Czech" thing to do, we ordered a side salad with most meals. The amount of meat, cream sauces, potato and bread I have consumed is outrageous.
  • For dinner one night we ate a pub where lots of local people go. Some drunk Czech man ordered my meal for me... Ever heard of Svickova? It is basically a few small pieces of beef in a creamy sauce (plenty of sauce) with a few bread dumplings and wait for it... whipped cream on top. Don't worry the whip was literally the size of a ten cent coin, but still imagine how much was in the sauce! I ate it... all... it was delicious! I wish I took a photo for you! 
  • You can check some traditional Czech food at this website if you're interested. Then you will understand why my jeans are too tight for comfort.

hot wine!

this was actually a pretty average meal... but this is exactly what i mean about the carb and meat overload!


Czech doughnuts! 

There is plenty of legends and stories you hear about! There is a legend in one of the churches where a thief tried to steal a pearl necklace from the statue of Mary. The statue froze his arm and he couldn't escape! The town executioner came and cut the mans hand off! The church then displayed the hand in the church to remind people why you shouldn't steal from a church! The hand still hangs there today!!!

Friday, 13 July 2012


So as you know our stay in Amsterdam has been extended... until our mail arrives. Don't get me wrong Amsterdam is such a cool city but it's just a bit of a downer having to wait for mail to arrive. We originally planned to stay for four nights... we are now up to 7. We have made the most of our time here.

The city is really cool. It feels safe (besides the bikes) and there is plenty to do. You can do tours or just wander around the canals. I really like it here.

Watch out for the cyclists! They are CRAZY (capitals intended). They go SO fast! Watch out! Bikes are everywhere, apparently for every resident in amsterdam there are two bikes. They clear like 10,000 out of the canals a year!

So far we've been to:

  • Anne Frank House- I have watched the tele series and read the book so I was interested to go into the house where Anne and her family hid during World War 2. It was quite interesting yet eery at the same time. It is horrible to think they were found. It would've been so scary.
  • The Heineken experience. We heard and read that this tour was average. But we had the time so we thought we would check it out anyway, I'm glad we did. It was a fun few hours where you get to smell, touch and taste along the way. I'm not the biggest beer drinker and I still enjoyed it. I think Gonz enjoyed it because he got his free beers and most of mine! 
  • Vondel Park- lovely little park. Nice to sit in or run around. Nothing compared to Central Park so don't go expecting that. 
  • Jordaan area. This neighbourhood is expensive and lovely to walk through. There are pretty photo ops of canals, plenty of bars, cafe's and restaurants. 
  • We took a day trip to the countryside to see the little town of Zaanse Schans. It has working windmill factories, cheese making, clog making, bakeries and plenty of old houses. It is a tourist trap for sure, but if you're looking for something different to do then you would enjoy it Worth going to just because it is so pretty.
  • Red light district. haha. It's pretty funny really. Imagine skanks in skank wear sitting at a window. They come in all shapes and sizes haha. It still amazes me that people actually do that. If you're in Amsterdam you do have to go here though!
This wasn't all we did. A lot of Amsterdam has been aimless wandering. We have come across plenty of trendy shopping streets filled with boutiques and vintage stores. There is no shortage of restuarants, bars, "coffee" shops and cafes. 

Anne Frank museum and house to the left 

Jordaan area. 

Our pancake lunch.

some hideous mixture that eventually beer is made from.

at the Heineken experience.

house boat.

having drinks in the hostel.

Vodka Diet coke.

day trip to Zaanse Schans.

Zaanse Schans

Most importantly!! FOOD!! 
  • Ethiopian! Omg! If you have never had an ethiopian meal at a restaurant then you are missing out! It was one of the best food experiences I've had in a long time! We had never tried it before so we didn't really know what to expect! We ordered a large tasting plate that comes out with three or four meats, veg assortments and salad. You eat with your hands (so make sure you clean them)! The mixed plate is surrounded by a whole-wheat crumpet type of bread that is really light! You rip a piece and use it to pick up your curry meat and veg. My description does no justice to how good it really is there!! The website for this restaurant is in dutch and the translation is no good, so if you are ever in Amsterdam just go to Semhar ethiopian restaurant. 
  • Indonesian. The travel books rave about plenty of Indonesian places... so when we were wandering around and found "Sukabumi" (a cute little restaurant) we thought we would give it a try. The food was delicious! 
  • PANCAKES! Of course we had to have them! Poffertjes! You can get them at various places around the city. My fav way is with ice cream, banana and icing sugar. Nothing beats the old maple and ice-cream though. Ahhh I'm hungry!
  • Beer is in Gonz's food group. He mostly drinks Amstel or Heineken. 
  • Frites! (hot chips) are effing amazing. We got a cone full (most people get mayo, which is amazing) but we got american sauce (which they say is like big mac sauce with dill). Again, REALLY yum. I felt so sick afterwards though. 
  • It is ridiculous, and I don't know where this chocolate comes from, but I discovered it here so I'll include it anyway. Ritter Sport chocolate. Excuse me while I put on five kilos. When I go home I'm going to ship myself some. It is a small block of chocolate and in the middle is a biscuit. You can get all different flavours but I can't go past this! It kind of taste like a kit kat... but better. 
  • FEBO! Weird. It is a fast food place! It doesn't get much faster than this! There is a kitchen behind and people make (fry) food then put it in the right section. Customers pick what they want, put their $1.50 euro in and open a door! Just like a vending machine!

SO many bakeries.... and I thought I was going to get fat in the USA!

cheese making! There is a cheese shop on every corner in Amsterdam I swear. 
Frites! Don't mind if I do!

BEST meal ever!

view from our seats in the Ethiopian restaurant. 
Has anyone else tried Ethiopian? Or do I just live a sheltered life? 

Anyway, someone stop me eating this chocolate already. Hope you're liking the posts! 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A small hurdle.

I have recently learn to roll with the punches... especially when you punch yourself in the face.

So I have been planning this trip for over 12 months... yet I made the biggest, stupidest (not a word but I like it) mistake ever... I left the freakin Eurail passes at home! idiotttt! I actually can't believe that happened! After checking I had everything and then rechecking I still didn't realise. (click here to see when the parcel arrived)

What's worse is I have had SO much time to find that we had forgotten them! We stayed with relatives in England for one week (which was amazing) and we could've had the tickets sent there no problems. But no... I waited until after I'd spent 17 hours on a bus travelling overnight to Amsterdam to make sure I had them... insane. It was the worst day. Our hostel room (a 18 bed mix dorm) smelt like weed and tobacco and was about 100 degrees! We felt awful after such a long bus ride that we decided to shower... got in the shower, there were no shelves, so I had to pile my things on two hooks, couldn't put anything on the floor because there were no shower curtains. I got in the shower turned it on and found out the temperature control was broken. Nearly burnt my skin off. Then my clothes fell off the stupid hook and all got wet.. I had a cry haha. I had to get dressed (because my microfiber towel is half the size of a normal towel) and wait for another shower. It was HORRIBLE! It's kind of funny to look back on, but at the time I felt like absolute crap!

It gets much better than this! Don't worry I won't whinge the whole time. New post on Amsterdam coming soon!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

NYC Ya'll

NYC... go there.
Having some drinks...our last night in NYC. 

Prepare for a big read... sorry!
From the start...

We flew from Vegas. Mid-air our plane had to land at the closest airport as JFK had closed due to bad weather. Fun fun fun..... We eventually arrived at our hostel on Amsterdam ave. Our hostel had great facilities and HEAPS of space (something the other hostels lacked). We were in a 6 bed dorm... it was very basic and resembled something I would've stayed in in a school camp. We didn't mind the room, but our room mates were really annoying. They slept all day and went out at night and came in talking at 5am... we moved to a private room for the last night and it was really impressive. We could actually turn the light on to pack our bags!

Some things that they we did in New York.

  • Central Park.... the BEST place to spend a sunny afternoon. We ate our apples and lay in the sun for a while. We got some great pictures and the whole place is really pretty. 
  • MoMa- Modern museum of Modern art. Here you can see some well known painting's by artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh. 
  • Museum of Natural History. This is where the movie 'Night at the Museum' is set. It cost us like $14 admission. They have some amazing animal model's ranging from dinosaurs to bear's. We went to a special exhibit in the planetarium which was really good. 
  • SoHo... if you like shopping. I loved it! Such a cool area to visit! There are small boutiques or big stores like Top Shop (all four stories). 
  • Grand Central station.
  • Empire state building. Gonz is a fan of getting a good picture so we paid like $22 to go to the observation deck. I wasn't too interested at the start but I was glad we did it as you could see the whole city from there. 
  • Times Square... you have to go here. Bit of a tourist trap but it is definitely worth the visit. 
  • Staten Island Ferry. This ferry is free and you go right past the Statue of Liberty. If you're on a budget holiday it is a way better option than paying like $30 for a ferry tour that does the exact same thing. You also get a great view of the New York skyline. 
  • Brooklyn via the Brooklyn bridge. Walking over the bridge is good fun, it's not too far of a walk and it is a great way to see the city. Brooklyn in such a cool place to go! They have old tram lines and cobble stone streets which is a nice contrast to the busy life across the bridge in Manhattan. There is also great food in brooklyn! 

View from the Empire state.

One of the model's from Museum of Natural History.

Central Park.

Gonzo in Central Park. 

Times Square.

in MoMa. 
Gonz and I on the Staten Island ferry.

Grand Central station.

More cocktails.

one of the new World Trade Centre towers.

Brooklyn bridge, doing maintenance at the moment.

View of the bridge from Brooklyn.

Playing in Toys are Us.

If you're into food..... which we are!

  • Carmine's in Times Square. This is an Italian restaurant that specialises in ''family sized'' meals. One pasta serves 2-4 people! We ordered the spaghetti meatballs and it was absoloutley delicious. You can see our menu here. REALLY nice food! Go there!
  • Katz Deli! ANOTHER famous NYC hotspot! A giant deli that sells their famous Pastrami sandwich. IT IS HUGE! Gonzo finished his! It has been around since 1888! The meat is REALLY yum! The restaurant itself is hectic and you don;t get much for service, but the novelty makes this worth the visit! If you have seen "Where Harry met Sally" this is where they met! check it here!
  • Grimaldi's. Famous pizza restuarant in Brooklyn. Def worth the line up out the front. The pizza isn't sold by the slice here so you will just have to be a big fatty and share a MASSIVE one! It is the best pizza I have ever had and it is pretty reasonable in price! It has even won plenty of awards for best pizza in NYC. Grimaldi's website
  • Buddakan! Omg! It is my ultimate favourite restaurant. It is an asian restaurant in the meatpacking district. From the outside you don't see much at all, but when you walk in it feels like you are far away from NYC. Check it out here! Look familiar to you? That's because it is from the Sex and the City movie! Carrie had her rehearsal dinner here.
Buddakan. Where Carrie had her rehearsal dinner.
Katz deli.

Having a drink before our meal in Buddakan.

Our entre tasting plate. Those carrot looking things to the left are actually dumplings!

Our buddakan meal. DELISH!

our giant pasta!

Grimaldi's pizza