Sunday, 20 August 2017

Berlin, Germany

Like I said in my last post, I recently went away to Germany with someone who doesn't appreciate travel but I'm not going to dwell on that here.

I think the most fascinating part of history lessons when I was stuck in GCSE history, was definitely WW1 and WW2 so when it came to picking a city break, Berlin has both the history and the newly revamped modern vibe to it. It was pretty high on the list of places to go in Europe, so that was that.





We did so much in Berlin; the Berlin Dome, River tour, Checkpoint Charlie, National History/Science Museum, Anne Frank Centre, Jewish Museum, the Reichstag, Brandenburg gate, Madame Tussauds and the Sea Life Centre. Oh and we did all of this on foot so ended up walking 10 miles a day!

For me, the Jewish museum really stood out as it was as more solemn museum to visit. I've been to Poland and seen it from their perspective but in Germany, the museum was more about trying to create the feelings which the jewish may have felt. I use that sentence lightly because of course, we would be feeling no where near as frightened as they were.

There was a room which resembled a holocaust room; nothing in there but darkness. Small and dark. Awaiting death.

There was another garden, almost like a maze but the floor was very uneven and the maze was all different heights. The idea being that you set foot into this garden and feel uneasy, almost sick as you walk around because you're so disorientated. I just found this to be really powerful.






I've also just finished reading Anne Frank's Diary that I purchased at the centre. Not the best in terms of writing (she was a young teenager so must remember that) but a really important read. One I recommend wholeheartedly.

Berlin is a really cool city, one I'd go back to again for sure.
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Travelling

I think we often forget that travelling is a privilege. To be able to afford a plane ticket, passport, spending money, accommodation, cameras etc.. well not everyone can. I've been fortunate to have visited seven new countries this year which probably makes me sound like a spoilt brat (FYI, I worked hard and funded it myself) but I am so grateful to be in a position which allows me to do so.



Travelling is really important to me. I believe it probably saved my life (along with a very good friend) and for that reason, it has a special place in my heart. When you travel, you no longer have a routine. You don't necessarily know where you'll be tomorrow, what you'll be eating, learning, exploring or seeing. And yes, a very long time ago, that would have been terrifying to think about but now it's the most exciting thing I can imagine.

I try not to go to fancy hotels and fancy restaurants when I'm away. A basic AirBnB works wonders providing there is a bed and bathroom because really, how long are you in the room for? As for restaurants, I think part of the fun is experiencing the local delicacies and flavours. Long gone are the days where I sit by a pool for days but you'll find me exploring the town, museums and landmarks at least trying to learn about the history and culture. I never used to think history was important but to understand the present, we should at least try to understand the past and how we came to be.

I try not to get taxi's everywhere, choosing to mostly walk miles all over as you get to see so much more. And I take lots of pictures because I want to show my grandchildren all of the places I've been and that life is much bigger than their bedroom walls.

I recently went away with someone who didn't have this same outlook on travelling. They didn't leave their comfort zone and it broke my heart. A new place with a wealth of opportunity - wasted. I get that travelling isn't for everyone but trying something new is how we learn and grow. As an adult, you don't come across those opportunities in the same quantity as you do a child, so you have to grab them with both hands and run.

If you go away and embrace everything possible, you rarely come back the same person. You'll have a new outlook on life, something in you will have changed because you will see that the world is much bigger than what you first thought.
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Monday, 14 August 2017

Kotor, Montenegro

So the opposite direction to Bosnia, is Montenegro. Another border crossing for us but we were off to visit the town called Kotor and the Lady of rocks in a town named Perest.

The morning began with Kotor, a beautiful little town surrounded by a wall. We were shown around by a local guide who taught us about the churches and famous iconic buildings. I don't actually remember doing much here though as it was way too hot (there was a heatwave when we arrived reaching temperatures of 38 celsius) so I just sat in a bar and ordered cool drinks. There are steps up (45 mins worth) to the most famous church in Kotor but the heat immediately threw that idea out of the window.




After exploring the town, we drove back to Perest. This is home to the legend of Our Lady of the Rocks. It's a tiny man made island which homes a beautiful blue and white church. We took a small boat over to visit it and learned that according to legend, seamen kept finding a religious painting where the island is now. They moved it to the local church but it just kept returning to the rock. As a result, they built this artificial island and the painting remains inside.

We didn't stay here for long but did explore the church with a guide showing us the rooms and artefacts. I don't actually think it's a place I'd stay for a long time as I love activity but the bay of Kotor is definitely somewhere I'm glad I've ticked off my world list.


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Friday, 11 August 2017

Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina


These posts are really few and far between, which I apologise about.. actually, I don't because I'm busy seeing European cities (currently on my way home from Berlin). But it does mean I'm writing these from memory rather than in the present.

Anyway, whilst in Croatia we decided to do two excursions with the first being to Bosnia & Herzegovina. To get to the main part of Bosnia, you actually have to cross two borders from Dubrovnik which is a little laborious but definitely worth it.

The trip included a stop at Kravice waterfalls which was absolutely beautiful. We only stayed an hour but the water was again, crystal clear, and also freezing cold. It didn't matter though because Bosnia is even hotter than Croatia so it was nice to feel temporarily refreshed!

 


Then we drove onto Mostar. Our mini bus actually crashed so can say I experienced an accident in Bosnia! Luckily everyone was absolutely fine and we were on our way within 30 minutes.

Mostar was even hotter than the waterfalls but again absolutely stunning. I've never been to Morocco but I imagine it to be similar to the markets in Marrakech - female heaven! We had a 30 minute tour with a local guide before heading off on our own to explore and grab lunch.

Mostar really is beautiful, especially the view of and from the bridge. I'm so glad we spent the day there.



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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Dubrovnik, Croatia

This summer is all about travelling. Seeing the world, exploring new cities and making memories with close ones.

I've kick started this with a trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We were there for 10 days which was actually far too long to remain in one place, so also ventured to Bosnia & Herzegovina followed by Montenegro.

We honestly had the most amazing time. I won't write much as the pictures do the talking but we did everything from visit the old town, relaxed in bars, swam in the most crystal clear waters, chilled out on the beaches, sailed to different islands... oh and walked at least 5 miles a day due to the steps down to get anywhere!

The weather was beautiful (if not a little hot towards the end), the food was delicious and everywhere you looked was simply stunning.

I will leave you with photos (the other countries will follow in later posts!)

















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