Europe · 8 Days · 15 Moments · July 2017

Pretending Brexit never happened

5 August 2017

Despite the luxury, we were exhausted when we arrived in Vienna at 7am. After a nap in the hostel lounge (our rooms weren't ready yet) we attempted to head out into Vienna and see some sights. Moods were much improved after a toastie at what was to become our favourite cafe. Charlie was more impressed than the dog playing in the water outside st Charles cathedral than the building that shared his name (it wasn't that great anyway, but he would always prefer the dog!) Once we were able to check in, and after a much needed shower, we headed out to nachtmarkt. The flea and food market (which we unfortunately took no photos of) was great fun - we even bought some old beer mats. We then wandered around the hofsburg area, whose architecture is absolutely ridiculous! As charlie pointed out, in another city any one of these buildings could be a main attraction, but in Vienna they were all like that! We had a much needed and large dinner back at the market at a Chinese restaurant!

4 August 2017

After a relaxing morning packing up, we headed to the neues museum on museum island. There was an exhibition comparing, over the same time period, the development of ancient Egyptian and ancient Chinese culture, which we both loved. We also saw the famous bust of queen nefertiti and a Cypriot exhibition (which Rhiannon vigorously photographed to send to her family). We then boarded our "accidentally" purchased private cabin for the 12 hour overnight train from Berlin to Vienna. Despite our clear lack of place in "first class", we had an amazing journey! There were two windows to look over the rolling countryside and lots of space of us to spread out and read / write.

3 August 2017

The next day in Berlin consisted of a mandatory visit to checkpoint charlie (of course), a few hours at the very harrowing topography of terror museum at the site of the old SS headquarters (which also happens to be next to part of the Berlin Wall) and then a trip to museum island. Too tired and running out of money to go into the museums, we wandered round and stopped for a beer in the shade. Very soon our shady umbrella came in very handy as it absolutely Tipped down with rain! Once it had cleared we wandered over to Berlin cathedral. Finally, we located (after some difficulty) a rooftop bar recommended to us by a woman on the walking tour. Charlie enjoyed the view much more once he had had some food...

2 August 2017

Later that evening we visited the large segment of the Berlin Wall that is covered in art. Charlie quickly took advantage of my "I could eat a curry" remark (despite my usual distaste) and we hurried to the nearest curry restaurant for a lovely dinner next to a very playful German child.
Alternative walking tour around Berlin. Lead by a Brazilian that grew up in New York now living in Berlin. Went from Alexanderplatz to various graffiti/art sights and eventually ended up in trendy Kreuzburg. Finishing at a reggae bar with a beach on the banks of the Spree.
At the Reichstag dome

1 August 2017

The zoo was looking resplendent in the afternoon sun, obviously. The animals were happy to see me once more I could tell. I also introduced myself to the new addition of the pandas who were on good form for Rhiannon. After a wonderful time in the best zoo on planet earth we walked over to the ruin of Kaiser Wilhelm's church which was destroyed by allied bombing. Unfortunately it was past 6pm so it had closed. Just as we were about to go get some food, we passed a lady selling tickets for a concert at the memorial church that evening. So we snapped up the last two cheap seats at the back and persuaded her to give us a student discount. After an entertaining meal sitting next to two French priest eating huge ice cream deserts, we headed to the concert. The concert was fantastic and topped off a terrific first day.
On arrival at our Airbnb we were given a warm welcome from our host, Angela. Understandably we were not in the mood to head out straight away, and so we napped until 11:30. Nevertheless we were determined to make the most out of the rest of the day. After a very good value lunch, at a Japanese restaurant in Tegal, we caught the U-bahn down to the centre. We decided to kick things off in style and visit the iconic 'Brandenburg'. Despite seeing it for the second time (having visited last year), walking up the subway steps to see its infamous shape is just as awe-inspiring as before. After the Brandenburg gate we visited the Reichstag and booked a free time slot to go up it the next day, as we were unable to book it online. One of my favourite days last year was visiting Berlin zoo, and so it's fair to say I rather forced Rhiannon to join me in visiting it again. The bus route over to the zoo gave us a good overview of the central area of the city.
Copenhagen to Berlin continued 🚂 Our journey on the train was also hardly straightforward, with no information on the carriages to direct us to the correct seats. After a lot of moving around a packed train we eventually found the correct seats. We eventually arrived into Hamburg at 5am, very cold after a night spent in a heavily air conditioned carriage and so got hot chocolates to warm us up. Our final journey into Berlin was on a far nicer train and allowed us to catch up on some much needed sleep. We arrived at our Airbnb in Tegel at 8:30.

31 July 2017

Day 4 continued (Copenhagen to Berlin via Hamburg) Despite Rhiannon's protests, we walked across to the station to catch our 22:50 train to Berlin. We arrived rather hot and bothered at the station, and were confused by the lack of international trains on the departures board, and so we were slightly concerned we may be in the wrong building. After much deliberation we decided that we were in fact correct and so stayed by the departure board. Suddenly, our train appeared on the board but it said it had been cancelled. With no staff at the station and no information on the board, it's fair to say things looked pretty dire for about 20 mins. We then luckily overheard the conversations of a trilingual Swiss girl who was clearly in the same predicament. She helped flag down a Danish railway worker who told us that there was an error on the departure board and all was ok. A lot of unnecessary distress had been caused so mcflufferies were a necessary medicine (using our last remaining DKK).
Day 4 After a leisurely morning spent packing, we headed out to visit 'Freetown Cristiana', a hippy commune on the waters edge. With the lingering waft of weed we walked through the winding streets of this colourful neighbourhood. The 'no photo' signs prompted Rhiannon to ponder whether they were to stop the drug sellers becoming 'zoo animals', constantly having their photo taken. However, I pointed out that perhaps they simply didn't want the world to see that they are drug dealers. We are yet to find out which hypothesis was more likely... After our tour of this funky neighbourhood we walked back up to our favourite station 'Norreport'. Here we sampled some danish street food. After trawling round the many delicious looking stalls we settled upon fish/crab sandwiches and a traditional fish cake. After lunch we returned to our Airbnb to collect our bags and then hung around the botanical garden. After then moving to another park and ate our sandwiches in the glorious evening sun.

30 July 2017

Day 3 Today was museum day. Firstly, we arrived at the opening time of the 'Statens Museum for Kunst'. Here we spent a sublime couple of hours surveying the various exhibitions. The museum itself and the artwork were excellent. Following this we ate lunch in the same park we visited the day before. Next on the agenda was 'Rosenberg slot', the former residence of many of Denmarks kings. We very much enjoyed wandering through the lavish halls and viewing the treasury's jewels. In the evening we ate in one of the many Italian restaurant on a quiet street in the area of the city's idyllic squares.

29 July 2017

Day 2 continued After visiting the charming 'David Collection' we visited the park opposite it before trekking back across town to a food market on 'paper island'. In glorious sunshine we arrived at the bustling market and eventually settled on Duck croque monsieur's. Food in hand our next mission was to find a seat. The waterfront deckchairs were our primary target however we knew this was probably a long shot, but we were even struggling to find a place to perch. It was clear that the Norse gods were looking kindly upon us as we happened to pass two people leaving their chairs. We stayed in our prime real estate for quite some time, extremely happy with both our meal and the view.
Day 2 This morning we woke up early to head out and get supplies for the next few days. Although we were slightly disheartened by the drizzle, it was nothing a chocolate filled bun couldn't fix (as Rhiannon proved). First appointment of the day, a free walking tour from city hall. Although we were somewhat surprised our guide was British, we were provided with an in depth tour of the city's main sights, and provided with a very informative insight on Danish culture and language. Following our fantastic tour we stopped for our packed lunch, hiding from the now fairly heavy rain. Despite us being told by multiple sources, including our guide, that the little mermaid statue was one of Europe's most underwhelming sights, Rhiannon was keen to tick another one off the list (having seen the pissing boy in Belgium). Following our rather soggy trek we stopped for coffee and then headed to a highly recommended, but crucially FREE, museum - The David Collection.

28 July 2017

Day 1 - Bristol to Copenhagen Following an hearty send off from the crowds of people assembled for our leaving party (Annie and Alexia) we passed through the airport without delay. However, once we got on the plane our captain alerted us that there was no ground crew available to put our bags on the plane. To an already luggage-less Rhiannon (having not received her luggage from China the week before), this was all too much. My tormenting of her luggage not going to be put on the plane perhaps didn't help. After a wee wait our bags were thankfully loaded and were soon on our way. Having landed in Copenhagen we did initially struggle to navigate the public transport system, but eventually we arrived at our delightful Airbnb. We spent our first evening wandering around the central shopping streets and we soon indulged in some Italian pasta to finish a delightful first day.