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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Sightseeing In Copenhagen

We were staying in Orestad, just outside of Copenhagen and it was a fab place to stay as it was one stop away from Copenhagen and two stops from the airport. We were there for 2 nights and bought a 72 hour bus ticket on the Stromma Bus company, this included bus hop on hop off rides on both green busses of Open top Tours and the red City sightseeing busses as well as unlimited boat tours in the canals and the land train. It as DKK300 and was worth every single Krona of my money. By this time of my holiday I was really skint and struggling for money, so my thought was that if we did this then I would get out of having to pay to get into other attractions that would cost more in the long run.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Visiting Copenhagen With Tilly


So here we are at our last destination, Copenhagen. I had wanted to come here since the older kids were little - but it never seemed the right time to go. So we found ourselves here this summer, and this is how we got on.

Copenhagen is the Amsterdam for kids, It is a city that cares for the environment and they want to be completely carbon friendly within the next few years. There are bicycles everywhere and recycling is a big thing for them.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Taking A Trip To Efteling Theme Park

when we were planning our trip to the Netherlands, we were offered some tickets to Efteling Theme park in Kaatsheuvel. Tilly has grown up going to theme parks and was a regular visitor to Chessington and Legoland but this theme park totally out ranks them in the leader board for one of the best theme parks we have been to.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Travelling To Copenhagen By InterRail


Again as I tried to make the journeys between destinations no more than 4 hours, I found myself in Hamburg. The travel from the Harz to Hamburg was only a couple of hours and we have managed to get a bargain hotel on Ebookers, It was a four star Best Western hotel and it was just gorgeous, It was much needed after the naff hostel we had just been in. I had gone two days with out a shower and to be able to use one, was the best feeling ever. The staff were fab and the hotel was a quick train ride away on the Sbahn.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Visiting Malmo With A Child

If you are staying in Copenhagen, then it would be a shame if you didn't cross the bridge into Sweden to spend some time in Malmo. It is easy to get there and takes just over half an hour from Copenhagen, by crossing the Øresund Bridge. It is about 16 km long  and is a combined road and rail link between Sweden and Denmark. It is a bridge, an artificial island and a tunnel. It is the longest bridge that I have ever been on and was very exciting. When we went to Malmo, we had to change at Copenhagen Airport and before we got on the train, our passports were checked and they were checked again on the train.


Monday, 15 August 2016

Chasing Fairy Tales in The Harz Mountains

During the cold war, Germany was split into East Germany and West Germany, the division went right through the Harz country park and sadly this beautiful part of the country was unavailable to so many people. In Wernigerode there is a steam train that goes up the highest mountains in the Harz, this stopped running in the time of the split and since reunification it has taken the trip to the top of Brocken several times a day.


Saturday, 13 August 2016

Hostelling In Goslar

We had booked into a hostel in Goslar and from the outside it looked like a cute German house, it was huge and perfect for hostelling, but inside it was not too nice at all. When we booked it, it had said they spoke English, but when I checked in, the office stank of smoke from what seemed like a 60 a day habit and the man checking us in didn’t speak English. At this point of the holiday we were tired and decided to make the best of a bad thing. We walked up two floors with our heavy suitcases and were shown to our room. Because it was a hostel we had to put our own bedding on the bed, but this is something I have been familiar with over my years of staying in hostels. We tried to hook up to the WIfi but we were out of range ….. it kind of summed up the failure of a booking that we had made.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Wernigerodes Secret Charms And Fairy Tales

Wernigerode is at the base of Brocken and it is actually worth a visit in its own right. We had a few hours there but it was a rush and there is so so much to do. We arrived in Wernigerode after a trip up the Brocken on the steam train, We got off at Wernigerode Westerntor and it was a five minute walk to the old town square. Once you are there you can find the tourist information very easily and it is in the same premises as a bank, so convenience is excellent as I knew I would need some cash here.

Ever since 1400 the houses in the town have been bringing charm and colourful landscape to the area. Wenigerode even holds the nickname "Bunte Stadt am Harz" which translates to "the colourful town in the Harz foothills". Wernigerode is a fascinating town with the fairy tale charm, which is what i was looking for with Tilly.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The Musicians Of Bremen - The Fairy Tale Trail

Next on our fairytale trail part of our InterRailing adventure was a sneaky little quick trip to Bremen, The story of the Musicians of Bremen isn’t really know outside of Germany, but once again because I had grown up with the story I wanted to show it to Tilly. I had arranged for us to get an early train because we were on our way to the Harz mountins and it was going to be a longer journey as we were going 45 minutes out of our way.

We finally got out of bed, which was surprisingly comfortable after the shower debarcle. And we went to have breakfast, It was 7 Euro’s and Tilly ate for free. I am sure they think kids don’t eat much but they have obviously never met Tilly!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Reliving My Childhood in Osnabruck

Like I said in the previous post is that my son and his girlfriend live in a town outside of Rotterdam, about an hour by car. So when it came for time for us to move on, We got up Early (like 6am) and took a bus to Rotterdam Central train station. We got on and took our seats, that was a moment when I thought to myself - Great its only me and my kids now for for the next week. I started to panic about no adult conversation and then being suffocated by Tilly. I thought again for a brief moment that I couldn't possibly do this alone, but I shook myself and just realised I had to get on with it.

The thing about all the transport in Europe is that WIFI is everywhere, you get on a bus and there is WIFI, I was glad for it this morning because it helped to pass the time as Tilly went to sleep. Before I knew it we were at the bus centre in Rotterdam and we had to take a quick Metro ride to the train station. I hadn't booked tickets and preyed the train would not be busy - Luckily it wasn't, we had a change  to do but it breaks the journey.



Monday, 8 August 2016

And Then There Were Two ....... A Train Trip To Rotterdam

So we waved goodbye to Eileen at Amsterdam Schipol airport and it was time to pull my big girl pants up, we were on our own form here. Although I have had about 6 months to prepare for this time on our own, suddenly Europe became a bigger place than it had been over the past two weeks. We tried to go down to the platforms and get the train to Rotterdam, I suppose we were cheating for the first two days of being alone because we wouldn't really be alone - we were off to stay with Zach and Amber. They live on an island about an hour outside of Rotterdam. At Amsterdam Airport, you can actually have your picture taken with Areoplane parts - what a fab opportunity to get up close and personal with a plane.


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Amsterdam - Not A Place For Kids


Amsterdam, well what can we say about this city? Firstly do not take children - I repeat DO NOT TAKE CHILDREN!


Sex and drugs are everywhere! Amsterdam is a beautiful city but as soon as we stepped off the train, the smell of drugs hits you. Not that it bothered me, because we all know that cannabis is legal there anyway and whether they admit it or not, that is the reason the Brits go over there. I think it was curiosity that bought us to Amsterdam, and I am pleased we added it to our European trip.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

A Visit To Prague With A Six Year Old

Last year Prague welcomed 6,605,7776 visitors, with 5.714.835 of them coming from worldwide and 890,941 visiting from inside the Czech Republic. A further 2 million visitors came from abroad and visited other destinations in the Czech Republic. We became a statistic this year when we visited Prague alongside all the other foreign visitors.

Prague has been a destination that I have wanted to visit for many years now and finally we made it there as part of our InterRail visit across Europe. We booked into Hostel Cortina, which was a tram ride away from the train station and you simply buy a ticket and hop on until the ninth stop. Then when you get off you see a side road and there is the hostel.

Friday, 5 August 2016

A Visit To Hameln To See The Pied Piper

On our trip from Berlin to Amsterdam, we were worried about the train journeys being too long for Tilly so we decided we would stop in Hanover and spend a night there. We had a few problems with our booking as we were booked into a hotel in Hanover and they cancelled it without telling me. So on the morning of Thursday 4th August we were frantically looking again for a hotel to stay in. Luckily we found somewhere called Hotel Zentrum.

We took the train to Hanover and we left our luggage in the lockers at the station, By the time we got to Hanover we were experts in leaving luggage in lockers and It always turned out to be the favourite part of our day. We then jumped on a train to Hameln, I had grown up in Hameln as part of the British forces in West Germany. I was so lucky to grow up in such a great country and I lived there when I was Tilly's age. So I knew I had to take her to go and get to learn the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. I feel sad that kids these days know all of the Disney movies, but fairy stories often get forgotten and I wanted to bring them to life for Tilly.

How To Use The Travel System In Prague

Something that we kept getting confused with as we travelled around Europe was the different transport systems. Each country had its own way of doing things and we had to adjust quite a bit with the different ways. Here we have a guide to help you get around Prague and enjoy your visit there. They have many different ways of getting around the city and here is a little help for you.


Metro
This operates between 5am and midnight, you can buy tickets at the stations. The trains run every 2 – 4 minutes in peak times and off peak times they run every 4 – 10 minutes.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Two Days In Berlin

I was an army kid and spent 8 years of my childhood in the former West Germany, but I had never been to Berlin, either before or after the unification and what I learned in Berlin was not quite what had been interpreted by the press.

Visiting The Old Town Hall And Tower In Prague


The old Town Hall was established in 1338 on the order of the Czech King, John of Luxembourg. It was established in one of the old town houses and over the following centuries it grew to include many more houses. It is still preserved to this day and when you go in you get to see parts of the building as it was in the 14th century.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

A Visit To Budapest With A Six Year Old


First impressions can be an important thing, especially when you are visiting somewhere for the first time. We were so excited to be going to Budapest as it seemed such a fab location and many of my friends had been there and fell in love with the country. We pulled into Budapest Keleti station and got off the train, this was when I decided I needed the toilet! Typical of me, so I went to the loo and paid a few euros to get in to see the toilet cubicles were like prison cells. The big metal doors that you get on a cell to keep the prisoners in at night. I found it slightly scary, did my pee and we left  there, pretty quick

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Be Careful When You Book Accomadation Online - Always Read Reviews

This is the story of how we dragged my 6 year old around Budapest at 10pm at night because it was safer than staying into the the hotel that we had booked into through Booking.com. Now what I am about to tell you is in no way down to booking.com but the property itself. The property was Westend Mini Hotel DO NOT BOOK TO STAY IN THIS HOTEL.

We arrived in Budapest about 7pm and walked to our hotel, we found it next to a pub and the outside looked ….. the only way to describe it was like a slum. We really should have turned back then, but you know that sometimes the outside of buildings look different to the inside, so we carried on and we found our hotel on the second floor. I went up the lift that looked like something out of a 1950’s horror movie!

We found our room and as soon as we walked in, our gut instinct was to walk out, but like all good horror movies you just have to go in and see how bad things really are ….. why do we do this? We put our bags down and we were faced with

  • Dirty and marked towel, simply used and refolded
  • No TV and just a loose aerial wire going across the floor
  • A filthy toilet that hadn’t seen bleach for a long time
  • A dirty table with crumbs from a previous guest
  • Dirty bedding
  • Dirty tissues behind the radiator
  • Dust all over the room, where it wasn’t cleaned properly
  • We couldn’t touch the light sockets as they were so dirty
  • No toiletries or hair dryer in the room as advertised
  • A dirty tissue or sanitary towel shoved behind the radiator, I didn't want to get too close!

Monday, 1 August 2016

A Visit To SchonBrunn Is A Must In Vienna - Loads For Children To Do And A Full Day Of Fun


Whilst we were in Vienna, I wanted to show Tilly some of the history involving the royalty, after all Vienna is renowned for being a very regal city. There is so much history in the city surrounding the royal family of Hapsburg and this year brings the 100 year anniversary of one of the last rulers from the Hapsburg Dynasty, Emporer Franz Joseph 1. There is a special exhibition in his honour until November at the Shonnbrunn Palace. We actually took a trip to the imperial palace of Shonnbrunn whilst we had our brief stop in Vienna. It was easy to find on the metro as the stop is actually called 'schonnbrun and then it is a short walk to the palace, if your not sure where you are going, then you simply follow the crowds as you can be sure that you are going in the right direction. Before you go, it is easier to buy tickets if you can, because you could be queuing for a long time to even buy the tickets. Then you get given a time slot to enter the palace and on the desks there are notices saying that it can be up to an hour before you get in the palace on busy days. My friend went to the Imperial palace, whilst I chose to take Tilly to the KinderMuseum, as I thought she would enjoy it more.