?>

Archive for July, 2011

30th July
2011
written by Hazel

We arrived in Prague in the evening after a pretty long day of travel from Berlin, with a stop in Dresden.  We hadn’t been able to get our first choice of hostel for the first night there, but we found one which was pretty cheap.  It wasn’t too hard to find and a quick subway and then tram ride later we arrived.  Probably plenty of people liked this hostel, but honestly, it was not for us.  Our room had a very sticky floor (spilled beer I believe) and smelled really, really strongly of AXE body spray or some such.  Like so strongly that it was hard to breathe.  We made a swift retreat back into town and had a beer and some dinner.

That night we didn’t sleep so well because of the people in our room coming back from the clubs at 4 in the morning and having a really loud conversation about their friend who apparently has a habit of starting fights.  Oh boy…

Fortunately, we moved hostels the next day and the one we went to, the Dizzy Daisy, was a really good place to stay.  It also had a kitchen, so we were able to cook some of our own meals.  We got settled in and then headed out for another free walking tour.  It was a very hot, sunny day, which was great for taking pictures, but not so great for all the walking.  We even considered ditching the tour in the middle when we came across an awesome band playing on the street.  We stuck it out though and were rewarded with some good shots of the city.

The famous clock tower

The famous clock tower

(more…)

30th July
2011
written by Hazel

We left Berlin heading for Prague, but since it was a pretty long train journey we decided to make a stop in Dresden, in the south of Germany, to break things up a little. We were supposed to have a few hours to walk around, but because we misread the train schedule we ended up only having about an hour and a half.

Dresden has a fairly compact center, so we were able to walk from the train station and just spend some time wandering around. There are many really beautiful buildings to look at. We first walked through a kind of shopping mall area, and then arrived at the older part of town.

Since we didn’t have time to investigate much I’ll just post some of the pictures we took and leave you with the same kind of general impression that we got. Click any of the photos below to see our whole gallery.  It looks like it would be a good place for a holiday…

Shopping mall area

Shopping mall area

(more…)

27th July
2011
written by Justin

We landed in Berlin’s TXL Airport without a hitch after passing through Latvia’s hugely expensive Riga airport. The first sign that we had that life is different in Berlin is the convenient Contact Lens Dispenser, right on the way out of the airport! Neither Hazel nor I had ever seen such a thing so of course we were required to buy some contacts for me right there on the spot. Hopefully they will be usable during snorkel and scuba dives later in the trip!

Contacts!

Contacts!

After some currywurst in the airport, we were refreshed enough to try to find our new hostel: Main Station Hostel. You would think that this hostel would be right next to the main station in Berlin (known as Hauptbanhof) but in fact it is a small distance away from a rather secondary train stop on one of the city lines. Oh well. We found it after about 30 minutes and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the hostel. The bunk beds were solid – no shaking – and the lockers were more like little closets. But the best part was that our 8-bunk dorm room was divided into 3 sections: a bit by the door with 6 beds, a bathroom, and an intermediate room with a table, some lockers, and only 2 beds! So we were able to have a a semi-private room there. We were both still exhausted; running around Helsinki with friends is a great way to visit, but it does take up a lot of your energy to do so much cool stuff, and we still hadn’t had a chance to do absolutely nothing for a while after Herrang. So we more or less went to bed straight away.
(more…)

26th July
2011
written by Hazel

We were lucky in Finland, since we had a local guide and she was able to take us directly to a fabric shop!  Actually, it wasn’t quite that simple.  We thought it would be nice to get some Marimekko fabric, since it is a well known Finnish designer and I really like a lot of the patterns.  However, when we arrived at the shop we found out that for a tiny little piece of this fabric we would be paying almost 20 Euros and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do that.

So we set off again and found a different fabric shop and there we found this beauty.

Finland fabric

Finland fabric

The colors seem especially appropriate to me since blue and white are the colors of the Finnish flag, but also it really strikes me as a place of water and ice.  Another fabric success!

26th July
2011
written by Hazel

We pulled in to Helsinki in the morning and were met from the boat by my friend Tania. She even managed to spot us as we were walking down the long hallway into the terminal. Apparently she first noticed our backpacks and then was sure it was us because Justin was wearing his “pirate hat.”  (click the link and scroll down if you want to see the hat.)  And this is what she would expect from someone who married me! I was still so excited to see her and to introduce Justin and we had a wonderful three days hanging out and getting to know her awesome boyfriend Lauri.

Lauri, Tania, and Justin

Lauri, Tania, and Justin

We spent a lot of time walking around the city and just chatting and catching up. Tania knows a lot about Finland and knows all of the good places to go, so she was a wonderful tour guide.

Fountain in downtown Helsinki

Fountain in downtown Helsinki

(more…)

25th July
2011
written by Hazel

As we were out and about doing our chores to get ready for dance camp, we happened to walk right by a fabric shop.  And inside we found this little beauty!

Swedish Fabric

Swedish Fabric

So not much of a story to this one…but we love, love, love the design!

23rd July
2011
written by Hazel

We were sad that the dance camp was over, but not for long because the next leg of our trip was one that we were really looking forward to!  One of my close friends from high school is living in Helsinki, Finland with her boyfriend and we got to go and see her!!!  But this post isn’t about that yet because we had several bus rides, a subway ride, and an overnight ferry to take in order to get there.  We left Herrang in the morning after the camp was over and arrived in Helsinki about 24 hours later.

Excited to go and see my friend!!!

Excited to go and see my friend!!!

(more…)

22nd July
2011
written by admin
Herrang Sign

Herräng Sign

Each summer, the tiny town of Herräng becomes the swing dancing capital of the world. Hazel and I had both wanted to attend the camp for several years before but actually getting to Sweden for weeks on end in the summer was always too difficult. This year, we made sure to go by setting up our Europe itinerary such that we’d end up there at the right time! (more…)

21st July
2011
written by admin

After lounging around in the Copenhagen first class lounge it was finally time to go to Sweden. The train ride was uneventful, but we could notice a change already – there was no free chocolate on the Swedish trains! I suppose this was offset, though, by the free internet access provided to first class customers.

We arrived in Stockholm and tried to find our hostel, called Interhostel. A few things got in our way, though; first thing was that we weren’t able to find the street we needed when we left the station! It turned out that we got off at the wrong level of the station. This taught us our first lesson about Stockholm: the bridges are very important! Eventually we found our way to the side of the station and looked down on a cross street 100 feet below, which turned out to be the one we wanted. Anyway, we took this road for a while (in fact until it changed names) but the next turn was nowhere to be found! We were beginning to get a little weary at this point, but we pressed on along the new road and found our turn after two more blocks. We were relieved at this point because the hostel was less than a block away.

Interhostel was a pretty nice place. The beds were comfortable and spacious, the hostel was cheap, and our room was nearly empty the whole time we were there. Of course in Scandinavia the norm is to charge travelers for bed linens (we used our sleep sacks), which was a little unusual to us, but on the whole we approved.

Our Bunk At Interhostel

Our Bunk At Interhostel

(more…)

19th July
2011
written by Hazel
Castle in the park

Castle in the park

After a very full day of seeing Denmark we made it back to Copenhagen and headed to our hostel. We didn’t have any trouble finding it and quickly got settled in. The place was called Generator Hostel and I have to say that I had some mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it was very clean, very new, had wonderful comfortable beds, only 4 people per room, a bathroom for each dorm room, some of the beds were not bunk beds, and it was decorated really nicely. Those are some pretty big positives. But there was a strange vibe to it. They didn’t allow you to bring in any outside food and there was no kitchen facility. In a country where a sandwich routinely costs about $10, it was very annoying to not be able to stock up at a cheaper grocery store and eat in. The hostel of course had a bar that sold food ($11 for breakfast!), and they were doing their very best to get you to spend money there. The other thing was that they advertised wi-fi, but in reality, the only place you could access it was in this same bar area. It made me feel as though they were quite desperate for me to spend money there. But all in all, the comfy bed made up for a lot.

Hostel in Copenhagen (my bed!)

Hostel in Copenhagen (my bed!)

(more…)

Previous
  • You are currently browsing the Justin and Hazel Around the World blog archives for July, 2011.