December Break Trip…4 Countries, 4 Cities and 10 days.

On December 1st my friends Erica, Annie, Luke and I flew off to London. London was an amazing city. For one thing everything is in English oh how I missed English. You really don’t realize it till you can understand everything and just talk normal to people. The taxi’s are like old cars and the busses are the double decker busses like they should be in London. Our hostel was right next to Hyde Park and there was a big Christmas festival going on. It was nice to see all the Christmas things and for it to be chilly. It felt like home more than Spain ever did. We saw Big Ben which is amazing and we saw West Minster Abbey where there are the bodies of  Locke and Dickens along with royalty of England. And of course where the royalty get married like Prince William and Kate. We saw Buckingham Palace of course and it was actually a let down. It is so small compared to what I thought it would be or even compared to Palace of Versailles. Then on our walking tour we saw the Palace of the Queens son Prince Charles and the actual address of the Queen- the Palace at St. James Street. That was even worse because literally was like a big house/ barn thing.  We saw the Eye of London and the red phone booths. The London bridge and the Tower bridge were really cool. In Hyde park we saw a lot of wild life including ducks, pigeons, dogs, squirrels and horses. There are even horse trails in Hyde park cool huh? Yea. The night before our early morning flight we went to a hotel right next to the airport. It had good enough wifi that I got to skype my mom!

Then we jetted of to Amsterdam the well known city of legal prostitution and legalized weed. Well the city is actually much smaller than I though ti would be. I’m not kidding when I say we walked the whole city it one day. We saw the old Palace of the royalty and all the little streets and river ways. It was also interesting to see Anne Frank’s house which was actually only the hiding spot during the war but very informative and well kept. There wasn’t really anything in there but all the history and stories were shared with the public. It was a sad part of the day knowing what they went through and how bad WWII was. There was one of the Occupy groups in Amsterdam when we were there. It was really cold too. In fact I bought a hat and scarf to stay warm. Coming from Upstate NY one would think I would be accustomed to the cold but nope! This cold was different like bone chilling cold and I had layers on too. I don’t know what it is about Northern Europe but winter is a bad time to visit if you hate the cold. Our hotel was right next to the Red Light District. It was interesting to see that it literally is a part of the city with red lights above the doors with girl in them. Also, another thing is that the streets in this part of the city smell like straight up weed. No joke the cafes just have the doors open and there are people smoking away. We did learn though that only 5% of people from Amsterdam or Holland in general smoke weed. So people, its the tourist that make it so popular for weed. Amsterdam is a very relaxed city that had Christmas markets and the Heineken Factory and the I amsterdam sign. I saw the mini one and it was cool. And this is also the city where our friend Maggie joined us!

Next stop Berlin. Berlin was colder than Amsterdam believe it or not. Our hostel was in East Berlin near the East Side Gallery. That is one of things we saw too. It is  a part of the Berlin wall that is still up and people have made art on it for whatever purpose they like. It was really cool to see what people had created. We also saw the square where all the embassies are. Before arriving at this plaza I found DUNKIN DONUTS! And you better believe I had a Carmel Latte. Yumm it was so amazing! Anyway back to Berlin. We also saw the block where there is a momument to the Jews who died in WWII. It takes up a good square block and it is a lot of different sized rectangular blocks in rows. We saw Check Point Charlie and looked at West Berlin then continued the other direction. In all the cities we go to there are free tours that we go on and they are actually really good. So we never actually saw anything in West Berlin but when we were at the East Side Gallery we crossed the line just to say we made it. Berlin is such a big city that I bet some people never see West Berlin and it kind of reminds me of when the wall was up and they said you can’t go over there. Obviously it’s not the same but even today it’s possible not to cross that line. There is a lot of history in East Berlin and maybe West Berlin doesn’t have that much history I don’t know. It was a good time with more Christmas markets that had homemade German food. There was Mulled wine-hot wine that was amazing- and potato pancakes. And Erica got a German boyfriend that gave us free donut hole things and wrote her a note. We saw the outside of all the cool museums in Berlinon Museum Island as it is so properly named. And one museum named the Pergamon Museum has the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gates of Babylon. This museum is basically stolen things from other countries in the past. The next day we went to a comcentration camp about an hour outside Berlin. It was a sad day. Although this wasn’t a major camp it still was a place where people died and were murdered. I learned things I probably never really wanted to know but that is the history of WWII and unfortunately Germany as well. Later that night we got lost on the subway and were finally on the right train and being students and knowing that no one checks the tickets we never bought one. It isn’t like London or NYC where you need a ticket to get it, there simply isn’t a place to check tickets. Well we were on the wrong train at the wrong time and got caught without tickets. It was a 40 Euro fine for each of us. That was a horrible time right there people yelling at you in German and being like what? I don’t understand you. But we paid it and bought a ticket to get to our hostel and life was good. Well we were our 40 Euro but what can you do?

Last stop Brussels. It literally was just like a long layover in Brussels. We were there for not even 24 hours but boy did we see and do a lot. We saw the famous peeing boy which really was just stupid. Again went to again Christmas market in the morning. Ate delicious Belgium waffles that were like heaven on your tongue. We saw the old Palace of Belgium…damnnnnn is all I have to say. They knew how to build a Palace. BEST PALACE I’VE SEEN YET! It was huge like almost triple the size of the Palace of Versailles. IT had views of the city that were just beautiful at sunset. It is now used as the Hall of Justice and Court System and is also being re-furnished, or re-built or re-structured I don’t know the right word. It’s funny how when you don’t use English that much you forget words or sometimes even how to talk. Anyway after that we saw some more gardens. Like I said Europeans love their gardens and they are all beautiful. Then we saw yet another PALACE. It too was incredible. To be honest most buildings in Brussels could be Palaces compared to other Palaces I’ve seen. Brussels is also the home to the head of the EU and it also speaks French and Finnish, neither of which I know. That night we saw a light show and went to another Christmas market. There are a lot of churches in Brussels that are all amazing, big and decorative. Did you know that french fries come from Belgium? Yea I didn’t either. We tried the french fries and they were really good too! Then we hung out a 2 bars for the night. Our flight was at 6 am and there was no point in getting a hostel since our bus for the airport left at 4am and the fact that we had one but there was a mix up and we are students so cheap is always the way to go. We cherry beer and I don’t like beer but this was one of the best drinks I’ve had in Europe, besides that mulled wine I tell you. We finally get going back to Alicante and pass out on the plane as to the point where we don’t remember take off. Then we got home about 10am and I slept straight on through till 6pm at night. I was exhausted.

That ended one of the best trips I’ve taken and believe it or not all my flights were less than 30 Euro! Yupp 30 Euro! I travelled with a good group of friends and there wasn’t a problem in the world. We left our Spanish life for 10 days and had an amazing, cold but amazing trip. But it was still nice to be in the warmth again.

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