A Travellerspoint blog

The Road to Amsterdam!

(2/34 Countries)

sunny 22 °C
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Dale and I made it up for our early morning rise and by 3:30am were well on our way to Amsterdam! We followed a camper van most of the way there josiling for postitions along the route and were amused to see them in Rotterdam at the other end! The Journey was really quick to Harwich and after discovering it is the only port in the world with no fast food AKA McDonalds we pitched up in a carpark and made ourselves a nice cup of tea and some breakfast.
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We were loaded onto the ferry quickly and were able to get a table near the front which I am sure helped with my seasickness as I didn’t get any! The Journey was so long and boring! I did try to sleep twice but was not able to due to the noise and the not so comfortable seating which was on offer alas the Journey was soon over and we were on our Way to Amsterdam via Rotterdam. Rotterdam was full of greenhouses I have never seen things so big in all my life! But it did make for a nice passing visit enroute!
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First off we decided to see if Dale’s apartment was still open and his apartment. When the key opened the door and we were met by an unfurbished dimly lit staircase it all looked promising. However the woman in the kitchen who was there when Dale opened the front door upstairs probably wouldn’t have been too pleased had she of seen us!
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So time for plan B and we had seen a campsite on the internet so headed in its direction and were lucky enough to find that they had availability for our tent (not car though). Poor Chitty had to be left by the Dyke which we were told by the campsite was banned but we found out the next day there isn’t much they can do about it (after we paid on day two for a parking space at the camp site GRRRR). Before we knew it our tent was up…in the wrong zone (my bad) and we were sipping on some of the finest tea we had on offer :D
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So when in Amsterdam one must experience the Red light district at night and that is exactly what we did heading into the centre of town and to Dam square to look at the palace and some friendly protestors! From here we went window shopping for a Lady…and that is literally how blatant it is I was amazed! I had heard about it but didn’t realise it would be quite like it was. Scantily clad women in shop windows with a bed and clinical sink in the room with them selling various ‘services’ and various prices. I was surprised how nice all the young ladies looked though there was none of this corner girl junkie look going on and they all appeared to be in good shape. We then found ourselves on the other side of the red light District and by the Sex Erotic Museum! This was really good and well worth the €5 entry even just to sit on the giant penis!

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Dale wanted to get some Amnesia Haze weed so we went to his favourite store from his time in Amsterdam and he brought a gram. We then went back to ZeeBurg Campsite and had a beer…and Dale had a smoke. I thought how nice it smelt and definitely not the same as the stuff I have seen in the UK.
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We were hoping for an early night but a campsite which looked more like a gypsy encampment than a family park (as it was adversised) kept the party going long into the night. At 2:30am people started to shout at those still going to ‘Shut the f**k up!’. It seemed to work and we woke up at about 7am.

Next was Museum day I am currently writhing this from a Coffeeshop (not that kind) right next to the Anne Frank Museum. The coffee was really nice as was the Bagel but they clearly lied about internet access as the WiFi will connect but doesn’t work so I am hence sticking this in word for uploading later. The Anne Frank house was well worth a look and a terrifying reminder of the terrors one human being can bestow upon another. I truly hope that this is never something that has to happen again! We felt the museum would be a good stop before Auschwitz, in Poland. Next we are off to the Heiniken museum! Hopefully there will be lots of beer tasting!
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Posted by LizaBrooks 07:54 Archived in Netherlands Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

LEAVING TOMORROW

www.justgiving.com/34countries28days

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Well we're packed and ready to go. Just in the process of loading up our trusty steed! I will try and keep this blog as updated as possible while we are away with lots of pictures.

We've also sent off a press release so hopefully we'll be in the papers while we're away getting lots of donations for Bath RUH NICU! Thanks to everyone for all their help and support in the run up to this and also to our sponsors to date! Thanks to Mum and Dad for selling us the cheap car and also to Bathwick Tyres Chippenham for giving it the once over before we left...Oh and to Dale's mate up the road for checking it out when we thought it had all gone wrong.

Don't forget to keep watching here and please subscribe! If your on Twitter then add me Liza_Brooks where I'll be updating whenever we've got wifi!

Posted by LizaBrooks 09:01 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged preparation Comments (0)

7 DAYS LEFT - ROAD TRIP

www.34countries28days.wordpress.com


View Liza Mission to Visit EVERY country in Europe this year! on LizaBrooks's travel map.

Wow I can't believe how quickly this has come around! This time next week Dale and I will be on the Ferry on our way to Amsterdam for the first stop on our mammoth tour of Europe! I am starting to get REALLY excited about it all.

Following a few days in Amsterdam we will be heading over to Copenhagen and then on to Stockholm. I've copied in the original itinerary here but this has not changed as we are leaving a day earlier due to cheap ferries.

Road Trip country List 30th of July to 27th August

UK
France
Belgium
Netherlands
Germany
Denmark
Sweden
Finland
Estonia
Latvia
Lithuania
Poland
Slovakia
Ukraine
Hungary
Romania
Moldova
Bulgaria
Greece
Turkey
Macedonia
Albania
Montenegro
Serbia
Bosnia
Croatia
Slovenia
Italy
San Marino
Monaco
Switzerland
Liechtenstein
Austria
Luxembourg

This is a total of 34 countries in 28 days!

Day 1-30th July : Leaving the UK travelling to Amsterdam via Ferry from Harwich at midnight. Sleep on ferry. Spend day in Amsterdam and then party that night.
ACTION: Book Ferry
Outward

Day 2-31st July: morning in Amsterdam hungover then leave for Copenhagen 8 hr journey time travelling through Germany. Will be arriving late so spend the night in Copenhagen.

Day 3-1st August: spend the day in Copenhagen visiting the town. Leave late for Stockholm 7hr journey time. Remember dark till late so will be ok pitching tent :D

Day 4-2nd August: spend the day in Stockholm. Get the ferry to Helsinki over night ☺

Day 5-3rd Spend the day and night in Helsinki

Day 6-4th August: Leave early for Tallinn

Day 7-5th August: Spend the morning at the beach in Tallinn then drive to Lahemaa National park. Go rafting or something and camp overnight.

Day 8-6th August: Leave early and drive to Sigulda in Latvia and go for Bobsled ride. Camp night here.

Day 9-7th August: Drive all the way to Oswiecim (concentration camps) Poland. 15hr drive. Camp overnight near by. Big Road Trip day!

Day 10-8th August: Spend the morning exploring Oswiecim. Then head down to Bratislava Slovakia and onto Budapest Hungary, spend the night there.

Day 11-9th Slack day (making up or if decided to stop elsewhere)

Day 12-10th August: Massive road trip day! Going to Chsinau in Moldova via the Ukraine. Spend the night here recovering.

Day 13-11th August: Spend the morning recovering from the long drive and explore the town. Drive down into Romania and stay along the coast for the night. Approx 7hr journey time.

Day 14-11th August: Leave early and head down to Burgas in Bulgaria 5hr drive. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach there and spend the night.

Day 15-12th August: Leave early and head down to Istanbul. Guessing about a 5hr drive. Need a visa pay on entry to the country. Spend the afternoon exploring Istanbul. Spend the night here.

Day 16-13th August: Spend the Morning in Istanbul and leave for Greece. Camp overnight as far as we want to travel this day. This splits up the long drive to Macedonia (not a huge distance but guessing bad roads). Roughly 8hrs?

Day 17-14th August: Travelling through Greece and into Macedonia and then staying on the Okhrid Lake for the night. Spend the afternoon and evening at the Lake. Roughly 7hrs?

Day 18-15th August: Massive Road Trip! travel through Albania to Montenegro and up into Serbia. From here drop down into Bosnia and spend the evening and night in Sarajevo. Approx 16 hr.

Day 19-16th August: Leave early and drive down to Split in Croatia. This is a beach resort so spend the afternoon here enjoying the sunshine. Stay overnight

Day 20-17th August: Spend the morning driving up North of Croatia and spend the night in Rijeka.

Day 21-18th August: Leave early and drive through Slovenia and into Italy. Drive down to San Marino 5hr drive. Spend the afternoon exploring San Marino and take a ride up the mountain in the gondolas. Spend the night around here.

Day 22-19th August: drive over to Genoa Via PISA. 5hrs. Stay the night with Corrado and take his advice on places to go and people to see. Slack day kind of

Day 23-20th August: Leave early drive over to Monaco, Nice and Cannes spend the night around this area.

Day 24-21st August: Leave early and head up to Geneva via a stop in Milan to visit Santa Maria delle Grazie where the Painting of the last supper is. The travel time to Geneva is approximately 5.5 hrs so intend on spending the evening and night in Geneva. During the evening you can see the fountain and things.

Day 25-22nd August: Spend the morning in Geneva then Leave drive into Liechtenstein 4hrs journey time if time permits head over the boarder and into Austria spend the night around this area.

Day 26-23rd August: Get up early and drive up to Luxembourg 6hrs. This will be an all round very scenic drive. Spend he night in Luxembourg.

Day 27-24th August: Drive home via Brussels! Approximately 8.5hr drive time so if we leave early can stop for lunch in Brussels and then be home in time for tea!

What's pretty cool is this will make my total percentage of the world I have been to up to 15%! Nice!

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Posted by LizaBrooks 01:25 Archived in Netherlands Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Tunis - Tunisia and beyond

I don't really know who fleeced who to be honest?

sunny 38 °C
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After an invite from Ieu to visit him in Tunisia where he teaches English and a first class ticket for a weekend under £200 I would have been silly to turn him down! With the weather in the high thirties everyday It was definitely set to be a good weekend even if it was spent lazing by the pool!

The Flight

Ok so to start with my flight with TunisAir was delayed by 45mins and unlike any other airline I have travelled with in the past they were in no rush at all to make that time up by a quick departure turnaround. The fact that I was flying 'premier class' and there was no lounge either wasn't exactly great. On the flight I did get a proper glass and cutlery for the meal which was pretty gross and no choice on the outbound flight - not even a veggi option!

I arrived at Tunis without to many problems. Needed to be screened for Swine flu upon arrival which was quite exciting and then got moaned at by the man at immigration as I didnt know the address of where I was staying but I managed to wing it and made it through anyway.

Ieu and his sister were there to meet me which was nice and I came bearing the Gin they had asked me to pick up for them from the airport although I am not entirely convinced it was a fantastic deal :-s

Tunis

We got a taxi into town and I experienced the medina! a massive market where loads of people are trying to sell you things. I quickly learned that sunglasses were essential so they could not see you looking at any of their things and then see that as an open opportunity...you looked at it your buying it! We found some smaller shops near the mosque... (which I refused to pay go knows what to get in) and there was a man trying to sell us things. As I was sporting quite a but of a tan already and Ieu was also looking as good as Tunisia he thought I was half tunisan with Green eyes..where the green came from I don't know as I have blue eyes but it might have gone some way to explaining why I didn't get hasseled too badly which was nice.
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After the medina and some token pictures but Little Mo, we experienced our first proper fleecing where a taxi driver purposely took us the wrong way to Carthage and drove really slowly whilst chatting to Ieu acting like he was being friendly. Needless to say the guy didn't get a tip and had some stern looks from me!

The entry for the temple was damn expensive and you had to pay for a camera. I was also pretty pissed that in my second fleecing for the day they wouldn't accept my student ID saying I needed a green one! Rubbish people and my french wasn;t quite good enough to shout at them and argue. The views from Carthage were pretty sweet though and it was an enjoyable look around non the less. Stray desert dog included which got pretty scared when I started taking photos of him.
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From here a much nicer taxi driver took us to the swanky party of Town La Marsa. The beach here was well nice and the views were stunning. There were lots of nicely toned bodies wandering around (males I mean) and optimum perving oppertunitues... Sadly as I was a female in a bikini and Ieu aside (who I already said looked tunisian) the only westoner on the beach got perved at about 10 fold myself. There were quite a few looks and some men came over asking for a light for a cigarette from Ieu but clearly had a lighter themselves but I guess it could be worse and I wasn't ashamed.
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After La Marsa and another honest taxi driver we were off to Sidi Bou Said - where Ieu used to work as an english teacher. All of the buildings here are which with blue window frames and it makes for an all round pretty place. Good food too I can highly second the lonely planets recommendation of Tam Tam which has been fooding since 1998 :-p
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Hanging out at the pool

Being in a family home with a pool was AWESOME. With the hot weather a cool dip was even something the family dog embraced. The pool was really nice and great for sun bathing. There were quite a lot of files around it though but so long as you were careful you avoided the mosquitoes which didn't come out till dusk. The pool highlight for me was jumping in fully clothed after one of the kids dared me to and I 'lost' my sunglasses only to find them the next day at the bottom of the pool.
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There was also a Lizard which was by the computer in the office.

Mission to El Jem

This really was a mission and a 3hr train ride. We opted for the Comfort class which was higher than first class and boy were we glad we did as at least we had air con and on our arrival we realised that being close to 50deg outside the aircon was definately a blessing.
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The attraction of El Jem is the huge colosseum there which although not in the same condition as the one in Rome what is there is orginial so you got more of a sense of history than the one in Rome. The underground areas which would have housed the slaves and the animals were also still intact and really nice to walk around.
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Included in the entry which was a lot more reasonable that the entry for Carthage was the museum for El Jem. There were lots of great mosaics here but as the return train to Tunis was due shortly we didn't really have time to waste here.

We rushed back to the station and got caught up in what can only be described as a complete polava! The train for Tunis arrived and didn't open the doors. Everyone was confused even the locals and pretty much everyone missed the train us included as we literally didnt realise we needed to get on that one. This wouldn't have been so bad if a) it hadn't of been almost 50deg an b) the next train wasn't a 4 hour wait! Proper rubbish! and kinda spoiled the day a bit as we had already been inside the colosseum and museum so couldn't get in again for another more leisurely walk around. We sat there in the heat and enjoyed the company of locals in the town...some of which were more welcoming than others. There were a group of three teenage boys at the train station who played with themselves while looking at me which was pretty gross and another did it while walking down the street. It wasn;t really that suprising though as there were no women around at all we only saw one local let alone tourist.

I decided to visit some of the local sellers and do some haggling. This was great fun and I think I nearly made some of the sellers cry. I got a olive wood drum down from 35TD to 10TD which was an absolute bargain as it wasn't exactly small! AWESOMENESS. We then managed to get two of the small hand drums, one for 2 TD and the other for 1.750TD! This was great again and a fab deal for us I couldn't help but think it had made up somewhat for the fleecing of the Taxi drivers the day before.

El Jem is defo worth the mission but be warned train times are infrequent and as we found out on the return Journey even if you pay for the highest level class doesn't mean you will get a seat!

STATISTICS
Taxi Drivers to fleece me:3
Sellers I made cry:2
Men to touch themselves over the sight of me in bikini:4
Pancakes eaten:3

Posted by LizaBrooks 08:13 Archived in Tunisia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Summer Solstice

Well its only down the road in Avebury but its in the Rough guide making the most out of your time on earth!

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Broadening my horizons and I decided to attend the summer solctice at the stone circle at Avebury. Not as mainstream as stonehenge but lots of local people and friends I have not seen for AGES!

I went with my friends Steve and Ieu, and we decided to park over in Cherhill and walk over to the stones. The main reason being Steve didn't want his car getting clamped in the village. 4.5mile walk roughly but we arrived at the camp site where there were other friends waiting at 9:30pm. We headed over to the stone circle and watched a traditional display with fire and people were wearing costumes. It was quite impressive.

The crowd started to build up a bit so we decided to venture up on to the brow of a hill surrounding the circle. This was great as it gave a overhead view of the whole proceedings and as it got darker more and more people were playing with fire and lights on ploys???

Dann, Kyle, Becky and Beav had their own set and some long exposure and fill in flash made for some really exciting photos from the event. They were first playing with lights and then fire which was really impressive. The most pretty display was when Kyle made a flower on the delayed shutter.
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We headed back to the campsite and chatted for a while and drank some beers. It started to get cold so we retreated into Kyles tent which he was willing to share with the rest of us. :D Dann then got his camp cooker stove out nand warmed some delicious pain au chocolat! Dann=my new personal hero!

The night passed and we went back up to the stone circle to watch the sunrise. Sadly it was pretty cloudy so there wasn't anything all to spectacular but it was a great atmosphere and there was a man that had fallen into a ditch which added a bit of excitement to the evening!

The long wet walk back to the car wasn't great but I'd defo do it all again next year!

Posted by LizaBrooks 23:41 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged educational Comments (2)

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