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Slept briefly (only a few hours) last night as we were up early so I could get my SNS nails removed. The boys stayed back at home and drank coffee whilst the four of us walked to the end of Java Island to get croissants for breakfast and other errands. We bought the freshest croissants as they had just come out of the oven and were still warm!
After relaxing for a while, we walked to the Amsterdam zoo and it’s attached museum on microbes called Micropia.
Today is our last full day on our holiday. We had a leisurely breakfast of fresh bread and ham, cheese and tomatoes. (Cheese count: 22)
We walked back to the centre of Amsterdam to a second hand market that is meant to be amazing. The problem was that it was very windy with constant 40km/hr winds and a lot of that stall holders didn't set up. This was fine as we just meandered passed all the canals until we found ourselves at the flower market.
Today was a sleep in day whilst Jip's mother was at work. We showered and started the dreaded packing of the suitcases. We managed to fit everything with minimal space remaining. When Jips mother got home, we had lunch and then his dad came and got us for our last journey to Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam, we had some snacks at home prior to walking to Central Station to get the free ferry across to North Amsterdam for dinner.
Slept well for a few hours before showering and having breakfast. Jip's mum bought me a special cheese with truffles through it so I just had to have some on some fresh bread! (Cheese count: 22). It was very tasty.
Jip and I rode our bicycles into Wijchen city centre and went to the local book store and I bought some Dutch grammar books to improve my understanding of the language.
Early wake up for our B&B breakfast that we had to pay extra for; I thought the meaning of a B&B was breakfast included!
It was a worthwhile breakfast of fresh rolls, cheeses, homemade apricot jam and soft boiled egg each. (Cheese count: 21)
We put everything in the car in its usual orderly fashion. Jips bags in the boot with my backpack on top, my suitcase standing up on the backseat and our coats hanging up on the other seat.
Today was our first day we left accommodation before eating! I found a lake close by that we decided to have breakfast at and it was definitely worth it! Surrounded by pine trees , mossy rocks and ducks going under the water for the fish. We had the remainder of our smoked salmon and cheese on bread with grape juice.
We hit the road and was sad to see Norway in the rear mirror!
Got up today and it was cloudy with a chance of rain on the forecast. We had some breakfast including Norwegian cheese (cheese count: 18) and put on our new coats. We first walked towards the Opera centre. It is a beautiful white marble building that has an enormous slanted roof from the ground do you can walk up it and admire the view of the old part of Oslo on the other side of the harbour.
After such a late night, we both slept well until 9-9.30am. We had some of our usual breakfast and packed our things. I walked and got the car then we piled in and headed for our next destination; Norway.
It was a beautiful day, sunny with fluffy clouds and 18 degrees. We briefly had the air conditioner on in the car! Towards Norway, there are many lakes that you pass with the beautiful red wooden houses surrounded by pine trees.
Started early today and had a quick breakfast before heading back to the central Train Station. We were getting a regional train to Uppsala to look around the city that Jip studied at. It was an express train and we were in Uppsala in 38 minutes.
We did a quick walk through the centre of town before Jip went to his old university faculty to meet with a friend whilst I roamed the city.
Hardly slept last night as my back was irritating me but I managed to fall asleep around 4 to 5am. In falling asleep so late, I obviously slept in until 10.30am and still felt tired. It was a wonderful day outside, sunny and a top of 17 degrees. We had some breakfast of cream cheese and tomato on bagels before heading out.
We got the train to central station and walked to city hall so we could do the tower tour as we were too late yesterday.
We had a little sleep in today (9am), my back had seized up again, and had a leisurely breakfast of fresh bread rolls with Swedish cheese and smoked ham (cheese count: 17).
With our new SL public transport cards, we hopped on our local tram into Gullmarsplan Station to get our connecting train to Gamla Stan. Gamla Stan is the old town of Stockholm that is filled with history, orange and mustard coloured buildings and windy cobblestone streets.
Alarm woke us up at 7am. I was awake most of the night, constantly checking the time in case we slept in!
I started off the driving in Copenhagen and it was raining but not heavy enough for the wipers continuously; it was annoying rain. We went over another long bridge, several kilometres long, and had another toll booth that was even more expensive than the last and cost $74 roughly.
Early rise at 7am for our long journey ahead. We had a quick breakfast and packed our fruit and luggage into the Fiat. We drove out of the village onto the freeway and joined the peak hour morning traffic (about fifty cars) and headed for the German border.
Jip was driving first and then I took over after two hours. Just before my two hours were up, we were in Hamburg and it was lunch time.
Had some very quick breakfast around 10.45am (cheese count: 15) as the first race for the Italian MotoGP started at 11am.
I stayed on the couch until the end of the third and final race which concluded at 3pm.
Whilst I was glued to the TV, Jip and his mum went grocery shopping for some fruit and snacks to take for tomorrow's drive. They got some berries, red and white grapes and speculaas balls covered in chocolate (usually eaten at Christmas).
Up at 8am and had to wait for the shower as there were four of us this morning!.
Bram (Jip's brother) and his girlfriend Eva arrived at 9.30am and we piled in the back of their car. Saskia (Jip's mum) and Wytske (Jips other brother's girlfriend) were in the other car with Lotje the dog.
We drove to a fishing village near Amsterdam called Volendam. Volendam is a big touristy fishing village that surprisingly wasn't too much of a tourist trap as the yearly carnival was on so all the locals were in full swing!
Had a well deserved sleep in and missed breakfast. We were hoping to have a family brunch at a place recommended by one of Jip's friends but we ended up going to a restaurant in Noord-Amsterdam at lunchtime.
The restaurant was right on the harbour with all the prestigious yachts and it served up delicious food. I had the bitterballen for entree and a fresh tuna Poké bowl with yummy seaweed salad, grated carrot, cubed cucumber and edamame.
Early morning start today with a 7am alarm startling me.
We all had some breakfast before walking Layla to school and seeing what her classroom and teacher are like. It is very similar to primary schools back in Australia in layout of the rooms and the amount of children in each class. Jip and I walked to the other side of Java Island to get on the tram to take us to Spiegelgracht, the closest stop to the museums.
Bit of a sleep in finally! We woke to the sound of rain outside which was lovely but at the same time disappointing as we were going out in that weather!
Our first stop was Central Station to the ‘I Amsterdam’ store to purchase our ‘I Amsterdam’ card which gets us into a lot of museums and the use of public transport within the city. It was pricey at €74 for 48 hours but if you’re dedicated to visiting different museums and using the buses/trams, it is worth the money.
Did not sleep until after 4am as I had severe abdominal pain and nausea. I ended up pacing the lounge room for a while.
We got up early to collect Bram from the Amsterdam train station before we went on our adventure. Our first stop was along the Afsluitdijk, the dam that has protected the Netherlands from the open ocean since 1933. It runs for 32km and was built by hand at the time - it took 13 years to construct and it’s leading engineer, Cornelia Lely, died in 1929 before it’s completion.
Today we leisurely got up and had breakfast downstairs before Saskia went to dog training with the Labrador puppy. Jip and I went into the city centre by bike but unfortunately, it was raining lightly and we got damp (not wet).
We went to Vodafone as my SIM card (that I paid a lot of money for) only gave me two weeks of usage but we explicitly stated that we wanted something for a month.
First day I’ve managed a sleep in and felt pretty refreshed.
Today was just a lazy day before heading to Amsterdam tomorrow. We had a late breakfast of various cheeses and bread before going on a walk with the young Labrador, Lotje. We walked alongside the lake before taking a new route passed the local farm that sells fresh vegetables and eggs directly to the public on specific days. On Sunday’s, mostly everything is closed or only open for a few hours after lunch.
Woke up in near perfect darkness as we had wonderful black out curtains in our room. We had our fresh rolls and salami/leverworst and got ready for our outing with Dries and Sigrid (Jip’s friends from his studies in Sweden). We met them at Dries’ place before the four of us piled in to the small Fiat. Dries was in charge of navigation and we weren’t off to a great start, having gone in a different direction and with me accidentally driving on the wrong side of the road.
Woke up to my last few hours in Luxembourg. I went downstairs for the breakfast and everything was gone except some yoghurt and cereal. I asked if they had anymore bread and the lady said she could get some. It happened to be that they got fresh bread from the local bakery. I had two rolls with peach jam and butter. I had all my bags packed and I did the quick walk to the car, loaded it and took off on my way to get Jip from Lille.
The morning airplanes woke me today which was fine as I wanted today to be a positive one. We had a complimentary breakfast of croissants and yoghurt before I braved the weather outside. It was still raining but this time, I had the umbrella.
I got on the bus and went into the city centre. At 10am I got to the sightseeing bus area and just missed the first hop on hop off bus.
Wow, what a day.
I was anticipating it to be a smooth day transiting to Luxembourg but was I wrong. Writing this now at the end of day I can have a bit of a giggle but at the time I wanted to run back to Belgium (easy enough to do considering its 25km to the border).
I woke up with a moderate headache, my first headache in weeks so I quickly took my medication and some panadol before opening up the curtains.
I was most unsettled last night and I’m getting into a routine of waking at 4.30am and staying awake. I eventually got up at 7am and started to get ready for my big day ahead. At the train station, it cost €30 for a return ticket to Bruges and I made my way to platform 15 for the Oostende train. I had to do some research prior as to which platform and line I should get because at 7.
Up early today so Jip could get to his conference on time. I looked on Google for opening times for local museums and the Royal Palace but everything didn’t open until 2pm. I dropped Jip off at his conference centre on the other side of town and headed for Brussels.
About 30 minutes into the trip within the Belgium border, I stopped at a highway service station to eat some breakfast and paid 70 eurocents to use the bathroom.
Today we got up around 9.30am to check out. On Sunday’s there is free street parking so I moved the car and we then went down the end of our street to the local supermarket for cheese and ham (and cheese knife). Opposite the supermarket there was a bakery which had a queue out the front door. They had beautiful pastries and eclairs in the window so we bought a baguette, two butter croissants and two chocolate croissants which were still warm.
Last night Mr Boes the cat woke us up at 4am but this time Jip got up to let him in.
We then rose at 7am, had our breakfast of bread with cheese and hams and packed our lunches for the big drive ahead. I was first up for the drive and it was really wet. It didn’t take us too long to get to the Belgium border but we knew we had changed countries.
I as woken at 12.50am to Boes (family cat) outside the window wanting to be let in. It was easier said than done as I had to take the fly wire off and replace it. After my early wake up call with the cat, we both slept until 9am and lounged for a bit before going downstairs. Saskia had laid out breakfast for us before she went for a walk. I had some of our green pesto cheese and leftover blueberries pancake from yesterday.
Had an amazing nights sleep of 5 hours before waking at 5.30am ready to start my day. Everyone else was still asleep so I dozed for a few more hours before rising. After getting dressed, Jip’s mother made Blauwe Bessen pannenkoeken (blueberries pancakes) for breakfast using almond and coconut meal; it was delicious and filling. Jip stayed home whilst Saskia and I took the neighbours dog for a walk around the lake that is near her housing estate.
Managed to stay awake for our Uber driver at 1am.
We were swiftly driven to the airport and went through the business class line to drop off our bags. Jip's case weighed 19.8kg whereas I had 17kg exact.
Once our bags were dropped off we thought we would make a quick entrance in through the departure gate for the Emirates Lounge. Boy, was I wrong. The departure gate was completely closed until 3am despite check in opening at 1.
Slept in until 9.30!! Got dressed and we walked to the main shopping centre. I exchanged some US dollars into Qatari Riyal (I was told in Australia that they accept USD but they don't). I looked in some stores for a pair of flat ballet shoes but the biggest size was 41 and I'm a 43.
We managed to flag down a taxi and we traveled to Katara Cultural Centre and Market.
I got up at 4.30am to make sure that I wouldn't sleep in!! I said good bye to my travel buddy Emma and made my way to Kings Cross Station to get the tube to Heathrow. The station shutters were meant to open at 5am. At 5.30am, someone finally opened them so I had to fly down two escalators to get the train on time. I got off at Heathrow terminal 4 and checked in.
We slept through our alarm again! We were aiming to get up at 6am but we woke up at 7.30am. It didn't really make any difference as we were still running early anyway. I was awake most of the night as I heard a crash at 3am. I thought that Emma had rolled out of bed.. But, part of the roof near the front door had collapsed as we had a water leak!
Today I hassled reception very early about my luggage; at 10.30am they finally delivered my bag! The waiter in the breakfast room saw that I was relieved about retrieving my bag so he made me a cappuccino, he was so lovely. I was able to change clothes and finally throw out some shoes that had died from the Roman rain. We booked a hop in hop off bus tour that left from the main street opposite St.
Today was the first day that Emma and I have been able to sleep in. We got up and 9-9.30am to the sound of the rain outside and made our way to breakfast. It was an amazing breakfast of savoury and sweet things. I stuffed myself with bocconcini and fresh fruit. We decided to go to the Vatican today as it is predominantly indoors and it was still raining. We walked around to the entrance passed St.
Up early once again to get to Kings Cross station and catch the tube to heathrow terminal 2. We caught the train at 7am so we could check in by 8.05am. So we were getting closer to heathrow and I kept looking a the time and there wasn't a chance that we would get to Heathrow on time. At 8.01am we arrived at Heathrow and ran and ran and ran to get to the check in gate.
Our train departed at 5.40am but, the alarm I set for 4.30am didn't wake us up… At 5.20am I got up, woke Emma and said that we have missed our train as we had to be there at least 30 minutes prior. I was gutted. We quickly got ready and made our way to the station. At the ticket desk, I explained that we missed our train and gave them the boarding passes.
I woke up early… Again. I find it difficult to sleep in whilst staying with 16 other people! Today we stuffed our faces with Vegemite toast for breaky!! We were going to meet Steph after 12 but it was only 11am. We went back to our room and I fell asleep and woke up at 1pm!!! I was so dazed and confused afterwards.
I rang Steph and we decided to meet at Camden Street.
Today we met up with Steph from our Dublin trip and caught the train out to Abbey Road. After about 20 minutes on a train, I suddenly realised that we are on the wrong line and that ‘Abbey Road’ train station is on the opposite side of London to Abbey Road. We caught the train back into the city and on the way, we stopped into a Travelodge hotel where Emma was going to stay after I leave and she booked a room for a few nights.
Today I awoke to the sound of one of my room mates coughing his guts out at 6am. Had a shower in the small bathroom (whilst wearing my thongs) and made my way down to the breakfast area. Although they only supplied toast and cereal, it was a much better spread of things than in Dublin.
Here is a photo of some of my room:
We walked to Kings cross station again and hopped on our tour bus.
Today we got up reasonably late in comparison to other days!! At 9am we were planning out what to do for the next week and a half and we decided to have long showers, pack our bags and try again at the hostel. The breakfast at the hotel was amazing!! It was the first time I'd had a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs and baked beans since I had left home.
Up early again for our 10 hour journey back to London. We grabbed our packed breakfast (bread roll, scone, mandarin, juice and a little chocolate bar) and hopped on the bus at 6.45 am for the 20min drive to the port. The ferry was nearly empty this time, everyone must still be nursing their hangovers! The ferry over was a little bit rough but all of us managed to fit in a couple of hours of sleep.
Today we had a sleep in until 7.45am and our room was the first down to breakfast. I took my tube of Vegemite and we all had bread rolls with Vegemite and/or cheese. We all went back and got ready in our green jumpers and shamrocks. We walked as a big group up to Dame street and we were told to get a window seat in one of the pubs for when the St Patrick's Day parade starts.
I didn't sleep much last night… The others in the room kept me awake so I was awake from 4.30am. At 6.30am, I tried to get ready as 6 girls in one room with one bathroom was going to take a while. I was swiftly instructed to stay in bed. At 7am (with the permission of the QLD girls) I started to get ready to then have breaky downstairs. From a distance, the breakfast appeared yummy; hard boiled eggs, sourdough, tomato and cheese.
Up at 5am wasn't a struggle at all as we were excited about the day ahead! We were on the bus and left at 6.45am
We had a stop along the way to Wales in a town called Keele. All of us were hungry by this stage so we got burgers and chips from Burger King. I also managed to find a fruit stall so I bought two bananas. Back in the bus, I had a 30 minute snooze and when I woke up, we were in Wales!
After going to bed really early last night, I was up at 5am.
For some reason, the hotel staff wouldn't let Emma get breakfast downstairs so I sneaked toast up to our room and we sat and had it with Vegemite!!
We got ready quickly and headed to the underground to get to Baker street. Because we got up early, we made it to Madame Tussaud's by 9am and beat the cues.
Woke up nice and early, boiled the kettle and had a cup of tea to start the day!
Breakfast was provided downstairs and 8am is a little too late as everyone was trying to at at the same time. Headed straight to the station to try and get to Baker Street Station. I bought an Oyster card (London version of a myki) and was informed that I had to get a train to Piccadilly Circus, change to the Bakerloo service and get off at Baker Street.
After Jacqueline kindly drove me to the airport, we said our goodbyes and I went through the departure gate. I made my way to gate 20 (the furthest away) and boarded the first leg to Doha. I stayed awake the first hour as we were given ‘dinner’ at 1.30am. Once dinner was completed, I took a phenergan and slept for a solid 10hrs. I was awoken to a PA announcement asking if anyone of medical background was available.