Frankfurt Day 6 & 7

I took the high speed train to Frankfurt on June 19th. It was really cool — the speedometer went as high as 270 km (or 168 miles!) per hour. I wish we had something like that to travel within Canada. Once I arrived in Frankfurt, my first impression is that it’s like New York City: a major economic centre with lots of luxury shopping.

 Mmm… smells like money! There’s even an established Occupy Wall Street movement set up here. Just like America.

I feel a little romantic about my personal family history visiting Germany. It’s kind of cool to think this is where at least 50% of my heritage is from. I love little things: the chocolates my Oma & Opa always give us at Christmas, the familiar traditional German dishes in restaurants, and the 1/5th of the language I understand ;) I didn’t realize how much of the culture was familiar to me until I got here, and now I’m just excited to experience it in detail

Frankfurt is an instant favourite of mine because it’s a big city. I especially love large cities where the present is juxtaposed over its past. My hometown isn’t old enough or large enough to boast such an interesting city face.

You can see from my photos that the weather wasn’t excellent when I arrived here. It was very cloudy with intermittent rain. This kept me indoors.. where I occupied myself with shopping (ugh I don’t even want to add it up in CAD). Thankfully, the rain relented in the evening, and there was an outdoor food festival going on in the city centre! I had some excellent authentic German cuisine and a huge glass of delicious apple wine!

Hopefully the weather gets a bit nicer the rest of this week!

Brussels Day 4, 5, & 6

Belgium & I started off on the wrong foot, and it took a lot of effort to stay on good terms with the city during my short stay here. I was excited to arrive, because it’s such a beautiful place and I could speak French to my heart’s content, but honestly I’ve never been harassed so much in my life.

In less than 24 hours I was propositioned by two old men (old as in their 50’s and 60’s. So gross!), had my purse grabbed at by feral children wanting cigarettes, and was continuously bothered by dozens of homeless and poor begging on the streets (I really do feel bad for them but I can’t give everyone my coins). Furthermore, the centre of the city where I stayed feels so touristy I might as well be in Disneyland. Outside my hotel, a restaurant was offering a petite dejuner (small breakfast) of 2 croissants, a glass of orange juice and a coffee for $8.50 EU. That seemed a little insane to me, so I walked a few blocks out of the main centre and into the rest of the city, and found 1 croissant, a glass of orange juice and coffee for $2.80 EU.

Nevertheless, Brussels has many redeeming qualities. I am happy to speak only French here — probably the first time I’ve given the language any practice since last year — and the beer and chocolate here really do live up to their reputations. I love the mix of Dutch and French. I wish I could speak both, but I really don’t understand any Dutch, and I didn’t learn any in Amsterdam since everyone spoke English.

Some of the streets remind me a lot of Paris, but the architecture and ambience here is distict enough to distinguish Brussels as its own city. Many buildings are very gothic, which I really like. It’s very beautiful.

 

I’m glad I stopped in Brussels, but I was also glad to get out. It was not my favourite city, and while I’d be up for giving it another chance in the future should the opportunity arise, I will not be making any plans myself to come back here. Sorry, Belgium.

Off to Frankfurt!

Amsterdam Day 1, 2, 3 & 4

Sorry for the late update! I had the worst wifi at the hostel I was staying in in Amsterdam… I was also out enjoying the city too much to write.

 Jet-lag was really rough after my arrival, and I struggled to stay awake between naps. I tried to go to busy bars and cafes to distract myself, but I retreated back to the hostel often for a nap in my private room. Then I would be ridiculously well-rested to go out at night, so I didn’t go to bed once before 3am my entire time there. Success? I think so.

 I really like Amsterdam because of all the bikes. Everyone has a bike there. Actually everyone has about 4 bikes. I was told by my taxi driver there are twice as many bikes as there are people in the Netherlands. It’s the best thing ever.

I love bikes!

I need a bike and a vespa and a Mini Cooper when I get back to Edmonton! The European adventure need never end.

I love Amsterdam most for:

  1. bikes
  2. Stroopwafels
  3. partying

But I was still excited to arrive in my next city: Brussels, Belgium.

Which deserves a post of its own…