November 30, 2014

Review / Thalys Train Amsterdam <-> Paris

Paris 2013
We got on the Thalys train on Schiphol train station. We could drop our suitcases in this special area for suitcases. Which was empty when we entered the train, but was already full when other people got on the train at the next stops. Our seats were spacious enough, but I thought we would get our own little area with a stable. I don't know where I got that idea. We probably should have spend a little more if we wanted that. There were power outlets, which came in super handy for charging our phones. When we arrived in Paris, we got out suitcases and went on our search for the subway. It took us a little while to figure out where to get our 'travelcard', but it worked out alright in the end.

For our trip back to Amsterdam we arrived on time at the train station. We got on the Thalys train and left the train station. For the first twenty minutes everything went according to plan, but then the train slows down and we are told something is wrong with the train and we have to continue at this speed. We were like 'oh dear, this is going to take forever'. They said that there would be a new train waiting for us at the next big train station. We were like 'yeah right'. We didn't believe it, but when we arrived at the next train station there it was. Our train was right there on the other side of the platform. We had to get our suitcases, go on to the other train and within 10/15 minutes we were on our way. Super duper service and organisation skills from the people at Thalys.

It's a great way to go from Amsterdam to Paris in just a few hours. You do need to find the tickets at the right price, because sometimes they can get a bit overpriced.

Have you ever been to Paris by train?

**

We stapten op Schiphol in de Thalys. We konden onze koffers op een daarvoor bestemde rek plaatsen. Toen wij instapten was dit rek nog leeg, maar voor de mensen die pas bij de volgende station instapten was het al te laat. De zitplaatsen waren ruim genoeg, maar om de een of andere reden had ik verwacht dat we ons eigen plekje zouden krijgen met een tafeltje. Waarschijnlijk hadden we dan iets meer moeten betalen haha. Er waren wel stopcontacten in de trein, wat erg handig was om je telefoon op te laden. Toen we in Parijs aankwamen gingen we opzoek naar de metro. Het duurde even voordat we hadden uitgevogeld waar we onze metro-kaart konden kopen, maar het is ons uiteindelijk gelukt.

Voor de terugreis naar Amsterdam waren we ruim op tijd op het station. We stapten in de Thalys en reden het station uit zoals gepland. Maar we zijn nog geen 20 minuten onderweg als we opeens langzamer gaan rijden. Er wordt ons verteld dat er iets mis is met de trein en dat we op deze (langzame) snelheid moeten blijven rijden. Bij het volgende station zou een nieuwe Thalys trein voor ons klaarstaan. Wij geloofde hier niks van en stelde ons al in op wat naar ons een idee een hele lange terugreis zou worden. Toen we echter aan kwamen op het station, stond daar aan de andere kant van het perron onze trein al op ons te wachten. We moesten onze koffers pakken, het perron over steken, onze koffers weer droppen en nog geen 10/15 minuten later waren we al weer onderweg. Super duper service van de mensen van de Thalys.

Ik vond het echt fijn om op deze manier naar Parijs te reizen. Je bent er met een paar uurtjes. Je moet wel even goed kijken voor welke prijs je de tickets koopt, want soms vind ik ze wel een beetje overpriced.

Ben jij weleens met de trein naar Parijs geweest?
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November 28, 2014

Photography / Day at Oxford Street

London 2014
Pretty Christmas lights at Oxford Street (which are not on and not as pretty during the daytime)!
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November 26, 2014

Travel / The Hostel Way of Life

Palmer's Lodge Swiss Cottage, London 2014

Just recently I stayed in a hostel for the first time of my life.  It was only for five days and it definitely wasn't an unpleasant experience, but I can't imagine travelling through Australia / New Zealand / Asia for 6 of 12 months and only staying in hostels.

Staying in a hostel has a lot of advantages
  • It's really affordable
  • You can meet a lot of people
  • It's part of backpacking life
Let's be honest it also has some negatives
  • You don't have your own space (yes your bed, but that's not really much is it)
  • Your roomies (that snore, talk in their sleep, got to bed late at night/get up really early in the morning)
  • Sharing your bathroom with a lot of other people (don't think too much about this one)

How do you feel about hostels? Do you feel that the positives outweigh the negatives?
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November 24, 2014

Photography / The Big Ben

London 2014
I like that this shot is a little different than the usual Big Ben pictures (not that it's original in any way, I just like it).

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November 23, 2014

Travel Tricks / Stay on budget while you're there


Madrid 2013

Going to use the subway a lot, find out if there is a card that you pay a certain amount of money for and you can use the subway all you want.

Only going to use the subway a few times, maybe it's better to use a 'pay as you go' card. This way you won't pay to much upfront.

Maybe walking is an option as well? If your hotel is close to all the touristy things and the shops, than walking is the cheapest option.

Going out for dinner (breakfast, lunch and dinner) can add up quite quickly. Search for the cheapest options, instead of the fancy restaurants. You can also buy your food at a supermarket and eat in your hotel room or outside (if the weather allows it).

If you really want to stay on budget, don't go shopping crazy! We all love shopping, especially when you're in another country, but just try to enjoy the city you're in. If you insist on buying things, make sure you make a list for the things you want to buy and stick to that list.

Find free (touristy) things to do. Or visit famous landmarks, but don't enter them (just look and take pictures of the pretty outside).

What do you do to stay on your budget?

**

Ga je veel gebruik maken van de metro, dan is het misschien handig om een metrokaart te kopen waar je voor een bepaald bedrag onbeperkt gebruik van kan maken.

Ga je waarschijnlijk maar een paar keer met de metro, dan is het misschien handiger om een kaart te kopen die je kan opladen (op deze manier betaal je in ieder geval niet te veel).

En misschien is lopen ook wel een optie. Als de alle bezienswaardigheden en winkels dichtbij je hotel zitten dan is dit de meeste goedkope optie.

Met het ontbijt, middageten en avondeten buiten de deur eten, dan zullen de kosten aardig snel oplopen. Zoek naar de goedkoopste opties in plaats de chique restaurants. Je kan natuurlijk ook boodschappen doen bij een supermarkt en je eten meenemen naar je hotel of (als het weer het toelaat) het buiten op eten.

Als je echt binnen je budget wil blijven, dan is het verstandig om niet helemaal los te gaan met winkelen. We houden allemaal van winkelen, helemaal als je in een ander land bent, maar probeer eens gewoon te genieten van de stad waar je bent. Als toch perse wat wilt kopen, maak dan een lijst en hou je hier aan.

Zoek naar bezienswaardigheden die gratis zijn (zoals sommige musea of parken). Je kan de bezienswaardigheden natuurlijk bezoeken, maar niet naar binnen gaan (maak bijvoorbeeld mooie foto's van de buitenkant).

Hoe probeer jij tijdens je reizen op je budget te blijven?
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November 21, 2014

Photography / Which famous ...

London 2014
... place is this?
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November 17, 2014

Photography / Shoreditch Art

Shoreditch, London 2014
Definitely want to explore this area (Shoreditch) a little more, the next time I'm in London.
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November 16, 2014

Review / Palmer's Lodge Swiss Cottage Hostel London

Palmer's Lodge Swiss Cottage, London 2014
When you don't want to spend to much on your stay in London Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage hostel is a good place to stay. The more people you share your room with, the less it will cost you. I stayed in a room for 21 people and in my opinion this way you have more privacy than when you share your room with only 5 other people. Sharing your room with 20 other people, doesn't really gives you a place to return to at the end of the day. That's just the way it is in hostels though. Being in a city as London, you are probably going to spend most of your time outside of the hostel. The beds are really comfortable and the curtains give you a bit of privacy. Under the bed you have your own locker (don't forget to bring a lock) where you can store of things. You have to share the bathroom with other people as well. Don't worry though, there are enough showers and toilets and they get cleaned a few times a day. The wifi reception in the bedroom was non-existent, but in the hallways and the lounge room it was pretty good. In the lounge room there was free coffee and tea 24/7. I thought this was the perfect place to start or end your day. Breakfast is served daily in the restaurant downstairs, which cost only £4,50. The hostel is close to two underground stations (Swiss Cottage and Finchley Road) and it doesn't take long to get to central London.
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Travel / London Day 5

Notting Hill, London 2014
I woke up really early on my last day in London, because someone else had set their alarm at 5 am (yay!). When I stepped into the shower, there was no warm water (yay again!). So by 9 am I was wide awake, 'showered' and had breakfast already. I had to be on the tube around 10 am, to get to the airport on time. So I had some time to kill. I decided to go to Primrose Hill, which is pretty close to the hostel. It was still pretty quiet in the park, except for dog walkers and runners. When I reached the top of the hill, it was so quiet and beautiful. You get an amazing view of the city and the sun was just rising. I was there for about 5 minutes, because I needed to get back to check out and get on the tube. But it was a great way to say goodbye to the city. I got back at the hostel at exactly 10 am, got my bag, checked out and got back on the tube. I put on my iPod and settled in for about an hour on the tube. At the airport I printed out my boarding pass (the only seat left was the one in the middle, yay again), got through security pretty quick and bought myself some lunch at Starbucks from my last few pounds. I sat down at a random gate, ate my food, drank my drink and waited for my gate to be announced (which took a while). The flight home was just as short as the flight to London. Back in the Netherlands I jumped on the first train home and my mum picked me up from the train station. The end! 
(ps. London I love you and I'll be back)
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November 14, 2014

Photography / Pretty Houses in Notting Hill


Can I live here? Pretty please?
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November 12, 2014

Travel / London Day 4

Camden, London 2014
Just like the other days, I have breakfast in the hostel (I love the option of having breakfast at the hotel or hostel you're staying at. It saves you the trouble of finding something in the area, before starting your day). I have two croissants with butter, tea and orange juice (oh and a egg because it's Sunday). Today I go to King's Cross station, looking for the place I would have liked to go to when I was 11 years old. Platform 9 3/4. Crazy enough, I'm not the only one who wants to go to Hogwarts. From the King's Cross station I walk all the way to Camden (I'm crazy enough to do that). I LOVE Camden! It was quite busy, I really really liked it though. There was a create atmosphere and it's such a great place to browse around. I loved the part with all the different food stalls (I got me some paella and a bubble tea). Awesome place to score some sunglasses or t-shirts. Off course I took loads of pictures. With my bubble tea in hand, I took the underground and overground to go to Shoreditch. As it was still Sunday, it was crazy busy here as well (there was a flower market on Columbia Road and the whole of London was there to get some flowers). I was on Bricklane for about two seconds, when I gave up because it was so busy (Camden en Shoreditch definitely go on my list for another time - on any other day than the weekend). I went back to the hostel for an hour, to relax for a bit. Next stop was Notting hill. I took some pictures of some pretty pastel houses (like you do in Notting Hill). Than I took a long tube ride to the Tower Bridge (luckily I brought a book - I heart Las Vegas - with me!). I took some pictures of the Tower Bridge and the Thames at sunset. I popped back on the tube again to get some food, but Waitrose and Marks & Spencer were closed. Closed! At 7 pm! In London! Luckily Subway saved my life. Oh and off course: Common room, wifi and a nice cup of tea.
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November 10, 2014

Photography / Bridges in London I

London 2014
One of many pretty bridges in London.

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November 9, 2014

Travel / London Day 3

Victoria & Albert Museum, London 2014
Third day in London already! I have breakfast in the hostel again. Next stop is the Victoria & Albert museum. It's free (you can donate though) and supposed to be pretty awesome. The building itself is absolutely gorgeous (my writer mind makes up 100 possible stories that could take place there).  I visit the fashion and modern part of the museum. In between I admire the hallways and the ceilings which are beautiful. When I got out of the museum I walked around a bit in the area. I saw the Royal Collage of Music and the Royal Albert Hall. Off course I took lot of pictures. Than I walk all the way to Harrods alongside Kensington Gardens. I admired all the beautiful Chanel and Louis Vuitton bags at Harrods (one day!) and I got a hot chocolate at Starbucks. I hopped back on the tube again and went to Paddington station and had lunch at Garfunkels (I had an omelette and fries, yum!). After lunch I went to New Bond Street, to go to Victoria's Secret. I was on the hunt for a phone case for a friend, but they didn't have any. And holy moly it was so busy in there! Quickly I got out of there and headed to Marble Arch and Hyde Park. And the last stop for the day was Abbey Road (which was pretty close to the hostel). My father is a huge Beatles fan, so had to go there and check it out. I always thought it was a quiet street, but no. Just a regular street, but with a lot of people crossing the road every few seconds. That was it for the third day. I got back to the hostel, had an amazing dinner (two sandwiches) and headed to the common rood for my evening tea.
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November 7, 2014

Photogrpahy / The Shard at Dawn

London 2014
I arrived at The Tower Bridge right on time to take this picture. I really like pretty skylines =)
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November 5, 2014

Travel / London Day 2

London 2014
After a night of someone in my room snoring and someone whispering sssst all night, I'm a bit tired but ready to start the day. I go down to the restaurant of the hostel to have breakfast. I get a orange juice, some tea, a croissant and a cinnamon roll. Hotel + breakfast = heaven. I go on the wifi to plan my day a little bit and then I head to Oxford Street. I take some pictures and then head into Nike Town, Primark and some more shops. I bought a Breaking Bad and a Harry Potter t-shirt at Primark (my inner nerd is so happy!). I popped into M&S to get a sandwich for lunch. I went back to the hostel to freshen up a bit and relax for an hour. When I headed back out I went to Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square (my inner nerd remembers the last Harry Potter premier that was held here!). I take lots of pictures and go into Waterstones (the one where the guy got locked up, thank god that wasn't me). I visited Covent Harden for a bit and got a mango passion fruit frappuccino at Starbucks. On the way back to the hostel I get some sneaky cupcakes at Topshop (yum!) and get a salad from M&S for dinner (did you notice that I'm on a real tight budget). After dinner I head to the common room again for a nice warm cup of tea.
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November 3, 2014

Photography / Pretty day in Camden

Camden, London 2014
Oops a little later than usual, but here nonetheless. I really liked all the different store fronts and the pretty fall tree.
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November 2, 2014

Travel / London Day 1 - Part 2

London 2014
The flight from Amsterdam to London takes about an hour. I only had hand luggage so it takes me no time at all to get to the London Underground. I get so excited in tube, heading closer and closer to central London. At Green Park I need to get from the Picadilly line to the Jubilee line to get to my hostel. I get of at Swiss Cottage and walk straight to the Palmer's Lodge Swiss Cottage hostel in about 5 minutes (see no preparation and everything turns out all right). I share my room with about 20 other people (my review about Palmer's Lodge will up soon). I freshen up a bit, put all my stuff into my locker and head back out into London again. I hop back on the tube and and head to Westminster tube station. With all my camera's in my backpack, I plan on taking some pictures. The Big Ben, The House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey. I cross the bridge and take picture of the London Eye. I walk al along the South Bank all the way to the Millennium Bridge. I cross the bridge and walk around St Paul's Cathedral, taking pictures. I get my first pounds out of the ATM machine and head to Marks & Spencer to get some food, drinks and snacks. Back at the hostel I eat my dinner and head to the common room where the wifi connection is better. I end my day writing, talking to people back home and drinking some tea. All in all a good first day in London.
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