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Would You Rather: Travel Edition

4th October 2017

Way way back I got stuck into the whole Would You Rather‘s and today I’m returning to theme to dole out more of these dilemmas just for you.

Q: Would you rather get one free round trip intercontinental plane ticket every year OR be able to fly continental anytime for free?
A: Hmm….one free intercontinental plane ticket every year! Because if I were to go to go for an continental trip every (other) weekend accommodation, food and other costs would add up, plus the charm of free flights whenever fade after a while – how sick would you get of airports right?

Q: Would you rather have an everlasting phone battery or unlimited Wi-Fi wherever you go?
A: I’ve been stressed way more often about my little phone spluttering out, screaming and dying on me than no Wi-Fi so I guess an everlasting phone battery would save me some stress, but maybe not being able to always use your phone at all is a plus…

Q: Would you rather stay in an all inclusive resort where you are waited on hand and foot but can’t leave the vicinity OR embark on a 10-day cruise where you are able to island hop? (borrowed from Atlas Adrift)
A:  Island hopping on a cruise doesn’t sound too bad actually, I’m even fine to go on those quick excursions and it means I could finally have my ‘King of the World’ moment. And the less said about those cruise norovirus incidents the better…

Q: Would you rather never be able to leave your own country or never be able to fly in an plane?
A: I’m happy not to sit in a flying tin can again, sure it would take forever to get to certain places, but it also has its charms and it’s not like I’m heading to exotic destinations three times a year. Plus I would get so much good karma when it comes to sustainable travel that it would be worth it, right?

Q: Would you rather be fluent in all languages and never be able to travel or be able to travel anywhere but never be able to learn a word of a different language?

A: It would be a challenge, but I would go for travel anywhere but never learn a work in different languages. I’m so lucky that with my language skill and with the miming act I can bluff myself around most of the Europe and it wasn’t until I was in Japan that I felt lost and stupid and finally understood why tourists walk around like zombies. I quickly learned that the only thing was to accept it and give an extra smile to anyone who took the time to help.

Q: Would you rather have an unlimited international flight ticket or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
A: I’m happy to support the food and hospitality industry (they put up with a LOT) so in this case I would like to go for the tickets.

Q: Would you rather sit in a first-class window seat with a view of Tahitian islands or a last-row aisle seat with a view of Ryan Gosling’s back-of-head in front of you?
Reading this all I’m thinking about is: last row aisle seat equals people queuing all the time for the toilets so I’m definitely going for first class window … even if the view was rain/fog/cloud. I can always sneak into the back aisle and accidently spill my drink on him to start a conversation right? Plus, wouldn’t it be better if Gosling was looking at the back of my head ;)?

Q: Would you rather travel across the US from east to west by train or by car?
A: A car combined with random motels would be the dream, but a train is more realistic and ever since seeing the bizarrely compelling Great American Railroad Journeys is has gone up on my wanderlist.

Q: Would you rather spend the night in a castle or a tree hut?
A: Castle! Provided it’s nice and warm with tons of fireplaces and candles, especially as it’s cold and raining as I write this. But if it’s warm and sunny outside then maybe nature could beckon me…

Which of these is YOUR biggest inner dilemma? If you are sharing your answers of the tag on your blog, leave a link as I would love to read them.

July – September or Things I’ve Been Doing While Abandoning This Blog

1st October 2017

It’s October, which basically means the year is pretty much done, dusted and banished to a shallow memory only retrievable via social media posts. But before we get down to the fun end of year things (and last minute presents stress) let me catch up on what I’ve been doing offline.
Been There 
UK:  Brighton: to visit friends
Netherlands: Amsterdam – Dullsville: to visit friends and family
Germany: Aachen to visit some more family
Done That
I faced my slight fear of heights over the summer, with not just one but three daredevil stunts:
1. Braved a treetop rope course + zip lining, complete with several hyperventilation moments.
2. Let it all go and screaming my heart out on a crazy rollercoaster in Brighton.
3. Last but not least –  the highlight was a swing in Amsterdam, not just any swing, but the highest swing in Europe. When you are heading to Amsterdam and are looking for something different to do than it should be your go-to activity (followed by drink at the bar).
I spent an afternoon in Aachen, Germany where lots of my family live and many a childhood holiday was spent. We took a walk down memory lane and went to the park we used to play, got ice-cream from our favourite place and stumbled upon a tour while finally learning what this creature is! It’s called a Bahkauv and it’s supposed to be a calf with sharp teeth that lived in the dirty waters of the river in the Middle Ages and the story goes that it would jump on drunk mens shoulders and demanded to be carried which made the men get home way to late. Also if the men prayed or begged it got heavier and heavier, but it turned lighter if they would curse. Women and kids have nothing to fear as it would leave them alone, so I’m all for bringing them back!
Looking through my photos I noticed I had a lot of ice-cream this summer, so I feel I can give you a top three round up!
 
1. The prize for the best idea, but not the most practical goes to Milk Train and their cotton candy covered ice-cream. The soft serve started melting as soon as I walked outside, making the cotton candy way too sticky and creating a giant mess – also the flavour was just not right.
2. The Soft Serve Society was perfect to chow down quickly as they kept it the flavour subtle and if you are into IG trends: they do the charcoal ice-cream – it looks good in any filter.
3. But my number one will always be Chin Chin Labs and their Dessert Bar in Soho does the Avo Taco, which will be the best possible cooled treat you can shove in your mouth this year.
Tea and queuing don’t go well together, I hate waiting when there is not clear communication to what’s going on and last year’s Open House was so drama packed I decided to just skip it for 2017 but I ended up to the old waiting hall at Peckham Rye Station, mainly because there were no queues and it was close to home. It’s so sad that we can’t have gorgeous waiting rooms in train stations where can play billiards, we’ll just have to do with Deli de France and Pumpkin Cafe.
Bucketlist moment?
My favourite thing to do was definitely finally seeing a play at Shakespeare’s Globe. I decided to go for a comedy as I didn’t want to jump into a tragedy immediately.  Much Ado About Nothing was set in the colourful and musical chaos of the Mexican Civil War and was the best entertainment I had seen in a while. If there only was more of it in London.

Lowlights
I blinked and missed a train Summer deal that would allow me to travel to cities Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol between £22 and £38 on a Friday after work. Still haven’t forgiven myself for that. And my first experience with Luton airport was another low down, it was a Friday evening so you can imagine how busy it was. Due to massive delays and no seats, people were camping out on the floor, there was a 45 minute wait for even the lowly Bella Italia, and to top it off the person who sat next to me was devouring a lot of pungent salmon once we were in the air. I’m pretty sure there is a special place in hell for people who eat smelly food on transportation – preferably next to giant boxes of Durian fruits, for poetic justice of course.

What have been your high and low-lights for the past few months?

5 cities I wouldn’t mind visiting again

14th September 2017

Some people think it’s ok to visit a place twice or even three times and others believe doing so is the first steps on a path to hell. I believe the former and am here today to talk about some cities I would love to dip my toes into for a second time.

In case you ever wonder if five days isn’t too much to spend in Tokyo, then I can tell you it’s not! Five weeks probably isn’t either. So I have to go back visit the 50 neighbourhoods and do the 1000 things on my list I missed last time. I mean how did I go to Tokyo and not do karaoke? For shame Tea, for shame.

This one time when I was young and could pull an all-nighter I flew back from Stockholm to Holland via Oslo, mainly because the ticket was just €2.99. We arrived at the one of the regional airports at 8 PM and our next flight to NL was from another regional airport at 7 AM. This was on 1st January and there were no hotels within our budget left so we had to walk around Oslo in the night as long as possible before crashing at the busstation. So I would love to go back and see it in glorious day light.

The six months I spent Melbourne had more drama in it than your average soap opera, but I still love the city and would love to go back for a walk down memory lane. I’ve think I’ve seen every corner of the city and most people I hung out with have left so I can’t really justify going back, but if I ever fly to New Zealand I want to make Melbourne my stopover so I can walk around Queen Victoria Market, have a drink at Ponyfish Island and a scoff some chicken salt fries on St Kilda beach.

Ljubljana used to be the last big stop on our family drives from Holland to Bosnia. This was after 12 hours in the car – pre free roaming in Europe – and there was never really time to go out to the city and explore, we would go to family or friends for a coffee before the last 250 km to home. I’ve spend one day in the city itself during my backpack-trip though the Balkans and it just did not live up to the other capitals of the former Yugoslavia, don’t get me wrong … Slovenia is gorgeous, but Ljubljana is just so tame. When I mention this to people they claim I am truly mistaken and that it’s the best one, so I need to go back and explore what I missed out on to prove myself wrong.

I’ve been to Stockholm twice, both times in winter where I spend most of the time cursing myself for not wearing the right shoes and slowly gliding through Gamla Stan on ice. I have made a promise to myself that I will go back in summer/spring and run around to ABBA’s Summer Night City. I guess I could combine it with Oslo for a Scandi trip sandwich.

What’s on your list of places you have to revisit?

On That London Wanderlist

22nd August 2017

It’s been a while since I shared my London wanderlist – so I thought I’d share my progress, you know: just in case you were wondering…

Scoff scones and guzzle hot brown beverages at an afternoon tea

All done! I picked the most Instagrammable one (I hope people know I joke when I say something like this btw) and celebrated 10 years of friendship with a friend at Sketch. I fell in love with the delicious food, the powder pink interior and the spaceship toilets. But the poor service was as almost as shocking as the pink interiors.

Visit the Mapping the City exhibition at Somerset House

All done. And I’ve been to three others since. They’ve been great inspiration for that map wall I planning to make one day – and then charge £10 for people to see it.

Visit the almighty Tower of London. It’s probably the only major tourist attraction I haven’t been to.

We’re halfway 2017 and I still haven’t penetrated that stone fortress. Saving this for a time I can be bothered to wake up at 6 on a weekend.

See anything at the Royal Albert Hall.

Not yet, plus everything and everyone that plays there sells out in 3 seconds so I might as well give up on this one.

Get my culture on at the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre

Saw Much Ado About Nothing, but set in the colourful and musical chaos of the Mexican Civil War. Also I grabbed seating tickets and even got a cushion! Fancy! Had a proper started from the bottom and now I’m here moment. If you get a seat here, get a cushion, your ass while thank you a million times over.

Hit up the cereal valhalla that is Cereal Killer Cafe

All done. It’s a fun gimmick and if you are throwing money on something, why not the Kinder Happy Hippo?!

See The Book of Mormon.

I haven’t seen that many, but this has to be the all round offensive musical ever … and I loved every minute. It’s been advertised as the musical that’s hardest to get tickets for, but now Hamilton is coming to London I assume it might get easier.

Stroll around Columbia Road Flower Market

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but walking through an overcrowded street with sellers shouting wasn’t my idea of a fun Sunday morning.

Find out what Hint Hunt is all about

I made it out with seconds left and few additional escape games followed. I think Hint Hunt is my first pick for the best lock yourself in a room experience.

Hop on the Cable Car and ride it to infinity and beyond!

Thank God it was cheap because it may be high, but there is little there to see, but now I have enough material to support that opinion.

See if Tramshed is worth the hype.

Still don’t know as new and more exciting places keep popping up and distracting me. But I did go to the less tight up and cooler brother at Hixter.

Go on an Underground Tunnel tour.

This is happening in October! Not Aldwych as I had planned but another one of theirs. If this is something you are interested in doing these: the best way to stay updated on this is to sign up for the Hidden London Tours or Transport of London Museum newsletter.

Take a photo at Abbey Road…do I even need a reason?

No, because look no one has time to go that far to just cross the road.

Eat at the London branch of 64 Degrees which I fell in love with in Brighton.

I didn’t and they closed so that a big fail. Guess I need to book another trip to Brighton.

Chow down on popcorn while enjoying a Mean Girls Quota A Thon or Wes Anderson marathon at the Prince Charles Cinema

I have a feeling I’ve been to every cinema in London except this one, but for some reason I missed all events I was actually interested in.

My Totals

That’s a 8.5/15, which is not too bad as I’m not racing to get them crossed off and so many other wishlist moment have gotten in the way. I’ve updated the list and will share the additional ones sometime.
Have you been to any of the above? How’s your wanderlist crossing off going?

Visiting Abandoned Spy Station Teufelsberg

26th July 2017

Everyone always remembers their firsts right? Well, my first was in Berlin, well, my first urban exploring adventure that is…

The first step was a bit of a little dipping of my toe in the water – I hit up an abandoned amusement park that was hosting an alternative Christmas Market – but this was pretty easy to find and more a party than a proper expore. So with my appetite whetted I wanted more and my thoughts turned to Teufelsberg. However, like the market, there was no fences to be climbed or security to run away from – you simply had to pay an entrance fee to gain access to its wonders.

Teufelsberg is a hill home to a former top-secret spy facility and was used as a US Listening Station in the Cold War. Yep – East Germany, the US heard EVERYTHING every hidden call, they heard it all… Anyway, it was originally built to host a Nazi military training school, then it got into American hands after the war and continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall. After that the station was closed and the equipment all taken away. What information exactly was collected will be made public in 2020 – so get your gossip then, and hear what your grandma was really up to…

 


Nowadays it’s not about the history, it’s more an alternative urban street art space that now been made public and will cost you €8 to get in. You can walk around the abandoned complex, enjoy the ever changing graffiti adorning everything, but you’ll really just want to check out the view over the Grünewald from atop the listening tower – it’s pretty mind-blowing and otherworldly.

You can go on one of the many alternative guided tours and learn a bit about the history of the place, but if you are a true explorer and adventurer you might want to go on your own – but remember that you’ll have to pay the entrance fee – unless you of course choose to go after hours!