Winter Holiday part 2

I had a really excellent time in Krakow and Poland didn’t want me to leave either: my bus was delayed and then the bus driver got lost somewhere in the middle of Slovakia.

Once we arrived in Budapest I was relieved! A quick trip on the metro also turned into an adventure with lines closed for repairs since it was late on a Sunday night.

I spent the next three days exploring Budapest. I did a couple of walking tours learning about the history of the city/country, visited the Palace and Matthais Cathedral area, went out to a couple of bars including ruin bars ate far too much food (tried a Jewish cake with poppyseeds in it, also ate some great Indian food and at a fancy Japanese restaurant), visited Parliament, various monuments/memorials and went to the baths. One day of sightseeing was rudely interrupted however, Putin was in town to sign a trade agreement and the city was shut down for most of the day. I did however get a really close look at his motorcade.

On to my next stop, Bratislava in Slovakia. I just had one day here and after a beautiful (and inexpensive) train journey I reached the city. The city is not at all like it is portrayed in the movie Hostel, but there is plenty of evidence of it’s communist past. Grey skies didn’t help my impression. Worth a visit to see the castle and check out the nightlife.

My final destination of my trip was Vienna. I had heard Vienna was the most beautiful city on my planned itinerary and I wasn’t disappointed. It also wasn’t as expensive as I had thought. We got 3€ tickets to the ballet! Just walking around the city is great and I also visited Schönbrunn Palace and the Albertina museum, both i would highly recommend. The hostel I stayed at was incredible! 12 beds only so we became like a big family, Lilly the host was incredible and the place had everything for us to use/eat/drink.

So now I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my flight home. It’s been a great holiday but looking forward to getting back to French speaking France and my friends.

More next time,

Amanda xx

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Holidays Part 1

So I’m on holiday again as I mentioned in my last post. This break I’m travelling through Central Europe. I started my adventures with a weekend with Meena in Germany then on to Prague in Czech Republic, Krakow in Poland, Budapest in Hungary, Bratislava in Slovakia and Vienna in Austria, phew! This update covers Germany, Czech Republic and Poland with the rest to come in a later post.

In Germany we saw Mainz the town where Meena lives with lies on one of the most beautiful parts of the Rhine and the Frankfurt skyline by night.

I took a night train via Cologne (quickly ran outside the train station to see the cathedral) to Prague. In Prague I had two days of intense sightseeing and had a great time in my hostel, it was perfect. Prague was so beautiful.

Onto Krakow where I had a few more days so some time to relax a little. Krakow is really a great city and I enjoyed all the sights as well as drinking some beer. It wasn’t all relaxation and beer drinking however, I spent a day at Auschwitz, the site of some pretty sad history in this part of Europe. It was incredibly sad to see the conditions those people were subjected to and going inside the gas chambers was a pretty intense experience. They also had photos of some of those murdered on display with their date of birth, occupation, date they entered the camp and date of death. I definitely shed a few tears.

The other things I got up to in Krakow were plenty of walking (and walking tours). I visited the Jewish Quarter and the Old Town and checked out a few museums, the National Museum, Schindler’s Factory and the Contemporary Art Museum. I also went to see the tombs of some Polish Kings and Queens at the Castle Cathedral and went to John Paul II (a former pope) museum to see some of his robes and chair as he was Polish.

More next week

Amanda xx

Snow and inside activities

On Sunday night Ed Sheeran played a concert in regional France for the first time and he came to Clermont-Ferrand! A bunch of assistants went and it was a great concert! All for the bargain price of 30€. Laura another kiwi assistant came too since she was visiting for the weekend. The rest of the weekend was spent showing Laura around and going out with friends, celebrating birthdays and eating lots of crêpes.

The city also has more tourists in it than usual (usually it’s none), because the International short film festival is on. I have been to a couple of sessions and a date to a movie last week too.

The weather has meant it’s a great time of year for inside activities. We’ve had snow almost constantly for the last week or so but it wasn’t until last night that it properly settled and it’s a beautiful white wonderland outside (as I’m writing this I can hear the school kids having a snowball fight).

Lastly for this update I went to Lyon on Wednesday of last week to do some sightseeing. The last time I was there was for the Fête des Lumières, which meant the city was full of people and it wasn’t possible to see all the sights I wanted to. So a day visit to see some things was necessary. I really enjoyed the Musée de Lumières about the Lumière brothers and the creation of films. I also visited the Musée des Beaux Arts which I had almost to myself!

This weekend I am off on holiday again as the teachers in my region get another two week holiday. My first stop is Germany to stay with a friend for the weekend.

Until next time,

Amanda xx