Plans

Ever since I went to Europe for a couple months that one summer, people have asked me how much it cost me.

I did not keep track of that.

HOWEVER this time I am going to give you the DEFINITIVE step by step guide to traveling cheap to Europe. Some of this won’t apply if you aren’t leaving from the U.S. But a lot of it will. So stay tuned.

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Brussels

Have you ever wondered what’s so good about Brussels during the Holiday season?  I’ve got two words for you:

Christmas

Market.

(Also waffles.)

Okay just to clarify I’m not in Brussels anymore, I’m in Delhi.  Which you should know already.

Anyways, now to experience the magic of Belgium.

 Part of the main plaza

 For some reason the Christmas Market has very strange carousels, with such delightful steeds to ride as this ostrich…. and a giant cockroach.  Very steam-punk macabre.

 MMM 🙂  I can almost smell the gluewein. Or however you spell that.

 So we rode the ferris wheel, and as we’re getting on, I realize it’s the same one I rode during Tomorrowland… Not that huge of a coincidence, since Tomorrowland is quite near Brussels, but it made me happy.

 People from Brussels go to the Christmas Market for two reasons… to drink.. and to see the FUNNY CHRISTMAS ICE MONSTER! HAHAHHAHA.  I”m laughing just looking at it. so funny.

 St. Catherine Church makes a nice backdrop.

Right as we began making our way back through the main plaza, a light show began!  The eery music fit with the overall mood of people from Brussels (seriously I’ve never seen such dour Christmas spirit).  But the best part was when everything lit up red and Kate yelled “WE’RE IN HELL!”

Current plans:  I have a Hindi lesson scheduled for this Monday and Friday.  Also, I booked tickets to Bangalore for mid-January, to meet up with my Desi friend who hosted my friend and I in Liverpool (via couchsurfing.com).   I love getting the chance to meet up with people I met on my previous travels. 

Also Bangalore will be a WELCOME BREAK from Delhi. 

Berlin

aight. finally.  bout to finish my Euro-blogging from this summer.  Next blog post I do will probably be in Belgium.  Well perhaps one after that.

ummmmmm Berlin.
Well my good pictures are mostly of graffiti.  We went on an “alternative” tour. Basically it’s for hipsters who feel like they are too good for the regular tours.  We looked too normal.  And while we’re at it, a lot of Berlin’s nightclubs don’t let you in unless you look alternative enough.  So you can’t go out dancing in a dress and heels.  You need dreadlocks and like, galaxy print tights or something.  Funny.  Unless you want to go to the REGULAR PEOPLE clubs,  the BORING PEOPLE clubs.  Hahaha.

Berlin is great for getting up close and personal with Third-Reich Nazi type history.  And learning about the Berlin Wall (I also went on a VERY INFORMATIVE tour for that!).

In short Berlin was great. 10/10 would recommend.

 Dancing girl stencils done by Alias.

 Brandenburg Gate

 It took us a LONG time to get a decent photo in this photoautomat.  We looked into the flash instead of the camera. Classy.  Very old machine, black and white prints.

My first kebab! Kebab was actually invented in Berlin, by Turkish immigrants who wanted fast food.

Paris

I think I mentioned before that I did not want to go to Paris.  This is based largely on stereotypes that exist in my own mind about French people.  Basically I feel VERY rude for going to Paris without any French-language fluency.  Also, yeah, I think those guys are angry and rude.  And don’t like tourists.  I said it.

But hey.  My boyfriend told me he was going there, so I made it happen.  His parents were also with us.  So not quite as romantic as you might think.  Got a nice lecture on cultural differences from his father.

 February till August… finally got to see him again. Holding hands nearly killed me I think.  Overdose.

 Mona Lisa at the Louvre… biggest celebrity in Europe.

 LOUUUUVRE. (next three are Notre Dame Cathedral.)

 We’re so cute. Put a lock on it.  (also cliche.)

 Arc de Triomphe.  Paris is just a big art gallery. head to toe.

cute, cute, we are cute.

Valencia

The good thing about the end of my trip was I only stayed with people I already knew.  This saved me from the burnout.

Hitched a ride on blablacar, (an amazing rideshare website mostly for Europe).  My driver accidentally picked up the wrong person…. asked her if she was Amy, she said yes.  Turns out she was a sex-worker.  whoo hooo. They realized that pretty quickly and came back to the bus station to get me.
Valencia.  Had to cut my time here in half because my boyfriend informed me that he’d be in Paris in four days.
Went to the “Bulls in Silla” festival.  Also spent a lot of time on the beach, and practiced Spanish.
My friend Isa, who I met in Thailand, hosted me.

 PAELLAAAA. Best Spanish food. Ever.

 View from our apartment. Ocean.

 (Conversation in Spanish)
“Come over here! She’s English!”
“She’s NOT English. She’s American.”
“Well… Same thing. She speaks English.”

 Sunset on the lake.

 Sunrise the next morning on the Ocean.

 So basically the bulls just run through the town and everyone jumps behind the bars (in red here) when they get close.

 Except these idiots.

Barca

By the time Barcelona rolled around I was mostly burnt out.  It didn’t help matters that my first night spent in the hostel there was interrupted at 3 AM by two people having EXTREMELY LOUD SEX.  

Something very important to remember.  If you can book a co-ed room in a hostel I def recommend it. If for instance someone is listening to music or talking on the phone, you can count on the dudes in the room to yell at them.
When I was in Barcelona I stayed in an all girls room, 16 beds.  Although the loud sex woke everyone up NO ONE except me told them to shut up.  They didn’t shut up anyways.  
I still get angry when I think about it.  Drunk people who are also inconsiderate are the WORST.
Anyways! I laid around a lot in Barcelona but managed to drag myself out of bed for a walking tour which was really awesome.  Every bit as good as the Amsterdam walking tour.
(I love walking tours)

 Old school Gothic architecture!

 Where Picasso studied.  Also the heart of the red light district.

Whoops haven’t finished my Euro-trip blogging

London is only awesome if you are rich, or don’t care how much money you spend (which amounts to the same thing in my book).

London for me was a black hole, draining my cash at horrendous rates.  It was also pretty cool.  I need to learn to let go sometimes.t

 I love LOVE taking pictures of cops, but it also makes me nervous.  So many street performers in London.  And the greater Europe.

 My travel buddy being touristy :p

 I met people from Spain, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Nepal, France, Slovakia, Poland, India, etc…. and I think only ONE SINGLE BRITISHER.  Basically the whole world is slowly being funneled into London.  I was bargaining in Camden Market with the above dude for a shirt.  Got it for three pouinds (had to throw in an exitfest bracelet though)

 Practiced my Hindi with a Delhi-ite!  Also go to Brick Lane if you want AMAZING Indian Food.

Yesterday is History

I went to Tomorrowland 2014 completely solo.  Best thing I could have possibly done in Europe.

On the first shuttle bus I met the two dudes who I would be hanging out with for the majority of the festival.  I was lucky, because there are three reasons to go to Tomorrowland:  Drugs, Sex, or Music.   They were there for the music, like I was.

Smuggle in some food if you can… the food there is horrendously expensive.  I took raw potatoes and carrots and just ate them like that rather than pay their nasty food prices all day.

you can bring a water bottle in.  Do that.  Make sure it’s empty and hide the cap in your bra or whatever.  They don’t pat you down, they just check backpacks/purses.

I paid more for my ticket because the hotel and flight packages don’t sell out as fast as the cheaper ones that go on sale later.  I remember being poised above the mouse (should I get it? Should I wait?)  I clicked “confirm”, and I have never regretted it.  Probably the best experience of my life.  I could pay twice that price and it would still be worth it.  Going solo was easy… at least as a woman, you will make friends easily.

The two dudes who I was hanging out with took SO many pictures and videos that I felt like I needed to be constantly documenting the experience as well.  The third night I lost them in the crowd and hung out with someone from Jordon who doesn’t even bring his phone in to festivals.  He got me to put my phone away and just live it.  I gotta say that’s the best way to do it.  It’s too stressful to  be constantly looking around trying to get a good click.   He also offered me drugs, to which my standard “nah man” sufficed as a refusal.

 One of the dozen or so stages…

Love the information desk.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam was the beginning of finding my traveling groove.  I freaking like that city.  Also did my first walking tour here.

The thing about “free” walking tours is you don’t really get a three hour tour for nothing.  They expect you to pay and if you don’t tip you will (and should) feel like a terrible human being.  Plus this tour was SO informative that it was definitely worth the euros.   Our tour guide was intensely knowledgeable.  Amsterdam is full of History (I know that’s a very American-in-Europe thing to say).

I love walking tours.  I try to do one in every city I go to now.  The best one was Amsterdam’s, but I hear the one for Brussels is even better.  Liverpool’s was the worst one, we left halfway through.

The bikes in Amsterdam are scary.  They don’t care about pedestrians so be prepared to jump out of the way often.

 Hostel Life, a 12-bed room, one shower.  At 2 AM our first night Everyone was yelling at the guy in the bed next to me because he had music on and he wouldn’t use headphones.  He got kicked out eventually.  I find if you are in a co-ed room, people (dudes) will say something if someone is being loud. But if you are in an all-girls room no one will say anything.  Two people banging in my Barcelona hostel literally woke EVERYONE up.  And they wouldn’t stop even when I said “Could you NOT have LOUD SEX  right now!?!? Co-ed rooms are the way to go.

 Best place for a church… in the middle of the red light district.  Guess the sailors would go to church the morning after visiting the girls and try to buy their way back into heaven.  Priests were more than happy to accommodate.

 Amsterdam is very rich… was a huge port city where the East India Trading company was located.

Central Station.

why am I so angry today this is terrible.

I’m getting real fecking tired of feeling like a second class person because I don’t have any aims to be successful.

I’m happy (most of the time) so for GAH sakes why is that not enough?  I’m tired of being embedded in the college part of town.

I don’t like most of what a “successful” life entails.  Getting richer while those around you get poorer eff that.  Why yall’s need so much money.

Why do I feel like I can’t swear on this blog.  Because it’s linked to my facebook. gahelkjr.