The Dropping to ..... 1 to 7 April 2017It's finally here!

Saturday morning April 1st!I have been working in the catering industry last night and so I just came home. After a short sleep, shower and hysterically packing all kinds of things, I am leaving with my father and aunt to Schiphol. At the "Hello, Goodbye bar" we decide to have an cup of coffee and tea and then reveal my destination. Unfortunately, the film of my revelation moment went a bit wrong but this couldn't spoiled my fun. I found out were to, I'm going to .....

COPENHAGEN!!!

This was the last destination I would have thought of. Never, this location would never crossed my mind as an possble option, but it was probably on my list of cities that I would like to do soon, so I could now stripe this of my list!

Because at the dropdown only included a single trip ticket, I also bought a Euro / Inter Rail pass. I have bought this a few weeks in advance on www.treinreiswinkel.nl. Super product! You ordered this passport for a certain period of time, for example 15 days, and then choose the number of days you want to travel by train in Europe without any restrictions, in my case I chose for 5 days. My intentions are to see 3 different cities (and most important of all, in 3 different countries) during my dropping. I have all the moving freedom there is  wich you don't have when you go on a normal city trip or holiday. I do not have to stay anywhere because I have booked an accommodation or flight, so I can go anywere I want. Aslong I am back on the 11th April on Tuesday.

Once arrived at Copenhagen Airport, it felt very strange to be somewhere without having any sense of direction.Atleast to me, this was a very wierd experience. Normally, I know that If I have to go to a subway or train to get to a particular station, if or were there's is an transfer bus waiting for me to bring me to my hotel or apartment, now I don't know anything! I could stay at the airport for another couple of hours, then take the train to another city or buy an airplane ticket to travel further. Everything was all up to me! What a freedom! I decided to find a campsite on my ANWB camping app, which I had previously purchased, which I obviously could not do because I didnt knéw where I was going. I found a nice campground and looked up the best way how to get there. Half an hour by train to IShoj train station and then only needed  to walk 25 minutes. That shouldn't be an problem, the sun was shinning and I was on my vacation so had all the time!

Once I "according to my google maps" arrived at the address where the campsite should be, there was no campsite to be found. I asked bystanders the directions to the nearest by campsite and they sent me on another 20 minutes walks further ahead. When I walked into this campground, I saw that this was another campsite then I came searching for, but that did not matter to me. A friendly young man came to me and asked if he could help me. I explained to him that I actually was looking for another campsite that I didn't find, but I just wanted to stay here for just one night with my small tent. Unfortunately, he indicates this campingsite is fully booked, but he will try to help me further. I showed him on my phone which campsite I actually searched for, and explained that I could not reach them by phone and so I just walked and he looked and sayed: "Oh that are my friends! I will call them for you. Finally In the end, he mannaged to arranged a place for me and I am expected at first mentioned campsite. I explained to him I've been walked for 1 hour and ask him if it's true that the campsite I searched for was just the other way up. He confirmed this was the case but refers to a train station nearby  back to were I came from. I have to follow the sandpath. In short,I was proud of to have walked the sandpath and eventually came to the train station with my rollerbag. I took the train back to Ishoj station and walked up to the other side, on my google maps, this time with the correct address.

Once arrived at the campsite, A friendly female behind the reception helped me. She says she loves having me there because I'm the first tourist and the first tent of this season, they have just opened the today. She still asks if it's not too cold to camp, but I'm sure it will be just fine. I am appointed to which places I can settle and walk full of enthusiasm over throug the field. So I'm the only tent and can place my tent  about anywhere! I choose for a spot in the corner of the field at the water. What a wonderful peaceful spot! I will definitely come back here again, this I promised myself and start setting up my tent. This is going well and soon and after a little hour my whole tent has been set up and decorated. Now I just want to shower and dress up and sleep well! I've been awake for almost 36 hours and I'm tierd after that long hike.

Now I that I am completely freshed up I walk to the front desk to ask where the nearest supermarket is, she shows me three supermarkets but ells me that she sells simulair stuf and some products. I decide not to go walking anymore and  bought pasta, rice waffles, marmalade, philadelphia, tuna, canned tomato cans and a gas tank from her for my primus. Unfortunately, this gas tank does not fit on my primus so I brought it back. Fortunately, this campsite is equipped with all comforts, they also have a building with 5 kitchen cubicles in the block at the showers and toilets built. Includes 2 burner gas cooker and extractor hood. Delicious easy this way! I made pasta and made enough to eat for 2 days. At 20:30 I really decided to crawl in my sleeping bag. I wear the thickest outfit I've ever slept in, I crawl my tent. I app home all the people who could get worried if I would not respond or letting them know that I'm going to sleep now and probably "sleep a hole in the day" so that they do not have to worry if I don't respond tomorrow morning. The next day I woke up at 11:15. I slept arroud the clock! Fantastic! Stiff bones caused by the long sleep I decide to speed it up alittle. I go to shower, have breakfast and start emptying and breaking down my tent. At 13:00 I'm on my way to Ishoj train station to go to Copenhagen, I want to go sightseeing!

The previous day I booked a hostel in the center of Copenhagen recommended by an old colleague. This will be my first Hostel experience and I have decided to book one private room for 45 Euro. I am kindly helped at the hostel by the receptionist and there is a very nice atmosphere in the common area which also serves as a bar / restaurant. There is a lounge area and there are some tables with benches and chairs. Some people are in groups but many people are just sitting with a book or laptop. I am told that I can prarticipate an Saved in SharedDiner, thats one dish thats all you can eat, that evening, that dish was pasta is bolognese. I decide to do so and included a breakfast buffet the following morning. I dump my stuff in my room, refresh me a little and walk into the city.

I assumed that I had to use the shower in the hallway, but in the toilet of my room there is also a showerhead attached to the ceiling. Genius how much they can create in such a small space! I'm sitting arround the corner at Town Hall Square and Tivoli Park, unfortunately, that accommedation is still close untill 6th April but the entrance is already fun! I find that everyone speaks English very well, just like I am used to in the Netherlands, and I feel right at home just like I always also feel when I am in London. My love for Copenhagen is already growing. In Denmark they have a different valuta Danish crowns, 1 crown is about € 0.13 euro, so this will be a little more calculating. Fortunately, today you can use creditcard and bankcards and just whitdraw money from the wall with your own debit card. It also has something nice this strange money, sometimes I sometimes miss this in other countries since they al have changed their valuta to euro.

I walk around in the shopping street that afternoon and I praticipate whit the shared dinner in the hostel bar. A simple pasta with vegetables and bolognese sauce is being served. You can get a bowl with your dinner payed receipt and then Just fil this up out of another bowl as often as you like. How fun is this! After the shared dinner, I decide to eat another piece of  thick Yogurt cake at a very cozy English tea shop that I encountered earlier that day, this will be my first cheat meal of my personal body plan period but it is worth it. I take a slide of pie choosen by the seller with a cup of tea and sit outside. These are those moments that I really appreciate that I'm on vacation by myself. Even though it would have also been very cozy to  be sitting here with a girlfriend, my dad or perhaps a sweetheart together with my little cake and my cup of tea, you upserve and enjoy all that happens. I think this way while sightseeing. You are not distracted by a conversation or presence of anything or another person but you have 100% attention for your environment, then details are suddenly increasing.

After my piece of pie I decide to go to bed on time, so the next day I got up early, I enjoyed the breakfast buffet which is really well arranged. An egg, a sausage, a yogurt, a cup of tea, toast, actually everything you need is available. Another bowl of fruit and I can handle it! Unfortunately, at the desk it appears that my single room is no longer available for an additional night, I decide, with a little doubt, for the first time in my life to stay in a shared room of a the hostel. But for once I should be just fine?! I put my stuff in a luggage compartment in the hostel's basement and get my key card for later use that day, That morning theres no doubt in my mind and go straight to the place where the BIG RED BUSSES leave and were the are also tickets for sale. I really like these bus tours. In every big city there is one and you really see everything without blistering your feets. You can get off and get back to wherever you want, there is also a boat trip, as well in Copenhagen. During my bus tour I have seen everything, a nice little little church, a fountain, the little mermaid.

During my bus tour, I decided to go to Stockholm the following day. I got to the train station and after a long wait in a long row I booked at the desk for my interrailpass that I bought for train at www.treinwinkel.nl a Ticket for the following morning. Only the booking fee of the seat costs around 7.50 euro.

Halfway through the day I decide to go on the walking tour which is also included whit the bus ticket. This trip starting point is for the cinema in central Copenhagen. I will arrive well ahead so I start wondering why I should not go to the movies this evening, I've never done this while on a city trip and thought why not, most of the movies are in English after all, I will just ignore the subtitles and it workout just fine! On that moment, two boys simulair to my age or maybe younger came up to ask if I'm waiting for the walking tour. I confirmed and they pretend to be the only one, so it's a private tour, how nice! They show me all sorts of places in Copenhagen that you can not reach by bus, the tour takes about 2 hours and we talk about all kinds of things, some related to the tour, others around the world or everyday business that everybody can get to deal with in thier lives. That evening I decided not to have dinner at a restaurant, I ate a typical Danish hot dog that afternoon and was on my maximum ammount of calories for that day. I just decide to go to the cinema and I choose to go for the movie LaLa Land, after 10 minutes into watching this movie, I walked out of the room, maybe I was not in the mood, is not my movie kind of movie It's really a very bad movie (which should be impossible with all the nominations that this movies has won) but I didn't care. I decide to put on the naughty shoes and asked the desk if I could exchange my ticket for fifty shades darker, I'm sure I like this and it starts 30 minutes after LaLa country, shortly anytime! The boy behind the counter is very friendly and despite the fact that they do not normally do that, he still exchanges my ticket, super friendly! I have to pay 10 crowns (1.35 euros) because this movie is just more expensive and I went to the cinema room that played "fifty shades darker." After the movie I went to my room, the shared mixed room! I put in the luggage room in the basement some stuff from my bag in a small bag so I did not have to drag my bag whit me the next morning while my roommates Still sleep. I meet two of my roommates, two construction workers who work here but come from another part of Denmark and also are staying overnight. One of them said that he usually has a caravan at a campsite near his workplace but that it has been sold and so he has bought a new one but this has yet to be delivered. We're still chatting. He has to get up at 5:00 the next morning with his colleague in the other bed, I asked him to wake me up also because I have to get up early and I'm terrified  that I will oversleep and miss my train to Stockholm.

Fortunately, I wake up the next morning and can take a quiet shower, pick up my bed (which is usually common to check out when I checked out), pick up my belongings and get to the train station. Of course I'm too early on the platform, but I also do not have to rush. The train station is so big that I have to walk 15 minutes from the station hall entrance to the platform! I start my 7 hour train trip to Stockholm Sweden! Here is also no euro and you have the SEK or Swedish Kroner. 1 Swedish crown in about € 0.10 euro, convert again! I love other currencies! Around 15:00 I arrive at my hostel in Stockholm. I am so incredibly happy that today I can use my data bundle within Europe! I use my phone with internet and google maps all day and have so many convenient travel apps that nothing can go wrong! I found my hostel quite quickly, it is a hostel without staff. That means, of course there is a cleaner every day, but there is no security, desk or reception. You can enter with a door code that you have received by mail after reservation (in my case via booking.com). Then you will get your room number and the code for the lock. Super arranged! Everything works fine! The cleaner is accidentally busy and I ask how I can wash my clothes, he indicates that it costs 60 kronor (6 euros), but I have no cash yet. He is very friendly and allows me to use the washing machine free of charge. In theory I had only 3 sets of clothes for me because of the limited amount of luggage I could take because of my camping equipment. I slept in one set of clothes, I am in a mixed shared room anyways, so a jogging pants with a shirt is in its place. During the day you walk in a set of clothes and a evenings with dinner you want to refresh yourself and wear some fresh clohes. In short, every 2 days washing is no unnecessary luxury. The washing machine has a quick program that makes my laundry ready in half an hour, I hang my laundry in my room and open the window, the room is very tidy and again nothing lacks what you really need to enjoy this minimal way of traveling, because what do you really need? A bed, a shower and occasionally the opportunity to wash clothes and make some food, right?

I will dive into Stockholm this afternoon, but soon find out that this city has little to offer me. Stockholm Railway Station is not normal so large hat it is. I'm got lost whitin 5 minutes after arriving there. Just taking the train to the metro took me 35 minutes being underground. It's awkward! If you are above the ground, the station consists of several buildings and with intersections between these buildings it seems like a small village. Incredible! In the tourist information folder that I brought with me is not much, there are few buildings or things I would like to see, and after 2 hours in the city, I decide to go back to the train station, a return ticket for the next morning to book and return to my hostel. So said, and so done! If I walk from my train station to my hostel, I'm looking for something to eat, a restaurant or a supermarket. The hostel has a microwave so the possibilities are endless. I see a COOP supermarket and decide to take a look. I still have to keep my personal body plan diet so a McDonald's meal is unfortunately not in it, otherwise I would have done that!

I buy a well-stocked and homemade meal salad from the supermarket salad bar, some toiletries and walk back to my hostel. It's a small hostel with only 15 rooms so it's not crowded with all kinds of guests. I'm just sitting in the kitchen on my salad and a cup of green tea while I'm totally in my book. When I have my salad I go to bed well, I think it's so delicious to be able to do it all the day again without having to feel obligated about households or appointments that can not sleep when I just want to sleep Have! What a freedom! The next day I will take the train back to Copenhagen early. My bus ticket was valid for 48 hours and this means that I could take the last bus line that I haven't beenable to do so before. I book the same mixed room in the same hostel in Copenhagen and notice that I'm starting to become a learned gypsy. Packing my bag and arranging my stuff is going better and quicker each time, and also mytoilet bag and organizing my day feels like I've never done anything else. I wish I could  continue my whole life like this? I decide to go to Berlin the next day and then travel home. I've been away for 7 days and have a weekend leftover in my own home for a nice weekend. The last time I had that luxury, I can not remember again. I book a place on the train to Berlin, via Hamburg. I have to switch to Hamburg. Because it's early I take out my book and I setteled me at the hostel's bar, outside on a bench with lots of colored hippie pillows placed on it, later when the sun goes out, I go to a similar bank but then inside the hostel. I order a pizza (3rd cheatmeal this holiday, but I have eaten little that day so it can) and loved for 5 hours to read. From 16:00 to 21:00 everything disappears and I am completely relaxed reading my book, why does this never work when I am at home? The next morning I really overslept. I got up 40 minutes before my train leaves, oh my god! I'm in a hurry and decide not to go to shower. I drank that night before shower and shower when I arrived in Berlin. I can not miss this train! In the jogging suit I slept I brush my teeth and quickly to the luggage room, I put everything together and make sure I forget nothing. Quickly I walk with my backpack on my back and my rollerbag behind me to the train station.

Once on the train, I notice that there is no place where I can keep my bag close or keep an eye on it. I decided to sit on the balcony of the train, I came across the toilet and decided to dress and refresh in the toilet, I did not even make up for it and I'm still in the train for 7 hours. I'm laughing at myself how easy I find this '' drifter ''. I put myself in the toilet, pick up all my bags properly and nest myself on the folding chair with music in my ears and a book in my hand. I am embarking myself on a train journey of about 5 hours to Hamburg and then another 3.5 hours to Berlin. So I have all the time! However, after 1.5 hours, 3 conductors come to me. The whole train is empty and the train stands still it hasn't moved for a few minutes. They tell me that there is something wrong with the brakes and that the train does not go any further. I'm "moan" when I hear that I have to take the bus to Hamburg. All my stuff is installed around me, set for a 3 hours undisturbed trainride. I quickly get everything together, and start putting on my vest and coat again. Fortunately, I find my bus, a coach, and get installed again. Because the previous one was empty, I sat in this but with another 4 people, what a luxury, at the front so I do not get sick, I go further into my book. I see enormous meadows of Denmark and for miles no buildings, occasionally a small cabin or a farmhouse. I ask the driver who speaks little English but he doesn't even bother to communicate whit me in English, with hands and feet I ask him how long before we get to Hamburg, this seems to be 2.5 hours longer than the train, ach nothing to do, I'm on vacation but I'm glad I did not miss the train in the morning, otherwise it would have all become much later. After a while we come across some kind of border crossing on the highway, I just think of passport control and indeed the police are making arround through the bus,

I used to getting passport controle on the bus when I went to London and so expected this. However, it seems to be a similarity from my bus trip to London, namely, we are also going sailing whit a boat! As I said, the driver communication did not really seem to be an essential part of his job and everything just happens as it happens. We drive the bus to the boatportal and now I guess we have to leave the bus, for 45 minutes I got this much out of him (the driver). I love traveling by boat. A cruise is therefore high on my to do list. I enjoy the sun, the fresh wind and the food on board. After 45 minutes I walked back to the bus. In my room, despite the fact that I stand there with 30 more people, I will be solicited by a security guard asking me what I am doing over there not knowing that was not allowed to be standing there. I look surprised at him and promise him that I'll wait for the driver until he gets back, I do not feel like starting an discussion, but I also won't obey and go upstairs, while those other people remain standing right there. Once arriving by bus in Hamburg, I amaze me about the beauty of the station and the surrounding buildings, I definitely need to go there again! I have missed my train and ask at the international counter if I can change my booked my ticket, fortunately they are aware of the situation earlier that day and I can take my ticket to a train later that leaves in 7 minutes train so i need to go and hurry,  the friendly man behind the counter has also made a reservation for the train afterwards so if I miss that first train I do not have to be in line again, really friendly, are german people not as bad and rude as I pre aspected? I'll take the train and have a relaxing train ride to Berlin.

Once arrived at Berlin, the chaos that I did not miss in Denmark and Sweden completely failed, I do not know if it's the main station or that I just can not get used to all German speaking, the language and the People, but my relaxed mood decreases. I keep myself calm and relaxed and take the metro to the place where my hostel is. I booked a modern hostel, again a shared mixed room, whatever it makes, close to public transportation and all sights. But what is Berlin that big! The metronetwork is a lot less clear than I used to be from London and Paris but fine to do. Unfortunately, my google maps had some hickups through the tall buildings around the station, so I only walked around the station after 3 laps and walked in to my hostel. I was helped by a friendly boy of my age, I was annoyed but he made me smile and relaxed toward my room. Linen package you can pickup yourself from the linen room, washing machine and dryer you find in the basement and each shared 4 person room has its own bathroom, which is very luxurious! It is a tall building of 20 floors, a nice social space and enough choices for snacks and simple meals such as salads and pizzas. I was again wearing some clothes on arrival, dump most of my luggage in a luggage locker in the hotel basement and go on my way. I already booked a train ticket to Haarlem at the train station of Copenhagen for the next day, so I did not have to do anymore. Unfortunately, during the sightseeing, my preliminary impression of German people, based on German tourists in the Netherlands, was confirmed again. I think it is a very arrogant people who make no effort to adapt to their surroundings, as tourists, and as a German citizen to tourists too. The flexible and easy handling of Denmark and Sweden is counterproductive with Germans. Anyone asking you something on the street or at an information point is stubborn and tight, and the English language is not as present as in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. Like Romans in Rome and Venice, they like to walk over you than to let you go and push for a full subway or train while people still have to leave is also perfectly normal. I'm not going to stay here for a long time. I'm lucky enough to have a good day. I visit most of the things I would like to see in Berlin. Savonds, I pick up a pizza for the spot price of 2.50 euros (yes, of course I can pay with euros again) and go to bed early. In my room I speak to a man who is in Berlin for work, he has to finish the night at 4 o'clock to get his plane, I assume he does not have to do it smoothly, I sleep throughout, and indeed I did not notice that he left the middle of the night. The next morning I check out early but leave my luggage in the luggage compartment in the basement. At a same place, I work trough the list whit the last sights for Berlin. I decide to re book my ticket for a train earlier, I have seen Berlin. I pick up my belongings in the hotel, thank you again for the nice stay and the cleaning of that day before.

I am going to Berlin Central Station and book my ticket for a direct train trip to Haarlem, well, actually Amsterdam, and then change over there naturally. Unfortunately, this is not free, but it costs only € 6.50. The train journey takes 8.5 hours, but because of a delay it will be another 1.5 hours longer. On the way in the train, I eat something and I enjoy the last moments of my vacation. I can say that I'm totally in love with scandinavia, the people, nature and the wisdom that I like to travel by train and certainly do it more often. By 2018, I plan to travel from Nordkap North to Gibraltar Spain, completely unscheduled, in hostels, by train. I'm looking forward to it now!

 

So far my report about my drop to Copenhagen and everything that came about.

To be continued ... Stay tuned ...

The countdown has begun

 

To continue 7 days and 22 hours, the counter is currently saying:

Https://srprs.me/barbara-gaat-1-april-op-vakantie

This is the link to my personal page for my drop with sprs.me next week saturday 1 april.

I am very anxious, curious and also a little nervous. Because where am I going now!

The control freak I've already released several analyzes and theories about were I'm going to sent off to, but I haven't found a real secure anwers yet. In short, really have to wait until Saturday morning.

Last weekend, I searched my camping gear and on sunday I picking up some stuff from someone from who I bought stuff on the online secondhandmarket site.

I released a limited budget for myself to also give this a playing part this in the adventure.

I bought a 1 pit cooker (primus) so I can just continue my Personal Body Plan and do not have to eat at McDonalds every day or have to spend a fortune to restaurant. So, I'm also planning to just cook.

I have 10 days free from my work so this is how long I can stay away, no idea if I'm home sooner but the striving is 10 days. I bought a Europe Rail Pass. With this pass, which cost 175 euros, you can travel throughout Europe for 15 days, 5 days unlimited. I have just purchased this as a kind of backup to get home, and to travel a lot. I want to see at least 3 countries during this trip and sleep at different campsites (or in another hostel) each day. If you're trafeling unanttached and whit now pre plan, you should travel whit the best preparrations possible right?

You can sign up on the link above with your email address. Then you get as soon as I find out where I'm going, an email from me that reveals my destination, would you like this? I will also film this revelation on Schiphol airport and place this on my personal facebook page. I am very much anxious for the 1 of April till 10 April to begin.

Rome 17 to 19 December 2016

Last weekend I was in Rome, another Italian place, since I have recently been to Venice.

I found myself finding Rome even more beautiful then Venice, unbelievable but true, because Venice also really looks so beautiful!

Rome is, of course, more widespread than Venice, and in Venice it is best to crawl through the slopes, which makes the overview somewhat less beautiful. This is certainly not the case in Rome. My most wonderful moment was finding the Trevi Fountain. What a huge beautiful thing is that! Incredible how they've ever been able to make this all in time.

On my facebook I posted a video from the moment I found the Trevi Fountain. You walk literally through a small and not much saying street if you suddenly find the beautiful fountain around the corner. Very gorgeously and surprising.

In addition, of course, I have seen all kinds of beautiful churches and the collesseum could not be excluded from the list.

I left for 5 pm in the morning to Schiphol on Saturday morning. Once again, of course, I slept too less, but I was on time. After I checked in my suitcase I went and have a hot chocolate with my colleagues at CrossRoads (former Juggle Juice bar on Schiphol on arrival 2).

Once it was 6 o'clock I went to the security check, this always takes such a long time! Who ever to come up whit that it should be done at one central point at the airport flies themselfs very little! But, of course some how some way eventually, you will always get there. Meanwhile, I have become so full of security check pro that I start taking of my shoes in line without being asked. Thats why the metal detection gate never stops me :) Well, they do always check me twice if I've been through such bodyscan.

Once I got seatted on the plane I sat next to a very nice young couple, whit whom I had some conversations whit. They had never been to Rome and happened to be in the same neighborhood as I did. However, we did not seen each other after the flight, but it was stil nice to have talked to them. During the flight that lasted only 2.5 hours I slept 1.5 and watched 1 hour movie, thank you netflix for offline opportunity today! Truly a worldinvention is that!

At the airport I found out that there was no metro going to my hotel, but a train. It costs 14 euros for 32 minutes! I think that for Dutch terms is very expensive, but on the other hand, there is no cheaper choice to choose from. There were very comfortable chairs in the train and I got there very quickly.

Today I can use my Vodafone telephone subscription bundle abroad, this is really fabulous ! I now can use my unlimited calling minuts and text messages, plus my 12GB data a month outside of the Netherlands. "In short", I discovered Rome on my Google Maps navigation. How convenient is this, and it saves so much time by not getting lost, you just need to read the card and name it! This will definitely be useful!

The sun shines, and so Rome seems more beautiful, it's about 8 degrees and I enjoy my walk to my hotel. After 10 minutes I arrive in a small hotel, I see a narrow reception with a nice red carpet on the stairs. I check in but unfortunately I can not enter my room yet. I decide not to leave my suitcase behind the front office because it must be quite unattended on an overflow in the hal. I am looking for a place to eat, I have not eaten anything yet that day.

I eventual I decide no to go too far and just go to the McDonalds. This is located in a sort of basement. I order a Mc Italy (how nice) menu with fries and an iced tea lemon. The boy behind the desk looks at me again 3x and then asks in English, are you are an actress. I look surprised and say, I wish! Haha he smiles and keeps a little researching. I think he's crazy and do not pay attention anymore and just give him a smile. It surely wasn't meant to be an insult. He comes back to settle the bill and says;' sorry but you really look like an actress and I find your hair, eyes and  your mouth are gorgeous. I feel charmed, smile and thank him for the compliment. I just fell out of a plane and did not sleep almost all night so if he finds this atractive already, I thought that to myself, and I'll smiled back again. He brings me my fries and iced tea. When I sit, I notice that the fries are ice cold, so I walked back to the counter and ask for a new fries. When he came back to my table to bring the burger and the fries, he holds his hand out and looks back at me, I smile back and ask what he meant by this, he bears me to put my hand in his, the question mark above my head is getting bigger, but I go whit it and layed my hand in his hand. He kisses the top of my hand like they do in movies, he looks at me and says Bella Donna! Then he disappeared.

and he returns to the counter and continues his work. How stereotype Italian you can get it and I expect someone to get caught up with some hidden camera show, but this didn't happen. I stil laughed a few times and then went back to my hotel where I waited in the lobby until I could enter my room.

Once I got into my room I had a good sleep, and I was up and ready at 7:30 to eat breakfast the next day. Filled whit energy I starts to walk based on my navigation and I saw all major sights seeings. I think I've walked 20km. Of course, I have also seen the Vatican, this is as secure as the eiffel tower in Paris. You have to hand over your bag for a check and there is lots of police and military personnel. You'll find a jeep with a few soldiers everywhere on the streets at every square, big building or landmark. Yes, my love for men in uniform came true it rights once again in Rome.

Anyway! Seen nice things, deliciously food, and delicious weather!

My next trip is only April 1st. I can not do any more of my city trips until that time, because then I run the risk of going to the destination where I'm going April 1 already. It's a surprise dropping so I do not know where I'm going until I arrive at the airport on April 1, and it's a dropping so just have a singel flight, nothing more.

Stay tuned ..... To Be Continued ....

Venice 4 to 7 November 2016

I've been to Venice. And what was worth it! I had one of the first flights to Marco Polo airport on Friday and had to get up early. I had been to a show the night before and came home late, thats why I didn't sleep allot. I packed my suitcase in the middle of the night and then closed my eyes for onley 2 hours. At 4 o'clock my alarm went off. My father dropped me off at Schiphol around 5:00 am, I had the flight at 6.40 am.

The advantage of flying early in the morning I think it's not too busy at Schiphol. I could walk almost right to check in to leave my luggage (yes also for 3 days I need a air luggage (only 15 kilo)) and the security check I did not have to stand in an  queue. Behind the customs I deliciously enjoyed an breakfast with yogurt with fruit, cheesecake and croissant, I also bought a book about Venice, I recommend that everyone who will do an city trip to buy a cityguide because it really handy and they often cost just arround 10 Euro, and up I go to the gate.

After a very short flight of 1.5 hours (yeah can europe so small and so close is all this beauty) I landed at Marco Polo Airport. At the airport, the chaos in the infrastructure and information flow is already well-known. The signs say luggage carousel 2, but as As I am on my way to carousel 2 and walk along the carousel 6, I saw my flight number on that board. And yes, it turned out to becoming in on carousel 6 instead of 2. Thats already a good start. I can not really get used to this as I am a real regulator and control freak.

After I collected my suitcase and got out of the arrivals hall, I'm looking for a sign that tells me where I can find the shuttle bus, according to the description of booking.com, I will have a 90 minute shuttle bus ride to my hotel. Well whoever wrote that has been really drunk because in the part where my hotel is located there are no roads for cars to drive on, let alone a shuttle bus.

At one point I am standing between 2 plates, on the board right of me there are shuttle buses with an arrow to the left and on the other sign to my left there are shuttle buses with an arrow to the right. And no, there was no exit between the plates. MOAN, I can't stand this.

I come to a desk and ask how to get the best way to or near near my hotel with a water bus. He sells me a ticket of E 15, - I was shocked of this price for one single trip, he pointing me the way towards the water buses. Nearly 2 kilometers from the airport is a small harbor with all medium size sloops. After waiting for 15 minuts o, we could board, we don't say much, only the question of which stop we should get of. I understand the stops called Rialto, my card was cut and so we took off.

After about 1 hour and 15 minuts, I got to my stop, Rialto. And just as I getting off the boat, I see the beautiful Rialto bridge, you're straight away in Venice. I just decide to turn on my google maps, fortunately I have a 125mb travel bundle since I have already noticed that people are not very helpful, social and language skills are when it comes down to the English language, so don't boder asking anyone if they know where to find my hotel. Fortunately, my hotel is only 1.5 km from where my stop was. It's a beautiful day but I'm broken by the day and evening before, the short night and searching for the right signs. Irritation and annoyance always makes me tired haha.

All the streets in Venice are very narrow and bumpy, between the streets, you'll find bridges that you have to cross, in short, rolling bags are not very handy there.

 

After about a 20 minutes walk I found my hotel. The pride I feel every time I find my hotel fairly quickly in a city I have never been to before, stays fun. As it is early, at 10:00 am  I went to the reception with the message that I notice it's still to early to checkin and that I know It's not possibly to get to a room yet. The gentleman behind the counter is very friendly, you're never too early, he says in flawless English, I feel so welcome. I'm checked in, and he points me to the bathroom at the end of the hallway, past the breakfast room. The hint is clear, I look like a mess !!! Haha

I refresh myself and install myself in the lobby on a comfortable sofa. Just search for an offline navigation system because I will not get by with a paper route map. The infrastructure has been put together, but not entirely reliable as in London and Paris. Over there after each 250 meters, you'll only find an metro station next to your hotel and you need only remeber the metro stop and the waking route to your hotel, you'll always find it. Here is something else I have already noticed on my walk to my hotel. The wifi is very good so i know to get google maps offline. However, I note that all addresses on the hotel's map are just as different prenounces and spelled as in the navigation system. Moan!

When 'after an hour' I decide to walk trough the city and leave my suitcase at reception, the friendly gentleman of the hotel reception comes to tell me that my room is ready. He brought my to my room, very nice. It is a beautiful hotel, classically decorated with baroque curtains and wallpaper. It is a cute little room with a single bed. It's 15 years ago since I slept in a single bed. I decide to shower a bit, unfortunately the mechanism my showerhead is supposed to be is broken and stuck , so I'm going to take a bath. When I got out of the bath I felt so tired that I layed down on the bed and I slept until the next morning (yes from 13:00 to 05:00). I gues I needed sleep.

On Saturday morning I had to wait for the breakfast room at 6:45 until it opened. At 7:00 I went and have breakfast and at 7:30 am I finist and walked outside, armed with my offline navigation, hat on my head and wearing an scarf. It's raining today unfortunately. I decide to go to Piazza St Marco, a beautiful building, on my way over there I see lots of Venice and I let my eyes observe widely. What a beautiful place this is! I made many pictures. In the long run, I started to get crazy annoyed because of the rain that falls on my phone while navigating massing this up so I decide to buy an umbrella, but a nice one. A light blue with angels :) Also I buy shoe covers. I had seen many people overhere wearing those passing me by, too fussy for words, but it worked because my shoes were already soaked caused by the rain. I'm still strolling through the city and then decided to return to my hotel half past the afternoon.

Venice has lots of nice clothingshops and souvenirs. What I find characteristic is the shops that only sell items of one and the same price. 8 euros, 10 euros and 20 euros shops. Also, all souvenirs and masks are spot and spot cheap. I bought 6 magnets for 5 euros and 3 masks for 5 euros. I also bought 3 super beautiful masks which costed together only 8 euros.

Unbelievable!

 

That evening I went out to look for a restaurant near my hotel. Most of them are full, yet I find 1 that still has an free table for one. I enter the restaurant and ask for a table for 1. The waiter smiles and says, no two and handles 2 with his fingers. I say no I'm alone so its really just for one sorry. He says no two. I smile and repeated myself too. Then he says, no, but I'm welcome to join you. I laughed and sit down at the table that is being pointed out to me. I eat a delicious spaghettie bolognese and a tiramisu that is made by him by the second waiter. The tiramisu is very different to us than we are used to. He is softer of texture, less alcohol in the soil, in short I think it's a lot more delicious.

The next day, I bought a tourist travel card that allows you to travel in Venice unlimited by boat. I've seen "everything" so it feels to me. Lots of different things. By the way, at the restaurant next to the hotel, I orderd a quattro stagioni whit a tiramisu dessert,  and I had a nice conversation with the owner of that restaurant about when he was in Amsterdam, how slippery it is in the winter and that Venice right now isn't  really beautiful, according to him. I ate my pizza and tiramisu on my hotel room and went to sleep early again.

Monday, I have to check out at 11:00. I decide to go to Lido. The '' fixed '' land of Venice where Venice beach should be. I use my tourist tavel card for the long boat trip to Lido from 1.5 hours.When I arrived I had to walk to the other side of the coast to get to the beach. This is really a very different Venice. It looks more like a seaside resort in Mallorca or Tenerife. Wide street, cars, buses etc. Arriving on the beach, I install myself on a kind of staircase where more people are happy with a book or magazine. The sun shines well and warm, and the thermometer indicates 20 degrees. Delicious in a shirt I took of my shoes and I read 100 pages from my book. What a great way to end your weekend.

I decided on time to return the boat towards the airport. I thought I could travel with my tourist travel card there but unfortunately. After spending 45 minutes to get the right ticket, and to the right stop and on the right boat, 'which is not too full' I'm on my way. The sun is already setting and I still managed to make some beautiful pictures of this sunset. I have the idea that the boat is broken or damaged a little bit because we are sailing very slowly. After more than 1.5 hours, I arrive at Marco Polo Airport. Once I dropped my suitcase  at the luggage checkin and have been through the security check, I installed on the most comfortable airport seats I have ever seen.I had a wonderful happy weekend! Next month Rome, who knows what that will bring!

Bryce Canyon, Zion, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite & San Francisco 9 t/m 19 oktober

9th & 10th of October Bryce Canyon.

After Monument Valley we continued to Bryce Canyon. Once again a beautiful park with lots of nature and beautiful rocks. We can not choose which park is more beautiful and once again we are starring our eyes out looking over the deep ravines and huge pieces of land. We are at Ponderosa Point, a point in the park at 8904 feet high. This is about 3000 meters high. You constantly feel the reduction of oxygen in the air and the pressure on your ears as you drive up the mountains. But the view was absolutely worth it!

10, 11 & 12 October Zion National Park

After Bryce Canyon we drove on to Panguitch, which means big fish, a picturesque village, which has apparently been around for centuries just as it is now. It looks like a decore from a movie. Because of Halloween, there are many houses and gardens decorated / dressed up with ghosts, dolls and tombstones. It's very nice that everyone has given it their best effort to make it this nice.

During check-in, a gentleman "who apparently has a function at the motel' tells us that it is very hot for the time of year, it usual is snowing arround this time of the season, he sayed. We look around us but see and feel nothing but sunhine and heat.

We read on a card that was at the reception and indeed saw that in October there is on average of 22 inch snow falling. This is hard to imagine. He also tells us that a tornado had come through the village 2 to 3 weeks ago, when the clouds become black, you have to be careful, he says. We're glad we missed out all of this, we  asked ourselves how bad the tornado's has been, because there was barely any demange to see in the village. We are happy with the nice weather so far! And hope it stays!

We sleep here for 2 nights but the first day is sunday, showing that there is nothing open in this town except the subway. So we just eat a sandwich subway that night. Everything in this town looks savage as if it were a real Texas texasaw massacre like horror movie. Abandoned houses, dark streets without streetlights and now with the decoration of Halloween this sene is complete. You think if you see the movies that this does not exist in the real world, but apparently exists here 1 on 1. We stay here for 2 days and go for a walk around in the morning, explore the town a bit. During the day there is fortunately much less horror-like looks, but it does have something cute. We meet a somewhat older woman on the street who we see occasionally cleaning up trash from the streets and taking in whit her. She notices us and greets us the way that all Americans do with '' he, how are you? '' Our response is:' fine, good how are you?' We started talking whit her and got in an conversation. She told us she has been living here since 1936 and after our question how old she actually is she answers 86 years! What an age, and what a period to live in such a smal village. We can't even start to imagine how this would be like. She also told us that Panguitch is a word for big fish and so we learned something today!

After exploring Panguitch we head towards Zion National Park which is about 1 hour drive. After you have made a trip throug America, you will find distances from 100 to 300 km not such along way. I have never had a problem with a couple of hours driving, even not in the Netherlands, but overhere this is perfectly normal. We encounter supermarkets on roads where at least 70 km arround there is not any decent residential village, and so people come from far to do their shopping from here. We'll find signs on the highway from places that can only be reached over 275 miles (over 400km). Can you imagine that Paris is already in Utrecht?

Once in Zion National Parc, we look whit impressed sight throug our eyes again. What beautiful nature areas do they have here! So rough and untouched! Everything is being retained and honored, only the roads and possible security measures are made by people.

After a day in this beautiful park went and go to have a nice meal in the restaurant which was closed yesterday and looked abandoned. Today it is open and we each eat spaghetti bolognese with meatballs. We go to bed early so we can leave early the next day, this time we drive to Las Vegas! We are prepared to experience an culture shock!

12th and 13th of October Las Vegas

Just past noon, we arrive in Las Vegas. I myself am a huge fan of "the Las Vegas" television series and look forward to search for any recognition point from this series. Fortunately there are plenty:' the Wynn, the Palms, the Ceasars palace, the Eiffel Tower replica, the Statue of Liberty, and a complete little venetium passes by when we drive across  'The Strip'  in Las Vegas'. We are staying at hotel and casino '' circus circus '' from wich the name is already says enough. Indeed the theme is circus. afcourse you will find a casino in the hotel, as well as a games hall where you will find free circus acts, and a huge theme park indoors whit plenty of shops and eateries. Upon check-in we are offered a small upgrade for only $ 5, - we do this because we can then go to the 22nd (!) Floor of the Skyrise Tower instead of a somewhat lower room in the '' manor ''. We would like some more views and the price of the upgrade is worth it. We are in room 22373 (!) And 22379 (!) As in how many rooms have this resort, and again have a super beautiful room. From my window I look over one whole side of the strip and am already wondering how that looks tonight. Around 15:00 we walk over 'the strip', it took us about 2.5 hours to walk the whole strip down to the Mirage Hotel & Casino Resort. Halfway through, we eat something at Denny's, a common restaurant chain in America. It's not really fast food, but more like a sort of '' Diner ''. We walk through one side and back across the road so we can see everything well. Slowly it's getting dark and all lights are coming to their right. Many streets you cross through a kind of Fly-Over. This often runs through a building or casino, so this way we see many casinos from the inside. In fact, they actually all look the same from inside, but from outside they all are different. What I find difficult to coupe whit are the number of homeless people you find here, especially on the comic strip and the fly-overs. The contrast between the immense wealth and huge poverty is hudge. I want to give something to everybody who is less fortunate. Some people have a disability, others seem to be rather lazy than tired and look like the so-called professional beggars. They look good, have sunglasses on, not too dirty clothes and are not too credible for wanderer. While others by contras do! After a walk of almost 15 miles we are back at the hotel. We did some gambeling at the casino, but we feel this day have been nice and and it's time to get an good sleep, Well that was my intention but when I enterd my room I was so enchanted by the view with all the lights on the strip that I watched outside for 2 hours while I was also watching the movie 'pretty woman on my laptop.' What is this a great city, I don't know if I could coupe this for a few days, but for this one day it was absolutely worth it!

13 & 14 October Death ValleyThe next day we drive from Las Vegas towards Ridgecrest, one of the last villages before entering Death Valley. We looked around, eat at a good local Mexican restaurant and bought some water from Walmart so we are well prepared to enter the Death Valley the next day. Death Valley is a desert where there is a huge heat and drought. The warmest temperture ever measured in America has been in Death Valley a measures off 56.6 degrees, this was in 1913. Also the lowest point measeres in America is measured here in death valley 85 meters below sea level . We woked up early in the morning to start driving at 6:30 to death valley. We have skipped breakfast due to our early departure,  so we will be looking for a place to eat in Death Valley. We arrive at Furnace Creek Inn, the only hotel in Death Valley. It is a superb resort and provided with all comforts, we are very well received and enjoyed an delicious breakfast. We drove a huge distance to Death Valley and passed throug there. But we decide to turn halfway and proceded to the next hotel. Even that it's right now not the hotest point off the day, it's hardly to deal whit this warmt. Everywhere are warningsigns for dehydration and for overheated cars. It is advisable to drive without air conditioning to minimize the risk of overheating of the engine. It is also advisable to drink a lot of water, at least 1 gallon (3.78 liters) per person, a day. We stayed mainly in the car. When we decide to drive further to the next hotel, we found out that it was 650 km away, the ride from our previous hotel to our next hotel is about 300 km, but we also traveled 300 km to and from Death Valley. So we'll leave soon. After driving 650km, we arrived there because we were send the wrong way while following our navigation to Sierra Lodge. Our navigation has some difficulty identifying the correct home number, and since it is awful dark, we have to look extra good. It looks very cute and we are received very kindly and warmly by the boy behind the reception. All information is clear, he points us where we can park, we put the luggage upstairs in the room and drive to the nearest restaurant. We searched for a Mexican restaurant where the menu was displayed in front of the reception desk, but instead we found another restaurant with a cute outdoor terrace. In the meanwhile it's half past seven but still 22 degrees. We are going to eat outside. After that, we will go to sleep quickly, because we will stay here for 1 night and visit the Saquioa National Parc tomorrow before heading to Yosemite. We sleep in a kind of lodge, as the name of the hotel already discribed. It is on the top of a staircase on the first floor with a balcony and a sliding door as entrance. It's hot old fashioned but very cute, and there is again nothing missing in this picture at all! The following morning we have a small breakfast at the reception. There are some sweet sandwiches and mini donuts, coffee and jus d'orange and instant oatmeal in 3 flavors. We take some and go and sit on the picnic table infront off the reception desk.

Luckly it is only 3 miles to Sequioa National Park, which makes it alittle less hurtful after such a long day driving! The road to and in the park, however, is upside down and tremendously tortuous, since I have my driving license I have never felt carsickness anymore, but now it's really playing up aigain! Halfway I crawl behind the wheel but in combination of the height difference and the moderate breakfast this is not nice feeling. We see some huge trees! So wide and high, unimaginable! In this national park we see huge trees, the Saquioa tree. These get enormous and huge! Nature is incredibly beautiful here! Halfway through the park, we turn around and head towards our next destination, Yosemite Gateway! The way down is worse than up, even now I drive myself I get car sick and I have to stop a few time in between to overcome. on the feed of the mountain we enjoyed lunch at the same Mexican restaurant were we have eaten our dinner the night before. Lunch is also delicious and now we are heading towards Yosemite. Fortunate this is onley a 200 km drive, which has become not such far distance for us now. 15, 16 & 17 October Yosemite ParkOur next destination is a nice resort with indoor and outdoor swimming pool. It is a kind of luxe version like a center parcs and but then a little smaller. After checking in en checking out our super beautiful room, we decide to look around. It is a beautiful park and we soon spotted our first squirrel. We almost run out of clean clothes and decide to wash and dry clothes in the park. There are super fast washing machines and after 1 hour we can hang everything up or dry or get it dried out of the dryer.

The next day we have breakfast at the restaurant next to the park. Then we go into the mountains, up to Yosemite Park. Although it is once again a magnificent national park, it does not rise above the parks we already have seen. We spend the last days of the holiday being more relaxed and do some more relaxing. That evening we also eat in the restaurant where we enjoyed breakfast that morning. We are actuated by a super euphoric waiter.  He is very enthusiastic and super friendly and warmish, even more than the average American we encountered on our trip. Again he gives us unsolicited and so free for us to drink and proposes his name to us. He still tells between his nose and lips that he is the father of 2 children and we are talking about the trend '' horrorclown '' that currently prevails and has also been swept to Europe, and thus also to the Netherlands. I give him a good tip and we are going to have a good sleep!

17, 18 and 19 October San FranciscoThe next day we have our last long ride to San Francisco! After 3.5 hours drive, we reach our hotel, we get a free upgrade and have a nice room again. Our hotel is in San Francisco, in Redwood City. At the end of the afternoon we will drive to San Francisco to eat fish there! You must have eaten fish in San Francsico, they told us so when we were at home and indeed! What a delicious fish! My father has some kind of schol and I have a salmon terryaki. We see an antique playroom with all kinds of old-fashioned amusement machines. This is very recognizable to my father, but I also enjoy to seeing this! We drive back to the hotel, in a sunday evening trafficjam and go to bed again on time! The next day we have tickets for a trip to the former prison island of Alcatraz! We bought these tickets online months ago because they are already sold out 3 to 4 weeks in advance, and indeed, the first tickets will be available again tomorrow. We are glad that we have already purchased them. The boat to this island is going to be quite full. Alcatraz used to be a prison island where the most dangerous and infamous criminals of America were detained. Only one escape attempt has been made and nobody knows if those prisoners have reached the other side. Alcatraz is known for the good quality of living. Adequate, good, tasty and healthy meals, hot showers (more self-interest, the prisoners could not get used to cold water so the could swim across the the water to the shore) and sufficient privileges in good behavior. We are doing an audio tour through the old prison and watching the island. The audiotourguide is surprisingly funny and informative and really recommended! This is free and so its already included in the price of your ticket. It gives a good idea of what has happened in this prison. They tel us about the living conditions of the prisoners but also of the workers. They lived with their families on the island. There are people who grew up as a child on the island of Alcatraz and also a resistance by American Indians. I learned something else! After a long day walking and having a lot of impressions we go back to the hotel again! After a long day walking and having a lot of impressions we go back to the hotel again. It is very busy in downtown San Francisco and many things remind us of Amsterdam. It's busy, people are cycling and bicycling lanes a road between the stationary cars We eat something in the restaurant next to the hotel and then go to our room again, tomorrow will be a long day! First we will see Marina District tomorrow and drive over the golden gate bridge. We fly at 20:45 and have to deliver the rental car at the airport before that time, drop off luggage and by the security check of course.

In 16 days I've seen incredibly much of America! I have the idea that I'm 2 months away from home and have seen and experienced many unexpected things. Especially the positive experience of the people in any city or state therefore this will remain to me the most. The kindness ranges from 99.9% of the people. No one is pushy, annoying or irritating. Also driving in America was for us better than we expected. You can catch up through the left side on the roads and at a crossroads only the traffic light for straight forward applies, turning left and right is free and just need to watch left and right before crossing. There is food, and especially fast food in abundance, and everything is at least 2x as big as in our country, burgers, drinking cups, cars and houses, just call it and it's bigger. Many Americans are in for a chat and almost everyone you ask will asks you where you come from. I will definitely come back here, but next time I will go explore the other side of this amazing country! See you again soon America!