Survival Guide: Studying abroad for five months

Exchange is not a year in your life, it’s a life in a year. 

Do you have a low tolerant stomach for alcohol? Do you feel that you hate being with people from times to times? Do you like to have an organised daily life and make plans? Are you getting tired of clubbing and dancing and you enjoy the company of your bed? Are you a very good student in purchase of the best grades in class? And last but not least…. do you enjoying taking risks that probably will lead you to the most amazing experiences of your life? If you answers are NO, so then my friend, you better skip that article. Erasmus programme is not for you! 

It was about three years ago, when I took the great decision to go study and live abroad, during the spring semester of my university. Of course, the most certain way to have the best possible experience is through the Erasmus+ programme, an exchange programme that runs for many years and has given unforgettable experiences to million of students. So, these are my tips and hacks coming up from my personal experience and how I saw those five months through my own eyes.

 

  • You’re gonna drink a lot. Even if you are a light drinker or a heavy drinker in your normal life, that’s a fact. Get ready to live the most drunk nights of your life, the biggest hangovers of your next mornings, be ready to  kiss that not so cute guy/girl, dance all night and lose some things-phones,shoes,shirts, even pants. It’s gonna happen and you just have to accept it.

 

  • You’re going to meet many different people. Even if you are an introvert and you feel awkward around social situations, it’s impossible to not make new friends, new meetings, new circles. All the international students are going around the same places, are doing the same things and follow the same rules, so we keep close to each other, protect each other, speak to each other-and trust me there is always someone who knows your name even if you don’t know them, especially if you are a party animal and go around a lot *cough cough* – proud ex party animal talking.

 

  • Get ready to laugh a lot. I mean a lot a lot. You re going to laugh with yourself and the humiliating things you did the previous night, you will laugh with your drunk friends who will definitely regret some things they are doing being drunk, you will laugh with the guy who is getting high for the first time, you will laugh with old stories of your friends from their normal life back home- you re gonna laugh a lot and it’s gonna be  pure, honest,all from your heart. ‘Cause you re living one of the most happy days of your life.

 

  • And of course you will cry a lot. You will cry because you are too much drunk, you will cry because your best friend there is drunk and they remember of this bad ex, you will cry cause you don’t want to leave, you will cry because you don’t want to say goodbye to all these beautiful people you met through this journey- If you are not a goodbye person, this is gonna be very difficult for you.

 

  • For five months you will never eat normal. You will eat junk food, you will eat strange but nice food, you will taste strange but not so nice food, you will find yourself not eating nothing for two days and then eating at 5am. Don’t worry, it’s normal. No one will accuse you for not taking care of yourself. It’s that period of your life that you are absolutely free to do whatever you want- without hurting yourself of course- with no guilt.

 

  • As you understand, it’s almost the same with the sleep. Sleeping times are a mess but good thing comes up: you will learn to sleep everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE.

 

  • Maybe you will fail some exams. Maybe! But that’s not so bad. You would have gain so much in return that these things don’t mean too much. Of course, that’s not a rule. If you can combine  fun and study together, you are awesome. We need more like you to teach us how to do so.

 

  • The most important rule of this experience: say YES to anything new. Anything new that can lift your spirit up, anything that can make your blood rush, your heart beat faster, set your mind free, boarden up your horizons. Say yes to new experiences that can make you live better, think better, feel better. New things that make you a better person. Things that you can’t wait to say to your friends and your family when you come back from this long trip. Because no one came back home the same person as they left. Say yes to all the things that fill your heart and make you a great storyteller. But don’t forget, that you have to say No to the things that don’t feel right for you and can hurt you. It’s a beautiful world out there, full of beautiful people and unique experiences, but it will never stop being dangerous sometimes.

 

In any situation of your life, If you come across to this unique chance, just take it. It’s going to be difficult at start, you will maybe feel lost in the beginning, even scared at your first night all alone in a new place, stranger among strangers, but this is the kind of experience that it will help you grow, it will help you be a better person, it will give you a new aspect of the world. It’s this kind of experience that you will mention again and again to your friends, to your family, to the new people who will meet during your life, even to your children some day. And when all this experience come to the end, prepare yourself  for a short depression period. Because you re gonna feel that parts of yourself are spread to all over the world- but that’s ok. Just try to make the most of it and don’t forget that you have some new friends around this planet that are waiting for you to live new adventures.

 

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The city of my heart~Liverpool

The city of my heart~Liverpool

Liverpool. An amazing city. A crowded city but not chaotic. A place with beautiful, warm people,a place which meant to be the city of my heart. A unique trip that allowed me afterwards to call Liverpool my second home. Liverpool is more than a big part of the United Kingdom. Liverpool is a way of life.

 

I had the chance to visit Liverpool twice. At my first time, on February of 2017, I was all ready to explore the history and the culture of this strange land. I never heard anything specific about the city. London is the most popular among the others when we are talking about England. But Liverpool and scousers like to think that they are a different part of Uk, that they just share the same land but they are not English. They are scousers!

The thing that impressed me the most was the fact that Liverpool is a very big, busy, full of people city but it still keeps something of the simple life of the past. I could see that the port had a big influence on the city while the time was going by, and that had an important impact on people’s life and culture. People remain friendly, warm, welcoming. People were smiling, and I was smiling, listening to this strange scouse accent. Nobody was looking at me like I was stranger, no one seemed to be scared by my presence, nobody was suspicious to talk to me. Given the fact that Liverpool is one of the biggest ports in Europe, you can realise that the city is a cross of cultures and everyone coming in peace is welcomed here.

We stayed for two nights at Pullman hotel,a gorgeous, huge building, with excellent service, fantastic room, and an amazing view of the city and the wheel of Liverpool. Of course, I didn’t miss the chance to get on the wheel and admire the city from above (I would not suggest it to anyone with fear of heights, but it’s real fun).

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I visited the two Cathedrals of the city: the Liverpool Cathedral and the Metropolitan. The first one is a beautiful, old building that takes you away in the far past, and the second it travels you through the architecture of the new modern trends. A building that you can’t just pass by and don’t turn you face to admire it at least for ten minutes. It has many many many steps and a long height. As I was been informed, many people are getting married here (I guess the groom has to wear his gym shoes to climb all these stairs!)

 

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I had the chance to admire the Town Hall, the St Georges Hall, the Walker art Gallery, where we paid a visit, and the Royal Liver building.  I enjoyed so much my walk through the city and the moment when I was taking pictures of all these magnificent buildings. I was trying to observe everything around me, to take with me all these positive vibes of the city, to breathe its air deeply. I couldn’t miss, of course, a walk on the Albert Dock. I was just staring at the sea, taking inside me this particular smell that is coming out of the salty water and I just let the moment to take me away, far away, when pirates and strangers were coming to see this new land, when people lost their lives in the wilderness of the sea or the war, when….a voice disturbed my thoughts and it took all of them away. A minute later I couldn’t remember what I was thinking of and why I feel this sweet melancholy.  The only thing I could see now was the horizon and maybe Wales or Ireland.

 

You are in England, so it’s more than normal to find everywhere classic, traditional, pubs with great ale (=beer in the scouse slang). I could choose any kind of beer, blonde, dark, red, and I had a variety of tastes-bitter, more sweet, more juicy etc etc etc. Of course, we can’t forget that i was in the hometown of Beatles. I never forgot that. You won’t forget it either. Streets with the name of the famous music group, pubs named after it, statues, pictures, etc. Yes, in Liverpool you can feel your favourite band everywhere, a one step closer to you, even if you were not even born when they raised up (just like me). But, the most popular thing that you can find in Liverpool is a very strange thing that I used to see it around me on the streets all the time and I am struggling to find a name for it. It was something between a dog and a banana so when i googled it I found out that it was a superlambanana…..oh, yes there is thing like that. It looks like a small statue of a lamb (I insist that looks like a dog though) and its long tail has the shape of a banana….the tragedy about that is that you can find it everywhere, in everything-big, small, cute, scary, yellow, red, blue…everything! That’s not cool, people, not cool! Also, you can find many big markets, closed to the city center or the Albert dock, and many places to eat as well. I want to refer to two places that I ate the most amazing pancakes, the cozy club (cozy indeed) and the brunch club, a cool place full of young people, good coffee and great breakfast. I also ate the most amazing juicy chicken and the greatest onion rings at Yard & Coop, a place that gives you the feeling that you live in a real chicken coop! Modern, great hospitality, amazingly tasteful food and a new, unique style for a restaurant.

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The second time I visited Liverpool, I took the chance to make all of my male friends get jealous. I managed to get into the VIP Lounge of the Anfield, the Liverpool’s football field and to watch the game against the Swansea. The atmosphere was amazing, the field was huge, people were singing all together the song of Liverpool »you’ll never walk alone», and i have to admit that all this experience moved me a little bit. P.S Liverpool won 5-0 and the excitement was on its highest.

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Liverpool is a city of colours, many different colours. Every and each of its corner  reflect a different light. You can simply find everything and you have the ability to be everyone. It gives you this kind of freedom that allows you to take a deep breath of its unique atmosphere and smile like you feel home. All the cities where I have been are my little diamonds, but Liverpool is the biggest diamond in a special place in my heart.

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Lies About Traveling

 

You are thinking about making a trip. You are never sure and you are always wondering »should I stay or should I go». You will find many people in your way telling you that you should stay. I am with the decision »you should go». You always should go. You do your search on internet, you discuss with your closest people, and unfortunately many things will misinform you, as result to keeping you away by making the big step and let yourself be involved in our big world. Here are some lies and truths about traveling, that maybe will help you clear the clouds in you head.

 

  1. » I don’t need much for my suitcase». Okay, If you are woman you will understand this easily. I am always trying to travel light, I am always trying to take with me only the necessary and I am ending up struggling to zip up my suitcase. I am asking myself all the time »Do I really need this,even if I haven’t worn it in years?» and the answer is always yes! The truth is, that indeed you don’t need much to travel. Some shirts, pants and make up stuff is enough for a trip and I know from my personal experience is always better to travel with no heavy bags. You are moving easier, you run easier, you don’t get tired easily. Minimalism is the best for traveling the world. Plus, you will always have space in you luggage if you need to buy a lot of souvenirs or do some shopping while you are abroad.
  2. »New food in new countries is amazing’‘. Traveling the world means that, except from explorer and adventurer, you are a food traveler as well. Food is one of the main things that contains a country’s culture. It’s exciting and beautiful to taste new flavours, to smell new ingredients. Through eating you are feeling to come closer to the new country you just discovered. But, this experience is not always pleasant. You will taste many strange things, simply because they are a lot different from your own food culture. Maybe, they will cause you stomach problems , or just the nightmare of the specific flavour that you won’t forget so easily. The point is that this risk is worth taken. When you return back, you will have many funny stories to tell to your friends, and everyone will admire you for being brave.
  3. ‘Traveling costs a lot». When I started traveling , I didn’t know exactly how to manage my budget and my travel money, but I never remember myself spending a lot of money for traveling. When I was living in Central Europe moving around the cities and the countries was super easy as there are many ways to do it (like trains, cars, etc). Living in an island of Greece, the situation began to be more complicated, but that was the time I became more creative and I found my own ways to travel cheap. I am saving my money from my jobs, I am planning my trip, examine my destination and the things I want to do, I am searching for cheap flights at least a month before ( usually I use cheap flying companies, like Ryanair, Easy jet etc), I am looking for cheap hotels or hostels via Booking,com, and I organise my money for my trip. According to these, I am ready to stay in a non 5star hotel, I am ready to not be served during my flight, I am ready to eat light on my trip in order to save some money but I don’t care. This way of life allows me to travel as many times I want.
  4. Here we go, time to speak for another stereotype; »hostels are dirty and dangerous». This is something I have heard a lot of times, even from my closest friends. Terrified are asking me how I did survive this, If I have being robbed, how is possible to sleep with strangers blah blah blah. Hostels are designed for young travelers who want to travel in a low-budget, gain experiences from all over the world and they want to meet new people. Hostels are the perfect opportunity to feel welcomed in a country, to get new friends around the world, to have a good company during your trip, if that’s possible, and to feel that you belong in a tribe. Most of these accommodations have a modern, minimal design, playroom or living rooms where everyone can hang out, staff really friendly, and maybe breakfast. Of course, I didn’t like all the hostels that i stayed in the past, even because of location, or lack of cleanliness or just that was the feeling it gave me, but of course the same has happened to me in some hotels.
  5. »The world is waiting for you». No, the world is not waiting for you. The world is not waiting there with the hands wide open to welcome you. Traveling is a subject of adulting, too. You are becoming stronger. You are becoming independent. The world doesn’t know you and doesn’t owe you. You are stranger among strangers. The world doesn’t know you, but you can manage to make them learn you.
  6. »Speaking and communicating with people in a different country is difficult». Taking me as example, I have learnt through my traveling and my job in hotels, that speaking with a totally different person with a totally different language is not that difficult. All it takes it’s a decent effort. You can find many people in your path who will smile to you and are ready to help you even if they don’t speak a word in a common language. There are signs and gestures and body language  which helps a lot to that. I am sure that everybody understands a hello, a thank you, I am sorry,  and of course everyone in this world understand an honest and gentle smile.
  7. »Contacting family and friends while abroad is very difficult and tricky». We are in 2018. Really?! (Skype,Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Whats app-Thank you!)
  8. »Female Solo Traveling is extremely dangerous….especially for….females!». We are working, raising a family, taking care of a home, we managed to survive in a man’s world and to demand leadership’s positions in our workplaces. Of course the world out there is very dangerous and that’s a rule for everyone. However, especially a woman has to take this risk and has to leave alone for new lands and new adventures. It will make her stronger, full of confidence, she will learn to rely only on her own powers, she will learn to lead her road alone. This experience will make her feel sure about herself and it will give her the strength to deal with everything that’s happening around her. Time to time, she will be afraid, she will feel unsure, she will feel lonely. But, at the end she will rise up from this experience and she will turn into a totally different person, a beautiful worth-admiring creature. The picture of a woman, traveling alone in a new country, enjoying a glass of wine in a nice restaurant on her own while she is reading her book it makes me think that this is extraordinary, anything good than pathetic.
  9.  »Travelers are lazies’‘. »They are traveling all the time, they don’t have a normal life, they are teenagers who wants to escape life and their problems…etc etc etc». Stereotypes that they have no base. I am working half season in hotels, because my island is a very popular tourist destination. Last summer I was working two jobs-12 hours per day- just to be independent in my normal life, in addition to be able to travel as long as I want to. I can’t see how’s that makes me lazy.  P.S We don’t travel to escape life, we travel so life will not escape from us.
  10. »Traveling is easy’‘. Traveling is harsh. It’s rough. It’s the real reality. Traveling is brutal. But traveling is beautiful. You will have to spend a lot of hours at airport, you will get lost, you will not have time to sleep enough or to eat normal, because you re running all day to see everything you want to see – eventually, you will see more than you came to see, if you keep eyes open. You will be tired, you will miss your family, you will be way too cold or way too warm.You will meet bad people and rude people and people with a different language, struggling to explain to them the simple thing-for you simple-you are asking for. I remember, in my trip to Berlin with my best friends-it was their first trip ever abroad- they were socked of how many hours we had to spend on the road and how difficult was to relax somewhere and eat normally. Of course, there are many types of trips, like the luxury ones or just for vacation, staying inside the hotel and enjoying cocktails all day long-I love these trips as well, but I am always looking for adventures. I consider myself as a bad-a*s traveler!
  11. »Traveling is a waste of time». The ones who support that, they simply don’t travel, or they don’t know how to travel. Not to be a fan of traveling, not making it the goal of your life, that is totally normal. People just want to relax in their free time, they want to make families, they are afraid of airplanes, they have different passions…….fine fine fine! Just fine! But traveling is definitely not a waste of time. Traveling is the best education, it opens up your horizons, you learn better the world you live in, you meet awesome people, you learn more about yourself. You take risks and feel brave, you gain experiences, confidence and you turn into a great storyteller. We have consciousness of the World around us. Traveling is giving us a sense of freedom, we are strangers among strangers but sometimes, we feel like home.

 

When it comes to travel, always say YES.

 

»Travel is rebellion in its purest form. We follow our heart. We free ourself of labels. We lose control willingly. We trade a role of reality. We love the unfamiliar. We trust strangers. We own only what we can carry with us. We search for better questions, not answers. We truly graduate. We, sometimes , choose to never come back.»

Traveling is an ever-lasting affair. A trip you once take, there is no way back.

 

Dating A Scouser

Dating A Scouser

Scouse: a stew made from meat and staple diet of the Liverpool working class: a native of Liverpool; a dialect spoken by the inhabitants of Liverpool

 

Probably, I belong to the minority of people who didn’t know what a Scouser means. For me, all the people who lives in UK were English-British, no difference-no offence. One year now I have learnt that: Scouser is not just an ID, it’s not just an information for the passport; Scouser is a way of lifestyle, is a state of mind.

 

My experience, so far, of how is to date a Scouser (read and learn).

 

  • You are studying all of your life to learn English. You are crying over the books, you deny to learn the grammar, the vocabulary, your stomach and your whole body is nervous waiting for your results at tests. But you did it! After so many years you thank yourself that you made such an effort and now you are able to speak English very well and it’s so great you have an English partner to practice with. HA HA. No, my darling. Forget everything! Dating a Scouser is all about forgetting everything about the english language. Accent, words , even grammar, they will sound all greek to you! The moments that you will blush, because you don’t understand a thing, will be countless. The only thing you will do is crying silently and wondering what the heck you were learning all these years! Disaster.

 

  • That’s easy. If you really want to be with a Scouser, you have no choice: Liverpool FC or death! There’s no other choice. THERE IS NOT. If you can’t take it, girl run for your life!

 

  • So, you take the decision. The brave decision to keep dating the Scouser. You accept that you have to deal with a strange accent every day, you are ready to ask every five minutes  »what?», you accept the fact that you are going to forget any other football team in the world and from now on you will devote, body and soul, to the Liverpool FC. You have to prove your love though. Get ready to watch hours and hours of games on TV. No, it’s not going to be only games. Get ready for : highlights, previous games recorded on tape, older highlights recorded on tape, debates, discussions about Liverpool team, interviews, repeating scenes of goals and penalties of Liverpool playing, fighting, who comes who goes, what’s the favourite colour of Andrew Robertson and which is the favourite food of Mohammed Salah. Are you ready?

 

 

  • Be ready for the first time in his room. Liverpool tickets, Liverpool players’ pictures on the wall, scarfs, books about Liverpool-of course he has a year ticket so he can watch every game of his favourite team. Don’t worry, soon you will learn the epic song »Never walk alone» and you will sing along at the Anfield.

 

  • You hate Manchester. The end.

 

  • Everyone knows that English people loves drinking beers. Scousers LOOOOOVE drinking beers. (AND, they have really good pubs with draft beers).

 

  • You have to know that you will meet the family soon. I felt turning into tomato and swallowing my tongue in that very important moment, but, scousers are very united, they love their families and families stay always together. What’s more important.

 

  •  You hate Manchester. (Once is not enough, you reaaaally have to understand that).

 

  • Scousers are friendly. They have great sense of humour. They are full of life. They like good food, good beer and good football games. They will tease you, they will make laugh at you-with no bad intentions-they will make laugh at themselves, they are not afraid to be sarcastic with anyone, included them, they are not afraid to joke and to accept jokes, they are not afraid to be exposed. Scousers are fun!

 

  • You hate Manchester!

 

 

You will find everything, everywhere. Good people, strange people, funny people, bad people. Nothing is about nationality. The only thing I can say, to conclude this article, is that dating a Scouser is a beautiful adventure. The question is: are you brave enough to take it?

 

Useful Vocabulary For Beginners:

brekkie : breakfast

bevy: beer

scran: food

lad/la: mate

sound la: fine, mate

what’s happening la: how are you mate

boss: amazng, great

 

Good Luck!

! Berlin Alert !

! Berlin Alert !

Berlin is a wonderful city. It absolutely worth your time and your attention, it satisfies all the kind of taste, all the type of travelers, it’s perfect for young people and it suits every alternative lifestyle. The truth is, if you want to explore it as it deserve, with no rush and wrong movements, you should spend one whole month at least. Otherwise, like in my case, you have to visit it again. Anyway, you have to grab the opportunity to travel at least once in your life to the capital of Germany and you be sure that you ‘re gonna love it. There’s no other choice when it comes to Berlin.

 

BUT, like every other countries in the world, there are some things that you have to bare in mind, things that you should do no matter what, things that it’s fine to dismiss, things to avoid and of course, there are some tips, how to not be embarrassed- especially when you are with your besties.

 

Things I didn’t regret doing them and you have to do too.

  1. Eat Schnitzel, currywurst, kebab. Drink black german beer. You will not regret it. If you are a meat lover, that’s your paradise.
  2. You are a woman and you ‘re traveling with your girls. Pay a visit at Primark. Even if you are not a shopping lover or you don’t try to be a fashion icon ( that’s me, not a shopping lover and definitely not a fashion icon!) you have to visit this place. You won’t need to spend more than 100 euros just to make a new whole wardrobe or to buy things for your home. Primark pleases every taste.
  3. Get into the TV Tower, at Alexanderplatz. It will give you a great view of the whole city and you will enjoy a nice coffee or cocktail in a very normal price. Tip: It’s better to visit the tower at late afternoon, so you will have a very romantic view watching the sunset. Be ready for a big line and a little scary ride on elevator, while you get to the highest spot!—> I enjoyed it.
  4. Charlottenburg Palace is worth a visit on the inside. The entrance is 10 euros and you will have the chance to admire the brilliant art collection, the royal bedroom, living room, and you will feel like a royal (not jealous at all).
  5. Buy a transportation ticket online. There are many options for your ticket and you can choose the day you want it to be activated. We chose the 4-days ticket, starting to use it at our second day there and we picked it up from the airport Schonefeld. (Included buses,trains, trams, and some discounts for many places. Plus, you get a map of the city and a small book where you can find tours,museums and interesting places).
  6. Rent a bicycle. We didn’t have the chance unfortunately ( also, we were getting lost on feet, having the help of google map, imagine what would happen in a bicycle). The city is designed perfectly for the use of bicycles and there are many places ideal for that.

 

Things that it’s better to not do/things to avoid/things that’s better to think twice.

 

  1.  Do not stay in the middle of a street, with a map in your face. Berlin is a big city and people have learned to move fast, to walk quickly, they have things going on and tasks to complete. I am sure many german people were swearing in their mind when we suddenly stop and they were crashing us. Whoops.
  2. When you see the bicycle line on the streets and roads, don’t step into it. I saved my best friend many times while a bicycle was coming right into her. German are not joking. When, my friend, you use your legs to move around the city STAY IN YOUR WALKING LINE. (I am sure this is happening in a lot of european countries, where people use daily bicycles, and that’s the right thing)
  3. Don’t speak English very often. Study a little bit of German. Me and my friends, we understand german and we can speak some but we re not fluent. We used the global language, English, and we received some very weird faces, attitudes and some laughter. In some cases, they were laughing because they couldn’t  understand, in other cases they even got angry-and they didn’t even try to hide it.
  4. If you are Greek, BE CAREFUL. Don’t speak greek too much or too loud. I know, not being loud and be Greek are two things that can’t be together, but we realised that many German people understand Greek and worst, there are many Greeks there, half Greeks, or….I don’t know! Just don’t speak Greek. (For us it was too late. In our last day we realised why people on the subway were looking at us and laughing many times-WHOOPS, again!)
  5. Don’t go everywhere. We had made a really good plan and we decided to see many suggested spots-still, they were less than what Berlin has to offer. However, these were on the top of things-to-do but If I would go again, now I know better. Reichstag, Brandenburg,Soviet Memorial, Memorial of Murdered Jews, Berliner Dom,East side Gallery, Alexanderplatz, these are the places I enjoyed the most and the places I would definitely visit again. (Just a personal opinion)
  6. Don’t you dare to ask a question to anyone at Central Station. A huge building with many shops, many places to eat and relax, many people running like crazy to catch the train, many people working there. I regretted the moment I asked something (very kindly) to the cleaning lady of the WC. She started yelling at me in German, God knows why! #EmbarrassingMomentAGAIN #AndItwasNotMyFaultThisTime
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask, to smile to people, to laugh and be kind. Yes, many people were unkind to us, many people gave us weird faces but we didn’t care. We had each other and we were having so much fun. We also met people very friendly, ready to offer us a help. Two times, two old men came to help us with our map. That was awesome. (I guess everywhere there is everything)
  8. Would you like to stand in front of the gate of a palace, when there are only a few people around you, and you just want to admire the wonderful building?? NO MY FRIEND YOU WON’T DO IT. YOU SHOULD NOT DO IT! The moment you stop and stare the palace, maybe there is a serious case that a woman who’s running wants to get through this gate. And of course, she will give you a bad face because it’s your fault. LADY, THERE IS A WHOLE ROAD OVER HERE, YOU REALLY THINK IS MY MISTAKE YOU WANT TO RUN AROUND A PALACE AND IM IN FRONT OF YOU?REALLY? It’s ok, I am fine. Of course you can get through me next time. 🙂
  9. Don’t eat marshmallows inside the subway, Not because it’s forbidden (of course it is, but German seem more relaxed with the rules-surprised?) but there is the possibility to make a very kind old man laughing at you. Do you think it’s funny to have a big full mouth of marshmellows? You have to see me.
  10. You are in the subway. Your stop is getting closer. You stand up in front of the door, full of confidence, acting like a local, ready to get out. But the doors don’t open. You panic. Oh, it’s in the other way, behind you. The man who was laughing for your marshmallows, now he has more reason to laugh. ( It’s not that I am an embarrassing thing myself, it’s that I love making people happy).

 

Berlin, you were awesome!!!

 

Berlin, the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.’

 David Bowie, Singer, 1970s

Berlin is calling.

Berlin is calling.

What’s happening when you and your best friends decide to travel together after all these years? Disaster! Embarrassing moments, a lot of laughter, a lot of »where are we» and »where are we going», a lot of strange eyes upon us. Whats happening when three Greek girls are among German people?We have booked our tickets about three weeks before to leave. Meeting point: my home. It’s where we were talking hours about all the kind of things, we were drinking wine, laughing about random stuff and between our girly conversations we remember to talk about our fellow trip. Planning about my new destinations is my favourite thing, right after arriving in my destinations. I can spend hours looking for accommodations, things-to-do, cheap flights, even if my new trip is far far away. Even if I am not going to travel at all any soon. Even if I don’t know what is gonna be my new adventure. I guess wanderlust is running through my vein. 

We had made really carefully our plan for the trip. Berlin is not so easy to see in five days, and definitely it worth all your attention.

  • Day 1: Even if our flight was early in the morning, we needed some time to get from the airport to our hotel (later, we found out that this was not only for the airport; we needed some time to get to anywhere-whoops! ). Our hotel was near the Olivaer platz. We can’t say that this is the center, but the transportation was really good and we had easy and fast access to many places. The only thing that we did when we arrived was to have a hot dog from a small street food kiosk and we headed to the popular market Gendarmenmark , a big square where one of the best Christmas market in Europe takes place. It was a really clever choice to see the place in the night, having all these beautiful lights all around. There, we had the chance to take pictures in front of the Opera Haus, the Berlin Dom, and the French Dom.

 

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  • Day 2: Waking up the next day, we did realise that we are in Germany, far away from our mediterranean weather in Greece. The cold was strong but it gave us a lot of energy and it helped us to get in the mood of the new city that we were exploring in that moment. Anyway, what is more amazing than feeling the vibes of the new land that you have just discover? Our plan for our second day in Berlin was to visit the ZOO Berlinsomething that I really didn’t want to do, but I had to follow (stupid friendship thing), later the Tiergartenwith the beautiful gold Victory column, and then If the time was enough, we were going to visit a very important part of Berlin, the Wall MemorialAnd we were good!   P.S I lost three hours of my life looking for some elephants in the ZOO! I mean, it’s elephants, we were supposed to see them more easy!

 

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  • Day 3: We were very thankful that we booked a hotel room with breakfast included. At least, we could eat well in the morning. Third day in Berlin and we hope that’s our charmed one. Two days now, for some reason, we can’t find a traditional pub/german restaurant in order to taste german food and of course, good german beer. To be honest, I was not so surprised. Our orientation skills were not in their finest, and there were not few times that we were exactly in front of the spot of our interest, wondering all together »but where the heck is that?».  God save us!    The third day for me, as the fourth and the fifth, was what really made my trip and I saw everything I was looking forward to seeing. First, we started for the famous Brandenburg Tora gate that was made to remind that many years ago           (15th-16th c.) there was actually a large gate there, which was leading to another village, next to the Berlin that used to be in those centuries. Walking down the street, we ended up at Reichstagthe impressive parliament with the glass roof. Selfie sticks, cameras, snapchats, insta stories- were all on fire! We continue admiring the Soviet Wall Memorial, reading all the names of these young people who lost their lives during the cruel war.  I am taking my eyes away, before to start swimming in my sad, dark thoughts, avoiding, as fast as I can, to wonder »why». Last but not least, the Memorial of the Murdered JewsThese weird but amazing walls tempt you to come and play hide and seek. Their clever design is like calling you to play. However, the history that these walls represent, don’t let you get into any temptation. It’s so extraordinary, how this memorial makes you feel- like walking through history, feeling the vibes of an era, so far so close yet. Our last stop was the Checkpoint Charlie, but we didn’t enjoy it as we had to do. our stomach had decided differently. And here we are, looking for a nice, traditional, german restaurant, making circles around the area, going back and forward, following the google map, walking and walking, while we were tired, cold and we were starving to death! I have never thought that it was so difficult to find a warm, cozy place to eat, and here again, we did it! One hour later, since the moment we decided to eat, we ended up in the exact same place where we have started. NOT HAPPY AT ALL. However the place was really nice, the people were very friendly, and the food was worth it. I ordered a black, german draft beer, while all together decided to order two Schnitzel, two Kartoffelsalat, and one Currywurst. That way we had the chance to try all in once the most popular traditional meals of Germany. We simply loved it. The waiter, on the other side, well, I think he hated us! Three Greek girls, in a country where the people speak German and barely English, we felt free to discuss about everything. When I say everything, i mean EVERYTHING. At the end of our meal, in our way out,we found out that the waiter was Greek and of course, he understood every little thing of our previous conversations. And that was not good! At all! Great place but we definitely won’t go back! Never! Later that afternoon, we ended up to the Potsdamer platz, surprised by the multicoloured  capital of Germany. Right before we were wandering through history and art, unique architecture and long-lasting culture. Now, we have this feeling that we re walking on a small New York city, or maybe in a fashion street in Paris. A square full of lights, vivid, young people who walk around carelessly, huge malls and fashion shops ready to host every taste, every idea. We visited the Mall of Berlin, and luckily we found the exit out-not exactly the same with the one we got in! Whoops!

 

 

 

 

  • Day 4:  Today is the Museum Day! We decided to visit one of the most important museums in Europe, the Pergamon Museum. We noticed that our orientation skills started to grow better and we took this advantage in order to explore around the area. There are many museums in Berlin, but the most impressive ones are in the Museum Insel (the museum island). We spend about two hours there and then we headed to our next highlight of the day : the Berlin Cathedral. We stayed still in front of the view of this magnificent building. The architecture was simply amazing, its sight was giving us only admiral and awe. Young people were enjoying the sun sitting in front of it , in this cold but bright day. This city is full of contradictions, and that’s awesome. We tasted one of the best kebab  in Berlin, according to Trip advisor, at Mustafa’s Gemuse – the extraordinary about that is the fact that we found this place without even looking for it, even if it was in our plans to visit it. We all three decided that the next time when we want to go somewhere, we were not going to look for it! It will find us! We took the subway and we went out to a very different side of the city. It didn’t have the same vibes like the other parts of Berlin. Most of the people there were young, they had more extreme looks and styles, the streets were simpler, like the buildings, nothing was too much and there was not something special to catch your eye. Except one thing that nobody could not see it and no one could miss visiting; we were at East side Gallery. We were in the place where history has being written. This wall was a reminder to the people of  Germany of what they have been through. A reminder that nothing can and nothing should apart people away. We were in front of a masterpiece, a piece of art. No more words needed.

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At the end of the day we visited the heaven of every woman. In Alexanderplatz, maybe the most famous square of the city, we found Primark. Anyone who knows a little bit about shopping-fashion-style-famous malls, know that Primark is a very good chance to buy whatever you need-or you don’t need-in a very low, low, low price. I walked out a very happy woman.

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  • Day 5: That was our last day in Berlin. We were very good in our programme, we saw everything we wanted to see and we could finally relax and enjoy our day before to leave. Our flight was very early in the next morning, so, our only concern was how we can keep ourselves occupied while waiting for the flight. First things first, so we had a beautiful tour around the Charlottenburg Palace and its huge garden. We didn’t miss the chance to take a lot of selfies and pictures, having the palace-garden-lake in our background. Our last sightseeing for our trip was the Central Station of Berlin, but it was not as simple as I write it. Two hours-and-a -wrong-destination later, we finally made it and we had the chance to admire this huge building, where all kind of trains meet, where you can eat, drink coffee, sleep all in once and you definitely get lost. It had to be about one-two hours later and some not really nice things that we lived,  when we managed to find our right subway to get out of here. That was an adventure indeed. Of course, I did a stop to Primark again. You simply can’t resist it. Try!

 

 

 

~TO BE CONTINUED~

 

Three days in heaven

Three days in heaven

If I would be ever asked how heaven looks like for me, this would be my answer: a cup of coffee with the company of my beloved one, waking up somewhere in the nature, breathing greedy the fresh air, looking at the green views and enjoying the value of the silence, living in the moment.I had the chance to live my own paradise spending three days at the beautiful south coast of England in a log cabin. Three days were enough  to make me clear my mind, and recharge my battaries ,soothe my soul, and have the benefit of waking up at a place like that.

Our log cabin was located at Hawkchurch Resorts and Spa, in the area of Axminster, a little wooden home with hidden treasures. From the outside it looked like so simple but cozy, in the inside a luxury apartment, however, keeping it simple and comfortable. At the first morning I enjoyed a cup of coffee on the balcony with a couple of sweet crepes, watching the misty, full of green fields landscape and confirming my theory about the famous English authors: the english landscape is ideal for some dark, romantic, inspired writing. Everything here is motivating an artist to feel deeply, to feel strongly, to feel emotions hidden deep in the soul. A sweet melancholy, a familiar and strange feeling of nostalgia. Something is missing but its not so bad as long as there is a cup of nice, warm English tea on the table.

These were my thoughts during my short stay near to the nature of Axminster, while i was eating my crepes, sharing some laughs and wandering around the green fields and forests. At the second day we had a beautiful, adventurus road trip  through the south coast. In eight hours we managed to visit three diamonds of the english coast.

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Lyme Regis

Our first stop was a small but beautiful town in the area of Dorset, the Lyme Regis. Lyme Regis is a real pearl in  Dorset. A cute, little town, full of beautiful, old-style buildings, an atmosphere that travels you in another century, not so far from our own though, when people were still using their hands for working on the land and the sea. Lyme Regis is located next to the coast,giving you the opportunity to walk beside the beach and breathe the refreshing salty air. You can notice that there are small shops and markets selling fish in almost every corner and little, cute candy shops, making you stop and stare for a while. Different smells everywhere in the air creating memories in your mind, making this little town remarkable inside you.

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Charmouth

The weather has started to be more cold by the time we arrived at Charmouth,some minutes far from Lyme Regis. Our second stop was brief but totally worth it. A nice little walk on the beach and some pictures as a memory, was a brilliant break from our time in the car, getting ready to start again for our last-but definitely not least, stop.

 

Jurassic Coast

Walking next to the coast. Holding hands. Talking abou small things and big things. These were the essentials of a beautiful day. Not even the moody weather could ruin the moment. I was wondering how many beautiful, amazing, awesome places there are around the world, and even I was already on a trip, I was getting more greedy. I want to see everything.

The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is about 154 km in the area of Dorset and it’s famous for its remains of various creatures that have been found in the rocks-no we didn’t walk the whole 154 km and we didnt see any dinosaur (too  bad). We had a brief stop for lunch at a restaurant in the Jurassic coast  before our arrival at the main attraction.

When we arrived, we had to walk for a bit and take a look at the breathtaking view. Below the sea, watching her touch the sand with her waves, rocks around her and the little caves created from the nature. We stood for a while to capture the moment, to admire the work of the nature and keep the memory deep inside us. It was one of these moments that you wish your eyes could take pictures, just to capture the exact magic you have the chance to watch. We just walked the stairs down the beach and… here we are! In front of us a piece of the heaven, and the famous gate that has been created by something more important than us- time nature, god, a strange creature, we will never know.  We had a short rest in the stoned caves and we grabbed the opportunity to admire the sunset. Our time there was perfect. We were not late in our date with this amazing magical time of the day. As the night was coming and the weather was colder and colder we returned in the comfort and the warmth of our log cabin, making a nice cup of tea so we could relax and enjoy our last night in the log cabin.

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