flaky blonde abroad
Filmfookingcrazy – as the title suggests – is usually entirely dedicated to film journalism, and the odd excited rambling regarding television. Putting that to one side, this is going to be a little summary of my trip to Europe. I can try to make it brief but we all know I don’t really get the meaning of that. Short but sweet isn’t my style. I was originally meant to leave for Barcelona on the 1st May. My flight was due to leave at six in the morning, meaning I had a coach booked at ten to two. At one, with no sleep and anxiety kicking about, I was still laid in bed, struck with a ‘I definitely can’t do this’ mentality. And I was right, I couldn’t. And I didn’t. But not going was a massive wake up call for me and that was the moment I realised I not only needed to embark on this little journey, but HAD too. For eleven years anxiety, on and off, has pretty much ruled me. I wish it hasn’t, but it has. Not anymore! I’m going to kick you to the curb.
Pretty upset at myself I quickly swung into action and booked a flight to Paris, leaving three days later. A panic attack at the airport later (come on, it was my first time flying) and a few cravings for a cigarette, I made it. Apparently we actually had really bad turbulence on the plane but it was my first time flying so I was pretty clueless – not so bad being a newbie after-all, ey? The next step was working out the sometimes-tricky metro system. Walking around with that lost-puppy look, I was befriended by new pals and we all quickly stuck together. Realising we couldn’t get the metro (thanks to that clever person who decided to leave their luggage in an airport), we chipped in for a 50 Euro cab ride. Check into the hostel? No way – beer was calling our name. A couple of cocktails later, we were playing drinking games in a Brazilian bar called Favela Chic and dancing along to a band covering Beyonce. Its safe to say my introduction to Paris was pretty special.
The next two days in France were really fun, and while I had a bit of a meltdown on the first day, I was reassured by my roommate Caoimhe, who became my travel buddy while I was there. We did all the main tourist spots, drank beers, got rained on, and had dinner at a kebab shop (because us Brits will never shake the craving for one). The best part of Paris for me was the historic bookstore Shakespeare and Company. A cat napping, a man playing piano, and gated rooms with vintage books was more then enough to make me fall in love with the place. My final day was slightly plagued by anxiety but it was still super special and all of the amazing people I met there – Jimmy, Caoimhe, Christian, Alexis – and more – helped make my first days something to remember.
After Paris my destination was Berlin. Unsure of whether to continue on or go home (don’t judge, I was still nervy), I made my way to the train station. Being flaky, I was late for my train. Never fear – it was cancelled anyway. The Germans were on a strike which made my getting there super tricky. Where to go? Amsterdam of course! Queue another panic-related wobble. Spotting two backpackers, I took my chance and bound over with the opening line of ‘Do you speak English?’, our friendship began from there. Riley and Cassidy – or the Canadians as they are sometimes referred to – were off to Amsterdam, and it didn’t take me long to decide to join. Three trains later, new friends Micheal and Chris, and a stop over in Antwerp, we were there.
Getting to Dam had been the easy part – finding a hostel that would take three of us on a busy weekend was a pain in the ass. We found one though! It might have been a bit of a shit -tip (there really is no better way to articulate it), but the weekend there was such an incredible experience. Lots of alcohol, and no sleep were the running theme but we still did our share of sight-seeing (most of it while lost). The biggest thing to remember while in the Netherlands, is watch out for the thousands of people on bikes, and try not to get hit by a Tram. We did the zoo – Elephants! And The Heineken Experience. Always go to the latter when in Dam, you pay 18 Euro and you get pissed. So, so worth it. Dam was short but sweet. I would go back time and again, and would happily suggest it to anyone. On to Berlin.
The trip to the capital city should of taken us around six hours – it took us ten. On the last leg of the journey our train broke down (two fricken’ minutes from the station) and had to be towed back. We kept the morale going though, and by one in the morning we were at the hostel. Plus Berlin was the best hostel of my whole trip. Super cheap (you can stay for as little as 9 Euro a night I believe), armed with a bar, and next door to the Berlin Wall, it instantly became a favourite. Berlin was another short stop, but the best of the nine days. The Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Holocaust Memorial, and a club emblazoned in red and surrounded by Willow trees were the destinations while I was there. A lot of ‘Have you ever?’, over-priced rum and a few beers were the theme of the evening and it was a quirky introduction to Berlin nightlife.
Sadly over, it was time for Prague. While Prague is a stunning city, I definitely didn’t have enough time to experience it for its true beauty. Our tour guide was an Irish Game of Thrones-lover who had gone to the Czech Republic three years previously to work for three months, he never left. Prague has something special about it for sure, I just didn’t really get to unearth that in my time. The city was, however, host to one of my more random experiences while away. When walking around Old Town, go to a Sex Machine Museum? Obviously. Full of weird sex items and an erotic cinema showcasing porn from 1925 (which sadly won’t be something I’m forgetting anytime soon), it was definitely worth the money – I never said I was mature. The evening played host to XXL Mojitos, street-beers and a reunion with my Canadian besties.
Then it was home-time! I debated staying for longer, but there was a small part of me that yearned for the comforts of home. While Europe helped me in so many aspects to overcome parts of my anxiety, I still have a way to go. Before going traveling I woke up most days with the instant feeling of being fed up. I don’t chose or want to feel that way, but sometimes it can be hard to shake. Having this experience, meeting the people I met, and being in new and exciting places has so nearly shaken that. I feel much more content, and to know there is so much more of the world waiting for me to still discover is kinda’ wonderful. I have booked up another ten days, because overdrafts are there to be used, right? I’m still nervous, but I just need to remember we all feel that way.