Thursday, January 29, 2015

neuschwanstein

So on Saturday morning as I was just casually hanging out with Bethany and Nate, Matt jumps in with an announcement that he has a surprise waiting for me outside. Two of my best friends from back home had just arrived in Konstanz! Apparently, while I had zero idea of what's going on, they'd been planning a trip here with help from Matt and my mom. Since october!

That means I'm back here with photos from a little Monday trip when we decided to go on another roadtrip to Neuschwanstein and Schaffhausen. I'm so happy that I got to see this place covered in white fluffy snow too as my last time there was in August 2011. Simply beautiful! The official road to Marienbr├╝cke was closed, but that didn't seem to stop anyone.

Seeing the Rheinfalls in Schaffhausen wasn't that much of a success as we got there a bit too late, which meant it was dark outside already. Besides that, a Swiss machine just ate my last ten Franks when I tried to get some coins to pay for the parking. After my slightly disappointed feedback letter to them, they kindly offered that I can make my way to Schaffhausen again and pick up my four Franks. :D

Other than that, the weekend was a fun combination of exploring around, drinking wine, laughing too much and trying to get back on track with my Estonian. The last one was more of a challenge than you would think...

IMG_8256_1 v2ike
IMG_8261_1 v2ike
IMG_8271_1 v2ike
IMG_8268_1 v2ike
IMG_8278_1 v2ike
IMG_8287_1 v2ike
IMG_8284_1 v2ike
IMG_8299_1 v2ike
IMG_8304_1 v2ike
IMG_8319_1 v2ike

Oh, and so many excuses to go to our favourite cafe in Konstanz, das Voglhaus!

10405259_1026427764039581_832536162920507024_n

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

amsterdam

2015 was kicked off with a roadtrip to Amsterdam. Me, Matt, Bethany and her dad Carl took off early in the morning on the 1st to drive through Germany up to the Netherlands. On our first night there we also met up with Kyle, Lauren and their friends who had celebrated the New Year's Eve there and were already about to leave the next morning. Speaking of New Year's, arriving on the first did not help Amsterdam to make a good first impression. The streets and canals were covered in garbage from the celebration. Thankfully that was cleaned up pretty quick, so the next days were a lot better in that sense.
As for major sights, the first place we wanted to go was Anne Frank House. After seeing a huge line on the first day, we decided to get up at 7 the next day to avoid this. So we "only" ended up waiting for two hours in the cold wind and rain. Nevertheless, I think that the museum told the story behind it in a very touching way. Definately worth the wait as we weren't able to book tickets ahead. For future travellers visiting Amsterdam I'd recommend doing some planning ahead and booking museum visits ahead if possible. Also, for European students, get yourself an European Youth Card, which gets you discounts in a lot of places. I figured that out just a little bit too late, but better luck next time. Another place we visited was the Heineken brewery, which in my opinion was not really worth the price and time standing in the line. Probably because I had already been to other breweries and they are all (or at least the part that's presented to tourists) more or less the same. Other than that we just explored around the city, took the ferry to the northern part, visited the open library and drank FEBO milkshakes all day long.
Amsterdam as a city left me with mixed emotions a little bit, though. I was expecting some sort of a wow-effect, which didn't really happen. The best of the city is sometimes hidden behind cheap (and by that, I don't mean money-wise) entertainment. The city is of course amazing with it's architecture and all the canals and bridges, but I felt like it was a little bit hard to capture from behind all the New Year's dirt and hords of tourists. All the real things that make Amsterdam important and interesting are hard to access, especially for student travellers, as every museum has an average 3 hour waiting line and a 10-15 euro ticket. By all means, I also like the free and liberal (or however you'd like to call it) laws and mindset in the Netherlands. But obviously as long as the country is one of the few of that kind, it'll be a some sort of a weird symbol that makes 90% of the souvenirs related to weed or sex. But I suppose that's also interesting in it's own way.
Anyway, I didn't mean for this to be so critical, but then again it feels nice to have some more serious talk on this blog other than just flooding it with photos all the time. After all, we had a great time, Amsterdam is a beautiful city and definately worth a visit! I could probably walk around and admire those tiny houses for weeks and I bet it's even prettier when it's not January outside. :)

On our way back, we decided to take a different route through Belgium and Luxembourg. Our first stop was Liege, which according to a friend of mine is the second ugliest city in Belgium (sorry, I left my camera in the car while we were there). Having not seen other parts of Belgium, I can't really comment on that, but at first sight it did look pretty ghetto. :D
The second stop was Luxembourg, which I found pretty cool. It reminded me of Liechtenstein and Switzerland a lot, mainy because of the obvious wealthiness at every corner. Anyway, I really liked the city and would definately not mind living there for a while!

IMG_8160_1 v2ike
IMG_8107_1 v2ike
IMG_8191_1 v2ike
IMG_8108_1 v2ike
IMG_8189_1 v2ike
IMG_8115_1 v2ike
IMG_8125_1 v2ike
IMG_8129_1 v2ike
IMG_8181_1 v2ike
IMG_8132_1 v2ike
IMG_8175_1 v2ike
IMG_8166_1 v2ike
10892007_10205170526879273_1115528432490439628_n10898148_10205170526759270_7510971709065154062_n
10891869_10205170506398761_6240280119784496246_n10891655_10205179482583160_8560628200624075571_n
10917430_10205170524359210_8894641918916099585_n

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

freiburg

I wish I had some time for a 2014 review post, I'm already behind with posting pictures from recent trips. Here's Freiburg, another great city only a couple of hours away from Konstanz! We checked out the cathedral, explored around the old town and climbed up the Schlossberg for the view over the city. As my shoes had absolutely no grip, this was a bit of a challenge.

Amsterdam roadtrip photos coming soon!

IMG_8099_1 v2ike
IMG_8048_1 v2ike
IMG_8052_1 v2ike
IMG_8053_1 v2ike
IMG_8055_1 v2ike
IMG_8060_1 v2ike
IMG_8057_1 v2ike
10888678_808864812508229_7995468668191400981_n
10897830_10205128181460664_862482828777426474_n10885170_10205128194540991_882726704883577295_n
IMG_8065_1 v2ike
IMG_8070_1 v2ikeIMG_8085_1 v2ike
IMG_8081_1 v2ike
IMG_8098_1 v2ike
IMG_8075_1 v2ike

Bonus pics: Piret and Matt sleding in a vineyard with a great view over Konstanz!

10888761_10205136391905920_8359931394091368449_n10370438_10205136393025948_7364227882756043381_n
1525288_10205136393505960_2421630415196712545_n10881527_10205136388665839_861253438628284293_n