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If you go to spain you will have to try their popular paella rice. It's like fried rice with loads of variety of meat and seafood. When I was in Madrid, I had the most fabulous time indulging in food. Not that I can afford any restaurants, so I opted for the cheper alternative, coffee shops. The ones that are away from the tourist main streets are normally the best ones. Look out for white board outside the coffee shop which offers set meals, they are normally cheap and very filling. The set menu I had was so much that I think two persons can share one. And eating in this kind of places, you may find some communication breakdown, people don't normally speak English in places not meant for tourists. However you can be assured that you can still get cheap and good food. At least the coffee shop I went to, the people were so warm and willing to explain just using sign and body language... it's really interesting but that's how you can experience some real food and culture too!
Bruges is a small and beautiful city, and you can visit it in a day. It is a very walkable city so you can just take a slow stroll around the city or take a carriage ride. Of course autumn-winter is not the best time to visit Bruges, but there's a good deal that will get you there and back cheaply. It can just be one of your weekend out. The P&O North Sea Ferry that operates between Hull Dock and Zeebrugger will take you on an overnigt return trip between Hull and Zeebrugger, for 2 for the price of 1. So you basically spent two nights on the ferry and get a full day in Bruges. Once you reach the Zeebrugger dock, you can take a bus connection right to Bruges, no hassle. An the ferry accomodation is good, you can have either an en-suite or standard cabin or just have a reclining seat. There's on-board shopping, bar, restaurant, cinema, arcade and casino, just like a small scale cruiseliner. I am not sure when exactly is the offer dates, but usually between November to January and only on certain days, you will have to call to find out or look out for newpaper adverts.
I find Amsterdam a relaxing city. Everything there seems less in a rush, people take things slow and steady, a lot of bicycles around, no traffic congestion. It's a mixed of everything really, it caters for everyone in a way. There are some good selection of museums, from art to sex museums. Everything is so laid back, drugs and prostitution are legal... but if you do visit the red light district... a must go, not for the prostitutes but just for the exposure.. or rather culture shock, you have to be really careful. Go in a group if possible, and beware of drug pushers. They are harmless but have to be careful as some of them are very persistant and some are drunk. And if you do see the sign Coffee Shop, it means besides selling drinks like the usual cafe, they also do drugs. So don't be too adventurous to order something you haven't heard of from the menu, you might be served soemthing else that you don't expect... of course unless you want to try it! Besides the sex and drugs, which only become more active in the night, overall Amsterdam is a nice and relaxing city to take a break and just laid back.
There are two YHA hostels in Amsterdam that are listed under the ISBN network. One is nearer to the central train station and the other is in Vondel Park. When I visited Amsterdam 3 years ago, I wanted to book the hostel nearer to the train station hoping that it would be more convenient. Well it was a blessing in disguise that it was full at that time, so I was left with the Vondel Park hostel, as I wanted to book it through ISBN network. The Vondel Park hostel is one of the best European YHA hostels. It is clean, the room is spacious and the price is fairly reasonable for the good condition that you get. The included breakfast is plentiful, buffet with varieties of bread, rolls, ham, cheese, cereals, hot and cold drinks. You can just have a heavy breakfast and skip lunch, a good thing for budget traveller like myself. Location wise, is not that far, just take a tram from the central station, if you are arriving by train. The hostel is just a short walk from the tram stop, besides the happening nightlife is around that area too!
Monte Carlo is known as the rich and famous playground. And because of that the standard of the city is lifted up to a certain extend. It's very clean, beautiful and well preserved. The reason I visited Monte Carlo was just to be there and have a feel of what is it like to be in such a city. True enough the moment I left the train station and walk some distance away, I could feel the elegance of the city, with all the private yatchs docking, just like what I see in the movies. So I thought that was all to it, but not... there's a couple of good museums to visit, a palace tour which you can take, a relaxing garden and of course not to mention the Casino! You don't have to gamble in the Casino, at least I don't think I could afford to, but if you are there you will have to visit THE casino. The architecture is awesome and the surroundings is nice....living up to the standard of course! And if you can't afford to stay in Monte Carlo itself, which I did not, you can always stay in Nice, less than half an hour away by train. The trains are frequent and the ticket price is fairly reasonable.
I personally think Luxembourg is a unique city. It's literally a fortress in the city. The city is of two different levels, I mean like a few stories apart. You can be at the upper level to view the beautiful scenery or go down to the bottom level to feel surrounded. It's a really unique feeling. And the best thing is that you don't have to walk from the bottom level right up to the upper level, of course you can opt to do that, it's good exercise! However if you are too lazy like myself, then you will find the public lift very useful and convenient. This was my first encounter of such lift that will take you from one level of the city to the other. It took me sometime to figure out how does one be able to walk so much everyday, then the people who live down there must be stranded! If you have a day to stop by, then I would recommend you make a stop, it's worth while visiting... it's just different!
The first time I went to Brussels, I did not know anything about the Mini Europe there. Maybe the guide book I used was not good enough, or just that place just wasn't that popular. I was told about it from a friend who went there and recomendeded it. Fortunately I had another chance to visit Brussels again. This time I visited Mini Europe. I like it very much, I think it needs more publicity. As the name tells, it's mini Europe. It has almost all the significant buildings or landmark from Europe such as leaning tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower etc. And the best thing is that the models, though in mini version are so real, like a direct replica. So in a way I can said I have taken pictures with all the important landmarks in Europe, some of which came out better than the original ones, which I have visited. In conclusion, I would say it is a worth while place to visit, I paid about £7 (student fare) a year ago.
The Niagara Falls have to be visited and seen in life to really appreciate its awesomeness and beauty. The falls which basically seperates Canada from America can easily use up one whole role of film in minutes. Most people would recommend you to take the boat ride (Maid of the Mist) to the get to the base of the falls.I personally thing that the whole ride is a rip off. Firstly its expensive, the que is long and the boat pack especially from summer. To get a good view you practically have to be one of the first persons on the boat and this is highly unlikely and depending on where you are in the que. A real worth while alternative, is to for the Cave of the Wind attraction on the American side where you can practically walk along the base of the falls and feel its power. By going on this walk, you would know why one of the viewing decks at the base is called the Hurricane deck. The name says it all. The American side of the falls is a better side to visit as the Canadian side tend to be more commercialise while the American side tends to be more peaceful and tranquil. To get a good view of the whole falls,take a walk along the Rainbow Brirge (which connects both countries) and kill two birds with one stone by visitng both America and Canada in one day!
A visit to Auchwitc and Birkenau concentration camps will deffinitely be a trip that will stay with you for life. This two camps were responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million people, from Jews, to Jehovah witnesses to the homosexuals. The camp is now a museum which displays detailling Nazi attrocities from the crematorium to the rooms filled with bundles of human hair and reminds us of the importance of never ever allowing such a thing to ever happen again. Getting there is simple. Busses and trains run often from Krakow and take about one and a half hours. Most locals would easily point you the way to the museum but from the train station its advisable to take the bus as the camp is located 1.6 km from the station. Visiting both camps would take you the whole day..as you can guess, the camps are huge. The museum is well run and have recorded commentaries in 12 languages. This museum in one for the adults only. It may be a depressing museum to visit but its a lesson a humanity must learn and never forget!
Berlin is basically two cities in one with loads to offer. Walk on the western side, you will feel like you are just like in any modern western city. Step next into the eastern side and the modern city suddenly dissapears. You may have heard of the infamous wall but to find leftovers of it would take you a great time and effort to find one. One little bit left of the 165 km wall can be found near the Osbahnhof where its known as the East Side Gallery with beautiful painted murals of the peoples feeling of the wall. To get there just take the S-Bahn 3,7 or 9. The place may look a little dodgy but do not be discouraged. Just get off the station and head south and you should be able to find the wall after a five minute walk. Seeing the wall can and the painted murals which speak for itself can really be a touching and moving experience. Missing it and you will deffinitely miss what Berlin really was for decades!
Checkpoint Charlie is sure one interesting museum which is worth visiting. You may not be a museum person who thinks that museum means a collection of some very old stuff. Checkpoint Charlie museum is nothing like that. This museum basically covers the history of the Berlin wall and has many interesting and fascinating displays which you can easily cover in less than a day and not get sick of museum in the end of the day. This museum is basically located on the site of the famous border crossing, Checkpoint Charlie where during the cold war tanks from both sides would practically just be seperated by a little barrier. This museum has many displays of the many different methods used by the East Germans to escape to the western side. The most interesting one is this little mini car, where one is challenged to find out where the person is hidden. You will be suprised when you find out. Its deffinitely a museum worth visiting if you really want to learn the history of Berlin its infamous wall!
It may be call Circus hostel but its deffinitely looks nothing like one.In fact I personally think its one of the best hostels around europe after travelling around europe for more than a month. This hostel has really huge beds and not bunks...in fact if you get a single bed in a hostel , you are considered lucky, but we are talking about bed that are a the size of twin beds with snow white starched clean sheats and not positioned 5 inches away from another. The rooms are spacious,clean and airy (no smell of smelly backpackers and essential especially during the heat of summer). The hostel also comes with very clean bathrooms.In fact the whole hostel actually looks like a hotel except for the shared rooms and bathrooms. The location is also safe and not in some dodgy red light district. Walk one block down and you can fins a wonderful kebab store which is open till late at night. You wont find any other hostel like this anywhere else and I deffinitely recommend it!
Well Hotmail may be used by millions world wide...they also attract 'millions' of junk mail. Ever since I opened my hotmail account and indicated very clearly that I was not interested in any of the updates or news or some may call it advertisements that may interest me ..in hope that my account would be spared from volumes of possible junk mail ... and what would you guess when O happily open my account the next day? You guess it right...tons and i mean tons of junk mail...as many as up to ten a day..especially those that think everyone on the net must be interested in sex! So what if hotmail has a function to bar unwanted mail...all they do is just changed thier forwarding email address daily...and by if you try to bar every single one of them ..Hotmail would probably close your account for having a too big block senders account. So I have no clue how on earth these spam mail ever got my account for I never ever used this account before..they somehow or another found it out. So if you are lonely and interested in getting mail from all four corners of the world..Hotmail it the right email account for you!
Everybody who has been to Oslo would probably tell you of the sky high prices one has to pay to get a decent meal. If you thought that a McDonalds value meal here cost too much ...then you will be happy to know that the the same value meal would cost you double in Oslo. So how is one expected to eat and survive in Oslo especially if you only have got pennies to spare? ..Luckily for us..Norway is well known for its fishing industry. If you dont mind tin fish balls which taste like soft rubber..then you can easily get it in one of the many convenient stores around Oslo for less than a pound (its a big tin too!). However theres an alternative to those little white round squashy balls ..thank God that He created Oslo just next to the sea and that we can get our daily required proteins fresh from the sea in the form of freshly boiled shrimps. When I say fresh ..i really do mean fresh, you would definitely give fresh a new meaning when you taste this prawns. They are freshly caught in the sea and are then boiled on the boat so that when the boats arrive in the habour, all you have to do is surrender 25k(about 2£) for 500 grams of frshly boiled prawns that are juicy,bouncy and succulent. Eat that for the next two days and you dont have to worry about your protein intake for the next whole week!..Oh! and the fishing boats are just behing the Radhus.
The Charity Shield may just be friendly match for charity and just an opener to the season...but loosing there in front on a sell out crowd in Wembley is not what any team would like especially when you are supposed to be the the past league chmapions and the team everybody just likes to beat! The way Manchester United played..they deffinitely deserved to lose by two goals. Although United was down to ten men, Chelsea were already up by a goal and never looked like stoping. United were simply outplayed. Yes it could just be a friendly and players are not interested in getting injured and booked...but the way United played you could be sure they were taking the game seriously..for some like Roy Keene...maybe a little to seriously. So is this the team we are to expect for the new season....I pretty much think so. With no new players except a goal keeper, they really dont look that lethal anymore especially whith clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool and even Middlesbrough buying all kinds of qulity players they can get their hands on. Allright Middlesbrough league champions may be a little exaggerating, but you can be sure United arent going to win the league that easily this season....and that you can deffinitely bet on!