04 January, 2012

Europe Cont.

Firstly, Happy New Year!

After 2 weeks and a beautiful Christmas in Paris, Alexander and I headed off to Munich, Arriving at 730 in the morning to complete darkness and to the coldest place we have visited on this trip. From Munich we picked up our car and Alexander got used to the concept on driving on the wrong side of the street.  We had a planned drive of 400km to Frankfurt where we were to stay for the night - however, we were not informed that there was two Frankfurts and both contained the street name of our hotel.
Unfortunately the Nav-Man took us to the other Frankfurt (oder) which is 600km from the Frankfurt we needed. Frankfurt oder is also very close to the Polish border and we had started to see signs in Polish...

Upon arriving in Frankfurt oder which was 650km from Munich and realising we were very much in the wrong place, the last thing Alexander wanted to do was drive a Further 600km on no sleep. Three red bulls and a chocolate muffin later (and a call to the hotel to explain our situation) we were back on the road our 400km drive turned into a total of 1300km for the day (in less than 11 hours driving time). We arrived at our hotel around 10.30pm and were able to sit at the restaurant and eat a proper meal (our first since the night before we left Paris).  When we first realised and calculated the second part of our drive into the Nav-Man I felt horrible, I was meant to be in charge of navigation and addresses, luckily Alexander and I are so close we were laughing about it within a few hundred kilometres.

Armed with 4 hours sleep, breakfast and a great story to tell, we checked out at 7.30am and began our drive to Amsterdam where we were dropping our car off.  Unfortunately although the car company knew we were dropping the car off in Amsterdam, they had only loaded on the maps for Germany, so from the German border, I was in charge of navigation - which isn't fun when you understand absolutely none of the language. However I managed, and we arrived in Amsterdam around 1.30pm, Plenty of time get the car back to the garage for the planned drop off time of 3pm.

Unfortunately this is where my navigating luck ran out, when half an hour of driving in circles and a call to Europcar for directions proved fruitless, Europcar sent someone out to us with a pre-programmed tom-tom  to guide us the rest of the way (and I must admit I wasn't far off, we just should have turned left where we turned right). We unloaded everything from the car, including a bunch of lilies Alexander bought me on Christmas that had travelled all through Germany and were looking a bit worse for wear -but still beautiful.

Checking into our hotel in Amsterdam was a massive relief, and our cab driver informed us to "only take the red and black cabs, not these guys, these guys are assholes, they will charge you 4 times as much", and luckily my ability to choose amazing hotel and incredible prices overshadowed my lack of ability to navigate! I would highly recommend the NH Galaxy in Amsterdam Noord, with a free shuttle bus to and from the centre of Amsterdam we barely spent any money on transport and our room was incredible.

Climbing into our king size bed for a real nights sleep was a very welcome feeling and the next day we awoke ready to take on Amsterdam - It is here I must admit that neither of us were fans of Amsterdam - perhaps it was the weather and the fact is was the low season.. But we were happy to be heading off that night to a country were we spoke the language. Our trip to the port where our ferry to London left started out a bit worrying when we missed our train by 1 minute, luckily with the European train system the way it is (and my insistence that when travelling we allow ourselves two hours for potential problems) we were on a train to the same place just 5 minutes later.

Our ferry departed from Hoek Van Holland around 10.30pm and I was stunned upon arrival at the terminal. We were travelling on Stenaline and the staff were so helpful, with a gentleman helping us with our bags when he noticed me struggling (something that I did not see anyone else do with people who had small carry on bags) with a shower bigger than our shower in Paris, and a beautifully decorated interior our cabin was a lovely place to lay our heads after a long day of killing time in Amsterdam.

Ill leave this update here, I congratulate you if you bothered to read it all! And now i'll share some photos of this section of our trip.

 Christmas Eve at Notre Dame
 Candles at Notre Dame
 Christmas night at the Eiffel Tower
 Christmas dinner for Alexander (made in our tiny kitchenette)
 Driving on the Autobahn
 Our little baby!
190km/h and it was legal
Our room in Amsterdam.


Fabliha said...

Great photos... it seems like you are having an incredible time :)


Ylenia said...

welcome to europe! planning to come to Italy? I have just found your blog of which pictures I found AMAZING!!!

Love, Ylenia | Longuette
Check on the first Professional of Fashion’s interview on my blog!

Lynn said...

Traveling vicariously through you! Thanks!

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