We started the trip pretty exhausted. Sub-optimal, but not that surprising given our track record of biting off more than we can chew. I feel like we’re only just getting our energy back a week in. The first week has been fun, but we spent a lot of time wondering why we were so tired. We feel old!
It’s taking us some time to adjust to travelling – mostly we’re finding it uncomfortable to be spending money all the time! We were chatting about this this morning and we think it’s because we’ve been in thrift mode for so long saving for this trip (/for our entire adult lives). So it feels uncomfortable spending money every day. We wouldn’t usually eat out two days in a row, and it’d be rare for us to eat out (I’m including all meals in this!) more than a couple of times in a month. And we never really do any activities that cost money. How sad!
I expect this will get easier (#firstworldproblems) as we go on, and especially as things will generally get cheaper as we move east, and then south (Amsterdam is mega expensive).
Things we’ve learned
- Our enthusiasm for the city we’re in is directly proportional to the current sunshine level.
- There is a limit to how many WW2 related museums you can visit and still feel any enthusiasm to visit another one…
- Always arrange couch surfing hosts in advance.
We planned to couch surf most of the time so that we would meet people and get a more in depth idea of the city we’re in, as well as to keep costs down. Unfortunately we haven’t managed to arrange any hosts yet because we’ve left it too late. Fingers crossed for St Petersburg. UPDATE: We have a host for Warsaw, hurrah!
- Night buses are tiring.
Probably should have remembered this from previous travels. They are cheap though…
- Dutch looks quite like English on paper. Don’t be fooled.
- Riding bikes around Amsterdam and into the suburbs. We felt slightly more like locals on our rickety Dutch bikes, and Amsterdam is small enough to get more or less everywhere easily by bike.
- Visiting the Anne Frank house. We queued in the rain for about 40 minutes, but it was definitely worth it. The rooms are empty, but there are pictures on the walls still, and you can feel what it would have been like living there.
- Joining in a “Stop TTIP” demonstration marching through Berlin in the Saturday sunshine. (TTIP is an EU-US bilateral trade agreement that threatens to gut all participating countries’ power to regulate the activities of companies trading within them; click here for further info.)
- Drinking beer brewed on site in a packed bar in our (adopted) Berlin neighbourhood.
- Stumbling across a restaurant round the corner from our hostel that was doing amazing all you can eat Sunday brunch, when we discovered that supermarkets are shut in Berlin on Sundays (oops) . We had a great time slowly eating our way through the selection. N.B. Tiramisu is totally a breakfast food.