My travel experience around the Republic of Ireland

Hello lovely people reading this,

last August I finished my year as an Au-Pair and afterwards I decided to fly straight to Ireland with my best friend and see a bit of this lovely country as well. And let me tell you, I totally fell in love with the country, so I reckoned it would be only right if I write about my experience.

IMG_9076

I met up with my friend, her name is Krissi, at Dublin Airport and from there we straight went to our Airbnb. If you don’t know what Airbnb is, it’s basically a community where you can rent rooms, flats or apartments for less money than a hotel, obviously. It was the first time I stayed at Airbnb’s and I have to say that I can only recommend it but I definitely would read the comments from other guests before I book.

House

So there we were, fresh from our flights, trying to find our Airbnb, well let me say we had our struggles at first. But once we finally found it, we basically just threw our stuff in our room and wanted to explore the city. That’s what we did then. On our first day we just walked along the Liffey (the river) and we walked around a bit at the town centre, I mean shopping is important right? On our second day we walked down to St. Stephens Park, enjoyed the sunny weather a bit and stopped at signs during our walk.

 

On our third day we travelled by bus down to Cork. When we planned the trip we intended to rent a car and drive around so we can see Ireland at it’s fullest beauty, but unfortunately you can very hardly book cars when you’re under 21. At this time I was still 20 so we had to come up with an alternative. Then we planned on driving around by train but since the prices of trains are quite expensive we soon came up with driving by bus because Krissi and I had done this before in Germany and I had done so in the UK as well. We both don’t regret this decision because this way we could see a bit of Ireland even though. Once in Cork we instantly were impressed by it’s beauty.

image8

We were really lucky to stay at somebody’s who firstly was super nice and sweet and gave us tips what we definitely should see, secondly we stayed not directly in the centre but still very near by. Once again we threw our thing in our room, grabbed our handbags and off we went. We just wandered around and had a look. One our second day in Cork we had a deeper look around, walked around the river, passed the University, went to see some Churches and paid a visit at the Cathedral and I think on this day we also went to the English market.

image5

image2

Let me tell you as two foodies as we are, we loved it there! I actually would even say that it was my favourite place in Cork, although Cork is just in general a beautiful city so it’s very hard to pick. In the evening we decided to go out and see how the nigh life of Cork is, well it was more that we wanted to do a bit of Pub crawling because that’s more our cup of tea plus I always think that it is really cool sitting at a Pub having a good time and even talk to some locals. And I have to say that we went to a very cool Pub which played live authentic Irish music (well I don’t know if it really was authentic but it really sounded like it).

 

image9

On the next day at around midday it was already time to head off to Limerick. On our way there we once again were very impressed with the countryside of Ireland and I don’t know about Krissi, but I’m definitely want to go back and travel around in a car in the future. Anyway, when we arrived in Limerick the first thing we saw was basically the river. Once again we were amazed how beautiful it was. I guess I really get boring with saying how stunning the cities were right? But sorry, if you have been in Ireland you know exactly what I mean, everything is just stunning, beautiful and breathtaking. Ireland you definitely do it not half hearted!

Anyhow, this time our Airbnb wasn’t that near the centre so we had to walk a bit to get to the town centre but we stayed at a lovely house with very friendly hosts. And again, we dropped off our suitcases, than immediately run into the town. This time we walked around the town centre and soon realized that staying 1 ½ day was a bit too estimated. Don’t misunderstand me, Limerick is a nice and lovely town but for us it wasn’t as impressive and as much to see as in the other cities. Although we made the best of it, had a bit of a more chilled time (well, we never stressed ourselves during the trip but we had even more time with walking around and stuff then we had with the other things) and on our second day in Limerick we walked alongside the river, went to see the castle and even walked to see the football stadium (I think it was a football stadium, if not, to see some old stadium). It was nice to have the freedom to go to bed a bit earlier then we have during the whole trip.

image1

On the 7th day of our trip we drove to Galway relatively early. Once we arrived there I knew one thing: this city is my new favourite city! And yes I’m extremely jealous of Lili, who’s studying there from September on, I never though I say this, but I hate you Lili! 😛 Not really, I love you! <3. So when we arrived at the bus station we firstly walked into the completely wrong direction so we basically ended at the wrong end of Galway so we had to walk back everything and finally we found our Airbnb. This time we stayed basically right at the seaside.

image4

Let me tell you, this was awesome. So as usual, I dragged Krissi to get outside as soon as possible because I wanted to see as much as possible of the city. We wandered around, sat a bit at the seaside and enjoyed as much as possible. On our second day we planned to drive to the Cliffs of Moher. But since we had too much luck with the weather the whole time the weather decided to go really crappy, so we cancelled this. Instead we strolled around the city and walked along the seaside. It still was lovely day. At the evening we once again went out and experienced the night life of Galway by going to a Pub. We ended up at ‘The Kings Head’ which is apparently one of the best Pubs in Galway so I think we did everything right there.

The next day we spent it with shopping for a bit and then at midday we drove back to Dublin. And believe me it definitely wasn’t easy for me to leave this place.

Once back in Dublin we decided to make our own plan where we want to go to, so we made our own sightseeing route and walked around for the last 1 ½ days and tried to see as much as possible of Dublin (which to be fair isn’t that much because Dublin is such a big and historic city). We also wanted to drive to Howth but once again the weather thought to be absolutely miserable on this day so we decided to skip this as well because walking around there when the weather isn’t good or at least okay doesn’t make fun either.

image7

On our 11th day we sadly had to leave again, but all in all I can only advise EVERYBODY to go to the Republic of Ireland and travel around! Krissi and I freaking loved it and I really wish we would have had more time and better possibilities to travel around! Ireland is definitely a place I will go back in the future and I know that this trip will always be a special one for me!

I really hope you like this little run through and you want to travel as bad as me to Ireland now! 😀

Lots of love,

Jenny

 

P.S.: All pictures taken by myself with my iPhone and hardly edited, so you can see how beautiful Ireland is! 🙂

Planning a weekend away with your friends

If you have stayed uptodate with out Twitter and Instagram, you might already know that Alli, Lili and myself have been to Berlin over the weekend. The prior reason was obviously that we visited a 5 Seconds of Summer concert but that’ not what I want to write about (but if you want to know more about our preparation before a concert stay tuned ;)). Today’s blog post is going to be about our trip to Berlin and how we made sure we have the best time.

Planning your trip: Here are 3 steps I always do when I plan a trip:

1. Set a date and where to stay

That might be something obvious but I always find this one the hardest part. As I’m a person who loves planing my calendar is pretty full and combining my calendar with 2 (in our case even 3, but you will find out why 3 very shortly) other ones is quite a hard task to do. When do all of you have time, for how long, does it clash with any important Uni dates, and many more points you need to think of. I can tell you this take a lot of discussion and back and forth between all of you but you’ll manage to find a date eventually. Once your date is set, you have to find a place where you can sleep. As all of us are students we don’t have much money to spent on luxurious hotels, so we needed to find something which is in our budget, but also not totally outside of Berlin and still is not the worst hotel/hostel. Luckily Alli and Lili both got a friend/family in Berlin so we asked Alli’s best friend if we could maybe stay at hers. Luckily she said yes and also had time at the dates where we planned on going to Berlin.

I always would advise you to try and ask people you or your friends know because this way it’s cheaper (and you always can spent the spare money somewhere else right? I heart Berlin is great for shopping ;P) and I think it’s more fun as well.

But if you don’t know anybody in the city, don’t worry. Try and find various hostels/hotels you can have a look at online and see if you can find something that isn’t too expensive and also seems to float your boat. A tip from my road-trip around the Republic of Ireland is that I also can advise you Airbnb. I had great experience with it and I know quite a few friends who did the same (on this note, always check the comments and reviews though! Better be safe then sorry!)

2. Be excited and make plans

Most of the time when I decided to go somewhere I always booked everything in advance (hence me planing always in advance because it’s easier schedule wise, getting an accommodation, cheaper deals and in general me being an organization nerd). Although it also has something good if you plan in advance: you can really plan your trip, read guides and facts about the city, find places you really need to see and also the hidden treasures of the city that usual tourists aren’t getting to see. I don’t know about you but when I go to a city, I of course want to see all the touristy things but also the little things that are normal tourist wouldn’t see. And you only can find this places, either by accident or when you really inform yourself about the city and search on the internet about these things. Usually these places are my favourite places of the city because these are not as crowded as the other places and also because you really can see and feel the spirit of the city.

Beside of the sightseeing spots you also can find out where’s the best restaurant to go to are, the best pub or the best club to have a night out. When I was in Ireland I also had very nice hosts who also gave me tips where I could or should go to. This way I could really explore the cities and enjoy the city as a person normal resident.

But most importantly whilst planing this trip don’t forget the fun you have with your friends whilst planing it and how excited you are and you can always annoy your friends with writing about it how exciting you are. Also don’t plan every second you will be there because you also need fun times to just go shopping, spontaneously do something or just lay around.

3. Book you travel to get there

Most of the time, if I’m not flying somewhere, I book my travel very short notice in comparison how long I’m actually planing my trip. When I’m travelling around Germany I’ve got quite a few options with which I can travel. Firstly of course by train, I guess that’s the most common one. But from my experience in Germany and the UK also the most expensive one. I also always have a look at the Buses, if I can find a Bus to the city from my local town. Sometimes this isn’t working but still a cheaper version that trains. In Germany and I think also in the UK there is a car sharing service which is called ‘Blablacar’. Usually when I drive home I always use that. If you’re not familiar, it’s a website where you can book a car journey with someone who would drive to the same town or same direction anyways. Most of my fellow students use this as well, either as a driver or a passenger. I’ve used it quite a few times as well and it’s a great service because it’s faster then bus or train and also super cheap. But once again definitely check the comments on the drivers and also always write down the number plate before you start your drive and sent it to your mum or a friend. Safety goes always first, because at the end of the day you don’t know the person you’re drive with. The only bad thing is that you can only book it like around 5-3 days before hand because the drivers usually aren’t inserting a journey before that.

These are steps you need to do before you go somewhere, but what about when you’re finally at the city?

I think it’s always important to have plans, but to be honest everything comes differently then you planned. Like for example we planned so many things where we could go or where we should eat and at the end we did something completely different. But that’s not bad because we changed our plans because we wanted to spent more time getting in the spirit of the concert and fangirl about the fact that we’re together and we’re seeing our favourite band.

Like for example we planned on going to the east side gallery in Berlin because Alina has never been there. At the end we just walk past it whilst going to the arena, but that’s fine because it was fine by Alina. Also we planned on going out on Saturday evening seeing how the Berlin night life is like. We did go out, but to a completely different club that we intended to go to and instead of going home at a reasonable time as normal people would do, we drove to the Brandenburger Tor and looked at it at night and had a walk around the city centre.

What I wanted to make clear with this blog post is that planing your trip and thinking about it is important but also time for spontaneous things and changing plans. I guess that’s always hard because you pictured it how your trip could or should look like. But when you’re open for different ideas and plans you will see that it will most definitely change to the better. Like I never would have thought that going to the Brandenburger Tor at 4am could be quite fun or meeting other fans in front of a hotel we thought 5SOS could stay in and we wanted to have just a quick look could be cool and you could even really like these people.

When planning a trip always stay open for everything and even when you’re at the city don’t be afraid to change your plans, you’ll see it’s fun!

Lots of love,

Jenny xxx

Lilis Travel Diary: Amsterdam

Disclaimer: All the pics are taken by me and I would appreciate it, if you could say so if you ever use one of the pictures!

A beautiful, sunny Sunday Funday to all of you magic beans,

as May has 5 sundays (yo May, what’s good?!) I have an extra special Sunday Funday for you.
If you follow me on Instagram and twitter you may know that 2 weeks ago I’ve been to the lovely city of Amsterdam for a weekend trip and let me tell you, it was beautiful!
I instantly fell in love with the city and the dutch people. After having a little look at all the pictures I took I though I could talk you through what to do on a weekend in Amsterdam, hence what I did. You can also check out my Youtube Video about my trip to Amsterdam here 

Day of Arrival: Wednesday

I’ll spare you the boring „we flew from Hanover in Germany to Amsterdam“ shit but I will say that getting to the central station in Amsterdam from the airport is super easy breezy. Make sure to order your train ticket online (they’re around 4,20€) so you don’t get confused by buying them over one of the ticket machines as those are only in dutch.
The ride to Amsterdam takes around 30 minutes. We arrived on the day of some national bank holiday so there were celebrations going on in the center of the city, therefore we couldn’t walk the way that google maps had told us, but luckily you can ask anyone to show you the way and the Dutch are just the loveliest and give you directions to any place you want to go to.
We, which is my mum, my brother and I stayed at the „Iron Horse Hotel“, which is a tiny bit away from the city centre and right around the corner of the beautiful „Vondelpark“, the „Rijksmuseum“ is also not far away.IMG_3741
The first day though we checked in and then went out to get some dinner, as we couln’t decide we ended up at Hard Rock Cafe…I mean it’s the same in every city so I really don’t have to go into detail. The only thing I got out of it was that there are a whole lot of smokers and they’re all allowed to smoke in the seating area outside, so be prepared if you don’t want to end up sitting in cigarette smoke for an hour or two. I will say though that the waiter was super lovely and we had wonderful weather so we took the path along some “Gracht” back to the hotel. The “Grachten” in general are just super beautiful and pretty and I can highly recommend going on a “Grachtentour”.

Second Day: Thursday

On Thursday we woke up quite early as we had booked tickets for the Anne Frank house near the Jordaan district and next to the „Westerkerk“, a beautiful church right next to the house.

IMG_3736

You can see the Westerkerk 🙂

If you plan on going there you should book tickets in advance as well and arrive as early as possible, it can get quite full. Visiting the house itself was incredibly emotional for me and I actually had to cry. I’m just an emotional person in general, so just be prepared that some visitors might be as sensitive as me and just start crying. After all it’s just horrible what happened and there’s nothing wrong with crying because of it.
After that we took a walk around the Jordaan district that I instantly fell in love with. There are millions of cute restaurants and cafés and quirky independent stores just like some second hand shops. It’s definitely worth a visit!

IMG_3783

It says No 1 in Holland on the sign just so you know

Since we were quite near the spot where they sell the supposedly best fries in Holland we of course went to check them out. There’s always a queue in front of the „Vleminckx“ food stall and to be honest
I still don’t get what makes them the best fries. Yes, they were good but I wouldn’t call them the best fries I ever had.
However, my brother really did enjoy them but afterwards he also had the brilliant idea of renting a pedal boat for an hour. During the afternoon. A time when literally everyone is on some kind of boat tour and with a pedal boat doing one of these “Grachtentours” is the scariest thing ever. It’s probably much safer in the morning or if you just go on one of the bigger boats. I was terrified the whole time, my brother and I got into a fight and my mum just sat there like “wow, so that’s supposed to be my holiday”. Lovely right? I mean my brother is 16, I’m 19…the tension and the fights can get quite out of hand („You should try and add a word called ‚respect‘ to your vocabulary“, „Maybe you should realize that the world doesn’t revolve around you, Lili“) and you basically stop listening to your parents, so my mum just sat there and was probably even entertained by my brother and me calling each other names. Quick disclaimer: My brother is like my best friend, we tell each other a whole, whole lot but we also have the occasional banter and well get into arguments kind of a lot as well, we’re just both really stubborn.
As you can imagine my brother was in quite the bad mood afterwards so my idea of going shopping didn’t really excite him at all, until we found a super awesome store called „Popcult“. Now I don’t know in which countries you can find this store but I’ve never seen it before. Inside, I was in video game-nerd-comic heaven. They have magnificent merch from „Adventure Time“, „TMNT“, „Sponegbob“ and loads of other stuff. Most importantly they have lots of Pokémon merch, I am a sucker for Pokémon merch. I grew up watching and playing it and collecting cards and I was super excited about a Pikachu beanie. Unfortunately it was kinda expensive so my brother and I got a snapback that we’re gonna share (Lets see how that will work) with charizard on it.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-22 um 17.47.18

So much Popcorn!!

With my brother being happy again I got to get some Popcorn at this Popcorn shop called „Fol“ that sells gourmet popcorn. It was heaven! I was allowed to try all the flavours, from chocolate coconut and caramel to bacon and salted caramel.In the end I decided on white chocolate, caramel and Pretzel ones that I ate within 2 days, they were just too good.
I just realized that we did too many things on thursday already, no wonder that I was wondering the whole time when I was in Amsterdam why I’m this tired.
For dinner we walked all the way to the Jordaan district again IMG_3772and got some kind of luxurious sandwiches at a restaurant called „La Oliva“.
It was wonderful, the staff was super friendly and the food was amazing. Afterwards I treated myself to some white chocolate and apple pie (!) ice cream at an ice cream parlor called something along the lines of „ijscuypje“, that ice cream was the best ice cream I ever had and you should definitely check it out!

 

Third Day: Friday

On Friday we decided to go to the Rijksmuseum quite early so we could take a picture with the „I Am Amsterdam“ sign without too many tourists around. From our hotel we walked around 10 to 15 minutes. I’m gonna admit we didn’t go into the museum for the reason that we didn’t want to mingle with all the tourists and wanted to see some other tourist attractions before everyone else did.

look at me being all touristy

Therefore, we only took our pictures and around for a bit, then walked through the „Spiegelkwartier“ district to get to the „Begijnhof“. The „Spiegelkwartier“ district is your go-to district if you want to visit art galleries and look at vintage furniture and art in general. It has quite the vintage vibe if I may say so myself.
The „Begijnhof“ we went to features one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam, dating back to 1300 something, which is actually quite impressing. But the prettiest thing about it is the courtyard where it’s build, other people are living in the houses around it and their gardens are just super pretty.

Well here you have the Royal Palace and me…in front of a some random persons’ garden 😀

From the „Begijnhof“ you can reach all the shopping areas and the royal palace, which was our next stop. I have to admit I thought that the Royal Palace was the central station…shame on me…:D but I just confused the two. The Royal Palace is actually quite nice but it’s enough to look at it, take a picture and leave again.
We decided to go shopping after our little sightseeing tour, which I liked a whole lot.
The rest of the day we just enjoyed the sunshine, while walking around Amsterdam. For Dinner we went to a restaurant called „Pancake Corner“. The waiter was a bit unfriendly but I think he just couldn’t speak English nor German very well so he probably just concentrated on what we were saying to him. I got a pancake pizza with salmon on it and it wasn’t too bad, a little too salty but not bad. Katie went there as well but for breakfast and according to her the breakfast pancakes are lit so maybe I just ordered the wrong one.

Last Day: Saturday

Saturday we already had to leave but as our plane was departing in the afternoon, we still had some time left. So we checked out, left our luggage with the receptionist and went to visit the café next door called Friday Next. Surprisingly, it was a café and a store in one. Meaning you could actually buy the chairs you were sitting on and the lamps hanging from the ceiling, they had bags from local designers on display and also some stationary, giving the cafe its very own charming atmosphere.
The food was super healthy and delicious, they had several vegan offers and I was delighted. Every day they offer a smoothie of the day, which they create on their own. For my sandwich they used the bestest whole grain bread ever and the most delicious cheese (I just had to try the cheese, the Netherlands are famous for it after all).
I was just really happy that I could talk my brother and my mum into checking it out, making my stay in Amsterdam even better.
After I fell into food coma because of this wonderful breakfast  we were ready to leave Amsterdam and drove to the airport.

IMG_3760

Me and my favorite backpack had a good time!

I have to admit I already miss Amsterdam and I cannot wait to go back some time again. It really is worth a trip and a weekend actually is enough to see the most important sights and get an idea of the city. You can walk everywhere and the food is the best!!
I hope this travel report kind of post wasn’t too much to read and you enjoyed it. If you have any further questions on Amsterdam don’t hesitate to message me on any kind of social media.
Have a lovely Sunday,
loads and loads of love,
Lili xxx

Twitter: @castaway_minds
Instagram: @castawayminds