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Day 22: Neuschwanstein Castle.

The curtains in our hotel room were far too good at their job, erasing any evidence that it was day time. My phone had no such issues however, blaring the obnoxious and familiar tone that signaled it was time to get up. I had intended to get up early in order to get to Neuschwanstein castle at a reasonable hour however our tour reservation came back for late in the afternoon. Annoying, but it gave us time to get some housekeeping out of the way before we headed out, something which had vexed me ever since we failed the night previous.

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Trusting Google in this instance seems to have been our downfall, the laundromats that showed up being only a small selection of what was actually available. I found one that was much closer than the ones we’d tried before and, thankfully, had instructions in English. An hour and about €10 later we had our newly laundered clothes ready for the rest of our trip and even helped some bewildered Americans navigate through the laundromat’s systems. Flush with victory from our housekeeping adventures we sought out a light lunch at a local hipster joint before catching the train out.

This trip was a source of consternation for me as all the guides online said there was a direct train to Fussen, the town closest to Neuschwanstein. However no matter how hard I searched I could not find said train, everything require at least 1 connection, most of them by bus. Even more frustratingly none of them mentioned the train number, precluding me from looking it up to see if anything was amiss. As it turns out the train stations on that track are currently being renovated for the next month or so and the last 3 stops have been replaced by a bus. Thankfully this didn’t seem to affect travel times too much, but it did make me worry about how we’d get back home should we stay back later than I anticipated.

The weather throughout the day had, to be honest, complete shit. It had been raining fairly steadily since we arrived and that continued as we traveled out to the castle. As I primarily wanted to go there to get some great shots I was a little disappointed although I figured I could salvage something from it regardless. Luck was with us however and the skies parted almost exactly as we arrived at the castle, providing ample opportunities to get some great shots from the location. Unfortunately one of the bridges has been out of commission for some time, precluding any good shots of the castle itself. Still I’m not complaining, especially with the picture above being one of the more average shots I got.

The tour itself was really good too, diving into the history of the relatively modern castle and the man who commissioned it: Ludwig II. Whilst it wasn’t as personal or in-depth as some of the other tours we’ve been on so far it was still very well done, streamlined to ensure they could get as many people through as humanly possible. I was a little miffed that they didn’t allow pictures, or a self paced tour, but that was more than made up for by the beautiful view and the in-depth audio guide that was included in the admission cost.

After we’d had our fill of great views we headed down to the local bus station to make our way home. Little did I know just how much time we’d spent up at the castle, arriving at around 4PM and not coming down until 7PM or so. Thankfully there was still a large throng of other tourists waiting at the former train station and, sure enough, a bus eventually arrived to pick us up. The one wrinkle in the plan was that the direct train was no longer running, although the conductor helpfully informed us of which one we’d need to catch to get home. We still didn’t get back to the hotel until 11pm however.

Thankfully our hotel staff were more than accommodating, making us a lovely small dinner and serving us beers well until the night. The only black mark on it was the 2 young Australians talking some mad shit with an older American; both sides of the conversation big noting themselves for discernible reason at all.

We don’t have much planned for tomorrow, mostly because I only really wanted to see Neuschwanstein. I haven’t had a chance to visit any of the beer halls here however so I’ll likely be paying a few of them a visit. If we manage to do more than that great, but I’m definitely in no rush after the major success we’ve had today.

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Day 21: Auf Wiedersehen Zurich, Hallo Munich.

Our room had finally cooled down to below boiling allowing us a night of rest that wasn’t interrupted by fever dreams. This was after we’d endured the various smells emanating from the restaurant below us, a lovely combination of fetid cheese, cigarette smoke and whatever the rain had dredged up. Suffice to say packing wasn’t filled with that same solemn feeling that all our previous places of rest was, especially as we tripped over each other as we were doing it. Our journey to the train station was thankfully uneventful and we boarded without issue.

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Today’s trip is the last we’ll be taking by train here in Europe. I had hoped to do all of it by train but the realities of train travel in Europe won’t accommodate the many places we want to visit. That and the fact that some trips are simply better done by plane like, say, Berlin to Zurich which would’ve taken half the time to accomplish. My wife expressed her sadness at this fact as it had been quite nice to watch the countryside go past, the green hills a stark contrast to that of what we have back home. I too lament it somewhat, although I do like the idea of not losing an entire day to travel for our last few locations.

We arrived in Munich in the late afternoon and quickly set ourselves to task in getting our laundry done. I found us a place not too far from where we were which appeared to be good and we headed out into the rainy afternoon. When we got there though they informed us that they wouldn’t be open tomorrow, nor the day after, and so couldn’t take our laundry. Perplexed that they’d be closed on a weekday we left in search of another place. Problem was we had no cash, which we quickly remedied, but then the machines only took €5 and €10 notes. Feeling defeated after wasting 2 hours trying to chase a place down we decided to leave it for tomorrow and headed out for dinner.

After stumbling back the way we came we eventually found a small Indian restaurant that seemed quite reasonable. We made the unfortunate error of ordering far too much food and were completely stuffed halfway through it. The waiter even asked us if it was no good, which we told him unequivocally no, but I can definitely see where he was coming from. With the hangries at bay we caught an Uber back to the hotel to dry off and prepare for tomorrow.

We’ll be spending the better part of tomorrow visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, said to be part of the inspiration of the Disney logo (and also home to some Bavarian royalty for a short period of time, but that’s not what anyone really cares about, right?). Hopefully we’ll be able to sort out our laundry too as there’s nothing more…uncomfortable… than wearing clothes again when they haven’t been washed. All else fails it’s the hotel sink for some socks and jocks, although I hope it never comes to that.

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Day 20: Luck is Not Always With You.

The threatening grey clouds made good on their appearance, dumping torrents of rain upon us and lashing the sky with flashes of white lightning. On the one hand it was a welcome change, the sweltering heat of the day melting away in the cool showers, but on the other it torpedoed any semblance of a plan we might have had for the day. Thankfully I had found out that our target for the day, Mount Rigi, had webcams at the top so I could see before going there that it would not be worth our time. I had a backup plan however: Mount Uetilberg, a dwarf of the Swiss Alps that was a mere 30 minute train ride from Zurich central station.

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We boarded the train and then settled in for the journey to come, me with my phone games (I left my Kindle at home this time) and my wife with her book. However due to us both being distracted we didn’t notice that this particular train, even though it was the right one on the right route, didn’t go all the way up the mountain. So we found ourselves right back at Zurich central after 20 minutes or so, bewildered as to how we got there. This problem was later solved by getting off at the last stop of the current train and getting on another, one which seemed to go the full route. There was no discernable difference we could see so we chalked it up to something that only the locals could have known.

The journey up the hill saw the view quickly turn from one with all of Zurich below us to that of thick fog, our visibility dropping to maybe a hundred meters or so. I had hoped that the relative low altitude of this mountain would afford us some view from the summit however it appears that was not to be, our entire world shrouded by cloud. We persisted with a journey to the summit however and it was an interesting enough walk by itself, even though it was bereft of the breathtaking views that it promised.

My wife had read online that whilst the Lindt factory no longer offered tours there was a kind of museum there that we could wander through and, without any other good options, we decided to give it a go. We boarded another train to Kilchberg and made our way over to the factory outlet. Unfortunately it appears that the Internet had lead us astray as the sales clerks said there was no such thing around and the tours had long since stopped for “health concerns”. Disappointed we consoled ourselves by buying some discount chocolate and some souvenirs for our family at home.

After spending a lazy afternoon in our now livable hotel room we decided we should at least attempt to see our surrounding area a little before we departed tomorrow. We wandered around downtown Zurich, taking in the various sights. My wife was ever so patient with me and my camera, even holding the umbrella above me as I took pictures of the various things that took my interest. We even walked down what must’ve been the most expensive street in Zurich, a horrifying prospect given how ludicrously expensive everything is here (try $60+ for 2 simple curry dishes with drinks, a travesty even at Canberra prices).

We capped off the night with a simple spread we bought from one of the local supermarkets, washed down by some thankfully cheap beers. In all honesty it felt like that was probably the only sensible reaction to the weather as pretty much all the available options were rendered unpalatable by the rain.

Tomorrow we’ll lazily make our way to Munich, hopefully arriving at a far more reasonable time than what we did here. In all honesty I’m going to be very glad to see the back of this place as it really has been one of the worst hotels we’ve stayed at. I’m hopeful that the rest won’t be this bad since it’d take a lot to beat this place. That and the fact that everything will be reasonably priced again.

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Day 19: Zoo Zurich and Far Too Much Cheese.

The unrelenting heat continued well into the night, the asthmatic building air conditioning doing nothing to calm the flames. Our fitful sleep was brought to its end by the blinding column of light emanating from the bathroom, the bathroom clear bathroom door an aesthetic choice more than a practical one. Even as we stepped out into the building proper the temperature only dropped a few degrees but it was enough to grant us some brief respite. The breakfast offering was meager but filling enough although not enough to abate the simmering hatred that I was brewing for our lodgings.

But once we left things started to improve.

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Zoo Zurich is perched at the top of Zurich proper, meaning we’d need to ascend no small height to get there. Thankfully there’s a tram line helpfully named “Zoo” that takes you all the way to the top and provides a great view along the way. It was interesting to note how the increased altitude meant more affluent the neighborhood was with apartment buildings giving way to old money houses and astonishingly large plots of land without a house in sight. Once we reached the top it was a short walk to the entrance of the zoo itself and onto our adventures within.

It was your typical zoo, although obviously much better set up than many others that I’ve seen. Strolling around all the exhibits took us the better part of the day, staying longer at the ones that interested us and breezing past those that didn’t. Of course some of the enclosures were a little heart breaking to see, with many of the great apes confined to places that just didn’t seem big enough for them. That coupled with some rather obnoxious visitors did make my wife and I both feel for them. All I can hope for is that our patronage helps in improving their situation.

Of particular note were 2 attractions: the elephants and the Masoala hall. As far as great animals go you really can’t go past the elephants and their massive enclosure housed several specimens, including a young calf. My wife and I both exclaimed when we first saw them, something which a pair of American tourists responded with “We said that too!”. It’s not like I haven’t seen them before, indeed I rode one as a kid (a circus came to town with them, something I no longer support), but seeing them up close really never gets old.

However they paled in comparison to the Masoala hall which is a giant artificial jungle that plays host to numerous plant and animal species. Indeed the photo atop this post comes from an encounter we had in there, the chameleon just hanging off a nearby try that many people had walked past without noticing them. It even contains a board walk which takes you to the top, a rather harrowing adventure but not for the height but for the heat. At the top was a roasty 35 degrees with 80+ humidty which soaked us both to the bone in minutes.

At the very beginning of the walk through the hall my wife noticed a leemur that jumped quickly out of sight when I looked at it. After we reached the end of the walk (which finished in a beautifully air conditioned aquarium) we decided to walk back through hoping to catch them again. As luck would have it we did, seeing 3 of them jumping between the trees. My wife was elated and we left the hall happy.

My wife had been hoping to do a tour of the Lindt factory as she’d seen some tours available on a couple sites. So we went back to the hotel to figure out which one we’d do. As it turns out there’s no such tour to be had, there’s only a factory outlet nearby that’ll sell you Lindt for a small discount. Deflated my wife decided it wasn’t worth the effort and instead we spent the afternoon lounging in the oven of our hotel room as we plotted our next moves.

We’d settled on fondue for dinner, wanting to indulge in some local cuisine again. We found a local place that came well recommended and settled in for a night of cheese and bread. It was delicious but honestly I don’t think man was ever meant to have that much cheese as a meal, even if it’s accompanied by bear and some salad. Satisfied we waddled back to our hotel room to settle in for the night.

Tomorrow we make for Mount Rigi, the so-called Queen of the Mountains. The weather prediction for tomorrow is rather grim but I’m hoping our luck, and maybe the altitude, will give us some good views over the surrounding countryside. That’s likely going to be a full day in of itself so we haven’t planned on doing much further. Not that I mind doing nothing, especially considering the number of days that we’re starting to rack up abroad.

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Day 18: Auf Wiedersehen Berlin, Hallo Zurich.

Our alarm went off at a leisurely, but not yesterday’s leisurely, time this morning. Today we had nothing more planned than a simple train journey from Berlin to Zurich, our only train journey that had us connecting onto a different route. Buoyed by our success in navigating Berlin’s train network we decided to catch that into the main train station as well, eliminating the need for an exorbitant taxi ride. So once breakfast was out of the way we checked out and began our short trek to the closest train station and our journey to Zurich.

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Getting on our first and second trains proved to be no issue. We’d already caught the same train numerous times over to get us around the middle of Berlin as they all seem to share the same route within the more touristy areas. The second was a train that was very comparable to the Thalys one we’d caught some days prior, being quite new and outfitted with free wifi. However as we got closer to our arrival time I noticed that we weren’t really close to anything I’d call a major station, nor had there been any announcements over the intercom. The time kept ticking away until it past it, and continued to do so until we arrived 20 minutes late.

This posed something of an issue for us as our connecting train was scheduled to depart not 15 minutes after our original arrival time. Try as we might to get to the right platform in time we arrived nothing, our connecting train apparently bang on time. So there we were in the Hanover train station with nowhere to go, the efficiency of the train system cutting us both ways. Undeterred, although a little anxious, I made straight for the ticketing station to figure out where we’d go from there.

The ticketing station runs on those RTA style booths that print you out a ticket with a number on it. I left my wife behind whilst I went in search of wifi, figuring this was a problem I could solve with a little Google-fu. Thankfully these trains run every 2 hours and another one was due to leave in the not too distant future. However for the Eurail pass you typically need to reserve trains before you board them, especially the high speed inter-city ones. Thankfully the ticket clerk was more than able to help us and not 20 minutes after our delayed arrival we were booked on another train.

The rest of the trip was largely uneventful, the German countryside slowly fading away to the rolling hills of Switerzland. The quaint little towns, usually flocked on all sides by crops or vineyards, were a picturesque backdrop to the relative calm of the train. Our 2 hour delay meant we were getting in at around 10PM at night although the city was far from asleep, the Euro cup match ensuring the streets were still filled with people. We managed to find a quiet Italian place to have dinner (one that didn’t have a TV out in the open) which my wife enjoyed thoroughly.

Our hotel room is, unfortunately, likely to be the worst of this whole trip. I’ve stayed in rooms this size for work and thought it was too small even for one person. We’ve barely got space to have our bags open on the floors, the desk is built into the wall with a little pouf for a chair and, to top it all off, it isn’t air conditioned. Considering we’re hitting 30+ degrees now this is going to be an issue and I’m honestly surprised that the reviews I read didn’t reflect these problems. Live and learn I guess.

Tomorrow we’ll be heading out to Zoo Zurich as we’ve heard it’s one of the best in Europe. Then we’ll be taking our fill of Swiss chocolate, something my wife thoroughly appreciated when I returned from my last work trip to Geneva. If we do much more I’ll be surprised, especially with this unrelenting heat dogging us at every turn.

Time to sleep.

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Day 17: Topology of Terror, Beer Garden Fail and Deutsches Technikmuseum.

We were keen to build on the successes that we had the day before, not wanting to let the momentum we had recovered pass us by. That didn’t stop us from ignoring our alarms however, only rousing from our slumber by nearly 10AM. Since our hotel would stop serving breakfast at that time it was something of an issue, until my wife pointed out it was the weekend and thus breakfast would be served until later. I’ve long since passed the point where I’m able to track days well, something which I think is both a luxury and a curse when it comes to long duration travel.

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Since our tour guide advised us to go to the Topology of Terror rather than any of the other World War II museums we decided that would be our first stop. The exhibition hugs one of the last few remaining sections of the Berlin wall which itself is across from the former Nazi Ministry of Ministries. It’s part open air exhibit and indoor information center and covers nearly all aspects of the Nazi regime. Walking from one of the wall to the other you can trace the history of the movement and what led to Hitler’s rise to power. It’s both a mournful and infuriating experience, the things we can see in hindsight seeming so obvious now. I cannot honestly say if our world is better prepared to face something of that nature again, especially with the roots of similar movements appearing all over the world.

We didn’t spend as much time inside the exhibit however as there’s really only so much horror you can endure in a single day.

Our tour guide from yesterday had mentioned that Prater Beer Garden was worth visiting so we decided to head up there for lunch before deciding what to do with our afternoon. When we arrived however we found out that we were either too late for the lunch time crowd or too early for the nightly punters. The garden was basically deserted with just a handful of families sitting at a few of the tables. That combined with the fact that the food didn’t seem too appetizing we decided to leave in favor of an Italian restaurant that had tempted us on the way over. It was there we had a very reasonably priced lunch washed down with some great local dunkel lager.

We had a few options for how to spend the remainder of the day and eventually settled on visiting the Deutsches Technikmuseum. Now I know this is somewhat contrary to my previous advice from the day before however I thought the technology museum might house some peculiar German technological curiosities. For the most part it was alright (the cut open steam engine pictured above being the highlight) but I found myself disappointed upon leaving, mostly because their space exhibit was just a couple of rocket engines. I think that’s cemented my opinion on museums for a while now.

Afterwards we headed back home for a little bit of rest before we headed out again. Even late into the night I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry and floated the notion we simply grab a few things from a local supermarket. My wife had wanted to get a curry wurst before we left Berlin since they seemed to be everywhere. So we walked down to a local curry wurst place to check it out but my wife lost interest when she couldn’t see anyone else ordering one. Instead we walked into the supermarket next door and procured us a very healthy dinner of cheese, 1L of beer, crackers and some curry sausages which satisfied my wife’s cravings.

Tomorrow we make a beeline out of Berlin for Zurich in Switzerland the only European country I have visited before. I don’t have very fond memories of the place, thanks to the dengue fever I contracted in Singapore  unleashing it’s fury on me whilst I was there, however I’m determined not to make a repeat performance. As with Berlin we’ll only be there for a couple days before departing again but I’m sure we’ll find enough to occupy us between the town itself and the mountains that surround it.

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Day 16: Return to Form.

Last night we made the decision: we’d be going on a tour no matter what. Unfortunately the tour group we wanted to use, Fat Tire (came highly recommended by friends of my wife), had just redone their website. Whilst I’m sure everything worked fine on the developer’s machine it rejected both my credit cards numerous times over. This meant our only option was to either phone them, something which I didn’t want to bother with, or we could rock up at their shop bright and early and hope that there was still space on the tour we wanted to do.

Luckily, there was.

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My wife had said that she was pretty sure she could make it through a Segway tour and as it turns out they’re quite a lot less popular. Consequently the group was much smaller, a grand total of 6 of us including the guide. We also managed to get paired up with another 2 Australians who happened to be on the tail end of a work trip. I made a right fool of myself by not recognizing their accent straight away (they, of course, recognized mine), answering “Australia” when they asked where I was from. As it turns out they were from Sydney and worked for Bayer. I didn’t press them for more details than that after my initial gaff.

The tour was a great little introduction into Berlin and the history behind it. I noticed on our journey in how much of the city looked new when compared to other European cities we’d been in so far. I didn’t make the connection between Berlin and the war though which is why much of the city looks new. Of note where the buildings that were left as is, like the Berlin Cathedral pictured above, which still bore many of the scars that war inflicted on it. Germany never wants to forget the tragedy that it wrought upon itself and the world, it seems.

We visited quite a few other points of interest like the longest section of the wall that remains, the holocaust memorial and the Bradenburg gate. Our guide was very knowledgeable on a lot of things, of interest to me specifically was the history of Prussia and it’s interlinks with Germany. You see whilst I’m a 5th generation Australian (yeah, struth mate) my last name is actually Prussian in origin. Whilst I’m not entertaining any notions of royal lineage, I mean what royalty would’ve come to Australia willingly, it’s interesting to see where your roots come from. Especially in a place like this where its history stretches back so far.

Once we were done with the tour we settled in for some lunch at a local beer garden to plan out the rest of our day. I definitely wanted to go back to museum island to check out the Berlin Cathedral and the nearby museum. The cathedral was well worth the time we spent there however the Altes Museum probably wasn’t worth the price of admission. Sure there was some interesting artifacts but after you’ve seen collections like what the Louvre has you kinda feel like the smaller places probably aren’t worth it unless you’re interested in something specific.

We had planned to go to the Topography of Terror afterwards but by then we were both starting to fade. So we decided to head back to the hotel for a quick break before heading up to another beer garden that came recommended by our tour guide. However the weather turned on us, bucketing down rain and likely ruining any attempt to drink beer outside. Instead we settled on a local German restaurant that did some very good traditional food.

Tomorrow is in a bit of a flux but I’m sure we’ll work out something once breakfast is done. It’s great to be back on form again, even if my feet are starting to complain again. I’m also sure now that 3 nights is a good sweet spot for seeing a good number of cities in Europe as it gives you enough time to see the things that really matter to you. Sure you could spend longer but thinking back to our USA trip all those years ago I can definitely remember having a lot of “filler” days in places we spent 4+ nights in. Of course we could’ve had even more time if I hadn’t listened to a certain friend about taking the train everywhere but hey, when in Rome right?

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Day 15: Vaarwel Amsterdam, Hallo Berlin.

My wife stirred long before I did which I took as a good sign. She said she was still feeling pretty rubbish, unfortunately, but at the very least she did seem to be in a much better mood. We managed to get through breakfast and packing up ok, checking out of the hotel and getting into a taxi without incident. Once we’d found our way to our platform, long before our train was due to arrive, my wife started to feel ill again. It’s a pattern that would repeat itself over the course of the day although, thankfully, we had a whole first class cabin to ourselves for the majority of the trip.

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Unfortunately the train ride wasn’t as luxurious as our previous one was, being more like a budget airline than anything else. Our Eurail pass granted us first class seats however there were 6 of them to a cabin. Throughout the trip we had various people come and go in the 4 spare seats we weren’t using although none of them stayed longer than an hour. This was great for my wife who could curl up on the seats and get some additional rest. We drew the ire of the conductor who told us we hadn’t used our Eurail passes correctly, something which the first train we boarded neglected to mention.

The trip over was uneventful, spent mostly reading through my book and playing a couple games on my phone. This train was also bereft of any Internet connection as well, something that torpedoed my plans to post yesterday’s blog and, possibly, catch up on that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst review I had lined up before I left. It was nice to see the transition from The Netherlands to Germany however, the landscapes dotted with wind farms, small towns and various other things of interest.

We arrived in Berlin late in the afternoon (which would be the dead of night at home, something which my body clock is still coming to grips with) and made our hotel. I was a little worried that we were out in the sticks somewhere as I thought I spied our hotel from our train on the way over. By the looks of things though we’re pretty well placed with most of the things I want to see a short train ride away.

I’m hopeful that my wife’s condition will have improved enough by now for us to really sink our teeth into Berlin. I have to admit I was a little disappointed by how little we did in Amsterdam, even if it was a rather relaxing time. Berlin is definitely one of the cities that I wanted to see a lot of and, since we’ve really only got 2 days here, we’re going to have to make them count. Even though our new hotel would be nice enough to while away the hours in I’m certainly not looking to make a repeat performance.

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Day 14: Housekeeping.

With my wife in such good spirits from last night I had high hopes for today. We could leisurely make our way to our bike tour and finally see the other side of Amsterdam that we’d heard so much about. However the look on my wife’s face as we woke up told a story I didn’t want to hear: she was struggling in just the same way as she was before. I figured we’d try to make our way through breakfast at least before calling it quits. On our way back up to our room though my wife called it and slumped down on the bed, crippled by nausea and pain.

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I stuck around for an hour or so to make sure she was ok before I left to do a small tour of the surrounding area on my own. Our hotel was right next to a local park, one that many had said was worth a walk through. The quiet rustling of the trees and low ruckus of children playing in the distance was a nice background to me hunting for photographic inspiration. There wasn’t a whole lot to be found there unfortunately although there might be a few shots in there that will keepers if I put enough work into them.

Afterwards I headed back to see how my wife was doing. She was still bundled up under the covers and didn’t stir when I opened the door. After a while she woke back up and said she was feeling a little better although her face was still that same distraught look that I had seen earlier that morning.

I decided to take care of our laundry then since she wouldn’t be up to doing anything else for the rest of the day. After a few wrong turns I did manage to successfully find the laundromat that came highly recommended on Google. The reviews were spot on too, our week’s worth of clothes washed, dried and folded for €17, a bargain compared to what any hotel would charge. On the way back to pick it up later in the day I did manage to snag a few more photos, one of which adorns the top of this post.

Upon returning with 2 bags of fresh clothes my wife seemed to be feeling a lot better and so we decided to get ourselves some takeout from a local Mexican place. It reminded me a lot of Zambreros from back home, the imagery and designs very reminiscent of each other. The food was very good and the cheap Trappist ales that I picked up at the local supermarket even better. It was a nice way to cap off our final full day here in Amsterdam, even if it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I first booked our holiday.

Tomorrow we’ll make our way to Berlin by train. Hopefully our second train journey will be just as luxurious as the first although I’m sure there’s as much variability in trains as there is with planes. We likely won’t get up to much else as we won’t get in until 7PM or so, one of the few downsides when it comes to long distance train travel. Still it’ll give me time to catch up on my reading and maybe a few other things that I’ve neglected.

Honestly it’ll probably just be nice to not be walking all day for once!

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Day 12: Netflix and Chill.

After what happened yesterday we were keen to not make a repeat performance and so left the day wide open. It started off well with our hosts gleefully showing my wife the lactose-free milk they had procured for her however she was in no state to make use of it today. “Tomorrow then!” he exclaimed as he cheerfully darted back to the kitchen; there seemed to be nothing that could put a damper on his happiness. My wife however, still reeling from the events of the day before, decided that she’d probably spend the better part of today in bed whilst I’d catch up with our friends who happened be in Amsterdam the same time as us.

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I spent the better part of the morning tracking down a set of hair clippers to fix my hair cut from the day previous (as well as to get my beard under control). After visiting 2 different Bokkers (a small department store that dots the streets of Amsterdam) I found myself a set for cheap and took them back to the hotel. My wife, whilst feeling better, decided she’d continue to stay in and I arranged to meet my friends in the city for lunch. I left her the laptop just in case she felt up to watching something.

Lunch was spent reminiscing over our varied travel adventures, enjoying Amsterdam’s laid back ambiance and indulging in a €5 pizza place that made suspiciously good food. The dreary afternoon weather started to get the better of us quickly however and we all retreated back to our various places of residence to escape the new cold breeze. I returned to find my wife in very good spirits, seemingly shaking off the last of whatever had been ailing her for so long. After we spent a good few hours watching various shows on Netflix I asked if she was up for dinner and we settled on a small bar not too far from us.

We were just settling into our dinner when my friend and his girlfriend accosted us; they just happened to be staying nearby and had frequented our chosen place numerous times before. We ended up staying back for far longer than we originally intended, sharing various stories and talking about how much Canberra had changed over the last 3 years (they are expats who are on their way home). It was a nice way to round off the day, especially considering my wife was able to keep her dinner down without a hint of nausea about her.

Tomorrow we’ll make one final attempt to ride bikes around Amsterdam before turning our eyes to our housekeeping duties. We’ve been here almost a week in Amsterdam and we’re starting to run out of fresh clothes to wear. Thankfully it seems like getting that sorted shouldn’t be too much of an issue here but it will still likely mean a good chunk out of our day. Still I’m hopeful can finally get to see the city as the locals do it and maybe have a little time spare for ourselves at the end of it.