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Anja
02 September 2013 @ 12:48 am
Hello everybody!

I'm already back in Germany and I'm actually a bit sad. But lets get to that later.

First of all the hostel in Dover was probably the worst on my trip but I was able to live with it. On my first afternoon I met two German girls who were the only other guests beside me. The hostel owner actually drove us around Dover a bit and then up to the castle where he got us in for free (having a family pass and pretending us to be his daughters). The castle's quite interesting. You've got a Roman lighthouse dating back to 130 AD, some 13th century church, the big castle part that Henry II built and then a whole system of underground tunnels partly used as a hospital during the World War II. Luckily nothing of that got destroyed in the war but half of the town was. So now you've got nice old beach promenade houses next to post war architecture sins and not to mention the motorway going straight through town from the port. But as there are thousands of lorries arriving on the ferries everyday there won't be any change in the forseeable future.
On my second day I went hiking on the white cliffs .of Dover. Despite my vertigo I always liked cliffs and these were particularly amazing. I walked to the lighthouse where I had scones and coffee and then went back again. It's very windy up there and parts of the cliffs are apparently unstable but it's really worth the short hike. I took some amazing pictures.

On my last day I just killed some time in Dover got on the train to London, had lunch at King's Cross and enjoyed being back in London a bit. Then I went to the airport and was back in Munich at 20 past eleven at night. I acutally got a bit teary during the flight because these last days have been one of the best experiences of my life.

Today I was a bit hyperactive during our family dinner because i'm just not used to not enhaling my food and then actually keep seated for some time. I had the constant feeling that there's somewhere I should go, somewhere I've got to be but on a Sunday in Bavaria there's really not much to do or see. But my legs just wanted to move and I missed walking all day. Luckily I have my new Dr Who seasons to get me through the worst but I will still have a hard time readjusting to normal life. Apart from the "not having your own bed, your pc, not doing proper laundry and being somewhat constantly tired after a while" part travelling forever would be a considerable lifestyle for me.

So long
Anja
 
 
Current Location: Munich
feeling: sadsad
 
 
Anja
28 August 2013 @ 10:49 am
Hey everybody!

I'm currently in London so please excuse my lack of updates. There simply isn't much time to write anything.

On my first night it was raining but nonetheless I went to the south riverside and enjoyed just being in London. When cooking that night I met some guys and it was quite a good start at the hostel.

Day I
I first went to Bricklane market. Not because I had planned it but because the girl at reception told me to and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. It is just an endless street with stalls on the street, in backyards, whole blocks are turned into markets with food from all over the world, clothes, art prints and jewellery. Again like in Manchester a lot of vintage and hipster stuff. But there were so many things to see I had a hard time not buying too much. I ended up with a necklace, earrings and a top.
Afterwards I went to postman's park and read all the sad stories of people trying to save others. As the museum of London was close by I had a quick look at that as well.
Then I went to Notting Hill. Unfortunately I was actually looking forward to see the calm nice neighborhood from the movie but as it was carnival the streets were full of drunken people. It definitely looked more like a festival. Anyhow it was a bit too much for me so I went to Regent's Park and did some sketches.

Day II
Ever since I read Her Fearful Symmetry I wanted to see Highgate and around. So I went to Belsize Park by underground, walked all the way up to Hampstead Heath and had a look at the Pergola. It was a really hot day so I sat in the sun and did some more sketches. Then I got lost a few times in the wastness that is Hampstead Heath while searching for Kenwood house. So after walking up and down the hilly park quite a lot I made it there and had lunch. Monday was a bank holiday and there were tons of families with dogs around and it really was a perfect day. From atop the Heath you can basically see all of London, all the big skyscrapers just glittering in the sun, and being so close but still having the feeling of living in a nice neighborhood. I completely understand why the rich live there in their big villas on this beautiful hill. I never want to live in London for more than a year or maybe two because although it's a great place for holidays it can get too much pretty quickly and I couldn't afford a nice place. But if I had tons of money I think this would definitely be the place where I would want to live.

Day III
Yesterday I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tours and it was simply amazing. Sadly the Dr Who Experience looks kind of lame now in comparison but I don't care. The studios consist of two sound stages which are huge halls containing all the sets and were most of the movies were actually shot. Ironically the sets are named stage J and stage K. You got all the interior sets like class rooms, common rooms, the burrow, the ministry of magic back to back and they show how props were made, how they used less CGI than I would have expected and how green boxes and the like work. I flew on a broomstick in the green box, took tons of videos, had a really close look at the props (especially wands), spent a long time looking at sketches from the set design department and then drew a sketch of the amazing Hogwarts model they used for exterior shoots. Of course I had a butterbeer in the backyard between the two stages sitting in front of Voldemort's grave, facing Privet Drive and the Knight Bus. I walked over the crooked Hogwarts bridge, through Diagon Alley and of course the Great Hall.
But what I thought was most impressive about the whole thing was how much they tried to explain the whole process of filmmaking. They really focus on the work behind the magic. Instead of keeping up the illusion, they explain how simple it sometimes can be to create magic with props, prosthetics and a bit of green screen. As I got my flight on USB and made some great videos of the sets like the paintings in Hogwarts (that actually had two green screen frames in between so I can easily put me in there) I'm really looking forward to editing my holiday video.
As it was the most awesome day of my trip I had just about 1 hour after spending probably 4 hours at the studios to take a break at the hostel and then rush into the city again for Macbeth at the Globe. I went to Borough Market on the way and got me a stilton burger at my beloved posh banger boys. Macbeth was just great and I always love the Globe's atmosphere. Billy Boyd played Banquo (and he was great) but all the other actors were amazing as well. After my long day standing for more than 2 hours was quite exhausting but being already at the Thames I didn't feel like going home yet. So I walked from London Bridge to Leicester Square and took some nice night shots.

Day IV
Today I had planned a trip to Greenwich. But as yesterday was so utterly full of adventure and a bit rushed I'm just going to stay in the city, go to the National Gallery and maybe some more art galleries. Then I'll try to get an affordable ticket to Les Miserables tonight because I can't miss the opportunity to see this. Maybe I'll have time for a quick stop at Primark and I need to get some postcards as well. But I'll try to have a more or less lazy day because too much running around isn't good either and I will be back in London soon anyway.

Sorry for the long entry. I tried to sum everything up. Tomorrow I'm off to Dover and then on Sunday I'm already returning home.

So long
Anja
 
 
Current Location: London
feeling: happyhappy
 
 
Anja
23 August 2013 @ 06:17 pm
Hey everybody!

Cardiff is amazing! On my first afternoon I already went through Bute park that was used for filming Daleks in Manhattan as Central park, then I went to Alexandra gardens where Martha gave the flowers to the old lady in the finale of season 3 and looked at the monument there as well because a lot of the statues on it where used in Blink. All around this little nice square are old beautiful buildings like the courts, university, the national museum and city hall. In one way or another they all have featured in a Dr Who episode. What I didn't know was that the Sherlock film crew (including Benedict Cumberbatch) had just been filming on the very road I walked down the same day. I always considered myself lucky but that must have been the worst timing I ever had in my whole life. Luckily I just found out this morning so the last two days I spent in Cardiff didn't get spoiled by that. It simply was a bit of a downer this morning. But I guess I'm just lacking the ambition to be a real set stalker fan. I tried to find out this morning if they would still be filming in London when I get there but simply gave up after a while. If I get lucky I will meet the actors I like one day and if I really want to see somebody in person I'll just get tickets to their theatre performances because then I can at least be sure that they'll definitely be there ;)
Anyway, next day I went to the Dr Who Experience! It was fantastic! Seeing all the monsters, being inside the Tardis (even flying with it!) and having a real size Dalek shout Exterminate!! at you was really great. Just the Weeping Angels were a bit too scary to be honest. I got some souvenirs and season 5 & 6 (much cheaper than in Germany) and actually watched the first episode last night with fellow Whovians. Of course there's quite a lot of Dr Who fans in the hostel because Cardiff practically is the Dr Who Mecca.
Today I spent a calm day at the museum and did some shopping. I did a lot of sketches of the great architecture in the museum and some monuments I really liked. Unfortunately the weather went from being hot and sunny (I had a wonderful time in the bay and then in the park yesterday) to rain today. So I went back to the hostel to relax. After all it's Friday and I might be going out tonight.

So long
Anja
 
 
Current Location: Cardiff
 
 
Anja
21 August 2013 @ 03:29 pm
Hello everybody!

Yesterday I wrote a quite long entry about Manchester and arriving at Birmingham. But I didn't get round to posting any of it and as I've been to Stratford-upon-Avon today my last post just lost all importance whatsoever. However if you're interested everything's under the cut...
wanna read about Manchester and my first afternoon in Birmingham?Collapse )

The only thing I'd like to add to my Birmingham experience is this. I went out with some girls from my room and the guys that work at the hostel yesterday evening and I had so much fun. I met a fellow whovian (which is always great) from Australia and the whole group was really fun to hang out with. So this evening we're meeting up again for a round of table tennis. Anyway, the atmosphere in the Birmingham hostel is way better than in Manchester.
But what makes Birmingham so great is its closeness to Stratford-upon-Avon. Just one hour by train and I found myself in the most wonderful little town on earth.

Today I ...
... had a butterbeer in the Creaky Cauldron to start my day
... walked on the original stone floor that Shakespeare walked on
... saw Shakespeare's house, his daughter's and his parents' and therefore his birthplace aswell
... been to the Swan theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company where people like Judi Dench and David Tennant performed
... found out that David Tennant's performance of Henry II is already sold out for this autumn
... but I could (and probably will because I just can't miss it) get tickets for the same play in London in December
... I saw the original costumes from quite a few plays at the RSC including David Tennant's Touchstone from As You Like It and his great orange shirt and jeans from Hamlet which I actually saw.
... read a bit of Macbeth in Shakespeare's garden
... and after all these wonderful events sat in his parents' garden and watched bits and pieces from his plays that were requested by the audience (including of course a nice bickering between Benedick and Beatrice) performed by amazing actors

My day could really not get any better. And as I'm off to Cardiff tomorrow I'm already a bit excited to get to the Doctor Who experience. Basically the best parts of my trip are still coming and I already had a blast.

So long
Anja
 
 
Current Location: Birmingham
 
 
Anja
16 August 2013 @ 09:31 pm
Hey everybody!

York was fantastic! It's tiny, old and full of great places to explore. My personal favorite is the old city wall that goes nearly around the whole inner city. It's great for a walk (it's free) and it gives you a good first look at the city. Even after being in York for a while I still used it to get straight back to the hostel without getting lost somewhere in the many little alleys. If you need a break from the stream of tourists I'd recommend the part from Micklegate to Skeldergate Bridge which is far more deserted than the rest mostly because there's not much to see. Well at least no tourist attractions but I personally found the locals' houses and backyards quite interesting, too.
Then there's of course the Minster that as if it wasn't fascinating enough on its own offers an amazing view from the main tower and Roman ruins in the Undercroft. Apart from that every little alley has either an old church, sweet shoppe or pub. This morning I had a second late breakfast before going into the Minster at Crumb Cupcakery which I can only recommend. If you are a sweet tooth York is the perfect town for you anyway, at every corner you can buy fudge or chocolates, cakes and there's a lot of traditionally made ice-cream sold on the streets. Now that the weekend has started unfortunately the crowds of tourists got bigger.
Escaping the masses I just sat in the warm afternoon sun at the river Ouse & read some of A Casual Vacancy. Then I took a last stroll along my favorite part of the city wall. Tomorrow I will have a look at the railway museum (which is supposed to be really good) and then take a train to Manchester.

A loud hen do just outside my window (that must have been drinking heavily for some time judging by their singing) reminded me of the fact that it's a Friday night and staying in wasn't really an option. So I went into the city once again. I can't understand why once British girls head to a club they somehow feel the necessity to wear skirts or dresses that can hardly count as a wide belt. Anyway I went past these horrendously dress up clubbers stumbling along in their 10inch high heels in search for a late cup of coffee but everything had closed down already some hours ago. Passing the ghost tour I was on yesterday with a little knowing smile I went down the same route he took us on at the end. Not because there used to be an orphanage here and the souls of mistreated children are supposed to still haunt this place. But because by swiftly taking a right in through a little passage just across Cross Keys right behind the Minster you get from the touristy part of town into the normal one. The calamity of these neat red brick buildings just two parallel streets away from the crowded alleys and shops is simply astounding. Leaving the heavily trodden path usually turns out much better than following the rest like a dumb sheep.

So long
Anja
 
 
 
Anja
15 August 2013 @ 01:56 pm
Hey everybody!

I'm catching a train to York soon and have to leave my perfect hostel and sunny Newcastle behind.
If anybody ever comes to Newcastle you've got to stay at the Euro Hostel. It's clean, big, every (especially shopping malls) is in walking distance and even the famous millennium bridge over the Tyne isn't too far off to easily walk there. The restaurant The WareRooms serves besides the free continental breakfast (toast, cereal, juices, coffee, tea, yoghurt, butter, jam and even fruit), cold beer and great meals at low prices. I just had the chicken tikka masala and it was amazing! According to the menu the site of the hostel once was a House of Correction (so more or less a prison) which for me made it even better.
Sure the hostel isn't really a place to meet fellow backpackers (among the guests were older people and some families as well) because there's no common room were everybody just brings their own beers and you will surely not be asked to a round of flip cup (like we were in Glasgow) but if you're travelling in a group it's a great place to stay. The tv chillout room alone is the perfect place to relax in huge beanbag cushions after a day of walking around town. Enough rambling on about this great place.

Newcastle itself was nice. It's not too big, you can walk everywhere and I got to see the major sights in one day and visit some great art museums such as the BALTIC. The millennium bridge was my personal highlight. There wasn't too much to see although I have to admit I didn't visit all the museums and made no trips to things outside the city. For me this was just a lovely place to get a bit more sleep and energy after the week in Scotland.

My next stop is the little old town of York.

So long
Anja
 
 
Current Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
 
 
Anja
14 August 2013 @ 12:05 am
Hello everybody,

I didn't write anything for quite some time so now you're getting a longer update. Scotland is definitely one of the most wonderful places I've ever visited. The people are friendly, the accent is adorable and the landscape and cities are amazing.
I really started to love the Edingburgh festival even though the streets were always crowded. But I watched a Stratford-upon-Avon college student company perform Shakespeare's Pericles and an even younger group perform Much Ado About Nothing. Even though they were miles away from the David Tennant & Catherine Tate performance (but who wouldn't?) I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I missed a Doctor Who themed comedy performance and the Glee-inspired Romeo and Julia (what a great idea!) which I wanted to see this morning got cancelled. But I saw so much free stuff from comedy at the BBC venue to endless a Capella groups up and down the Royal Mile that I'm happy with my festival experience. I already made a mental promise to come back just for the festival and see as many venues as I can.
Edingburgh itself is a great city to visit. I especially loved the old town Auld Reekie with all its ghost stories, body snatchers and little alleyways. Due to the festival we had a hard time really escaping the crowds but I think when you're there in October it can get quite spooky.
So my conclusion for Edingburgh is: visit it twice. Once for at least a week of festival fun and craziness and then again for some more quiet sightseeing and ghost hunting. It will be worth it.

I'm constantly uploading instagram pictures so if you want to follow me just leave a comment and I'll add you. ;)



So now I said goodbye to my two travel companions and got on a train to Newcastle. Arriving there this evening it felt nice for a change to walk to the hostel without having somebody wave a flyer in your face every 2 metres. I was pretty tired because we had some aweful snoring guys in our room the last two nights and developed a small headache. So I just chilled a bit in the more than awesome hostel. It's so modern, clean and cool that it's more like a hotel. We've got a tv room filled with giant beanbag cushions, a bar/restaurant (serving really great cheap meals) in a modern industrial style, an incredibly clean kitchen and dining room, free laundry, free breakfast and my room has its own bathroom and is an all female 4 bed dorm. Compared to Edingburgh (and pretty much anything I've seen in any big city) this is a luxury hotel. After our busy weekend this is just what I needed.

In search for a supermarket I already covered most of the neighborhood (not because it took so long, it's just that small) and tomorrow I will take some nice walks around town. It's relatively modern with great architecture and some nice museums. I'm looking forward to some quiet nice days. Already had some salad with halloumi instead of the chunk I've been eating the last week and I feel right at home.

So long
Anja
 
 
Current Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
feeling: relaxedrelaxed
 
 
Anja
09 August 2013 @ 08:24 am
Hello everybody,

After a short night we had a nice breakfast sitting in front of a cafe on the royal mile. While we enjoyed our coffee a girl with a horse head, frosty the snow man, a singing marching band in matching red uniforms, a guy in a Cinderella dress & 10 inch high heels and a singing group with orange avenue q shirts walked by. And those are just the more memorable characters from the fringe festival crowds we met this morning.

A quick train ride and check in at the hostel later we went into Glasgow's westend. After strolling around the posh streets we went through kengrove park to the university of Glasgow which looked a lot like hogwarts.
Back at the hostel we had to take a break before heading into the city center and on towards Glasgow Cathedral and the necropolis. This cemetery hill is one of the most amazing sights I've seen so far, especially in the late afternoon sun it turns into a magical place. But as much as I liked the necropolis it is competing with a seemingly unimportant blue box as my highlight today.
I saw a real police box for the first time!! It seemed like the doctor was running around somewhere because the tardis was locked but he was probably following us because I saw it again around the corner of the royal stock exchange. I can't explain how excited I was when I first spotted the blue box across the street but I took a ton of pictures to comemorate the event. ;-)

Due to overused and unstable WiFi this post is already 2 days old but as we drove through the highlands yesterday and there seems no fitting way to describe the greatnes of it all without a ton of Photos (and even then you must have Seen it with your own eyes) there's nothing much so say for now. Today we're on the isle of skye. The hostel is super cute with so many rooms and hidden staircases that you might think that it's bigger on the inside. It's colourful design gives it a feeling like the Burrow. We've got the perfect Tour planned with great cliffs, pools and a region the hostel owner described as hobbit world.

So long
Anja
 
 
feeling: excitedexcited
 
 
Anja
Hello everybody!

After a pretty shaky start to our great tour we finally got to Edingburgh safely.

Our flight was delayed because of a massive thunder storm raging over Munich and after waiting half an hour for the night shuttle bus at Edingburgh airport we stood in front of closed doors. Check in time ended at 11...
So at half past 2 we had to call the emergency number written on the door and a poor girl had to get out of bed to check us in. The hostel is actually really nice: the whole thing consists of individual flats with their own bathrooms and kitchen which gives it more of a shared flat feeling. It's right opposite a pub called the three sisters and due to fringe festival the streets were still crowded when we arrived. If I wasn't so completely worn out from the flight (it's already 4 in Germany after all) I would love to grab a pint and join the party.

It feels wrong to get a train to Glasgow tomorrow morning when clearly Edingburgh is the place to be right now but we'll have 3 nights later this week to enjoy the festival in its full glory.

As I'm typing this the noise outside is slowly dying down and everybody seems to be heading home. Guess that means I should catch some sleep as well.

So long
Anja
 
 
feeling: tiredtired
 
 
Anja
05 August 2013 @ 08:24 pm
Hello everybody,

the last preparations are done. I bought some semi waterproof hiking shoes for the Highlands and the Isle of Skye, got all the important information and directions neatly printed out and now all I've got to do is unpack my two bags I brought from Passau and pack all the stuff into a big suitcase my father is lending me. The last time I checked all my stuff weighed about 17 kg which would be perfect because I can take as much as 20 kg on the flight to Edingburgh and back from London it's even 23 kg. So about 6 kg for shopping ;) Primark here I come!

Right now I'm just exhausted from a long and very hot shopping day so I'm not overly excited. I'm a bit scared that I will get lost somewhere along the trip, not get a train or end up at the end of the world. But I know I will be fine :D it's not like I haven't been to the UK before, my English is good enough to get help on the street and it's not really a dangerous country (I'm not flying to Afghanistan or something ;) ). So how much could go wrong anyway? Did I just totally jinx it? Haha
All I've got to remember now is to write postcards to all my friends, go to my booked events on the right day :D and be happy. And of course take a ton of pictures and videos.
And as David Tennant is currently still filming in Scotland and the last episode of season 3 Sherlock will be filming in London, too, keep your fingers crossed that I might meet some of those amazing actors ;)

My next update will probably be from Edingburgh if I get the time or then the next day from Glasgow.

so long
Anja
 
 
feeling: tiredtired
listening to / watching: Sigh No More - Catherine Tate & David Tennant