June 22, 2015

Cruise and a day in Talinn

As you could've read on my bucketlist page already, taking a cruise was one of the things I've wanted to do for a while. I didn't think I would have the opportunity so soon because cruises are usually very expensive holidays. But when I was in Sweden at the end of May (more about this later), my friend proposed a daytrip to Talinn, Estonia. Basically, you spend two nights on the cruise while it's moving and you have one full day at your destination. The best part: it's pretty damn cheap. We had a cabin for four persons and paid about 35 euros each. That included two nights and breakfast on board.

I have to say I'm really glad I could experience a small piece of life on a ship this way because I don't think living on this for more than a few days would be fun for me. Even though this ship was massive, I know it's not the same as those really luxurious cruiseships where you would spend weeks on board. We were on the Victoria I and it's pretty impressive to be honest. It had 8 floors, several restaurants, two clubs, stores, etc. I felt kind of fancy.

This also means I got to spend a day in Talinn, Estonia. Another country to add to my list as well! I didn't really know what to expect because I've never even heard of anyone visiting Talinn or even Estonia but wow, what an incredibly beautiful city. We spent almost all of our time in the old part of town, it looked quite medieval. Small cobblestone streets, towers and churches everywhere. There's even a piece of the wall left. (I had all kinds of game of thrones quotes in my head.) I'll leave you with a few more pictures, you can decide for yourself. Have you ever taken a cruise? Did you ever think of visiting Estonia?

June 02, 2015

A little story about karma (and Ryanair)

If you follow the news, you will have heard about the electricity default in Belgium which led to a whole bunch of flights being delayed and cancelled. On this particular day, I was supposed to leave Stockholm and go back home (flying into Charleroi). I was travelling by myself to visit a friend and I basically spent all of my money in Stockholm.

Back to this particular day. I arrived in the airport in Stockholm, not even knowing about any problems. Eventually, we were still at the gate when the plane was supposed to have left already. One of the staff members told us that the flight was cancelled, no further information. I didn't worry too much about it. I've been on more than 10 flights in the last year and I'm kind of used to weird announcements and airports by now.

A lot of the people were freaking out though, especially because there was a school on a fieldtrip with 40 children supposed to get on that plane. We were told to visit the servicedesk. Ofcourse, every single person on the plane had to go there and there were only 4 people that could help us. By the time it was my turn, it was pretty clear that nobody would be going to Belgium that day. The next flight to Belgium was two days later but it was already fully booked. People needed to get home so Ryanair decided to make other arrangements as well. I got a plane to Bremen, Germany and there would be a bus to take me from there to Brussels. This flight left the following day so in the mean time I (and a lot of other people) got a free night in a luxurious hotel with a spa, dinner and breakfast.

I made my way back to the airport the next day and walked over to the service desk. They had some bad news. They overbooked the flight to Bremen. They told us they would do everything they could to get us on that flight but we had to prepare for the worst case scenario. If this flight wouldn't go through, we had to get on a plane to Italy, then take another plane from Italy to Germany and then take another bus again. We hoped for the best and went to the gate anyway. They kept us waiting untill literally one minute before take-off and finally everyone could get on the plane, except me. Why? Because I was standby number 6 and there were only 5 seats left.. I have to admit, I was starting to get a little worried. My booked flight was on Wednesday and I wouldn't be able to get home untill Saturday. Also, I didn't have any money left and I would have to spend a night and a whole day in Italy.

When I called my mother, I had to cry maybe a little bit. The people from the servicedesk were apologizing the whole time but I knew they couldn't do anything about it. I told them I wasn't mad at them, I was just crying because I felt a little helpless. They left me alone for a bit and I could hear them making arrangements. One of the women came to tell me that they might be able to get me on the flight to Brussels the following day. It wasn't completely certain though, so they couldn't promise anything. I thanked them for helping me and told them again that I knew they were just doing their jobs the best they could. I mentioned before that I didn't really have any money for the Italy route and they arranged another free night in the hotel and even a taxiride to the hotel and back to the airport again in the morning. I left the airport feeling kind of uncertain because I didn't have an actual ticket, only a "we'll do our best" but at least I was glad I wouldn't be spending any money.

And now to the karma part of this story. I got picked up by the airport by a really friendly taxidriver who told me all about his passion for World of Warcraft. He even suggested to buy me a new subscription to the game (yes, I played it before) so I could play sometime with him and his wife. This conversation cheered me up quite a bit. I decided to spend the last of my money on a bikini so I could at least make use of the spa facilities in the hotel. Right before I was going to go to the pool, I got a call from the reception that I had two visitors. I went downstairs and the two women from the airport were there! They told me that I had been so friendly even though I had such bad luck and got left behind. And they brought me a kind of carepackage, full of candy, cookies, fruit and drinks. They both gave me a hug, wished me luck for next day (they told me they were pretty sure I could go on the flight) and basically they made my day. I don't think I've ever experienced strangers doing something so nice.

So, to the two incredible ladies from the airport: thank you so much. You made my day. I'll do my best to make someone else smile in return. And to Ryanair: you are not as bad as everyone thinks. Thank you for paying everything and basically give me a spaday.

April 24, 2015

Australia in a little video

Throughout my six months in Australia, I tried to film the most impressive views and moments. Obviously, I forgot a ton and you'll see only a tiny bit of everything I experienced but it still gives you a pretty good idea of my trip.

I filmed everything with my iphone in a Lifeproof Nuud case (which I was really happy with by the way) so it isn't the best quality. I am pretty happy with how it turned out though. If you didn't know, I'm back home now and I've watched this video several times each day. I hope you'll like it as well!

April 20, 2015

Inked: world map

I didn't want to leave Australia without getting a permanent souvenir and what better than get a typical white girl tattoo?

What? A worldmap with Europe in the middle, since that's the version I grew up with.

Who? I got it at the Foo Dog studio in Cairns, QLD, Australia and it was done by Jake Hall.

Where? My right calf.

Why? I wanted something that represented my love for travelling. Not only my trip to Australia, but everything. I feel like nothing can beat a good old worldmap tattoo. The spot was kind of an in the moment decision but I'm quite happy with it. It's not too big and it's easy to hide (if necessary) as well.

Tell me about your tattoos or if you want to get one!

April 15, 2015

Bungeejump in Cairns

It has been on my bucketlist for quite a while and about a week ago, I finally had the perfect opportunity. I was ready to leave Cairns and start travelling again so what better way to say goodbye than doing something fun and exciting? I asked a friend to join me and got on my way to the AJ Hackett bungeejump site in Cairns.

I had to climb a hell of a lot of stairs and then I had to wait on the platform untill it was my go. I saw two people jumping before me and it seemed so much fun! Even though it was 'only' from 50m, it seems pretty freaking high when you're standing at the edge, ready to jump. I finally made the plunge (actually, I pretty much fell/got pushed off instead of jumped) and it was one of the most exciting feelings ever! The amount of adrenaline you experience is astounding.

Before and after my jump (yes, I got 'dipped' in the water)

I'm really happy I made it happen and I can't wait to do one from a little higher. How amazing would it be to do the highest bungeejump in the world? Right now, the hightest one is the one in Macau which is 233 metres. Would you do it? Have you already done a bungeejump?