Sochi 2014

So I’m currently sat here watching the Winter Olympics. This thing is insane! Firstly the ice hockey. Who saw a game of hockey and thought ‘you know what this game needs? A really slippy surface. Let’s do this on ice!’

And then there’s speed skating. Like what?! Probably one of the weirdest sights you’ll see in all the sports. Men dressed in really tight Lycra skating around really fast with their hands behind their backs. They just look so casual, holding the same position my grandad does when he wanders down the the newsagents in the morning. Until the corners where they’re practically skimming the floor and somehow managing to overtake!

But now, my personal favourite, freestyle skiing. Seriously, if you haven’t seen this you really should. You’ll be amazed trust me. Basically it’s skiing down a hill over what I can only describe as snow speed bumps and throwing in a spectacular jump every now and then. Kind of reminds me the when I used to slide down the stairs on my bum as a child (and still now, let’s not lie). If you’ve seen it then you’ll know what I mean …

Hannah

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German Bears and Rubber Ducks – Part 2

From one capital city to another. If you’ve read my first post about my summer holiday then you’ll know that I went to Germany for 10 days this August.

I believe we’d only got to Day 3, so this will be a (really rather long) rundown of Day 4-10.

Day 4

Nikolaiviertel, Berlin. Statue of George slaying the dragon.

Nikolaiviertel, Berlin. Statue of George slaying the dragon.

In Germany, they have this incredible shop full of hundreds of different chocolate combinations. Hence why there is a picture of me next, what I can only assume, are giant chocolate bar replicas.

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Remainders of the Berlin Wall.

Day 5

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At the station, before getting on a train to Munich.

After our final day of sightseeing, the next morning we headed to main station in Berlin, to catch our train to Munich. Over the course of the 6 hour train journey (which we were very nearly late for because the timetable said it left 20 minutes later than it did) I finished An Abundance of Katherines and managed to get some of my summer work from college done. After arriving in Munich, we headed straight to the hotel and out for dinner.

Day 6

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On our first day in Munich we visited the famous Hofbräuhaus which is one of Munich’s oldest bear halls, founded in 1589. My mum and I obviously didn’t have one of their massive 1 litre house beers, but did get to enjoy our soft drinks in beer steins. We also got to meet some of the locals – well some of the slightly tipsy locals shall we say. A German man came to sit next to us on one of the long tables in the beer hall and introduced himself as Pete (very disappointingly un-German). He then continued to talk to us for the next half an hour, playing the game “Guess the English celebrity I’m thinking of” with my parents whilst I got intensely stuck into reading the guide-book – did you know they repainted the roof in 1972?

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On to another trip to Starbucks, no name on my cup at all this time.

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Day 7

We woke up to pouring rain so it was time for Science Museum number 2! No windmills this time, but there was a planetarium. So almost the same… After that we went to the German version of Pizza Hut where they put little Pizza Hut shaped chocolates on our desserts which I found amazing.

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Day 8

You may have heard of Bayern Munich. Well the clue is in the name – their stadium is in Munich, so we went to visit. Not so much a fan of the football, my mum and I decided instead to take pictures of ourselves. We have no idea about this photo either.

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DSC_1359We then headed back into the centre and visited Olympiaturm which is at the Olympic park built for the 1972 Olympics. As you can see we climbed to the top at 955 ft.

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I was taking a photo of the Olympic Stadium and my dad thought it would be hilarious to step into the photo just as I was about to take it. This is the result of that…

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We spent the majority of the day walking around the park and enjoying the beautiful weather. Also, when we had gone back into the centre for dinner I noticed these incredibly creepy mannequins. Seriously…bleughh.

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Day 9

Day 9 took us on another train, to another country. After getting to the station at 9:30 we booked ourselves on a guided tour around Salzburg in Austria. There were 7 people on our tour including us – the other 4 were Americans from Chicago (I just wanted them to keep saying my name because I loved the way they called me ‘Kadie’ instead of Katie).  So we had a tour guide who directed us to our train which took roughly 2 hours to reach the centre of Salzburg.

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Like many other places now, this is a bridge across the river has loads of padlocks locked onto it with people’s names engraved on. Its a tradition that people will write their names on the padlock, lock it onto the bridge and throw the key away into the river below.

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After our tour, the guide gave us some free time to visit anywhere we wanted before catching the train back to Munich. She had told us about a shop that sells handpainted chicken eggs. Intrigued, we went to have a look. They have literally thousands of individually, and beautifully I might add, painted eggs so we bought one as a Christmas decoration.

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Day 10

Our final day of holiday was spent mopping up all the last things we wanted to see in Munich before flying back to Heathrow. I ingeniously named it ‘Moperation’ (a combination of operation and mopping up).  First stop was St. Peter’s Church tower where you can get a brilliant view of the whole city.

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Admittedly, I did take this with a zoom lens but this the Münchner Kindl who is the symbol of Munich.

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Lunch was much needed after our trek up to the top of the tower and around the city so we went to one of the parks that has a massive outdoor beer garden selling food as well as their famous beers. We opted for a stereo typically German meal as it was our last day.

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In the gardens they also have an artificial wave maker in the river that surfing experts are allowed to use. The river has a very strong current making it perfect.

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Then it was onto our last Starbucks of the holiday with a better version of my name than they’d managed to do in England on my cup.

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Now to solve the mystery of the Rubber Ducks part of the title…

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Katie