Berlin

Flights: Easyjet and RyanAir
Hotel : NH Berlin City West
Agency: last minute.com

We travelled to Berlin for a mini summer break with my wife. To be fair we were a bit apprehensive due to the scaremongering of some news outlets about racism in Germany. We were pleasantly surprised by the welcoming and friendly German people. Whenever we opened the map to try and find our way, there was a friendly person there to volunteer their services without being asked.

When it comes to public transport, Berlin runs on an honour system which means there are no ticket barriers and checkers when you exit the metro/overground trains. They occasionally have inspectors but that depends on your luck if you want to risk it. Any ticket you buy will work on trains/underground and buses for the stipulated time. Please be aware that public transport and tourism bus tours are different. Being a tourist does not excuse for travelling without a ticket (be sure to explore Karl Marx strabe).

We stayed at the NH Berlin City West which has big rooms but no air conditioning and I didn't like the pillows but they had good breakfast. It was very easy to get too from the airport as you catch a bus from the airport to Rudow (10mins) and from Rudow the metro or U Bahn as it is called will take you straight to Berliner strabe and the hotel is 2mins walk from that station.Brandenburg Gate

We bought a 24 hour yellow hop on hop off bus tour which was amazing and provided good commentary whilst taking you around the tourist attractions. It's really good as you can drop of at one site stroll around and take pics and continue.

The Brandenburg gate is the most popular attraction and is an awesome monument. It is also right next to the Jewish war memorial and the Reichstag so you get to knock out 3 attractions in one area. Bear in mind it's quite busy but getting a pic in the middle other tourists is part of the joy of travelling. A bottle of water her wil set you back €3 so bring your own bottle.The Berlin Wall

Walking long the remnants of the Berlin wall is quite surreal. It reminded me of the old Cold War movies of people escaping the east and so forth. There is a Jewish memorial as well here which gives a detailed picture and video history of the Germany during the Nazi regime and the atrocities that took place. Very poignant!!
Checkpoint Charlie

The old border post between east and west Germany. I still don't understand why it was U.S run! It's quite busy with tourists and to get a pic with the guard there will cost you €3.Marx and Engels Forum

A tribute to the greatest philosopher and thinker to ever live. This was the highlight of my trip as I am all for a fairer society.The cheap booze

Bear is cheap in Germany, and tried the local currywurst which was delicious with a pint. We had dinner a few nights at the Egger's Steakhaus which was 2 minute walk from the hotel. It was nice relaxing in the summer sunset after a long day of exploring Berlin. The food was fairly priced with very good portions.

All in all Berlin was very good. The weather was lovely and the people were friendly. A very good city destination and I highly recommend it. For more pics and comments please check my instagram

🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼

Advertisements

Rome 

  • Flight: Ryan Air
  • Hotel: Hotel Royal Court
  • lastminute.com

We visited Rome in late February and was pleasantly surprised at how warm it was. The flight was ok for Ryan Air and I have to say the hotel is one of the best I've stayed in for a while. The check in and service was tops.

Obviously the first stop was the colosseum, a magnificent amphitheater that reminds me of the movie Gladiator. We didn't do the internal tour as the queue was long and to be honest the touts were annoying. This doesn't however take away from the imposing structure and its historical significance.


We then walked to the Trevi Fountains which are a truly beautiful sight. The water was clear and i don't think words can do this majestic water structure any justice. This is about 15mins walk from the Colosseum.

 

The spanish steps are packed full of tourists just sitting. They give a great overview of Rome and have a nice relaxed atmosphere around them. This is where the packed lunches are eaten! Piazza Square is nice and there were a few street performers. The square isexpensive food wise and that's why the McDonald's nearby is always packed. 

We ate in a some very good restaurants but there is one called Varsi Bistrot near the Vatican that left a bitter taste in the mouth. I recommend you read reviews on TripAdvisor before deciding on where to eat.

Rome is beautiful good food and friendly people. Lots of entertainment and all the main attractions are within walking distance of each other so no need to use public transport. I strongly recommend the Vatican tour and to be prepared to spend the whole day in there. It's rally good.

A very good city destination. For me pics and story pics look on zim_travels instagram and David Mudzudzu on TripAdvisor 

🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼

Brussels 

  • Transport: Eurostar 
  • Hotel: kings hotel St Pancras 
  • Hotel: Husa President Brussels

Travelled to Brussels for my wife’s birthday! It was a short break and we stayed over at the kings Hotel in London as we had an early train out!

Brussels is quite small and I’m glad we figured out the tram and train system pretty quick! We stayed at the Husa President park hotel which is about 8mins walk from Gare Du Noord train station!

Husa President Hotel has a shuttle that takes you to Rogiers where you can walk down to Grand Place. It is like one long high street with plenty of shops and malls along the way.Grand place is the main tourist attraction and has plenty of tourists. Plenty of old beautiful buildings and with gold finishings. I’m disappointed as I did not have a read up of this square and it’s historical significance!

Above is the Everard t’Serclaes of you rub her apparently she will bring you luck! This statue is right at Grand square so no need to travel far. We went to see the Mannequin Piss but it was covered up because some students had created a new costume for it and was going to be unveiled at a special ceremony. This was quite disappointing as I remembered it from old Air Zimbabwe commercials when I was young and wasnted to see it.It was difficult to get around and see more with such a short time scale but we also went to see the European Parliament which was quite cool. They had a chunk of the old Berlin Wall too.

Food was quite expensive at the hotel so we chose to eat out. The square is a tourist trap so didn’t bother. We went to the African quarter called Matonge and had a treat there but I forgot the name of the restaurant. 

All in all it was a good trip but I have to say Brussels did not make much of an impression on me but it was a short stay. Eurostar was enjoyable as usual and Husa President is a very good hotel bar the food and drink prices. 

🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼

Malta

Flight: Easyjet                                              Hotel: Blue seas St Anton.                   Cost: £250 for 2 flight plus hotel.

Recently visited Malta as a birthday treat from the missus. It was a welcome change of weather from cold rainy UK to warm and sunny Bugibba, Malta! We used Easyjet and stayed at the Blue Sea St Anton in Bugibba!

The hotel is ok and we were upgraded into a studio apartment which was ok. There is a pool and the most unIrish bar I’ve ever seen called Molly’s! There are lots of elderly folk who use this hotel and most were pretty friendly! Be aware that this hotel also offers all inclusive deals which are very cheap and the price represents the hotel.

 The wifi only works in the lobby so you get to meet a lot of the other guests there catching up on email and FaceTime calls!

Bugibba is a tourist hotspot and there is a big expat community! The seafront is littered with bars and restaurants that offer an array of foods! On one night we ate at the Bad Bull restaurant in Bugibba square and everything was 5 star service! They are very generous with their portions, I had the rabbit stew whilst the missus had the rack of ribs! We both agreed it was one of the best meals we’ve had in a foreign country so far.

Bugibba seafront
On our first day we ate our lunch at  the Bugibba Bocci Kebab on the seafront! The food was ok and a decent service but it didnt give that authentic Maltese feeling.

The weather was very good but a lot of the water activities were closed as they termed it winter there so I couldn’t try the jet skiing which I really wanted!

  Valetta was really the highlight of the trip, the bus was €1.25 and took just under an hour from Bugibba! Once there we took the horse and carriage tour which cost €20. The guide was very good and gave us a detailed tour telling us the history of the sites we saw!

valleta bay
We didn’t get the chance to get into fort St Elmo which was built by the Turks in 1520. Apparently you need about 2 hours in there
 In Valletta we had lunch at Moos Turkish kebab and it was brilliant! For €8 it was huge and the service and atmosphere was relaxing and friendly, food and drink really cheap

All in all Malta was lovely and good break from the rain in England! Temperatures were between 20-22c in early March! Downside is we didn’t get the chance to visit St Julians. It’s a beautiful place and not too urban.
🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼

 

Amsterdam 

Transportation: Eurostar London to Brussels and Thalys train Brussels to Amsterdam.

Accommodation: StayOk hostels Zeeburg

I visited Amsterdam not expecting much but left in love and very impressed with this beautiful city! It was during the weekend of Amsterdam Sail and the canal and rivers were full of boats!

 This is a city that made me as a tourist feel at home, the people are friendly and helpful, the public transport system was easy to understand and the food and wide range selection of beers were a lovely added bonus!

  At first I was fascinated by the canals and then you realise that every 50 to 100 metres you come across one, it soon wears off but in the summer weather with all the boats going by it’s a beautiful sight! 

    
 I took the Blus Boat river cruise which has a very good narration of the history of Amsterdam and the landmarks that you pass it cost €16

    
   Well you can’t go to Amsterdam and not experience the cafés, being a liberal this has to be one of the best things I’ve seen, people smoking freely without fear of prosecution and it works well! You see all sorts of people, elderly, hippies, young, disabled in the cafés. The prices of the weed differ with grade, weight and type! Even though I’m not a smoker it was good to see and my mates had fun..

   
 A walk down the red light district was interesting, although it was packed with tourists, I was surprised to see groups of women and couples then realised that this is a tourist attraction. It’s right next to China town where we had a meal in one of the buffets that I enjoyed very much!

  
    
 The I AMSTERDAM monument is where every tourist probably wants to visit first, it’s right next to the Van Gogh museum and there is a pond and park with plenty of artistic  statues around! It’s hard to get a photo in on the Amsterdam sign.

   
   I really wanted to to go into Anne Franks house and museum but when we got there the queue was long, i advise to get there very early. For those who have read Anne’s diary the moment you see the house it becomes surreal. I really can’t describe the feeling.  

    
    

Heineken Brewery
    
bicycles bicycles bicycles
    
  The biggest danger to myself in Amsterdam was the bicycles, they are everywhere and it took me a while to get it into my head that you look out for cars and look out for bicycles! The many makes, types and shapes of the bicycles is also a sight to see.  

Rembrandt Museum
    
loved this little cinema, i didnt see any huge cinema chains
  
Royal Palace
 
I could go on about Amsterdam, I loved it, from the architecture, the canals, the bicycles, cafés and the general liberal attitude of the Dutch people! Like Paris it’s a tourist city so is packed with tourists but it works wonderfully 
Now my 2nd favourite city destination 

🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

Llanfendigaid Wales

Transport: Drive!

Accommodation: Llanfendigaid estate

Travelled to the Welsh country side! It was a good few days of walking through the Snowdonia national park and being watched by sheep!!!! Lots of sheep! 

 beautiful veiw of a loch in the valleys! From Hampshire it was a 4 hour drive on a Saturday afternoon to our lodge in Llanfendigaid! 

 Sunset on the Loch! Had to stop and take this on the road side! This is the heartland of the Welsh language which I just love hearing! It’s all they speak and the schools teach in Welsh which I loved to hear! 

 Mawddach trail is a beautiful scenic trail running along the estuary and the valley! 10 miles to and fro! We walked it an I was spent at the end! I suggest cycling it! 

  

  

  

 I spent 4 hours sitting on that bench, the weather was lovely and I got to do some writing! My own personal socialist manifesto! The view and serenity of this place is beyond description. 

  The lodge nestled in the Welsh valleys, I loved the log burning fire at night! Great for relaxing and reading after dinner, its self catering and isolated so needed a good stock of food, beer and wine! 

 This was the nearest train station and it’s a request stop so you need to wave hands at the driver for him to stop! This has to be one of the most scenic train rides! Travelled from Tonfanau to Harlech! Will upload train journey later! 

     Harlech castle 

  

  

I enjoyed the isolation and serenity of Snowdon national park and the surrounding areas! Some of the towns look like they are straight out of Midsummer murders. If you enjoy walking, cycling, camping or just want peace and serenity to gather your thoughts or do some writing, I would highly recommend this part of the Wales!

Outstanding and beauty 

Dublin Trip Review

  • Journey: London Gatwick to Dublin Airport Ireland
  • Mode of Transport: Aeroplane-Ryan Air
  • journey time: 2 hours
  • Dublin Transport: Luas (light railway system) buses and taxis
  • Accomodation: Bewleys hotel Dublin http://www.bewleyshotels.com2015-02-27 12.27.57St Stephens Gate Park
2015-02-27 12.26.17
The Luas

I visited Ireland on the weekend of the 6 nations rugby match between Ireland and England at the Aviva stadium in Dublin so it was a very busy weekend full of rugby fans. I stayed at Bewleys hotel just outside the city centre. It was a convenient hotel in that the Luas (light railway) has a station 2 minutes walk from the hotel. All in all a pleasant hotel, friendly staff and decent food. The thing is Ireland  is pretty much like the UK when it comes to architecture so it didnt really feel as though I was in a another country as such but I did admire the indigenous Gaelic Irish language.2015-02-27 14.32.22 First thing is first visit the Guinness factory and do the Guinness tour. Its a long tour but interesting tour detailing how Arthur Guinness founded the brewery and how he signed a 9000 year lease at £45 a year in 1759.2015-02-27 14.37.062015-02-27 14.52.37The picture above is the actual contract and lease that Arthur Guinness signed with Dublin city council. Although i enjoyed the atmosphere, story and history behind the Guinness empire, i found myself getting bored a bit through the whole thing. Couldn’t wait to get to the end and have that free pint at the end of the tour.2015-02-28 13.22.28The Wicklow Mountains are a beautiful sight, they remind me of the Eastern Highlands in Zimbabwe. Beautiful serene views that take your breathe away. The walk is very popular with hikers and mountain bikers and the beautiful Glendalough is nearby. There is not much i can say but i hope the photos i took do the place justice.2015-02-28 13.23.552015-02-28 13.33.042015-02-28 13.44.212015-02-28 14.24.472015-02-28 14.21.41And then there is the church buildings and the Legend of St Kevin who lived alone in this area studying the bible and living a hermits life. He then had a following and built a church and other structures here.2015-02-28 14.48.55This church/monastery was built in the 6th century founded by St Kevin2015-02-28 14.51.40This grave stone is from 750AD I think you can just about make that out2015-02-28 14.50.45Burial chamber full of headstones from centuries ago.2015-02-28 14.49.09The tower is where monks would retreat with their literature if there was an invasion and pour hot porridge down on anyone trying to climb up.It is 33 metres in height and stands in near perfect shape despite its construction starting in 900AD if I remember correctly. I enjoyed the Wicklow Way very much and i hope it is preserved as it is forever. It just makes you wonder and appreciate how man has evolved to what he is today but also left me questioning if it has all been good. Would i prefer to live on the banks of Glendalough live off the land, fishing hunting and without the day to day stresses of modern life……..? If you can, read up on St Kevin`s history. I found that very interesting.

On my last day i went to see the Newgrange monument. My interest in this was because of watching the 1st and 2nd series of Ancient aliens. It was snowing and blustery on the day so excuse the pics. During the winter solstice the sun perfectly aligns to lightup the chamber inside the monument.2015-03-02 15.30.22

It was built in the neolithic period an estimated 5000 years ago BC, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids. Why it was built and how humans at that time were able to carry out such an undertaking is incomprehensible. There Granite buolders and rocks used were taken from Wicklow mountains which are about 160km away. how did they transport such heavy materials? They found sea sand as well within the building materials but the sea is also a long distance away.2015-03-02 15.40.35

2015-03-02 16.08.49The inside is actually very tiny and you can only just about fit 5 people inside, you are not allowed to take photos of the inside but i managed to sneak one of the roof. For such a huge structural monument outside, the inside is tiny. There are various theories of why this was built. Some say it was a burial chamber, others say it was a sacrificial chamber but i believe it was a transportation chamber for aliens who once visited earth frequently during this era. (ancient aliens theory) I left Newgrange with more questions than answers about how and why this was built.

All in all Dublin was good, Bewleys Hotel was adequate and enjoyed the breakfasts and cheap Guinness. £60 return with RyanAir was a good deal and the Pound to Euro rate was pretty decent at the time too. Its similarity with Uk is its downside so i give it 2 stars

★★☆☆☆