Results tagged “Stress” from Europe 2016

Last night mum stayed up late (11pm) reading and I had super restless itchy legs, so didn't get to sleep for ages :(:(:( Consequently woke up tired and grumpy. Then I was looking at the maps again and got depressed all over again at the really bad seat rotation scheme that doesn't alternate sides of the coach. Pissed off with the world and didn't want to be sociable at breakfast. In fact I was so upset I sat down looking at my food wondering if I'd even be able to stomach it.

*sigh*

Left a bit after 8am.

Once again, people with the awesome window seats on the right side of the coach slept most of the morning. Seriously why would you even bother coming on a trip like this if you're just going to sleep the whole way through it??? The only advantage of them sleeping was that they didn't take up half the window trying to take their own photos. There was one point where there was an awesome view to the left, and some other points later in the day I was able to lean across people to get some nice photos on the right.

We also took a ferry ride across one of the fjords because there's no road.

Lunch was at the lovely fjord-side town of Fauske. We had leftover chicken from last night's meal, and an icecream. The sun had also well and truly come out, so was feeling a lot better.

After lunch we left the fjords for a bit and headed into the hills, and I think most of the coach snoozed, including me.

On the way back south over the Arctic circle we stopped at the visitor's centre there for a break and we saw the little movie they had which was quite informative.  Of course the Arctic circle isn't there anymore, it's wandered north (at 14 metres per year) so is now a ways north of the current visitor's centre.  But it was still cool anyway.

Continued down and past more fjords and mountains, although not as spectacular. Watched a short film with Joanna Lumley about her trip to the Arctic to see the northern lights.

Followed a truck over a long detour which slowed us down quite a bit - didn't get to the hotel til nearly 7pm. The room is nice enough and has a lovely view of the mountain next door, but it's *hot* :( Thermostat is as low as it will go but the head from the minibar fridge is winning out. Not going to be using the doona again tonight :(

I was in a tshirt all day today. I did put my coat on for the ferry ride. But even in the snow at the arctic circle I was just in my tshirt. Silly really.

Dinner was in the hotel - buffet style. Pretty average meal really, but dessert was nice enough. A bunch of them were going to go for a walk after dinner, and I'd have loved to have gone, especially as we've done literally no exercise all day, but that would add another hour to going to bed time and I'm exhausted.

Slept reasonably well again last night. Taking the doona out of its cover certainly does seem to work. I just have this weird mental block against doing it, because that's not How Things Should Be Done.

Decent breakfast again. 7:30 out the door.

Long driving day today. Past lots of fjords.

But.

The seat rotation has put us on the wrong side of the coach to see them. As we're driving south, all the fjords are on the right, and we're on the left of the coach pretty much until the end of the trip. So this sux epically.

But what's worse is that the lucky people on the right side of the coach are WASTING IT!!!! We're in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and many of the people with the right side window seats were sleeping or reading or playing on their tablets. Why even bother doing this tour people?? If these people don't care about looking at the scenery they should swap with people that do (read: me). As it was I was hanging over people trying to see out the windows for the morning and get photos where possible. It was the most frustrating and then depressing morning so far. I. Hate. People. A lot.

Had a photo stop in Gildetun up on the side of a moutnain, a morning pitstop in Storslett and a lunch pitstop in Nordkjosbotn.

After that the weather closed in and made visibility pretty poor, and we were going over the mountains not next to the fjords so I ended up having a bit of a snooze.

Had a toilet pitstop in Bjerkvik.

Late in the afternoon we ended up back on the border in Riksgransen in Sweden to take beautiful train trip down from the border along one of the fjords and into Narvik. Very pretty, although it was very grey and dreary. Can see how it would be even more spectacular on a good day. At least I got a good window seat for it.

In Narvik the coach disappeared to the service entrance to unload our bags, so we gave up on the idea of bringing our own bags up. Went up the 16th floor to get some photos, then went for a wander to find some dinner. Ended up at the Italian restaurant with another couple which was nice, but the serving sizes were *huge*! Oops. I just keep getting fatter and fatter....

So even though the room was the coolest, most comfortable room of the trip, the thick warm doonas meant overheating anyway. So that and all the lights from hopeless blinds meant I didn't sleep all that well. Did I mention we didn't get to bed til after 1am? And I had restless legs so couldn't get to sleep for ages? Although I didn't feel as tired today as I felt yesterday. Go figure. Probably because we had a fairly late start so slept in til about 7am.

Breakfast options were fairly limited. No bacon again! *gasp* Ended up having quite a lot of potato, so a very "carby" breakfast.

Then blogged yesterday from the hotel lobby (only hotel so far on this particular trip that we've not had wifi in the rooms).

Left around 10:30am. Had a couple of small photo stops which was nice - one for the town of Honningsvag, although the light was pretty bad, and one for the fjord, but that one had some reindeer just there which made the stop worthwhile, as it wasn't really a good place for a photo. Turns out the photo stops were just fillers to take up time - because otherwise we'd have been too early to the tiny restaurant we went to for lunch - which had another tour bus there and so we timed it to get there just after they left.  I just had an ice cream for lunch, as I felt like I'd just had breakfast.

Drove onto Alta and to the hotel, around 3pm. Went and found the laundry and thought we'd have a go at doing some washing.

Sigh.

The machine was a very complicated Bosch with way too many cycles all labelled in Norwegian, with no english instructions. Found one cycle that said it would take 43 minutes. It took nearly an hour, and even then didn't spin the clothes very dry. So then into the drier. Another Bosch with far too many options. Whatever happened to two dials on a drier: temperature and timer ?? Why so damned complicated?? After forty minutes we went back and the clothes weren't dry at all. Mum went back again later, fiddled, went to reception to ask for help, found out the drying tray was full of water, tried again, and after probably two an a half hours since we started, gave up and brought all the washing back to the room to try it here.

By this time of course it's 6:30 pm and all I've had to eat since breakfast is an ice cream so I was feeling pretty miserable. So we went out for dinner - just across the way to a little shopping mall. Found a little pizza place and shared a small pizza.

Feel like a big fat blob. Didn't do *any* exercise today (other than a few walks up and down three or four flights of stairs on account of the elevators in the hotel being out of service). It certainly hasn't helped that's it raining here (guess we won't be seeing the midnight sun tonight!), and we're not really anywhere near the fjord anyway, and all the dramas with the washing). At least the blinds look to be good shut out blinds, so hopefully we'll get some sleep. 

The hotel we had last night had an even more open bathroom door. This one you could into the toilet as well as the shower with a couple of clear breaks in the frosted glass. Weird. Also no plugs for the sink to do washing, *but* they do have a free guest laundry, which we used this morning before breakfast (thanks mum!).

Sleep was a bit broken last night. Aircon got it relatively cool, but still overheated with the doona on. I think I might pull the doona out of its cover tonight.

Breakfast choices were a little limited this morning, but still had mostly my usual breakfast (which is getting smaller by the day).

Headed out at 8am. Had a pitstop midmorning, and continued onto Oulu for lunch. We had subway for lunch (I haven't had subway in a month!) and then wandered around the foreshore area looking at all the cute buildings.

Sadly I've lost my mini usb cable :(:(:(:(:( It must have either fallen out at the hotel at some point overnight (maybe at dinner, or breakfast, or in the room), or when pulling the camera out during our stop in Oulu. I'm pretty sad about it too, because that was the cable that I got with my Sony DSC-F828 camera in 2004, and it's been in that camera bag that entire time.

So the GPS was complaining about low battery for a chunk of the afternoon and I couldn't charge it. But it hung in there til we got to Rovaniemi. I checked at the hotel to see if they had any in lost property but they didn't have any. So headed out into the rainy streets to find somewhere to buy one. Tried a couple of places without any luck, but found one in Clas Ohlson. 10 Euros :(:(:( Also super sad-making because I have like ten of the damned things at home but had to spend $15 on a new one :(:(:(:(:(

Dinner tonight was in the hotel restaurant. Salad for entree was nice enough. Mains was meant to be chicken with vegetables, but was actually chicken, fries and huge amounts of bbq sauce. The chicken was lovely but we were wondering what happened to the veggies. Dessert was a nice piece of chocolate cake.

So the hotel we had in Helsinki had these weird bathroom walls that were just glass with a bit of paint on them which plenty of see through spaces to see in from the outside. Managed to convince the thermostat to go down to about 19C (not sure that it actually did) so slept relatively well. In fact we had an early night (21:30) and slept through til 6:30!

Breakfast didn't start til 7am though, and they wanted to leave at 8am, so it was a very rushed breakfast for us (the room was pretty chaotic too, but we went to a second room which was a lot quieter).

Then it was driving driving driving north out of Helsinki.

We had a morning pitstop. I got frustrated with the people sitting in front of us (and will be for the entire trip) who just fuss around when the coach stops and block everyone else getting off the coach. Even the dude's wife was like "stand aside to let people out" but he didn't care :( I hate people.

More driving. Finland is like 74% forest so that's pretty much all we saw all day. Mostly young growth by the look of it as timber is Finland's primary industry.

After the first pitstop they put on some Sibelius. The first track being Finlandia. Except our tour guide will. not. shut. up. He talked for about 80 of the 90 minutes of the first leg this morning and as soon as Finlandia came on after the pitstop he talked just about all the way through it. Sad times.

Lunch was at a similar roadside combo of supermarket and cafeteria.

When we got to Kuopio in the afternoon we went up the tower overlooking the lakes and the town. I couldn't be stuffed waiting in the huge queue for the lifts, so walked up the steps! All 380 or so of them (mum counted)!

Drove into town and to the hotel. We actually got a room with a view of the town square which is pretty cool! And our room is 451.. how cool is that?! ;)

Dumped our stuff, accosted the bellboy and took our own bags up to our rooms, then went for a wander around the town. Lovely weather and we walked all the way down to the lake and back.

Tried to get onto the internet but my laptop refuses to connect to the wifi. The phones connect just fine though. Go figure. Also, turns out this hotel (and apparently the next one) has a free guest laundry. Maybe that's a thing in Finland. Good to know.

Since we couldn't listen to Finlandia on the coach, I found a beautiful video on YouTube (on my phone since the laptop won't connect - sad times) with Finnish landscapes and animals - just lovely.

Dinner was in the steakhouse downstairs in the hotel. Entree was a delicious vegetable soup (mostly tomato). Mains was "crispy beef brisket" whih was just amazing. So tender and tasty. Dessert was a nice enough pannacotta.

I've had something under my left upper eyelid since this afternoon and it's super frustrating :(:(:(  edit: managed to get rid of it before bed.

Slept reasonably well on the ferry. It was super calm so could barely feel the ship moving at all. Except we didn't close the blinds so could see a red glow on the horizon at 2am, and it was super sunny at 4am. Which is when we woke up. Whoops.

Breakfast was more chaos but otherwise pretty good.

Arrived at Helsinki at 10am and disembarked quite easily.

We had a local guide did a bit of a tour of Helsinki, driving around and seeing quite a bit.

We had a short photo stop at the Olympic stadium from 1952.

Then down to the Sebalius monument. Which was quite pretty in the morning sun.

Except. Could not get a clear photo of it. An Indian tour group turned up at the same time and they can't just take photos of things, every single one of them needs to have multiple photos of themselves taken. Which means I couldn't get a photo without annoying people in it. I was fuming by the time we had to leave.

Next stop was the Rock Church, which is a pretty cool church they built into a granite hill and put a roof over the top.

Continued driving around for a little while longer before being dumped in square next to the Lutheran cathedral and told to entertain ourselves for an hour and a half. hrmm. So mum and I went into the Lutheran cathedral, wandered through the waterside markets, and went into the orthodox church before meeting back at the square.

Got taken to the hotel next where we dumped out stuff and I checked out how the local public transport system worked. Decided to go back to the Sebalius monument by bus. Found the little kiosk that sells tickets and got ourselves a two hour ticket for EUR 4.30. Got the bus with no problems.

We had the monument almost to ourselves for a little while and it's quite photogenic. Then another couple of tour groups turned up so we got out of there.

Walked over to the trams and caught one back into town.

Walked around the foreshore a bit, taking photos of the old sailing ships, and then we watched the ferry leave back to Stockholm.

Took another tram up to Central to see the station, then another tram to near our hotel. So three trams and a bus - pretty good value for our two hour ticket!

At the hotel we dumped more stuff then headed out for dinner. Found a Japanese restaurant and had some very nice teriyaki salmon. Then back to the hotel where mum went and used the internet and I reorganised the suitcase and general got myself feeling more in control.

Last night we set the room thermostat to 5C. It barely got cooler than ambient temperature. And couldn't open the window either.

Breakfast had a bigger selection of food, on account of being a much bigger hotel. They had potato and mushrooms which was nice.

Hopped on the 7:36 #635 bus to the terminals (it was super packed :( ).

Got to terminal 2 and there was a Subway (I really felt like Subway for dinner last night but we didn't find it - doh!).

Used the machines to check out suitcases through and that worked pretty well. Went through security, where they got me to turn the camera on and take a photo to make sure it really was a camera. And got a tarmac tour to get to the plane.

The flight was on a CRJ-900 which I've never been on before. Much like a 717. And if I'd known that I would have tried for a seat much further forward in front of the wing. But it was ok because the engines are further back. Except the windows were full of condensation which frosted up and made photographs pretty terrible. No snackages on the plane (unless you buy them) so just had some water. The south of Germany was all cloudy, but it cleared up as we went further north. Flew over the Malmo bridge which was super cool :)

Got to Copenhagen but our bags didn't come up the appointed carousel. And we weren't the only ones missing bags. But they finally finally came up - they must have lost a trolley along the way somewhere. Got some cash out, then waited for our transfer to the hotel from our tour group.

We got a 15th floor room, but sadly facing away from the city. No aircon to speak of either. But the window opens so hopefully it'll cool down overnight.

When we got here I needed to grab something light for lunch. Except I've said before, Copenhagen is *huge*, and it took a full half an hour to walk from our hotel to somewhere with light food options. After walking up and down a pedestrian section near the town hall I gave up and chose the Scottish Restaurant, because you can get small meals there (I just had some fries with mayo).

By the time I got back to the hotel, two hours had passed :(:( So much for a quiet afternoon catching up on blogging, backing up photos etc. Only got an hour before we had to head down for the tour starting meeting and dinner.

Dinner was ok - a bit of a buffet, so could regulate what we ate a bit better. They also included a couple of drinks, which may be the last I have on this trip on account of the price of everything here.

After dinner we headed out again - up to Tivoli Gardens. This was originally on the itinerary for this tour, but in recent week wasn't on the itinerary for the tour on their website. So I was a bit annoyed that we'd paid to go see and wouldn't get to (it's ~20AUD just to get in). So that was pretty good that we did in fact get to go in. Had a lovely wander through the park. Wanted to go on some rides but it was all too complicated with bags and stuff and not really having enough time. Even got some freshly made fairy floss which you can't get in Australia anymore, you can only get packed stuff. So that was all very nice and it was all very pretty as the lights came on.

Except.

We got back to the entrance one minute late (on account of *hoards* of people coming in the gates) and there was *noone* there. So we thought we'd misunderstood the meeting place. Mum stayed there while I went to the other place I thought maybe we should have been meeting. Twice. But no. They'd all fricken gone off without us. So now we're going to have a reputation with the rest of the tour (forty fricken people) as being people to be late and hold everyone up. Completely pissed off about it all.

And it's late.

Woke up 5am. But I was stressing about getting washing done and having breakfast before getting into town by 9:15am. So I wasn't getting back to sleep.

So we got up and headed down to the laundromat. Except they must have forgotten to turn the alarm off because this siren kept going off. I was super tired and hungry and the loud noise made my brain explode. We don't think we managed to get any detergent into the machine. Sigh.

Took the dried washing back to the hotel, had breakfast, but I was still super tired and grumpy. Finished getting ready and checked out, leaving the bags and the car at the hotel.

Then walked into town. We got to the Festspielhaus at 9:30, which does indeed tour the Felsenreitschule.

Except.

They don't allow photos. At least at the moment because they're setup for some festival which starts tomorrow. Well I wasn't going to pay 7 Euro to not be able to take photos, especially when it would have taken up an hour of perfectly good sunlight. Maybe next time.

And that's another thing. The damned weather forecasts are completely useless. They predicted rain for today, but it didn't come until much later in the day, and even then not much while we were still there.

So we walked up behind the festspielhaus and over the ridge to the other side. Walked along Nonnberger Hauptstrasse to find where they all had the carriage ride. Then all the way up to Nonnberg abbey. Went into the church this time which I didn't do last time.

Then back down into the old town to all the platzes where various bits of the movie were filmed, and the Mozartsteg.

Finally walked up to Kaputziner Closter to check out the view back to the old town.

Came back down and went to a place where I'd noticed earlier they sold Salzburger Nockerl, which mum had never heard of. So that was lunch (along with some cream of asparagus soup).

Went back to the hotel to pick up our bags, then headed back to Munich.

But with all the roadworks and just general traffic, the trip took about four hours :(:(:(

By the time we'd checked into the hotel, gotten petrol for the car, returned the car, saw about checking into our flight tomorrow and finding something to eat it was after 9pm :(:( So much for an early night :(:(:( Fortunately I didn't manage to bingle the car, so that was a huge relief. Driving on the wrong side of the road is super stressful! Who knew!

The checkin process was super painful. Terminal 2 at Munich airport only has checkin counters for Lufthansa. And its partner airlines in the fine print. So that was a little confusing. So we went to try checking in with the machines, but it both of our names up incorrectly, then refused to let us checkin. None of the human-operated counters showed general checkins, it was all just "bag drop" stuff. We asked the local Lufthansa help and she just said we just had to get in line with the bag drop queue. Really not a very user-friendly process.

By the time we got everything sorted and caught a bus back to the hotel, it was 9:20pm :(

Managed to cool the room down a little bit last night by having the balcony door open. But I didn't like the idea of leaving it open overnight, and the aircon was hopeless, so ended up waking up hot :(

Went into Augsburg first up. Met up with a local guide and went on a walking tour of the city. Had an interesting walk through the Fuggerei settlement, then looked at various buildings, and finished up at St Anna church, where Luther stayed for a while in the cloisters.

Then we got given some free time, so went up the tower in one of the churches, then had a look at the shiny "Goldsaad" - gold room in the Rathaus. Had a bite to eat from maccas (because it was at our meeting place and I knew I could get a small serving of food).

Then we headed to Dachau. Very sad place. Especially the cremetoria. Our guide, Ute, was born in 1938 and had stories to tell about her childhood which was pretty cool.

And finally onto Munich. Our hotel is in the middle of an industrial area, so there's nothing of any interest around. We walked into our room and the first thing I said was "this room stinks". Even though it says it's a non-smoking room on the door, there's an ash tray and matches in the room. We opened the window up wide and the door as well to get some air through which has helped. Others weren't so lucky - they got actual smoking rooms. We were all not very happy at all. And to rub salt into the wounds, they charge ten euros a day for the wifi!!!! Which I flat out refuse to pay given our awful experiences so far. It's worse that we're here for two nights right when I need it for organising the next part of our trip (although for the most part that's mostly organised so not the end of the world). But seriously, what hotel in Germany in 2016 doesn't have free wifi? I think this calls for an uncomplimentary review on TripAdvisor. I went down to reception to start asking questions (like, how can I get into the city? where's the nearest station?). Then moved onto where's the nearest laundromat, which of course he couldn't answer, so I said can we look one up, because I have no resources, to which he said, oh there's a business centre computer I could use. I was hoping for some wifi, but whatevs. Decided it was entirely too difficult to get to a laundromat from here (being in the middle of nowhere and all) so gave up on that idea.

Had dinner in the restaurant downstairs. Ok but very salty. Then back up here to find the desk doesn't have any spare power points. You have to disconnect either the lamp or the tv to get power. So after being spoilt by generally good hotels with all the sorts of services you'd expect, this hotel really ended this particular tour very badly.

Why do Europeans insist on everything being so damned hot?? Last night I had no doona at all, and air conditioning on max cold, all night, and I *still* woke up at 4am feeling hot and miserable. Just ridiculous. And the "desk" for working on has a glass surface, so is completely useless with a mouse, so have been using the bench under the tv, but it has a shelf right at knee height which I've banged into a couple of times already. Grumpy making hotel.

So after waking up at 4am hot, I then started stressing about today. So didn't get much more sleep.

The hotel breakfast was pretty average. The rosti were cold and disgusting, as were the crepes and the waffles. Blerf.

Anyways, so got ourselves ready and headed down to the Key Tours ticket office just down the road from out hotel. After having read so many negative reviews, I was very dubious about going with them. But they assured us that if the lift was closed we'd at least get a refund for that.

So out we headed to Chamonix. Took about an hour and a quarter to get there, although we had to queue for about forty minutes to get up the cable car to the top.

But oh my. It was so good. We had the perfectest day you could hope for - clear blue skies and not much wind. I might have gone a little crazy taking photos of the mountains!  And snow!  We also managed to get good positions on all four cable car rides.

After we got back down (several hours later!) we had a leisurely walk through the town of Chamonix, then stopped at a place just opposite the meeting place at the station for a drink/snack. They said they could do a cheese platter, so we asked for *small*, but ended up with a lot more food than we wanted :(

At 5pm it was back on the coach and back to Geneva.

And the fountain was fountaining.  It looks exactly like ours.

So all up a pretty awesome day. Yes it was expensive, but I really couldn't find any suitable alternatives on such short notice. It turned out to be super convenient and hassle free.

Got back to the hotel with just enough time to do my hair before heading out.

Dinner was at La Nasse, but we really weren't hungry. Entree was a salad, mains was lasagna. But after seeing the serving size of the dishes they brought out for the other tables, we asked them to half the sizes for our table. Even then I struggled to get through it. Couldn't even face dessert (a fruit tart). The lasagna was pretty nice, but the restaurant service (at least from the waiter we had) was very average. Was not impressed.

Back to the hotel to try and catch up.

Slept til 6am this morning. Had to have the window open all night though so we wouldn't overheat as much.

Breakfast we were quite stressed because mum had lost her jacket somewhere and we couldn't find it and noone had handed it into reception. But after breakfast we asked reception again and this time they had it. So that was a relief.

On the road at 9am, stopped at a reststop for morning tea.

Then onto Geneva. We got to the city at lunch time and got dumped and told to entertain ourselves for an hour. So Glenda and Mum and I went for a walk along the waterfront. As you do. Lunch was ice cream. Sadly the fountain wasn't going as it was too windy :(

After lunch went on a very meandering tour of Geneva by coach, then a very meandering tour of the old town by foot. Apart from the cemetary where John Calvin is said to be buried, the cathedral, and the Reformation Monument I don't remember much else.

Then back to the hotel to try and figure out what we're going to do tomorrow.

Dinner was at the Edelweiss restaurant nearby. Entree was molten cheese, potato, onions and gherkins - cheeeese! Mains was salmon (nicer than the salmon we had the other night). Dessert was strudel (I was too full to really enjoy it).

So I'd figured out a basic plan of attack for tomorrow (Gruyeres) when someone said we should do Chamonix. Except I hadn't done any research for that had I?? So then it was back to the hotel to waste an hour of my life trying to figure it out. It was ten o'clock before I could even start my evening routine which means a super late night, on top of an early morning tomorrow. Tired and grumpy. And if we do go to Chamonix it'll be on a overpriced tour bus that doesn't get good reviews on TripAdvisor. *sigh* But how else are you supposed to get there? Trains are extremelly complicated, as is driving yourself. I haven't even found a coach/bus service that goes from Geneva to Chamonix, and I'm too tired now to even think about it. *sigh*