Going on Vacation – When Everything Goes Wrong – Guest Entry by Miri – Part Two

If you haven’t read part one, check it out first:  Going on Vacation – When Everything Goes Wrong – Guest Entry by Miri – Part One

The Weather

The weather is the one thing no human can influence, so I couldn’t be mad about that at anyone. Weather is inherently unpredictable. When we got there, the sky was partially blue, partially cloudy, and it wasn’t hot, but it wasn’t cold, either. Perfectly acceptable weather for bathing, one may assume, but the issue we had was that there was a chilling, unforgivingly sharp wind that made you feel like you would freeze to death when you got out of the water if the sun wasn’t shining on you in full blast. Therefore, whenever there were clouds in the sky, swimming in the ocean was out of the question. One day, I still went ahead and swam in the ocean anyway, because the clouds in the sky were so few and the water looked so enticing, and wasn’t swimming in the ocean what I was there for in the first place? The thanks I got was a cold. Runny nose and sore throat that I still haven’t managed to shake. But that is nobody’s fault.

The Area

The area of Albena is divided into two kinds. Walking toward the southern end of the beach, there is nothing but hotel after hotel after hotel (it is a hotel city, after all), and after the one five-star hotel we saw, the hotels get shabbier and shabbier. It is kind of depressing. Walking toward the northern end of the beach, however, leads you into a completely different world. The supervised hotel beach areas come to an end, so you enter the unsupervised, natural beach. At some point a sign tells you that you are leaving Albena, but it doesn’t tell you where that leaves you, just that you are not in Albena anymore. It leaves you in a kind of zero zone, away from civilization. Since there are barely any humans around now, you hear nothing but the rushing of the waves. The nature here was undisturbed. My mother and I were suddenly surrounded by butterflies, almost stepped on a lizard, collected some seriously beautiful seashells, found the seagulls’ secret hangout spot and a small waterfall. Peaceful, idyllic, that was the kind of place where I could have stayed forever.

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Then we also made a trip to Nessebar, which is a gorgeous little peninsula in the southern corner of Bulgaria, and this was a truly wonderful place. Full of old churches, and so small you could not get lost even if you tried, it was just lovely. We ate the best food of the entire stay in Bulgaria in a restaurant directly by the ocean, on a veranda that gave us a view of the water with the sun’s rays dancing on the waves. The sky was blue, and the ocean was calm, and to round it off, we did a short trip around the coast on a small boat. In short, I loved it.

We visited Nessebar on Saturday, and on Sunday I already felt a little sniffly, yet I couldn’t help it—I still needed to go swim in the ocean. I got stung in the foot by a jellyfish, but it was one of the harmless kind, blue-purplish as they occur in large numbers in that area. At first, my foot burned quite uncomfortably, but soon the burning only returned sporadically, to give way to an annoying itchiness later on, and the next day everything was fine, so that didn’t spoil the rest of our stay. We left on Tuesday.

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The Worst Flight Ever

The transfer bus picked us up at 5:30 pm. Our flight from Varna was scheduled to depart at 8:40 pm. We arrived at the airport in Varna around 7, and after the check-in, which took quite a while because of the sheer mass of people in line, we still had half an hour left before boarding was set to begin at 8. Thus, we picked up some snacks and a bottle of water and settled in to wait. Now, 8 pm came and went, without any sign of progress. We just sat there and waited, not knowing what exactly was going on. 8:40 pm came and went, as well, and we hadn’t even boarded the plane. One guy who sat behind us at the gate was well-informed and told us the plane we were supposed to board had not even left Düsseldorf yet. At some point after we had been waiting for more than an hour, there finally was an announcement: our flight was delayed for two hours and twenty minutes and would now depart at 11 pm. In the end, we departed at 11:30. What had happened was that the plane had been supposed to depart from Düsseldorf at a certain time, but two undeclared suitcases caused a security breach, and subsequently everybody had to leave the already boarded plane and identify their luggage.

But all of that hardly mattered to me at this point. I was sickly, my head was hurting, so was my stomach, and I was dead tired by the time our plane finally left Varna airport. I was just glad we were finally in the air. I just wanted to go home. I was also very sorry because a friend of mine (who’d also been taking care of the cats in our absence) had promised to pick us up from the airport in Düsseldorf, but of course she’d been expecting us at 11 pm, not in the middle of the night. Additionally, it was unclear whether we would still be landing in Düsseldorf, because Düsseldorf airport only accepts arrivals until 11 pm. There are special exceptions to this rule, and I was desperately hoping we would be one of those.

About half an hour into the flight, the flight attendings asked if there was a doctor on board. Three people stood up and were led to the front of the plane. My mother and I couldn’t really see what was going on, but we did see that the physicians didn’t return to their seats. Some time later, the plane started dropping, and an announcement was made. There would be an unscheduled pitstop at Nuremberg airport because of a medical emergency.

At this point, I was close to tears. I was exhausted and tired and frustrated, and of course nobody can help it if there’s a medical emergency, but that was just the cherry on the damn cake. After everything, now we had to endure this, too; as I’d told my mom when we were still waiting at the airport, this vacation was jinxed. So we landed in Nuremberg, and we were told that it would just be a quick pitstop, 20 minutes, half an hour tops. I was now nauseous from the quick descent on top of everything else. I texted my friend the newest update, who responded with tons of laughing emojis and disbelief, which was sort of the adequate response to this horror of a trip. Her laughter inspired me to make light of the situation, as well, which helped a little. As it turned out, then, the plane’s brakes were too hot, so we would be staying in Nuremberg a bit longer so they could refuel the tank, because why not, I guess. Ultimately, we stayed there for over an hour.

Finally, then, the plane was up in the air again, and we were told that we would NOT be landing in Düsseldorf anymore, but we would be redirected to Cologne, from where we would be transferred to Düsseldorf airport via bus. Another thing that almost made me cry. So we landed in Cologne at about 2:30 am, and the people just couldn’t wait to get out of this cursed plane. Baggage claim took forever and ever because while my mother’s suitcase was one of the first to be sent down the conveyer belt, mine was one of the last ones, as it always is. A baggage claim curse just follows me around wherever I go. Then we had to run toward where we were told the busses waited for us, and I ended up dragging both suitcases behind me because my mother had to light a cigarette and I was done waiting, for anybody or anything.

The bus was a giant red double decker with a luggage trailer attached to it that looked way too small, so the guy who loaded it had to play real-life tetris to fit all our things in. I didn’t stick around to watch our suitcases get smushed, however; I dragged my mother behind me to find a seat. The bus left Cologne at 3:15 am. I dosed and fell asleep, drooling on myself and feeling no shame whatsoever when I realized; I think every occupant on that bus was beyond shame at that point. We arrived at Düsseldorf airport at 4 am, and I texted my friend to let her know where we were; she’d been waiting for us for over an hour, and after we’d pulled our dented suitcases out of the pile, she found us and took us home. I was abundantly grateful to her since I knew she had an appointment in the morning, and yet she’d gone out of her way to save us from having to take a train home, which probably would have finally made me cry for real.

Thus, we arrived at home at 5 o’clock in the morning, a measly five hours later than scheduled, and the vacation was over. Surprisingly, the only thing not to survive the tetris in the luggage trailer was my mother’s small make-up mirror, which was in shards. Everything else, even the delicate seashells I’d collected made it out intact. Maybe the broken mirror was the reason for our bad luck, only it worked in reverse; we had bad luck, and then the mirror broke. Who knows. I guess the lesson here is: if you go to Bulgaria, only book a five-star hotel, and even the worst times come to an end.

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Going on Vacation – When Everything Goes Wrong – Guest Entry by Miri – Part One

Hey guys, this is Miri. I recently went on a trip to Bulgaria with my mother, and what looked like a wonderful, relaxing trip to the ocean turned out more or less a complete failure. But let’s start at the beginning.

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How it began

January this year, my mother and I decided to go on vacation together. We’d flown to Egypt together back in 2012, and that turned out to be one of the most beautiful trips I’ve ever made. It started with a negative event, because originally my sister had booked the trip and wanted to go with my mother, but briefly before they were scheduled to leave, her then-boyfriend (now husband) had a motorcycle accident, so she stayed and I got to go on the trip in her stead.

Now. Egypt was a dream, but it was way too expensive for my mom and me. So was Spain. The travel agent we were corresponding with suggested Bulgaria, a place we had never considered before. She said that Albena is a hotel city, but that it has a beautiful beach, and that she had been at this particular hotel before and that it was up to standards. The hotel had four and a half stars, and the entire trip was really cheap, so we agreed. We picked September because the summer holidays would be over by then and off-season vacations are infinitely more comfortable (less people, lower price).

Cut to eight months later. About three weeks before our flight, we got a call from the travel agency, saying that our hotel had been overbooked and that we would be relocated to the hotel next door. I asked which consequences this would have, and we were promised that the only consequence would be that we would be sleeping in a different hotel with basically the same standards (half a star less), that we would be allowed to use all facilities of our original hotel (restaurants, pool area etc.), and that our new room would still have a balcony with ocean view. It still sounded like an acceptable arrangement, but really we didn’t have any other choice if we still wanted to go on vacation, so we said, okay, we’ll do it. There wouldn’t have been any other way but cancelling and getting our money back on such short notice, and we really needed that vacation.

Now the next thing that happened didn’t directly have anything to do with the trip. About a week before our flight, my father was involved in a terrible accident and sustained a number of potentially lethal injuries. I don’t want to go into too much detail, just know that he will be fine, it will just take a while until he’s healed. The point is that, a week before our flight, there was yet another thing to be considered. Should we really go on vacation while my father was hospitalized? Then again, there wasn’t much we could do either way. The accident occurred very far away from home, and the hospital he was taken to by the rescue helicopter was even further away, so that it took a 2-hour drive just to get to him, and neither me nor my mother have a driver’s license. Thus, visiting him was almost impossible, and we could be either worried about him at home, or worried about him by the ocean. My mother was agonizing over the decision, while I was not, at least not a lot, because the accident had been partially his fault, I felt, and I was (am) rather angry with him. Eventually, my mother decided that she still wanted to go because, as I said, there wasn’t anything we could do, and we had been looking forward to this trip since January.

The Hotel

Thus, we flew to Bulgaria. The first thing we realized upon arrival at the hotel was that our room was absolutely tiny. Sure, we had a balcony with a view of the ocean, and that was beautiful, no doubt about it. Still, our room was basically a large bed with a door. There was a small couch, and a small table, and in-between those there was a small space for moving around, and that was that. Well, okay, we wouldn’t be spending too much time in this room anyways, since it was only for watching some Netflix (we were on season six of Orange Is The New Black at the time) and sleeping. Life on vacation takes place outside the hotel, so who cares if the room is smaller than advertised?

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The bathroom was nice, with a very spacious shower, the door of which didn’t close completely, so you had to adjust the shower head in a certain direction so as to not cause a flood, which I discovered that first day. There was a small bundle of hairs in the shower when we moved in, which stayed there the entire time until we moved out, so I reckon the shower wasn’t cleaned once while we were there. There really wasn’t much cleaning going on, as far as I could tell. The guy responsible for cleaning the rooms on our floor (we bumped into him a couple times in the hallway) apparently only folded our blankets and left it at that. I think he at least cleaned the toilet, but I’m not one hundred percent sure.

However, our room wasn’t terribly dirty to begin with. It wasn’t like a cesspool of diseases or anything. I reckon the rooms were cleaned thoroughly whenever someone moved out. I would have just wished for some more rigorous cleaning while we were there. Well, anyway. Our towels were replaced every day, which was nice, except for the towel used to stand on when getting out of the shower, which was only replaced when we explicitly asked for it at the reception desk. People were nice when talked to, but otherwise not especially forthcoming, which didn’t bother me at all.

The Food

The food, however, is another story entirely. The restaurant at our new hotel offered food which was absolutely inedible. It looked old and greasy, it tasted old and greasy, and we were told by another resident that the same dishes served for lunch were still there for dinner. So necessarily, we tried the restaurant at our original hotel. The food there was better, although for lunch the quality was usually better than at dinner time. Breakfast was always good. The problem here was connected to the reason why we were staying at another hotel than our original one. The travel business who had overbooked the hotel and relocated us to another one had done the same thing with who knows how many other people, and since the food at the other hotel was disgraceful, everybody was eating at the original hotel. The result was that not only the hotel’s actual residents were eating there, but dozens of other people, too. Obviously, that meant that the restaurant was hopelessly overextended.

For breakfast, coffee cups were a rare and valued currency. For lunch and dinner, getting your hands on some cutlery that included knives and forks at the same time was a fight for survival. The best meals (the chicken was usually the best) were always reserved for the ones who could run the fastest. If I’m making it sound kind of apocalyptic, that is genuinely how it was. After the first two days, my mother and I cracked the code of how to eat: for breakfast, you had to be the first there, so we got up early and trudged over to the restaurant unshowered and barely awake. That way, not only did we get a coffee cup and saucer, we also found a place to sit, which also was never to be taken for granted.

For lunch and dinner, you could never be first, because it would be so crowded you could barely move, let alone find a place to sit, or cutlery. Or plates, or clean glasses. At one point, my mother got a glass that still had dish soap in it. I’ve never seen a white wine with so many bubbles. So for lunch and dinner, you had to wait at least an hour after the official start of dining time before entering the restaurant. Usually, we waited about an hour and a half. The advantages of that were numerous. First, some of the dishes had been emptied by our predecessors and refilled, so the food was warm when we got there. Second, rush hour was over, so we usually found a place to sit. The cutlery issue was omnipresent, and I couldn’t find a solution for that except theft, so on more than one occasion I stole cutlery from reserved tables. No choice in the matter.

Spending Quality Time With My Family & Myself

Hey my loves,

this past week I have been on holiday with my family in the south of Germany. And boy, oh boy, was I in need of a vacation. After writing three papers and preparing an oral exam in just under six week I was mentally exhausted. We spend six days with my family and basically did nothing but relax and we had an absolute luck with the weather – almost 30 degrees.

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Like I said, we didn’t do much, but I took the time to go on a walk by myself just to reflect on the past nine months as well as to get some me-time in. I love the nature here in south-Germany and just took it all in. Spending time with yourself is so important, at least that’s what I learned. But as I am writing this, I can’t wait to get back into things back home.

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The little towns around here are just so beautiful and colorful and especially with the amazing blue sky it looked stunning. I just love it here, although I like the quiet and the little towns, I could actually never live here, you literally have to drive everywhere and there is almost no public transportation in the smaller villages. Therefore it’s a perfect vacation spot!

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The last two weeks of September will be filled with some amazing things, but also will be quite exhausting, so to spend a little quality time with my family was definitely a big must. As well as for my own well being. I came to some realizations and also had a few ideas for my bachelor thesis, which I will probably be start writing in the early months of 2019.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

Travel Tip – Landschaftspark Duisburg

Hey my loves,

another Travel Tip from me for you. A couple of weeks ago I went to the ‘Landschaftspark Duisburg’ with a friend and we had yet another little photo session. It was also kind of the first day of the year where the weather was actually warm enough so you could wear less clothes. It was so sunny and beautiful there that I decided to write you a little post about it. But, before I share some of my favorite scenic photo opportunities with you, go over and check out my first ‘Travel Tip’. Have you seen my latest? Travel Tip – Düsseldorf Altstadt

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If you love architecture and a history to a place, you will enjoy the ‘Landschaftspark’. There are so many great places to take photos at, whether for a more edgy look or something more soft and glam. On that day we saw three actual photo shoots going on. A bridal, a prom and a group photo shoot. So it’s THE place to shoot there! And I cannot even imagine how beautiful it will look in summer when all of the greenery is blossomed. I will definitely go back there!

What are some of your local top spots for photo shoots? Tell me in the comments. And also, have you ever been to the park in Duisburg then tell me as well or link me on your photos.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

Travel Tip – Düsseldorf ‘Altstadt’

Hey my loves,

as some of you might now I love Düsseldorf and so it seemed more than natural to me to do a travel tip for you about my favorite part about the city, which is it’s ‘Altstadt’. If you have ever been to Düsseldorf you now which part it is, because it is the best part of the city with a perfect view of the Rhine.

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A couple of weeks ago I went on a little photo mission with my friend Miri to show you some of the places. We went along the Rhine, we even went into some small streets, which I never have been to and ended up somewhere in the Art District. I had so much fun, and I hope that these photos make you want to stop by and visit Düsseldorf. So here is a quick look at some of the photos we took.

 

Have you ever been to Germany? Tell me in the comments where you have been, I would love to know.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

Highlights & Favorites – February 2018

Hey my loves,

in today’s blog post I will share my favorite moments and favorite products from February. I had one week of Uni left and after that I went on holiday for a couple of days. After my holiday I got super ill and had to take really good care of my health as well as my skin so here are my highlights and favorites:

Visiting ‘Herrenchiemsee’

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If you want to read all about my holiday, check out this entry:

My Holiday – Bavaria – Chiemsee

Enjoying the Art in the ‘Neue Pinakothek’

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Read up on all the art pieces I enjoyed while visiting the ‘Neue Pinakothek’ in Munich:

Die Neue Pinakothek – My Holiday

Taking care of my skin

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The L’Oréal Paris – Sugar Scrubs Glow Peeling has helped me to get of all the excess dead skin after I was sick and I’ve been loving it ever since.

Hydrating my skin

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The L’Oréal Paris – Hydra Genius Aloe Water has given me the hydration my skin needed while I was sick and even more afterwards.

Check out both of my favorites in my holiday haul:

My Holiday Haul

What were your favorites in February? Tell me in the comments.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.