4 days in Berlin

On the 9th of October, a group of people from my school and I went to Berlin for 4 days: SUCH a gorgeous city to say the least. Full of art, culture and a broad history consisting of terrible but somehow quite interesting things. We went to museums, walked a lot, slept very little and made memories.


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Day 1: The first day was simple but long, we had to be ready at 7am to get on the bus for like 9-10 hours, which I didn’t mind. I had fun people around me and I had some good conversations, it kind of felt like 4 hours to me. We took a few small stops to stretch & go to the toilet and we also took 2 longer stops: one at the former DDR border crossing point (Helmstedt-Marienborn), and one at the Olympiastadium. Unfortunately we didn’t get to look inside the stadium.

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Once we arrived at the hostel we were going to be staying in, it was around 6pm already. We went to our rooms; Rafaela (my best friend) and I shared a room with 4 others, most of the rooms were for 6 people. We made our beds, unpacked a little and then met everyone downstairs to go out for dinner at 7pm. We went to Alexanderplatz, it’s full of food places based on different cultures, so you’ll always find something you like. Since it’s October and it’s already dark outside at 7pm, it was extra cosy, but also extra cold. I immediately noticed how stylish and different everyone was in Berlin, most people stood out and looked like they weren’t afraid to wear what they want to wear, which I loved.

We were free to go until 9:30pm, so we could also have a look around after dinner. After nosing about for a bit my friends and I all agreed on eating Turkish food. Later that evening we also went to look at the Berlin Festival of Lights at the Fernsehturm (television tower), it was amazing! The outside of the tower changed every 10 seconds or so and it looked so real and cool. We arrived back at the hostel around 11:30pm and I fell asleep pretty fast since it was such a long day.

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Day 2: The alarm went off too early, everyone was really sleepy. We had breakfast in the hostel around 7am and then met everyone again downstairs to get on the bus. The bus took us to a former Stasi prison called ‘Gedänkstatte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen’. I find going to these things really interesting and confronting, especially when there are still leftovers. Things don’t feel so real until you actually see them. I didn’t take any pictures here as you would probably expect if you’ve read my A Week Away blog post (I didn’t take any pictures at Kamp Westerbork in The Netherlands either).

Around midday we went to Brandenburger Tor to eat lunch. This was one of my favourite parts of the day: the sun came out, I took a lot of pictures, my friends and I laughed a lot and the monument and place itself were just gorgeous.

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We spent time at Brandenburger Tor until 1:30pm, then we took a long walk through East-Berlin. We walked through some sort of maze for about 20 minutes (the Holocaust Memorial), passed the place where Hitler committed suicide (the Führerbunker) and then headed towards Ritter Sport, a massive chocolate store. You can even create your own chocolate bar there, which Rafaela did. It takes about 30 minutes and we obviously used that waiting time productively by looking at all the different kinds of chocolate.

After finishing our walk through East-Berlin it was time for us to go to the Reichstag Building, the German parliament. We got a guided tour there and when we eventually arrived on the roof, I knew we couldn’t have got there at a better time: the sunset and view looked amazing. I think that made me fall in love with Berlin even more.

My friends and I had pizza for dinner at a small restaurant/cafe, I don’t know what to call it. Later that evening we all went bowling, which was a lot of fun. We didn’t have a winner because the scores got messed up, but that’s not what it was about (I got 3 strikes though, I’m proud of myself).

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Day 3: Our last full day in Berlin, I had been excited for this day ever since we received a paper at school with what we’d be going to do each day. We started off at the East Side Gallery (the Berlin Wall) – yay! I love art and the stories behind it, so I was pretty sure I’d love the East Side Gallery. And I did. It also made me realise how close the fall of the Berlin Wall actually is, although it seems long ago, it’s really not.

Then we got a boat tour on Spree river which I was SO excited for. Luckily we were allowed to sit inside instead of on the roof of the boat because it was freezing outside. I loved everything we came past and we had a lot of fun inside the boat. This was definitely one of my favourite activities of our trip. After our boat tour we went to the DDR Museum, which is full of things related to daily life in East-Berlin during World War II. This was interesting as well. And thennn… we went to KaDeWe, a super big warehouse in West-Berlin, which obviously meant shopping. I didn’t buy anything because it was pretty expensive, but I definitely enjoyed looking around. It’s one of those places you can have a good time at, even if you don’t have any money to spend.

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Around 7pm we went out for dinner again, our last dinner here. My friends and I went to a fast food cafe and we all got some kind of chicken and fries menu. I could eat that again right now… anyways, we went back to the hostel around 9pm, earlier than the rest of the group because there was no point in just staying outside without having anything to do. The rest of the evening was pretty relaxed, we just laughed and joked around a lot.

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Day 4: Breakfast, finishing packing our suitcases… not fun at all. We then went for our last activity: we visited Sachsenhausen, a former concentration camp. Which was really confronting as well, just like the prison we went to. All the guided tours we got in Berlin during these 4 days were all given in German and I could understand all of it, I think that’s what made it even more interesting to me. After this we left Berlin and went back home.

4 days spent with loads of nice people, thanks to everyone who came along, aaand a big thank you to Rafaela, Senn, Syb & Jochem for the awesome memories & moral support because I happened to feel pretty homesick. I would definitely recommend going to Berlin, it’s such a beautiful city.

Rafaela vlogged all of this, it’d be great if you checked out her channel!

Day 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGcsvstY6Yo

Day 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcoCh9CLBU0

Day 3: keep your eyes peeled for this one, it’s coming soon!

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My trip to Spain

Last year I went on my first real holiday to another country – it was absolutely amazing. I went to Salou, a pretty touristic city located near the beach, just 1 hour and 20 minutes away from Barcelona. Because we loved it so much, we decided to go again this year: the same city, same hotel. But this time we travelled by plane instead of by bus, which basically meant 16 hours less of travelling.

On Saturday, we got up at 3 in the morning to go to the airport, this was also my first time on a plane ever. It’s so much quicker and I love everything you can see out of the window. I didn’t even feel tired anymore once I got dressed and put on my make up. My sister and I were constantly laughing and being weird while other people at the airport were either sleeping or barely awake.

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After a 2 hour plane journey we arrived at Barcelona airport. We picked up our bags downstairs and then got on the bus to Salou.

1 hour and 20 minutes later, when we got to the hotel, it felt like coming home. Some people even remembered us and told us welcome back, which made me really happy. The first day felt like it lasted at least 48 hours, probably because we already knew the directions and where everything was located. Spain just feels so much better and a bit different from the Netherlands, for instance: 30°C in Spain feels a lot better than 30°C in my country.

The thing I love about staying in a hotel in a touristic city is that there are always people from loads of different countries, which means various nationalities, languages, cultures and lots of other things. Though everyone’s from different places, nearly everyone speaks English alongside of their own language. I never really had trouble communicating with others.

Surprise! You can watch my first day in Spain here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYilvq8-x2k

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Last year we grew pretty close with the animation team in the hotel within a week, this year when we came back, only one of them was left: most of them got promoted. I have to say, I loved this year’s animation team just as much, maybe even more, which made it even harder for me (and my sister) to leave at the end of the week.

On Monday we went to Barcelona, we did this last year as well. Our travel company took us on a city trip: we went sightseeing, we went to FC Barcelona and got some amazing views of Barcelona on top of the Montjuïc Mountain. We also got about 2 hours to just wander around ourselves and go shopping, I bought 2 shirts, bought my mum a birthday present and my dad and I got Starbucks. You can find one of my favourite shops there too, Stradivarius, I think they have one in Amsterdam as well but I only go there once every 2/3 years. Barcelona is probably my favourite city ever so far, it’s just so gorgeous and I love Spain in general so that’s a bonus.

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The hottest days were the last 3 days. We spent them by the pool and on the beach. I’ve always loved the beach and been jealous of people who live close to it, especially in warmer countries. Compared to last year, the sea seemed pretty quiet, there weren’t as much waves as before.

A few weeks before we went to Spain, I went through the location ‘Salou, Cataluna, Spain’ on Instagram and I saw some photos of pretty amazing places near the beach. Wait, I didn’t see this place last year! So once we had time, we went and searched for it, and we got there. This was most likely one of my favourite moments of the week, since the sight was SO amazing. Sometimes I actually can’t believe these places exist, sometimes it still feels so surreal standing in front of the ocean with nothing to worry about.

I wish I could show you guys this in real life, pictures don’t capture everything you want someone else to see or feel.

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Just imagine standing on these rocks in front of the sea, your skin welcoming a soft breeze of lukewarm air, the temperature being 32°C, feeling the sun doing its work, thinking of nothing but good things. Life definitely isn’t a bad thing.

I hope you all had the loveliest summer break and I also hope you’re ready for whatever’s next; you’ll get through it, you’ll survive. (and I hope you enjoyed the video!)

A week away

Last week my family and I stayed in a bungalow in Hooghalen, a small place towards the north of the Netherlands. Staying in a bungalow has become a yearly thing to my family. Because I finally bought my new camera the week before, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try/use it. I really like the quality and how flexible it is! I only have a smaller lens for my camera right now, but zooming in on photos on my laptop or phone doesn’t make the quality any worse, which I love. I wanted to share some of the photos I took with you guys and I thought this would go well together with something like a diary.

Day 1: Friday the 29th

After a 2,5 hour car ride we arrived at our destination. I really don’t mind being in the car for so long, in fact, I love it. Listening to good music and staring out of the window is quite relaxing to me, it also gives me time to think about things. Car rides just always seem to give me a positive mindset as well, no matter what mood I’m in before I get in the car.

It’s always kind of a surprise what the bungalow looks like, so when we opened the door, everyone immediately started exploring the house and where every room was located. Everybody seemed to like it and the bedrooms were bigger than we expected them to be. They were pretty cute, they even looked a little vintage. After dinner we went for a little walk, I wanted to take my camera with me but then I found out that I stupidly left my charger at home! I only had 1 bar of battery left and I couldn’t take any more pictures since I already took some of the bungalow, so I decided to buy one in town the next day.

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Day 2: Saturday the 30th

In the morning we all had breakfast together (we’ve done this the entire week and I really liked it because normally everyone wakes up on different times which means we don’t get to do that, this week everyone woke up around 9-10). The afternoon consisted of (food) shopping: first we (my mum and stepdad, my grandma and I) went grocery shopping, then we went into town to buy a charger for my camera and after that we all just got distracted in multiple random stores. We ended up getting some food and iced coffee. When we got home we played some badminton, which I absolutely love, although I’m not the best at it. But it’s just so much fun when you play it with people who are just as weird as you are!

After we had dinner, we went for quite a long walk through corn fields, meadows and woods (with my charged camera this time!). There were so many pretty flowers, we walked past some horses and we jumped over ditches. Even my grandma jumped over a ditch, it was so funny!

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Day 3: Sunday the 31th

On Sunday we went to ‘Kamp Westerbork’, this used to be a concentration camp during World War II. We got a guided tour through the camp grounds, where you could see the remainders of the camp itself, the reconstructions and monuments. I find these things really interesting, history is also one of my favourite subjects in school. I didn’t take my camera because I found it disrespectful in some way, I don’t know why but it just didn’t feel right.

These camps get to you so much because not only are you able to hear even more history than you’ll hear at school, you’re also able to see things; you can see the remainders, even touch them, you can see found objects like archaeological finds and other stuff the people lost or left behind. Seeing things just makes it much more real and you feel so much more confronted. If you’re interested in these things, going here is definitely something I recommend, as well as going to ‘Kamp Vught’, where you’re able to see even more (in my opinion).

Day 4: Monday the 1st

We woke up to not having WiFi until Wednesday morning, and to be honest, it wasn’t that bad really! I mean, it’s nice to be able to communicate with people when you’re on the other side of the country, but WiFi isn’t everything. We went bowling in the afternoon and it was so much fun, my stepdad won the first game and I nearly won the second one, but my stepbrother overtook me in the last round by just 3 points!

In the evening my grandma and I went for a walk (yes, again, I love walks), the sun was out and it was pretty nice. She asked if she could take some pictures of me while I was feeding the horses. After I showed her the pictures she took, she was like ‘I’m gonna have to make this my hobby now!’ and it was so cute, she was really proud of them.

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Day 5: Tuesday the 2nd

This was probably the sportiest day I’ve had ever since my summer break started! After breakfast my stepbrother and me immediately started playing badminton, around lunch time we had a small tea & coffee break and when everyone except for my grandma and me left to either go food shopping or swimming, the two of us played badminton for another 2 hours. When everyone got back home I continued playing badminton with my stepbrother and sister and after that we went to some sort of nature reserve where the animals living there just roamed loose. They didn’t really come near you though, which was too bad.

Guess what I did after dinner? You can probably fill that in yourself by now!

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Day 6: Wednesday the 3rd

We planned on playing midget golf today in a city close to where we stayed, but the weather just didn’t seem to agree with us. It started getting less rainier towards the end of the afternoon, so we decided to go shopping instead (which I also looove). I bought some things from the Body Shop, a top and a short from H&M, and well I didn’t want to, but I ended up with the body mist Passion Struck by Victoria’s Secret as well (it smells incredible!). We finished off our shopping trip at a snackbar called Burger Queen. If you were wondering, the food tasted as good as Burger Queen sounds.

Day 7: Thursday the 4th

Our last full day here. We got up at 8:30 to go to the zoo which I was SO excited about, I love animals a lot. I had no idea what it was going to be like because I’d never been there, but it turned out to be quite cool! You had 3 zones: the first zone was like a jungle, the second one was based on wildlife and the third one was focused on animals living in really cold areas. In the jungle zone you could walk through big, tropical gardens (it was really hot and muggy in there) and there were 2 ‘gardens’ that I liked the most. In one of them there were butterflies flying around and in the other one there were parrots. It was a bit scary at first because they would both just sit on your head, but it was so much fun. A parrot sat on my head in the morning and when we went back to the butterfly garden later that day, a yellow butterfly landed on my head as well.

I loved that zoo even more than an average one because you could get so close to most of the animals. I’ve had a giraffe like 1 meter away from me, I could even feed it! The zoo (Wildlands Adventure Zoo in Emmen) has been there for a long time but they renewed it not too long ago, if you were planning on going there sometime, it’s definitely worth the money!

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On Friday we went home again, we left at 10am and it literally took us about 5 hours to get to my grandma’s house because we were stuck in traffic for so long. A truck crashed because it suddenly started raining like someone sitting in the clouds held their pee for like 10 years and then decided that it would be nice to release it all at once, gotta love our climate! This obviously caused a massive traffic jam.

Anyways, comment down below where you’re going on holiday or where you’ve been to, I’d like to know! I’m going to Spain with my dad and sister on the 27th of August. I hope you all have a lovely summer break!

Love, Kaylee