If you are trying to keep track of when this was, put this blogpost after the one in Hamburg but before Denmark.
After waiting 2 hours for our train in the Netherlands and then a 5-hour train ride split into 4 different trains, we finally returned into Germany and arrived in Hamburg. We made our way via an S-bahn train to Stellingen, the neighborhood where our host lived. This was a very nice area, with beautiful houses, beautiful trees, orange and yellow tree leaves on the ground and nice paths between the streets. We really liked this place, and our host was very helpful during our stay, offering lots of advice on what to visit, and also playing guide a couple of times.
On Tuesday morning, we left our host’s place in Brussels to catch a train that would take us to Bruges in a little less than an hour. While it wasn’t far away, we quickly noticed that this was a very different place. Bruges is a part of Flanders, the netherlandish-speaking part of Belgium. However, we are now used to be faced with signage in a language we don’t understand, so it wasn’t that much of a shock for us anymore.
It was nice to spend these days in Frankfurt, as it’s pretty much the first city we visit whose skyline is dominated by skyscrapers. It felt a bit like being in North America and so it felt to me a little bit like home.
We got to Strasbourg this Saturday afternoon, my head still buzzing from the night out in Paris. We were bummed when we saw it was raining, and it felt like we were gonna spend a slow, lazy day of rest, and only get going on the visiting on Sunday. BUT THEN we met Florian, our host for the weekend. Florian is a very nice, always smiling guy, around my age. He has only been living in Strasbourg for 2 or 3 weeks, because he is an Erasmus student, coming to study from Germany (he speaks excellent French though!) And Florian had big (and great!!!) plans for us. So we didn’t get the rest we thought we’d get in Strasbourg, but instead we got the best experience of the city we could have had.
We arrived in Oxford Saturday afternoon, and got a bit lost looking for our hostel. The first one we came into wasn’t ours, but the second was! Since it was almost 4PM already and we figured lots of things would be closing soon, we decided to take it easy for the rest of the afternoon. Later, on our way to look for a grocery store, we found a leaflet lying on the sidewalk titled: “Oxford Open Doors”. It turns out that this weekend was very special: almost every college in Oxford was opening its doors to the public for free. That was some great luck for us, especially since at first we weren’t supposed to be in Oxford until Tuesday; we were supposed to go to Cornwall first but switched up the dates. If we had visited Oxford later this week, we would have had to pay to visit these colleges and many of them might not even have been accessible.
It was a relief to finally get out of the bus into the Liverpool streets, almost 10 hours after we had left our hostel that morning. Since the moment we set foot in Liverpool, we immediately liked this city. Laura said she really felt at home here. Then, when we arrived at the hostel, we got even more enthusiastic, as this was like paradise, especially when compared to the last one.
We were immediately blown away by the impressive landscape of the city. It seems that the city developed around Edinburgh Castle, a big castle on top of a hill, that used to be the home of the King and Queen of Scotland. The city is built in and around those hills. This means that parts of the city are very high, with very low parts in between.