Last October after spending 2 months in Western Canada to paint my mural and travel between cities in Alberta and BC, I decided I finally had the time to go see my friends and cousin I haven’t seen in over 20 years. I would be solo traveling for a month in and around the UK and Germany. I booked my ticket 2 weeks in advanced and planed my trip from there, I would be traveling light with a 35L carryon backpack throughout the month.
I arrived at the Berlin airport from London UK on a Ryanair flight. The flight was practically empty, I had a whole row to myself to rest up and be ready for my first day in Berlin. Arriving at the airport and steeping out into the streets it was a huge culture shock seeing the amount of police with riffles ready to go right outside the airport. They were all dressed in black uniform and very tall.
Upon arrival, I took transit into the city where I arrived at Grand Hostel Berlin where I would be staying for the next 2 nights. I arrived early at the hostel, so I stored my 35L backpack in the hostels storage room and grabbed a map to plan out what I wanted to see for the day.
Over my time in Berlin I enjoyed Germany Unity Day, that was taking place in Berlin on October 3rd. On this public holiday, the city was filled with festivals where they had food and drinks, this day is to commemorate the day of German reunification in 1990 where Western and Eastern Germany were no longer divided. One of my favourite parts of the city was seeing Checkpoint Charlie along with all the beautiful murals and street art around the city.
I arrived in Munich from Berlin on a bus, Munich is a beautiful city and the city that is home to Oktoberfest, I was visiting my friend who was studying German in Munich and I was so grateful to experience Oktoberfest with her and some other friends we meet on this trip. We wore the traditional dresses that women wear to this event, and bought traditional Oktoberfest cookies to wear as necklaces throughout the festival.
Munich is a beautiful town filled with tons of architectural character. I had no idea what to expect when I was traveling to Munich, but I was happily surprised and I really enjoyed my time here and the tours we went on. We went on a few walking tours, eat traditional sausage, and climbed up the bell tower where we saw a view of the two photos bellow.
This is Marienplatz. It is Munich’s central square and a popular location for tourists to gather and tours to start. Up in the tower lives a dozen hand made puppets who perform a song and dance every hour on the hour. It is a charming traditional jingle.
Last up in Germany, was making my mark on one of Munich’s free walls for street artists. I kept it in line with the theme I painted for BUMP mural festival in Calgary. The theme focusing on bees, our need for them, and their endangerment. Different country, same world wide problem.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Next up was a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. This Castle is famous for being the inspiration for Disney’s magical Castle. The Castle is surrounded by the Alps, beautiful waters, forests, and farm land along with a village of people. There is a famous bridge that was built for Queen Mary, it is Called Queen Mary’s Bridge and it was built so she could enjoy the view of her castle and village from the height of the mountains.
Along the way to Neuschwanstein Castle we stoped at a museum where they preserved historic homes and their interiors from different eras and social classes. It was amazing to see which homes were considered to be homes of the wealthy VRS homes of the poor. We got to go in them and because they were all very self sufficient homes we saw where they kept their farm animals. Outside we enjoyed views of the Alps along with these flowers from nature shown above.
I arrived in Amsterdam early morning after spending 10 hours on a overnight bus from Munich to Amsterdam. Upon my arrival, I walked 4 km from the bus to the city centre. I left my backpack in a storage locker while I toured the bike city. I went on a walking tour where we checked out the red light district, and learned about the royal family.
The people were very kind and the streets were bike friendly. There were so many canals and bridges crossing over the city. I got to try Amsterdam’s traditional onion sauced fries (delicious), and walked across the city to go visit the famous Amsterdam sign.
I traveled overnight on a bus from Amsterdam to London UK. I would be staying in Astro Museum Inn for the next few nights. This hostel was in a great location right next to the British Museum. Over the course of my stay in London, I meet other traveler’s from various parts of the world.
The first few nights I went out with some people I meet in the hostel over dinner. It was a nice opportunity to get to know other traveler’s, where they have been, and where they were off to next. During the days I did a lot of sight seeing to all the major sights like the museums, and admiring architecture. Thankfully I had my friend Shon who is from London as my personal tour guide who showed and told me so much about the famous city.
Next stop was Manchester, UK to visit my friend Jenny. I traveled to Manchester by bus over an afternoon, it was only a 5 hour journey. Once I got there, I took the tram to her house, everything about this city and its architecture gives me Harry Potter vibes.
Throughout my stay in Manchester I toured the city with my friend Jenny, went to a Scottish band concert, and checked out multiple museums in the city. One of the museums was the Manchester Art Gallery. At this art Gallery there was a Banksy original painting.
From Manchester, I took the train to Edinburgh, it was a beautiful train ride filled with fields of scenery and little villages. I knew I arrived in Scotland when the scenery became very green. Once I arrived in Edinburgh, I walked out onto the cobbled stone streets and made my way to the meeting point where I was going to meet my cousin.
I suddenly got really nervous to meet my cousin. We had planed to spend a week together, however I never factored in the possibility of the week being awkward. When we meet up we instantly connected, it wasn’t awkward at all, we instantly bonded over our life experiences.
Over the course of the week we had plenty of time to go on tours in Edinburgh and go to different restaurants. We went on three tours, the Harry Potter tour where we visited the elephant cafe, and the hotel where J.K Rowling wrote the final chapters of her book. We also went on a ghost tour where we went to visit multiple cemeteries with ghost stories attached to them, along with a standard city tour where we learned about Edinburgh’s history through stories.
My cousins townhouse was just outside of the city, about a 40 min bus ride away. The buses were double decked, we often sat on the top floor in the very front of the bus. When we were taking it easy, we were entertained by walks in the parks, painting pictures at home, cooking and sharing meals.
Scottish Highlands, UK
With my cousin and her husband, we took a day tour from Edinburgh to Loch ness, home of Nessie. Along the way we enjoyed views of the Scottish Highlands where we saw multiple castles, some of which were even filmed in Game of Thrones. The land and atmosphere was very wet and foggy, it was exactly how I pictured the Scottish highlands. We also saw a large amount of sheep, in Scotland the ratio of sheep to humans are 1.5 sheep per 1 human. We even stoped to see the famous highlands cows featured in the picture bellow.
In Loch Ness, we checked out the village, then took a boat ride over Loch Ness. The views were very pretty with fall trees fog, and rainbows.
In Glasgow, I toured the city by foot and went to multiple churches and cemeteries checking out the architecture. I also went to My Modern Met where I saw Floating Heads, a Installation by Sophie Cave.