Ok guys, Mum and I came home five days early from our trip as it was one disaster after another and I had just had enough.
The day I left Edinburgh I had started to get a sore throat and I just got sicker and sicker as the days passed, making me feel miserable enough as it was without the numerous other incidents that occurred along the way.
We arrived in London Monday afternoon and Mum astounded me once again with her complete lack of direction, getting us lost on the way to Buckingham Palace (in fact we ended up about as far away as you could get from the palace without actually leaving London) which was very convenient as it started raining, heavily the moment we got into town.
The next morning we took a tour on one of those open topped buses which started out fine, albeit cold and we saw the dungeons, Madame Tussauds (sp?) and took a cruise up the Thames. Then it started to rain, again and we got absolutely soaked therefore leading us to the decision to not do the London Ghost walk for fear of hypothermia setting in.
Wednesday morning we set off for Berlin and when we arrived we discovered, after catching a taxi, that our hotel was 4km away from Tegal airport, not the airport we had just flown into. And so a 40 euro taxi ride later we were dropped off in front of the dodgiest hotel ever! And I mean dodgy. Mum and almost ran for it right there and then but we soldiered on and found our room to be not quite as dilapidated as the outside indicated. We went for a quick walk around the immediate area and figured out which trains to catch the next day to get us into the city centre (mum was amazed that I only took 90 seconds to work out the underground system as we have nothing like it in Perth).
The next day however turned out to be a public holiday and the whole city shut down. We had one full day in Berlin and we couldn't do much at all to explore. We caught a crappy bus tour that just pointed out the sights and then we went to the zoo and aquarium. I was rather shocked to see that they still keep lions etc in concrete cells as I'm used to Perth zoo which is world renowned for it's conservation and habitat-simulating methods. It was rather depressing all in all. We then walked up to Checkpoint Charlie and then headed back to the hotel where I proceeded to finish re-reading Hippo and started again on MoH. Oh and I also stood up too close to the radiator in the bathroom and now have a nasty bruise on my shoulder blade which hurts like all hell.
Berlin was rather disappointing to tell the truth. I was told by my cousin that there's heaps of old buildings, which I adore, but I found that not to be the case at all. As it was so heavily bombed during the war and then rebuilt, most of the buildings are quite modern and ugly. Plus the people there are awfully unfriendly.
Anyway from there we headed to Frankfurt where my second cousin and great aunt picked us up and took us to Biblis, a quaint little town near Heppenheim made all the more lovely by the nuclear power plant half a kilometre from the town centre. Obviously 'Chernobyl' doesn't translate!
This is where most of my troubles started. I was still sick with a cold, my asthma was playing up because of all the goddamn cigarette smoke in Germany and only my second cousin spoke a splattering of English. I am a social creature and found it really hard to cope trying to communicate with a few words and gestures. Most of our conversations revolved around the weather and simple concepts like 'what a pretty butterfly'. Plus there's the fact that I was missing Christian terribly by this stage and hadn't had a cuddle since I'd left Edinburgh.
Now, one thing I've learnt about the German's (or maybe it's just my rellies) is that they love to eat. And they want you to eat lots too. You will eat all that you can possibly fit in just to keep them happy but it's not enough. They will then proceed to stitch your arsehole closed and keep on shoving food into your mouth. It's ridiculous. I got so frustrated by having to say over and over 'No thankyou, I'm full. I can't eat any more.' (although it went more like 'Nein danke, I can't eat any more' with lots of gesturing). I seriously started to lose my temper after two meals with them.
That first night I ended up at the hotel in tears and almost hysterical saying I wanted to go home. I think mum was a bit worried about my sanity at that point as we rang Qantas the next morning and changed our flights to Sunday night. The hard part came trying to explain to the rellies why we were running away. Mum ended up just blaming it on me being sick and hoped for the best.
That's pretty much the main reason's why we came home early. Lots of other little things went wrong along the way and it rained every day except for the last day I was in Biblis but I'll leave them for now. I can only fit so much whinging into one entry after all!
I'm home now thankfully and enjoying just being back on familiar ground. I would give anything though to spend another few weeks in Edinburgh, as that was so much fun!