April 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
Konichiwa! We’re back from our AMAZING three week trip discovering Japan by rail. It’s a fascinating country with a unique culture, cuisine and friendly people. Our route looked like this:
We flew direct from Frankfurt to Osaka with Lufthansa for a very reasonable €1700 for two people return. We stayed in Osaka for 6 nights in total at the beginning, the first two nights in a hotel and then after that we took an Air B&B apartment which I would fully recommend. We bought our 21 day Japan Rail passes in advance with this company. You have to buy an exchange order for them before you go since they’re only available to purchase for foreigners and then on arrival find the ticket office to swap them for the JR pass. Getting about on the trains was so easy, even if you don’t speak any Japanese like us. However, since the Japanese rail system is divided up into different rail companies (this is different than in Germany where the vast majority are owned by DB), the JR pass often did not cover us and I had assumed it would. I will maybe explain a bit more about our experiences on that topic later. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 21, 2015 § 2 Comments
I hope you’re all doing really well. This picture was taken two weeks ago now, in the park “Planten un Blomen” in Hamburg city centre. We were just out for a Sunday stroll, enjoying the bright, clear weather when we came across this outdoor skating rink. How much fun is that! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind recently, between pressure at work and family visits. I cannot believe it is almost the end of February already.
It’s just 40 days to go now until our Japan trip! It is almost completely planned and we fly from Frankfurt to Osaka which was very reasonable actually, just 425€ each way per person with Lufthansa! I normally wouldn’t consider Lufthansa because the prices tend to be way out of our league, but we were pleasantly surprised and booked back in January. We havent’ yet bought our “21 day all-you-can-rail” JR rail pass tickets but will do this when we’re paid at the end of the month. They’re quite pricey, but we didn’t want to spend all of our time in the (famously crowded) cities and we will be traveling around for 3 weeks, basing ourselves in 3 spots. So we figured it would be a good investment, rather than buying single tickets everywhere (which we did for Italy). « Read the rest of this entry »
January 8, 2015 § 2 Comments
Happy new year to you all! I hope 2015 found you in full health! I was off for a week off work with the Flu before we traveled home for Christmas and then on my return I caught the cold. I don’t think I’d ever had the flu before, but, what I did learn was that pretending to sleep, or even better, actually sleeping, seems to ward it off.
This year we drove to France and took the overnight Ferry, (Stenaline) from Cherbourg to Rosslare. In total it’s about 1400km each way. Despite the cost of two hotels and petrol, this was significantly cheaper than flying and renting a car for 14 days. We saved around €750 – €1000 on car hire and the best part was that we were able to take all our belongings with us, including a some wine and beer as gifts on the way over, and some treats from home for ourselves on the way back. One little thing we learned however, was to eat our main dinner before we boarded for the return journey since the food, although reasonably priced didn’t agree with by boyfriend’s digestive system. Would I do it again? Yes, provided we were staying a minimum of 2 weeks.
We spent New Year’s on the blustery, but beautiful Achill Island but chose to stay in Westport, Co. Mayo. This would have been much cheaper had we planned ahead, but this was the first year that my boyfriend and I decided to finally take some time out for ourselves during the holidays and go away together for a few days, just the two of us. Achill is in a gaelic-speaking region of Ireland and is about 40km north of Westport. It’s connected by a land-bridge, so you can simply drive onto it. No ferries required! The secluded beach past Keel was the highlight, where I’d love to return to one summer to see if I can spot some basking sharks!
It was a lovely few weeks off and I’m curious to see where 2015 will take us :)
December 14, 2014 § 2 Comments
Drumroll please….we saved €200.84 this year in our little sealed gravypot! This kicks last year’s €64 squarely in the butt. I’m delighted! It means that we saved on-target €2 a week! We’ve decided to bag up the coins, take it to the bank and lodge the money and take a weekend away together in the new year:) And guess what, we’re going to up the ante to a €3 minimum a week for 2015! Woooo!
December 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
Hello, I hope you’re all keeping warm and are well! I made some Christmas postcards this weekend and thought I would share with you how I did it. The idea of postcards came about because last year’s DIY Christmas cards ended up costing me a holy fortune on post (approaching €5 a card!) so I swore that next year’s season’s greetings will be done in another, cheaper, format.
Using photoshop I edited a photo of the two of us that we were wearing big knitted jumpers, sort of like this one below…
(we don’t actually own any kind of Christmas jumper) but if you did, then you could just take a photo of this – LOL!
Then I took them to our local drugstore (Budni) and they have a photo printing service where you can print out greetings cards, for a very reasonable €0.27 a card. Then with a permanent marker and a ruler I made some lines for the address, kind of like this below…
This way the postage only cost €0.75 a card – which is a much more reasonable way to let your friends and family know you’re thinking about them this time of year. And who doesn’t like getting post that’s not a bill? :)
November 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
Hello! It’s my last day off from work now and I’m trying to do a mixture of my to do list and nothing at all. The slow cooker will soon be on making an adapted version of this korean pork and potato stew recipe and I will be out doing yoga and looking for party shoes for an upcoming wedding over the Christmas holidays, maybe start picking up a few Christmas gifts… :)