Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How to get around Cologne and Day Trips to neighbouring cities



Hey guys,

Since I am from Germany and travel so frequently over there, it has never crossed my mind to share all my knowledge on traveling in this country. It's not as special for me but I do know everything about it. Having said that, if I wasn't from Germany I would love to travel around here because it is a nice country.

Deutsche Bahn is the main train network provider in Germany and their website is going to be your best friend when organising your trip to look up train times.

How to get around Cologne

All the main places you'd like to see are a walkable distance from the central train station (Koln Hauptbahnhof). In fact, the cologne cathedral is right behind the train station and the main bridge that people like to see Hohenzollern Bridge (green bridge with love locks) is also a 5 minute walk away. If you get to Cologne by train your train might even cross that bridge.

Day Trips to Neighbouring cities

Now many tourists may not know this but there's something called a "Schonwetter NRW ticket". You can get it for one person which costs 31 euros or you can get a ticket for 46 euros and this is valid for 5 people. So it makes way more sense to get the 46 euro ticket if there is 2 of you.

With this ticket you can make as many trips as you want within the county known as "Nordrhein-Westfallen" (North Rhine-Westphalia). It's a day ticket but you could get as many trips as you want done in that day.

The main cities I recommend seeing from Cologne is Bonn (the former capital city of Germany), Dortmund and Dusseldorf.
Cologne to Bonn isn't far so I reckon you will also manage to go to Dortmund the same day. It really depends on how slowly you want to see each city in but if you're in Cologne you might as well see the remaining cities in West Germany. Germany is a big country, not even I have seen all the main big cities.

By the way, most counties have their own seasonal day trip ticket like this so double check. For example, there is a Baden Wuerttemberg ticket too for South-West Germany. So if you're travelling any other parts of Germany check those too!



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Sunday, August 11, 2019

How to Network successfully to secure Graduate Jobs




Hey guys,

Fresh out of uni, University may have put you through the whole wash cycle. I felt all possible emotions and at the end of it I was more than happy to be done and leaving University. It is not easy so well done to you! Give yourself a break but don't rest too long! Because you're done getting your qualifications but don't forget the main reason you pushed yourself to get through it. Your main aim - a career.

Networking is the only thing that has proven itself to work for me the most efficiently in my own job hunting process and helped me to secure a job. That is the fastest way and also a skill that will help you progress throughout your career. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have family members, friends with influential contacts but you can get yourself in a position to be among those people.

Top Networking Tips

1. Search and sign up to all relevant graduate fairs
The biggest graduate fair in London, is the Olympia graduate fair. They have one early summer and one early winter. They put up the dates months before it, so don't leave it till late and sign up early. You snooze you loose!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Pro Photography Tips


Hey guys!

When it comes to content creation, I often get asked what software am I using to edit my pictures? What laptop do I use? What tools do you use? Truth is content creation primarily depends on one main tool, your brain - creativity. Combine that creativity with the right device, time, and effort and the things you can create are limitless. 

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Monday, August 5, 2019

RS Hispaniola| 3 Course Meal on a Ship in London



Hey guys,

I took my friend to the RS Hispaniola which is a permanently docked boat with European Restaurant.
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Things you should know before travelling to Morocco




Hey guys,

There is a few things I wish I knew before I went to Morocco. So I've summarised them for you real quick.

1. "The palace is closed" - The locals will tell you that the palaces are closed. Most people will believe them, including myself. Because why would they lie about a palace being closed right? Truth is, it is a sales technique. The palaces weren't actually shut early like they said. They say that and offer you to show something else and at the end of your mini tour they ask for a kind tip. Smart.

2. You can but don't use Euros or Pounds
The locals do accept pounds in places but don't do that because they don't actually do real math and  tell you random currency exchange rates whereas if you use Dirhams, you're less likely to get conned. Always double check the conversion back to your local rate to see if they're being reasonable.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Solo Traveling vs Traveling with Friends



Hey guys!

I have been on various different types of travels abroad now but one thought always remains - is it best to travel solo or with friends? As with anything there is pros and cons to both which I will tell you and which option you choose solely depends on the location you're traveling to and the purpose of the trip. So let me get started by stating the pros and cons.

Solo Traveling


Pros: 
  • you can do what you want to (pretty obvious right)
  • you get so much more done within the same time when you're alone
  • you're definitely going to have the opportunity to meet new people
  • you can get a feeling fulfilment/content/liberation/happiness. It certainly is a difficult feeling to describe but you'll know what I mean when you're out there alone
  • you will make unforgettable memories, experience, shapes you, you'll definitely find yourself
  • gets you out of your comfort zone
  • very quick and easy to organise and plan, you can go and come whenever suits you

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

How to book with Ryanair and have a stress free journey



Hey guys!

I can be considered as one of Ryanair's most loyal customers. Before I start just to clarify, I am not working on a partnership with them and I am not getting sponsored to say any of this. Over the last 10 years I have caught 60 flights with Ryanair, 40 of those were all within the last two years and prior to that I hardly left the country I lived in. 
It's all pretty straight forward things but frequent flyers are definitely going to find this as the norm whilst not so frequent flyers sometimes I noticed get a little irritated by Ryanair's rules and regulations. 
As a frequent flyer I can say, if you follow all their rules, it is very simple, hassle free. However, make mistakes and you will have an awful experience. So that is why I thought I will break it down to everyone and make the experience much easier for everyone.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Malta for 2, £289 pp Flights + Hotel



Hey guys!

This is the last post for today.

It does take me a lot of time to put these packages together, so if you do end up booking the holidays I suggest, please do so by using the links through this blog and the booking sites will know that it is through my affiliation links.

So today's last package option as requested by a follower. The request was a few nights anywhere in Europe that I recommend at the end of August. 

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Magaluf, Mallorca Party Holiday for 5, £216 pp Flights + Hotel






Hey guys!

So on Instagram I get asked a lot about the holiday packages I put together for myself and I do try my best to explain but when doing this I take in many many factors into consideration I could almost write a book about it. So I thought instead of explaining, let me make it easier for you guys and start putting packages together.
It does take me a lot of time to put these packages together, so if you do end up booking the holidays I suggest, please do so by using the links through this blog and the booking sites will know that it is through my affiliation links.

So today's first package option as requested by a follower. The request was 3/4 nights in Magaluf, for 5 people, end of June and it's a part holiday:

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NICE, FRANCE - Undercover Holiday for 2 , £173 pp Flights + Hotel


Hey guys!

So on Instagram I get asked a lot about the holiday packages I put together for myself and I do try my best to explain but when doing this I take in many many factors into consideration I could almost write a book about it. So I thought instead of explaining, let me make it easier for you guys and start putting packages together.
It does take me a lot of time to put these packages together, so if you do end up booking the holidays I suggest, please do so by using the links through this blog and the booking sites will know that it is through my affiliation links.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Journal Entry of an Overdose Survivor



Hey guys!
Following my last blog posts a friend of mine has come forward with a journal entry that she wrote after she had drug overdosed and survived. She is a survivor and reading this entry had me crying because I knew how she felt, but reading her words made it harder and it hit me how she actually felt. I think it is important to see the perspective of someone who is suffering from depressing by reading the thoughts they are battling with. Please take your time to read this and let me know what your thoughts are, I will be sharing them with the person who made this entry. 
                                                                       

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Suicidal and Anxious at University



Hey guys,

Now that I have started talking about serious matters, why stop here? I have so much more to say, things that are not spoken about enough. On today's Sunday post, I want to speak to you guys about mental health specifically at university. The pressures and struggles students go through are often joked about through memes most of which mental health related but you know it is easier to laugh it off and share it with your friends that can relate than actually think of it as a serious mental heath issue. If you're a student you know what I am talking about.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Sexual Harassment - I Have More To Say!



Hey guys,

I would like to first of all thank everyone for the overwhelming amount of positive responses I have been receiving on my last blog post about Sexual Harassment and my story.  I didn't expect for the story to be read, shared and spread as much as it did but it was intended for the purpose of awareness, so I am glad it did. I appreciate the way my post is being used to get the community into the positive direction toward the issues around sexual harassment and assault. I do however have a request to you all which is to please get to the bottom of this blog post and to take the things I am saying into consideration the next time you hear about assault.
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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sexual Harassment - Here's My Story.



Hey guys,

I'm going to write a blog post that I never imagined myself writing. I didn't think sharing this would be beneficial to anyone in any way and frankly I was not ready to share this with more people than my close friends for the longest time. I've made the decision to share this story now because after talking to my friends, I realised it is happening to too many of us and it is not uncommon. It is not something I should be feeling ashamed about, which I did for a very long time until I realised, I was the victim and no I didn't let this happen to me. I had no control over it. 

This is a rarely spoken about topic within the Tamil community and I am hoping to make more of you aware that it does happen - a lot! We have the mentality of thinking any form of harassment and assault are not committed by Tamil men or boys because -why would they. The community looks down on such behaviour and we are made to believe that there is no way it could happen. We feel safer because you don't expect people from the same background, values and morals to commit such crimes. Well guess what you're wrong. Fathers, Brothers, Uncles, Cousins, Boyfriends - men of any age and relation to have committed acts on women in the Tamil community and I have heard enough stories from my girl mates. I wish I could erase all those painful memories for every single girl that went through this.

So here's my story....
In 2014, I started taking driving lessons, I was 17. My driving instructor was Tamil and he has taught many people from around the area. He also taught a family friend of mine, she passed, and she recommended him to us. At first lessons went well but soon he would start asking questions like "so where does your dad work?". "What does your mum do? Are they busy and are they home a lot?". 
I am a very cautious person and at this point I started feeling like something is weird so I told my mum that he is asking me a lot of personal questions about my family during lessons and that I try to swerve them by not giving away much information. My mum said that a lot of Tamil people are just curious about your life and to ignore it and not to tell him anything. 
I was running late one time because I went to a friends' birthday party and I messaged him saying I will be late, so he offered to pick me up from the station for the lesson instead of outside my house which seemed reasonable. I was wearing makeup that day and looked nicer than usual. I didn't like the way he looked at me that day, but I still didn't think much of it. Why would a man in his 50s, with a wife and children look at me like that right?
So now it's December 2014 and it's Christmas day. He always sends Christmas wishes to every one of his students. I was at my family friends' Christmas dinner party that night and we both received the text saying Merry Christmas and obviously I replied saying thank you. That's when he took the chance and continued messaging me. He asked me what I was doing that day, so I replied saying that I am having a Christmas dinner with my family and ended the conversation. I felt weird as it was because it's 11.30 pm. Why is my driving instructor trying to send me text messages?

I know at this point it already sounds like he is a creep and the signs were there but what was I supposed to do? He hadn't done anything that I could accuse him of and what do I tell my parents? 

Time goes by and I am already on lesson 24 of two-hour sessions. He would talk to me about his daughters during lessons. One of them is the same age as me. Occasionally, he would mention something about his wife too. As time passed and I was near the end of my lessons, is when he became brave...I was holding the steering wheel and he put his hand on top of mine while I was driving. I was in a position where I didn't want to die by crashing and I couldn't be like "wth are you doing" either. I was 17 and scared. Why was he touching me? It didn't stop there. The next thing he did is he put his hands on my thigh and slowly moved up until I kicked my leg. I stalled. I was shaking. I was about to take an exit on a roundabout and I had to focus on the road, but this man just put his hand on my legs. My voice left me. Even now writing about it, I'm shaking. He made it seem like it was necessary to put his hand there to help me steer. I was so scared at this point and I came home, and I didn't know how to tell anyone, especially because this man has three daughters. Women before me have passed their driving with him. So why me? 

I continued attending lessons and then it was my 18th Birthday. 14th January 2015, I receive a text on the way to school from him: "Happy Birthday baby x". I was ready to cry. It was my 18th birthday and it couldn't have been any worse. He tried to call me. I declined. He texted me repeatedly. "Baby what's wrong?" There were much worse messages I am wishing to not reveal.
Let me say this to you again - A GROWN MAN in his 50s, with a wife and three daughters. 
That feeling will never leave me. That's when I had solid evidence that he had other intentions. I couldn't tell my mum face to face, I never spoke about it to my mum. I texted my family friend because I couldn't tell her verbally and I sent screenshots. I begged her to get me away from this man and to tell my mum. 
I am so lucky that he didn't do anything crazier than that. He could've driven me off to any place and anything could've happened to me. He shouldn't even be allowed to be an instructor and I should've reported him, and I feel bad for not doing so. I am worried for the girls that are still going to his classes. I am just not ready to name and shame this man and to deal with the consequences that will have an impact on my life. Neither do I want to destroy the girls' image of their father. 
After all that happened, and I stopped going to his classes he STILL had the guts to send me a friend request on Facebook in which his wife was on his profile picture. I was disgusted and to this day I fear him seeing me on the road. I deleted his number, blocked it and deleted the messages. I was scared.
I changed driving instructor and I realised this man didn't even teach me how to drive properly. He just let me drive however I wanted to. He never corrected me. His intentions were to not send me to an exam for as long as possible. Months pass and it is the day of my driving exam, I am now with my new driving instructor. I am about to enter the car for my exam and my old driving instructor passes me with the biggest smile on his face into the test centre. All the flashbacks came crashing down but I had to stay brave and just get on with my driving exam and I passed.

These memories came back to me when I was recently harassed on the road in front of people.
Back to 2018....10.30 pm on a cold winter day in December. I was walking home in Germany. I was in my waitressing clothes which was a pair of jeans and long jumper. I looked exhausted and I can really say I didn't look like anything special. I could hear someone fast approaching me, so I held onto my bag as tightly as possible and started walking faster because I thought I was going to get robbed. It was a man on a cycle who approached me from my back, he slapped and groped my bum. It was so loud that everyone that was still on the road saw. The slap was so hard it hurt. It was an unwanted touch and I ran home, locked myself in my room and cried myself to sleep. Why would you do that to a girl? 

That’s my story. The reason I shared it is because I want everyone to know that you’re not out there alone suffering. Creating awareness on this topic is the first step toward the right direction in our community.
These experiences have not stopped me from being who I am now. I am still the brave, active, social girl that I am. I am not going to hide and stop myself from exploring and achieving things. When I announced that I am travelling solo everyone said – wow you’re brave. It’s dangerous to do that. Well I wasn’t safe in London either with my parents present.  "Safety" is a concern anywhere in the world. You think you are safe just because you are in the western world. I would love to believe that too, but too many of us have been victims to sexual abuse, harassment and assault for it to be true. 

I hope sharing my story will have a positive impact.
Thank  you for reading it all and to create the awareness I wouldn’t mind this story being shared as everyone involved remains anonymous.

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Monday, March 4, 2019

My biggest regret: I told a guy my Goals...


Hey guys!

Reading the title of this blog post might have left you feeling confused. So from the sound of it I told a guy I was speaking to my goals and I am still having regrets about it but why?
First of all, I believe that whoever you're talking to, your goals are personal milestones and you should keep them to yourself till you get there. This is not me just saying it but it has also been scientifically proven that if you keep your goals to yourself that you're more likely to succeed in them. If you want to know more about this scientific research and the explanation follow this post that I found online which was a very interesting read and it all makes sense to me.

I am not going to mention who, what, where or when this conversation had happened but I wish it didn't happen. My goals are always on my mind and in that moment it felt right to bring it up when I spoke to the person because it came up in conversation. It's important to me to share my goals to a person that I see my future with because I want them to understand the importance of it all to me and I would love to be having the sort of bond where we would work through our goals together. However, this was different. It wasn't a boyfriend or anyone I saw my future with, it was someone I was speaking to with no specific outcome in mind.
Just the thought of someone walking around knowing my ultimate goals freaks me out, maybe it's because it means that  I've trusted such a big part of me to someone or because I am worried that I may not achieve them the same way anymore and that a person knows about them. Either way I'm wondering now do you think goals should be shared? How soon would you tell someone you've met/speaking to about your goals? When is it too soon to tell someone your goals or is there no such thing? Maybe it's because it means so much to me that it has such importance but I would love to know what you guys think about your goals and whom and when they should be shared to.

Let me know in the comments below or on my social media!




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Sunday, March 3, 2019

How Strangers became Friends whilst Traveling!





Hey guys!

If there's one thing that's changed majorly in the way I travel - it's my confidence. Not only with streets and surroundings but also people. I am not scared to go up to someone to ask for directions. I remember the first time I took my mum to Paris I was too shy to approach a stranger to ask for directions. These days, I have full on conversations with strangers. It doesn't come easily and you develop it over time but taking more and more adventures.

Travelling solo to Lisbon in Portugal was the final straw to creating this confidence. People had approached me in the Hostel there and they were super kind. We talked about things and gave each other suggestions. I wouldn't say I am very naive, in fact I am quite the opposite. I am very cautious and take some time before I can trust a stranger. You should never fully trust a stranger. In Lisbon I gave my number out the first time ever to the people I had met and traveled with. It was the thought of "it's just my number, what can they do with it if I'm abroad". You aren't obliged to stay in touch with them forever but if you do like their friendship you can stay friends because why not? We meet cultures, integrate ourselves with them and learn daily.

Be open to conversation, don't reveal too much about yourself, don't do anything you wouldn't even do in your hometown. I always think to myself first "Would I do that in London?". If someone you just met an hour ago says "come let's chill at my house". I am definitely not the type to say yes to that offer in any country! Always stay in public places, go do cool things and explore with them and make life long friends!

Confidence is key! Don't be naive!




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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Weekend trip to Budapest – Budget and Cost breakdown



Hey guys!

Last weekend I finally went to Budapest which has been a must visit winter location on my list for a while now. This will probably be my last European city break before the Summer because I am really trying to go to some of the bigger countries this year. Budapest however was very cute! The architecture around the city were beautiful and the cold weather didn’t bother me at all, although I do prefer warmer countries.

The best way to get around Budapest is on foot and I would recommend you doing that because you will be able to take in the views and still get enough done in a day.
If I had to choose between Paris and Budapest, I think I would choose Budapest, it is an excellent city to relax, have a spa day and still do fun things. If you however want to shop well, you might want to stick to Paris.
So how much did this all cost me?
Flight and 4* Hotel for 1 night - £127 pp
Airport transfers - £50 – this was in London as we chose Luton airport for cheaper tickets, but I regret doing this. The airport isn’t very accessible and some of the staff there at security was some of the rudest I’ve ever met. Next time I’ll stick to London Stanstead Airport!
Spendings in Budapest – roughly £75 but could have been £50
Total = £257 for 2 days in Budapest
I spent the minimal amount of money and to be honest I could have saved about £25/£30 but we made the mistake of getting on a Hop On and Off tour. These are double decker red bus tours that will be offered to you the moment you land and all around the city. We used the bus once so technically I paid £30 for one bus journey. The bus tour was poorly organised, and I am not sure if it was whether it was down to the company that we booked it through or if all the bus tours are like this. We were recommended the bus tour because people we know had a good experience on them. We can’t say the same for ourselves.
The buses were generally overcrowded, we got on and there were no instructions. We were supposed to receive audio earphones to listen to the tour – but we didn’t. Poor girl who was working on the bus was just falling all over the place. We didn’t really know where the bus was going and just sat on it looking out the view. I would’ve preferred to learn something about the area we passed etc. When you buy the tickets, you get told that a lot of things are included in the price and then you walk around the city looking for these stops. Maybe it was just us who had a bad experience because of our limited time there. However, even if we had longer, I wouldn’t like to spend so much time trying to find bus stops for a Hop on and Off bus tour.  The company we booked it through was called the Giraffe company.
That’s just the cost break down for now and I will be making a post with the Itinerary for Budapest soon!
Have you guys been to Budapest before? How was your experience? Have you tried the Hop and Hop Off tour before? Were we just unfortunate or are they not that good.

Let me know in the comments below! 😊


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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

How to Travel Solo as a Girl, Stay Safe and not feel Alone!




Hey guys,

as I mentioned in my last post I traveled to Lisbon by myself and I've been wanting to do this for a very long time now. My ideal would have been to travel to a country in another continent solo but that would be a big leap and I wanted to make sure I get the confidence in a country quite close to home. This solo trip has actually changed me as a person and I am so glad that I did it. When I got there I was still very nervous but I was not scared about getting lost. I was more worried about feeling lonely and not having a good time because I won't have anybody to talk to. It was nothing like that though. As soon as I got to the Hostel I got to know the staff and I took part in a walking tour where I got to meet people and continue the rest of the day with them. Something I really didn't think was that I would enjoy the time that I spent by myself. That was probably the best part. Sitting on a ferry or by the water and just watching the sunset and reflecting on life. It all sounds so cliche but it was actually the best experience.

During the new year I remember uploading blog posts about friendships and how I felt about life at that moment! My friend gave me the advice to take some time for myself and book a trip by myself which would help me heal and just take a break from everything and everyone. It was the best advice I had received and in that moment I decided to do it and the ticket was booked within 10 minutes. My impulsiveness has helped me to make a positive experience out of it.

Safety -- I really didn't feel watched and luckily didn't make any bad experiences. However, it could have gone both ways so I was lucky but I was also very cautious and didn't come across as vulnerable. I always had a safety alarm on me. I made good conversation with people without revealing too much about myself.
I would say that I had a good balance between solo time and being with people. I really wish I had been there for longer than a weekend, that's how much I enjoyed it and I really thought I would try to run back home from the experience but I really did not want to come back home. I wouldn't have minded setting into the world adventures all by myself and just keep moving to other places and countries. I was also pro-travel but this trip changed my entire mindset so quickly. I was high on life and it still hasn't worn off. I am ready for the next solo adventure and I urge you all to do it once at least while you're young. I honestly cannot wait for the day where I will be telling my kids this full story in detail and I am so glad and happy that my parents let me go on this trip.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

My First Hostel Experience - Home Lisbon Hostel





Hey guys,

last weekend I went to Lisbon and prior to that I went to Amsterdam and I also celebrated my 22nd birthday so the following posts are not going to be in a chronological order but I thought it would be best for me to write about the experience while it is still fresh in my mind.

In all my travels I have so far only stayed at Air BnB's or Hotels so far. Lisbon was also my first ever solo trip which I will write about in more detail. During my stay in Lisbon, I stayed at Home Lisbon Hostel and I paid 21 euros for a stay in a room shared with 3 other people and a private toilet. The prices were really reasonable and the place was well worth it. It was located in the heart of Lisbon and the staff of Home Lisbon Hostel was excellent. As I arrived there they told me all about the Hostel and provided me with a map with details of how to get around the area.

The interior of the hostel rooms and the common areas were very tidy and the staff of Home Lisbon Hostel was very approachable and friendly. I had told them that it was my first time in a hostel so they took extra care of me and ensured that I am having a good time and mange to meet people. They provided a breakfast buffet for just 3 euros which was great. Obviously you have to clean after yourself in a Hostel but for the price you pay one cannot complain.  The Hostel also has various activities for such good pricing such as a day trip to Sintra, walking tours around town and from what I remember I am pretty sure they offered surfing trips (but do double check). What I really liked about my stay was that the hostel opened up options to meet people and get to know people from various countries. On the walking tour I met 3 guys from Dubai, Colombia and the Netherlands. After the tour we decided to stay together and travel to the part of Lisbon called Belem. I was really nervous at first but once I knew that these guys were safe and I could trust them I wasn't as awkward and shy.


My roommates were a family from the US which was to my surprise as I expected to stay with solo travelers. However, anything is part of an experience and I felt safe around them. We talked to each other a little and they explained to me how the US government is structured because I am currently reading Barack Obama's book "Hope of audacity" and struggled to understand some parts as I don't know much about the US politics and their constitutions.  In return I exchanged my knowledge on Brexit as to them it is all a bit confusing and they didn't understand the purpose of it. To be fair neither do I haha.

I really believe that my entire trip would've been half as good if I didn't stay in a hostel and had the opportunity to meet people. I booked my stay at Home Lisbon Hostel through Booking.com

I would definitely recommend staying once in a Hostel when you're young and traveling solo but it is also cheap and cheerful for when you're traveling as a group. However, I have seen Hostels which aren't as great in the UK. So I would definitely read reviews on hostels and make sure it says that they're tidy and that the bedrooms look good enough. I was lucky with a good first Hostel experience but it may not always be the case. I always think, any experience whether good or bad is a life lesson.









                      The view from my room.



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