Days of Summer Video

The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon , for each day to have a new and different sun. – Into The Wild

3 months traveling around Europe is hard to put into words. For every single day I saw different sights, smelt strange smells, tasted food I couldn’t pronounce. Talked to strangers then these strangers became friends. Spent a lot of time alone, time with new friends, old friends and family. I challanged myself to do new things continuously and it was worth it. Heres a little video of just a few of the highlights from my trip.

Ryan Air – Friend or Foe

New Zealand is great, but one thing we lack is cheap airlines! We only have two domestic airline choices so as it goes in economics, with high demand and lack of competition, airplane tickets can basically cost you an arm and a leg. So when I got to Europe I felt like my arms and legs were perfectly safe when I realised I could get from Madrid to London for €19.99!!! The possible adventures were endless at these ridiculous prices.  If you think I’m exaggerating, I just took a screenshot to prove a point.  Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 6.46.19 pm

RyanAir has clearly made a reputation for themselves for offering some of the cheapest flights around Europe and also for charging fees for everything. Apparently at one point they were considering charging to use the lavatory on the plane. I’ve seen posts that claim the Irish company don’t give a rats ass about customer satisfaction and go by a “Talk to the Hand” policy. So when I flew with RyanAir the first time from Madrid to Belgium I was actually a little nervous before the flight. (I’m never nervous before flying). 

I read and reread the fine print on the website, I double checked that my carry on back pack was within the size limits as I was not prepared to pay 50€ (more than the cost of the flight) to have it checked in. I printed off my boarding pass twice and kept one in my handbag and one in my back pack as I was also certainly not going to pay 15€ for a stupid piece of paper to be printed at the airport. If you know me, you’d realise that these are rather drastic measures I took as I usually; a) never read fine print on anything and b) rock up to that airport 10 minutes before last boarding call. Luckily I had no extra fines to pay! Yaaaay. The flight was on time, comfortable and I didn’t have to pay to use the loo. All in all, I got from Spain to Belgium in 2 hours for 35€.
Not too shabby.

Buuuut, my bargain flight quickly turned from “omg this is ridiculously cheap”, to “sorry how much for a shuttle?” The flight was at 6am in the morning, as at this time the flights are usually less expensive so I had to be at the airport by 5am at the latest. Unfortunately the metro/train system doesn’t open until 5. Add 5€ for the 4.35am shuttle from town to the Airport.
Great, landed in Belgium and we wanted to spend the one day we had there in Brussels, clearly. RyanAir only operates from Charleroi South Airport which guess what…is a 40 minute drive from Brussels. So, add a whopping 17€ shuttle ride one way from the airport to Brussels.
All together my 35€ flight actually cost me 74€.

ryanair2_2565563b

Stop the damn fees already!

This was the result of poor planning more than anything, but it showed me that a cheap air deals are cheap because of the early morning time slot and the far out airports.
I did miss the fantastic safety videos; leg room; the free water, cookie and sometimes even wine from domestic AirNZ flights. But essentially I got from A to B on an international flight and I got what I paid for. There is certainly a limit as to the amount I would pay for a flight with RyanAir and it’s worth doing some research into other modes of transport.
But hey, if you’re a struggling student that sits in class all day dreaming about the next trip to take, deal with it!
RyanAir and I are still hitting it off like old friends.

This video is certainly worth a watch, Hilarious

Spotlight on: Cadiz Carnival

Team NZ (f.t Lucy and Chris) decided we were in need of a bit of a party weekend. So where better to go than to one of the best known carnival celebrations in southern Spain – Cadiz! The city itself is actually one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Spain dating back to approximately 1104BC. It has such an awesome vide about it and is clearly a typical Andalusian style place with some really lovely local people!

3 bus loads of international students embarked on an 8 hour journey from Madrid to the south on Friday and this was the first time I got to see a lot of the country side of Spain. Flat green lands filled with rows and rows of olive trees, (naturally as Spain is the worlds biggest producer of olive oil). Citylife Madrid hooked us up with accommodation at a resort about 30 minutes from the city with another company who also brought 3 bus loads of students. This was pretty awesome as it gave us opportunities to make friends with people from other universities, and even people who were here working internationally.

If you go to this carnival you’ve got to dress up. 95% of people there had some wicked costumes on, and those that didn’t looked out of place and kinda like they were having less fun! There are people drinking on the street and make shift bars everywhere. We ended up down some side street and in a little local bar to desperately use their bathroom, but ended up meeting some fantastic local people from Cadiz and Sevilla who gave us tips on here to go around Spain and at what time of the year. On the Saturday night there was a concert with some traditional flamenco performances and choir groups that looked like there were all dressed as pirates. We were only in Cadiz for one afternoon/night but if I were to go back I would love to hang around for a couple of days to see more of the action.

I also made a little video of our time there!