The three weeks flew so quickly that it was like a whirlwind. He came, he saw, he conquered. My brother came to visit me for three weeks and we travelled to Amsterdam, Budapest and Edinburgh, with London thrown in for good measure. Enjoy reading the insights into the brother/sister holiday that produced some amazing times-including the times I told him to ‘eff off’ and me feeling like a piece of meat amongst hordes of men in Budapest. And me making him Vegemite and cheese on toast every day for breakfast. This was a definite highlight for him of course.
My brother arrived early Saturday the 23rd of July, the day after I finished teaching at my school for summer. After walking back and forth witnessing other families embrace their loved ones, he finally arrived. I was in tears, because it had been over a year since I had seen him and we are pretty close. Of course, mum and dad wanted a photo of us when he arrived. The result was two ‘kids’ who were both red eyed, mine induced with the combination of a hang over and tears and his jet lag. But he was here, and I was elated.
After two days of walking around my town I live in and showing him a bit of it (he complained about the walking the whole time), we set off for Amsterdam.
We arrived at our hostel late on the Monday in the heat and unfortunately we were on the top floor, with my brother deeming it ‘like climbing Everest’ every time we went up and down. Again with the complaining. We went for a bit of a walk to gather our bearings and we ran into friends of mine on a pub crawl, noticing that this is a good start to travels. We also became the ideal tourists as we had to buy bright red ‘I AMSTERDAM’ ponchos as it was raining so heavily. Mum said we looked like giant red condoms. Thanks mum.
I won’t bore you with the details about the next three days, but you can assume that we did all things Amsterdam is known for- except getting to know THOSE girls well. I think that’s a step too far when you’re travelling siblings. Or too far in general… whatever floats your boat. I don’t judge.
THE PUB CRAWL WE DID WAS THIS:
The most amazing place I’ve been. I am in love with Budapest. Not only is it a beautiful place, but there’s so much to see and do that the three days we were there weren’t enough. The architecture, cheap prices of food and drink, things to do… I want, actually NEED, to go back. A part from the endless sightseeing we did (free walking tours are a must when you travel- again, this was met with complaining from the bro), we also went to an event held every Saturday night called SPARTY. We were lucky enough to be in a hostel room with guys from back home, so we ended up with a crew (one of the guys said that- not my words I swear). This is where the hordes of men come into the story. SPARTY is held at the Szechenyi Spa & Baths, and it’s pretty much a club –like atmosphere with you being in a spa for about 5 hours. Yes, to answer your question- you do shrivel up like a raisin. Well, I didn’t because I kept getting out to get more alcohol and to go to the toilet. I refused to ‘relieve myself’ in that spa, despite my brother’s advice. They give you bracelets for lockers and a pay-as-you-go waterproof card you upload money onto and just tap to pay for drinks, rather than carrying cash. At SPARTY, there is usually a ratio of guys that are 80/20 to girls. I did not know this until I arrived. Needless to say, the image of the shark in Finding Nemo that smelt blood for the first time in a while and went crazy came to mind. And, as I was with a whole group of guys, I was on my lonesome with these men ‘swimming’ around me. I say ‘swimming’ as most of them stood on the steps, flexing their muscles and slowing bobbing their heads to the music (you can imagine it can’t ya?). Also, everything flowing past made you jump if it touched you, if ya get what I mean. Despite this, the night flew past and it was the best experience. Highly recommended for those who like being in really hot water for long periods of time and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol while doing it.
FREE WALKING TOUR
Our last place we travelled to before exploring London, this place is on par with Budapest with my favourite place on Earth (so far). We were staying at my favourite hostel, Castle Rock and little to my knowledge, the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo was rehearsing and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was about to begin, so the town was swamped with people. We took a day tour to Loch Ness (Yes, we did see Nessie, clearly- doesn’t everyone who goes to Loch Ness?) which included the first stop to a Whisky distillery. After our tour driver told us there was barely any crime in Scotland, we arrived to the distillery with the police there- someone had broken in and stolen their best Whisky. We then got a FREE tour and FREE whisky. The tour driver was clearly wrong…
We enjoyed climbing up Arthur’s Seat (the bro refused to talk to me for a bit as we were walking up- this was the pinnacle of walking A LOT and it was gruelling for him due to me walking ten steps ahead of him because of my fast walking) and me falling down it, watching free comedy shows and eating Haggis. We went on a night out to a pub with live music in the Grassmarket called Biddy Mulligans, which resulted in a trip to the ATM to keep drinking. At least it was literally a 2 minute stumble home. Although I was really sad to leave right in the middle of the Fringe, I was excited to explore London with him too!
London was the time I said ‘eff off’ regularly as he refuses to make decisions about what he wants to do, see and eat EVERY DAY. Cue the frustration on my part and the storming off- again, on my part. But for the week of our London escapades, we ‘moved in’ to my friend’s house as she lives closer to London then I do. And, her friend from back home (who is cycling around the world- yes CYCLING*) was staying too, so we had a little family unit going!
The bro and I explored London, doing a free walking tour (again, do them!), seeing the Lion King, Tower of London, Bath and Stonehenge, the Museums… the list is endless. We walked (it was okay this time as we took the tube quite a bit too so the complaining wasn’t as incessant) around London in the amazing weather and even had BBQ on his last night with a couple of good friends of mine to farewell him. We enjoyed watching the Olympics every night, declaring that we could do WAY better despite sitting on our arses drinking. Clearly we are qualified judges.
The goodbye was the hardest part, as I don’t know when I’ll see him in person again. Standing there at the airport, both of us looking at each other in the corner of our eye and tearing up a bit made it even more difficult. I think this trip has shown my never-before-travelled bro that there’s a whole world out there that he needs to see. Perhaps Amsterdam might be reserved for him and his mates next time though.
*This is the website to Luke’s adventures around the world