First of all I want to clarify that the girl I traveled with was awesome and we’re still in touch. She made the trip bearable but the both of us expected more and I would never in my life use this tour company again. You will have to drag my dead body onto their bus and lock me up in their little ‘hotel’ rooms. I’m not going to mention the travel company because honestly badmouthing is bad karma and I don’t want any of that on my page. Let’s just call them Fudge Monkey only because I like the name and it makes me chuckle.
Alright so first off I discovered the Fudge Monkey Tours online after hours of searching trying to find a way for a poor Au pair to travel and see another big city in Europe. At this time I had no idea I would end up moving to the Netherlands so I was just trying to see as much as Europe I could before I go back to South Africa. However as I was saving up money to pay for my next Au pair year (in America) I didn’t have a ton of money lying around so traveling wasn’t something I could afford. You had to go about it a different way and really look for great deals online. Fudge Monkey Tours seemed like the perfect deal. They had all the right headlines. Three Days In Berlin. Three Days in Prague. Three Days in Brussels. Three Days in Paris. They even had one day and five day deals. Travel and Accommodation cost included? Count me in! There prices was right inside my budget and it all seemed perfect. I reached out to another Au pair who also wanted to travel and we went together. It was one of those things you had to buy two tickets so two people as they don’t have one person rooms. We booked our ticket with no idea what our future holds for us.
My first BIG problem with this tour was the bus ride. Oh I shiver just by remembering it. Now there is one thing you should know, I’ve been traveling on buses since I turned 9. It was never short rides, most of the time it was around 10 hours of travel time on my own so I could go visit my dad. I’ve sat next to those in your face, hear, feel and smell me people for so long I wanted to jump out of a moving bus. I’ve had a bus ride where the bus broke down in the middle of nowhere two hours in and we sat at that spot for two hours before we drove for one hour before we stopped again for three hours. After the bus was finally fixed I had another six-seven hours ahead of me. I also started my first ever period on a bus and had to panic shop at a bus stop and buy pads for the very first time. So my tolerance for bad bus rides are high and when I tell you this bus ride was bad, believe me. It was bad. Now there wasn’t a lot of in your face, hear, feel and smell me people. There was some loud people and some smells really nothing to out of the ordinary. The thing that really grinds my gears was the music that played, the fact that I had no internet connection, over giggly people around me and the worst thing yet…the bus driver was driving so slow a fucking snail could pass him. We stopped what felt like every two minutes and what was supposed to be a seven hour drive turned into a fourteen hour drive. I can’t handle slow drivers. It just rubs me up the wrong way. I would rather sit next to a constant farting person for one hour then sit in pure luxury with an internet connection for 14 hours with an average speed of 60km/h (on a highway. I mean buddy you can go 100km/h.) It’s my pet peeve. Slow drivers is my Achilles heel.
The next thing goes hand in hand with my imagination and fine print. I’ve mentioned before that accommodation was included and in my head we will be quite close in the Berlin city center, so night exploring would be an option. What we got was a semi creepy old hotel (but more like a motel) a 45min drive away from the hustle and bustle. It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t good either. Our room didn’t even get a WIFI connection so it was very annoying. The place did offer breakfast free of charge but dinner you had to pay quite a lot of money so we ventured out and luckily found a McDonald’s around the corner and that’s where we ate every night.
The first day in Berlin the tour bus took us to a few tourist stops and what I didn’t like was the time factor that went with it. They were like okay so you have 15 minutes at this stop. Take your pictures and get a move on. If you’re not on the bus in 15 minutes we’re leaving. So I was obviously stressing out. There wasn’t a lot of WIFI points so I was on my own if shit hits the fan. Around the afternoon they dropped us in the city center and arranged to meet us at the spot in 4-6 hours. This I really enjoyed. My friend and I had so much fun walking around the city and seeing everything there was to see at that spot. We walked so much my feet was killing me. After the bus picked us up they showed us a few spots before we headed back to the motel around dinner time. We had McDonald’s and considered our plans for the night. The two of us wanted to go back to the city for the night crawl scene. There was a bus stop close to the motel but our entire stay there I never saw the bus go by. We checked the time but the bus never showed and the problem was the time they run and how to buy a ticket and etc. Basically we were stranded. A taxi ride would be ridiculously expensive and not worth it. It was disappointing but we had one more full day in Berlin and decided to make the most of it. Oh the fine print. The second day in Berlin the bus dropped us off at another location in the city and this time around. It was right in the middle of all the luxury shops and as an Au pair you can’t even buy a lipstick much less actually shop. We made the most of it by exploring the streets but all in all we weren’t that happy with the stop. We made up for it by drowning one litre of beer each in record time. Around dinner time the bus picked us up and we visited a few more tourists stops but nothing glamorous. The bus driver dropped us off and arranged the leaving time the next day.
And you guessed it. The drive back was snail slow. The first stop back in the Netherlands I practically jumped off and took a train. The train ride would be quicker than this guy. 90 minutes later I knocked on my boyfriends door (now husband) and ate pizza (he ordered and had it ready for me). All in all the friend I was with truly made a bad situation great but I won’t ever go back to Berlin. The people were rude and impatient (although I get it. Tourists are annoying). From my little travels I’ve made Berlin is by far my worst experience. Although I guess the title was semi misleading. You guys probably expected something straight out of hell and not just slow bus ride but guys. Slow drivers makes me want to pull my hair out of my scalp. Fucking 14 hours on a 7 hour drive. I would rather eat toe nails. The city itself probably has more to offer and could be a great experience…I’m just not interested to go back very soon. I would rather visit the other cities in Europe on my bucket list than go back.