I have some free time to write blogs now as I have turned Ryan on reading so he no longer stairs at me or gets bored when I sit on my computer on the trains to try and update everyone on our lives. It is also just the two of us now as Ashley left us in Budapest. But before I tell you all about our two person travels I will first inform you about the Budapest experience. Budapest is a very cool place except for trying to navigate the metro so we just avoided that.
Section Seventy One
Budapest is one of the only places in Europe where they actually check your metro ticket everywhere. I am pretty sure all the people they have checking tickets is not very cost efficient as there is about 6-8 metro security standing at the entrance with two checking tickets and the rest looking very bored but I guess that is how post communist countries work.
Budapest also has a pretty confusing currency with 215 to 1 Canadian dollar. Out of the three of us I was by far the worst at doing the conversions and always stared blankly till one of the other two did it. Ryan was the best at it and Ashley wrote a cheat on her hand so she was constantly looking at it until she showered.
The first day in Buda we walked to the center stopping in a huge market on the way. The bottom part of the market had many many produce and meat stands where we picked up some awesome pepperoni sticks and the top part had lots of knick Knack stands which allowed us to buy some souvenirs for cheap we spent a few hours wandering through all the stands and eating some authentic Hungarian food. After that we continued on to the center. I was very happy and surprised when we got to the center and I realized it had the same clothing companies as the ones I loved is Spain. So of course we had to stop in there but the greatest part about stopping in there besides the awesome dress I bought was we ran into Paul remember him from Vienna, it is a very strange thing when you are travelling and run into someone you know since there is very few people we knew in Europe let alone Budapest. The four of us decided to go for a beer and then do some sight seeing. We went to the big Cathedral in the center which was pretty neat. There is a decaying hand hanging from the ceiling from a famous catholic the other parts of his arm are in Vienna and I think Czech. After that we Paul took us to this sweet Vegetarian place for dinner where we stuffed ourselves with Falafals and Hummos. Then Ash, Ry and I headed back to the hostel which we thought was close to the center but turned out to be a pretty long walk out of it. I have grown leg muscle with all the walking we have done over the past few months and maybe even a little bit of a bum so I no longer look like I have chicken legs I like to think. But that is completely off topic so where was I. Right we went back to the hostel and chilled it was kind of a lame hostel.
The second day in Budapest we met up with Paul and another Australian for a free walking tour around the city. The walking tour took three hours and was awesome I learnt a whole lot and we saw tons. I never knew so much about Hungarian/Budapest history. Then after that Ashley and I split from the boys. The three of them went and rented bikes to tour around the city on and do guy things such as take inappropriate pictures at all the statues. One of the statues you are supposed to rub the horses balls as an old Hungarian tradition for a better sex life very odd indeed. Ashley and I instead when to the under ground labyrinth which was very strange indeed. We did not know exactly what to expect we were think a bunch of underground caves mazes and that was about it. But instead it was a bunch of underground labyrinths seven in total. Each one with its own weird meaning, the labyrinth of Love, The labyrinth of another World, The Labyrinth of Greed all equally strange with weird figures in them. One I believe it was the Labyrinth of greed was a fountain that just kept pouring out awful smelling read wine that you could fill your water bottle with but it smelt more like vinegar so we opted out. Another one had random objects in cased it what I am guessing was supposed to be ice. But there was no explanation for any of it so all in all it was just really weird. After finally finding are way out we tried to find the underground bunker that was used as a hospital during the war but as it was underground and there was very little signage we never did find it. So we decide to go check out the underground wine cellar and go for coffee instead. After Coffee we met back up with the boys and the five of us went for dinner and ate Hungarian food.
The last day in Budapest we set aside for the communism museum and Hungarian bathes. First we went to the ‘House of Terrors’ (museum) it was extremely interesting but consisted of large amounts of reading. The building itself used to be where first the Gestapo was located and then where the communist secret police where. The top floors had the museum and the bottoms ones showed the actual jail and torture cells that where used during those times. After that we headed to the biggest bath house in Budapest. It has eighteen hot and cold pools and a whole bunch of different saunas. We first checked out the pools outside each pool was a different temperature and did something different. The first one my favourite was warm and had pressure fountains coming out of the sides. The one on the other side had pressure bubbles coming out the bottom that you were supposed to stand on but all they did for me was give me a wedgie. We moved on to the inside which was full of different salt and temperatures. I could only stand the really hot ones for about a minute before I jumped out.
After relaxing in the pools for a couple of hours we all got massages from Hungarian woman well Ryan and I from Hungarian woman and Ashley from a pretty cute Hungarian guy.
Then that night Ashley parted ways from Ryan and I and headed back to Vlissingen to her Dutch boy and another semester of HZ and the Dutch ghetto who knows maybe this time she may learn some Dutch. But I can guarantee you she will not have as cool roommates. I shall miss my partner in crime I hear she has already replaces me with a bunny though ouch.
Greetings from abroad. I am doing my best at trying to keep up with this blog as to keep you all entertained and jealous about the many interesting places we our travelling to. And yes there is no method to my madness so some days there will be a blog and some days there will not I just like keeping you on your toes. But I believe I last left you of with a Bled blog on the train to Vienna. Well Vienna has come and gone and once again we are on the train so as long as my lap top does not die I will continue with my tales.
We arrived in Vienna with very little planning and direction just the three of us and are ever growing bags. We dropped these lovely bags at the hostel which felt somewhat like a hospital very sterol but since we booked late as we have been doing these days there were not many options so we took what we could find. The first night we met up with my friend Erin from calgary who was dancing in Vienna for the next three weeks. It was awesome to see someone from home and the two of us caught up over drinks at a cool little bar. We all then went and had some strudel the famous Austrian desert which is very similar to apple crumble/pie but you can get a variety of fillings.
Then we headed back to the hostel to befriend our new roommate (we were in a four person bunk). When travelling it is always important to attempt to befriend your bunkmates as to lessen the chance of them stealing all your stuff or murdering you in your sleep if this is not always possible though so then you have to sleep with one eye open. However, this time is was possible we ended up being bunkmates with an Australian dude named Paul (we made his blog so I feel only fair to mention him in mine).
The next day we started with all the sightseeing in Vienna. We went to the main square with the major Basilica in it Cathedral something saint a rather (sorry don’t remember the name). We bought the all inclusive ticket for it. I know crazy that they charge for Churches I would say they have enough money personally but I love Cathedrals so we had to go. The all inclusive including walking up the two towers and going to the catacombs as well as an audio tour of the church. We started with the north tower which involved us walking up 348 stairs (Ryan was less then impressed) ending up in a little room with a gift shop and overpriced water but a great view of the city. Walking down turned out to be worse then walking up as all three of us got more and more dizzy spiralling down. After regrouping we moved on to the south tower which luckily had a lift and gave another view of the city. After seeing the top of the church we moved to the bottom and entered the catacombs which were pretty sweet. There were just rooms filled with bones and skeletons some in pretty patterns and some just piled on top of each other. All from the 18th and 19th century. Then we did the guided tour of the church. After that we walked around the rest of the center which is filled with wonderful architecture. We then headed back to the hostel for a siesta the most important part of the day were I proceeded to oversleep and did not want to get up for dinner but I did. We decided to go for an authentic Austrian dinner that night with Paul (roommate). The hostel recommended this place that was pretty cheap and had big portions. They measured all their bread in centimetres so when ordering you would ask for 15cm of bread and that is what you would get. Ryan also almost ordered 4meters of sausage but decided against it which was a smart choice. Instead he got the sausage stuffed with cheese which turned out to be hot dog stuffed with something along the lines of cheese wiz which was gross. I ordered a wheelbarrow full of macaroni sausage and vegetables and it was literally a small wheel barrow full of food so I got no where close to finishing it. It started to rain that evening and that was the end of our hot weather for the next week.
The next day we did some more exploring and that night we had bought tickets to go see an orchestra play some Mozart in the palace he used to play in. After the concert we went to grab some food as we had missed dinner. We ended up at the sketchiest restaurant ever pretty sure it was just a front for something else. Ryan ordered the steak which turned out to be roast beef drenched in gravy like sauce and extremely soggy fries. Ashley order the Ham pizza which we saw them take the ham into the kitchen from another room. I ordered the soup of the day which was worst of all, we heard them say minestrone but it turned out to be an unidentifiable broth filled with something extremely similar in both shape and taste to corn pops I finished a good two bites before giving up. And then to top it all off the waiter followed us home and we had to make some sneaky moves on the train to loose him. But on the bright side we did not die of food poisoning and woke the next day ready for our last day in Vienna.
It was raining so we decided to hit up one of the Museums. We went to the Belvedere which was located in two massive palaces. The actual museum was also very cool and one of my favourite in Europe to date. It had a little bit of everything. After the museum it was still raining so we stopped in a little greek restaurant for something to eat and for one drink or so we thought. This restaurant was the exact opposite then the night before and after 5 hours and three bottles of free wine we made are way home.
And that in a nut shell my friends was our time in Vienna. I will leave Budapest for the next blog to spread everything out and so when I forget to write a blog for a few days I can post an already written one and we will all be happy.
Alright this is pretty exciting I am now officially caught up on the blogging front. I am writing this blog on the train leaving bled lake headed to Vienna. This train turned out to be longer then needed so I have had some time to catch up. We woke up at 530 this morning to catch a bus at 620 to Ljubjana (capital of Slovenia) to catch a train to Vienna. The bus took an hour and a half and ended up being late so we missed the first train and had to catch one at 930 the funniest thing about this though is the fact it turns out this train also stopped in bled at 1030 meaning we could have had 5 extra hours of sleep and not taken that silly bus but nobody told us this so now we are all a bit tired but half way to Vienna which is sweet. Since Croatia are numbers have fell and we are down to three Zach headed back to Canada and Ashley Ryan and I headed to Slovenia with the sole purpose of trying to use another day on our train passes. It turned out to be the best choice ever, for the last five nights we have been staying at bled lake and loving every minute of it.
Section Sixty Nine Life in bearable weather
The minute we arrived in bled I loved it not only was it extremely beautiful it was also in the mountains meaning the weather was cooler. Now by cooler I am not saying cool by any means it was still 30 degrees just not 37 degrees as it had been and that made a world of difference. We arrived in bled having five nights booked in and worrying we would not have enough to do there for the next week, how wrong we were, five night was not even enough time to do everything I wanted.
The first day we spent just walking around the town sipping tea and eating their famous cream cake. The town itself is very picturesque. It surrounds a big lake with a small island in the middle with a church on it. There is also a castle on the one cliff and it that hangs over the lake. We climbed up to the castle the first day and got a very cool view of the town. Then the first night we went out with some others we had met and the first bar we stopped at ended up having a foosball table so Ryan was very happy and even managed to hustle some drinks out of two English dudes he beat. The next day we went rafting in a very cold mountain river which was very fun except for the part where we got chased by hornets. Then on day three we walked up to Vintagar Gorge which had been left from the glacier during the ice age and is a massive gorge that leads to the river and weaves its way through the mountains. Then we hiked back to town where we rented a row boat to row out the island. Ryan rowed well the three girls sat and watched. The island was cool but Ryan was less then impressed with the museum on it that consisted of clay figures of all the different national costumes in the EU on one floor and nativity scenes made out all different materials on the other one being a ginger bread house. We also bought a portable yahtzee set and have been playing a lot of that. The last day in Bled we spent hanging out by the lake enjoying the sunshine. We also played mini golf which as usual I failed miserably at and had to buy the winners cream cake.
Other then that I don’t really know what to say. Bled was awesome, relaxing and very beautiful. oh and our hostel had free laundry so I have clean clothes again whoopee.
I left this blog short since my last ones have been pretty long and I get bored writing them so I can only image how bored you all are reading them. But stayed posted so I can catch you all up on Vienna and any other events that may transpire.
With these two blogs so close together I am hoping to surprise you all. I also have ample time on this train to write even if Ryan is creeping over my lap top singing Keisha to me since he is so bored. I left you all, with the cliffing hanging moment of whether or not we boared our night ferry. Well it was a close one let me tell you folks. Once again we were struck with a train strike this time in Italy so we were a little worried. But thank goodness our trains for some odd reason where one of the only few working in the country. So we made the night ferry, now night ferries although better then night buses are still not fun especially if you want to sleep. I made myself a pretty sweet bed though laying my backpack beside Ryan’s in front of a chair length wise with a blanket over top of them to create some sort of bed and the stole Ryan’s blanket to keep warm not sure how impressed he was but I think I got the most sleep out of any of us which was not much. Are ferry docked in split at 730 in the morning and then we trugged off to find the split hostel. I also should mention Croatia uses a different currency called the Kuna which is 5 to 1 Canadian. It took me a little while to figure this conversion out and was continually outraged when are meals would come to something ridiculous like 400 kuna which is not bad at all.
Section Sixty Six- Life swimming in Waterfalls
After dropping the bags in our hostel we went for some breakfast of fresh smoothies and walked around for a bit before going back to the hostel to take a much needed nap. After the nap we went out exploring again Split is another town with endless dead ends and no street signs so we hunted for food for what seemed like forever before stumbling upon an awesome burger joint that we never found again until the last night in split. The first full day in split after recovering from the treacherous ferry ride we decided to split up the boys who went to the beach and Ashley and I went walking around the city and the market. It was a lovely day, however, it was blistering hot thank goodness the hostel had air conditioning. That night we went to a awesome restaurant I order the mixed fish and ended up with three full fish on a platter staring up at me with their dead eyes it was very good though.The next day Ryan and I went and met his dads Cousin Goran and his wife who live in Split and they took us out for an authentic Croatian meal. It was amazing and very very filling, Alexis you would have died it was about ten different kinds of fish. The dessert was surprisingly delicious a chocolate cake in olive sauce. That night we also met them and there two young children for drinks in a square that is surrounded by Roman ruins. The following day we went on an exertion to Kraka national park. The park was amazing full of waterfalls that we got to swim in to cool off. Most of these things I need pictures to explain better I however have no idea how to put those on so just close your eyes and use your imaginations. That night was also the Fifa world cup Spain versus Netherlands. We ended up watching the game at a Mexican restaurant with about seven other Canadians. The game was being shown outside the restaurant on a rigged up projection screen consisting of two white pieces of paper taped together on cardboard and needless to say although it was fun I was very disappointed with the outcome. The next day we caught a ferry to the Island of Hvar.
Section Sixty Seven Life on a boat
Hvar is absolutely beautiful surrounded by crystal clear water and seriously impressive yachts. In Hvar we stayed in flats in our apartment Ryan and I even had are own bathroom and an ocean view. Our first night there we went out to a pub and I went home early since the really good night club doesn’t open until 230am. The first day there we decided to rent a boat with two English guys we had met. The night before Ryan and I had decided to get him an Alberta boating licence, you would think this is difficult to do from Croatia and little boating experience but think again. You can get your licence online I a mere 45 minutes so that is just what we did. And the next day off the Five of us set in a 5 horsepower motorboat headed for the near by islands. The islands were cool; a few were full of naked old men so we choose not to stop at those ones. I used the wrong were up there a few seconds ago but I caught myself and even threw in a semicolon no big deal. After our awesome day of boating and almost melting to death during the night from the heat in our non air conditioned room we decided to all rent another boat the next day this time with one more (an aussie girl) with the number growing we decide to splurge on a 10 horsepower boat that came with a cooler and swimming goggles. We took a picnic out with us that day and spent another day out on the ocean jumping of the boat. Then it was our last day in Hvar which was coincidently also Zach’s birthday. We spent the day in town and walked all along the boardwalk along the ocean. Stopping at one point so the boys could go for a swim which Ryan happily did in his boxers. At one point well they were swimming I here them call my name to look out and find them both holding there swimming suites over there heads and seeing the sun reflect off their bare bums. After their swim we headed back to the flat to get ready for dinner. The three of us then took Zach out for a birthday dinner.
Section Sixty Eight Life Babysitting
The evening of Zachs birthday although our last night in Hvar I made the wise decision not to go out after dinner to celebrate since we hade a 6am ferry to catch the next day. The other three, however, went out in full force that night and I mean full force. I got woken up at around 330am by Ryan who had perhaps had more then one drink that evening informing me I owed him since he was taking such good care of Ashley who had also had more then her fair share of drinks that evening and was now in the showering cleaning up. After checking to make sure Ashley made it out of the shower safely Ryan and I went to bed to get that precious hour of sleep before we had to wake up at 530 for the ferry. Well 530 came all to soon and I woke up fine, however, it was another story for the other two and Zach well Zach was not even home yet. I shook Ryan awake and told him to go jump in the shower well I woke up Ashley. I shook Ashley awake and told her to get ready and I would be back in ten to check on her. When I got back to my room the only change was Ryan was now fast asleep facing the other direction so I had to drag him out of bed and throw him in the shower. When I went back to check on Ashley the only change was she was still fast asleep and Zach was now just crawling into bed (lucky for Zach he was taking a later ferry since he headed back to Canada the next day), so again I shook Ashley awake and made her sit up and start getting ready, her first comment to me was she wanted to shower and was very surprised when I informed her she had already showered a few hours ago and didn’t believe me until she touched her hair and low and behold it was still wet. Now she may have showered the night before but she had not finished packing her bag leaving me to do that well I tried to get her dressed. So just to spite her I dressed her in black shiny tights, a red dress and a purple tank top. Once I had the Ashley situation under control I went back to check on Ryan and found him still in the shower sleeping so I turned the cold water on him and made him get out. Then I dragged the two of them out of the flats and down to the pier. The ferry ride sobered them up and neither of them where feeling very well after that one. We then caught a train to Bled Lake Slovenia that they slept a good portion of.
I did promise I would answer some questions and I believe this blog answered the main ones about Croatia so to answer the other few I posed. Yes I have a wicked awesome tan. I have no idea where in the world Carmen San Deigo is I have not played that game since I was 10. And Yes Ryan has a ginger beard when it grows especially if you catch it in the sun.
Much love and stayed posted for the blog about Bled Lake a seriously awesome place.
Even with my busy schedule I have fit some time in to write my dwindling audience another blog I will have to write more often if I plan on winning back any of my lost followers. It may be to late for all I know they have moved on to a new and more exciting blogs about cats or other less important things. I however will not change the nature of this blog to connect with a new target audience and become a slave to the masses so even with my two or three readers I will write on about my travels. I believe I left you off at the epic moment of leaving the boys to there own devices after organizing their lives for the past few weeks. I was nervous to do this but I did need some girl time and really wanted to see charlotte so I just had to hope for the best and pray they did not stray into the purple zone on there last night in Naples.
Section Sixty Four- Life getting my sanity back
I left Naples a day before the boys and took a train to meet Char in Arezzo a city close to Florence where she has been house sitting for the past six weeks. It was a great time. She picked me up at the train station and we went to the house which was out in the country side of Tuscan and reminded me strikingly of how mom would decorate her house with an excess of candles and paintings. The best part of all was the house was equipped with two cats and a dog so I got some to get some quality animal time in and Char had some one else to throw Molly’s ball. After dropping my bag at the house and throwing in a load of laundry because I came equipped with a large quantity of dirty laundry we went into town. The town itself is very nice has two main squares and is the home of some famous family and or guy in history that wrote a famous book that Char talked about but I can not remember the name of something manuducci. I also bought a beautiful leather bag there and had some gelato. Then that evening Char made dinner and we sat on the patio eating and talking. Oh we were also waiting for fireflies to come out which Charlotte promised me there always was but I did not see a single one she also told me the cat always laid on her lap but that did not happen either. The next day after I got to sleep in a double bed the two of us headed off to Florence to meet the boys once again.
Section Sixty Five- The Search for Gelato
We arrived in Florence at 1:30 and I had told the gentlemen to meet me at the hostel at 2:00, however, that did not turn out exactly as planned. When char and I got to the hostel they were not insight and I began to wonder if I had put to much faith in them and getting themselves out of Naples alone. But I decided not to worry about it and dropped of my bag and the two of us went out to explore the city. Florence is wonderful. And we spent the day walking around looking at the cathedral and outdoor statue museum as well as walking along the canal and its bridges charlotte knows a lot about the city and its history so I pretty much had my own personal tour guide. Then after walking around we went to a cafe to share some presucco and food and contemplate more life matters such as why anyone would want to live in Canada instead of Europe. Sitting there we also met a fellow traveller from Australia who was obsessed with food and ended up showing us the best gelato ever which I will elaborate more on later for now all you need to know is that it is called Grom. After are appetizers charlotte headed off to catch her train and I headed back to the hostel to try and track down the boys. I ended up finding them in the pool there and made them feel slightly guilty for leaving me all alone. It turns out Ryan some how read the message wrong and wanted to pick me up from the train which he for some reason thought got in at 2:30 which was sweet of him but wrong so we missed each other and he worried all day and I explored Florence. That evening the four of us (David, Zach, Ryan) in case you forgot who I am now travelling with went out for dinner with the cooking obsessed Australian I had met earlier. It took a little convincing to steer Zach and David away from the Chinese food restaurant but in the end we went for an authentic Italian meal. The next day after I got very little sleep (since Zach spent the evening talking to this girl outside my window whose catch phrase was Shit Yeah said very loudly every 20 seconds or so and zach coming in at all hours of the morning to ask for a wine opener) we spent the day exporing Florence first stop was the ubissi museum (spelt wrong) the line was ridiculously long but we figured out that by calling we could reserve a time to go in for 3 extra euro so that is what we did in order not to waste time in the line. Well waiting for are time slot we decided to climb the hill in Florence to get to the city this took longer then expected because we did not want to pay to see some castle which was blocking are way. David was intent on jumping a wall and making a run for it but we finally talked him out of it and just walked around it. After the view point we headed back to the museum to take a look at some renaissance art which was cool but the gallery consisted of about a hundred painting of Madonna and child which I am sure all had some deeper meaning but they got boring after a while. That evening we ate some more Italian food and the boys went in the pool I have never met someone so pool obsessed as David. I went to bed early that night warning the boys not to wake me up since I didn’t get enough sleep before, however, I got woken up at about 4:00 in the morning by Zach and David informing me they had lost Ryan. I asked them how this happened and they informed me that they had all been downstairs in the bar and Ryan and Michael (food Australian) had been playing foosball (Ryan is obsessed with foosball by the way) and Zach and David had been of chatting to girls I am sure and then when they went back Ry and Michael were gone and they went looking but could not find them for the next two hours. I asked if they had tried calling them and they said no they had not thought of that so I called Michael’s phone and low and behold he answered informing us they where in the square. It turns out Ryan and Michael had decided at two thirty AM they should go for a late dinner of authentic Wild boar meat (Florence specialty) but neglected to inform the other of this decision. The next day we decided to do a Chianti wine tour through are hostel which was fun but the guy leading it knew little to nothing about wine except for a story about roosters but it was delicious and we tried some wicked extra virgin olive oil and a wonderful lunch in the hills of Tuscany. That evening was are last in Florence and the next day we hopped a train to Venice to meet back up with Ashley.
Section Sixty Five- Life getting lost in Venice
We were staying at a campsite just outside of Venice that had a shuttle everyday to the center since it was so expensive to stay in the center. When we got to the campsite Ashley was there waiting for us and David was already in the pool. It was nice to have another girl and some one else to help with the organizing. After dropping are bags in the tents ash and zach in one and ry and I in another we sat down to watch some fifa world cup and eat yet another pizza or maybe it was pasta. That evening we spent at the campsite playing pool and hanging out. The next day we headed to the center and began exploring Venice. Venice is by far the easiest city ever to get lost in with no street signs and a maze of dead ends but it is very cool all the same. We spent most the day walking around looking at all the cool things. Then while we were sitting having lunch I saw a woman walk by with a cup from the amazing gelato place Grom and decided we must find it. Now this cup was pretty fresh looking over half full with minimal melting of gelato so we figured the place could not be far. The woman had come from across a bridge in walking in the westerly direction so we began are search on the other side of the bridge, first just walking around, then when that turned nothing up we started asking at restaurants which we are pretty sure all just pointed us in the direction of the nearest gelato place to them but not the one we wanted which lead us to desperate measures of peering into garbage cans looking for discarded cups to judge which direction the person may have come from. At one point we found a gypsy lady begging with one of the cups and attempted to ask her but she was no help at all. And then miraculously we finally stumbled upon Grom had divulged ourselves in delicious ice cream but the next day when we tried to find it again we had no such luck. The last day in Venice we met up with two aussie girls we had met in Naples and the seven of us attempted to bargain for a gondola ride soon learning they only allow six people on a gondola leaving us with little options. So instead we decided to all pile on a water taxi for 45 minutes and make it drive us around. This turned out to be great and we got a nice guided tour of the city from the canals. That night Ryan and I the cool couple we are fell asleep at 6:30 and didn’t wake up until nine the next morning to catch are train to the ferry terminal so we could head to Croatia.
I will leave you all at this cliffing hanging moment when you can ask yourself the questions did they make their ferry? did is sail safely across to Croatia? does Liseanne have an amazing tan now? where in the world is Carmen San Deigo? does Ryan have a ginger beard when he grows it for more then four days? All these questions and more will be answered in my next instalment bye for now
I am back. I understand my readership may have dropped substantially since my last blog because I dropped off the face of the earth for a bit but for all of my loyal fans I am back and here to grace you the excitement of a new blog depicting where and what my travels have consisted of in the past couple months. I understand my last blog took place on May 30th and in order to not make this the longest and most uninteresting blog I will cut a few parts down. But where to start I left you all off with me studying way to much for exams well the good news is I am now done exams and after only a few minor alright major hic ups I have passed them all and moved on to a summer of travelling.
Section Sixty Life leaving Vlissigen
Well people it was a bitter sweet day June 21st when I packed up my Dutch life and said goodbye to the ghetto and all the amazing people I met there. The days leading up to it where an eventful bunch with exams finally finishing and few issues leaving me with an insider knowledge of the Dutch medical system. But once that all got sorted out Ryan arrived from Calgary. For those of you who don’t know Ryan he is the boy I suckered in to dating me back in Calgary that is now stuck carrying my extra backpack around Europe. But I will get back to the Europe trip in a bit first I will get back to how awesome the people I met in Vlissingen are and how much I will miss them. I must say no jokes my semester abroad was phenomenal and full of wicked awesome people so it was hard to say goodbye to everyone. But in the end I guess it just means I will have to come back to Europe to visit them all.
Section Sixty One Life as a Parisian
Once the tearful goodbyes were over I headed out with Ashley, Ryan and Zach (Ryans friend) to our first destination on the Euro trip Paris. Our second night paris Ryan and I went to Beatrice and Michelle (French relatives) for dinner and it was just wonderful in usual Gallagher/Dartnell style we hade way to much food and excellent conversation even with the language barrier Ryans French is even worse then mine. Once in Paris Ashley split off to meet with her mom and sister who had come to visit her, so I was left with the two boys. We attempted to do the usual Paris sites, however, none of that seemed to work out. The day we where headed to the Louvre it was closed which was fine by me since I want to see Musee D’orsay instead which was awesome. And then the next day we wanted to go to Versailles but ended up stuck in line at the train station for three hours trying to sort out our tickets to Rome. Which did not work out as planned. Our easy overnight train to Rome was full and the French train workers decided to go on strike so we were left taking about seven trains over 36hours and being stranded in Nice for a night. But in the end we did make it to Rome. We also tried to go to the catacombs in Paris but we got lost and by the time we got to them they were closed but we did make it to the Eiffel tower of course. Then after only three short days in Paris we headed off to Rome.
Section Sixty Two Life in Ancient Rome
As previously mentioned it took us slightly longer then planned to reach Rome but we did make it there and once there we met up with my friend David from Chicago who was joining me and the boys for the Italian part of the trip. Rome overall was pretty freaking awesome although it was boiling hot or so I thought until I have been in Croatia which is more like melting hot. In Rome we went to all the usual sights, we saw the coliseum which was amazing and then got lost in the Ruins beside it and thought we would never get out. We went to all the fountains which where beautiful and went to the Pantheon. My recollection of Rome is slightly foggy due to the fact it was about a month ago. We also went to the Vatican where you learn just how much money the Catholic Church has. It was pretty amazing but I almost passed out in the museums from the heat and amount of people you would think for such a rich religion they could install some decent air conditioning. I saw the Sistine Chapel which is my opinion is not as cool as st. Peters Basilica which was just insane and so far my favourite. And then on our last day we headed to a park to spend the day. David convinced us he knew how to get to this said park but about two hours into the trek I soon realised he had no idea where this mysterious park was so we spent a good three hours trying to find the park well melting away. But we did finally find the park and it was quite wonderful. We fell asleep for a few hours in the shade and when we woke up we where surrounded by small children’s birthday parties. After watching the children’s riveting game of tug a war we packed up and left to call a cab to the hostel since there was no way we where walking all the way back after five days of straight walking. That night Ryan and I went out for dinner and found a roof top terrace that we got to watch fireworks from which was pretty cool. But let me tell you why we went out for dinner. Zach the lovely boy he is decided to eat all my ichiban that I had trucked all the way from the Netherlands so I was seriously unimpressed so he will be making me an ichiban dinner once back in Canada I have decided. But that was are last night in Rome and the next day we headed south the the seriously sketchy city of Naples.
Section Sixty Three Life with too much Pizza
We got to Naples and quickly realized we had stepped back in time. This part of Italy is pretty crazy and makes you feel as though you are in a scene from the Godfather. We were staying at a pretty strange little hostel well the hostel itself was fine but the man who owned it was quite a character Giovanni. I don’t really know how to explain him Harmless but very odd I am pretty sure he was watching us well we sleep. The first thing he did when we got to the hostel sat us down and gave an hour and a half lecture about Naples and the surrounding area. Where to find the best pizza (and it really was the best) where to take the train and where not to walk since it is run by the mafia (the purple zones as he drew them on our map) we also had to be back by dark as to make sure we were not mugged. The first night we went to go get our pizza and almost got run over by about 10 people on scooters since there are no rules to the roads or sidewalks in Naples. We also accidentally went to the wrong pizza place since there is a man in Naples who had 21 sons and 18 of them make pizza and three of them are on the same street. But it was fantastic all the same and massive pizza for like 5 euro I think I have a pizza belly now. The next day we headed out to Pompeii, Hercules and the Volcano. All really awesome but difficult to write about since I don’t know how to explain except as massive ruins from the volcano with dogs ruing around in them, so I will skip that part, that night though the boys decided it was a good idea to buy 2 litre jugs of 80 cent wine which shockingly was not good at all and tasted more like vinegar not even good enough for cooking then actual wine. Then I woke up early the next morning to leave the boys for a night to go visit Charlotte in Arezzo which I will enlighten you all about in my next blog. But for now I am off.
I do Promise however, I will not leave it so long before I write me next blog I have five days of peace at the lakes in Slovenia coming up so I am I sure I can squeeze some time in to keep you all updated since I am a little behind
After a brief hiatus and a few complaints I am back to the blog world to inform you all what I have been up to since Spain. Life has slowed down slightly since Spain and I have actually had to settle in and hit the books. But before I did that I did get one more little adventure in with my favourite aunt and uncle. So if you want to know how to travel +50 style sit back and read on
Section Fifty-Eight Life with the Gallaghers
After a night at home post Spain Auntie Jackie and Uncle Jim (From now on they will be referred to as AJ and UJ) picked me up bright and early for four day trip to France to see the relatives. Getting there was an adventure in itself. They had rented a car for their three week vacation and armed with a load of maps had decided to drive around Europe. Now trying to navigate European roadways is not an easy feet just ask Uncle Jim who drove thru Brussels twice well trying to get to Vlissingen and then once more on are way to Charliesville. After getting lost numerous times I am slowly understand the importance of a GPS system and why everyone in Europe has one. But we did to our destination and Uncle Jojo and Aunt Bernadette where waiting with wine and cheese. Our first night in France we drove to city center and walked around so I could see the beautiful town square, and then we went home for dinner. And in true Gallagher style dinner was an event. It consisted of course after course and large quantities of delicious French wine, and lots of conversation 50% English and 50% French that I just nodded along to and laughed when everyone else laughed. The next morning we headed to the champagne region to tour a champagne cave and check out the cathedral in Reims. The Cathedral was amazing and super old. AJ and I lit candles for Nana there. After walking around the cathedral and town we moved on to moms champagne house for a tour of the caves and to taste some delicious champagne. The only downside of the tour was that it was in French meaning a large portion of it went right over my head except for what AJ had time to translate but it was very cool all the same and the champagne was delicious. After the champagne house we took a drive up to a champagne town that just happened to be the home of one Dom Perignon and I got to stand on his tomb in the monastery where he lived no big deal. After that we went home for another dinner of fabulous food and wine. I swear I drank more on this trip then I have at school. The next day we went to the Orval Monastery which was very cool it has been around since the 10th century. They have a guest house there that you can stay at but the idea of sitting around being silent for 24hours and then praying for a bit just does not really appeal to me. After the monastery we went to a beautiful town close by set in the mountain side with a really old castle I can not remember the name of the town though but hey as uncle Jim says once you have seen one small French town you have seen them all. Then we headed home and had another awesome dinner with more half frenglish conversation. Now in true Gallagher style all dinner conversation some how would end up on the subject of food whether it was in French or English so even when I didn’t know what they where talking about I could usually easily guess food and then join in. Then Monday we headed back to Vlissingen. All in all it was a fabulous weekend and so wonderful to see and meet the family who are wicked and it was lots of fun to spend time with them and walk around at a slower pace.
Oh I totally forgot to mention the greatest extras of my trip with them. First off I had my own double bed and if that is not enough I brought a huge bag of dirty laundry and Aunt Bernadette did it for me saving me hours of sink time.
Section Fifty-Nine Life with School
Since getting back from France life has taken a strange turn and I find myself doing lots of schoolwork and catching up. My days are now spent primarily sitting with my lap top and working away at some project or another. I am also starting to stress ever so slightly about exams since are teachers suck and I have no idea what I am supposed to be studying. Now don’t get me wrong I am not letting this stress get in the way of the beach on warm days. So awesome having a beach last weekend it was warm enough to lie all day on the beach but sadly no going in the water just yet since it is filled with jelly fish right now But don’t worry to much I only have two weeks left and then say hello to a summer of backpacking. Umm other then that I am not sure what else to say folks other then I am loving life out here