Monday, October 26, 2009

We finally made it to France and to our katie.

Two days ago, Becca and I left Germany to get to France. We buy a ticket to Paris and then we plan on heading north to the town of Dunkerque to be with our dear friend Katie. While we are on the train we hear it announced that we are in Belgium which happens to be closer to katie's town than Paris, so naturally we take a chance and get off the train. We take a few more trains and get to the town of Lillie which is about 45 minutes from Katie but their are no trains until the morning. So, naturally we get a shitty hotel room which may or may not have been cleaned in the past few days. We sleep like cocoons in our sheets that we have brought.

The next morning we get to Dunkerque but have no way of getting ahold of Katie due to the fact that it is Sunday and nothing but a bar is open. So we sit in the train station for a few hours eating candy bars from the vending machine.

Finally we find a bar that is open that has internet use so we email katie and we get her phone number which we cannot use because we do not have a phone card. So we each get a beer. At around 11:30 am. The bar tender who speaks a bit of English lets us use his phone and we leave a message for katie, she then calls us back and comes to rescue us.

Now we are in France!
We go to the beach.
We explore the beach.

We get ice cream.

We go to a childrens film that is dubbed in French about meatballs falling from the sky.
And we are happy. We are happy to be together and to be not in creepy ass hotels.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Salzburg, Austria: day 2: Sound of Music tour

Becc and I decided to Splurge and go on a rather pricey tour around Salzburg of all the important spots from the film, The Sound of Music. Since this movie was a childhood favorite of both of ours we decided to shell out the dough for this tour. Another reason we went may have been because Becca had been singing the songs from the movie for the past few days and I was going crazy.

At any rate,
we find ourselves on a tour bus that is painted to fit the theme of
the musical with a rather flamboyant tour guide
who cracked cheesy jokes amongst his trivia facts.

The tour was great because we were given the opportunity
to see parts of the city that we would not have been able to otherwise because they were farther on the outskirts of town. We went to the lakes and mountains that were shown in the film; the scenery was gorgeous even though the fog was thick.

We got to see a few of the houses that were shown in the films, this one was the back of the Vontrap house. But interestingly, not the front of it.

The famous scene where Lessil dances in the gazebo with her boyfriend;
yep, we got to see the gazebo.

And even the road where there are the trees that the kids are climbing in the movie when their father comes home from a trip and finds them in "play clothes".

The fountain where the kids and Maria dance around

And the gardens where they sing the Doe a dear song.

As cheesy as it sounds, the tour was actually very enjoyable and we even learned a few fun facts about the city of Salzburg which I will not bore you with because I am far to tired and I need to get some rest before my trip to Paris tomorrow.

I don't believe I have mentioned this yet, but I wanted to add a thank you to everyone who is reading my blog. I don't know if it is interesting at all to
anyone but I have fun writing it and I love reading your comments and seeing what you think of the things that I am experiencing. It's nice to have some sort of a connection to all of you who I love who are far away. I miss you.


Although I only passed through the country of Serbia quickly I thought I would post a few pictures from our couple of hours there because it was unlike anywhere else I have seen during this trip. It seemed to have a large amount of poverty from what I could see. Sadly, I do not know much about this country as I wish I did, but perhaps I can do some research and get back to you on that information. Until then I will just post a few photos and a few thoughts that I had.This picture seemed as though there was an earthquake or something and the building was never rebuilt. There were many more buildings like this one.

As we got onto our train we had to walk under a bridge and we saw behind a gate that there were probably hundreds of people who were sorting through what looked like organized trash. It looked like all of the Goodwill stores threw up and then they all were organized under this bridge. I didn't get a photo of this particular scene, although I wish I would have, but I did get a few shots that sort of show the poverty and amounts of trash everywhere.

This picture I just liked because there money was different. I forget what it was called.... but we felt rich because we had a 1000 but in US dollars it was only about 7 or something.

Also. The toilets where on the floor! And we had to pay 20 to use them. Well, 20 of their money so it was maybe 50 cents to us. We were confused at first but we figured it out.


Now, I know that I have already posted about the trip
at the end of Greece and our travels up North, so I thought that posting about my visit to Crete would be appropriate.

Becc and I stayed the lovely home of our friend
Nicole who is stationed in the town of Souda
on Crete. Nicole was a wonderful host and showed us around the island a bit. The first day we arrived Becc and I were tired from our travels so we took a nap and read on the porch at Nicole's house, that happens to have an incredible view.
The next day the three of us rent a car and head to the town of Knossos where there are ruins of a castle. The weather was just as great as we had imagined; sunny and warm with clear skies.
We ate Gyros a few times and I was looked at very oddly when I asked for mine without meat. But hey, after being a vegetarian for 6 years I guess I'm used to it by now.

Later that night the three of us go out for drinks and dancing until 4am.
Who knew that bars stay open until the people leave??
I was not aware, but pleasantly surprised.
The girl pictured in this photograph with Becc and I was our Romainian bar tender who
may or may not have been out of her fucking mind.

Some swimming happened and some more lounging and reading happened.
It did rain a bit which limited our outdoor activities,
but we did see quite a bit while we were on the island. All in all, Greece was beautiful; however I must add that it was not what I was expecting and I was/still am, extremely disappointed with the fact that I was not able to make it to a smaller island. Perhaps I will have to return someday and see all of the things that I missed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Salzburg, Austria: day 1

As soon as I stepped off the train in Austria it felt like home. I knew I loved this city from the moment I saw it and exploring for the short amount of time that I did only made these feelings stronger. The city is beautiful. Clean. Friendly. Beautiful buildings. Castles. History. Good food. Lovely weather.
Becca and I explored for a bit today after we got settled and took our first shower in days. We saw beautiful buildings and castles, and plenty of people on bikes. The city is very bike friendly and very clean. I am glad to be back in a city where German is used; I love the way it sounds and feels.

It was rainy and cold today, but we did not mind. We just bunndeled up and explored as much as we could.

For lunch we ate at a market. We ate a lovely sandwhich with fresh veggies and this thing that is called a Knödel, which is like a ball of stuffing with veggies in it. Very tasty. Then for dinner we went out and got soup and salads along with a glass of wine each. I ate cream of Zuchinni soup. And if anyone wanted to know, this kind of soup is in my top 5 favorite soups. Becca and I get bored on the train and we make up games that includ
e listing our top favorite...whatevers. Books. Movies. or whatever we want.

Day upon days of travel.

Becc and I have just arrived in Austria after 3 long days of no showers, sleeping on floors of ferries and seats on trains. The trip was rough but we made the best of it by laughing a lot, crying a bit and reading during the quiet times. We both finished 2 books.

Due to our lack of shower situation, there are not many pictures from the past few days that I wish to share with you. Also we are at in internet cafe and I do not feel like uploading all of my pictures because Becc and I are so happy to be in Austria that we cannot spend anymore time inside this damn cafe.

However, I will share a few of the highlights from the past 72 hours. 1st thing was that we had planned to go to the Island of Paros, which we were both very excited about but because of the language barrier we made some mistakes with our plans and our trip to Paros fell through. So, we end up cancelling that part of the trip and going straight to Athens on an overnight ferry that apparently was a ferry full of smoking men that were loud and rude. So we slept on the hallway floor.

Then we get off in Athens at 6am. We already know how the metro works in Athens so we figure we are good to go. Not the case. The Metro is closed for some reason and no one wants to help us figure out how to get to the train station. So we walk. With our huge bags. All around the city until we find the right cuity bus, we wait for the bus but when it comes all of these older women push us out of the way and the bus leaves without us. There is a very "me first" attitude in Greece. We finally get on a train but have no idea what stop to get off at, and Becca is feeling sick. Our bags are big and weight a lot, we are tired and hungry and want to get on a train. We finally find the train station but have to sit in the station for a few hours before getting anywhere.

We are then on our way, but it will be another 2 days before getting to our final location. During the ride we make a few unwanted friends and I throw up my dinner into a bag while Becca rubs my back. We also make a few long stops along the way. One in Serbia which was extremely interesting. There seems to be a lot of poverty there and I will write more about that later on.

Oh and I forgot to add that our 3 day adventure began with many, many bug bites and a bad sun burn. We look dirty and diseased; no wonder only crazy people have been talking to us for the past few days.

More on Greece and Serbia will be posted soon. And now, I will be off to a Sound of Music tour.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Art is everywhere here.
I see it in the buildings and on the streets each day.

I am sure that most people would agree that most of these historical buildings and statues of naked men and women of the past would qualify as art; but I wish to spend a bit of time focusing on the art that some people might not consider to be art.

The other day, Becc, Rae and I were walking around in Rome and we saw all of this.... stuff just sitting on the sidewalk. It looked like garbage at first. Then we started paying attention and we realized that it was art that someone had set up on purpose for the people walking by to see.

We turn around and there is a man standing against the wall across the street looking at all of the people walking by his art; most likely to make sure that no one takes anything.
The Artists name is Fausto Delle Chiaie.

Anyway, I guess I started thinking about this and relating it to graffiti art which seems to be everywhere.
Some of it is just silly and unattractive in my opinion but some of the art we have seen is really impressive. Becc and I have taken a few photographs of the graffiti art that has stood out to us.


Today is my final day in Rome. Becc and I have been staying with our dear friend Rae, who is a UW intern here at their Rome center. Rae has been the perfect host who has gone above and beyond making us comfortable, she has even served as our own personal tour guide with an extensive knowledge of the historical locations of Rome. I am almost certain that this knowledge has come from her art history degree combined with the fact that she has been to Rome a few times and is able to speak Italian.

I wish I could have the memory that Rae does so that I could relay all of the facts to you about this beautiful city, but sadly there are only a few facts that I can recall. However, there are many memories from my stay in Rome that I hope to always remember.

Although the city is large, with a population close to 2.5 million, it is still small enough that we were able to walk everywhere in the city and still have time for nap time (siesta) in our large comfortable bed in our very own apartment which has the most beautiful view of the Piazza Farnese. A few intersting facts about our apartment are that it was built over the location where Julius Ceasar was killed and that the movie "eat, pray, love", which is also a book that I highly recomend, was filmed right on our front door.
A few of the sights that we were able to visit are as follows,
Vatican City.

The Colosseum.

The Spanish Steps.

The Pantheon.

The Trevi Fountain.

All of these beautiful structures were just as interesting and lovely as I would have thought and just as full of tourists as seen in most photographs.

Food. The food here is lovely. We have eaten pizza almost every day, 3 euros for pleanty enough food for a good solid lunch. And the pizza isnt like the pizza that I am used to; on the first day mine was topped with potatoes, rosemary and olive oil. The first night we went to a local pasta resturant that Rae and her roommate, Leisha, both like. I am not sure what kind of sauce I got, but I know that I loved it.

This morning Becca and I had a lovely cup of coffee from a cafe that is said to be the best coffee in Rome; it was pure bliss and tasted nothing like starbucks. In the piazza below our apartment there is a market that is open daily where we got fruit for breakfast and a bag of pasta to take with us.

Night life here is unbelievable; people are out and about until midnight or later each and every night. I even saw children out late with their parents. Families don't eat dinner until about 9pm here and the meal can go on for a very long time if wished. Outside of the room where Becc and I are staying we could hear people in the piazza until the early hours of the morning. People of
all ages, singing and dancing, eating and drinking, mostly just enjoying life.