Please note this is for us to remember all of the little details and funny happenings along the way. Please excuse spelling errors, profanity or grammatical blunders. Enjoy!
Bus to Phnom Penh Feb 23
Up at 6:00 order room service and call Tuk Tuk for 7:00 am. Get to bus and smooth boarding. Leave on time and en route to Capital. Last 30 minutes of the 5 hour ride and the AC goes out on the bus. Bus driver drives with the door open and all the windows down through hot ass traffic. Tuk Tuk to hotel, can’t check in for 1 hour. It’s a health resort area and nice street. Get smoothies and wraps. Check in and room is huge, cool bed. Walk to pool at sister hotel. Back to room relax and watch tv. Shower and more healthy wraps and smoothies. Bed and watch Argo.
Sihanoukville Feb 22
Room service again and our last day here. We head to the beach and enjoy the heat. Good thing last day as sunscreen is out. Lazy and relax. Shower and go to pizza again for last night. Same acoustic lady. Back to hotel. Ask if our laundry is done. Reply is that housekeeping was too busy… WTF haha. Call it an early night and watch Jack Reacher.
Sihanoukville Feb 21
No plans today. Sleep in and room service. Walk to beach down the street. Very hot day so we can only be out for a few hours. Dinner at our hotel and have beers and watch drinking buddies online.
Koh Rong Feb 20
Up at 7 and breakfast by 8. Tuk Tuk to catch ferry. Very crowded with serious backpackers. Speed boat to island takes 1 hour, bumpy and smells like puke. Island isn’t developed, no roads, or modern buildings. We save money and walk 45 minutes through the jungle to Long Beach. Easily the nicest beach we’ve been on the entire trip. We don’t have much time. Ferry leaves at 3. We negotiate a water taxi for a little after 1 since we don’t want to walk uphill in the hot sticky jungle. Swim and play in water. Taxi back and get pizza and explore the main beach. Not sure how people stay out here. Minimal power, shitty bungalows with open air structures. Bugs must be terrible. No Fans. Glad we didn’t stay out here. Slow backpacker ferry back mainland. Some serious waves and we all get wet. Exhausted we shower and catch dinner just in time for sunset. Enjoy a few beers and call it a night.
Meet Governor Ticket to Rong Feb 19th
Meet with the Governor (His Excellence) and discuss the city relationship. Very nice man and cool experience to discuss the two cities. Mr. Chan drives us to port and we purchase our tickets for tomorrows trip to Koh Rong. Back to Hotel and hang and get drinks. Enjoy more sunset drinks and pizza at the Russian hotel next to ours. . Finish beer and think it’s odd that theres ice in the bottom… not ice it’s a fist full of glass. Decide not to make a huge scene. Get free beers and peace out. Assassination attempt?
Highlands and Chinese New Year Feb 18
Up at 6:00 am pick-up with Mr. Chan and head out. Wait for Fancy Pants at his house and he has pet alligator and crazy amount of fix in his pond. Several hour drive to highlands and top of mountain with amazing views. Fancy Pants driving and doesn’t slow down on turns so we all get car sick, no puke though. Stop for lunch and vegas like chinese hotel on the top. No cars in the parking lot or guest inside. VERY odd feeling, like an episode of vice. We eat and continue on. Fancy Pants has 2 bikes that we assume are for us to ride down the hour long mountain road, nope. He pumps the tires and we follow in the car while he rides down, classic. We continue to Kep get ice cream, lay in hammcoks, coconuts, boiled peanuts. 3 hour drive back, long ass day. Excited to showe and sleep. Get invited to dinner at Fancy Pant’s house. He has 2 hourse this is closer and they order us pizza. Surprise its seafood pizza… family reunion style dinner Lots of fireworks Chinese New Year. I scoop chicken foot in my soup and people all laugh. Mr. Chan wants to leave early, no problem with us. Back to hotel and bed. Longest day.
Sihanoukville Feb 17
Omelet breakfast, slow service at hotel. Mr. Chan picks us up and we visit the port and meet with CEO. Drive and see the town for several hours. Back to room and relax. Have some drinks and watch the sunset. Meeting early for long day so we know we’ll need the rest. Hotel next to ours has western menu and pizza place, score.
Overnight bus arrive Sihanoukville Feb 16
Lights on and time to wake up 5:30 am we arrive at Phnom Pehn. Get breakfast on the water and sit around until 9:30 bus. Bus showers up almost full and they tell we’ll have to wait for the next bus, not happening… we complain and make sure we get on. Lots of traffic while leaving the city. We see a fatality scooter crash. Very gross lady wasn’t wearing helmet and we wish we hadn’t seen it. Cops don’t cover body and people standing around taking pictures and children all around, WTF. Brains everywhere. Bus has wifi and showing James Bond. 5 hours later we arrive, tired and need a bed. Switch rooms from twins to large suite double, free. Hotel has only seafood and lame menu. Free courtesy of port and Kim’s sister city work. Enjoy some beers and lay in bed. Nice to not be in a bus. Bed time air con blasting.
Siem Reap overnight bus Feb 15
Breakfast by 10:00 and relax a little. Out to Pub Street to explore one last time and have some cheap drinks. We extended our hotel room extra night so we could hangout all day in prep for 10:30 pm night bus. Lay in room and work on blog, take showers. Catch Tuk Tuk to Ibis at 10:00 and make new friends with couple with Canada. Chat and get on bus. Very clean and we have double sized top bunks. Wifi on bus which is nice. We take ambien and pass out 11:30 PM.
Angkor Wat Feb 14
Breakfast at 9:00 and off with Boran at 9:30. Last day and he takes us to see Buddha face in tree and back to pyramid that kim couldn’t get into. Lines are super long so we opt out of hiking up the pyramid. Visit some more smaller temples and end at Ankor Wat to climb to the top. Walk around there for 1.5 hours and take in our last day there. Back to Hotel. Macaroons for Valentines day free and on our bed. Kim loves them, so we’re on a mission to find the macaroon store. We find it they offer free samples, so we go to town (Kim eats all my samples). We box and head to dinner for Large pizza and pitcher of diet coke. Back to room and watch tv and eat macaroons.
Siem Reap Feb 13
Breakfast at 9:00. No big plans, just stroll the markets and find some sunglasses and shirts. New glasses for both and shirts. Enjoy more cheap beers and poking around shops. Hot and back to hotel until evening. Back out for dinner, more Mexican and beers. Lazy day, back to room and bed.
Angkor Wat Sunrise Feb 12
Up at 4:30, make coffee and grab the pre-made hotel breakfast of fruit and ham Sammy. Boran picks-up and we’re off by 5:15. Cold and dark morning, gets colder near water and jungle to Ankor. Quite a few people and tour groups, but all crowded near the reflection lake, mistake… We sit in a temple opposite and have one of the more unique experiences of our entire trip. Pitch-black, jungle animals making noise, bats flying above in the temple. Feel like we were in the twilight zone. Sun rises at 7:30 so we sat for a while. Awesome reflections on the small pools. Crazy crowds now showing up. Leave and go to Bayon temple with faces. Kim can’t enter pyramid temple because her shorts aren’t long enough. Visit some other temples, but hot and tired. See elephants and monkeys on the road. Back to town for lunch and rest and shower. Back out for dinner quesadilla and tacos, back to room bed 10:30.
Angkor Wat Feb 11
Up at 8:00 am to get hotel breakfast. Tuk Tuk pick-up at 9:00 am 15 minutes to Ankor Wat. Get our 3-day tickets ($40) and pictures taken and enter the “park”. Stop at Ankor Wat first and walk around for 2 hours. Very hot and humid. Upper temple closed for religious reasons. On to some smaller temples. Jungle roads are shaded and cool, very fun rides in open tuk tuk. Early afternoon and we head back for lunch exhausted. Can’t beat .50 beers. Room to relax and nap. Back out to pub street for dinner and cheap beers. Fajitas. Walk around for hour or so and back to room to relax and bed. 10:00 pm.
Siem Reap Feb 10
After a long day of traveling we sleep in until 9:00 AM and get breakfast which is pretty nice spread. Kim eats a million slices of bread and I down some eggs. Back to room to change and go explore. Walk 20 mins along the river to pub street area. Explore the markets and hold back on purchasing anything as it’s the first day. Pretty busy area but clean and catering to Westerners. See signs for .50 cent beers and help ourselves to the cheapness. Back to room to cool down and relax. Back out for dinner and get Mexican food on pub street while we watch the crowds of tourists take pictures and walk around. Back to hotel and arrange tuk tuk pick-up with Boran for tomorrow morning at 9. Bed time and watch discovery, Gold Rush.
Koh Tao to Siem Reap Feb 9
Up early at 4:30am with our hotel gifted ‘to-go’ breakfast boxes. Taxi picks us up 5:00am and we drive to port to catch 6am ferry. Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Donsak. Made it to the mainland without any delays. Whew. Hopped on bus to Krabi. Doubledecker, still no delays. Bus stopped off at a 7-11 so bus driver could get snacks – weird. Annoyed at making us wait so he can get a snack. Arrive in Krabi at noon with a few hours before our flight to Bangkok. Get shuttle to bus station, hop on bus to airport. Bus driver stops off at convenient store to get cigarettes. We were even more annoyed. Hello?!? People have flights to catch! Back on the road, arrive to airport with plenty of time. Flight to Bangkok easy. Get dinner in Bangkok at Mcdonalds and subway – the best decision ever as it was delicious – get DairyQueen blizzard and board flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. 2 hours later, we are greeted by Mr. Boran, a hotel tuk tuk driver who welcomes up to Siem Reap. Amazing hotel, feels like any Westin or Sheraton property and are realived because it was only 30$ a night with breakfast. We instantly knew we were going to like Cambodia with these prices.
Koh Tao Feb 8
Slept in and hit the pool as it was our last day in Koh Tao. More guests had arrived so it was busy. Rotated between pool and lounge chair for the better portion of the day. Ate lunch at pool bar, more chiang beers. Rested, watched movie. Got dinner. Packed. Bed.
Koh Tao Feb 7
Picked up from our hotel at 9am. Met group near port and boarded boat. RJ and Rachel joined us. They were hungover from a pubscrawl so it made for a hilarious morning. Snorkeled to three bays, including Mango bay, and were provided lunch on the boat. Made it to Koh Nang Yaun for the better half of the day. Climbed to viewpoint and then rested on the beach. Back to port, tired from long day in the water. Dinner at hotel, tv, bed.
Koh Tao Feb 6
Drove to the port to confirm route back to the mainland. Returned scooter and walked back to hotel. Booked snorkeling trip for the following day. Pool the rest of the day. Looked at jobs online and had a relaxing day. Same as usual, beer, dinner, sunset, bed.
Koh Tao Feb 5
Decided to rent a scooter today. Early breakfast. Walked the correct way around the cove to town to find scooter rental company. Rented scooter with off-road tires. Off we went. Koh Tao has unreal steep hills and the majority of the roads are for golfcart sized vehicles not cars or they are dirt with huge potholes and rocks in the middle. Drove to nearby beaches to get a feel for the island. Rough surf so we didn’t get in. Drove to Koh Tao lookout sign. Had to hop off a few times after a few hills proved to be to steep for two people. Made our way to Mango bay after difficult and long journey and were stopped short b/c there was a fee to enter the bay. Annoyed. Drove to main beach on Koh Tao and hit up a beach bar restaurant with a view of Koh Nang Yaun. Had wifi so we facetimed family and checked in with new friends RJ and Rachel. Met them for more beers at their hotel and chatted about snorkeling. Dinner at hotel. Sunset. Bed.
Koh Tao Feb 4
Sleep in. Delish buffet breakfast overlooking hillside and sea below. Wanted to walk to “town”, a small resort cove next to our hotel but followed two other hotel guests the wrong way. Up the steepest hills ever and around corners – we ended up getting a ride from a nice hotel taxi for free b/c we looked so exhausted and had a long way to go. Arrived in town, sweaty, tired. Took note of restaurants here and found the correct way back to our hotel. Totally pooped we grabbed two loungers by the unoccupied pool and set up camp for the day. Pool almost solely to ourselves, perfect temperature, feeling spoiled. Ate lunch up at poolside bar, enjoyed two rounds of Chiang beer and back to the pool. Watched the sunset over horizon and went back to room to shower. Down to hotel restaurant for dinner, more Chiang beer. Bed.
Koh Phangan to Koh Tao Feb 3
Leaving for Koh Tao, so we get breakfast at hotel and relax until 12:00. Catch the ferry and say bye to R & R with plans to meet up on Koh Tao. Get to Koh Tao and the water is clear and more of an Island feel. Barter some tuk tuks and catch a ride to our hotel. Arrive and are blown away with the view and location of our spot, considering it includes breakfast and we paid $55 a night. Check in to our room with amazing views and feels like a 4 seasons. Down to pool and swim around until sunset. Order up some happy hour two-for-one mojitos and chill. Shower and dinner at hotel. Best steak Sandwich I’ve had in a long time, miss the steak. Back to awesome room and enjoy the nicer amenities compared to the bungalow. Not doing that 1 again.
Koh Phangan Feb 2
Up 5:30 am for game. Meet up with Ryan and Rachel and walk to bar. Quite a few fans for the Hawks and a few nice New England fans from the sTates. Get bucket of beers and Jaeger bombs. Loud crash we all turn around and drunk guy on scooter has crashed right in front of the bar. Young new England fan from San Francisco is a fire fighter and helps the assess the crash. Ambulance called, guy is bleeding and concuss. Scooter totaled, but the guy will be okay. Hawks blow it and we sadly walk back to room and nap. Walk to night market for dinner with Ryan and Rachel. I don’t feel well so we head back and call it a day.
Koh Phangan Feb 1
Birthday 26! Rent scooter and head north. White sand beaches on north end of island. Before laying out we get drinks and enjoy the best sand we’ve had all trip. Some topless hippy and her boyfriend doing sand squats. Lay for a few hours and move onto new beach. Swim and get lunch and beers with plans of stopping back at freeway bar for sunset. Road closed and we take wrong turn so can’t find freeway bar. Decide the pizza place will be good and shower before. Meet very nice Canadian couple at hotel bar, Ryan and Rachel. Both are Victoria and are Seahawks fans looking for place to watch the game. They invite us back to their room for vodka redbulls and beer. We tell them about the pizza bar and we all go there for dinner. Beers and Jaeger bombs. Back to their room for some more drinks and game plan a 5:45 am wake-up/walk to the bar for game. Ryan and I Have cigars and beer. All call it a night.
Koh Phangan Jan 31
Days are blending together. More croissants for breakfast and back to beach to layout. Smoothies on repeat. Walk to our sandbar to swim and watch sunset. Birthday tomorrow, going to rent scooter to explore beaches. Eat dinner Entourage, bed.
Koh Phangan Jan 30
No more banana bread, so we get croissants and down those. Another beach day. Lots of seaweed at our beach so we just lay out and use the beach shower to cool down. Smoothies for lunch with fries, back to sun. Shower and decide to scope pizza bar “Food Factory” for super bowl. Some of the best wood oven pizza we’ve had in Thailand. Super bowl party confirmed, we are set. Back to room shower and more entourage.
Koh Phangan Jan 29
Walk to store for more banana bread muffins. Beach day at bungalows. Lay in the sun and get fruit smoothies for lunch and eat more banana bread. Switch from out twin room to a double. Ants destroy our banana bread and I almost eat one covered in ants. Kim gets bug spray and has at it. Basically roach bombs the room, but it has a nice scent. Lay in hammock watch sunset. Burgers for dinner at hotel. Shower and more Entourage, bed.
Koh Phangan Jan 28
Up at 8:00 and walk 2 blocks to huge Tesco (Similar to Costco) and get pack of 8 banana bread muffins for $1.50. Lather up the sunscreen and rent a scooter. Hotel has passports so convince scooter rentals to take my passport card, it works. Drive to national park with a lame waterfall and continue on around the island going pretty slow, not a lot of people. Stop at fishing village and take pics. Continue onto Freeway bar on the beach with awesome sandbar. Get lunch and walk beach with beers. Leaving bar and our scooter blows a tire. Have to push scooter in hot sun for .5 mile and nice lady at store calls us mechanic. Tire repaired $12 and we head back to room. Shower and relex, eat dinner and have some beer. Lizard on the wall in room, we try to catch him but escapes through air conditions. Kim calls her Lizzy. Watch entourage and go to bed.
Koh Samui to Koh Phangan Jan 27
Excited to go to the next island. Hotel shuttle takes us to port. Pack onto ferry bound for koh Phangan . Totally packed with full moon party goers. Taxi (back of pickup truck) to bungalow resort. Awesome huge calm beach. Nice bungalow. Good bar. Make ourselves at home. Can’t believe this place is only $35 a night.
Koh Samui Jan 26
Beach day. McDonalds again. Lunch at weird place down the street. Ugly black cat at restaurant. Flees. Can’t eat. Want to leave. Lady next to us is feeding it- wtf. Gross. Burnt from previous days adventures. Grab laptop and phones and upload/ write Nepal blog posts poolside. Happy hour on beach. Two giant changs and then another round. Shower, pad thai lady is missing. Went to pizza place again. The best pizza ever. So good and cheap. Pass shops, Kim buys hat. Walk town. Pack, Entourage and bed.
Koh Samui Jan 25
Boat tour day. Booked tour to Angthong marine park. Picked up from hotel and driven to port. Hop on boat with other tour goers and devour croissants and orange juice for breakfast. Stole some and his in purse if we got hungry. Lots of peeps board, full boat. Eat remaining croissants. Arrive first island. Walk up several ladders to reach hidden lagoon. Amazing. Enjoy swimming in paradise. Board boat. Buffet lunch. Yum. Go to 2nd beach. Hike to top of view point passing monkeys along the way. See baby monkey. He’ll of a hike. Dying, sweaty. Cool view point. Go to beach and dunk into water to cool off. Exhausted. Beach time. Board boat, nap time in the sun back to port. Arrive at hotel. Shower. Pizza. Beer. Eat remaining snickers, mars from mini bar. Entourage. Sleep.
Koh Samui Jan 24
Beach again. FaceTime family. Wifi working on the beach- we were excited. Like having normal cell service. Hang in the shade a bit more. Get smoothies again and eat with ritz/Pringles/snickers combo. Back to beach. Shower, go walk the beach at night. Lots of restaurants on the beach, all empty because overpriced and cheap night market behind hotels. Go get pizzas and split with caprese app and Chang beers. Delish. Entourage and bed.
Koh Samui Jan 23
Beach day. Grab beach loungers in prime spot. Scooter to mcdonalds. Yes, again. Return scooter. Kim eats snickers bar. Go to beach. Water is calm. Pool, awesome. Lunch at smoothie lady, orange – mango and orange – pineapple smoothies for 50 baht each. Finish lunch with ritz crackers and sour cream onion Pringles. Happy to be in paradise but feeling guilty about uploading Nepal pics. Sneak Mars bars and moreSnickers while Bryce is showering. Visit our pad thai lady at night market.
Koh Samui Jan 22
Rented scooter 150 baht. Helmets in storage, ride to mcdonalds. Plan route. Drive to waterfalls. See elephant Trekkers. Sad cages for elephants. South west coast is best. Get too expensive lunch at hotel- recommended spot. Full but irritated at spending 30$ usd. Drive north, butts sore at this point. Crazy drivers. Pass airport and see helmet police ticketing people. We got away. Made it to chewang beach to see all the tourists. Too busy don’t like. Head to our beach and pass paradise, crystal bay. Boulders, calm waters, amazing. Stop at geocery store – like Fred Meyer – to buy necessities. Mini snickers, Pringles, water, rotz crackers. Make our way back to hotel. Tired. Happy hour on beach. See special steak night dinner with live band but too expensive, go down the street to pizza place. Amazing pizza. OMG. Beer. Wood oven pizzas. Buy aloe Vera for our burnt asses. Entourage again, now averaging 3-5 episodes a night. bed.
Koh Samui Jan 21
Sleep in and walk to mcdonalds for breakfast. Throw towels on beach chairs and sun ourselves. Beach. Ocean. Pool. Reapply sunscreen. Repeat. Split lunch, bad pizza. Bryce showers. Kim eats Snickers bar from mini fridge without him knowing. Go to market for dinner. Chicken pad thai lady has long line of white people. 90 baht and more than we could eat delicious thai food. Go to mini market buy beer to go with dinner. Another few entourage episodes. Bed.
Bangkok to Koh Samui Jan 20
Got up bright and early after only five hours of sleep. Beats sleeping in airport. Checked out and received to-go breakfast pack. It was delicious and totally free. Gotta love thai hospitality. Hopped in shuttle bus. Checked into flight. Boarded plane with western holidayers to the island. Can’t wait. Got another free meal on plane. Thai airways is the best. 45 mins later arrived in paradise. Cloudy wtf. Bargain taxi with sweat pouring. Holy humid. Get a deal, arrive to hotel. Amazing. Room plain but hotel grounds immaculate. Beach. Beer. Early dinner. More beer. Entourage episode. Bed.
Kathmandu to Bangkok Jan 19
Flight at 1:00 pm, so we were up around 9 and called room service while we got ready. Easy check-in, but the flight was delayed about an hour so the plane could be cleaned. Flying Thai Airways for the first time and very excited as we’ve heard good things. Get on plane and Kim is freaking out because it’s full of smelly passengers who have never been on a plane before. Most the passengers are apart of some exchange program to Thailand and have never left home, so this is some futuristic shit for them. The flight attendant moves us to the empty exit row that has about 6 feet of leg room. Little did we know, Thai Economy Class had just won the best economy class award. A selection of 100’s of free movies, a full dinner HUGE portions and the greatest part was free alcohol as much as you want of whatever you want. We were in heaven and the flight was amazing. I watched Gaurdians of the Galaxy and Kim watched the new Night at the Museum. Landed in Bangkok and got through customs after an hour of long lines. Debated sleeping at the airport since flight is at 6 am. Decide on $40 hotel room with free shuttle service. Stepped outside the airport and immediately felt the night heat. Get to room and it’s great. We both shower and get some sleep. Can’t wait to see a beach and finally relax.
Kathmandu Jan 18
Slept for another 10 hours and were meeting up with Tarnie in Thamel to get lunch and walk around. Returned our sleeping bags for our deposit return of $180. Was so nice to walk around Thamel and not be concerned with finding gear or crossing items off a big checklist. A lot more manageable this time around. Walk around for half the day just stopping in stores and wishing we had more luggage space to buy all the knockoff merchandise. Grab some more drinks with Tarnie and say our farewells as she heads to India and us onto Thailand. Try getting a cab at her hotel but it’s over priced, so we get one on the busy streets. Back to our room and pack our bags aside from our travel outfits. Shower and a big dinner of rice and spring rolls. Call it an early night at 10 pm to get as much sleep as possible, as we’re still sore and enjoying a real bed.
Kathmandu Jan 17
Slept for about 12 hours and woke up around 10:00. We couldn’t return our sleeping bags today, so we did what we were wanting to do for the last 2 weeks… take more showers and lay in bed. We caught up on social media, all things Seahawks and Cougs and connected with our families. REST DAY! Literally, did nothing.
Lukla to Kathmandu Jan 16
Up at 5:00 am to walk to the Lukla airport with our lodge owner. Can’t believe we’re finally heading back to a nice room and a shower after 12 days. Calm morning with clear skies so all flights were a go. Bought our tickets and met up with Tarnie in the departure room. Nobody really knows which flight is first, but we lucked out and ours was. Most unreal takeoff of our entire life. Full throttle with the brakes and nearly burning rubber to catch max speed on the downhill takeoff. Some serious turbulence and plane fishtailing. Land at Kathmandu and people on the 15 person plane clap for our safe arrival. Quickly get a cab and make way to our oasis of a hotel. Check in and shower and order room service. Hotel GM not at hotel and our key to safe deposit won’t work. Wait several hours for him to unlock box with our computer. We spend the remainder of the day rolling around in clean clothes and enjoying the clean bed and modern luxuries. Dinner around 7 for a beer and spaghetti. TV and bed. Can’t wait to sleep in.
Everest Base Camp Trekking, Jan 5th – Jan 16th. See blog posts.
Kathmandu Jan 4
Up around 10 and order some fried rice and bread for breakfast and quickly make our way back to Thamel for our TiMS cards and sleeping bags. Get our cards and only takes about 15 minutes of paperwork and were off to the sleeping bag store. Owner speaks great English and makes fun of his shop manager for being a lazy bastard and closing on Saturday. A few last minute stuff and Kim exchanges her pants for better size. It’s a little after noon and we get back to hotel to spend day relaxing and packing. Order room service for dinner and then check all our electronics and extra cloths at front desk. Early flight at 6:10 am so we call it early night and hope we have all things ready.
Kathmandu Jan 3
Slept in until 10 and ordered room service of rise and fried tortilla with spicy sauce. Walked to local temple and found travel agent. Opted to book flights to Lulkla instead of bus to Jiri. Found ATM and withdrew $1400 worth in increments of $5 and $10. Larger bills don’t exist. Back to hotel and catch can to Thamel to get Trekking cards. Shop is closed even though online said open. Buy warm pants and trekking pants and walk around a little. Store to get beers and cab back to hotel. Kim’s throat is sore so we walk to pharmacy and get meds. Can’t believe people live like this, quality of air is terrible. Stop at market and get lots of snacks for trek and head back to hotel. Open map and do research on our route and place to stay. Mileage and times between towns. Get veggie rolls and veggie wok for dinner with sprite from restaurant at hotel. Back to room drink beers and work on blog stuff as well as make final gear list for last day in town. This Is 40 is on HBO so we watch and make jokes about our relationship. Can’t believe we leave in 1 day.
Kathmandu Jan 2
Up at 9:30 and make a large list of what we need for trek. Order room service of rice and toasted tortilla and make coffee. Catch cab to tourist area Thamel. Senses overloaded with sounds and insane drivers. See north face, mountain hard wear, and marmot and explore to get Situated. Go to bookstore and get maps and books for SE Asia reading material. Tons of knockoff stores with good quality product but still overcharge. Learning to bargain and say no thanks! Find a quite store and nice man get a lot of gear and locate shop for sleeping bag rentals. Will return in 2 days. Go to grocery store and get essentials and beer of course. Walk around and take it in. Feeling way more comfortable than last night and air isn’t a problem. Catch can back to hotel 3:30. Sort our purchases and make new lists of what we need. Concierge helps us with where we need to go for travel arrangements and TIMS trekking cards. Watching Pacific Rim on HBO and drinking beer while planning and reworking budgets. Have spaghetti and hot water with spring rolls from hotel restaurant. Back to room for another beer and watch The Village and go to bed. Zzz.
Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu Jan 1.
Up at 5:30 am finish packing and check out 6:40. Catch cab for the 90 minute ride to airport. Drive through the worst fog we’ve ever seen all cars have hazards on. Mage 10 feet visibility at times. Get to airport and tip the man very nice. Check bags and get mcdonalds lunch and Mambas for flight. Kim is 1 of maybe 5 girls on the entire flight. Nobody in the extra legroom 1st row so ask to switch and get them. YES. Work on blog stuff on plane and enjoy views of sand and Rocky Mountains. Bumpy Landon in Kathmandu. Don’t accept local currency for visas, odd. Luckily credit card works as others aren’t lucky. Get bags. Crappy airport. Bathrooms falling apart and soap bars haha. Gross. Catch can to hotel. Rush hour. Never seen a more poor area in our life’s. No rules of the road. Only driver gets seatbelt.. Check in and upgraded to suite. Best hospitality we’ve had all trip. Ro is amazing. Hotel entities on par with any name brand hotel. Power goes out 3 times. Internet is okay… Get pasta and beers from restaurant. Get more beers from Yak Bar at hotel. Air is incredibly smoggy and little hard to breathe. HBO and great movie channels. Argo is starting, nice! Awesome bed. Can’t drink tap water so we put towel over it. Kim uses water to brush teeth anyway, classic. Bed time.
Abu Dhabi dec 31st.
Leftovers for breakfast and catch can to main beach 11 am. Public beach is great and not grounded. Lay at swim for the day. Leave beach around 4 and catch can to the mall and get lunch. Ocean races next to mall so walk the grounds and hit golf balls trying to win trip on floating green. Try the parallel parking cars free, crazy. Walk to hilton and catch cab to hotel. Shower and clean up and pack and catch cab back to brag for fireworks. Not a good view point so we go to hilton and get dinner and sit outside. Get beers around midnight and toast with firework show from Emirates Palace. Great spot. Grab cab back to hotel and sleep. Early morning. Happy New Years.
Abu Dhabi dec 30th.
Up at 9 and grab a cab to the Grand Mosque. Kim rents the proper attire at mosque free. All women have to be covered up. Mosque is one of the most unbelievable things we’ve ever seen. Walk around for almost 2 hours with lots of other tourists. Catch can to fairmont where Kim’s friend Tom works and got us access to their beach and pool. Amazing hotel and very relaxing day. Lounging in the sand and order lunch. 4 pm catch can back to our hotel. Shower and relax a little burnt. Order pizza again and watch movies. Very nice to be not be moving all the time.
Abu Dhabi dec 29th
Up at 9 and made coffee and got breakfast bagels from hotel. Very foggy but out to pool. First ones. Relaxed by pool and it cleared up. For lunch from pool lounge and headed in around 2 pm. Showered and down in lobby by 3 pm for safari pick up. German lady and her son and another German solo traveler our age. Very talkative group and super fun. Dune bashing and walking in sand, hookah, belly dancer, buffet dinner, and camel rides. Driver was crazy and passing all other cars in the sand and on the highway. No hands fixing his nails and hat, scary, but awesome. German lady invited all of us to the pool lounge for drinks, her treat. Chatted for over an hour about Germany’s history and current immigration problems. The German lady had worked at check point charlie and was hungover from her birthday the day the wall fell. She didn’t know it until she came up from the underground station for work, what a story. Parted ways at the pool 11 pm bed time.
Dubai to Abu Dhabi dec 28
Slept in till about 10 am and packed to leave for Abu dhabi. Taxi to bus station about 20 minutes. Line for men and line for women. Bus 2 hours in nice cozy bus with leather seats. Get to bus terminal in Abu Dhabi and can to hotel about 10 minutes. Room not ready. Go to pool area atop hotel and get lunch and enjoy the music and tranquil setting. 3 pm room is ready and we go check in. Hung around hotel and booked our safari and walked some convention center halls. Movie marathon and ordered pizza. Room on the top floor corner with views. Lucked out huge.
Dubai December 27
Up around 8:00 and in can to Emirates mall around 9:30. Wall the mall and see ski dubai indoor skiing. Mall is insanely large with every high end store you can imagine. Grab some papa johns at mall and get can to beach. Walk beach and take it all in. Catch another can to Atlantis hotel. Can’t go into any nice hotels but walk grounds with other tourists for pics. Catch monorail through Palm tree island and catch can to promenade. Skyscrapers all around and outdoor shops. Get lunch on the water and mock tails. No booze. Everyone smoking hookah. Walk promenade to beach and hang for over hour to watch sunset. Walk back to promenade and river mall. Wait 30 minutes in cab line and catch cab back to hotel. Hotel has sports bar so we get nachos and beer. Back to room to relax and pack for next day.
Prague to Dubai December 26
Up at 7 and at breakfast by 8. Fresh OJ and omelets is living. Walk to train station to catch bus to airport. Bus is packed and with serious suitcase travelers. 2 guys argue with each other over luggage space haha. Arrive at airport and it’s lightly snowing little flakes. Very fitting that we’re heading to a sandbox and 80 degrees. Can’t wait. Check into flight easy and through customs. Plane leaves 30 minutes late and legroom is kind of crappy. How much for first class??? Working on blog stuff. Surprised by free dinner of healthy portions on the plane of pasta and carrot cake for Kim. Can see oil fields with fire stacks out the plane, pretty cool. Land and wait for bags 45 minutes now about midnight. Catch cab to hotel and are upgraded to suite room. Order 2 burgers room service. Amazing burger at least 1/2 pound and lots of fries. 1:30 am and time to sleep.
Prague Christmas Day December 25
Knock on door and it’s a bottle of champagne from my parents. Head is pounding a little so this will help. Head to break fast and eat what we can. Back to room to relax. Pop chap ingle bottle 10 am and we lay in bed and watch Christmas Vacation and drink champagne, what a perfect Christmas morning. Wall around the city and change dinner reservations back to brewery from first night. Easier place and we liked it. See the city one last time and hangs for dinner. Menu is set but we get an awesome salad and steal combo with beers. Waiter is sketchy and hand wrote the bill with service charge and doesn’t really explain himself. Sign on table says to watch out for this… It adds up besides the random charge. Head back to room to skype our families as they are just getting up. Last night in Europe, crazy. Merry Christmas.
Prague December 24
Sleep in until 9:30 and down to buffet breakfast of whatever you can imagine. Meeting Melanie and Steve for dinner at 6:30 so we have most the day to walk. Head across the river to see the castle and palace. Take our time observing all the decorations and how well preserved the city is. Get a cinnamon chimney to hold us over and head back to room to relax before we get ready. Open wine and have a glass while we get ready to go. Grab can from hotel and arrive at theirs. Very quiet and upscale place. Meet in the bar for beers and walk to dinner. At dinner for about 5 hours. Easily one of the nicest and most fun meals we’ve ever had. Tried snail and rabbit and some amazing spirits. Piano played Christmas music all dinner and everything was fantastic. Nice having conversation with someone other than each other : ). Steve, Peter and I take a cigar break from dinner and watch an American couple argue and storm away from our restaurant, sad. 1:30 am we leave restaurant and peter has flask so we drink whiskey and walk by Lenon wall. Everyone is jolly and it’s Christmas morning!!! Part ways on the bridge after passing around baileys bottle and head back to hotel. What an unbelievable night.
Krumlov to Prague December 23
Owners wife make us brealfast but doesn’t speak good English so we had to help her with change no big deal. Out around 8 and walk to train station. Easy ride to Prague. Can’t believe it’s our last European city. 3 months goes quick. Wall to Main Street and get direction from TI to hotel. It’s about 200 yards away haha. Check in. Room is axing on 5th floor with balcony, lucked out as not all rooms had balcony. Change and head to main square. Kim try’s to return pants but they won’t accept since from another country. We get sausages and walk the crowded streets. Prague is beautiful. Watch the clock change with large crowd and head back to sprawl in the bed and shower. Put for dinner at brewery. Several beers and entrees only $20, not bad. Back to room and parents sent bottle of wine, very nice. Will save for tomorrow. Almost Christmas Eve.
Krumlov December 21
Breakfast as usual and starting to feel like home. Finally the laundry mat is open and we get the change needed for a load. Load takes 2 hours total and there’s a foozball table so we play and make up random games to pass the time. Clean clothes we head back and hang to dry some still damp articles. Walk to castle again to enjoy the great views and still no nears. Stroll the town and walk to train station to time walk for tomorrow. back to room to hang and plan. Out to market for dinner of sausage and cabbage and beer. Fish tank next to table and fish almost jumps out. Very cold and windy so we walk back and get a fresh chimney of cinnamon. Wait 15 minutes for the fresh stuff. Back to room and call it a night.
Krumlov December 21
Up again at same time with trumpets from the castle and enjoy the awesome cheesy eggs and ham. No plans but to stroll and relax. So glad we booked this place for 4 nights to wind down. Walk back to check laundry and it’s closed again. Bang on door and windows. Nothing. Find a cool music hall where they serve beers so we cozy up and watch large Asian tour groups crowd the tables. Stroll more the streets and get chimney and head back to work on blog and relax. Power goes out in town for 30 minutes and people walking around with candles. Very cool feeling. We head out and eat at another Italian restaurant which had amazing pepper pizza and ham. Very good. We get another treat ad head back to room and watch movies.
Krumlov December 20
Slept until 9:30 and could has slept longer but needed breakfast and trumpets woke us up. Hotel owner cooled us eggs and ham and all sorts of bread. We walked the castle but saw no bears as they must be out for winter amazing clear day. Tried to do laundry but nobody was there. Enjoyed having a small town and no majors sites. Very lazy day. Got a chimney as hung back in room showered and headed out to dinner. Very cool Czech cave like restraint. Steal and pork and beers. Only 3 tables and wood stove. Dark and cold we wall the market and enjoy smells of fire and Christmas tunes. Town feels like we teleported back hundreds of years. Back to room with bottle of wine. Watch Christmas movies and sleep.
Krumlov December 19
4-5 hour train day. Had breakfast at hostel very crowded but filled us up. Took subway to train station and hung for 90 minutes before train left. Easy mom crowded several hours with 1 transfer. Hotel owner picked us up from train station complementary and drove us 15 minutes to place. Insane location and we had biggest room in the place and of the trip. Axing sheets and only 5 rooms total so service was great. Was dark and we decided to walk to center. Love this place. Very quiet and feels like fairy tale. Fires light corners of markets and tree is decorated with cool blue lights. Find a nice Italian restaurant for dinner and then slowly walk back to call it a day.
Vienna December 18
Up early and grabbed coffee at hostel and walked to shopping area to find clothes for Christmas Eve dinner. I needed a tie and Kim needed some nicer shoes. Took us way too long but we found what we needed and Kim night pants she wound up not wearing. Returned our cloths and head back out to at Stephens and enjoyed the smell of Christmas trees and knowing we only had 2 more city left, crazy. Found an Irish pub and got some pints and still couldn’t et over the smoking in restaurants. Walk to main market, getting dark. Got baked potatoes drenched in garlic ranch sauce and ham. Most unhealthy thing we’ve consumed on the trip. It was great. I ate the skins and Kim was mad. Enjoyed market and lights one last time and head back to room to plan next day and look ahead.
Vienna December 17
Train at 9 and catch subway back to train station. Train is packed and luckily find 2 open seats. Bullet train. Arrive in Vienna and walk 30 minutes in the wrong direction. Nice man stops to ask if we’re lost and says he’s learning English so he was excited to speak and help us. He walled us to the closest subway and parted ways, very nice guy. Subway to hostel location and walk. Check in and get room on highest floor, quiet and clean. Very nice. Change and head out to find markets. Get a sausage and soda for lunch and note how dang crowded it is. Vienna dos have the nicest city decorations with lights and colors everywhere. We walk around and find the main market in front of city hall, incredible looking. Looks like a Disney crew put it together. Not very authentic once in and kind of commercially. Still fun. Find a hotel bar on walk back non smoking and get beers. Walk back to hostel and cook spaghetti and have wine. Hostel was far from markets so lots of walking and we needed rest. Be time.
Budapest December 16
Breakfast at same place and was cross chain bridge up to palace. Grab hot wine and walk around palace and enjoy views back to the city and water. Starts to rain and we catch tram back to town. This time bought tickets. Find an apple store to fix iPad but it’ll take too long so no go. Find north face store check out boots for Nepal and head back to hostel to look up reviews. Stop and get pho for lunch. Reviews check out and we head back and buy our trekking boots and wear them out to market for dinner and drinks. Sit at table and 2 older ladies sit down. Get to talking and 1 was born in Pullman and went to wsu. Small world. Back to hostel to plan tomorrow’s trip to Vienna and cross fingers for fantasy win.
Budapest December 15
Sleep in until 10 and grab coffee and and croissant with chocolate. Walk to the great market with tons of indoor meat shops and vegetables. We find a cool bar and grab some beers and walk around more. Cross the streets to Christmas market and get chimney and watch people run around the market. Take tram and get stopped by security because we have no tickets. He tries to charge us $50 pp as fine cash only. We say we have no cash and then he says $50 total and I say what did you not understand we have no cash and need wifi from our hostel and he eventually gives up and let’s us go. Sketchy cash only and no receipts. Girls before us paid and scream about how they hate the country. Check out baths and head back. Lots of walking. Rest in room. Head back out for dinner at marlet. Kim gets gulosh bread bowl and I get sausage and cabbage and we beers. Market is pretty at night and we head back to hostel to sleep.
Zagreb to Budapest December 14
Rested, great night of sleep. Downstairs at swanky hostel around 7 for coffee and breakfast, not included. Grabbed the trolly to the train station and got snacks for our train ride. Easy several hour ride to Budapest and we walk around looking for TI. Can’t find one and go eventually find redline subway to our stop downtown. Several minute walk and find hostel. By far the nicest hostel we’ve been this entire trip. Room is a loft and has 4 total beds. Great wifi and very upscale facilities. Walk around the city a bit and wind up eating Mexicans burritos and get beer, awesome. Stop for bottle of wine and lay in bed and relax, exhausted.
Zagreb December 13
Wake up rested but sore and tired from walking around the previous day.m check out of shit hole hostel and check in to lovely clean hostel. Walk around city, enjoy outside cafés sand people watching. Check in to room and take cat dap, before heading back out. Dinner includes soups and chicken Wings and free huge drinks. Buzzed walking around the city, enjoy concert in main square and call it an early night.
Plitvice National Park December 12
Exhausted from the worst night of sleep ever, we hopped on a early morning commuter train to the bus station to catch a 8 bus to plitvice national park. Arrive at bus station and go to buy tickets when staff says the bus is leaving in three minutes or the next one is in three hours. Great. Run to the bus terminal and waive hands in the air as bus is driving away. Whew. Make it on and sit in the back. Two hours later and we arrive at the park. Beautiful snow dusting on bridges and walkways. Super Icey and cold. Slip a few times, takes pictures. Upper lakes closed so we take bus back to entertancr 1. Didn’t know we were suppossedt to get off and take tram back. Up and back down a gain. Walk to cave entrance and follow it down to hue he water to enjoy before catching bus back. Get crapu snack /lunch and board bus back to city. Tired. Get dinner wine, take sleeping pills and sleep soundly.
Train split to Zagreb- December 11
Long train ride to the capital. Get good seats and eat snacks for six hours. Arrive in zagreb early afternoon and walk twenty minutes to our hostel. Hard to find because no street signs but eventually find it. Not a welcomed reception, staff didn’t talk to us very much. Not the most friendly which was funny because there Deere awards from hostelworld on the walls behind reception that says they won most friendly staff award of the year….baloney. Our crackers box of a too was dirty and tiny. Unhappy, we cancelled our last night at switched to another hostel down the street. Crappy night sleep, Bryce had indigestion, walk out later for dinner. McDonald’s and Bryce feels better. Try to sleep but can’t. Get two hours of sleep.
Split December 10
5 hour bus back to split but sunny day so great views along the coast. Get off bus and get pizza slice and bottle of rose. Walk to our awesome hotel and they too remember us and are happy to see us back. Have glass of wine and walk to get brats and beer where they remember us as well. Get snacks from grocery store for tomorrow train ride. Leave our bag of snacks at the bar but return 10 minutes later and it’s still there. Also get undercharged for drinks, score! Get more Nutella balls and the lady remembers us as well and piles it on. Starting to feel like locals and sad to call it a night on the warm coast. Back to room and drink the rose and plan further ahead. 6 hour train ride in the morning.
Dubrovnik December 9
Hotel knows us and makes our breakfast. I think were the only guests here. Walk to old town and get gelato and decide to walk trail to top of city. Cable car not going because it’s too windy. Sunny day and 90 minute walk to top. Stop and take lots of pictures and enjoy the smells of fresh trees and the breezy day. Restaurant at top is closed but we hang and take it all in. Walk down is quicker but our flat shoes are hurting our feet as it’s very rocky. Back to old town in time for sunset at the cliffs bar and a beer. Get pasta and pizza and wine at restaurant and only customers. Walk around old town and say goodbye, back to room to relax and plan bus back to split.
Great breakfast and nobody else at hotel. Chef makes us whatever we want, so we get omelets. We walk to old town which is amazing. 30 minute walk from hotel but sunny and beautiful. We decide to take a boat ride around the town and island since it was closed. Boat pulls out 20 feet and engine breaks, classic. Back to dock and wait 20 minutes for new boat. 50 minute cruise around harbor and we see awesome coves and GOT film locations from outside the walls. Walk to town and find an amazing bar cut into the cliffs. Grab beers and wine and listen to music. Walk more of the town and get get cheaper beers at store and then go back and enjoy sunset from windy bench while man fishes. Lots of gross one eyes cats all around city. Sun set and walk 30 minutes back and stop to get a pizza and wine to go. Eat in our room and watch movies.
5 hour bus ride to dubrovnik along the coast. Our driver stops for cigarette break and coffee multiple times, pisses us off. We stop at hotel in Bosnia and continue on. Arrive at night and hotel knows who we are. Down season and we see nobody else at hotel and were upgraded to sea view room with balcony and kitchen. Walk to store and get bottle of wine and go to restaurant recommended by front desk, super cheap and very nice. Pizza and bread and amazing caprese. Walk back to room and watch movies and drink wine.
Palace sightseeing days. Self guided walking tour of the palace, amazing old ruins. Browse shops, get two glasses of wine at really cool wine bar. Spot restaurant for dinner. Work on blog posts back at room, go out for dinner, Xmas music, kids dancing, bartenders wearing Santa outfits pouring hot wine. Fun to watch. No wine tonight, Nutella doughnut balls. Room. YouTube night.
Split December 5
Trail walk to park on side of spit. Sun is out, bring umbrellas in case. Great walking, running trails for locals with a view of the sea, islands and city. Not sure how long the entire walk is around the park, keep going anyway. Hear thunder in the distance. Quicken our pace, no rain yet. Make it to Xmas hut, get brats, French bread and two beers. Downpour starts. We enjoyed watching people get totally soaked from comforts of umbrella. Rain breaks, we make a run for it. Nutella doughnut balls. Wine. Room. Movie night. The other women.
Split December 4
Sleep in after long travel day. Love the hotel so much we book another night. Awww peace. Walk around, seeing Xmas markets, enjoy cheap fresh delicious pizza slices and the best creation on earth-Nutella doughnuts. Storm rolls in and downpours rain and lightening. Grab wine and dinner. Movie night x2 neighbors and draft day.
Woke up early to check out of hostel but hostel only takes cash. Annoying – getting old. Bryce runs down the street to find a ATM, train leaves in 30 and we still had to walk to the train station. Paid, sweaty Bryce. Get to train station, flustered and annoyed but happy we caught the dumb train. Train to small town, railways broken, take bus to next stop, hop on, go through border and get stamp from Croatia. Shitty train, no food options. Were thirsty and hungry and train is so bumpy, plus conductor smoking cigs. Tough ride, wanted off. Arrived I’m split late, jumping off train wanting land. Check into paradise and heaven of a hotel room. One of the best we’ve stayed at. Food. Sleep.
Ljubljana December 2nd
Raining but not so bad as day before. Grab hostel umbrellas and walk through city park, passing hot horse (as it sounds, they serve everything with horse, burgers, kabobs, sandwiches). 15 minutes later we arrive in the city center, passing Xmas hugs not quite ready for opening day setting up, a large Xmas tree in front of the well recognized pink building of Ljubljana. Rain stops so we head to the castle. Short steep hike up, made it to the castle. Good views . Have to pay to visit the best parts – no thanks. Head back down wrong way, end up at a market tho. Market selling clothes, veggies and meats. Walk along the river crossing back and forth over bridges. Stop in a sports shops to look at hiking boots. No success. We eat wok to wok and are so full. Did laundry that took way to long, f. Don’t need dinner. Movie night, quiet hostel. Go to sleep, early day to split the next day.
Lake Bled to Ljubljana December 1st
Catch bus out front hotel and get to station little early. Grab coffee and snack and sit in a cool service bar. 1 hour train and arrive in Ljubljana. It’s raining so we cab to our hostel about 15 minute walk from downtown. Smaller hostel and we have only private room. All bunks are triple decker which is cool. Receptionist is drinking and the owner is working on maintenance. We small talk and he offers us his homemade whiskey, so we take some shots finish unpacking. We want to walk to town but it’s a serious monsoon and windy as hell. Brewery down the street so we make that far for some good local brews. Tomorrow’s forecast is for good weather so we decide to hang in. We go to store close by and grab pasta and wine for dinner and head back. Meet a nice girl backpacker from Canada, we sit and chat while eat dinner and drinking. Other people join in and we all talk travel and bs. Man from Russia and other girl from Spain.
Lake Bled Vintgar November 30th
Got to breakfast early enough enough to catch the remaining eggs and meats so no worries this morning. Off to Vintgar National Park 45 minute bike ride. Get a little lost because there aren’t signs but we ask a guy who speaks no English but understands Vintgar and points us in right directions. Park was closed but we go under closure sign as others have ahead of us. Walk 20 minutes on wood bridges above clear water. Turn corner and bridge taken out by fallen rocks, so we have to head back. Mostly down hill back to lake bled so we haul ass. Unfortunately it starts to rain and it’s about 40 degrees so were frozen and wet. Head towards hotel and stop for soda and fresh baked breads and mini pizza. Change and warm up in room for 2 hours and then back out to explore castle above the lake. Castle was a rip off in price so we turn around as do 8 other people ahead of us and all for the same reason. We find a wine shop and man can’t believe were real since were he first people in all day. Wine is too expensive but he gives us samples and a shot, not bad. Head to gas station and get wine and head back. Hotel gives free champagne with dinner so we each get pasta and enjoy nice glass of champagne. Stuffed and head to room and drink wine and watch movies. Plan morning quick train 1 hour to Ljubljana.
Lake Bled November 29th
Breakfast included and it was ok. Coffee tasted funky but of course they have bread with Nutella and salami plates so were good. We requested bikes in our booking so the front desk helped pump up the tires and gave us a lock and we were off. Very foggy out but calm waters made for awesome reflections and a an isolated feel. We biked the lake and had fun just cruising. Locked bikes downtown and strolled the market and poked around shops until it got darker and we decided to pedal back and change. Before walking out to dinner. Walked back to town 20 minutes and got pizza and wine at a cool pizzeria and the server asked if we were famous when we signed check, maybe? Walked back to hotel in dark and foggy night, very cool. All stores were closed so wine : (. Woke up to check apple cup score, Cougs down and it’s halftime. Stay awake to see how first second half possessions play. Touchdown UW…computer closed and back to bed, classic.
Innsbruck to lake bled November 28th
Up at 7:00 and caught our train. Almost missed is since we thought we knew where we were going but took a gamble and it paid off, thankfully. Arrived at terminal outside bled and caught a bus to the lake. Of course it’s getting dark and rainy and our hotel is on the other end of lake, we speed walk and embrace get wet, no other option. We check in and enjoy lake views from our room and how quiet the area feels. Store across the street about to close so we grab bottle of wine, bread, bolognese sauce and chips. Dinner of champions haha. Tired from long day and dark and rainy so we relax in room and get some sleep.
Innsbruck November 27th Thanksgiving
Breakfast included. Always the Bread with Nutella and coffee. I piled up the salami and Kim ate cereal. It’s was a sunny and cold day, so we bundled to walk to town. The market was closed so we walked through the mall and the strip of shops lining the outdoor center. Stopped an north face and want everything, too expensive. Market opened up for lunch so we ate more brats and enjoyed the sunny market with no crowds. We also got some weird doughnut like bowls. I filled mine with sauerkraut/cabbage and Kim got powdered sugar. So good!!There was a nice waterfront trail so we walked that for some time and made our way back to our hotel. We did a little planning and organization of the where we wanted to go the next few weeks. It was thanksgiving so it was time to head back out and feast at he market. We made it maybe 100 yards and Kim wasn’t feeling well so we went back to the room and she threw up and we relaxed for an hour or so until she felt better. Might have just been a quick passing bug/headache or something she ate but she felt better after. Headed back out and bought beer at the grocery store because they sold the same at the Christmas market but for 2 euro, whereas the grocery store sold the same for .88 cent, cheating the system. We got a stack of brats, potatoes and sauerkraut and drank beers. We also got Nutella crepes which are better every time. Market closing down around 8:30 so we head back to room and Skype families. Bed time.
Venice to Innsbruck November 26th
Cold pizza for breakfast, livin. Check out and get slapped with city tax that can only be paid with cash… Interesting and sketchy, but sorts used to it by now. Easily walk through city to train station and wait 30 minutes in line to make reservation. Some people ahead of us took over 30 minutes to bye a damn ticket. What a joke. Glad we got here early just incase shit like this happens. Get our tickets and catch train. Several hours and transfer trains with pizza from station. Kim thinks they sprinkled something on her pizza because the guy laughed and handed to the chef and then back to Kim. One of the prettier routes through snow covered mountains to Innsbruck. Reminds us of home and the greenery is refreshing. Get Innsbruck and immediately like it. Get a little turned around on our walk but nothing major and find our hotel which is maybe 200 yards from the Christmas market. We check in and notice that you can smoke in the restaurant, odd. Room is great and internet is very fast. Head to market and enjoy hot rum punch and not eating pizza. We put down brats and potatoes, long overdue, too good!!! Market is small and just what we needed. We head back to room and enjoy some lightening internet, finally.
Venice November 25th
Up around 9:00 again and head to our breakfast spot but this time we get charged 10 euro instead of 5 from the previous day. She says they undercharged and should have been 10 yesterday as well. Always seems sketchy when places only accept cash and prices are never clear. Classic Europe I suppose. Even though we walk to burano departure we still get lost but eventually find our way after 30 minutes. Catch the hour long boat ride and chat with a newly married couple from Los Angeles. Always nice to chat with people who speak English, especially young travelers. Sun is shining and we arrive to burano. Everyone disperses and were on a mission to find wine and lunch, starving. Walk into a store that’s closing for afternoon espressos or naps or whatever. Anyways, liter of wine 3 euro, sold. Find a pizza to go for 5 and head towards park. Find bench on the water and picnic mmm. Most colorful city we’ve ever seen and can’t help but drain the camera around every turn. We walk the small town with plastic wine cups and more than enough wine to keep us happy. Spent a couple hours taking pictures and just saying “damn”. Kim has to pee but not gonna pay 2 euro to pee, seriously? Don’t charge to pee. Another Classic Europe expense. We find a safe spot and well, it’s free… Catch the boat back for free since the ticket booth was closed and no one else was paying at the station. Walk back to hotel and kick up feet after long day and map our next several days and train times. Head back to pizza place from first night and get the jumbo to go and walk the canal for a final time. Can’t finish pizza and safe slices for morning and finish wine. Bed.
Venice November 24th
Slept in to about 9:30 and look outside to see a sunny day, very nice! We go to a small cafe and get cappuccino and croissant. Venice is a labyrinth and we always think we’re going right direction but are off a canal or two. Make way to square and are disgusted by tourists letting people put bird food on their heads and hands while pigeons sit on them. Gross ass birds. Walk through cathedral and along the harbor where there seems to be less crowds. Head north for 30 minutes through heart of Venice to find where boats leave for burano. Grab some gelato and catch our breath from walking all day. Early afternoon and back towards hotel and get pasta from a restaurant that served it in a Chinese food box, good eats. Relax in our room for a while and head back out to walk around at night with less crowds. We get a slice of pizza for dinner and eat atop bridge while guy hassles us to bye roses. Gotta respect the hustle. Back to room and call it a night.
Vernazza to Venice November 23
7:00 am up to finish some packing and grab cappuccino and some fecatia bread from the cafe next to our hotel. Waiting at station for train 8:50 and Asian group is taking selfies with the ticket operator, love it, haha. Train is late so our next transfer will tricky. Sprint to ticket station with 2 minutes to departure and reservation not needed, even though it said it did on our app and online, shit. We haul ass through the tunnels and get to our platform to find the train still there. Thankfully Italy is know for not having timely trains, or we’d be sitting for a while. Several hours to Venice, no problem. Hotel on other end of town and we must navigate the thousands of alley ways with no wifi and a shitting google map email. We follow signs to Rialto and are 5 minutes to our hotel, but can’t find. Man comes up and asks where we’re going, he seems normal. We tell him and we follow as he directs. It matches my map and we thank him and give 1 euro as it was well worth it, we would never have found it. Sweaty and tired and now getting dark we check in. Room is awesome with at least 12 foot ceilings. We change and go grab a large pizza to go and bottle of wine. Slowly walk back and check out some canals for tomorrow’s exploration. Absolutely stuffed from huge pizza and drink wine. I check fantasy and hope to lock up playoff spot with win. We watch some CNN and repeat coverage of Mike Brown headlines. Trip planning, zzz.
Vernazza November 21st
Up at 7:00 am because the town has the worlds loudest bells and it lost track after 20 rings. Lay in bed until 8:30 and up. Look out our window to see the colorful buildings and turquoise shallows, amazing. We grab some carpaccio and local salted bread for breakfast. We head above the city to take the 90 minute trek to monterosso. The trek was steep at times but very rewarding as we enjoyed the iconic view of our town and only passed several other people during the entire trek. Benefits of down season I suppose. A cat even followed us for several minutes and we named him Ciaoder. We saw more cars having a picnic at a table and the area smelt like shit and piss, so we held our breathe and moved on. Monterosso was the largest town and best beaches. Not very crowded so we enjoyed the quiet streets and sunny shores. Stopped for bruschetta and rose on the beach and couldn’t help but smile. We opted to take the 3 minute train ride back instead of the 90 minute trek. It was also getting late so we would have been in darkness. Back to our town we refueled with some gelato. The best limo gelato I have ever had. Freshly made with lemon and very sour, mmm. We lay in the sun next to some fisherman while tourists snapped pictures, Kim fell asleep. The sun was just now setting so we quickly got up the view point above the city and watched the sun fade beyond the horizon and illuminate the scattered clouds. We stayed until nearly dark and headed back down. We found another pizza shop and asked if we could drink our own bottle of wine, of course and we were greeted with an opener and cups. No need, we pack 2 wine glasses from our room. We sat and drank/ate for several hours just slowly enjoying ourselves and the great food. My pizza had no cheese only a double tomato sauce with blended peppers and garlic with spices olive oil, insanely good creation. Wine gone and tired headed to bed and planned the next day that would take us to the remains towns
Perugia to Vernazza (Cinque Terre) November 20th
Breakfast at the hotel 8:00 am. Not gonna walk down the hill so we take the gondola to the train station and easily catch our train to Vernazza. It was a decent travel day with several stops, but we arrived no problem. We caught the end of an amazing sunset on the train and arrived in town a little after dark 5:00 pm. We were the only people in the hotel and were given the top floor room with an awesome view of the marina. We were hungry and tired and only saw 1 place open in town and it was of course a pizzeria. We got pizza and bruschetta and a full liter of wine, we needed it. We couldn’t wait to wake up and see the town, since we had been wanting to come here for quite a long time. Sunny days in the forecast zzz.
Perugia November 19th
Hotel breakfast at 7:00 and meeting Daniella at 8:50. We meet at town center and head to meeting with deputy mayor. We grab cappuccino and Kim discusses sister city relationship and the bigger picture of expanding tourism. From the meeting we head to an art exhibit with a guided tour. From the tour we have lunch with Daniella and coworker at a place that reminds her of grandmothers cooking and packed no other tourists but Kim and I. Awesome lunch and very good pasta and salads of lentils. We explore city transit with Daniella and then off to tour the college. From the college we get a really cool tour of a neighborhood being brought back to life by enthusiastic artists. From obscure artwork and colorful flair, we get a tour with the masterminds and explore their vision and desire to bring the are back to life. Daniella set up reservations for just Kim and I at a fancy restaurant where a jazz band would be playing. I got pasta with pig cheek sauce and tomato, which is difficult to describe but it was really damn good. Kim got a meat pasta with no sauce just spices which was equally awesome. Oh and of course wines and cheesecake even paired with dessert wine, all while a jazz band played next to us. Definitely a moment we won’t forget. Back to room for some last minute trip planning. We both fall asleep, but the night didn’t end. Kim woke up and came back to bed breathing like she just sprinted a 400, only to describe that she VIOLENTLY threw up 3 times. Not sure why, but her quiet description of violently throwing up made me laugh and even she found some humor in it. The best part was that it was all because she over ate her pasta, ha. Back to sleep.
Rome to Perugia November 18th
Up around 7:00 am and grab coffee and Nutella delight from our wine shop that also happens to be a cafe. Wait for platform assignment and of course it’s the absolute furthest away outside the station, Classic Italy. Only a few hours to Perugia and arrive no problems. Our walking directions are quickly flawed and we realize everything is up a massive hill to the heart of the old town and where our hotel is. We walk up and sweat our asses off before deciding to ask a hotel for directions. Not even close they say… Well, fuck this were getting a taxi. 10 euro later we arrive and there’s no way we would have made it up the massive hill in the sunny afternoon. We check in and are pleasantly surprised how spacious cozy our room is. Not to mention we have an awesome view. We meet with Daniella around 1:00 for lunch which was amazing. Wine, pastas and soup mmm. After lunch chocolate and espresso love it. We now have guided city tour which gave us a great breakdown of the history and significance of Perugia. Also got to tour some underground rooms the guide had never shown to anyone since they are rarely open. He was emotional to share this with tourists, felt lucky. Amazing city and tired from tour of up and downs, back to room to enjoy our bottle of wine and get ready for dinner. Find a highly recommended pizza place and can see why. Without a doubt the best pizza of the trip for only 6 euro each and a half liter of wine for 3.50 euro, yeah… Have to be up early for more guided tours with Daniella and Perugia team.
Rome November 17th
Last day in Rome and we were on a serious mission to find a gelato shop recommended by Bourdain. We walked for almost 2 hours slowly stopping in random piazzas and observing market. Finally made our to the outskirts of the Vatican and to our gelato destination. It was pretty damn good, but at this point anything would have been. Kim has already been inside the Vatican and it’s not really my thing, so we opt to not go. It’s not even a money issue, but just something that didn’t really interest either of us. We walked past the long lines outside the Vatican and took cover from a passing storm while chatting with a guy from Bangladesh. He was living in Rome and didn’t like it. There’s a train 2 blocks north that takes us back to termini and we avoid the 2 hour walk back for only a few euro. We’re glad we walked earlier this morning, but man was it nice not walking back. Back to our wine shop for another bottle and an awesome Nutella pastry. Relax in room tidy up our clothes for packing later. Head to the pizza shop from the first night I redeem myself with a normal za and a beer. Kim get pizza and soda. We map out walking route for tomorrow’s travel day and go to sleep excited to see more of Italy. Off to Perugia in the morning.
Rome November 16th
Up a little earlier 9:00 since we need to do laundry, badly. Find a place 2 blocks away and drop our clothes off for a later pick-up. Stop by termini for coffee and pastry. Off to the coliseum. Again, we get bothered all the way by tour operators begging us to go guided and pay to skip the line. The line was only 30 minutes and we happily waited. Can’t really describe the feeling you get when you step into the coliseum. It’s so much bigger and elaborate than I imagined. We spent 2 hours just walking each level and reading signs describing the history and carnage that took place. Ready to roll, he ticket also includes entrance to the forum, which I doubt many tourists knew about or cared to see… This was equally as cool in our opinion. We hear people screaming and running so we turn around and you can see a wall of rain slowly creep closer. There is no cover and all good spots are tightly taken. We Stand in the middle of a passing storm under the cover of our umbrella. Early afternoon and hungry we head back towards the pantheon and sit front row at a nice restaurant staring at the entrance. We split a pizza and chat with an older couple from Maine. Another storm rolls in and soaks the dancing Indian show of costumes and dance that are in the piazza. Storm subsides and we give decide to go and give our forum walking tour guide to the nice couple we sat with for lunch. Weather wasn’t getting much better but we decide on more gelato for our walk back to collect our overdue fresh clothes, yes! Grab another bottle of wine and relax in room. Go to a restaurant down the street that only has menu in Italian and reservations only. We get lucky and they squeeze us in, amazing. Some of the best we’ve had. Stuffed and tired from a along wet day we head back and enjoy our clean clothes and silently get online.
Rome November 15th
Our room was large and our bed was comfy, so we slept in, naturally. It was 11:00 am by the time we got moving and made our way Termini station for breakfast, coffee and pastry. It was Saturday and we already decided to just get familiar with the city and let the weekend crowds do their thing. The station wasn’t as seedy as we had heard about, but still many tour groups hassling you and beggars needing food and money. We walked towards the colosseum and pulled out the map only to find we needed to look left and it was at the end of the street. There was a peaceful protest going on, so there were swarms of police and Italy’s equivalent to SWAT patrolling the streets. The colosseum was a zoo of tourists and people selling these damn selfie devices for your phone. We snapped some pictures and ignored hundreds of tour operators trying their best to pressure us into a tour. The entire forum was amazing and we scoped our route for the next day while taking in the magnitude of structures and where we actually were. Early afternoon we stop for pizza and wine by all the police and quietly hope to see some action, no luck. Of course place doesn’t take credit card WTF is wrong with businesses over here? To the pantheon and trevi fountain for gelato, mmm. Fountain under construction, not that cool. Walked to Spanish steps and sat atop just watching crowds below and taking in the view. Now getting dark and our feet are barking, so we head back to relax before dinner. Stopped at store and grab bottle of wine. Dinner down the street pizza and pasta, wine is same price as soda, crazy… Back to room to route our next few days and rest our feet. 11:00 pm.
Galway to Rome November 14th
We woke around 8:00 am and slowly looked at each other to determine if either was dead with a parlaying hangover. I’ll never know why, but we both felt fine. We even waited for that late morning hangover to creep up, nothing. We dodged a bullet on this travel day. We ate breakfast and headed for the train station. Our lobby was full of college graduation families taking pictures and being too noisy. We pushed through and caught our train to Dublin with ease. We got to Dublin and quickly got on an airport shuttle which took 45 minutes. Checked our backpacks and smoothly walked through security. It was 3 hours to rome and needed lunch, so got some vegetable soup, which sucked, but would hold us over. Flight was easy and Ryan air was actually pretty decent, despite the horror stories we’ve read about. It was a warm night in rome and we grabbed our bags from the airport and made our way towards a large crowd all waiting for buses to termini station (central rome). Lucky for us we got on the first bus by sliding in, but our bus left last, karma? Anyway we got to termini and made the short walk to the bee hive hostel near the station. We asked the best western to point us in the right direction and we almost missed it but Kim happened to be looking left and notified a little door and sign, that was it. This place was great. It was a stones throw to the station but had all the fixtures of home and was run by a lovely couple. We asked where to find pizza and walked a block to a great shop. I thought I was ordering BBQ pizza, wrong. Of course it was tuna pizza… Wtf. Who puts tuna on pizza? It wasn’t bad, but Kim just laughed as she chowed down on her perfect mozzarella and tomato blend. It was now about 11:00 pm and we were full and exhausted, bed time.
Galway November 13th
Early breakfast and to the bus station to catch our 9:00 departure. We sat in front of the bus and damn was that a good choice. There was fun older couple from Chicago and 2 girls from Austrailia/New Zealand, as well as us, who bullshitted with the driver and had a great day. Our driver was awesome and cracked jokes about people on the bus and didn’t disappoint with his pub selection at the end of the trip. We stopped at at some ancient castles and a stone structure dated older than e pyramids. We’re in Europe everything is old. The cliffs were amazing and we can see how people often slip and fall to their death, as the path is muddy and picture opportunities are endless. It rained so hard that my jacket had bb like indents all over it. The rain subsided and we were very lucky to see the cliffs and extending coastline under the November sun. We could even see Scotland’s coastline. After being here for 2 hours we head up along the coast for more amazing photo ops en route to our lunch destination. We stopped at an old pub where lunch was waiting for us and cold beers were needing to be drank. I got the best seafood chowder I’d ever had and Kim had a vegetable soup that was also insanely good. When we got back to Galway the driver (john or Johnny boy as Australian called him) told us where to go for good music. The Chicago couple, 2 girls, and 2 other guys, as well as us all decided to meet back up for drinks and listen to music. 8:00 we walked into the pub and saw the 2 girls and 2 guys and joined the table. The 2 guy were from Wisconsin and New York. Both were studying abroad in Belgium and off to India for their second courses. The pub filled up as there was a graduation in town (at our hotel). The guys bought some Jameson shots and he music began. Just at this time the Guy from Chicago found us and joined the table. His wife was tired and stayed in. Round after round of Guinness we were all having a blast and getting drunk. The guy from Chicago kept disappearing and buying the rounds for all of us. The band finished up with Galway Girl and the titanic song that Kate and Leo dance at with violins. The music ended around 11 but we stayed till after 1:00 am and don’t recall leaving. What a way to end our time in Ireland. We love Galway.
Galway November 12th
We had heard the Radison Blu did quite the buffet and man were people right. I won’t even begin to describe it, but we were full. Galway is small so seeing it in a day is rather easy. We decided to do Cliffs of Moher tomorrow so we had the entire day to stroll the 6 blocks of shops and pick our a pub for tonight’s music. Irish music originated not far from Galway and this region is Capitol for good tunes, as everyone had told us and from the research we’ve done. We cleaned up before dinner and got some fish n chips at which were insanely delicious. Kim doesn’t like seafood so she got what she thought was chicken strips but was a full breast, oh well. We could some loud music coming from a pub so we walked in and ordered up. The pub was smaller and had a fire going while 2 guys played various acoustic sets. The entire pub, us included clapped our hands and were tapping our feet. We only fought the last hour and then decided to call it a night for an early Cliffs departure in the morning.
Belfast to Galway November 11th
Alarm at 6:00 and look out the window…thankfully not raining for our 25 minute walk to the station. We had agreed if it was we’d cab it. Long day ahead so we do our typical stuffing at the buffet and make our way to the train. It was about 2 hours to Dublin, a train transfer, and 2 more hours to Galway. Both trains were easy and the sun was out so we got to see much of the countryside. Pulling into Galway we can see our hotel which is a relief and easy walk. Hotel is on the water and might be the nicest we’ve stayed in the entire trip. 5 stories high and were on the 4th floor in a business class room with an ocean/harbor view. The bed is heaven and the pillows are like clouds. I try to convince Kim to try it out but she opts to build the suspense until it’s time for bed, her loss. We decide to walk the small town of pubs and shops and quickly fall in love with city. This is Ireland! After walking for quite some we decide on a popular looking spot and I get an enormous burger that would be amazing even to back home standards and Kim gets a pasta the size of a basket. I struggle to finish and Kim can’t come close with hers. We wash down what we can with several beers and glasses of wine. Our hotel has a “Canadian Outdoor spa” and after a long day and dinner we had, it was on. We cranked up the jets and sat under the stars on this clear cold night and did our best not fall asleep in the water. For such a nice hotel, the tv channels sucked but the bed made up for it and Kim finally experience what I wouldn’t shut up about, heaven, zzz.
Belfast November 10th
Last day in Belfast and time to do the famous black cab tour, or so we thought. We stopped by the tourist office on this sunny morning and were about to pay 15-20 per person for a 60-90 minute informative ride through Belfast’s religious turmoil of the last 30-40 years. The lady in the office said it was walkable and since we had the written information we took her advice and walked. I suppose being cheap made the decision easier, but we very much enjoy being on our own schedule and stretching our legs. We walked for several hours through various memorials of bombing and attack sites. Of course we got lost several times, but this Country had some of the nicest people we’d ever met and each time we were walked out of shops and pointed the right direction. Our route last several hours and took us back to the city center where we were recommended to have the best pint of Guinness in the city. Most pints taste the same but the pour is what makes the difference. The bar was old school. Hats, jerseys, or any sports wear was not permitted. Tomorrow is Veterans Day and the city hall was setting up for a parade and honoring. The Christmas tree was also being craned up at the hall so we sat and watched with others as the massive tree was positioned into place. It was 2 for 1 pizzas at the place we went to the night before so you better believe we were back at it for dinner. In the last 3 days we’ve bought 7 pizzas if you count the cheesy bread pizza. Early morning ahead for train to Galway so trip planning and dreaming of our slice of heaven that will be the Radisson Blu.
Belfast November 9th
Exhausted from the long day before we slept in and barely made the end of breakfast, but still did work nonetheless. Today we decided to take it easy and just explore the city. There was a beautiful garden full or roses and a green house, all free. We hung out there for quite some time as the sun was shining and the greenery made us happy. From there, we strolled through the city and explore the center and shops, as well as the cathedral area with popular pubs and interesting art. It was now getting dark and we found a 1 pound store which was insane. Things that should cost $5-10 we all 1 pound. It was starting to rain and we made the crucial decision on not buying an umbrella and instead we got 2 bags of chocolate, haha. We walked back to our hotel, in the dark, and totally soaked. Oh, but the chocolate was good. We found a pizza shop and loaded up on 2 pizzas, cheesy bread and fries. The Cowboys were playing in London and we got the channel in our so it was time to party. We don’t like the cowboys but American Football and pizza was something we missed. We watched the game in its entirety and couldn’t finish the food. Kim didn’t like the boxes smelling the room up so I put them down the hall outside another guests room. Food Coma = bed time.
Belfast November 8th
Up early and down to the included breakfast buffet. We each stuff our faces with eggs, sausages, bread and too much coffee. Print walking directions to tour departure and head out. Arrive at bus early and snag the 2 front seats, which turned out to be a good idea because our drive told us the side to sit on and was great for small conversation. About 2 hours to causeway with short stops at castles and interesting narration from our driver regarding Belfast and the religious history that clouded the area. Normally tours give a little over an hour at causeway but it was winter schedule so we got over 2. Spent almost 90 minutes walking the coast and exploring the visitor center which was free today for some national causeway thing, score. After snapping a million pictures we went to the restaurant atop the hill and got the best creamy tomato soup we’ve ever had. Service was slow so we had to get our soups to go In a cup, which worked out great on the bus. Oh, and we ordered some amazing garlic chips (fries) that were baked in some seafood oils. Next stop was at a bridge everyone paid to walk across and really wasn’t that cool. We opted to turn left down a path to where Game Of Thrones filled several scenes. You would never know it was filled here, but there were scene pictures for the designated GOT tours and we followed. We saw one of the brightest rainbows we’d everest seen but could capture the image from our bus window, bummer. Final stop was for ice cream and we each got double scoops despite the 50 degree rainy weather. Back to Belfast and our hotel we warmed up and were too lazy to go out for dinner, so opted for more pizza and beers at hotel. We should know better by now and not eat our hotel…pizza sucked and the Guinness was might have been the worst pour I’d ever seen. Didn’t complain and drank it, but damn. TV zzz.
Dublin to Belfast November 7th
Up around 7:00 to catch train to Belfast. Kim feeling a little better but now I feel sick. Stuffy nose and congestion. Catch our train and enjoy 2 hours along the sun coast as we head north. Easy train and arrive in Belfast no problems. Transition of currency to the pound, sucks. Everything is now more expensive… We walk 25 minutes to our holiday inn, which is 10 minute walk south of city center. Check in and have a full European bed. We ask for a larger bed, but hotel only has this size… Small ass bed and were here for several nights. We unpack and get online to book a giants causeway tour. Get one under 2 students (cheating the system) and save some money. Departure is at 8:00 am, so need good sleep for long day ahead. We find an amazing Italian restaurant recommended by our hotel and we treat ourselves to a pizza and pasta dinner. One of the benefits of being in Ireland is the English televise, so we shower up and watch some random shows before passing out.
November 6th – Dublin
Kim wasn’t feeling any better and we got a late start to the day, so only caught the tail end of breakfast. Being sick at home sucks. Being sick abroad is terrible. Lucky for us, we did have a lot of planning and bookings to make for the next several weeks, so we stayed-in. If this was our last day in Ireland we would have forced down a few more beers and headed out, but it wasn’t. Kim loaded up on the meds and we planned away. I hadn’t found much Mexican food on this trip and I couldn’t let an amazing burrito go, so I made Kim get out of bed and we went back to the mall so I could punish myself with another burrito. Kim got a cheese quesadilla, one of the better “sick foods” behind soup. Our train to Belfast was at 10:00 am so we packed our bags to maximize breakfast time and eliminate the last minute packing we so often do. We made some coffees and watched TV until we passed out.
November 5th – Dublin
After another gut busting breakfast, we grabbed the bus towards town. Kim was feeling sick so we headed towards a pharmacy en-route to St Patrick’s Cathedral. No fever or anything, just very stuffy nose and congested. We walked around for quite some time just talking about travel and deciding which Anthony Bourdain recommended pubs we should go to next, tough decisions… We went to Hogan’s bar and had several pints of Guinness, of course. There was also George’s Street Arcade where Kim got an awesome sausage sandwich and sat on the same bench that Anthony did, or Tony as we call him. We rode the bull (red bulls) on our way to a happy hour spot we saw earlier 4:00-7:00 3-euro beers. The beers tasted like Guinness, only cheaper. We struck a conversation with the man next to us who was a local. No, really… he had a bar membership for discounts. We chatted about our trip, polotics and even American Football, as he was heading to London for the Dallas game. Another man joined in our conversation and gave all sorts of tips on Belfast and where to go. Crazy how nice people are and how they genuinely want to know about your life. We abused the 3-euro beers with our new friends and eventually called it after 7:00. Both of us had a solid buzz and grabbed some food and headed back. Kim wasn’t feeling any better even after the meds from earlier, so we headed to sleep and watched Van Helsing on the tube.
November 4th – Dublin
Time to see the Guinness Factory. We shoveled down the buffet breakfast and I’m pretty sure offended some families with the amount of food we were eating, we didn’t care. Caught the bus and headed downtown to make the 20 minute walk towards the factory. We strolled through the touristy Temple Bar area and followed our noses to the factory. Students get in for several euro less, so today we were both finishing our senior semester at WSU, score. The mainly self-guided tour was above and beyond what we expected. You start on ground floor and gradually learn about the company and process behind crafting the beer. This tour brings you up more than 5 floors to 360-degree bar where you can exchange your admission ticket for a “free” Guinness. Although, you’d have to be nuts to let the bartenders get you a beer. The floor below is a hands on demonstration and Kim and I got to learn how to properly pour a glass of Guinness, pour our own and take it up to the bar. Lucky for us, a couple in our group couldn’t drink their beer because they had to drive and we must have looked thirsty, so they graciously gave us more beer. We spent quite some time throughout the tour and it was now close to 4:00 pm. We mapped out our walk back so we could hit the Brazen Head – Irelands oldest pub. We drank more Guinness and met a young (23) couple from Cambridge who only flew out to Dublin for the day, so they could tour the factory and drink beer, pretty awesome. I guess its super cheap, so why not? It was now early evening and we headed back to our hotel. Of course we missed our bus stop and had to walk and catch a bus back, classic. Our hotel boasted about their pizza so we had no choice but to eat there for dinner. It was by far one of the best pizzas we’ve had on our trip. Kim describes it as soupy and delicious, but I just say it was damn good. More trip planning and route for the next day, bed.
November 3rd – Brussels to Dublin
Up around 7:00, we grabbed the tram by our hotel and headed back towards the city center where we caught a connecting train to the Brussels airport. Check-in was seamless and Kim was cranky because we hadn’t eaten anything yet. So, we found a Starbucks and managed to spent $20 on subpar coffee and breakfast, but we were full and Kim was happy. The flight was quick and easy. Our Captain even mentioned every city we were flying over which got annoying after the 20th town that we had never heard, but for a budget plane, Aer Lingus wasn’t too bad. Our Passports got a stamp, which we both enjoyed, who doesn’t? Both bags rolled out together and we were set. We waited about 30 minutes for our hotel bus and thought we were in the wrong spot, but it was just late and the bus hid behind the larger shuttles. We arrived to the Clarion hotel in Liffey Valley and of course couldn’t check in yet, so walked up the street to check out the mall. It felt nice being in a country where people spoke English and we could have conversations with anyone. Walking around the mall made us feel like being at home, as the stores were all similar and we had no barrier in communication. Almost traveling for 2 months, we were craving Mexican food and struck gold with an awesome burrito shop in the mall cafeteria. Imagine going to Chipotle/Qdoba and actually getting a full serving… yeah, that’s what this place was like. I tried to get a wheelchair so kim could push me back to our hotel, but that didn’t work. Our room was ready and we checked in. We had 1 Queen bed and 2 twins (odd) for whatever reason. We joked that we booked the extra bed for our clothes. Really though, I put my cloths on one twin and Kim put hers on the other. It was now early evening and we couldn’t not go out, so we grabbed the bus a few blocks away and made the 20-minute trek towards town. The bus driver chatted Kim’s ear off for the entire ride and gave us awesome suggestion for pubs. Luckily for us the first suggestions was near the stop and live music was starting in 30 minutes. We cozied up to the bar and drank several rounds of Guinness and listened to an acoustic set. Tired, we grabbed some cheeseburgers and our bus pass for the week and headed back. English Television!!! Time to relax and plan out the next several days and weeks.
November 2nd – Brussels
We only had 1 full day in Brussels, so we had a lot to do, or so we thought. Up around 9:00 we grabbed some apples from our hotel and headed towards the city center. We walked through manicured and pristine sidewalks that lined the European Union quarter and slowly made our way to town center. I suppose this would have been more impactful, had we not just spent 5 days in Bruges. We enjoyed our breakfast as the Sunday Market crowds passed by and musicians played their favorite tunes. The smell of waffles perked our attention and we found an awesome stall with 1-euro waffles, mmm. The streets were stone and similar to Bruges, but nowhere near as charming or quaint. Waffles in-hand we strolled to the Manneken Pis and snapped a few photos while freely listening to a walking tour. Kim was hungry and I couldn’t argue that. We ate a small apple and croissant, not filling. We walked for several hours just listening to street performers and scouting out place to eat. It felt a bit like Spain, as each restaurant had the same menu of seafood and you couldn’t go more than a few feet without having a menu shoved in your face. We settled on a little pizza place that was empty and on a quiet street. After devouring a pizza, bread and 2 beers, we had to walk it off. We heard cheers from the town center and found that there was a circus of sorts going on and crowds were gathering. We stayed for about 30 minutes and watched what has to be the worlds fastest unicycles race and crash into tourists, literally. These guys were racing through crowds and unsuspecting people were getting plowed. Every once and a while the traveling catches up with us and we feel exhausted, today was that day. We decided not to take the 30 minutes walk back to our hotel and instead took the tram. We napped and showered and headed back to the restaurant form the night before. Only this time, Kim followed my lead and we both devoured the awesome creation of fries, special sauce, chicken and veggies all rolled into a lightly grilled tortilla. Knowing we had a travel day ahead of us, we relaxed in bed and fell asleep early, both dreaming of Guinness and Whiskey, or at least I was…
November 1st- Bruges to Brussels
Sick of bread. No choice but to stuff it down and fill up. Buy better breakfast or eat free hostel breakfast and buy beers, easy decision. We packed after breakfast and checked our bags since we weren’t catching our train for a few hours. The hostel had lockers and we stuffed our bags in and literally put our full body weight behind the door to get it to close. If we couldn’t close we’d have to pay for 2 lockers…again, beer or chocolate money. We went back to terrace bar and snagged some water front front seats and enjoyed some tall beers. There was a loud group of hungover Americans behind us and we small talked with until they almost knocked over the table. To their defense they caught the table and only managed to break one glass. We walked the city and enjoyed our last several just quietly walking and observing tour groups. Grabbed our packs and caught the bus to train station. Easy hour ride to Brussels. Arrived in Brussels and caught a light rail to our hotel. We were staying at a best western and must have lucky got lucky since we were in 1 of 4 rooms with a balcony overlooking the park. We were a little outside the center so decided to stay in and enjoy our palatial room. It’s never easy to eat on a budget. We walk past tons of restaurants looking for the best deal. Finally we arrive at a small grill and order up. Kim ordered a burger and I got a grilled tortilla filled with chicken, French fries, veggies and an awesome garlic sauce. Kim’s burger sucked. We couldn’t identify the taste and I joke with her that it might be cat or horse…she didn’t think that was funny. Stuffed and exhausted from we headed back and watched some tv and crashed.
October 31st- Bruges
We enjoyed another breakfast full of bread and Nutella, mmm. The sun was shining and we made our way for a canal tour. The boats buzz through the narrow canals and the starting locations were endless. However, all tours were the same. We paid our 9 euro and hopped on the old 30 seat beat. The 45 minute tour went from the middle of town to both ends and back. We got to see the city from an amazing perspective and enjoyed the brisk breeze in the sunny day. We even scouted and awesome terrace where people were drinking tall beers and watching the boat traffics, we’d go later. From the tour we headed to the cathedral to see the Madonna and Child. The cathedral was free, but it cost 3 euro to see the statue and we willingly paid. From the statue we headed to a little cafe and got a burger and pizza. It was a little past noon and we needed our daily beer so we go to terrace and get some tall glasses of brew. We spent the next several hours getting lost in the backstreets and exploring gardens and random shops. The side streets were empty with perfectly painted houses and no signs of life. It felt apocalyptic and as if we were on a movie set. We stopped at the grocery store for more pasta but this time we got some good corked beer from half moon brewery, no wine. It was Halloween but there wasn’t much going on in the town. We saw some kids in costume but that it. Our hostel was doing a party but we had no real costumes and decided to save the money and relax. We scoured in the movie section and found The Cave. Nothing like a gory movie on Halloween. We struggled to stay awake but managed to finish the movie and quickly passed out.
October 30th Bruges
Up around 9:00 we head down to our hostel breakfast which was cereal, bread, coffee and juices. This was dangerous because they had Nutella spread and various butters, which we mixed and ate too much of. The weather was perfect and walked around in the fairy tale city and couldn’t believe how cool it was. Canals cut through the center and nothing but chocolate shops, restaurants, shops and good beer. Our first stop was the chocolate story museum. We walked through a chocolate story from the beginning to now and got to see a chocolatier make filled goodness that we enjoyed. We grabbed some Belgium style fries and went with ketchup even though most we eating theirs with mayonnaise, gross. Found our way to half moon brewery (oldest in Bruges) and took the 45 minutes tour which was full of history and a great rooftop view. The tour ended with a free beer and we sat outside enjoying the sun. We couldn’t just have 1 so we got bought another round of different beers. I got an 11% aged beer and Kim got a dubbel. We aimlessly walked down empty streets and along the canals, as we made our way back to the town center. Wanting an early dinner, grabbed a bottle of wine and fresh spiced tomato sauce for some pasta. We had cooked up the pasta and drank wine while enjoying the sunset and views from our hostel. The opener was broke so I muscled the cork after about 15 minutes and almost lost feeling in my hand. Every street feels like a movie set and is even more amazing at night when the crowds hide in their rooms. We walked the streets and enjoyed the horses running buy and the sound they made on the cobble stone. We walked for quite some time in the brisk clear night before we spotted a waffle station and a chocolate shop shop, where we ate even more. Never come here unless you’re ready to gain 10 pounds or more. In a food coma, we head back and go to bed.
October 29th Amsterdam to Bruges
Train at 9:00 so up and at the station early. About an hour into our ride we see some cops talking to a man about 10 rows in front of us. They pat him down and find something in his big puffy jacket and the male officer arrested him and walks him down past us. It wasn’t until the female office walked down after them that we could see he had at least a half pound of drugs and probably more. This dude is gonna do some serious time. The trains are heavily secured and officers walk by later and make sure each bag above the seats can be identified by the passenger. We arrive in Bruges after 4 hours and catch a bus to our hostel and check in. We have a cool apartment like place with a huge kitchen and fridge. Our lobby is a bar and restaurant with 2 for 1 beers and $5 pizzas. It’s about 5 pm and we decide to take the 10 minute to the city center… We immediately love this city. The streets are beautiful and stone with old design, which made us feel like we had stepped back in time. We get to the center surrounded by cathedral architecture and horses trotting around carriages. Most places are closed but we went to Dumon Choclates and got a variety pack and ate it all on our way back to our place for pizza and beers. The bar is awesome and they are blasting 90’s music and everyone is enjoying the vibe. The hostel had free DVD rentals so we grabbed the faculty to get us in the Halloween mood and headed to our room, which had an amazing view of the city rooftops. We mapped out our route for tomorrow and turned on the movie and went to sleep.
October 28th Amsterdam
A trip to Amsterdam isn’t complete without experiencing a cafe. We get a similar breakfast from the day before and take our bus downtown 10:00 am. We hesitantly walk in and check out the menu of hilarious descriptions and order up, easy. Cafés don’t serve beer and most everyone is drinking soda or coffee so we get 2 cokes. We sit outside and enjoy the morning crowd and take in where we are and the aroma we contribute to. Feeling good, we head to Anne Franks hide out and quickly are turned off. For one, the line is over 2 hours and the entrance looks modern and commercialized, not what we envisioned. Not taking anything away from this at all, but the day was far too nice to spend in a line for 2 hours. We saw an awesome brewery in a an old windmill, so we head for that, only to get there and it’s closed for another few hours. We both have to pee and it’s Europe, so we have to pay, tired of that. Find a good pizza place and get some pizzas and beer and watch the busy crowds run by. We walk the shopping strip so Kim can find shoes and everything is insanely price like $100 for an average pair of converse. Eventually find a H&M and Kim get $20 shoes. We get another awesome platter, 3 kinds and walk back through the flower market en route to bus back. Tonight we get wine for cheese and more bread. We rest and head back out. This time it’s later and know we gotta hit up the cafe again, so we do. We have no light and I use the table candle to spark our fun. We walk to the red light district again and find out, not sure how we missed it, but all the girls in side alley ways. Imagine 6 foot wide alley with girls behind glass doors on both side just in thongs and skimpy tops. Everyone is tourists and awkwardly walk through making eye contact at girls tapping the glass wanting a customer. Kim and I walk slow and see several guys enter different stalls and negotiate prices, very awkward. Even more so when we see an 80 year old + guy walk out smiling and saying bye to all the girls haha. We walk every alley we can find. Surprisingly, most the girls are extremely pretty and very fit. Guess that’s why the average $500.000.00 year. Seeing enough, we head back to our hotel and plan our route for the morning and call it a night.
October 27th Amsterdam
Nothing like a nights rest in a big bed. Supermarket behind hotel so we got fresh pastries and coffee en route to our bus stop to take us downtown. Hotel about 15 minutes bus ride from center. Got off bus and see multiple cafe shops and smell the weed. We decided to walk around and get our a feel for the city, as we do everywhere we go. Canals everywhere and crazy people on bikes flying around. Of course we walked the wrong way and had to ask a hotel for directions. We walked 30 minutes wrong way, but it was sunny and too nice to really care. Finally made it to the famous flower market where they literally had thousands of bulbs and various starter kids of marijuana seeds, very colorful place and great people watching. We walked around for an hour and found another wok restaurant and got stuffed on noodles, our favorite. Can’t walk very far without the smells of waffles and Nutella spread calling you in, so we give in and get a waffle, only later to find that the crepes are 100 times better and they make them fresh unlike the waffles (reheat). We can’t help but then stop and pick up a block of cheese from a popular shop and slowly make our way towards the train terminal. On the way we stroll through the red light district where some girls were oddly in windows and many empty. Live sex show signs all around cool bars and cafés. We expected more women…we find them later, off the street. Needing to rest our feed we head back to our hotel and get a 6 pack of beer and bread to go with our expensive cheese (dinner). Rested and changed we head back out to scope the red light district. We again notice not a lot of window activity and find out why tomorrow night. We find a cool bar on the canal of the district and sit outside and have some beers and watch the odd world of Amsterdam pass us by. Tired, we head back to our big room and call it a night.
October 26th Berlin to Amsterdam
Up around 6:00 am and out of the hostel around 7:00 with to go coffee in hand. Train around 7:50 and 6 hours or so to Amsterdam. We ate a full brick of coffee cake and pretty sure a sugar coma is real. As we got an hour away the conductor made an announcement for passengers to watch their stuff as bag theirs and pick picketers are common and then a cop with a drug dog walked the isles sniffing each area… We’re getting close. Arrive in Amsterdam early afternoon and scatter to catch a bus to our hotel, 20 minute bus out of city. Bus doesn’t take coins so driver was pissed and told us to sit, very busy bus. The city is really pretty and full of canals and more bikes than cars. We get to our Best Western which was very nice and the same price as the over priced hostels, so we were very satisfied. Tired from the long day, we find a KFC next to our hotel and chow down on chicken, skins and French fries, healthy! We went back to our hotel which we noticed was in the ethnic district of Turkish and Indonesian residents, Indonesian understandable (historical). We both showered in our 7th floor room with a view and were spoiled with English channels and called it a night with some day planning and prepping. King bed = Heaven.
Oct 25 Berlin
Up around 9:00 am we grabbed some breakfast from the market and fresh brewed coffee. We always opt to walk instead of take sight seeing or walking tours. We do our historical research on the days destinations and freely go about our day without having a schedule we can do on our own at no cost. We started at the Parliament and couldn’t help but laugh as there was a group of protestors, so we thought. Today was national pasta day and this group had mega phones and signs to encourage pasta consumption. “We want pasta and we want it now”. Everyone was joining the cheers and it was great. Oh, and of course this meant we were doing pasta for dinner ha. From the parliament we walked to the Brandenburg Gate and also saw the hotel window where the King of Pop (Michael Jackson) graciously showed Blanket to the world. It was now about 1:00 pm and we headed towards the memorial for the murdered Jews. We sat at a German restaurant and got beers, brats and Kim got pizza…we walked the memorial and I climbed on the pillar since other photographers were doing, but I guess we missed the no climbing sign and got yelled at. Kim and I walked the ground and got lost, literally. We couldn’t find each other while playing hide and seek and Kim scared a tourist (got it on camera) while trying to scare me. Next headed towards the Berlin Wall which was a BS section placed near the Sony Center and we realized the real standing sections were quite a ways a way, but we were determined to see the real deal. Also, the real section was past Check Point Charlie so we had to push on. We cut through a park and took a wrong turn and got lost for an hour and it was now getting dark. Tired, we wanted to abandon our quest but we knew we’d regret not pushing on. Eventually we crossed a bridge and found the intact section that was now covered in graffiti and artistic displays of political implications. It’s hard to take in that the wall was in our lifetime and how it took so long to reunite Germany. We caught a train that was across the street and headed back to our hostel. Gnocchi, bread and wine was on our dinner list and we joke throughout that we were doing our part for national pasta day. A nice group of guys from Turkey cooked too much pasta and let us have try their leftovers which were spicy and awesome. We had too much bread and passed it along by giving it to an Australian Group of girls. After showering we planning our route for the morning and mentally prepared for Amsterdam, if that’s possible. Almost forgot… The hostel did our laundry for $8 so we had fresh clothes.
Oct 24.- Berlin
Hungover!!! Definitely the cups of mixed vodka/lemonade vodka/red bull and multiple types of beer, oh and bottle of wine with dinner. We attempt to walk around and both decide we need to lay for another hour and drink more water, mainly me. Now it’s early afternoon and we feel great and hungry. Nothing better than some Wok to Walk noodles! We stroll through some parks and make our way to the Berlin Cathedral and outdoor markets that are alive and full of tourists. Supposedly, Berlin sees more tourists than Rome. Very crowded. We walk around for several hours just getting familiar with the area and enjoying the brisk day and sunshine. Luckily for us, the drinking crew from the night before all departed this morning so we were safe from a repeat. Back to our hostel it was now about 7:00 pm and we decided to go a new grocery store the same distance away. We walked in and it was identical to a Safeway and it felt nice to have a familiarity so far away. We walked the isles and continued to joke about how nice it was to have cheap food again. We decided on stuffed tortellini and oh was it good! Exhausted from walking all day we rested after dinner and over eating, common theme so far. We tried to watch Anthony Bourdain episodes but the internet was bad so we did some trip planning and called it a night since we had mapped out a full day of sightseeing in the morning.
Oct.23- Copenhagen to Berlin
Up early for our 6 hour train ride to Berlin, leaves at 8:00 am. Grab some coffee and breakfast from the Arches and pick up a sandwich from the store for lunch. We figured there was a long tunnel or low bridge across the waters, but instead our train rolls onto a huge cruise ship sized ferry. Odd feeling, a train on a ferry. Ferry took about 45 minutes and had full restaurants and duty free stores. Grabbed some sodas and chocolate to go with our lunch once back in the train and rolling. Sandwiches warm and gross so we ate the bread and ate the bag of chocolate. Arrived in Berlin and walked to our hostel, 25 minutes. Should have took 15, but we took a wrong turn. hostel is very nice and it’s now late afternoon and we’re starving for dinner. We walk around the quiet neighborhood and eventually make our way to a very super market. Immediately notice how damn cheap everything is in comparison to the last Norway, Sweden and Denmark. We go with the easy choice of a pack of 3 pizza and wine. Dinner was great and we begin some small talk with 2 girls traveling from Canada and on a several month trip. There’s also a couple in their 30’s who are traveling for 6 months, wife was a doctor and they were taking time off before they settled down. The common area has an awesome sound system and computer with every song imaginable, so we continue drinking and playing tunes. Eventually decide to play drinking games, kings cup. Fun, since everyone was from different countries and had small variations of the rules (Canada Austrailia). We buy a 6 pick of beer and then run out and buy more from hostel front desk. More people from the hostel join in and everyone is drunk, great night!
October 22nd – Copenhagen
Arrived in Copenhagen around 1:30 after 6 hour train ride from Stockholm. Directions in hand we walked 10 minutes to our hotel wakeup Copenhagen and weren’t able to check in until 3, it was 1:30… Iterated at the hotel staff because they were clearly trying to upsell us on a higher priced room that was available now. Asked every twenty minutes and finally our room was “ready”. Small, but very nice, comfy bed. We changed and headed out to explore knowing we only had several hours to explore the city. It was unreasonably too expensive to stay for more than one night. Forgot map at hotel so walked down most popular streets until we found hotel. Passed Trivoli gardens, got mcdonalds, wanted to see the canal street, Nyhaven, found it with help from ritzy hotel concierge. Colorful houses and old sailboats lined the canal. Wanted to see Hans Christian Anderson’s the little mermaid inspired statue, a 1.7 km walk from where we were. Windy and cold, we made it. Tourists bundled up taking turns taking photos with the statue. The park surrounding the area looked like a castle town , lots of locals running loops. Wanted to head to Noma, the best restaurant in the world, but had a even longer walk ahead of us. Passed the royal palace en route. Walked over bridges to get to Christiana island, saw some hippies, and attempted to find the hidden gem of a restaurant. Residential area and construction made us confused but we finally found it and walked past it to the edge of the pier. It was pretty cool. Saw their smokers, smelled good, and test kitchen for practicing new menu items. Started to rain and significantly far away from hotel, made our way back. En route, Kim failed to sidewalk dance with fast walker man and he hit her square on the chest and continued walking not even turning around. Complete asshole. Gathering ourselves back together after the incident, wanted to get back t hotel. Got food and much needed bottle of wine. Exhausted, stinky, we showered and ate dinner, finished up some email work and called it a night. We had a super early train the next day and felt like we had seen the best parts of Copenhagen, and walked 7 miles. Whew.
October 21st – Stockholm
We slept in and woke up at 9, got ready and walked next door to 7/11 for coffee and muffins. Map in hand we, we headed for Gamla Stan, the oldest part of the city. It was a 20 minute walk. Arrived in old district, beautiful cobblestone narrow alleyways and old buildings. Small cafés and tourist shops. Walked through the alleys and found the oldest part in Stockholm and behind us the most photographed colorful buildings in Stockholm. Took a few pictures and looked at our map to find where the vasa museum was. Stockholm is a set of small islands, with tons of bridges connecting them all. It’s 1/3 buildings, 1/3 parks and 1/3 water. The vasa museum showcases a restored 333 year old ship, 98% original that sank 40 minutes into the water. Stayed and ate lunch at the cafe there, it was a buffet so we ate up. Tired, food coma we needed to make the long way back to the hostel. Rested for a few hours and headed back out for dinner and to see the old stone at night. Lanterns, spooky alleys , awesome. Had two beers at colorful building, the orange one, and then got hotdogs and beer at our fave 7/11 for 40$ krona each. It was delicious. Went to sleep and woke up bright and early to catch train to Copenhagen en route to Berlin.
October 20th- Bergen to Stockholm
Up at 6:30 am to enjoy buffet breakfast before our 8:00 train. Today will be long day and we won’t arrive in Stockholm until 9:30 pm. Open seating on train Bergen to Oslo so we sit in a quad seat while a single girl next to us does the same, but 3 Indian people sit with her and we can tell she’s bothered. Her friend is sitting by us and they keep talking. The Indian group pulls our white bread and a squeeze tube the size of 4 or 5 toothpaste tubes FULL of mayonnaise. Keep in mind this is their breakfast… They get off 2 hours in for nutshell route. Were on the scenic side of the train as recommended by RS and this time he was right. The views were awesome as the sun came out and felt like we were on another planet. Hungry and nearing Oslo for our transfer, we opted for hotdogs and sodas on board which were pretty good. Kim dropped 1 but they gave us a new 1 free of charge, nice. The train from Oslo to Stockholm recommended a reservation which he hadn’t done to date. Only about $5 per person we decided it was worth the gamble and it paid off. We walked right on and even booted some exchange kids from our seats. It was funny to watch their group of 8 constantly get up and move seats and we picked up people with reservations. The train ride was about 6 hours and we had picked up pizza bagels and chocolate muffins in Oslo for our later dinner. The ride was smooth but we were definitely getting tired and wanting to just be done. The sunset we saw was one of those you maybe see 1 or 2 of every summer that look so vivid and odd that you have to shake your head and say, “wow”. We tried to capture it but through a dirty window and moving at almost 100 mph, it didn’t work so well. Finally arriving in Stockholm we used to directions listed in our confirmation email, never again. Generally use google maps before hand and screen shot walking directions, but forgot this time. The directions sucked and we walked the wrong way several times. Tired and frustrated we walked into a 7/11 where the clerk was very helpful and pointed us in the right direction, the directions we had were WAY off. We walk for 10 minutes to our hostel which was a door off the street. Buzzed in and got a code from security to unlock the lobby box for our key, odd. Surprisingly the this place was modern, well lit and one of the cleaner and cooler places we have stayed. We unpacked our electronics and chugged a ton of water before laying in our modern bunk bed. After 12 hours on trains, we passed out, as tomorrow would be a long day of sight seeing and walking.
October 19th- Bergen
Can’t start the day without another gut busting buffet at our hotel. Luckily it wasn’t raining today, yet. We walked through an empty city, as all shops besides restaurants (most) were closed since it was Sunday. We decided to head back up the cable car as the clouds weren’t too heavy and we could actually walk around without needing an umbrella. Atop the city we walked the trail system that reminded us of being on a hike back home. The trees were wet and the leaf covered trails gave us a sense of being lost. Large decorative trolls scattered the Forrest, but we they were kind of creepy, maybe the weather influenced that. Before heading down we poked around the gift shop and Kim bought gifts and trinkets. It was now after 12:00 and we were hungry, so we found an awesome gourmet hotdog shop that was surprisingly crowded, so we knew it was good, and it was awesome, free lemonade too. Energized, it was time to put our city cards to full use and explore some art museums. We went to a modern museum which had a room graffitied, literally, and various pieces of local works of art, very cool. We spent quite some time in the museum just walking through various exhibits of silver, costumes and furniture of old and new. Next, we decided to head to the famous art museum that housed the works of Edvard Munch, most notable to us, the scream. It was fun walking through his life’s work and seeing the transition of his styles, spooky. It was now getting dark and the rain was starting to pick up, so we decided to walk back to our hotel through the city center. Back to our room we kicked up our feet, dried off and did some planning for the next few weeks. Hungry we decided to walk down the street for some pizza. The place was packed full of black people, as seemed to be an African owned pizza shop. Everyone was super nice, but we definitely felt a little out of place. We ordered to go and went back to our room. Oh, and disneys Pocauntas was on so Kim wanted to be back for the ending. Our pizza had no sauce and very little cheese. We were content since we were hungry, but back home this pizza would have been crap. It was now about 9:00 and we go into bed only for American Pie Reunion to start, so stayed up and watched, unrated version. 11:00 pm time for bed.
October 18th- Bergen
Up around 9:00 for another awesome hotel buffet breakfast. Make your pancakes on a legit skillet, eggs anyway you want them, bacon, bread and muffin bar, endless juices and fruits, faces = stuffed. It was raining pretty hard so we got off the elevator after changing in the room and asked front desk for umbrella. Well, guy in front of us got last 1. Walked out he graciously told us to have and insisted. He was from Minnesota and we chatted for a few minutes about attractions, as he had been there for several days. We had free tourism cards that gave us access to most all attractions (free) and discounts to various restaurants. We walked towards Bryggen and through downtown en route, stopped and noted how oddly clean and beautiful this city was. Bergen is located on the water and had rolling hills through downtown with lush Forrest and brightly painted houses. We walked around and up and down alleys and enjoyed the cool colors of autumn and picturesque homes/shops. The weather was picking up (rain/wind) so we made our way to a museum and learned about the town history and fires that burned the then village. From the museum we strategically walked with our umbrella to avoid strong gusts flipping inside out, failed. Finding cover inside an old fortress, we warmed up. The fortress had taken many shapes over the years and was restored to its original state not all that long ago. We found a creepy passage to the kings hall and slowly walked as it stormed outside. Neither of us could hold back on the game of thrones comparisons. A girl and her parents were also taking what looked like equivalent to senior phones, yes, inside. She was posing against creepy ass hallways and dark candles, we had to leave haha. It was now about 2:00 pm and we were hungry so found McDonalds en route to cable car to top of the city. I got a salsa burger, again questionable, but it was awesome. The cable car was included in our city passes and smoothly took us up to the top of the town to give us a view of the harbor, downtown and the surrounding area. There was a restaurant at the top and some awesome trail systems the meandered back to town and the backside of the mountain. The wind was gusting well over 20 mph and pushing everyone around, so we snapped some pictures and headed down. Wet and exhausted from walking all day we headed back towards our hotel to dry off and lay down. Before making it back we stopped at the downtown mall and Kim got some mascara. Back in our room we both took some time to rest and look ahead to where we might want to go next and even beyond. After planning for about 2 hours and booking Stockholm and Copenhagen, we headed out to grab some food. We wanted a 6 pack of beer but none of the shops sold alcohol after a certain hour and all were locked up. We were shocked as it was only like 8:30, but maybe it was a good thing since a 6 pack was almost $25. We decided on panini hotdogs and pesto baked chicken calzones with 2 sodas, delicious and cheap. Satisfied and full it was now almost 9:00 pm and the city was buzzing, Saturday night. We slowly walked around and couldn’t believe how natural and beautiful all the blondes were. Back to the hotel we checked in with our families and watched some nice English TV and fell asleep.
October 17th- Bergen
We woke up around 8:30 and were moving slow. We left our heater on all night and cracked our window, so the room was the perfect temperature and neither of us wanted to get up. While Kim got ready I reheated the spaghetti and ate it all while Kim put down 2 hotdogs. We were packed and put of the hostel by 11:00 and checked our bags (free) at the front desk, so we could lightly walk the down before our 3:00 pm ferry departure. We hadn’t had coffee so we went back to the cozy historic hotel and sat for an hour or so just taking in the beautiful view and another ghost town atmosphere. It’s a little after noon and there was a leisurely hike down a gravel road to a large water we you see anywhere from town, so we were off. Passing funny looking cows with odd hair, we stopped while Kim dangled a stick over the fence, no takers. Continuing on we got to the base of the waterfall but a steep climb and muddy fields prevented us from going any further. We made our way back, grabbed our packs and sat for about 20 minutes before the ferry showed up. An Asian tour group crowded the front line and sprinted on board as if to run for the 3rd story open deck 360 degree view seats, shit… We got on board and laughed as they all (40+) we’re sitting inside the cabin warmth and some already sleeping. We got to the top and had our pick of seats, although everyone just stands and runs around taking pictures and staring up, guilty. It’s difficult to describe how pretty this 2 hour ferry ride was, SEE FEATURED POST. The ferry pulled into our destination and we shuffled our way along with the rest of the ferry passengers to a transfer bus en route to Voss. The bus was very nice and the 20 minute transfer was nothing short of beautiful. We arrived in Voss and the sky was on fire with an unreal sunset that had everyone standing outside and frantically snapping pictures before it faded away. Our train from Voss to Bergen was about 2 hours and it was now 8:30 pm when we pulled into the Bergen station. Kim thought it was one way and I the other, to our hotel. Kim was right… It was a short (10 minutes) walk to our awesome hotel Scandic. We were on the 7th floor and threw our stuff on the ground and sat for a few minutes to take in how awesome our room was. We walked into a 7/11 and Kim got a pizza calzone and I opted for the cold tex mex burrito, questionable decision, but only to Kim. Back to our room we collapsed and flipped on the tv, ENGLISH channels. We saw some opening credits and waited…American Pie, yes! Watched the whole movie and comfortably fell asleep.
October 16th- Flam
Up around 9 we bundled up and headed for the Historic hotel to get coffee, which scouted the day before. If you had money and were on a vacation, you’d want to stay here. The lobby is warm and dark with a 3 story glass ceiling with views of the harbor and a fireplace. We got our coffee and sat for an hour to warm up (30’s outside) and enjoy solitude in the lobby, literally, ghost town. After leaving the hotel we made the executive decision to go back to our hostel and grab beanies since our ears were freezing off and we were about to walk 6 miles in the shade towards an old Viking farm. After stopping at the small market for muffins and salami (lunch snack) we headed to wards the waterfront path. The odd part about Flam is that the sun never go directly overhead, only a sliver ever hits the valley of the fjord. We walked on black ice and slid around moon walking and probably looking like idiots, but it was the down season and we saw nobody walking on our 4 hours adventure, so who cares. The frigid morning and little sunshine created glassy waters and reflections neither of us had ever seen. Granted, it the autumn colors attributed to the awesomeness, but the reflections just looked fake, so we sat and tool it in. An hour passed and we made our way to the Viking farm. The farm was closed but the gate was opened so we naturally walked through the stone village and took pictures. Standing next to a barn with a car outside we heard noises and decided that was our calling to leave. The sun still never hit our side of the valley so the it was about 40 degrees and the wind was picking up. The water was no longer glassy and we picked up pace to get back to our hostel and warm up. We sat in bed for an hour or so and got lost online researching cities and trip planning down the road. Dinner called for spaghetti with hotdogs and tomato sauce, which was actually really good and wound up being my breakfast the day since we had lots leftover. It was now 6:00 pm and headed for the Viking inspired brewery in town (only place open) for a sampler of beer by the 9 meter fireplace. The room was dark and cozy with wool blankets and awesome decor. The beer was expensive so we slowly drank our generous tasting glasses and chatted about the day. After over an hour we decided to head back and call it an early night. We sat in bed watching episodes of Hey Arnold and Doug, random youtube, but fun nonetheless.
October 15th-Arriving in Flam
We woke up super early, enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, stuffing ourselves full so it would hold us over until late lunch, and walked to the train station. We had already planned our walking route and found the platform for the train so we knew exactly where to go. Got there super early and waited for the train to come, nervous that we hadnt reserved our seats and would be kicked out since Oslo-Bergen is such a popular route. Found two seats. Got kicked out. Sat in two seats a row ahead and were fine through to Myrdral. Train route for the first hour not so interesting. Was sleepy and bought two coffees and a water. Not cheap. Started heading higher up in elevation and out of city suburbs. It was beautiful. Ski towns, snow, less people. We found a town that looked like Nuuk, Greenland and even after arriving in Flam looked at the one hotel there but it was too expensive. Oh well. Passed the highest train stop in northern Europe, Fisen, it looked like the moon. Arrived in Myrdral and caught train from there to Flam – a scenic train route, not covered by Eurail pass. Dropped to the fjord floor, steep train ride. stopped at waterfall to take pictures. Arrived in Flam, super small. Checked in to hostel, private room looked like a ski cabin/sauna. Walked to the supermarket to get lunch, two bread rolls (like giant bagels) and salami. After walking the town, we decided we’d cook our usual pasta dinner and head to bed.
After a late night we really needed a large breakfast and lots of coffee. While a little more expensive, we had planned accordingly and booked a hotel with a buffet breakfast (price included in rate). We stuffed our faces with eggs, sausage, salami, toast, potatoes and fruit. Oh, and endless juices and coffee, heaven. We only had a day in Oslo so we headed out to see the city and take in our first exposure to Norway. Oslo was very clean and small. The tallest buildings were hotels and we walked from one end to the other in about 30 minutes, if walking continuous. We stopped at the Oslo Cathedral and continued on to the Royal Palace. We had been on beaches and in 80 degree weather, so to seeing trees with Autumn colors, feeling cold and cloudy skies was oddly comforting. Kim and I walked through the stunning parks outside the Palace and just kicked leafs and noted that you would never see a park so beautiful and clean within such close proximity to a city back home. We hung around to see the guards change, as our boy RS (Ricks Steves) says they do. We joke all the time about RS (as we call him) and how he’s full of shit and probably never been to some places since his descriptions are hilariously off. Although, most opinions and suggestions he offers are great and we can justifying lugging his books around, and by books I mean we have 3 with us, heavy. After playing in the park we strolled through Embassy Row and tried to correctly identify country flags. We continued down towards the water where we spotted the Hh flag for Helly Hansen and saw their HQ, which was sweet. The police were blocking roads for some motorcade but we could never figure out who it was for… For our amusement we stopped at multiple restaurants and looked at menus. Norway is INSANELY expensive. I’m talking $27 for burger meal at McDonalds, $30 for an average pizza and worst of all, $22 for the cheapest 6 pack we could find. We went back our hotel and rested a little 6:00 pm after walking all day. Easy to please we found a deal on calzones, a liter of coke zero and a loaf of bread to hold us over for the night in preparation for another pig out buffet and an early train to Flam.
October 13th- Alicante to Oslo….or so we thought
Our cheap flight to Oslo was leaving at 5pm from Alicante, so we planned out beach time, shower time and time to pack. All complete, we caught a cab to the airport and checked in to our flight. Not a problem checking our bags and getting boarding passes from our budget airline, we had extra time and had an early dinner at Burger King, knowing we would be on a plane for the next 3 hours. Hopped on plane, got seats, kids in front of us so we were happy they wouldnt be reclining seats. Cartoons and free wifi made for an awesome flight. Three hours in and about to begin our descent, we decide to check the flight tracker to see what speed we were going, the temperature outside, how high we were, etc and we notice that our plane is headed for a city south of Oslo…this wasnt happening. We knew we had booked tickets to Oslo-Sandefjord but didnt think twice about it. Oslo isnt a big city. Well, apparently there are three airports one may fly into. As the flight attendant said please put your tray tables up, we frantically started googling what airport we were flying into to find that it was actually 1.5 hours away from Oslo (like Bellingham to Seatac for all our Seattle peeps), where we had our hotel already prebooked for two nights. It was 10:45pm at this point. As plane descended and we still had laptop out, we found out that there was a train and a bus connecting to Oslo. Last train was at 11 so we knew we wouldnt make that since we still needed to get luggage and go through customs. Awesome. Bus leaves at 11:20 and drops off a central train station, 15 from Oslo hotel, so we had no time to mess around. Run off plane and wait agonizingly long for baggage carousal to start moving. Nothing… still waiting, 11:15…shit. Bryce’s bag appears first, worrying we may have a repeat of Germany and Kim’s bag appears. sigh of relief. Now customs. Easy, walk right past cops. Now, bus. Where do we buy bus tickets, no sign, 11:30 at this point. See buses outside of airport and frantically run to one asking if they were going to Oslo. Yes. Where do we buy tickets!? on the bus. This is going to Oslo right?! yes. Like the Oslo bus station?! Yes. Whew. On the bus, thirsty, hearts pounding. Not 100% sure if driver was taking us to the right place. Bus fills up, we have last row. Kim lays down, shuts eyes. two hour bus ride ahead of us, meant checking into hotel at 2 am. Arrive at bus station earlier than we thought, caught cab instead of walking at 1am to hotel, cab was 30$ for 5 minute drive. welcome to Norway. Check in to hotel, find room. So so happy and tired. Great room, great hotel, inexpensive for Norway. We were here, just 4 hours later than originally planned. Good thing we looked at the flight tracker before landing or we would have thought we were in Oslo. No wonder our flights were so cheap! aye aye aye.
October 5-13th – Alicante, Spain
Beach – Eat – Drink – Sleep – Repeat
Unlike most of our trip, we had planned going to Alicante months in advance. Kim’s Uncle was in town for business, as Helly Hansen was sponsoring the all girls team (SCA) in the Volvo Ocean Races. The Races started Saturday the 11th, but there was a race village full of activities and of course miles of beaches and much needed warm weather. Kim and I arrived several days before he did and we enjoyed a beach front Best Western for $50 a night. Yes, that’s $50 total with an ocean view and balcony, crazy!! Our entire stay in Alicante didn’t need daily entries, as each day mirrored the day before, literally. After our 2 days at the best western we met up with Kim’s Uncle at Hotel Melia, a larger fancier resort in the heart of town. It was great to see family and have the feeling of home, yet still be away. Kim’s uncle arrived Tuesday and we had our share of fun nights that all started the same way, pre dinner beers and a nice dinner with 2 bottles of wine. Now, as each night started the same they definitely didn’t end the same… But what nights ever do? Our daily routine was sleep in 10 am and walk to McDonalds for breakfast and fresh coffee. After breakfast Kim and I would go to race village and play games or just grab a beer and watch as the race teams packed the boats. The hotel designed the pool in a way that the sun was no longer present after 2 or so, which meant we spent the days at the beach. The water in the pool was colder than the beach water, not too bad. This routine went on for the entire trip, no changes, no problems. Race day was full excitement and emotion from the crews as they said goodbye to their families and those who invested so much into their passion. We hung with the Helly Crew by the hotel pool and had a few beers as we watched the boats take off and fade behind the media crowds. The average day was in the 80s and we couldn’t have been happier with our long stay and awesome time Uncle Brian. We packed our bags Monday, caught some last hours of sun as we prepared for our flight to Norway and swing 50 degrees.
October 2nd-4th, 2014- Barcelona, Spain
Beautiful train ride into Barcelona. Some towns along the way, on the border of France and Spain, are insanely beautiful – must check out some time. On the Eurail route map, it highlights the train route as a scenic route. Left the train station and immediately knew we were in beach town, hot, taking off layers. Wrote the directions to our hostel backwards so we ended up walking three long blocks in the middle of the afternoon in the wrong direction. Irritated and wanting flip flops stat, we turned ourselves around and found the hostel. Checked in through apartment like doors and elevator and were shown our room – a four person one with four twin beds and two balconies. There wasn’t much in the room but it was huge and all ours. Tile floor was cool too. Unpacked and wanted to walk around. Walked La Rambla, headed to the Mediterranean, to find port to ask Mallorca cruise terminal about getting tickets. Boats don’t run on Saturdays, wtf, so we needed to find out what to do with ourselves for two days before Alicante. Walked back toward hostel and found Italian restaurant upstairs of old building overlooking la rambla. Had good pizzas, sangria and beer before calling it a night. Went sightseeing the next day, but couldn’t get into any of the major sites because they were sold out or had insane construction on them. Took in the culture, people, places, and ate and drank. The best part was drinking cheap beer on the balcony of our room and watching the sunset. Awoke one night to huge thunderstorm directly over the city. The narrow alleyways echoed the thunder and lighting crashed overhead. It woke both of us up and we sat and watched it. Morning, it was bright and sunny and we had some serious sightseeing to do. Didn’t wear the best shoes, didn’t eat enough and slightly underestimated the amount of walking we’d be doing. Exhausted, we had hotdogs on baguettes and beer at the top of the Olympic games stadium. Streets are winding and maps aren’t extremely helpful. Walked close to 8 miles that day. Decided to go to Alicante for two days early since hotel was insanely cheap, $50 plus breakfast on the beach. We were happy. Less people, low key, slower, cheaper, on the beach. Couldn’t ask for more.
October 1st, 2014 – Marseille, France
The storm subsided during the night and we woke up to a beautiful day in Marseille. Funny how some sunlight can change your perspective on a location. Our hotel was still a little sketchy and the alley (literally) was still dirty, but we felt safe and ready to explore. We walked several minutes to the waterfront which was shaped like a horseshoe and scattered with hotels and countless outdoor eateries. Our first stop was a pizza place, of course. We sat and ate enjoying the buzzing traffic and groups of tourists. We could see a government building and a park on our map boasted amazing views towards the horseshoe and downtown, so we walked along the ex route to the destination. The park entrance was guarded by security (governmental building) but they smiled and let us pass with ease. We always look for vantage points and odd cracks to really step away and view destinations from a new angle, this was perfect. Kim grabbed a bottle of water from a small cafe inside the park we headed towards the governmental compound. The doors wide open but clearly not for visitors, so we sat on the backside to take in views of the harbor and look down upon our horseshoe. A couple next to us was trying to take photons so Kim offered to take one of them, Americans! We sparked a conversation and chatted for over an hour just discussing travels and our professions. Now early afternoon, we decided to part ways and head toward a museum and cathedral on the otherwise of the harbor. The free water taxi was of course broken, so we walked the edge of the horseshoe and strolled past the museum to the free cathedral, where we quietly walked and played tourist. We made our back to the hotel and kicked up our feet before a much needed shower and decisions on dinner. Easy to please, we headed back to our morning spot and got more pizza, this time we washed it down with gelato. Our train to Barcelona was at 6:30 am so we called it an early night after watching the sun set and head back to our box of a room. Feed up lights off.
September 30th, 2014 – 12-hour train ride and we’re in France
Exhausted. Graffiti. Shitty old train. Smokers on train, even though there are clear signs to not smoke. Look outside through dirty window and see piles of trash on fire, falling down buildings and more graffiti. Very nervous about getting out of the train and finding our budget hotel in some sketchy beach town in France. Survive train, didn’t get mugged, it’s a monsoon out. Hail a cab, even though we had planned on walking. It was only a ten-minute walk to the hotel but we would have been miserably soaked. Checked into hotel – budget hotel. No elevator walked up three sets of stairs. Private room, so not all lost. Walked down the street for some McDonalds and head back to our sketchy-room and call it a night, LONG ASS DAY!
September 29, 2014 – Switzerland – Lazy day of route planning and bitchy Asian
We slept in and enjoyed a leisurely next day, no success on getting the same private room for another night. Moved into our six person bunk room and left our stuff on the beds. Had to take shoes off at the door and wear flip flops or old white slippers in hostel room and kitchen. Weird but funny. Had a lazy day outside, did laundry for 15 franks, hung clothes on clothes line outside hostel room. Wrote blog posts, walked to the waterfall, got lunch and ate it at the bottom of the waterfalls. Watched a swiss man feed his herd of 20 sheep. They went crazy. Sat in the sun outside of hostel and eventually cooked dinner. Lots and lots of Asians here. Like this is a Asian hostel and we are the minority. Had a bunk room of 4 other girls, all Asian. Our room was near the kitchen so it was hot and stuffy. We split up one finishing blog posts and one cooking dinner. Pasta and wine. We had wine while writing blog posts (rose) and then another bottle with dinner. Maybe it’d help us sleep? Nope. Ate giant bowl of pasta outside next two Australian or Kiwi threesome. They added fresh tomatoes etc, made us look like shit. Also, Asians were top chefing it up in the kitchen. Sushi making, pan-frying you name it. They were doing it and making five course meals. Cleaned up and went to bed. Didn’t sleep because a bitchy Asian kept closing the window. Got up and down, opening and closing the window 6 times that night. No sleep. You have to keep a window open in a common hostel room idiot. Never doing dorm rooms again. Pissed off from a hot and stuffy lack of night sleep, got up and headed for our 12-hour day of riding trains through Swiss land and France.
September 28th, 2014 – Gimmelwald to Lauterbrunnen to Top of Europe
We we’re staying in the valley for our second night in the Swiss alps. We left our high altitude mountain hostel in Gimmelwald and paid the 8 franks to take the tram to the valley floor. Chatting with the employees of the tram – they knew they had good jobs and we joked about it. Arrived in the valley and had to wait 20 minutes or so in the morning cool air for a bus to the town to get there. Bored. Bus arrived and we arrived in Lauterbrunnen. We walked around trying to find our hostel. We had read that the hostel was on the edge of town so we walked to the edge of town and had to ask some shop owner where it was because we couldn’t find it. It was right next to the bus stop and we had walked right past it. Walked back and checked in. Were upgraded for free to a private room- so happy. It was the best hostel room to date. Our room was in a separate little cottage, with four bedrooms and a shared kitchen and bathroom. The room was like a hotel room. Amazing, clean and had a view of the he valley floor, train route and largest waterfall. Didn’t have availability for one additional night but we booked the dorm room instead. Made ourselves at home, unpacking bags completely, using hangers, and purchased two tickets to the top of Europe – an expensive attraction to visit the highest train station/railroad in Europe and explore the tippy top of thee Swiss alps. $150 bucks later and a six pack of beer, we chugged away in a Disneyland type way. Past towns along the way, felt ears pop with high altitude and got nervous our six pack might explode. Literally, kept squeezing the cans to see if they were stil semi-squishy. Didn’t explode, happy. Whew. Arrived at visitor center and toured the place. Walked out on glacier. See full post on details. It was about 4:30, when we walked back to the visitor center and realized that we had missed our train to the bottom and had to wait until the last one of the night, which was a hour or so away. We took the tour again, this time goofing off. Hopped onto the train, which felt like a multicultural club and arrived back in Lauterbrunnen.
September 27th, 2014 – Zurich to Gimmelwald
Coffee was needed after a rough nights sleep, THE BEAR. We slept in a 6-person coed dorm and there was a man (bear) who snored like a freight train and smelt like shit. For me, it was like being back in the frat, so I was fine. As for Kim, well, she wasn’t the happiest of travelers. After chugging down several cups of coffee from the decent buffet breakfast, we were off on our 8:00 AM train. The train rolled through lush countryside and seamlessly chugged along towards the Interlaken (4 hours), our transfer stop. Interlaken is surrounded by high-hills, stunning lakes and turquoise rivers. Tempted to stay, we had reservations onward and upward, so we hopped on our transfer and headed towards the town of Lauterbrunnen. A short ride from Interlaken and we had arrived at the base of the alps and had our first glimpse of snow covered peaks. From the train station we took a short bus-ride to a Gondola, which supplied the only transportation to our accommodations, pretty sweet. While on the Gondola we met some traveling nurses from the Midwest who were backpacking for the month. After chatting for several minutes we realized we were staying at the same hostel in Gimmelwald, nice to make friends (Americans). ¼ of the gondola unloaded and headed towards Gimmerlwald, while the rest of the passengers head up on another short ride to Murren, a more touristy town above Gimmelwald. We walked with the girls and checked into our hostel, only to part ways for the afternoon while we headed off to explore the local area. Our hostel had swinging hammocks and a deck/bar with priceless views. Kim was in an all girls dorm and I was in the mens dorm, as some hostels don’t allow coed sleeping. Unpacked and changed, we decided to walk the recommended path towards Murren (45 minutes) and take in the scenery. The sun was shining and cowbells rang across the hills as we walked in the shadows of scattered forrest and snow covered peaks. Hungry, we headed for the store in Murren which surprisingly had an amazing selection of food and drinks. We grabbed a loaf of bread, sliced salami and a couple of tall boys. We walked through the town until we found a perfect bench with an amazing view of the iconic Eiger (Peak). After sitting for quite some time, we realized the town was completely shadowed, as the sun was now setting. Back to the store, we grabbed pasta and a bottle of wine to cook at the hostel (Full kitchen). As we walked downhill towards Gimmelwald, we slowed our pace and enjoyed the fact that we hadn’t seen any other people and the trail was ours. The hostel kitchen was full, as everyone was cooking-up pastas, or ordering up from the hostel restaurant. We talked with the nurses and another group of guys from the Chicago area who were traveling for several weeks, but were pissed because the fires at the Chicago airport were impacting their departure in 36 hours, bummer. The pasta and wine was inhaled, I guess we were more hungry than we had thought. As the kitchen cleared and people went to bed, we decided to take the same path from earlier to catch the stars. It was about 11:00 pm and we walked for about 20 minutes to get out of the glow and into darkness. We sat in silence for quite some time as countless stars shifted across the sky and dimmed for a new day.
September 26th, 2014- Switzerland
5:30 am we get up so we can be at the ticket office for opening at 7:00 am and train 7:10. Hotel lobby full of what we thought were drunks returning from late bar night was actually people heading to the fest. This was Friday morning and the weekend as we were told is insane and you must have reservations and be there extremely early. Glad to be leaving but still craving more beer brats, we’ll be back sometime soon. We’re third in line at station and make our train for Zurich. Everyone aboard looks like we did 24 hours ago and I’m sure feeling worse. We had our own seats and shut our eyes, only waking every so often to catch a glimpse of the green countryside. We arrive in Zurich and grab a sandwich at the station before catching our next 5 minute train to our stop. Off the train we aimlessly walk and look lost. A Local man walking his dog knows exactly where we’re trying to go and he walks us down the street, very friendly and nice. We check into our first hostel of the trip (spoiled by hotels) and both get the feeling of being in a dorm. It’s now 3:00 pm and we head directly back on the 5 minute train towards the downtown station. Zurich is incredibly clean, rich and refreshingly modern. Buildings have kept older charm but every shop is high end and we stopped counting the Ferraris, Mercedes and BMWs that sped by. Our hostel recommended a historic loop along the intercity canal that lead to Lake Zurich, so we took their advice and wow! Mix in the 70 degree late September weather and were as happy as can be. We grabbed a slice of pizza and sat on the water near the south city bridge and listened for over an hour as a man sang cover songs with his amp and guitar. With the sun setting and time to eat, we were very hungry, we set off on the opposite side of the canal on our way back. As we passed all the outdoor restaurants we realized not a single table had food, only drinks, odd? After another sandwich, we enjoyed the city lights from a park above the canal and sat to take it all in. Heading to Lauterbrunnen in the morning, we head back to the hostel for some much needed sleep and a hot shower. zzz
September 25th, 2014- Munich
Hungover! One of those hangovers where you don’t want to eat anything or move, not a top 5 on our hangover worts, but up there. We force ourselves to get the amazing buffet of sausages, eggs and coffee. Feeling a little better we pack our bags and catch a cab to the city hotel, closer to the fest and downtown action. The hangover lingers after check in, but were in Munich for Oktoberfest, screw the hangover. We walk to the Golden Arches (mcdonalds) and get a much needed meal with a diet coke 12:45 pm. The city center is great and we stroll the streets for several hours just watching people and drunks of all ages stumble in their authentic fest attire. We walked through some churches and took an elevator up 8 floors to a view point and soaked in where we actually were and how fortunate we were to be there together. Back in our room we mapped out train station walk, 5 minutes from hotel, in preparation for our 4 hour trip to Zurich the next day. Once we found our platform and ticketing office for activation, it was back to Oktoberfest. This time we explored the carnival portion where endless rides with no lines and funny names stretched the entire grounds. We stopped near one of those very tall swing rides, where you sit in a secure swing and it goes super high and in circles. Well, beer and circles don’t mix, so we had the pleasure of watch a drunk kid lose about 5 liters of beer to the small line below and those flying behind him, very entertaining. We walked around and enjoyed the festivities until 9:00 pm and headed back to our cozy room at the Marriott, thanks Dad! zzz
September 24th, 2014– Munich
After a long couple days we slept in 8:00 am and it felt great. Down to the lobby for amazing buffet breakfast, we stuff our bread-baskets and went to the front desk to see if our eurail passes had delivered…they did!!! Finally, things were working out and we went back to the room to relax and enjoy some much needed internet time. After spectating several games of LOL (Bryce) we decided it get ready for another day at the fest. Showered and ready it was 3:00 pm and we caught the train to the land of brats and endless beer. We again awkwardly walked into a tent and found out half was reserved and half wasn’t (until night, all reserved). We quickly found a spot next to an older German family (60’s) who yelled PROST and encouraged us to chug beers and smile. 45 minutes later the server approached us and said we needed to move so a larger group could sit down, kind of rude, but we get it. Little did we know he had scoped out another group of 4 American 2 guys 2 girls and sat us with them, felt great! The group was from Pennsylvania and all in their 30’s, but a close group of childhood friends and very inviting. We drank some beers were again kicked off the table for a larger group, non Americans, to take our spot. You can’t be mad at a place like this and we were all buzzed up so it didn’t matter, off to the next tent. Tim spoke decent German from 6 years of classes and we realized we didn’t really need a table for a drink and he ordered up 6 beers. We walked around and the girls scouted a table in the loft where 2 very nice German men had reserved a table. We all sat down and Tim did some small talk and the girls helped, haha. Anyways, we were cool to stay and the partying began. PROST after PROST from all table was catching up to us and everyone was drunk. Oh, and the German gentleman were paying even after we offered and offered… We’d be lying if we said we remembered leaving the tent, we clearly didn’t. I assume the night reservations rolled around and we all parted ways, but who knows. A drunk cab and train ride back to hotel, safe and sound, zzz.
September 23rd, 2014- Munich
Arrive in munich and ready to party for Oktoberfest, oh wait, airport has lost Kim’s bag…classic. Frantic and not sure what to do we head toward our hotel marriott. Train from airport to downtown and taxi to hotel. Room was ready so we check in and begin calling and tracking Kim’s claim number. Also, tracked our eurail passes and see the hotel turned away delivery as reservation was under dad’s name not mine. Called DHL and routed back for next day delivery. After we decided it was out of our hands and we can only wait, it was off to Oktoberfest to drink and relax. Train to festival was easy and crowded. Walk up stairs and literally step foot on grounds. Felt like an oversized fair for adults. Drunk people walking and singing, smells and brats everywhere = heaven. Tents or warehouses (we called them) huge party halls with awesome decor. Indecisive and nervous where to go and how to order, we just ask a waitress. So, there’s no bars and you can only be served if your sitting down. All tents are basically full so no luck there, but there was a ton of outdoor seating so we sat and ordered up. Moved tables to another empty table and was told not to move because that’s a mother waitresses zone even though you pay cash no tabs, oh well we stayed. Several beers and a pretzel/brat later we decided to head back 8-9:00 and see if bag was there. Headed towards train we see a bar tent and can’t help but stop for another drink. Met some people from Australia and South Africa, our age and very nic and gave us ear plugs for our long trip as his was overs. Dranks some beers and learned of a shoey (he poured his beer in his smelly shoe and drank it) and parted ways. B
September 22nd, 2014– Iceland
Last day in iceland, sad. Breakfast was great again. Denver pair of retired rich couples. Talking about off the beaten path and loving to travel but they stay at Hilton’s and 4-5 star place. We chuckled and kept to ourself. Off to blue lagoon. Think we’re at wrong turn but turns out the gps took us Ina scenic route, very glad. Could very well be prettiest day of the trip. Only saw 3 cars for 60 minute drive that took us 2 hours. Lots of stop with lakes and volcano hills with hot spring can’t swim. Gravel roads to paved we finally meet up with standard road to blue lagoon. Coast is beautiful and sun begins to shine. GPS says we’ve arrived but were at an industrial plant that fumes rotten egg smell, we know we’re close. Pull into northern lights inn and ask for directions, 2 mins away, we were close. Pull up huge parking lot and feeling of amusement park. Walk the long path and see milky blue waters that get us smiling. $50 and were in with a wristband for drink and food purchases. Quickly change in nice locker rooms and meet in lobby straight for pools. Lagoon is huge and semi crowded but we found our own area and gave our selfs a face mask of mud. Floated around and got hungry so went in and relaxed with a sandwich. Back in the water for several minutes and 2 rainbows appeared brightest ever and truly amazing. We also had just purchased beers so even better. Man runs for photo and slips with $1000 camera doesn’t drop but embarrassing. 6:30 pm rolls around and the lagoon slowly clears as tour buses leave and people go elsewhere to eat. Maybe 20 people total or less and we have the place and solitude we wanted. Night 7:30 comes and the lights come on for a very relaxing and magical feeling with the steam clouding your view of the few remaining guests. Kim goes to shower and I stay solo place almost to self as other girls leave as well. Everyone out 8:30 closes at 9:00. Walked the area after close for amazing night shots. Back to car for drive to get pizza but we get lost gps fault and we decide on subway, first US chain we’ve been to and it was just what we needed footlongs and chips and soda, mmm. GPS again can’t find drop off for car. Drove around circles at airport and finally find. Raining heavy so gas up car and drop Kim and bags at departures. I park car and walk in the rain, light now. Can’t check in can’t go to terminal. Never seen so many campers at an airport. Full sleeping bags and pads from their trips around the iceland. Felt like it was a camp out. We found quite area under some stairs and shut our eyes for a few hours, now 5:00 am and time to check in. Oversized bag check in stupid. Icelanders drinking beer at airport 6:30 am, ask waitress guess it’s normal. Exhausted and on plane, off to Munich.
September 21st, 2014– Iceland
Woke up to typical iceland weather, rainy and gale force winds. Executive lounge breakfast was great. Off to waterfalls south iceland. Little car blown all over the road and very very foggy and windy for first 30 minutes. Fog is gone but rainy and windy still. Drove through many small towns and came to black sand beaches and fake looking waterfalls to our left, first top. Glad we had HH gear, spray from falls was unavoidable. Walked around larger falls and continued down gravel path to where it ended and saw that there was another fall literally in some farmers back yard. Japanese group 5-6 we’re taking photons and we found a slot canyon to the base of falls. All of us squeezed our way to base, wet and cameras in hand. Took photons and got out before we were more wet. Onto the final falls stop, insane. Nearly had the place to ourself and took some amazing photos. Met a man from the UK who had very expensive wide angle lens and he offered to take our picture with his camera and email it to us, he did later that day, awesome! Hiked above the falls where few were at and again felt alone and truly “there”. Couldn’t wait for 2.5 hours to get back for happy hour so split a burger at falls restaurant, shitty burger but filled us up fries too. Charged for tap water…odd. Back for happy hour and worked on some posts, exhausted bed time.
September 20th, 2014– Iceland
Loins breakfast. Bus to hub and got picked up by rental car company 9:00 am. Lady who picked us up looked like she hadn’t slept in 2 years and barely survived last nights bender, very nice though. In car and heading to drive the golden circle. Little car but very easy to drive. Same rules of the road as the states. LUCKY to have a clear day! Pulled off at cairn stop overlooking lake and continued onto national park and plate collision. Landscape is similar to eastern Washington and the Gorge greenery. Vast and breathtaking. Stopped at warm lake and Fontana for hot springs, insanely cool and alone. Met a couple from LA who have been driving iceland for past 14 days and today was best weather they had, we feel lucky. Onto gulffoss and geysir. Rainbow over the falls seemed fake and the green hills and mountains were picturesque iceland. We felt “there”. Back to hotel for happy hour and walk the city, very tired. Jet lag?
September 19th, 2014 – Iceland
Nothing like packing our bags last minute and realizing we have too much stuff, but no option to leave anything. Third back it is. Ride to the airport was smooth, still feels like a vacation… Calling credit and debit card companies before boarding to activate travel notifications. Stuck in the row in front of emergency exit, seats don’t recline. No body sitting next to us, so that’s nice. Iceland air has no snacks and charges for everything, so we bought sandwich (really good). Arrived in Iceland 6:30 am and took flybus to hotel for extra cost tired and didn’t care. Room not ready. Free bus pass from hotel, so explore Reykjavic for several hours. Exhausted and tired back to hotel room ready = nap time. Woke up for happy hour all you can drink/eat executive level. Bus back to city 5 mins and walked at night. Peaceful and quite city. Time for bed.