Archive for the Category »Europe 2010 «

Silly Swiss Stalkers

I had spent most of the day traveling on trains to reach Interlaken Switzerland, about 6 hrs and 3 different trains. Normally these days seem like a waste but since it was pouring down rain I didn’t feel as I was wasting that much time. I was able to catch up on some of my journal and read one of my books :) On my train from Zurich to Bern I met a Serbian girl who now lives in Switzerland. We talked a lot of the weather and her life now in Switzerland. She was a dentist and seemed to like it on most days. She really loves the city now and says she couldn’t imagine living in a small town again, however she said she would like better weather. She loved New York and was planning on going to visit again in the fall. Its times like this when I am happy I travel alone sometimes. Like I have said before had I been with people on the train I probably would have never met her. So its great to put yourself out there to actually meet local people and connect with them on a different level than you normally would when you are out and about. When I arrived finally in Interlaken I had no problem finding the hostel, it all came back to me rather easily. Same hostel, same walk as two years ago when I was there before. This is one city I don’t think I will ever have enough of. There is so much to do, so many places to explore near the town and just a culture of adventurous youth that I am drawn to. I love it. Once I check in, I have the special a burger and a beer. Everything is quite expensive in Switzerland so you have to watch your budget. I begin to socialize with some guys and soon enough Meghan and Lauren join me, shortly after Fabian the Swiss gent from Basel joins as well. At this time I didn’t know what trouble lay ahead, I was just interested in meeting a guy from switzerland and his eyes were quite easy to get caught up in. He was riding his motorbike down from Basel and headed to southern Switzerland, so he made a pit stop in Interlaken where some of his buddies worked. His friends were all sky diving instructors and he himself had about 500 jumps behind him. Of course all of this intrigued me. The hostel we were at had a night club in the basement open to locals, so on a saturday night it was quite the place to be. The girls had made some friends from Montreal which they were hanging out with and I spent most of the time talking to Fabian and his friends. He was rather nice, but had some crazy dance moves. I didn’t know how to keep up. At some point we did the robot. Oh silly Swiss. I attempted to teach him line dancing and he tried teaching me some swiss step. It was all rather hopeless as there was not much room to dance. He then tried grinding which made me lose interest really quick. Eventually I had to run away, outside back through the club and sneek into my room to lose him. Oh what a night.

Category: Europe 2010  52 Comments
Brilliant Barvarian Buddies and Baths

Today is a big day! I am to meet my German friends from Madrid today. They have arranged to meet me at the train station in Augsburg ( where they go to university) and from there they will drive me to Fussen, to see the castle. However by 8 am the rained had not ceased so I wonder what kind of adventure is in store for me. I am always up for just about anything and with good company, nothing can go wrong. It is a struggle to get to the train by 8 since I was up late talking but it is well worth the sleepiness. I catch the trains with out any problems and soon enough I am reunited with my german friends from Barvaria. I was a bit nervous at first since its been a while since we hung out but I figured that would all go away once we started talking. Of course it did and they greeted me with hugs. We had some coffee and breakfast at the train station before we set off for our adventure. We took two separate cars since they all lived in different places and were headed to their parents homes afterwards. I rode with Anita and we had some really good conversations about the difference of driving in Germany and the states. I was surprised to learn that all of them had cars, since it is not that common in europe. As anita explained it, her town was too small for good public transportation therefore a car was needed for work. Interesting I thought as that is the case for most of the states. The view was great as we drove through part of the mountains and passed lots of farms and little cottages. This view of Germany reminded me a lot of Switzerland and I was just smiling from ear to ear. I could picture myself living in a small town in the south of Germany. :) Maybe one day. We arrive to Philipps house and he has left his key. His mother had to run the keys over. The house was a typical cute house and I learned that they rent most of the rooms out to guests since it is 3 stories and fairly large. He lives very close to the castle so we drop one car off and combine into one. At the castle we meet up with Resi, another girl who belongs to their program at the university. I really enjoyed chatting with her. She bought us tickets to enter the castle and we had to wait till our time to enter. Of course since I was with locals we took the back way up through the mountains rather than the typical paved path. It was a short little hike but I enjoyed getting out into nature a little. We passed a little area with lots of rocks stacked on top of each other, something like rock snowmen. I attempted to build one, at first I made a small one but I tried to make a bigger one and failed miserably. My new friends laughed at me and told me just to put one rock on top of one already built and take a picture with it. It was only lightly raining at the time so it was not too bad. By the time we get up to the castle we have an hour to burn. Everyone is starting to get sleepy just waiting around. The rain starts to pick up really fast so we seek shelter. We sit around talking about schools and religion constantly comparing the two and talking about families and what we want from life. It is an enjoyable conversation. They blame me for the weather, of course its the American who brought bad weather. We all start joking around and things are becoming more natural talking to them. It is time for our castle tour, and we head off. Just as we are waiting in line Philipp’s mom calls and he has to go help her fix her car. So now it is just the four of us. we go through the castle and its pretty nice. Rather extravagant, very filled and the rooms seem a bit too much. It is interesting to see though as everything relates to a legend of some sort, just like a fairy tale. The view from the castle is gorgeous and some of it faces the mountains and others overlook the town below and the hills. I sure would feel like a princess living there. I can not believe that my friends paid to go there, to listen to a tour in english, to a place they have seen before. They really are great hosts. After the castle we are all hungry, soaking wet, and cold. Not a good combination. We met back up with Phillip and headed off to get food. We went to a local place and have some schnitzel and fries. It tasted great!! I really love all the meat here in Barvaria. We had some hot chocolate to warm us up and we contemplated our next plan of action. The decision was been made, we shall go to a public bath and suana place to warm up. Great idea, however I have no suit. At seven they inform me that there is no suit required, however I’m not sure I have reached this level of comfort yet. Especially when they all have suits. I ended up buying a swim suit at the bath place for not too much. Ironically it is the opposite colors of Anita’s suit. The guys joke that we are sisters, matching suits and we also have matching shoes. After the suit situation is solved we go jump in. It feels so good to be in a warm body of water after standing in rain all day. It was also my first public bath experience. It really reminds me of a pool with just super warm water and different pools all over. We go to the one outside for a while which is nice to have the rain coming down while relaxing in the warm water. We switched baths several times, they all contain different levels of salt and different temperatures, but they don’t differ drastically. It starts getting late so Anita had to leave for a birthday party in her home town. Now its just me and the guys. Oh boy. It didn’t end up being too weird and we all just continued on with conversations. We went into the relaxing room at one point which was just fantastic. It was dark with water running, some relaxing music playing and in a cave like room. My whole body was relaxed with in five minutes. It felt absolutely great to be so relaxed on a backpacking trip :) . We went back to a bath for a little while and then decided it was time to head home. We said out goodbyes and Philipp drove me to the train station. I was just in complete happiness the whole ride home. What a great day, with very friendly people. Hopefully they will come visit me one day! After arriving back to Munich, I had to get a coffee to warm my body up along with some great bratworsts :) Oh Munich I am going to truly miss your meat. At the hostel I just talked to a few people in my room, heard about a program called bus-about that I would like to research a little more, and basically relaxed till it was bed time.

Category: Europe 2010  80 Comments
Meaty Munich

I arrived in Munich after traveling from bus, ferry, and trains for about 24 hrs. It is 6 am and I have hardly slept. I spent most of my time catching up my blogs. Arriving in the Munich train station is a familiar place. I have been there several times before which is always a good feeling. I locate the hostel and check in early. I then fall fast asleep on the couch while I wait for Lauren and Megan to wake up. Eventually I switch out to the hammocks in the courtyard. Oh how I love hammocks, definitely need to invest in one for my home. I sleep maybe 3 hours total and am woken up by the girls, time to start our day in Munich. We go for a walking tour, which was highly informative and was like a history class. It was very good and I learned more than double what I learned on the last walking tour I took in munich 2 years ago. Things are slightly familiar to me, but still a bit hazy since it was a while ago. I learned so much about the difference between the north and south of Germany and more about the Barvarian laws and culture than I had previously known. I highly recommend to take walking tours in a city or at least have something to walk you through a history of place. I have recently taken a liking to Rick Steves because he does give the history behind a place ( thanks Marina). After the walking tour I had one of my favorite Weibworsts that are just So great!! I love all the meat in Munich. We then found the English book store that I visited two years ago , so I could get some reading materials for the rest of the trip. We then head to a cafe to have some iced coffee. It was absolutely amazing. The glasses were large and it was like a caramel machiatto milk shake. It was so nice to drink something cool since it was rather warm. Then it started getting over cast and looked like a storm was about to roll in. :( it always rains in Munich when I come. We were provided with live music from this group of boys, who I believe had just graduated -if only I could understand German then I would know what was happening. We head back then to shower and get ready for the evening. We decide to head to the Hofbrau haus however it was pouring down rain and super windy. We still head that way and we end up having some pretzels and beer. I finally have that liter that I have been waiting to have for a while. I got a radler, which is a beer with lemonade. So great. We meet several groups of people. Some that were on a contiki tour, they were slightly awkward and obnoxious but that happens when you get a big group of people traveling. Some of them were highly entertaining to talk to though. Everyone always has their own story their own view on life. As HB is closing, we meet these two Canadian boys. They come back to the hostel with us since there is happy hour at their bar. We all sit down and chat a while and I notice a familiar face playing pool. I believe it is a guy that I have ran into several times amongst my travels. As I look for his friend to verify that it is them , he comes out of nowhere. I walk over there and chat with them for quite some time. It is really a small world. I had met them in Sevilla, Spain. Saw them almost 2 weeks later in Pamplona, then run into them in Munich. It is true people get on certain travel circles, but its crazy to think 3 random meetings. We had been in the same cities as many people before, but you never see them and here it happens I am seeing these guys everywhere funny thing is I don’t even remember their names, nor am I sure we ever exchanged them. I began to get a bit hungry since the pretzels for dinner did not fill me up. I decide to splurge on a kebab. Oh how I really enjoy kebabs and they are all over europe but taste different in every place. This one has been my favorite by far and reminded me of the ones I used to have in France all the time. As I am eating my Kebab in the lobby I begin to talk to 3 guys. One from Brazil ( I swear the brazilians are bound to find me this trip ) and 2 from Sweden. The one guy from Sweden really reminds of Mathais, one of the other Swedish guys I have met along the way. Ironically they are from the same city as well. We all chat and talk for a while and I head off to bed.

Category: Europe 2010  3 Comments
Happy in Hvar

Day 3, since I have missed my ferry, or made the executive decision last night not to catch my ferry, I now need a place to stay. Hopefully there is room at the hostel. I ask and the girl working says there is nothing currently available but to wait till the one who runs it wakes up and she might be able to work something out. I have to move all my stuff out and check out, but thankfully I can just leave it there. First order of business is trying to find a room, but I figured I would wait to see if there is space in the same hostel first and if not I could always find a place to stay. We decide we want some eggs for breakfast so we head off to the mini mart, just on our way out she stops me and says there is room and I can sleep on the fold out sofa. Marina agrees to just stay there and allow me to just stay in the same bed. Perfect. So no worries, I have a bed. We head off to the store with James and Niall, and half way there we realize we hadn’t brought our money. Opsies. This is just the start to a forgetful day. What has Croatia done to us!! Lols so we cook up breakfast and head down to find something to do, we were going to see if there was anything adventurous we could get ourselves into. Not much help and we decide we should just relax at the beaches today. Once again we forgot our money so we go back to the room. We need to get cash to pay for our nights stay as well buying ferry tickets so we can leave the next day. After taking care of this business its finally time to hit up the beach. We first go to a beach and its super crowed so we switch locations we find a nook somewhere with semi flat place to lay on the rocks. Marina decides now is her claim to fame and decides to lay topless for like 10 mins, I’ve always thought about it, but still couldn’t bring myself to do it. I am so sleepy but I can’t seem to nap. I go out for a swim for a little while but its hard to get out into the water and I get super nervous about those sea urchins. We lay for some time then I get really faint and decide it is time for food. I am beginning to break out into a heat rash but nothing too serious yet. We go to this burger place hidden away by the grocery store. Marina and I decide to split one and it is amazing. It just melts into your mouth, so delicious. We had grapes from the market for our desert. Quite the feast. Then we head back to the hostel drop some things off and go to a different beach. We lay there for some time and I am able to catch up on my written journal. However my bumps are starting to get really bad. I just hope they don’t start to itch. That would be very unpleasant. Thankfully they don’t. We return to the hostel to get some stuff and try to see the sunset. Its been a back and forth kind of day and we keep forgetting everything. We go to the store pick up a bottle of wine and head off to the castle for sunset. We can’t figure out how to get there, we ask directions and head up. Lots of Lots of stairs. We then turn right and keep walking towards the sun. For some reason I turn around and see the Castle is behind us. Opsies. Story of the day. When we find the sign, we realize it was right at the top of the stairs, silly us. We walk all they way up there, behind a french group of kids making weird animal noises, and can’t find the entrance. Finally we find it and pay to get in. We get lost a few times and can’t find our way to the top. By now the sun has already set and we have just paid 25 kuna for nothing :( sad day. We decide to head down to get ready for our last night together. We can’t seem to make our way out of the castle what a tricky place. Eventually we make our way out. We get back and I sit and talk to the lady who works at the hostel she really is a doll. I liked her a lot.I finally decide to shower and its a slow start to the evening. I wasn’t really in much of a mood to be crazy though, I just wanted to chill and relax my last night. Marina ends up drinking most of the wine so she is having a good time. We walk to meet the Brazilians like planned and they were gone. Oh no! We head oFf to town to find them, but not so much luck. Marina decides to call it a night around 12:30 so we walk her back. I wasn’t tired yet and I wanted to just go relax by the water. So Niall and I go sit down by the dock. It was really peaceful just to listen to the water and look up at the stars :)

Category: Europe 2010  50 Comments
Crazy Croatia

After waking up not in my bed I realized I was late to meet the guys for the boat! Oh no! I woke up at 10:30 the time I was supposed to meet them. The girls were in the kitchen when I woke and they helped me gather my things and I was out the door. I thanked them for allowing me to stay. They offered to try to help me find my way home still in the morning, they will make good mothers some day. As soon as I walked out and could see my surroundings I knew how to get home. I actually was not too far from where I should have been. As I walk into the hostel the guys are waiting and it was quite the story to tell considering I was late and in my dress from the night before. I run up to the room and talk to Marina, who is just on her way to leave. Thankfully she packed up all of my stuff because I was supposed to be switching rooms at 10. Opsies. She had wrote me a note thinking she would not have seen me again since she had a flight to switzerland today. However, the only ferry that was leaving was at 1:45 and her flight was at 4. Close squeeze. We said our good byes and I rushed to get ready for the boat. Hoping the Chileans would still be there by the time I got there. I was quite surprised when I saw Sebastian, that means I didn’t mess up too bad. We could still all go out for a boat ride, they were late as well which made me feel a little better about the situation. We were waiting for Gui the Brazilian who was supposed to come as well and we decided to get some groceries for the day. After we got back there was no sign of Gui so we decided to go anyways. Round two of the boat. As we were pulling out of the harbor Niall, was our “experienced sailor” it was a little rough for him at first which became a giggle for the rest of day, especially for James. Sebastian ended up having to take over and suring the switch-er-roo we got called back to the dock. We were thinking they were going to take the boat back. Thankfully, they just thought we hadn’t paid. With Sebastian in charge we successfully made it out with out hitting any other boats, always a plus. The boat once again was an amazing choice. We went a lot father around the islands than we had the previous day and I even steered for a while. I was much worse than Niall and I did a doughnut, real slow once since the boat didn’t have much power. I was constantly trying to over correct at first. They wouldn’t let me give up though and I eventually got the hang of it. I mean it could only go left or right which should be really easy, but I felt like I had to constantly remind my self it was the opposite, but when we came close to the harbor I let Sebastian take over, I don’t do well under pressure at least not on the boat. We found a sand beach, which had sand in the water but not to lay on. We had anchored the boat far from the beach so we had quite the swim to reach land, it was quite tiring. We then moved along and had some sandwiches at another spot, I was quite full from them. The next joke of the day became the word cucumber. Sebastian had quite the accent when he used that word that just sent James into laughter for the next two minutes. It was great. We really had a good group. We stopped back later at the sand island and had found the brazilians drinking away. The bar they were at was really a chill place, with little forts in the trees. It was great. There was a little kitten that kept going after the chips that we were eating. I have never seen soo many wild cats as I have seen in Croatia, its crazy. It was then time to head back to return the boat. Flo gave the driving a chance and was amazing at it. She is just a great person all around. I kept think how the two of the Chileans would make such a great couple, but I’m not sure it will ever happen. I hope so back in Chili. When I got back to the hostel I checked my phone. Low and behold Marina emailed me, she’s coming back tonight! She got to split around 3 and her flight left at 4 its at least a half an hour drive to the airport, so she said screw it and decided to come back to the island. I didn’t know what was going to be her plan now, and I was supposed to be leaving in the morning, either with the Chileans to Dubrovnik or headed to Munich, both of the choices meant an early departure the next day. I had been contemplating staying in Hvar though if Marina decided to stay. My plans depended on her. Shortly later I got an email saying Lauren and Megan booked me a room in Munich so looks like I should be headed there. All of this was giving my head a swirl and I didn’t want to make a decision until I talked with Marina. So I hung around at the hostel talking with James and Niall. I became really fond of them, really great people and I feel like they now know my whole life story. We had a tree, hammock rotation going on. I first sat in the tree but then my bum went numb and so we swapped turns. After we got booted at 11 I was trying to figure out where I could leave Marina a note to find me. Just as I was talking to the staff Marina shows up :) Back in business. We figure out if there is any place for her to stay, the hostel workers truly are miracle workers and find her a place to stay on a pull out couch in my room. Thankfully everyone was okay with this happening and things worked out great. We then continued on to the Brazilians hostel following the tradition. Everyone was there once again. As we get ready to leave I completely miss the stairs and go off the edge into some crates cutting the back of my leg. Croatia really has done some damage to my body, of course I just tried to play it off like it didn’t happen. Opsies. After the hostel we went down to the square once again. We stopped to get ice cream on the way which was a real treat. We then just chilled outside at some tables. I messaged Niall and found out he had been robbed, well pick pocketed and his money was gone. :( James and him joined up with us shortly later. They bought me pizza ( thanks ) it was great! Then we decided to head home. Marina went out with Brazilians and went dancing, I was not in the mood for such things as I had my mind else where. We got back the hostel and Niall and I hung out some more before we decided it was time for bed. I was the only one in the dorm room and it was already 4 am, looks like most people were having a late night. Its crazy how late everything is open in Europe.

Category: Europe 2010  45 Comments
Hello Hvar

Since the Brazilian boys are notoriously late we decided we should tell them to meet us an hour before we actually expected them to show up. We were thinking of getting a water taxi to Hvar since there were 6 of us and we could split the costs and get there quicker. However when I talked to the tourist guy it would end up being still more expensive than the ferry and it didn’t seem to be worth it. Also by the time we needed to buy ferry tickets the Brazilians still hadn’t showed up. We decided that we would just buy our tickets and if need be we would meet them at the island since Marina only had one day. Of course though they show up right before 11 and by a different ferry ticket than us. Their ferry was to leave a half hour later but go directly to Hvar. We decided we should try to exchange our tickets so we didn’t have to take the slow ferry. Thankfully the lady did so with out a problem :) Marina at this time was scrambling to buy her flight for the next day, since she was supposed to be headed to Switzerland. She was able to get one booked on the way over and one when we checked into the hostel. The hostel directions had no street names but were very detailed so we were able to find it with out a problem. The Brazilians of course had no directions so they followed us to our hostel. Thankfully for their sake they were just down the street from us so they did not go out of their way. We met up with them soon after. They had already been drinking, go figure! Luca the man who owned their hostel was super eager to get us to move into his place.. “Stay with Luca, we have room, we have air condition, ” it was hilarious. He was really a nice man and definitely hungry for money. We were mentioning renting a boat and he said no worries, Luca will get you a boat. So he reserved us a boat and we had to rush the Brazilians to get ready. We stopped at the super market before and bought a bottle of wine to enjoy out on the lake. As we were getting on the boat we ran into the Chileans and they wanted to join. Unfortunately we already had the max number of people, so I told them I would try to find two more people to go again the next day. It was a great day. The water was crystal clear. The sun was out and we had the freedom of the Mediterranean. We anchored the boat several times to go for a swim. It was great because you didn’t have to worry about the rocks or the sea urchins. The only struggle was getting back into the boat. I didn’t have a problem to start, but the later in the evening it got I struggled to pull myself back in. I had to have the Brazilians pull me back into the boat. The ride back was very enjoyable I laid on the front of the boat, next to Luis Luis. The views were absolutely stunning and I now understand the craze about Croatia. The rocks, the bright blue water, the atmosphere it all was just brilliant. When I got back I was on a mission to find two people to recruit for another stunning day out to sea. It was not hard as I stumbled upon James, a great guy from the room next door. It didn’t take too much convincing and he was able to get his roommate Niall to join along. They are both irish guys who both happen to live in London, quite the duo. We start chatting it up and I make plans to meet them at 10:30 in the common area the next morning. After a shower, I was ready to hit the town. The hostel was quite the social scene and so we hung out just chatting there until we were kicked out at 11. During this time we meet Tom the polish guy who was quite opinionated and later climbs through the window at 7am. He was a riot. After that we meet up at the Brazilians hostel and socialize there for a while. I was quite the entertainer that evening doing a nose dance, chatting it up with everyone and just so excited about life. We decided all to go out in the town so we head off. Somehow I end up losing all my friends and I start to hang out with these Norwegian girls that I met along the way. They were super nice and tried to help me find my friends. When I insisted that I would be okay and could somehow find my way back to the hostel they were apprehensive. They didn’t want me wandering alone at night by myself and I completely agree. The roads were fairly confusing and it is very easy to get lost. Eventually they convince me its just best if I sleep on their couch and in the morning I could find my way home when it was light. I oblige and end up crashing at their place for the evening.

Splendid Split

Today got off to a late start. Noon was the wake up time, the Brazilians were not feeling so well and still needed more time to sleep but I couldn’t force myself to sleep any longer. We set a meeting time to meet back up with them to go to the rock beach. We checked in and went to the sand beach first since we had a few hrs. This way we figured we would get to explore both the beaches. The water was great so clear and blue. The beach was packed and there were loads of people there. The water was super shallow as well so you could be out fairly far and still have to stay on your knees. After spending some time there we head off to find the boys. They actually were on time, but only two of them had made it. Luis and Julio. The other two still were not feeling so great. We head off to the rock beach. On the way we saw lots of people cliff jumping and it looked pretty amazing. They said you had to land on your stomach though because the water was too shallow.. A little to close for me, also it looked painful. We laid out in the sun for a while and would take turns going for a swim. It is really hard to get into and out of a rock beach. The feet don’t feel so well. Also you have to be careful of all the sea urchins that lurk about. Thankfully the water is clear enough to see them, or life could be bad. After spending the day in the sun, I was tired and completely hungry, I hadn’t ate yet. We went to the grocery store for some goods for the ferry the next day and then went to get dinner at a sit down place. The food was amazing. We shared a plate of calamari, it was the best I think I ever had and fairly cheap. At our table there was a Swedish guy who had been traveling by himself that we started talking to. He was a very nice guy and we all had a great dinner. The other two Brazilians showed up a little later ironically. After the long day in the hot sun, we were exhausted. Tonight was definitely going to be an early one. We walked around for a while saw some of the palace and went to get some ice cream. We gave the guy too much money on accident and he corrected it. Its good to know that there are honest people out there. He had a dancing giraffe stuffed animal that he played for us :) what a nice way to end the night.

Category: Europe 2010  One Comment
Nature !!!

Today we went to the Plitvice National Parks on our way from Zagreb to Split. It was almost half way between the two cities and was easily accessible. When we arrived we checked our luggage, only 2 dollars to store both our bags. There were only like 8 lockers so it is a good thing we arrived early. We got our ticket for the park it was 80 kuna which was the student price. The lady didn’t believe our IDs at first, but then eventually gave us the discount. It saved us about 6. US dollars so it was worth it. The lakes were unbelievable. The natural beauty was just outstanding the water was so clear it was a tease that we couldn’t jump in. There were no railings so it was really like you were part of the water. The paths crossed several lakes and lead up to many waterfalls. It was just amazing. It is nice to finally be in a place that was out in nature. After so many big cities I get worn down. There definitely needs to be a mix of everything. I would highly recommend this park to anyone going to Croatia. They had ferries and trams that were included in the ticket price that you could take once you were in the park, it was nicely set up. We walked around for a little over 3 hrs and needed to catch the bus to Split. Marina was able to sneak by with out paying, the guy never stopped by her. The bus stopped at a road stop and we had a 20 min break. There were reindeer and a bear in a cage, like a super mini zoo. It was exciting because I wanted to see a bear in the park but I was not so fortunate. At least this way I saw one but didn’t have to worry about it getting too close. After the little break we continued on. Upon arrival to split we were greeted by a lot of ladies looking to rent out apartment rooms. We didn’t have a place to stay yet for the night but we had a reservation for the next night. We figured we could always find something. Our plan was to go to the hostel in hopes they had a cancellation, or could at least store our stuff for the night. The website did not give directions to the hostel so that made it difficult. At first no one was willing to help us and the people we interacted with us were really rude. Eventually we find a map and head in the direction of the hostel. We had to go through a market and there some nice lady was able to point us in the correct direction. The hostel was great and Josef the guy working was just so eager to help. He really was great. He called several places to try to find us a place but everything was booked. He told us we could sleep on the couch free of charge. What a nice gesture. This was the plan until the Brazilians show up. They have their own apartment which is air conditioned! They offer us to stay and how could we turn them down. We showered at the hostel and made plans to meet back up with the Brazilians later that night. We pack our night bag, pjs, toothbrush everything that is necessary. We then head out to the center where we meet up with 2 Chileans and another Brazilian. We all sit around on the street for a while then decide its time to dance. We go to a club, which was free to get into but the drinks were far too expensive. They shorted me 15 kunas as well. I was not pleased. After dancing for a while we head off to another club up by the beach and it overlooks the water. A lot of people were still swimming at two and 3 am. The club was rather boring and we run into some people that are staying at the hostel. We have a good chat with them, but decide it is best to get some sleep. We head off to the Brazilians apartments since we had the key. We lost them somewhere along the way. We decide we would sleep on the edges so they could fit maybe two in the middle or at least 1. The bed was super big! We left the door unlocked so they could let themselves in whenever they decided to call it a night. I slept really well until I felt someone bump me and I realized it was Luis, they made it home. I realized I was taking up a lot of the bed so I rolled over. I had a hard time falling asleep because it was already 8 am. But I had nothing else I could do because no one else was up. Eventually I fell back asleep.

Train Travels

I have spent a lot of time on trains and transportation in last few days. Getting around becomes slower and harder the further east you get. My train was to leave at half past 7 am and I woke up around six thinking I would have plenty of time. Unfortunately my laundry was still fairly wet so I tried to blow dry it so it wouldn’t stink up my bag, by the time I realized how long it was taking it was already seven. The train station was at least a 20 min walk and a lot longer with all my stuff on my back. I figured I would just check out and no problems. However since the girls left the night before with out checking out there was slight confusion and the man didn’t understand english well. I didn’t have time to try to explain because I was running late. By the time I got to the train station I was huffing and puffing and just made my train. Thankfully or the rest of my day would not work out well since I still had two more trains to catch. The guy didn’t want to let me on the train because he insisted it was the wrong one. However I was pretty sure I was correct but that always makes someone slightly nervous. I eventually convince the man to let me on and try to explain the reason he was confused was because I only had to pay for the poland portion since I had a euro rail. I don’t that he understood but just figured that if I was wrong it was my fault and at least he tried. Thankfully I was correct and I was able to get to my stop. Along the way I chatted with a guy from chicago and some girls from texas. It was only a short train. I then caught my next train to vienna, where I was to possibly meet up with Marina since I convinced her to come to Croatia with me. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure she would be coming and when I got her email it said she might be catching a bus because it would be cheaper for her and she would try to meet me at the train station first. My train was an hour late so I didn’t end up meeting her in Vienna. I could only hope we would find each other in Zagreb. My train was scheduled to arrive 10 mins before her bus assuming everything was on time. This train from Vienna to Zagreb was fairly long and there were a group of 10 Irish kids who were quite loud. The lady across from me kept just shaking our heads. We didn’t speak but maybe a few words but it felt like we had a bond between each other. Its weird how even though there was a language barrier we had a slight connection. She was continually smoking in the bathroom and also when ever the train would stop. There was an old couple in their 80s across the way who absolutely were adorable. They made me smile. For the most part I caught up on my blog, read and slept on the train. At the border, we were stopped both in Slovenia and Croatia, I received 2 stamps :) always exciting. The irish kids I started to talk to and they were so excited to get their first stamp since they have an EU passport it rarely gets a mark. When we finally arrived I had to find the way to the bus station, but I did research before I arrived and knew they were in walking distance. I had about 10 mins to get there or I might miss Marina and she might have tried to come to the train station. I briskly walked and tried to look in every tram hoping she was not in one. When I finally arrive at the bus station I walk around searching for her. I find the empty bus from vienna that had just arrived so I knew she had to be close. Every corner there was a girl in a green backback that I kept getting fooled by. Eventually I wonder upstairs and there is Marina! Success we didn’t have another Amsterdam night. She was just about to ask for directions to the train station. I made it in perfect timing. We bought our tickets to go to the national park in the morning. It is really convenient that the ticket office was still open it was open 24 hrs which rarely happens . We locked up our stuff and went to find a place to sleep. Went to train station, but didn’t look a good place.. Looked in the parks but everything was too open and a lot of people were still out and about. We eventually find a little hide away under some trees. Seemed like a perfect place to set up camp. After about a half hour of getting settled in, a man walked right up to us, not saying a word just staring. Instantly the knife was in my hand and I was ready to pull it out if he got any closer. He just walked around us and behind the trees. This made us slightly nervous and we contemplated leaving. It wasn’t until another guy and a train that stopped full of men right by the clearing showed up that we decided it would be best to move. We just went back to the bus station and slept there. We weren’t sure if we would get kicked out but we figured we would give it a shot. Thankfully everything was safe and sound sailing from there :)

Category: Europe 2010  39 Comments
Aww Auschwitz

Today we woke up early and had to catch a bus to Auschwitz. We had some eggs for breakfast and headed to the bus station. We didn’t leave ourselves enough time so we ended up running part of the way once we got near. We ended up making it with a little time to spare. When we got there we had to get a guide since during the day you can’t visit unless you have an official guide. We were worried that we were not going to get on the 12:30 english tour and that we would have to wait an hour till the next one but thankfully they have multiple tour guides that go at one time so it doesn’t really fill up too much. There were like 150 of us. And they broke us up into groups and assigned us to tour guides. The guy we had at first you could tell struggled with his English and that he had most of the speach memorized. We decided we were going to try to switch guides, we did successfully by asking someone what channel they were on. They give you headsets so that everyone can hear the guide and you can walk a little slower with out worrying that you will miss something. It was nice, the lady we had was really good and she described it still with the terror and fright of such events. You can tell that it hasn’t become like just another place, it still is shocking to them to tell the stories. It was crazy to hear some of the stories that they have heard from survivors that they have met along the way. I couldn’t imagine returning to the place that you were imprisoned and treated so badly. It was an emotional experience for me and I don’t have any strong ties between it(as in knowing people who went through it) besides that I am a human and it was such a tragic event. It made me think of Ernie my old neighbor, who was German and lived around that time. I wish I was older when he was my neighbor that I could learn more from him, I vaguely remember any of his story, its sad how much you lose from your youth( and I’m not even old yet :( . This could be bad ) Walking through the camps they take you into the Barracks, into what used to be a gas chamber, and all around. It really is an intense experience and many times along the way I found my self holding back tears. I think it’s a sight to see as morbid as it is. It makes you question how something could spiral so far with out basic humanity kicking in and stopping them. It makes me super thankful for the life that I have lived and makes me wonder how strong I could have been in such a situation. As we looked at some of the pictures, there were only 2 females that were on the wall that lived longer than a year at the camp. After Auschwitz one they take you on a bus to Birkenau. Unfortunately we couldn’t fit on the bus with our tour guide, so we had to wait 20 mins before the next one arrived. We were worried we wouldn’t have a guide because none of the people on our bus were a guide. Thankfully there were two of the English guides waiting, so we didn’t get the same guide but we were able to catch a different one. Here you can see the famous platform where you always see pictures of the lines of people. He showed us the gates towards life and towards death. Its crazy when you stand there and all the films, books, stories you have read come flashing back in your mind and you imagine what it was really like less than 100 years ago. What your life would be like if you had been there just 70 yrs ago, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it again. After the bus back to Krakow, we found a carrefour! I was in heaven, buying all the goodies I used to eat in France. For those of you who don’t know what carrefour its a type of grocery store, in France a lot of them are super stores, like walmarts in a way. I love a lot of their brand names , especially a cereal I used to always eat from there with granola and dried fruit. They also have all different types of Chocolates. I definately bought way too many sweets and maybe too much food in general, but I will be traveling on train for a few days so I figured it was worth it. Plus its so cheap being in Poland. After groceries we headed back to the hostel and indulged in a lovely sandwich with hard boiled eggs. Which I had never thought about doing when traveling before, but really its a great way to get some protein in your diet and its cheap. Plus you can have fresh ones in the am and then hard boiled ones on ur bread for lunch or dinner. After my sandwich I cleaned out my pack and completely reorganized and tried to do some laundry. As I had my stuff all sprawled out I met some guys from the netherlands who were asking if I was holding a market. Lols. They were driving from Amsterdam to China. At first I thought they were kidding, but I think they might have been serious. They are on the development team for the ipad. They were asking for suggestions. I wonder if they were serious. I will never know. I had another early night since I had a 7 am train to catch.

Category: Europe 2010  82 Comments