Thursday, August 19, 2004

Europe 2004 #2

OMG! hey everyone!!

its been a while since ive written last... but im still in europe having a blast. i just realized today that some of you are probably still starting school already, which saddens me because i still have a few weeks before i have to go home. but anyways heres some news with me:

anyways, last i wrote was from praGUE i think.. and i finished up my time there and had a good time seeing the old city. apparently that region is the birthplace of pilsners so i had some that was really good... and i also had the original budweiser but its called budvar. its much better than the gross they make back home. anyways, we left prague and headed to munich where we were going to stay with kevin's friend petra at her dad's house. we were welcomed with a bavarian breakfast which was pretzels with mustard, beer, and weisswurst (white sausage... made from "animal parts" and its skin is made from cow stomach. they didnt tell us not to eat the skin til after we were done)... but whatever, it was fine- tasted pretty good and i didnt die so thats what counts. anyways, the first night jenn flew in and met us for the week to hang out in munich... and the first night we went to a german disco club thing... it was pretty funny cause germans dont dance much... but anyways they played lots of cheesy 80s music and i could sense some looks from people when i knew the words to girls just wanna have fun and like a prayer. anyways, through the week, we rode bikes to a lake, hiked up a mountain, saw some old castles, went to a concentration camp (dachau), toured the city, saw some live music, went swimming, and other stuff... some lady there thought i was a tv star, and i BLEW it by saying i wasnt. it was lots of fun. munich was so nice, we extended our stay from 5 days to 9... i stayed at petra's dad's house or at this giant tent hostel on the floor with a hundred other people, it was pretty interesting. on the last night i was supposed to be there, petra's mom and step dad invited us americans over to meet us, and we hung out with them. Hans kept bringing beer and shots of pear, apricot, or cherry schnopps to us... and we ended up forgetting about the time, missing our train to the hostel, meaning we´d miss our morning train to switzerland, forcing us to stay an extra day. i thought munich was awesome... thats why i stayed so long, but it seemed like it could be a good place to live, as opposed to a place thats just nice to visit.

from there, kevin and i went to interlaken, switzerland... and i think its one of the most beautiful places ive ever been. GO THERE if you are somewhat awed by yosemite or yellowstone. its known for having tons of extreme sports there... so obviously we signed up for a whole bunch. i went white water rafting, ice climbing, and canyoning. the rafting was in class 4 rapids, and was lots of fun... but didnt come near the others. canyoning is pretty much just extreme hiking... it was tons of fun, and if youve ever been to hellhole its kinda similar to that. we jumped off of cliffs into small swimming holes, slid down waterfalls that were up to 50 feet high, and repelled down cliffs on ropes. it was lots of fun too. but my favorite was the ice climbing... it was one of the most amazing physical activities ive ever done. not only are you standing below 200 feet of solid ice, but you have to use every ounce of strength to climb the face of the ice. it was very rewarding once on top, and the views were amazing from inside the glacier. i'm definately going to do that again sometime. anyways... the hostel in interlaken was very social, and we met lots of people during our 5 days there... including this canadian girl named mary who went canyoning with us. we hung out a bunch, and we were both going to italy next, so we went together.

we met marys friend vicki in milan then headed to venice, italy. the four of us were planning on renting a car and driving to rome, florence, cinqueterre, and a few other random stops in italy. venice was very nice, we only stayed one night, but ate lots of slushees and gelato. i was a little sick because i am really dumb. i got a hot chocolate in switzerland after ice climbing, and it came as a cup of milk... and so i decided to test my allergy to dairy, and yep, its still there! i was kind of battling a cold but it was ok cause i was in italy again. and i was used to trudging through it from all that ice cream i used to eat in the dorms. if only steve was here to stop me.

so we left venice in the afternoon and we had THE SMALLEST car... somehow it fit the 4 of us and all of our junk... but i think we were too much for it because halfway between venice and rome the check engine light came on. and one thing i learned here was as long as its a rental, the check engine light means absolutely nothing. anyways, we made a few stops on the way to rome... and finally got there at 3 in the morning- very disorientated. a nice and sketchy looking italian guy agreed to lead us to our hostel after we were lost in the city for about an hour... but we made it safely. it was nice to be back in rome again... i felt kinda like a tourguide for the others, but i didnt know very much (they think i did though, shh). we saw lots of the sights there that everyones seen pictures of (or just seen), so i wont bore you with those details really... you gotta see it yourself to appreciate it. it was nice spending the days in the city reading about the history and seeing the sights, then at night we just stayed up at the hostel hanging out. we left rome and headed up the coast, stopping in a small town called ortobello to swim in the mediterranean. the water was extremely clear and extremely salty, and it was a hike to get there, so the beach wasnt too crowded... it was very paradice-like, paracitic if you will. anyways, we ate dinner in the small town and then realized we were gonna have trouble getting a room, so we headed for pisa. again, our poor planning led to us getting into town real late with no idea about where we were staying... and hour of driving passed, and we finally found a hotel that was cheap.

so the next day we saw the leaning tower of pisa... oohh ahhh, wasnt that special to me, but i was in a clean looking courtyard. kevin and i wanted to punch all of the idiots who took pictures of themselves pushing the tower over or holding it up from the other side... but we didnt.

we then drove to florence for a few days... and it was really nice there still. it was just as i remembered it, and i went to soem of the exact same places where i have great memories from when i was 14. being at the top of the bell tower really reminded me of that last trip, it was cool. our first night, we walked around the city and we had 3 straight hours of very good musical street performances... hearing classical guitar, spanish pop, american oldies, and other recognizable songs. it was pretty awesome, its like that there every night. the next day consisted of wandering around and such... and the 4 of us decided to watch the sunset while sitting on a bridge over the river sharing a bottle of wine. it sounds romantic... but we forgot bottle openers and cups... so we drank wine from the bottle in public. it was really fun though, we went out to dinner afterwards then a waterfight broke out in our bedroom a bit later. a few of us fell asleep on the roof of the hostel for an hour while looking at the stars.

so from there, we went to cinqueterre on the northwest coast of italy... another extremely beautiful place. i experienced one of the best sunsets ive ever seen there, and there were soem awesome hikes through vineyards and olive tree groves overlooking sheer cliffs down to the water. apperantly, its becoming more and more touristy... and i was gonna say you should go there, but to save the serenity of the place, dont. but really go there cause its amazing.

im getting sick of writing this stuff... thats why its gotten kinda boring.

we said bye to the canadians and left cinqueterre and took a 24 hour train ride to valencia, spain... which is where i am right now. tomorrow is a giant tomato fight using 100,000 tons of tomatoes, and im gonna throw tomatoes at people. if anyone wants me to give one to kevin across the face for them, just lemme know and id be happy to.

anyways, im still alive over here, and having a blast... i hope things back home or wherever are going well. i keep hearing madonna and bon jovi over here which takes me back to some memorable car rides and nights in my living room and just brings a tear to my eyes. yep, these super long and impersonal emails are always so meaningful to you im sure... congradulations if you read down this far, i might try and post some pictures soon.


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