Day 26 – Rhine Valley, Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands
We left our castle in Germany to head to the city of Amsterdam. On the way we stopped at a farm that made cheese and clogs. I really wanted to get some cheese because it was delicious, but I didn’t have enough cash and they wouldn’t accept my credit card L I was super excited to get to Amsterdam because Laura and Kelly were going to be there! We went to a Thai restaurant for dinner; I had Pad Thai. It was really good (as has all of the food been on this trip)! After dinner we met up with the rest of the tour to go to a sex show! Yes, seriously… When in Amsterdam… So yeah, it was 3 stripper acts, a sex act, and then another stripper. Dad, don’t worry… I’m not totally scared for life. After we all went out to a bar and just hung out for a bit. I didn’t stay out too late because we have a bike tour at 9 am tomorrow morning and then a full day to see the city J
Day 25 – Prague, Czech Republic to Rhine Valley, Germany
Today was the latest start we have had so far. We weren’t leaving Prague until 10! We watched Con Air on the bus and then Mitch and Carlos started juggling… it was really entertaining. Laura and I decided we wanted to learn… and I can definitely juggle better now than I could before! I am going to practice more when I get home though J. We watched Blood Diamond in the afternoon, but I fell asleep, so I definitely have to watch that sometime when I get home. We got to stay in a castle in the Rhine Valley! Everyone was pretty excited about it. We found out when we got there that there was a wine festival going on in the town just down the hill. After dinner we hung out a bit outside the castle… there was a rainbow too! It was awesome and I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen a rainbow in about 5 years, so that made it extra cool. The wine festival was quite good fun! It did start to rain though, so a lot of us headed back then. There were some fireworks as part of the festival, and I watched them for a bit out the window of the castle and went to bed kind of early because I figure that Amsterdam might be a little crazy – especially considering that it’s our last 2 nights together L… One of the girls was really loud when she came back though… which was a little annoying. I am definitely looking forward to sleeping in a room by myself after this trip! Off to Amsterdam tomorrow!
Day 24 – Prague, Czech Republic
Today was a bit later of a start than normal; I didn’t leave the hostel until about 10:15. Angus and I went into the city together and headed up to the castle district… which is kind of a funny name for the area because there isn’t actually a castle there. We went into the cathedral there, and then just spent the rest of the morning wandering around the city. We had sausages in the main square for lunch, I was surprised at how good they were, because it felt to me like it was fast food. We were both tired and hot so we headed back to the hotel kind of early. I think we got back around 2:30. I went back to my room and Brea was there. We decided that it would be a good time for a swim, so we went down to the pool that was in the basement of the hostel. It was seriously one of the coolest looking pools I have ever seen. For dinner Brea and I went to the restaurant at the hostel, I had goulash and then we hung out around the bar for the rest of the evening chatting and having drinks. Nothing too eventful to report!
Day 23 – Munich, Germany to Prague, Czech Republic
Today was another drive day, but once again not as long as many of them have been. It took us about 5 hours. We went straight into the city for lunch on our own (I had a pasta with sausage and mushroom in it), and then a walking tour of the city. The walking tour wasn’t too long because it was really quite hot outside and everyone wanted to go back to the hostel. We got on a tram to go back to the hostel, and it got in a crash…. So then we had to walk an extra 20 or so minutes to get back here. The crash wasn’t too bad – it just rear ended a car. We’re pretty sure it was the car’s fault. When we got back to the hostel I got online for a little bit and then went back to my room. I’m sharing a room with Brea, Tania, and Catherine (Different Brea and Catherine than in previous posts). I laid down and was going to get up in 10 minutes and go to the pool, but then Catherine woke me up almost 2 hours later saying it was time for dinner. For dinner we had a large variety of things. It was, once again, really good. I especially enjoyed the red pasta and chicken wings. After dinner everyone got ready to go out. We had 2 birthdays in the group today, so everyone was pretty excited. The plan for most people was to go to the bar at the hostel, go to a bar in town, and then go to the 5 story night club that’s pretty famous in Prague. I decided to pass on the night club, but to still go out. When I was at the club in town I tried Absinth for the first time… I actually really liked it. I might be the first girl in history. I did however, not find it as strong as I had been expecting. Angus came back to the hostel with me and we talked for a bit when we got back. I’m planning on sleeping in a little bit tomorrow for the first time on this trip!
Day 22 – Tyrol, Austria to Munich, Germany
We didn’t leave Tyrol until a little later than we normally leave, because people were doing their second activity – either paragliding or skydiving (if they wanted to)…. Andddd I WENT SKYDIVING. It was amazing. As I’m writing this, it kind of feels like it was a dream. I’m glad I got the video so I can prove to myself that I actually did it. When I get home, probably in the spring, I really want to do an accelerated free fall now, which is like the first step to getting certified. But back to this time – skydiving over the Alps…. There are no words for how beautiful it was. It was definitely an opportunity I’m glad I didn’t pass up. There are also no words for what skydiving feels like… It’s not like the weightless feeling you get on a rollercoaster, you really don’t feel like you’re falling…. But like I said, not really describable… you should all go try it J !! After skydiving we left for Munich! It was our shortest drive day, only about 2.5 hours.
We stopped at Dachau, the concentration camp along the way. It was quite the day of mixed emotions. We had some time to walk around and see the camp… the more time I was there the more uneasy it made me feel… I can’t quite describe that either. We also watched a 20 minute video. First off, it was some of the longest minutes of my life… We learned about the Holocaust in school, but not like in this video. This video made more of an impact on me than all of the time we spent learning about it in school. It was horrific… and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to do that to another person… or even animal for that matter. It is not something I would wish upon the people that I dislike most in this world by a long stretch. We left Dachau and headed into Munich.
We checked into our hostel, I was rooming with Isabelle, Laura, and Cathrine. I’m really sad that my friend, Dominik, is not in town right now! He left for Nepal 3 days ago… but he told me to give is brother, Jakob, a call, so I did! We decided to meet up at the hotel, and he would show me around and then we would go to the Hofbrauhaus for dinner and beer after, and finish off the night by going to a club. Jakob showed me the city hall, the opera house, the statue of Bavaria, the location of Oktoberfest, and other things. At the Hofbrauhaus I had a liter of their original beer, a traditional German shot of some sort, and a pork knuckle. It was all yummy J We were able to meet up with the rest of the tour there and we all had a ton of fun. It was definitely one of the crazier nights of the tour. Some of Jakob’s friends met us there and then we all went to the club. I only stayed there for about 45 minutes because Angus needed someone to go home with him, but that was okay because I had been up since 7 because of skydiving and we had another early morning to head off the Prague. It was overall a really fun night. I’m sad I couldn’t see Dominik, but it was great to meet Jakob and I really can’t wait to go back to Munich! It has been one of my favorite cities on the tour so far. Thanks again Jakob! See you next time! (And Dominik too
Day 21 – Venice, Italy to Tyrol, Austria
Today was another drive day, but quite short compared with most of our drive days. We left Venice at 8 am and we were in Tyrol by 3 pm. There were a lot of optional activities for today: paragliding, canyon jumping, and skydiving. It was possible to do 2, if we wanted. I did canyon jumping today. Canyon jumping doesn’t however actually involve a whole lot of jumping. We were all dressed up in wetsuits and helmets and such, we repelled down a few waterfalls, slid down some rocks into pools of water, and jumped off a few (small – 1 m was the largest) rocks into pools of water. After that actual canyon part of the canyoning, we went to a larger pool with higher rocks to jump off of, the highest one was about 7.5 m (~ 25 ft). When we got back to the hostel we had dinner and went for a walk. There was a group of 6 of us that went for a walk together and we made sure to find some apple streusel (I’m not entirely sure I spelled that correctly…). Is was sooo good! There was a warm vanilla sauce that went with it. We headed back to the hostel after and made what should have been about a 15 minute walk be about a 40 minute walk by being creative with our directions, but it was good fun!
Day 20 – Venice, Italy
Today was Laura’s last day…. Sad…. We went into Venice around 9 am. We had a walking tour led by Carl, and we might actually be in the next Topdeck commercial! The film crew was filming in the city today and we were in Piazza San Marco at the same time they were! It was pretty cool. After our tour we saw a lace demonstration, it was quite interesting. I got a few gifts there and a little tablecloth for myself. Afterwards Laura and Dave and I got lunch. We went to this cute little place. I had some sort of steak in some sort of sauce. After Laura and I walked around and finished up most of our gift shopping. That felt like a good job done because I kind of feel like I’m running out of time – which I suppose I am. I can’t believe that I’ll be back in the US in about a week; it doesn’t feel like I’ve been here that long already. Laura and I started heading back to the bus with plenty of time to spare, but we were a little off of the beaten track so there weren’t many signs to the Piazza Le Roma, which is where we had to catch the People Mover (a train) from. We asked a few people for directions, but Europeans seem to be quite bad at giving decent directions; it’s not the first time we have had that problem. We got off the People Mover and literally flew down the stairs because the bus was pulling away right as the train was pulling up. Luckily the bus driver saw us and waited for a few more seconds. When we got back to camp we got on the internet for a bit; it was actually semi-working today. I went back to the room and just chilled out a bit before dinner. For dinner we had some sort of chicken thing, it was pretty good. After dinner Laura and I worked at finishing up some of the alcohol we had and went over to the bar. A live band was playing so that was pretty cool. They were decent. We stayed out quite late because it was Laura’s last night, but it was a lot of fun. And besides, tomorrow is a drive day (mostly) so I’ll have time to rest on the bus. Can’t wait to see Laura again in Amsterdam!!
Day 19 – Zadar, Croatia to Venice, Italy
Another drive day, but not quite as long as most of them have been! We got to stop in Slovenia and see the Postojna Caves. They were really cool. It’s the biggest cave system in Europe (I think). We were only in Slovenia for about 2 hours, and then we headed to Venice. We watched Anchorman on the bus… well, I slept through Anchorman on the bus. When we got to Venice not a whole lot was going on. We had dinner – pasta. Tried to get on the internet, but it’s annoying here. It isn’t working at all, which was annoying because Maizey came home today! We are picking up new people here, and some are leaving. Laura is leaving, which is really sad. We are getting 1 girl from America (YAY I’m not the only one anymore!) and 4 boys. Laura and I were going to go to the toga party that was tonight, but we fell asleep on accident. Oh well, we probably needed the sleep!
Day 18 – Dubrovnik, Croatia to Zadar, Croatia
DRIVE DAY! Again. Today was a lot shorter than other days. It was only about 7 hours. We made a stop in Bosnia on the way. That was pretty cool because it wasn’t a country I was expecting to go to, even though it was only a 20 minute servo stop. When we got to Zadar we checked into our hostel and headed into the city. I say the sea organ and the monument to the sun, along with a really old church and the largest Roman forum on this side of the Adriatic. Laura and I did a bit of shopping and had some dinner. The restaurant we went to was decent, but the service was pretty bad… After dinner we walked around a bit and Tim and I got into the sea for a few quick seconds, it was a little freaky though because of how dark it was! We are currently all sitting outside at the hostel. I’m drinking a cranberry inCider. It is AMAZING. I really hope we have them at home and that I can find them when I get back!
Day 17 – Dubrovnik, Croatia
Today has been a pretty awesome day so far. Laura and I got up a little after 8 to head to breakfast and go into the old part of the city. We were there by about 9:30 and bought our tickets to go up and walk around the city walls. It was extremely hot, even in the morning, but the views were gorgeous. It took us just under an hour to walk the entire way around the city. When we came down, we just wandered around, looked at shops and such. Eventually we decided on a place for lunch. The restaurant was called Dominos. We ordered a seafood platter and it was MASSIVE. There were 4 kinds of fish: snapper, sardines, amberjack (the local fish! Dad, you’ll like that!), and one other that I can’t remember. There was also squid, calamari, octopus, scampi, mussels, prawns, and I’m sure I’m forgetting things. We actually couldn’t finish the whole thing – but we almost did! I think about 5% of it may have been left at the end. I looooved the amberjack. After lunch we wandered around some more. We went to a bar on the cliffs and took a quick swim in the Adriatic Sea, it was very refreshing on a hot day like today (although it is always like this here apparently). Tim jumped off of one of the cliffs, but neither of us did. In the past year there have been a lot of injuries and even a death from the cliffs… scary. I did kind of want to, but being slightly afraid of heights doesn’t help much with stuff like that either. Laura and I did a fair amount of gift shopping today. We went to the memorial for the Dubrovnik defenders, and we were planning to go see the war photography, but we didn’t have enough cash left on us (Croatia uses the Kuna – there are approx 5 Kuna to 1 USD). We finished up our shopping and got back on the bus to the hotel. I got online for a bit this afternoon and uploaded yesterday’s post and talked to a few people from home. We still don’t have an exact plan for the evening, but I will append the events that are yet to come for today to the end of this post either tonight or tomorrow!
We ended up just hanging out in the room for a bit – Laura read her book and I took a pseudo-nap. We decided to go to the supermarket to pick up some random things: peaches, ice cream (because 2 weren’t enough for one day), chips, chocolate, and mixer. Clearly the only necessary things in life. We got back to the hotel and made some drinks and sat out on the patio type thing with some other girls on the tour. Not much was going on so we retired to our room pretty early… it’s only 10:30 here. I’m planning to get up a little early tomorrow so I can get online before breakfast and then we are off to Zadar!