To see all of our trip pictures check out: http://5countriesin12days.shutterfly.com/
We were invited to Logan & Doro’s wedding sometime last summer. How could we miss a trip to Europe? We talked about it and casually look up flights and finally book sometime in Feb. We found a great deal, a non-stop flight to Madrid for around $700/person. Only problem is it leaves from Dulles. We start throwing around ideas to where we wanna go on our 12 day adventure: Monoco, Paris, and Amsterdam, seemed to be places of interest. Well time went quickly as it always does and it was time to leave. We did not have many plans except for Bill’s excel schedule.Which brings me to:
Wednesday July 27th: of course I worked Tuesday night into Wed (that’s what I do)stayed awake all day packing (thats also what I do, I HATE PACKING!) went to lunch with my dad and did a few errands. Bill & Boner met us at our house at 1730 and we packed up the car and left a little after 1800 to go to Amanda’s. Boner was telling us how he got Euros @ Chemung Cannal, he had to pay to order them. He said he wasn’t sure if the little mom & pop stores would even know what a credit card was. Of course Bill jumps in “Who is the man from the future with a tiny plastic card that he calls money” And so our trip begins! Just outside of Williamsport Bill sarts singing a song “I am delicate like a flower, what what… in the butt” http://youtu.be/AZpl2B139eQ Little did I know this would be sung for the next 12 days.
Heading down 15 I ask Eric to stop to stretch, my legs were killing me. Eric ALWAYS stops at the same place, which is kind of gross and a pain in the ass to get out of. He decided to stop somewhere else and this place was MUCH worse. It was dirty and no one wanted to eat chips when we got back in the car b/c of it. I kept falling asleep and Bill was so loud it was waking me up. Then the next thing you know it we got hit by tractor-trailor. It was in a construction zone so we were not going very fast. Poor Bones he was right next to the rig’s tire, it effed up the gas tank door and side panel and bumper. The driver said it was our fault, that Eric was passing on the right. He wanted to just leave. I called 911 and they sent a sherif. On the phone I tell them we were hit by a rig they officer takes the info and then asks what kind of car hit us. Finally I told him an 18 wheeler, as he did not get that a tractortrailor just hit us. No one was ticketed, which I was annoyed with. It is my insurance so I better not be paying for said accident. Bill hooked up the hanging piece with his shoelace. We drive to a gas station and buy a bungee cord and gas. Eric notices that the ticket information is in the wrong name. I call the police station back and tell them the correct info. The officer just keeps telling what a good police officer they guy is that came to the scene. Really dude not complaining just want it fixed and move on! Although he has shit all mixed up 1989 Ford Thunderbird registered to Carol. REALLY?!?!?!
Finally get to Amanda’s about midnight, which is only an hour and a half late. We get there and I make Bill sing the song from earlier, alas Amanda knows it and shows us a weird youtube video: http://youtu.be/fbGkxcY7YFU Be warned we decided we needed to make pants like this to go out in sometime.
Sit up for a while watching It’s always sunny in Philadelphia. Black face: http://youtu.be/n6XKpqQIpdQ
Went to bed around 0130 and got up about 0730. Some days I suck at sleeping!
Thursday July 28th: Amanda and I went shopping. We hit up old Navy, Target, and the mall.Went to Chick-fila and got a chicken bisque sandwich and put strawberry jelly on it, YUM! At the mall we got the new Nike flex shoes, for more packing room. We had on flip-flops so I asked for a ped thing and she gave me a dirty sock. Who does that? Got Pizza John to take back to the boys. We had a goal of leaving the house at 1230, we loaded up our packs and took a picture when we were happy and excited and still liked each other. Left around 1240. We made good time to Dulles, Amanda’s truck was cramped but all was good. Parked in the green lot and hopped on a shuttle. Made it into check in and the line was LONG, I told everyone what a panis was cause Bill had one with his bags: We checked out bags, free for international flights and we were done with them ALREADY! We found a currency exchange and decided that would be a good idea while we waited for Bill to finish checking in. We decided on a few Euros in cash and to get a master card debit card in Euros. The lady pulled off the pin sticker to show Amanda that it had a Pin and set it back in the paperwork, well it slipped out and she lost it.We checked everywhere. No pin so Amanda had to wait for a manager and then she had to call and change the pin Eric’s card was declined for some reason when he tried to get money at the booth, Mine worked?!?! What a mess already. Security went well and we looked for a place for a drink, we walked and walked everything was busy. Found Moe’s and we had to say we were eating to get a table. We ended up ordering some apps, not too good and expensive. Amanda and I bought some Dramamine so we would sleep and painted our toes blue for the flight. We boarded around 1730. Bill and Boner were together and Eric, Myself, and Amanda had the middle aisle with another lady. I swear Amanda brings out the freaks, this lady spent most of her time in the bathroom. The flight took 8 hours and we all seemed to have slept some and watched movies. Hall Pass seemed to be the movie of choice. http://youtu.be/6wBeJGCk3KQ Europe is 6 hours ahead so it is now Friday morning 0730 when we land in Madrid. The flight over was not too bad.
Friday July 29th: The adventure begins. We get through customs easily and walk around for a bit looking for a phone and how to get to our next flight. We left Boner around 0930, his flight was to Milan leaving at 1800. We got on a shuttle to a different terminal and found our flight to Barcelona. Went through security yet again, not too bad. Amanda and I were going to the gate while the boys smoked.I dropped Bowtie and didn’t notice till a janitor pointed it out to me. Yikes, this is another reason why I should not have kids. He is my most important possession, NO JOKE! He is priceless and I would be a lost soul without him. We find the terminal and are annoyed with the lack of internet as we do not have a room in Barcelona yet. We get a few drinks and try the Spanish beer, oh man it’s going to be a long 12 days, sure doesn’t taste like Budlight. Sitting around waiting we start to notice the way people were dressed, the 80’s are back! We see a Dwayne Wayne and a white-faced Spike Lee. We are getting silly due to the lack of constant sleep. I noticed my I had developed Kankles in the last 12 hours little did I know they would be there for the next 12 days 😦 We board the plane, Easy Jet, and are all in the last row, the flight was about an hour and we all are out cold! We get to Barcelona and for some reason everyone follows me outside. Opps, we have to stay in the airport to get internet to find a room. We find our way back in, Bill is chillin’ outside with all of our giant packs. Amanda is looking for internet access and she ended up paying. She can not find a hotel or hostel near the beach. We start looking anywhere, they are all booked for Friday night. The battery is dying on the computer and she had to get more minutes for the internet. We just book some random place. Hotel/Apartment Arrahona, which ended up being in Sabadell. We get in the taxi and he seemed confused. We ended up going about 30 km outside of the city and the fare was cruising. We actually made it to the hotel and ended up paying 67 Euro. Yikes! At this point we are just happy to be at the right hotel. Did I mention people are speaking VERY little English and we know even less Spanish. Amanda and I get on the elevator and we barely fit with our packs, it was tiny. The boys had to take a separate. Oh now we are thinking this room is going to be crazy small. Well we were wrong, and something actually went right. Everyone is getting a little grumpy due to lack of food. We all wanted a shower so we could go out and explore. It is now about 1700. Well the hot water tank was small. Eric and Amanda got a hot shower. Bill and I, not so much! I seriously wanted to cry in there,it was effin cold! I came out of the bathroom in just about tears. Eric tried to use his debit card online and was declined. We went out in search for food and a cell phone. We found a place to buy a cell phone so I called the bank. I got a voice mail the first time and called back and told her I needed to speak to someone as it was Friday afternoon and we needed money. She told me she fixed it, Eric tried and was able to use his card. We walked and found very few places that were open, none serving food. We found a bar and went in and I decided to order “Quatro Cervases” cause that is all I knew how to say. We sat and had 2 cervases each. Figured out a game plan and walked to find food. We could not get food till 2000. We found a place and I ordered drink and Amanda ordered food. We just got some random things: hamburger, 2 hotdogs, 2 calamari, and 2 omelet things. The food was ok, considering we had no idea what we were doing. The bathroom doors entertained us: and the toilet Simple things for simple minds. Which leads me to a condom machine on the street corner and Amanda bought one. It was chocolate and it entertained us for a few minutes. Well I was trying to ignore them, pretty flowers and graffiti as they continued to be weird and felt late but was still light out but things were not open Went back towards the room and stopped at the place next door and had another drink then they closed, it was only like 2100. Our hotel had a bar/restaurant (very tiny) Eric got a pizza and we got some drinks. Sat in the lobby while Eric ate his pizza. Amanda fell asleep while I looked at the spanish paper yes this was in the paper, no idea why damn spanish. The hotel lobby bathrooms We decided to go back to the room to look for a flight to Milan and get some rest. We called Logan to check on Boner, Logan was at the airport but Boner’s flight was late. We did not hear back from him. The boys decided to watch a movie from the phone and hooked it up to the TV. Euro trip seemed fitting, it started and they were all asleep within 5 minutes. http://youtu.be/E24UJN_fXXY this went on for the rest of the trip.
Saturday July 30th: I got up around 0930 and got to take a warm shower ;). Felt bad for waking people up but had to do it! We finally left the room around 1300, we suck! Amanda and I went to the front desk and got a map and asked for directions to the train station. We went next door for a crossiant walked to the train station which took less than 10 minutes. We had to buy tickets from a machine, luckly we looked confused enough for the security gaurd to come help us. It took us about 30 minutes to get into Barcelona and cost us less than 20 Euro for the train pass, which we all could use up to 10 times total. It was also super easy! Thank god we found a way to make it back to the city without costing a bunch of money on a stupid taxi. We actually got off at the right stop too, we got this figured out! At the hotel I had found a broucher for a bus tour.http://www.barcelonacitytour.cat/ It was a hop on hop off tour and we got a 2 day pass for 30 Euro/ person. The tour started at Plaςa Catalunya, which is the city center. It was a little confusing as to where to get bus tickets, no one wanted to sell them to us but we finally got them. and so it began with the exact change. Europeans would get annoyed if you did not give them exact change. Well how can you make change when they want you to pay the exact amount every time?!?! We got on the bus, which was a double decker we decided on the East tour today. We got off on the second stop, Cathedral Gothic Quarter. The Gothic Barcelona Cathedral We walked around for awhile looking for a letterbox, which we had no luck. There are many street shops and a flea market. Amanda found a sweet stamp we got in trouble for taking this picture. The stupid thing was like 20 Euro! We walked around and were checking things out. Decided to go into the church, it sign said no sleevless shirts, I wore amanda’s scraf around my shoulders. We walked around checking it all ghetto electric prayer candles that you pay and they light up. Found a garden in the middle I found real candles we lost Bill somewhere. Ethel wanted to use the holly water and we took this silly picture while waiting for Bill. He found an elevator and we decided to get in it. Did I already mention that I HATE tiny spaces with alot of people, especially elevators? Well I do! We get in the tiny hot cramped elevator with a bunch of people and it takes us up. We end up coming the top of the church with an amazing view of the city. Worth the cramped hot ride. Amanda broke a leg off of her camera tripod and it fell onto the roof of the church. We voted Eric to go out and get it, it was scary we were not sure if he would fall through the roof or not. We decided to get back onto the bus and take the West route so I could find a letterbox. We passed the third stop, Passeig Colom which was built to link the city to the sea and it’s a monument to Christopher Columbus. Notice the dark clouds, it is not that late yet. We get off at the fourth stop, The World Trade Center (WTC) which is the largest cruise port in the Mediterranean. We stop here becuae of a letterbox, we look but the entire place is closed. We see a Naval ship as we head back and it says “Warning seek shelter immediatley” as we head back to the bus stop Amanda check out a phone booth and finds a box, possibly a geocache? Not sure what it was but we found it! The sky was getting very dark and the bus finally came. We got on and sat inside and everyone else was still up top, dumbasses! The clouds were literally rolling in. Started raining and everyone came running downstairs. It started pouring and Bill was getting soaked in his seat by the steps everyone was laughing at him. We kept driving not even stopping at the stops due to the rain. It was raining so hard you could barely see out the windows We missed stops 5-7 and could not even see what we were missing, including Anella Olímpica ;( where the 1992 Olympics took place. If you did not know I am addicted with the Olympics! The year of the Dream Team, I remember that I knew all the players on the team and followed every game (I blame this on Mike) We get to stop #8- The National Museum of Catalan Art and the bus had to pull over. The streets were actually flooded It is still raining but not nearly as hard. The bus is still sitting at stop #8. 2 poor ladies got on the bus soaking wet! The boys started getting anxious for a cigarette so the ask the bus driver if they can smoke in the door way. The are both younger guys doing the tour, 1 said no and the other said sure and he lit up too. The bus driver said he had been doing this job for 8 years and has never seen a storm like this. Come to find out the bus was leaking from the front window onto the dash and it started to spark and they shut the bus down and it would not start again. We waited about 20 minutes and decided to get off and look for food. Still raining so we all got off the bus and started running, well I almost fell hard core, the bus driver looked nervous according to Eric. We found a resturant around the corner and went in. The took us into a dark room with no one in it. Sat us in the middle and it was awkward. We decided it was too fancy and too weird sitting alone in this retsurant. We went back to the front and sat at the bar. No idea what to do so we just ordered drinks We headed back out and the rain had stopped but it was a little cold and I had a tank top on. We went into the mall across the street and it was a fancy mall and I was being cheap, decided on nothing. Found a Tapas resturant and decided to try it out. It was perfect! The menu was our placemat, with numbers and pictures. We decided to be fat kids and try a little of everything. We decided on 10 things. Bill circled as we told him what we wanted. The waiter came up and laughed at us and our circles menu. Bill ordered and ordered and ordered some more. Bill said, “We want #10” The waiter, “BINGO”. We liked most of what we got, even Eric ate. I remember eating though was tiny garlic cheese fries. I think Eric was trying to be serious?!?! More weird bathroom pictures Went outside and look across the street and see a porn shop. Not sure why but we all wanted to go in, I guess to see if it was the same in Spain as in the US. We actually crossed the street and went in I bought Erica a bachlorette present. While I was paying the boys put a Euro into the video booth and 4 video came up and you got to choose 1. The offered a variety of options, freakin weirdos! This was next to the porn shop. We found a bar/resturant/icecream shop. Amanda got pistachio gelato and the rest of us got a beer and ate weird salty white nuts. We decided to move on but the buses were going to stop running soon so we just walked. We found a bunch of people walking towards something and decided to follow. People were sitting everywhere around a bunch of fountains. We decided to stay and check it out we decided to walk to the top of the steps and check out the view. This is the Magic fountain that was built in 1929 for the world fair. In the 80’s they added music to and ther are nightly shows Thursdays-Sundays. Guess we got lucky! Decided to keep walking to look for Olympic Stadium, which was closed by the time we got there and it started to get dark. This is Montjuïc Communications Tower, which was built to transmit television coverage of the olympic games. It is a 446 foot tower representing an athelete holding the Olympic torch. We walked around the stadium but were not able to see anything, all locked up. We found the pool area and looked in the window and saw a naked man walking around. We decided not to go in. Headed back to the fountain area and noticed all the damage from the storm earlier trees were down all over. The fountain was still going so we decided to stay for awhile and have a drink. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59eDvYGYOBY It is getting late so we head to the metro. Get on a train and switched to the red line and we are sitting and waiting what seems like forever because it is so hot in there it is getting later and a bunch of teenagers show up acting all shady. We get on the next train that comes, not sure if we thought it was correct or we just wanted away from the group of kids. We get on and are riding for awhile and realize we are on the wrong train. Luckily we see security walking through the train and ask them what we should do, they suggest taking the train to the end and calling a taxi. We get to the end and the security guard calls us a taxi and the driver has no idea what we are talking about. Luck enough yet again the security guard comes over and helps us out, some how we make it back to the hotel with yet anouther expenisve taxi ride. It is now about 0030 and we sit to watch Euro trip and to bed.
Sunday July 31st: Oh man, terrible belly ache, up a few times. what a long night! I was the first one up yet again and got every moving. Check out was 1100, so we had to get moving. Again everything was closed, no breakfast. Good thing for my Ginger tabs, to help avoid motion sickness. We walked to the train station with our packs, damn these things are not getting any lightier or easier to pack. We figured out of card and got on the train without a problem. It was some what crowded with some shady people around. There was an elderly women begging for money and Bill put his head back and closed his eyes. Later we found out he was “taking a clue from his good friend the possum”. We kind of guessed which stop to get off at and it wasn’t too far off. We got out our handy dandy touristy map and were those people. Earlier I had noticed that Vince put something about Sangrais on FB, so this seemed like the best time to stop and get some and figure out where we were. I ordered a large sangria and bottle water (no gas) and the waiter walked away all quick, which turned out well cause we would of probably ordered more and it was not needed. Not sure where Big Willie 607 out went?!?! So we think we have some idea where the hostel is and pack up and hop out. It is hot and our packs seem heavier and we walk and walk, finding a closer metro station. Finally ask someone and we are going the right way, YEAH BUDDY! We head down a tiny alley and find the hostel. As we are walking in to check in there are bars on a window with half a curtain near the entrance. We are all thinking please dont be our room. Well guess what it was. I can not believe no one got pictures of this place but we didnt. Oh well what’s 1 night? We drop our stuff off and change and head out for the day. We go to get lunch and ended up sitting down in an itialan place and you guessed it, we got up and left. Why would we eat itialan in Spain when we are going to Italy in less than 24 hours. Bill, Amanda, and I ended up getting a Schwarma (an Arab sandwhich like wrap made with lamb, goat, beef or chicken) Eric went for Burger King. The bus line started close to our hostel and we got on the green line to head to the beach. On the way we could see all the damage from the storm the day before Chillin on the bus waiting for our stop. We get to the beach and find a place to lounge out. Eric and I go get drinks and Bill changes to his swimsuit. We find a resturant/bar and it was akward and took forever to get a drink. We bought Amanda a mojito (sounded like a good idea till we got it and paid alot for it). The beach was crowded and it was DIRTY!!! The water was cold and dirty, only Bill went all the way in. He is tough like a camel. “Water, Coca-cola, Cervasa” over and over again from beach vendors. We hung out for a bit and the boys wanted to go to the casino which was 2 stops away. Bill chages out of his wet swim trunk, he got yelled at for taking his locker key to the beach. At this point I am done carrying things, somehow I end up with everything cause I usually bring a bigger bag in order to carry Ethel and my letterboxing supplies. I would NOT let Bill put his wet shorts in my bag, I would of been pissed if they ruined my letterboxing notebook. We waited forever for the bus, they were full so we had to keep waiting. Group pictures with the tripod always make me happy! We decided to walk to the casino, my stupid foot was hurting but it was better than sitting around waiting for the bus. We get to the casino de Barcelona and all go in. Bill had to check his bag AKA plastic shopping bag with wet shorts. Amanda and I decided not to stay and walk around outside. We pick a time to meet up with the boys. We find a few shops and walk around. Bored we find a cool little restuant and get an chocolate, vanilla, and Banana crêpe. Wishing I took a picture of this place, there was a bus as the kitchen. The casino was a bust for the boys so we left a little early and got back on the bus at stop #9. We see Sagrada Familia This church was started in 1882 by the Sagrada family. Antiono Gaudí took over the project in 1883 and worked on it till his death in 1926, with less than a quarter finished. In 2010 it was only 1/2 finished and Pope Benedict XVI proclamied it to be a minor bascilica. It is scheduled to be completed in 2026, the centennial of Gaudí death. We head onto stop #13 Parc Güell, which Antiono Gaudí built from 1900-1914 as a houseing development. It was inagurated in 1922 as a public park. We stopped here because it has a letterbox and I was on a mission. We get off the bus and have to walk up, up, up the hill. weird benches going up a hill. There were a few shops along the way to stop in We get to the park and I am amazed. What a great stop! I would HIGHLY recommend going here if you are EVER in Barcelona. We walked around looking for the letterbox, no luck : ( yet again! It was so worth the stop. the architecure was amazing and the view awesome. at the top of the park were street vendors who were not suppost to be there, the cops showed up and they packed their shit in no time and were out! we stayed for awhile, no one likes to give up on a letterbox Seriously this place was sweet, check out the shutterfly site at the top of this to see all the pictures we took there. We walked back down to the bus and took it to the first stop which was by our hostel. We hung out for a few in the park Francesc Macià monument, which sits in a pool to protect it. It is getting late so we head to the hostel for showers and to change. The bathrooms were GROSS, I actually felt dirtier when I got out of the shower. Our room was so hot, no air, just a tiny fan. We decided we needed to go out and drink alot to be able to sleep a little. We got dressed and went out for dinner. We headed down La Ramaba Street and found an outside resturant, Mickey’s, with GIANT beers (12E/beer) Eric and I got pizza and fries (I know you are all surprised) Amanda and Bill got paella (which I tried), sausage and goat cheese salad, and crab cakes. We finished dinner and just randomly walked down some alleys. We found a cute litter corner bar and had a drink (no picture yet again) we decided we would plant a letterbox we put it under a phonebooth ledge. I haven’t set up the directions yet b/c I cant really remember, opps! We went back to the room and it was ALOT hotter! We opened our shady window, hey it had bars on the outside we would be fine. While Eric was in the bathroom we pushed all the beds together into the center of the room in front of the tiny fan, with our heads meeting in the middle Eric came back and didn’t wanna play our game. It was so hot and we started acting silly. Amanda got the camera out for surprise pictures: then Bill took over: I think we finally went to bed around 0200.
Monday August 1st: Up at 0800, no one showered too scared! Left the room by 0830 and headed to the metro station. It was really hot and we got mixed up, must of not been too bad cause I really dont remember what happened. I do know we took the metro to the airport, which was crowded but we made it spending ALOT less money than a taxi. We got to the airport around 1015 and Amanda and I through security by 1045.Oh did I mention Amanda had Bill’s bipap and I carried his laptop, whih were both all sweaty 😦 The boys had to smoke, which always seemed to piss us off! We were super tired and grumpy. Looked for food and the lines were crazy long, Amanda hit up McDonalds and I went to look for our gate. Amanda had a hard time ordering and we got weird yucky fries and had to pay for the bag for our food, and he used 3 different bags to put our food in, WTF. We sat and ate and just started laughing about silly things. I said the only thing that could make this day worse would be sitting next to large Marge on the plane or a smelly European. Amanda and I sat together and across the isle from me was a lady breastfeeding her child, which is weird to me to litteraly whip your boob out in public, they def don’t cover up, but this kid was much too old to be breastfed! The flight took about 1hour and 35 minutes to get to Milan, Italy. Eric and Bill set next to each other, when they were waiting to get off the plane Bill got
hit punched in the head, he thought it was Eric but it was some lady. She said “Mi Scusi”. When we landed we told the boys that they had to figure out the taxi situation we were taking a break. I wrote down our hotel address on a piece of paper for them. We decided on a cart for our luggage so I put in an American dollar and got a 50cent Euro back, opps, it was a currancy exchange. Atleast it made us laugh for a minute. I lost 50 cents 😦 We did finally get a cart and loaded up and headed outside, there was a huge line of taxi’s. We walked to the front of the line and no one was getting in the taxi’s. Amanda and I were being stubborn telling the boys to figure it out. We could not take it after about 10 minutes and finally found a cab. We loaded up and gave the guy the tiny paper with the address. He seemed a little confused and smoke little English. We headed out and he started to talk to Bill (he was desginated shotty) Taxi driver, “so where are you from” Bill”The US” quietness so Bill “United States of America” I could not help but laugh at Bill, I was tired and he sounded so retarded. The boys got mad at us cause they thought the taxi driver thought we were laughing at home, NOT THE CASE! We are driving for awhile and the meter is rolling. Amanda asks how much further. “about another 35km” Yikes! Come to find out Milan has 2 airports and we landed in the furthest away. We get to the easy pass, this cheap bastard started to wait in line then finally touches Bill’s leg and reaches into the glove box to pull out his easy pass, which was wrapped in foil. We start to get into the city and he halfasses used his GPS. WTF, we are paying ALOT of money for this ride and he has no idea where he is going, GRRRR…. The total ride was about 60Km and cost us 120 Euro. I tipped him for some reason. He dropped us off on the corner of what seemed to be some random street and took off. We alteast we were not paying the meter but we had no idea where we were. The address was Milan Cebtral Repubblica Apt, Piazza Della Republicca 1/a. We walked into the 1/a building and the lady at the desk only speaks Itialan, we get no where. It is super hot and our packs are heavy and we are LOST! Amanda and Bill start walking around, in different directions looking for any clues or help. Eric and I man the packs I booked the hotel and was feeling bad because we had no idea what to do. About an hour later Bill ended up going into a hotel down the street and asked for help. It was a fancy hotel but they were so helpful. They let us use their internet, which I found an email from the hotel telling us how to get to check in, Oppsie. The hotel guy called for us to make sure we were going to the correct place before we started out to walk a few block down. We also found an email from Doro telling us Boner was fine, since we had not heard from him since we left him 2 days ago in Madrid. It was about a 10 minute walk to check-in then up a bunch of stairs. I was beyond grumpy at this point, hating the world. I bookd the room so I had to deal with the man 😦 GRRRR again. It cost us 150 Euro total for 2 nights. He would not take my card and wanted cash, I did have to put a card down for possible damage or cleaning. I decided to put the Euro card diwn since I hadn’t used it at all. We filled out all the paper work and he told us where the apartment was, yup right where we were dropped off at by the taxi. I was so not amused by the thought of walking back there, I wanted a shower and to rest. Tiny elevator yet again and it was so hot and slow. We got upstairs and I guess I actually book an apartment. Sweet we had a kicthen with washer, nice sized bathroom, living/dinning room, 2 bedrooms, and a balcony. Oh and airconditioning, yeah buddy! We all took a shower, which the showers in Europe are silly, made ass backwards. yup, did you notice were the shower head is and the door, didnt seal at the bottom. The bathroom did not have TP, so we had to go buy some. We found a pharmacy and stocked up on a few things. We also found an ATM, Eric and I were able to use it! We went to a pizza place, Bill ordered wine 30 Euro/bottle. I got penne pastsa with chili powder Amanda got spagehtti with meatsauce. I betcha can’t guess what Eric got? I tried to ask where the bathroom was? The waiter had no idea what I said. WC? no clue still. Toilet? “Oh down stairs”
We walked to find the metro and figure things out, very simple. We went to the Dumo stop. Found the Milan Cathedral or Duomo di Milano, which was dedictaed to Santa Marie Nascente. It took 6 centuries to complete and is the world’s 4th largest cathedral. It was finished in 1805 and Napolean Bonaprte was crowned king of Italy here. the piegons were peacocking. This one had a weird foot We went looking for a drink and headed towards this and ended up finding the Leonardo da Vinci statue headed down a different street and found a park. The bugs were getting Eric & I. Leaving Amanda and Bill pretty much alone. They were tearing us up! Yuck, my legs looked like this the whole trip, I had bites everywhere. We wander around the park for only a few minutes, not even sure the name of the place we left so quickly We went back towards where we came from and found a tiny alley to walk down Amanda found this weird sign We ended up back aroud to where we started and go back on the metro to go back to the room. Bill noticed on the door of the subway. Silly rabbit! We all played possium to the old man and fat man beggers. Got back to the room and looked for things to do online. Amanda and I washed so clothes earlier and had to hang them randomly around the room to dry. We changed and headed out and just walked around. We walked about 3 blocks and ended up being at the Duomo square (where we took the metro too earlier- opps!) It was awesome at night we ended up walking around the whole church not sure why but Amanda took this picture of me We randomly picked streets to walk down which was confusing and we got mixed up. We went back to the square to look for food Eric & I found McDonalds french fries and Bill & Amanda got gelloto. We found some old castle looking place I was getting annoyed as my bug bites were itching and they little fuckers were still biting me! We found the bar district and the boys ordered 2 beers and got Becks. We were not really feeling that so decided to head back. We were all confussed and had ideas which way to go but decided on taking a taxi. We were only 5 blocks away, cheap taxi atleast! Graffiti near our apartment. We get back to the room around 0200.
Tuesday August 2nd: Black feet! Bill’s bed is on the floor cause those tiny wood slats to the left of the picture did not hold up to well with him on it. We got up at 0930 and looke up best pizza in Milan. We happened to be a few blocks away. We got around and headed to the pizza place and to look for a new sim card for our phone, I lost the last one. http://www.pizzeriaspontini.it/marghera.html We must of had good timing because it was not that busy, it was a tiny little place. The menu consisted of big or little cheese slices or lasgana. We all got big slices, whcih ended up being a slice and half. We also got small beers. This pizza was AWESOME! We still talk about it. The place filled up quickly, what a great find. Bathrooms in Milan. Went to the metro station to figure it out and decided to get on and go to the S. Leonardo stop. We get off and walk out of the station to find nothing but residental housing. Random vending machine food, orange chocolate bars, yum! Back on the train which took a while to get there. Of course I started to get motion sickness so I made everyone get off at a random stop. We ended up back at the castle we were at the night before. The Castello Sforzesco, which was built in the 14th century and is now a muesum which host Michelangelo’s last sculpture and Leonardo da Vinci’s manuscripts. We walked around for a bit and it was getrting very hot and buggy. We went inside and Bill got in trouble for trying to get into the museum without paying. “Mr, Mr, Mr, ticket?” Sitting in the shade trying to feel better. Amanda found a breeze! We headed out of the castle and found Parco Sempione which was estabilished in 1888. The park was nice but we were all hot tired and thirsty. Kind of walked quickly through and I am sure I was being miserable. We looked for a place to plant a letterbox but there were too many people. At the end of the park we found Arco della Pace “Arch of Peace”. It was built in the 19th century and its origins were the gate of Roman Wall of Milan. We found a bar and went in for a drink and Amanda found more gelloto We decided to do a mock walk from bus station to the room to actually be prepared for the morning. The bus station was about 6 blocks away from our room and was ALOT cheapier than a taxi. Wish I would of gotten the email the apartment renter guy sent me the morning we were to arrive would of saved us alot of hassle, money, and aggrivation. We got out tickets walked to the apartment desk then to the apartment to estimate a time. Back at the room, Yikes I found the old Sim card. Amanda did some homework, I took a nap and read, and the boys talked NON-STOP! It was driving me crazy!!!We helped Amanda with her encrypted email question and came up with Chuck Norris as our answer. We looked up best pasta places in Milan, hey why not it worked for the pizza. We got ready which included me trying to straighten my hair with my Chii and it caught fire! We did not leave until 2200, took the metro and walked a few blocks to the resturant with only a few minutes to spare. It was a rather small place but cute. We ordered a carafe of white wine. Appetizer of spicy sauage bruschetta. I got a filet and it was voted best meal at the table. We had some pasta dishes, meatballs, and cheese platter. Meals are very slow and we are not use to that, people were sitting in the resturant what appeared to be hours. We decided on dessert: truffles, apple walnut tart, and a berry tart. <— Notice my kankles. Outside the resturant, we used someones car to set up the tripod. We got back to the room around 0045, showered packed and bed by 0130. In case you were interested: Speaking Itialan: http://youtu.be/9JhuOicPFZY
Wednesday August 3rd: Up at 0300 and left the room by 0345. Decided to plant a pizza letterbox on the way to the bus station Hotel Principe Di Savoia Milano. Yup still havent posted clues on Atlas.com. Dropped of the key, which required climbing a bunch of steps. Damn packs are getting heavier! Got to the trani station by 0402. We got this! We sat on the bus sweating our asses off and finally left at 0430 for a 40 minute ride to the airport. The airport was crazy busy and we did not pay for our bags ahead of time, we ended up in 2 different lines one to check in to the flight the other to check our bags. It cost €120 for 4 bags, WTF. We had to wait back in the first line. Europeans have no spacial boundaries they are always touching, so you know this freaked me out and pissed Amanda off! There were no assigned seats for the flight which we were actually in a good spot in line and they boarded the planes from both ends. Walking across the tarmac to the end of the plane these damn Charlies (Asians) we running ahead cutting people off. We ended up getting the last row of the plane which was great! The flight was so loud though, people talking next to us loudly, people in front of us making out, male flight attendants behind us talking loudly. Ha ha and Bill got asked to turn his music down. The flight was 2 hours and it was impossible to sleep. The damn Charlies we shoving to get off the plane. Of course I am rather angry at this point, lack of sleep and touching annoyed me. We are in Amsterdam I got my Bill’s one (Bill’s socks were tight and held my kankles in) We got our bags easily and found a taxi. It was cold in Amsterdamn compared to Milan BUT the people were so nice and spoke English. Our taxi was €32 which was awesome! We had a room booked at the Best Western Appolo Museum but could not check in till 1000. There happen to be an expensive shopping district near our hotel. We found a cafe and had some drinks, crossiant, and an omlette. We walked some and it was raining. The canal across from our hotel. We hung out in the lobby playing online looking for letterboxes and maps of Amsterdam. Amanda and Bill were allowed to check in at 1145. Bill had to meet his sister in a little bit so I borrowed his bed and Amanda and I took a 4 hour nap. Our room was finally ready by the time the boys got back from meeting up with Amber and Cody. Amanda and I went out to look around at 1530. We found a place to eat, an Irish pub: Fish and chips and Chicken sammy. I needed a hat, it was constantly sprinkling. We walked around checking things out, found a sweet candy store and bought a little of everything for later. We happened to wander into the red light district, it was kind of shocking at first. We heard a man talking about good beer so we thought that would be a great plan and just follow him. How could you go wrong with good beer? The bar kind of turned out to be a bust because I dont remember getting a drink there. We were lost! We found another Best Western and were able to get us a sweet touristy map. We made our way back to where we ate and found some street performers. Giovanni Bassarno caught our attention playing some Pink Floyd. I had a sweet video of some weird old man being super weird in front ot the singer, but I had to take it down from youtube. We sat and listened for awhile eating our candy Then some break dancers started to set up so Amanda went in search for some beer. http://youtu.be/EUB-z-CcGS8 Next was a soccer player doing some crazy tricks with his soccer ball hard to see but this man climbed this pole while bouncing his soccer ball off of random parts. We decided to head back to the room it was 2220. Eric showed up just a bit later around 2240 and we took him the street perfomer area because there was a Burger King we got some drink and finally met up with everyone. Amand and I met Amber and Cody for the first time. We randomly walked around, amber had been here a few years before so she had some clue where we were going. We hit a few random bars and saw some glitter queens. We went back to the Red light District Peacocking. Ethel on her back, working it! We had to go to the bathroom and there was no place for the ladies so we impervised. Yup that’s Amanda peeing while her feet are on the sidewalk and her hands are on a boat peeing into the canal. Kind of gross BUT the men had urinals outside with a weird grate around them and the peed in a urinal that emptied directly into the canal. Bill went into the store and bought us beer, Amstel malt. It was nasty and about half way into a can we realized it was nonalchol beer. We found this tiny car and got a stranger to take our picture around it and then the alarm went off. Not sure where that picture went 😦 We decided to head back to the room and it ended up being around 0300. Another long crazy day!
Thursday August 4th: Of course I was up early. The view from our room I also Like to take pictures of the room, only got the tiny bathroom at this hotel left the room around 1100. We went to Vondel Park, which was very close to our hotel. We went here to find some letterboxes. We did not have any luck with letterboxes. Bill must of still been looking when we took this. We wandered around It is easy to get mixed up in Amsetrdam The all the streets and canals. We wandered around till it was time to meet up with Cody and Amber. We got some cheese and fruit as a snack while we waited We all met up and went to lunch at a pub. I ordered a Kip sandwhich: Chicken, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and pineapple. We walked to the train station to figure out our tickets to Germany. Amanda decided to go to Paris early and she was able to get her ticket rather quickly. We were at the train station atleast 2 hours to figure out how to get to Sigeon, Germany. It was €690 for the 5 of us. It started raining after we left the train station. Bikes at the train station. Quick FYI: 38% of city travel is done by bike. Most streets have bik pathes, which we had to remind Bill constantly yo watch out for bikes. There are 700,000 bikes in the city and 100,000 are stolen each year and for some reason 25,000 end up in the canals. It was kind of cold and blah My turban to “protect” me from the rain. I looked like lord Voldermort on form the first Harry Potter movie. We wandered in and out of shops to get dry and warm. We were going to plant an XXX letterbox in the red light district but could not find a place. Amber suggested the Banana show http://www.bananenbar.nl/ We found it rather quickly It cost €50 person for an hour to get in. We were all being cheap and decided it was not worth it. We went down the block to a bar, Popeyes, for a drink and to get dry. We started to head back and found a store for some chocolate and beer. Cody found “Jackie” in a can already mixed. At this point we are all tired, cold, and wet. We got a taxi back to the hotel for €8.50. Sorry I keep putting in the taxi prices we are just super happpy at this point for the low low prices of a good ride. We hung out and took a nap. Made plans to meet at Hard Rock Cafe for dinner at 2200. Had some good food: nachos, steak, pasta with chicken. We tried to get a van but it was €20 for 4 blocks, it was raining but we were trying to be lazy. We decided to walk it. We sat at an outdoor bar, it finally quit raining. Had a few drinks and waited for the club to open. It was now 0100 and the club opened, it was a €10 entry free and it actually cost €0.50 to go to the bathroom. Eric and I went back to the room and the rest of the group went to the club.
Friday August 5th: We left our hotel at 0830 and took a taxi to Central Station. The total train ride was about 3 hours to Köln. On the we rememebred that we never told Cody and Amber about our car accident on the way to Baltimore. We also disscued Eric’s Shirley Temple collection, Amber could not stop laughing. Not sure why but the bridges had locks all over them. Ahh ha ha, thanks to that handy invention of the internet I just learned they are love padlocks placed to symbolize everlasting love. We get to köln and the train station happen to be across form the Kölner Dom We got some Burger King of lunch. Hit up the bathroom, which cost €1 to use. WTF, but they were really clean. We got mixed up at the train station and it was hot with our packs. Very jealous of Cody and Ambers rolling suitcases. Found our train and left around 1420, it was super hot on the train. Some how we ended up in first class so Bill said, “We will just take a hint from our friend the Dodo bird”. It was about an hour ride to Siegon. Come to find out later that Amanda got stuck on the tracks on her way to Paris, she was able to use the internet and get some homework done. We found a taxi, we took 2 to Hotel Bürger. The manager told us it was unseasonably warm, which was awesome! Our room Look at that cute little fella chillin on the bed. A bathroom we could move around in. the view from our room We unpacked and chaned and tired to get a hold of Logan to find everyone. We were told a beer garden in town but that was a few hours ago. No one was answering so we took a cab there. We walked in and did not find anyone. We started to walk around town, found an ATM which we could not use. Damn credit union, remeber they said they “fixed the problem” well they didnt. I called the the day before we left and told them the countires and dates we would be gone. We headed back to the beer garden place and somehow we missed a large group of people drinking outside. We found Boner finally! We had not heard from him the entire time, we were a little worried. We hung out had some drinks and food. I decided to be brave and order Weiner art phew, it was not too crazy. Waiting for Doro and Logan to show up. “Jackie” Bill, Eric, & I were on our own bar tab —> yikes I think we drank alot. The entire group and the Elmira peeps We headed back to the room and for some reason I decided to try and climb into Bill’s winow. It did not go to well as I fell and scratched up a few things, I got moves!
Saturday August 6th: We all get up and head into the city to figure out the train station. The hotel calls us a taxi, we get in and say train station. The taxi drivers repsonse, “Oopps” and shrugs her shoulders. finally Cody comes up with metro and she knows what we are talking about. We learned that we need to say “Banhof” tomorrow morning to get back to the train station. The train station was very small and easy to figure out, we got our tickets to Paris. This only took a few minutes so Bill, Eric, & I wandered around Siegon We needed another sim card and got another new number for our cell phone. Went into the mall and had some pizza The shuttle to the church picked us up at 1415, it was raining. Did I mention that I left my Chii in Italy which I figured out when I was trying to get ready for the wedding. It was raining so I guess it didnt matter if I starightened my hair. The problem is Chii is a lifetime product and I could of sent it back for a new one BUT I lost it 😦 We get to the church Nikolaikirche I appologize I have really crappy pictures of the wedding, this is actually the best I have The mass and wedding were in German and then English, very nice. After the wedding then we all walked up the street to the castle for the reception. We made it just in time before the thunderstom. <—- Notice the flags hanging. They had people from 13 countries invited to the wedding, 1 country was missing due to a bombing that took place July 22nd. We sat with people from Peru and Switzerland. There was never ending food, beer, wine, and champange. It was Doro’s parents 35th wedding anniversary and they gave a speech (mother spoke in German and father in English) during there speech boner says “Jen, Jen, BUTTER”. Well we all yelled at him afterwards as it was so rude because he was loud and did not need the butter at that exact moment. Logan’s mom came around and took picture of the married couples hands with their rings. We talked her into taking 1 of bill wearing Eric’s ring and Boner wearing mine Eric and I went exploring when it stopped raining. People were setting up bags with sand and candles around the castle. Logan and Doro for their first dance http://youtu.be/f4hsC0nRvZM then Doro and her dad The entire wedding guest went to walk around the castle to check out the show There were over 3,000 candles and a naked lady, the boys were giggling. Not sure what they were doing. Back to the reception and Bill and Amber had a contest, who could be louder. Bill learned how to say black eye “Blaues Auge” from Thòmas. He must of said it 456 times. We decided to leave around midnight, the party went all night. We convinved Amber to come but she did not want to. We found a bar and sasuage stand outside while waiting for our cab. Amber got stuck in the cab and had a rather rough night. Bill does not remember what time he came back to the room or how he got it.
Sunday August 7th: We had a plan to be in the lobby at 0915. Bill is not there and he is still sleeping. Finally get him up our train left at 1000. We met Boner at the train station, he went there at 0700. It was about an hour ride to Kölhn. We had about an hour then caught our next train to Paris. We had a high speed train and the ride took about 3.5 hours. We had to get 2 cabs and ours got lost Albe Hotel 1 rue de la Harpe, the driver thought it said havpe. Amanda met us outside and we went to our tiny room. Eric had to sleep on the floor. Amanda was a little happy to see people she knew again, she was talking a mile a minute and was ready to go. We heard how she stepped in poop in her new shoes , how some children tried to rob her at the metro station and she freaked out on them and got her money back, and how her train got stuck on the way to Paris. We dropped off our bags and headed out the door (Amanda, Eric, and I) We went to a park around the corner to find a letterbox, ummm seriously a parent just pulled down their 4 year son’s pants so he could just pee in the middle of the park. No luck on the letterbox. We go and get a 24 metro pass and head to another letterbox. my first find in Europe!Saint Denis Basilica which was built 475. Between 996 and the end of the Ancient Régime all french monarchs were buried here. We walked are way to the capital building Started to head back to the room to meet everyone else and we were late. We met everyone around 2000 and we needed to eat. You guessed it pizza <—- the green is a paper napkin that Amanda got stuck on her pizza. We decided to take the metro to the Eiffel Tower. We start to head toward the tower and it starts pouring. We duck into a hotel for a drink Yup we got up and left before being waited on, that’s what we do. It was also very expensive and not worth it. The rain let up and we made our way to the tower It cost 4.50€ to take the stairs to the second level. on the way up there were signs with facts. It was raining and windy again so I didnt read much. I did find out that there are 1,665 stairs in the Eiffel Tower. It was built in 1889 for the World Fair by Gustave Alexandre Eiffel. He also made the framework of the Staute of Liberty. There are 2.5 million rivets holding this 7,000 ton building together. It was another 13€ to get to the top. Eric, Amanda, Bill, and I walked all the stairs. We did have to take a tram to the very top Bill came up with the plan of taking the cue from our good friend the puffer fish so you puff up while the elevator is filling up and get extra room for yourself. Then once the doors shut you can deflate, genius! for some reason the picture of the view did not turn out so well, only puttinh up this one. It was cold and rainy so we found hot chocolate and Eric gets a beer. We take the tram down, the stairs are yet and you all now how graceful I am. We all met and get some pictures in the rain the tripod tipped, redo . It is about midnight and decide to head back to the room. On the way to the metro I am walking and not paying attention and totally ram my vagina into a small pole, it stopped me dead in my tracks and I provided entertainment for many many people. My favorite jeans that I left in Paris, they were a wreck. Back in the room Eric found a hotel in Madrid and we went to bed around 0200.
Monday August 8th: Up at 0715 and left room by 0810. We made plans to hit up the Louve. We get there and find a line :http://youtu.be/lKEXMQVrA1I. There were Charlie’s everywhere. There were a few letterboxes by the Louve so we went searching. We walked around the gardens It was rainy and cold No luck with the letterboxes. We continue to walk through the gardens and find the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc is in the center of a roundabout, We found an underground passage to get over to it. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revoltion and Napoleomic Wars. Below is a vault which is the Tomb of unkown soldiers for WW1 Headed toward the metro and found a site for a letterbox. Paris landmark: Grand Palais, which was built for the 1900 World Fair. This box would of been easy to locate with little traffic BUT someone was doing landscaping and he would not let us get to the ivy where the box was hiding, so close but so far away 😦 Find the metro and head back to the hotel. last shot of the Effiel Towers. Back to the hotel around 1100 for check out and shuttle arrangements. Grab some lunch Gyros for Amanda, Bill and I. We meet up with Cody and Amber to say goodbye, and head to the airport. On the way it started raining really hard. There were long lines and we had to take our bags to a different line. Did I mention how heavy they were? Security went quickly and we ended up in a super small terminal with nothing to do. we waiting in a line for over an hour to take a bus to the plane, which was about 100m away. Stuck on a crowded bus with smelly wet people. It was a 2 hour flight to Madrid. We got a free shuttle to the hotel and arrived around 1900 We said there were 4 people but we had 5. We would of had to get a third room. The hotel had a pool, which closed at 2000. We dropped our things off and changed and headed for the pool, we were all hot and tired. We went to the bar inside and met a man from Canada traveling on business. He recommended we walk to the store for food. We headed out but the only store in town was closed. It was a straight residental town Back to the hotel and hit up the patio resturant. We got 4 pizzas and beer. The food sucked! Amanda went back to the room to do homework and we sat outside at the Gin bar The Canada came over and sat with us. He was a chocolate salesman, Larry Olson. He said he lost his weight with the chocolate. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chocolate-Learning-Centre/153013378045041 He gave me a sample piece, it was dark chocolate so I was not impressed. He sat with us for awhile and he kept farting, it was awkward. The bartender brought us some snacks: nuts and olives. They had anchovys in them, yuck. The bar did have Budweiser Our tab was €62.50, not too bad! We went back to Boner and Bill’s room and played a game of eucher. Pssst fart! Boner and I won! We went to bed around midnight.
Tuesday August 9th: Up at 0715 and took a whore shower (dusted off the important parts) our shower was broken. Can’t complain too much the room was cheap €97 for both rooms. Went to the lobby to get the shuttle, problem being we were entitled to 4 rides not 5. We kind of snuck Boner in the back seat with the rest of us. Got to the airport quickly and security went well. Boner, Bill, and Amanda were stuck with standby seats. Customs took awhile, the line was long. Found terminal A and then another check point. The flight was 8 hours and 10 minutes. A long boring flight! We get to Dulles and all I remember as I was in a nasty mood. I was so done with the smokers. I told them to get their shit and they could smoke on our way to the truck. They did not listen to me and we were ready to leave them at Dulles airport. Luck for them the ticket machine for parking broke and we had to wait for our ticket to get the truck out. Bill made it in the nick of time. We just missed rush hour and made it to Amanda’s in just over an hour. We went in for a few minutes then loaded up and hopped out. We got back to Elmira at about 2100.
All and all the trip was great now that I can look back on it. We did too many countries in the amount of time we were there. I do believe we made the most of our time and made our own adventures. I can’t wait to travel with my peeps again. Life is good!
I hate smokers, the end!