Trip Map

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Photos 1.30.08

These are a bıt out of order but they are as follows: the entry to the Vatıcan, the entrance to the Sıstıne Chapel, Acropolıs, Olympıc stadıum from 2004, Acropolıs, ınsıde the Roman Coleseum, on our hıke at Cınque Terra, the Coleseum ın Rome, Remaıns of a Roman Facade, statues ın Prague, the Dom ın Cologne, statues ın an exterıor sculpture exhıbıt ın Cologne (Alıce ın Wonderland?) and the Dom ın Mılan. I accıdentally deleted a bunch of pıctures from a few cıtıes, so these are just a samplıng of what I have seen. No pıctures do justıce to the beauty and spectacularıty of the places I have vısıted, but these gıve the general ıdea... I wıll post more soon! 1 more day ın Istanbul, then a few days ın Dubaı, brıef stopover ın Caıro, on to South Afrıca for a week or so and then Australıa!


Monday, January 28, 2008

1/28 update

I have 5 mins to give the latest update... I need about 1 hour to write about every day that I have spent so far, and trying to cram it all into 1 hour every 5 days doesnt work so well...!

After Naples, I spent two days in Rome, loved it but it is a city that needs about a week to enjoy it all. There are so many ruins and interesting sites to see that it is very overwhelming and I got a little burned out on trying to rush into seeing all of them. It would be better to spend more time and really enjoy it instead of just packing it all in. I had a great hostel there, and i really would love to go back. I ended up missing my flight to Athens (made the dumb mistake of forgetting that 14:00 was 2:00! duh!) so I spent 7 hours in the airport and another 90 Euros on another ticket. They arent too accomodating if you miss your flight apparantly!
I am in Athens, Greece at the moment, and leaving on a 23 hour trainride to Istanbul in the morning, so that should be a lot of fun! I keep intending to post more pictures, but havent had a chance yet.
Ok, gotta run, hope you all are enjoying the great snow! I keep hearing about it, and I am missing the snowboarding... but then again, I am in Greece!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Latest update...

So I have been all over recently! A quick rundown for now, and I will fill in the details when I get a little more time - my hostel is going to one of the best pizza places in Naples (birthplace of pizza) and I cant miss that!!! So, briefly:

After Prague, I flew to Cologne and met up with Antje (from the Val Thorens, France ski trip). I had seen the Dom there before (in 96) but it really struck me this time as the most unbelieveable building I have ever seen. It has the tallest towers in Europe - 600 feet or something, and it is indescribable how much of an impression it made on me- I spent hours trying to figure out how it would be built NOW let alone 100 plus years ago. I spent part of all 3 days there, and I could go back in a second.

I had a most fantastic time with Antje, and we spent a lot of time chatting over meals, coffee, etc amidst touring the city, meeting her friends and going out. I really enjoy her company, and I am glad that she is the first new good friend that I have met in my travels.

Took the train to Milan, Italy, and amid pouring rain managed to find a hostel and tour the city. The Dom had been recently cleaned and was a shining white cathedral as opposed to the age worn one in Cologne... and had hundreds of spires, figurines, gargoyles, etc. etc. It was completly different architecture, but very busy. Toured the old castle and through the shopping districts.

Karli met me there, and we took the train to Venice, which is JUST like the pictures. Very strange being built entirely over water, and no cars, bikes etc. all done by water taxi and delivery. It was strange seeing construction waste trucks- as boats! I knew it was cool when the garbage man (on a boat) was sporting Gucci sunglasses and as traditionally Italian as the gondola drivers - the coolest garbage man I have ever seen!

From there to Florence, and Pisa for Saturday night;

Then to Cinque Terra for 2 nights;

Now in Naples! Off to the Almafi Coast for the next few days, then Rome, then Athens!
Update more later!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Prague, Czech Republic

So, I have been delinquent in my updates, but here goes: after Hamburg I took the bus to Berlin, and then then train to Prague, the Golden City of Europe. It lived up to its hype! The city is really really beautiful, as it was never bombed during the world wars, so it is pretty much complete. It was also a trade and political center forever it has always been rich and put a ton of money into the churches, statues, buildings etc... and gold plated everything! It is pretty amazing because the gold hasn't really tarnished or weathered like the stone or copper so it really stands out. I had booked a hostel for the evening I arrived, but the directions weren't so good (and I didn't follow them exactly...) so i wandered around until 10:00 pm trying to find it, while it was snowing and extremely icy roads... that was fun! I ended not finding it and settling for one above a pub which worked out well... and got me a good head start with their most excellent beer: Pilsner Urquell (Pils in local terms). My uncle John had told me about it and it definately lived up to my expectations! The Czechs drink more beer per capita than anyone else in Europe, and I can see why! That is all I drank when i was there... a 0.5 liter of Pils was about $1.50 and a 0.25 liter of water is about $2.50, so... yeah... I hydrated heavily with Pils!
I think that I agree with most Europeans that Prague is just about the perfect city: its in a beautiful setting, its expected to drink lots of great beer, good cheap food, and there are really beautiful people there. Besides many of the women being tall and slender, their basic fashion consists of black tights, really tall boots and really short skirts. Like I said, the perfect combination :).

I spent 2 full days just wandering the city, I pretty much just put the map in my pocket and started walking from one spire to the next and covered a lot of parts of the city that most tourists never see. It is crazy how many smaller churches and just regular buildings that have some sort of really neat architecture there is in a city like that, and I really enjoyed discovering them.

I walked about 6 or 8 hours a day and by nightfall, I was beat. I didnt remember how hard 8 hours of walking was! This puts a crimp in the social aspect of travelling because europeans dont go out early! They head out around 11 pm (some clubs dont even open until 9 even on weeknights!) and stay out all hours. Its insane! I decided to go for it the second night and ended up meeting a tour group of mostly Austrailians and we hit a few of the local clubs until we decided to go home sometime after 5 am... unfortunately there are no straight streets in the town and i got lost, so i didnt get home until 6:30... and I had to meet Karli (moved from Boise) at 10 am!

3 hours later, I was back on the streets, found Karli and we toured all day, which was nice. We met up with one of the Austrailians, Sandra, a med student from Tazmania for coffee at lunch and I hope to meet up with them when I make it down that way! They were a blast, so it would be fun to get the local tour from them! Karli has her own blog that has the pictures of that day, so check it out at: I wont go into any more detail, except: at the end of the day, we found this great little mom and pop restaurant and it was one of the most excellent meals that I have ever had. I dont know if I was just really hungry, or if it really was that good but it was superb! The steak was pickled and then peppered, (I got it because it seemed like a good local choice...) and was very suprised- delicious! somehow, they also mananged to make the best potato wedges I have ever had (like the insides were mashed with butter... yum!), fresh bread, vegtables and then the Pils just topped it off! It doesnt sound like much, but combined with the local atmosphere, it was amazing!

I left the following morning for Koln (Colonge) but thats the next blog!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I have spent the past 4 days in Hambug with Alex and Sabine in their great little flat in the city and I have had a really great time staying with them. It was sort of like staying in a 4 star hotel... meals, laundry, driver service etc. etc.! They both went out of their way and were fantastic hosts! Now I just have to try to match it when they come back to Idaho next year... hmmmm maybe it wasnt such a good deal after all... :) Sabine took Th and Fri off of work, and we had a great time rambling around Hamburg to see all parts of the downtown area, port, boardwalk etc.

It was very cold all week, down to about -5C, but it was wet and there was usually a stiff breeze so I wore almost every layer of clothing i had and was still cold! Fortunately, there are lots of coffee shops, and we took advantage of many of them!

We toured all over the city, and and also visited the Hamburg Museum which holds all sorts of stuff about the history of Hamburg. It had lots of stuff that interests me, mainly regarding the old Hamburg sailing port, its warships, pirates, military history and weapons, and the building methods of the ships and buildings, so I really enjoyed the museum! There were a ton more exhibits on antique furniture, daily life, paintings, WW1 and 2, model trains, and on and on. I could have easily stayed and read everything, but ran out of time after 4 hours or so.

Another day we went on board the Rickmer Rickmers- a fully rigged saililng boat from 1896, which has been fully restored and now holds a museum. People must have been much smaller back then, because at best I could fit into the bunk at near fetal postion- anybody over 5' would have had problems!

Alex came with us on Saturday and we toured U-434 - a Soviet Tango class submarine that is the largest non-nuclear submarine in the world and was still in operation until 2001. Everything is impossibly small and cramped in the submarine- even to the point of all the torpedomen hanging hammocks from the torpedoes! Every nook and cranny is utilized and there are pipes, cables, valves and machines everywhere. Everything has a function and nothing is done cosmetically to the interior, so it felt way older than its 30 years. When the captain turned it over in 2001, he said that he had taken it down to 440 metres!

There is quite a famous red light district in Hamburg called der Kiez where everybody goes to party in Hamburg. It was somewhat mellow when we went on Saturday night, but we had a great time and didnt make it home until 7:30 am on Sunday morning - typical for here! The tradition is to stop by the fishermans warf and get a fresh fish sandwich on the way home, and my herring sandwich was very good- even if my tastebuds had been abused all night!

So tomorrow I leave for Prague, and into true backpacker mode. I have been savoring having a house to come home to every night with a comfortable bed and reliable hot showers, good food and compay... because its over after tomorrow! It has been really great spending time with Alex and Sabine, Marek and Katherine, but I am ready to put on my pack and just get going. So, until next time, I will be somewhere in Europe!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Rostock, New Years

After Christmas, I flew from Stutgart to Zurich to Hamburg and Alex and Sabine picked me up on their way to Rostock for New Years. We stayed at Marek and Katharine's fantastic apartment there and hit up a few clubs, toured the city and port, drove some REALLY fast go-karts, and visited the nearby rocket museum at Peenemünde.

At the port in Rostock. The fisherman bring back their catch and you can buy fresh fish sandwiches directly from the boat. Delicious!

Traditional fishing houses in Rostock.

The museum is in an old power station that was built just to power the rocket development and production plants in the 1930's, and is quite a facilitz in itself. From Peenemünde, the Germans developed most of the modern rocket technology and where they fired the first U2 ballistic missle to London in 1942. The museum goes into great lengths to show the dichotomy of the technological achievements of making the rockets versus the human element of those on the receiving end of the rocket. It was too large to really see everything in one day, but we spent about 4 hours there and it was very fascinating. In all, more people died creating and building the rockets there then all the casulties of its use, which shows the emphasis that was placed on its development- especially pschologically.

Alex and I at a replica of the U2 rocket.

The fireworks in Germany are crazy! Anybody can buy the large ones and it is a continuous barrage of fireworks. Marek's apartment is on the top floor of his building, and is the tallest around. At midnight, there was a 360 degree firework show- a continuous ring of fireworks from all over the city. It is indescribable and none of my pictures do it justice! Marek and Katharine threw a great party with about 30 people and we all all rang in the new year on the roof overlooking the city. This is Katharine, Marek, Alex, Christopher and I celebrating the new year!

Christmas in Heronberg!

After London, I went to Heronberg in Southern Germany to spend the holidays with my Aunt Susan, Uncle John, and cousins Kaliko, David and John. It was really great to be with family for Christmas and they went above and beyond in taking care of me! Santa even knew that I was in Germany and brought me some great travelling gifts! It was a busy holiday with dinner parties, social gatherings, LOTS of GREAT food, family activites and catching up. I had a really great time, so thanks so much Susan and John, it really did feel like home for the holidays!

Cousins Kaliko and David:

And cousin John doing his best tip over the Christmas tree!

On Christmas Eve, the town brass band played Silent Night from the top of the church tower, so we went down to watch!

The beautiful countryside on our hike: