Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sick and Tired~Amy

First of I would like to announce that Moldova is my second faborite country I have visited to far. Everyone, and I mean everyone is so stinking nice, like would give you the shirt off their. Back nice! Its crazy how people are so quick to give a helping hand to a complete stranger and treat you like their own family. Maybe I just need to stick with visiting small villages for the rest of my trip because the village of Mereni had totally topped off! Another great thing I love about Moldova is that basically everyone has their. Own farm or shares their farm with their neighbor. Everything they cook is from the farm and the garden, everything is natural and nothing is processed. LOVE. As much as I am enjoying it here in Moldova I got sick the third day in and I blame oz on the constant drinking...it may seem like people are alcoholics here but no they are not its really just the way of life here, you go to a friends you drink wine, you have dinner you drink wine, you have breakfast and lunch, you drink wine. You have baby, you drink wine, you get sick you drink wine! HA Alex had a nice cold remedy for me to try but it definitley got denied after the dinner and conagc (spelt wrong) we had with his parents. It was hot red wine with ground pepper!!!what there is no way that would make me sick to my stomach so Alex' mom said a tablespoon of raw honey would have to suffice...then Constantine is convinced that I got sick from it being cold outside...ha that idea is so oldschool. I'm pretty sure I got sick from his dang Butt!fl Drinking all sorts of wine after each other. Tomorrow is a new day:-)

Off to the Airport ~Danette

Catching my bus this morning was a nightmare! I alway try to be prepared, but it seems no matter how hard I try something unexpected always comes up. I looked on the Internet to see what my transportation options were to the fiumicino airport (1hrs drive). I found a couple different bus company's that went every 30 minutes. The directions said to go to the termini station (which is where I arrived by train), perfect. Sounds easy. 

I woke up super early this morning excited to be catching a flight. So i got ready and left my hostel an hour earlier than I was planning to. Arrived at termini, and started looking for any of the  bus stations I had googled.  I looked. And looked. And looked. 45 minutes later I  finally asked for directions. This guy sent me way over in one direction away from the station. Nothing!! Walked around some more. Asked someone else for direction. They sent me in the complete opposite direction. Again, nothing!! Finally I ended up back at the termini station and asked a police officer for directions, he sent me down another road but this time success!!! Thank God! I had to get on a bus like now! I got my ticket and waited in a very long cluster for the bus. I say cluster because apparently no one believes in any form of lines or waiting for their turn. I got in the back and was trying to wait patiently as i was getting shoved out of the way. There were so many people I was sure there was no way in the world we were all going to fit o the busn!! But one by one everyone started piling in, and third to the last seat, I made it!!!

Then we got stuck in a traffic jam forever! I don't know how I made it in time to catch my flight. 

Ha what a way to exit the country. 
Pretty much sums up how I roll... Like everyday.  :)


Monday, September 30, 2013

Rome!!! ~Danette

I had such an amazing day wandering around the city today! I went to the colosseum first off and just found myself standing there in awe! I don't know what makes it so magnificent, but it's probably the most amazing man made thing I've ever seen. Its so beautiful!!! I think I have about a hundred puctures! 

After that I walked to the top of this hill and sat in a beautiful little church for a while. It was so nice to get away from the crowds and have some quiet time. When I came out it was pouring down rain! Like rain we get in the south where all the roads have turned into rivers! 

I had my little pink umbrella (i finally had to break down and buy one) and I was walking -half skipping down the streets laughing. It was thundering out and everyone was smiling. "we are seeing Rome today no matter what!" I don't know, sometimes it's the little things that make my day.  

=]

And my map got its full use today. Barely survived!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Oh Sweet Europe! ~Danette

This past month has been amazing!!! I can't believe i have been so blessed to be able to do this trip!!! I've gotten to see some old friends, make some new ones and have gotten to see 12 new countries! It hasn't all been easy, but that just come with traveling. 

This trip was something I had been wanting to do for about six years. Backpacking, seeing Europe, not having to be anywhere I didn't want to be. I figured two months would be the right amount if time.... But that was a bit over zealous on my part. Ha One month has been amazing! I have seen so much stuff that at this point, I don't think I am able to take anything else in. 

I so was looking forward to seeing Switzerland too.  I know it must be beautiful!!! But the thought of sitting on another train to get there is not something I want to do. I'm so exhausted right now that I want to wait and see it when I will actually be able to enjoy it all. 

There is so much happening right now back home, my parents moving, and now with my little sister being engaged -I know I will be taking a trip to Missouri soon. Not sure how I can rightly get more time off work if I was to stay my full two months. I think about the 2 amazing ladies back at the salon working their butts off so that Amy and I can be on this trip. And I'm at the point now where I can't really justify my time away any more. 
The only reason to stay now, would be because my ticket isn't for later. I kind of feel like that is a ridiculous reason to stay. I don't want to just kill time waiting for my departure date to arrive, I would rather be doing something productive with my time.

I now have two flights home. :) I will be returning to Alaska October 1st now instead of the 17th as originally planned. It will be sad to leave Europe of course, but I'm ready to get home. 
:) 

Plus I think I've lost quite a bit of weight which doesn't thrill me at all. :( I need home cooked food in my life. 

Amy wants to continue on solo. More power too her!!! Traveling alone is a good experience. I look forward to hearing about the rest of her trip and seeing her pictures!

I still have a couple of days in Rome, so I'm sure I'll update soon. :)

Chioggia ~Danette

It's a beautiful fishing town just south of Venice, Italy. I don't know why I like it so much. I love all the fishing boats and I love the fact that the whole town smells like fishing nets that have been well seasoned. It's not a good smell, but it makes me smile. It makes me miss Alaska and reminds me of some of the lobster fishing towns in Maine. 

I ate some crab spaghetti yesterday by the water. Some old italian men were trying to talk to me, the communication was ridiculous. We all had a good laugh, it was definitely entertaining. 

Rome later today. :)

Moldova~Amy

Sitting here in Moldova and I'm finally able to enjoy myself since we are not constanlty going and going and going, it was past due for a time to just relax and slow down. Even though I am here alone and Danette decided to go home and the plan was to stick together no matter what. There are absolutely no hard feelings on my part. I like to do things at a slower pace then most people, so I feel like traveling alone will give me a more peaceful and graceulful new way to see things. I will be here in Moldova till Wednesday Or Saturday Costea has a friend in the airport and has a hookup for cheap flights to Italy so which ever day is cheaper. I'm still sad that Greece is to expensive to travel to and from because I really wanted to go and have a little more beach time but maybe one day I will come back bland just go to Greece. First night here in Moldova Costea and Alex picked me up and we went straight to drinking wine at a neighbors house accompanied by all these interesting traditional Moldovan foods. The homemade wine is delicious by the way, nothing like the stuff you buy at the store...anyways they broughtout this boiled meat but its cold and it has the gel from all the fat and protien from the bones and asked if I wanted some.....uuuhhhhh....not really I told costea, trying to be descreet about it, he goes oh try it, it is good! Ha! I tried it and it was not good! But it is a delicacy over here. On the other hand there are plenty of other delicious foods to choose from.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Small Things ~Danette

Things that I will try not to take for granted when I get home:

Outlets (so hard to find here)

Drinkable tap water

Being able to wash and dry laundry for under $14 a load

The same language and money currency in all 50 states!

Road signs! Why does Europe not believe in road signs?

Being able to drive wherever I want to go and not having to rely on public transportation 

Not having to pay for restrooms

And my blow dryer (how I've missed you:)

It really is the small things. :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Brighter Side ~Danette

Arrived in Italy this morning. It's warm and beautiful here.

I know my last post was a bit of a downer, so on the bright side of things today, I found 400€ (which is $540.) on the train!!! 
As much as I wanted to hold on to it, I did give  it to the "train ticket puncher guys" and explained that I had found it on the floor. But only moments later when I saw them again they said they had no idea whose it was and there was no way to find them, so it was my lucky day!!!! Ahhh! Who finds that kind of money and gets to keep it?!!!  

Flight home maybe? I don't know. I've got to get a hold of Amy.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ahhhhhh!!!!! ~Danette

I am feeling a hundred different things and I can't organize any of it. 

I sat at Starbucks in Budapest today staring at my iPod for hours. What do I do? What do i do? what do I do?! Everyone in American was sound asleep so there wasn't a soul to talk to. I get so stressed about making the best decision that it's hard for me to even make one period.

I've hit my wall. I'm tired and I don't think I can see any more buildings and cathedrals and actually appreciate them. It's all starting to look the same. And I don't even know which city I have come from. I'm tired of being on trains, trying to find places to sleep, trying to communicate and I need some mountains or ocean in my life. I feel like I'm drowning in these cities. I just need to escape. there are people everywhere!!! And i just need a second to myself!

I obviously am not dealing well with things. I have basically only ever traveled alone and I'm not sure how to do this with another person. I love Amy and yet I'm letting myself get irritated at the most ridiculous things!!! It's so bad that I'm sitting here wondering how I have any friends at all.

I'm on a train to Italy. Amy is on a plane to Moldova. I'm not sure exactly how it got to this,  but this wasn't the plan.


We said we wouldn't split up no matter what happened, and yet here we are. 
We literally do every single thing together, yet we will go all day long without talking about anything. I feel like I don't know her any better than when we first left the States. We are physically together and that is where it ends.

I don't know why I need so much space. And I don't have the first clue on how to go about changing it either. Amy feels i wont let her in, but i don't know how I'm not letting her in. 

All I wanted to do today was get home!  But my flight isn't changeable and I couldn't find anything for less than $2000. This is always when i feel lost. You think you have control of things, but ultimately no.  I know it would be ridiculous to come home early anyways. Have one bad day and throw in the towel completely?  No. Plus I can't actually leave Amy in Europe alone. Even though we are both adults, I feel somehow like I'm responsible or her safety and well being. Though a lot of help I'm going to be now as we are several countries apart. 

Sometimes I just feel like someone should be taking care of me. How am I even allowed to be running around by myself? 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Getting Our Charge On ~Danette

That is all.

Rude in Budapest ~Danette

I thought the people in France were rude. But they have nothing on the people of Budapest! I have had my change tossed at me, money snached out of my hand and someone yelling at me "do you speak English?!!!" after talking to her for several minutes before hand. 

I am a nice person. I smile at people. I ask for help nicely when needed. I say thanks. I don't understand where people get off being so rude!!! 

First thing when we arrived here after ALL night on a train. We go straight to the ticket office to make a reservation out of Hungary to Moldova. We take our number and then wait patiently for it to be displayed on the screen above us. 

When our turn comes, we step up to the counter (smiling as nice as ever) and explain that we need to make reservations out of budapest on the 26th to Chisinau Moldova. And that we have eurorail tickets. She gets on her computer and then asks if we want a sleeper car or a seat (in very poor English). I ask her what the price difference will be, becaue if it's a hundred dollar difference I will just sit in a stinking seat. Now this one simple question has almost sent her over the edge I could tell. She rolled her eyes and let out a disgusted sigh. I thought silently to myself that -geez, this is her job, I'm so sorry you have to punch a couple numbers in on your computer!!

She gives us a price, we pay, she hands us a ticket. ....Now I look at the ticket ad it says Budapest to Bucharest. I then say to her as I hold up my ticket, we are trying to go to Chisinau...

She snaps her head up and grabs the mic (because we are talkin through glass) "DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?!!!! you have to book a ticket in Bucharest!!" oh my gosh! That about sent me over the edge! Especially after not sleeping at all the night before! I yelled back "you don't have to be rude about it!!!!" she totally could have told us this without yelling!!!! I stood there in shock giving her the -how dare you look!!! (if you haven't personally witnessed it, it's not a good look.)
Anyway, I though of a million things after I walked out of that office that I wish I would have said!!! I guess in the end, it's best I walked away. But I am still shocked by the whole thing!!

My second incounter, I was at a grocery store. I bought a sandwich, a toothbrush,  shampoo and a doughnut.... Well I tried to buy a doughnut anyway. I'm checking out and she is trying to scan her piece of paper that has the price for the doughnut on it. This paper is so worn out! There is basically no ink left on it, it's obviously not going to scan! She try's and try's and try's to no avail. She punches stuff in on the computer. Meanwhile, the looks she is giving me are getting worse and worse by the momnet. She too is starting to roll her eyes at me and throw stuff around. -like I'm sorry I want a doughnut and you cant figure out how to ring it up! Eventually I'm like, it's okay, just forget it. (this is all done in charades because neither of us speak the other one language). She literally takes the doughnut and tosses it to the side counter in a huff. I just look at Amy with wide eyes like, oh my gosh!!! And walked away doughnutless!!

Every incounter has been about the same. I am seriously flabbergasted!!! Who do these people think they are?!! I'm about to start being just as rude back!!! 

To Be Young ~Danette

I was planning on writing about Munich. But I literally have nothing to say other than I have never seen so many drunk people in my life! Not just drunk, but no idea what is happening around them drunk. I guess what was I really thinking anyways? Octoberfest. 

I am definitely not the partying type. I guess i already knew this, but before I left home I was thinking maybe I would give it a try. You know, throw caution to the wind while abroad, not be so responsible and so concerned about making the right decisions all the time.  I know i say this often, but i look around and it just seems like everyone is just doig whatever the heck they want, with basically what seems like no consequence whatsoever. Meanwhile, I'm over here trying to make good decisions all the time. And it gets old and it is hard! 

But even in Europe, that is so not me at all! I don't like staying out late, I don't like the crazy bar feel, i dont like random guys hitting on me and I definitely don't like ruining a perfectly good day by having a hangover! 

I like to have a glass of wine with close friends, and then be in bed by 10 o'clock. And when the day is over, I like to be able to go to sleep knowing that I have at least attempted to make the best decisions possible.  Maybe some would call me lame, but I would prefer to be called lame and boring in the eyes of the world, but to have the piece of mind that I am trying my hardest.

Life.

Dachau Concentration Camp ~ Amy

It was our last day in München and Danette and I had pretty much seen all of Oktoberfest, we went on some rides and I drank a giant serving of beer (just one serving), So I had almost forgotten about this concentration camp a family on our train ride had told us about (super nice people and they were from the States). So Danettes like "what are weleave going to do till we leave tonight" so I suggested we go there, thinking it was going to be pretty far away, turns out it was only about a 30 minute metro outside München. We get there and I don't really know what to expect you know Learning about this horrific event in history they really just skim over the details and how inhumane it really was. You walk throught this rod iron gate which is guarded by several watch towers and a couple of trenches, to your right you have a large facility that was where the prisoners would shower, eat, be beaten and sometimes hung. What a mix right? Looking at these pictures and graphic information I'm reading I couldn't help but get emotional. It just baffles me that there was such cruelty played amungst such innocent people and children! This facility. Is not a museum. To left were the prisoner barracks which were built by the prisoners themselves, many died of exhaustion and malnutrition most from 1940-1945 up until the liberation. There are only two Barracks still standing today I'm guessing only for observation. The other 40 something buildings are gone only with the foundation still intact. At the end of the barracks there are three memorials: A Christian, a Jewish an cant remember the other. Now a little of a walk of the the side of the camp there is a infirmory where the bodies of the deceased where burned, but not all the time were the people brought here were deceased on a common occasion they were brought here under the impression they were going to bath in these separate showers when in all reality they were brought here to be poisened by a deadly gas. Walking through this was quite surreal how could so many people suffer so much for so long and no one doing a things about it...makes me wonder where the United States is headed with the path we are on.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Prague ~Danette

Prague!!! Such a beautiful city! Everyone has been so helpful and nice, and its much cheaper as well.  I could definitely see myself returning to the Czech.

Getting here was a little bit of an adventure. That always makes for a good time. Ha 

Starting in Amsterdam, we had a 12 hour train ride to Prague with 5 different trains. So 4 train changes.  We got our sheet of paper the day before with our different destinations, our platform numbers and train times. It was a lot of information with a lot of names I couldn't pronounce.

So we get on our first train, we then arrive happily at our next stop and board our second train. Now because Amy and I's tickets are different, we ended up sitting in different cars. Well, without throwing myself or Amy under the bus, this precious piece of paper with all our destinations and times on it was lost. Vanished into thin air. Gone. And we still had 3 more connections to make.... 

I literally had NO IDEA what the paper said! All I knew was that we had a 5 minute layover at one station, that we had like a 3 minute layover at the next, and that at one stop we just got off the train and our next train would be directly across the platform from where we arrived. Amy's memory told us that one of the destinations started with a D and also that at one stop we went to platform 18....

We tried to ask for help at our first stop to see if anyone could give us this list again. The guy we talked to literally didn't speak a word of English. I of course started off asking if he spoke English. I don't know what he said back. Next I said something like "trying to get to Prague?" more Czech I couldnt quite grasp. "train to Prague?" more Czech. I stood there trying to think of a better way to get across to him that I have no idea which train to get on next to finally make it to Prague. Amy then chimes in by simply saying "Prague". He turns, gets on his computer and prints us out something. Yes!!! I was so happy! ...unfortunately the information wasnt as helpful as we had hoped, but it did say something about platform 18, which Amy had remembered. 

So we hope on this train that is sitting at platform 18. Then get off 45 minutes later. And there was a train sitting right across the platform almost as if it's waiting for us. Ha Amy and I look at each other like, perhaps this is the train station where we hop on the train that is directly across the platform?  So we literally hopped off that train and stepped on the next train. No idea where is was going or how long we were going to be on it. Honestly I don't really remeber how we finally made to Prague, but I was sitting on the train and just started busting out laughing!!! -We are in the Czech, we literally have not a clue what train we are on, if it's going in the right direction or where we even needed to be at. I'm still shocked that we made it to Prague last night! Ha The whole time we were litterally guessing and making stuff up that we might have remembered.

Anyway, safe and sound at this amazing hostel in this beautiful city!  

I know all my pictures i post are super crappy, so I do opoligize for that. I will have some good ones that I've taken with my actual camera when I get back.

Actually, speaking of good pictures, I'm starting to get so nervous about losing my pictures! We have been to 7 countries now and I have a million pictures (actually probably like a thousand, but still a lot!) but a couple good ones I want to blow up and frame when I get back. It might sound rediculous, but my pictures are my most prized possession. If I don't have a picture, I literally won't remember it.  

I've been trying to figure out how to be sure I won't lose them. I was thinking to myself that I would buy a new SD card -but that won't do me any good because I still risk losing my card with all my pictures. Then I would have two to keep track of, which would be bad. I was thinking I could mail it home -but it could get lost in the mail. I thought about sending it home with Amy's siter Sarah - but if anyone is going to lose it, it's going to be me. I was telling Amy today that the only way I can be sure I won't lose them was to have my SD card surgically insert into my body.. Ha ha I haven't found a doctor yet. But I'm going to start looking. Ha

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Little Things ~Amy

I just want to say that this Hostel is the nicest by far! And Danette and I only payed 50 bucks for two nights which also makes it the cheapest to date:) ....And the shower..oooh the shower...is amazing all mosiac tile, waterfall shower head...and! Get this! There is a shelf in the shower to put all of the endless toiletries you could think of! Who would have thought you would appriciate a shelf in a shower? ~Amy

Finding A New Me ~Amy

I'm up bright and early this morning healthy and alive and just so happens that I'm on this amazing trip but yet I feel as tho there is some sort of void going on. I havnt quite been able to pin point what it might be untill talking to Danette last night, she asked me if I was aware of my surroundings and a question to follow to confirm that I really don't pay attention to my surroundings, I really shut a lot of stuff out and don't bother dealing with it may it be my surroundings or something that is going on in my life or others. My sister was here with me for two weeks spending this time with me and sharing this great experience together and yet I feel like ive just been shutting a lot of things out not really being_"aware" of my surroundings because when I think back on my trip so far I cannot think of anything or have had any "awe" moments, which I feel like I should have plenty of them. I mean how many people get to travel the world and see all of these amazing things yet have nothing to talk about? Ive been feeling like shit since my sister left, feeling like we didn't get along because ive just had this built up tension with myself that I haven't been dealing with, feeling like a was the worst host to her, feeling like a complete drag to be around. And I don't know if these are just feelings that I have or if is the reality of it. Its really and everyday battle with feeling like this, but I put it on the back burner and don't bother dealing with my own feelings I guess you can say finding this out about myself was an awe moment for me because I had never really thought about it but yet I have and last night was the first time ive acknowledged that I have this problem, ive never talker about it with anyone and have no clue where this all started and how ive become this way but knowing the issue is there and knowing I need to start thinking and dealing with my own thoughts and feelings is a great start to knowing myself more and being my own person and to also be someone whom is a pleasure to be around.

Awareness ~Danette

When starting off our trip, Amy and I were very cautious with our bags. Trying to make sure they were locked up in a locker when we weren't with them or that we at least locked them to our bunks when we are out.

But as the time has gone on, we have definitely become more trusting. I am still sleeping with my passport and camera, but i am pretty confident that when I wake up in the morning everything will still be around. Everyone is so nice and trustworthy right?

Last night our room was robbed. These guys from India got their laptop, their passports and $3000 worth of train passes stolen. I feel so bad for them as they were just starting out their trip too. And I think I probably saw the person too, Amy and I had been chatting in the hall way for a couple of hours and smiled at everyone that came our way.

It made Amy and I realize that we need to start being a little more cautious and a little less trusting. It could just as easily have been our stuff that was stolen.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Honorable Mention ~Danette

I wanted to introduce you all to my friend and travel companion Bunny. =) Bunny has been with me now for over 9 years. She was actually a going away present from my older sister Lynn when I moved to Louisiana. Bunny has been on every flight, every voyage, every train ride and every adventure I have ever been on since I started traveling at age 18. She's been to 15 foreign countries now and is still excited to see more. 

And though she is always stuffed in the bottom of a bag and doesn't actually get to see the sights or do crazy things like skydiving or surfing, she never complains and is always willing to stick with me.... ...probably because she is clipped in and can't actually escape.  But I would like to think we are pals. =) 

Anyway, hopefully I don't ever lose her. And if one day I end up with a child of my own that also has an adventurous spirit, Bunny can be passed on and will always be able to travel. =)


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Amsterdam ~Danette

Oh Amsterdam, how you frighten me. 

When arriving in the city of Amsterdam, my first thought was -Wow! This is the most beautiful city I have ever seen! 

The architect is absolutely beautiful!! Though as I continued to walk, swallowed in a crowd of strangers, I was starting to feel uneasy. It's the first time I haven't felt safe since beig here. I was gripping my wallet and camera as if my life depended on it. I finally managed to locate my hostel. And of course it is smack dab in the middle of everything.

I generally am completely okay being alone, a lot of times I actually prefer it. But I am excited to meet back up with Amy today. I was feeling quite lost wandering around Amsterdam alone. It's a bit of a frightening city, especially in the dark.

The red light district. All i have to say about that is, it breaks my heart. It takes everything amazing away from this city. And though I'm glad I got to see it, I am more than excited to leave it behind.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Surfing in the North Sea ~Danette

I was surfing in the Netherlands!! That is not something I would have ever imagined myself saying! If you just go with it, life will take you on some crazy adventures. It's hard to even imagine where that might be.

I cant explain why i love surfing so much. Even if the waves were a sloppy mess today and all i caught was white wash, I had such an amazing time!!!  There is something I absolutely love and respect about the ocean. It can be so calm and wonderful one moment and the next turn on you with no regard for anyone or anything. Just when you give it your all to paddle out, a huge wave comes out of no where and sends you tumbling on the ocean floor. Keeps me humble for sure. :) ha

Surfing was deinitely cold and refreshing. Actually cold is an understatement! It was freezing!!! I still can't feel my feet and I've been out of the water for a while now. Long enough to grab coffee and then hobble my way back to the train station. I had to keep checking to make sure my feet where still there! Ouch!! 

Sitting on a train again back to Amsterdam. Can't wait to book a hostel and take a hot shower!!! Life. Sometimes it's the crazy things that make me smile.
 

On a Train to Somewhere ~Danette

The Netherlands seem to be a lovely place. Though I think I would probably like anything after a 23 hour train ride. Of course the first thing I did when arriving this morning was hop on another train to find the beach. I always try to escape the city. Plus, once Amy gets here tomorrow we will have time to explore Amsterdam together. 

So I had to ask around to figure out which train I was supposed to take to the town called Zandvoort. It's a beach town and if I am correct on my surf report reading, there should be surfing!!! Small, but still surf. Unfortunately it is freezing out as well, but I will endure a little cold for some surfing.

So back to my train story, ask around, they tell me which train to hope on, I do, and there I sit waiting for my platform to come up. Wait, wait, maybe the next one. And next thing you know Im the last one on the train.... And were not going anywhere.... So I step off ever so cautiously, looking around for any sign that we might keep  continuing on in the same direction.. So finally I see a man that works for the railway and ask him if this train will go to Zandvoort. He says yeah, you have to change trains in Haarlem.... I informed him that I passed Haarlem already. And isnt the train going that way,? -as I point south. No such luck, back to Haarlem I go, this time I will switch trains. :) the joys of traveling. Thankfully my eurorail pass allows me to hope on and off as many trains in one day as possible.

My new train friend even let me into the "cockpit" of the train (or whatever that space on a train is called) which was exciting.  Was feeling pretty important. Ha ha ha. He even looked up which platform my new train was leaving from for me. I love nice people!!!!

Uppsala and My New Swedish Family ~Danette

I have had the most incredible time in Sweden! I can't even begin to express my gratitude for all Elisabeth and her family have done for me. I basically didn't spend a krone while I was in Sweden. And I have never felt so welcomed in someone else's family! They are such incredible people! They gave me an amazing bed, fed me some of the most amazing food I have ever had in my life! Im talking candle lit dinner and breakfast spreads that would put 5 star restaurants to shame. They picked Elisabeth and i up from the bus stop, dropped us off at the train station. Took me to the culture festival and showed me all around the amazing city of Uppsala. I'm still blown away by their generosity.

I feel truly blessed to have been able to meet and spend time with all of them. 

My time flew by much too quickly. It's hard to believe I'm already on a train to The Netherlands. I don't know when I will be able to see my sweet Elisabeth again, but hopefully it won't be too far in the future. 

It was also amazing to have my own personal translator along with me. :) And getting around with elisabeth was a dream! I didn't have to worry about which trains to take, which connections to make and which stops to get off at. How to buy tickets for the buses and which bus-stops to wait at for which bus. No worries about where I was going to stay or how I was going to get there (directions with a dead iPod are impossible). I just followed Liz around with no responsibilities whatsoever. It was amazing! 

I know how blessed I am to even be taking my dream trip. -Especially that Dawn and Holly let us leave work for two months. Thank you! 
And I'm sure to those not here,  it just sounds like an amazing, relaxing vacation. But it is hard work and it has been so tiring. Missed nights of sleep, whole days on trains and loud hostel mates in 12 person rooms.  Im not complaining, I'm just saying that it was so nice to finally feel like I had a little break from planning and figuring stuff out. :)

Until next time Sweden and Norway! I love you both!!!! And thank you for your amazing weather while I was visiting!




Saturday, September 14, 2013

Beer, Bag Pipes and delicious men:-)

As I sit here drinking my bombdiddilyishous beer here in Edinburgh, Scotland looking back on our trip so far, we havnt had any really crazy crazy moments like I thought we would....but who knows what is to come yet! Although we have met some pretty great people along the way. Danette and I met these two girls from Switzerland and turned out we all clicked pretty well so we are going to stay with them in Bern, Switzerland. I know some of my posts....well most of my posts don't have much substance to them but this is kind of just a diary really for me open to the world.
     My sister is here with me right now for a few more days, we will take off to London the morning after tomorrow and stay there for two days then she will head back home and I will meet back up with Danette in Amsterdam. Which im actually pretty excited for. Everyone I have spoken to about Amsterdam says its a great city despite all the drugs going through there. RED LIGHT DISTRICT!!! haha. On another note....don't know if he will read this or not but I met this freaking delish guy the other night....unfortunately totally wasn't feeling me the way I was feeling him (even though I live 3500 miles away) OPIE look alike by the way! On the other hand it was a good night hanging with some locals at a cool little pub down the street from my Hostel. Going to see Nessie tomorrow, my sister and I are taking off on a 12 hour day tour up to the highlands of Scotland.

Sweden ~Danette

I am so happy to see my friend Elisabeth! It's like no time has passes at all. Those fiends are  definitely rare to find. I got to have dinner with her an her fiancé last night which was amazing. He seems like such an incredible guy. I am so happy for them both!

Today we are on a train from Gothenburg to Uppsala where I will get to meet Elisabeth's family and experience "culture night". I believe that happens once a year there. So excited to see what that's all about and see more of the country.

And last but certainly not least, I have never seen so many good looking men in my life! I was positive I was seeing Bradly Cooper yesterday. But I don't think Cooper speaks Swedish. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Norway to Sweden ~Danette

Success arriving at my hostel last night. Didn't even take a wrong bus or miss a stop. I then went on a mission looking for lefsa. Unfortunately that wasnt near as successful. I ended up eating some strange chocolate yogurt which was delicious. Also, Norway has the best tasting tap water so far. 

I really wanted to go to the Norwegian Maritime Museum but I was enjoying myself way to much on the beach (not the nude one;) to leave. Also I really wanted I go to Stavanger (which is on the west side of the county) and hike up to Kjerag and see the boulder thats wedged between two mountains. But I will have to do that next time I'm in the country.

I'm on a train now to Gothenburg Sweden. I can't even begin to say how excited I am to see my amazing Swedish friend Elisabeth! Its been 2 years already since we met in Hawaii. 

Now that Amy and I are split up for this week, I have realized how often she does not post on here. I just heard from her and her and Sarah made it safely to Scotland.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Norway!! ~Danette

Awe! Norway! As I sit here on the beach soaking up the sun I can't help but smile. And I can't help to wonder how it is so warm here! Ireland was definitely on the chilly side.

It was a little bit of a long day/night getting here. I left Galway which is on the west side of Ireland around 8 in the afternoon. Arrived in Dublin a couple of hours later and my fantastic new Irish friend was kind enough to pick me up from the bus station and then later drop me off at the airport. We had to head to the airport at 4 in the morning so I think I only managed to get about 45minutes sleep. Then a plane ride to Reggy Norway. Arriving at 11 am. Hour bus ride into Oslo. I paid 150 Norwegian krone for my ticket, i almost had a heart attack because when I put it in my currency exchange thing it said I had spend $200USD. Then I realized it had some how switched back to euros. And if i would have just calmly thought about it for a second i would have realized i didnt even pull $200USD out of the ATM. ha my ticket was $25.

Then i find myself wandering around the city wondering where in the world I am at. NOTHING is in English, which makes it slightly difficult as I'm lacking in any sort of Norwegian whatsoever. My plan was to stop by the hostel I booked and drop off my backpack, then head to the peninsula bygdøy. I have no idea where my hostel might be located, as my directions  are from some random place that I am not. 
I finally found a tram that would take me to the peninsula. Hoped on and arrived in an amazing location! Just what I was hoping for! Outside the city so I could relax. I am so tired!!! Upon arriving at this amazing location, I meander down to the beach where I am taking in the sights.... But as I'm looking around I notice that all these guys are walking around Butt naked. I mean, not a stitch of clothing! Nothing but their birthday suits!!! 
 I'm sure my facial expression was a sight to behold! I literally had to laugh, thinking "what the?! And where have I ended up?!!!".  I was just getting used to the topless beaches in Spain and France, but this I wasn't quite expecting or ready for. ha ha Oh jeez.

I found a quit little rock to myself on the other side of the beach and I think I'm going to take a little nap and recover from my lack of sleep last night. Hopefully when I decide to leave it wont be an all day event trying to locate my hostel. 

Cliffs of Moher ~Danette

I had such a grand time in Ireland! Saw some amazing things and meet some incredible people along the way.

We went to the cliffs of moher yesterday. It was an all day event, and when we arrived, all that could be seen was fog. That was quite a disappoint. But on the bright side, i have another reason to return to Ireland. 

It was definitely bitter sweet leaving. But i can't wait to see what lays ahead in Norway! 

(you will notice behind me the magnificent Cliffs of Moher.)



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dingle Ireland ~Danette

Another amazing day in Ireland! Only one more say here and then I will be off to Norway solo. It's very bitter sweet. I could stay in Ireland the rest of my time, but I can't wait to see I sliver of Norway. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sweet Killarney! ~By Danette

Just when you think Ireland can't get any better, it does. So in love with this country! Killarney might literally be my favorite place I have ever been! And on top of being absolutely gorgeous, everyone here is so friendly!  All the locals tell you hello when you meet them on the road. Almost like people actually care. 

AND as if that alone wasn't enough!  I had the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my life! Traditional Irish Lamb Stew. I didn't know food could be this good! And I generally am not even a huge lamb fan. We actually went back the second day to have it again. Wow! I would definitely recommend that everyone make a trip here! (and get the stew at Murphy's)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blarney Castle in Ireland ~By Danette

A real Irish castle! I was so there! Seems kind of crazy to think about. All the way in Ireland at a castle and yet it just seem like a normal day. 

Amy and I both kisses the Blarney stone. Apparently it is supposed to bestow upon the kisser the gift of eloquence and flattery. I went straight for the French kiss to get all I could . ...ha ha that actually makes me laugh out loud to think about. That might have been awkward. 

Fun little fact, west of cork looks just like Arkansas. :)


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dirty Laundry ~By Danette

Not a big fan of wearing dirty cloths. It's going on two weeks of unwashed cloths.. =\ . (i do still have clean undies though ;) I just changed out of a pair of dirty jeans into my other pair of just as dirty jeans as if that was going to freshen up my life. Don't know how that actually makes sense because they still feel just as disgusting. Actually they almost feel sticky. Ha ha so gross! I attempted to wash laundry in the sink a couple days ago but they still have that dirty laundry smell. Yummy. Not sure why I felt the need to share that other than maybe I can get some sympathy? =) Backpacking! Who wouldn't want to do this!

Bráy Ireland ~By Danette

I am in love with Ireland!! Prior to this trip, I had been to 9 other countries and like 35 of the states. People always ask me what the most amazing place is that I have been. Yes, every place has its own unique thing, but other than Alaska, i haven't really been anywhere that I just absolutely have to go back to. 

But I literally can not stop smiling! I went on this walk yesterday in Bráy. It was breath taking!!! It was on a cliff that just ran along the water. You could smell the Irish Sea and it was cool and refreshing out! It was just me and all this wonderfulness! I always feel so small next to the ocean. Like nothing that i stress about matters at all. I always feel closer to God and am reminded of how great He is.

I really like Dublin but it was nice to get out of the city and just take it all in. I was literally laughing and skipping with my hands in the air. its a good feeling to feel like a child. :) 

In other news, Amy's sister Sara made it to Ireland safe and soundly. it's been great having her along!


Friday, September 6, 2013

When in Ireland ~By Danette

I have always pictured myself in some pub in Ireland drinking a Guinness.  Aside from the fact that I actually despise beer... ...and when it actually came down to it, it was not what I was imagining.  Probably the worst thing I have ever drank in my life! It took me about 2 hours to finish it. And apparently the longer it sits the worst it gets. I feel that is true!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

~By Amy

     This far this trip has been amazing!!!!!! Spent a few days in Spain met some hilarious Aussie boys in their undies on the beach....free mojitos all day! Took off to Pairs but could'nt make a connection for three days so Danette and i decided to side track off to Nice, France...and Nice was nice:-) We definitley got our bronze on for sure even though I have some unruley tan lines. So finally two days ago we were finally able to make our 6 hour trek (by train) to Paris, France. Paris was so cool and so much history and culture. The first night was a little craycray. Danette and I were so tired and i think we literally walked 5 miles around just trying to find some sort of internet source to we could get ahold of our couchsurfer we were suppose to stay at, well that definitley was not happening anymore so we headed off to the Eiffel Tower to see it glitter in all its glory in the european moonlight! it was amazing! At one point we were just going to post up in some little park under the Eiffel tower for the night but some weirdo who was trying a little to hard to sell us wine and beer was a little sketch, touching my shoulder saying how beautiful Danette and I were all while hearding his other homeboys over my way....I handled that quickly basically told him he was annoying and I wasnt going to buy alcohol from him so he could leave. And eventually he did thank god! Danette could attest to how annoyed I was! And tired! ha!
     So were finally here in Ireland. Got in late last night. Danette and I explored the Temple bar Area and other surrounding areas. Dublin is by far my favorite place we have been in, although i had no doubt it would be. It seemed like we walked forever looking for this Old Jail Kilmanham Goal. after about an hour of walking around we finally found it. We took a guided tour around inside for only 6 euros. What a steal! anyways its sooooo cool. I took loads of pictures but unfortunatly I am not at a computer which will allow me to upload photos! so bare with me....also bare with my writing skills as well!
   Spur of the moment i got my nose peirced in DUBLIN!

Cants Stop Smiling! ~By Danette

Oh my gosh! I'm in love with Ireland!!! Its my first morning in Dublin and already I can tell these next few days will be amazing! Its perfect weather out right now! A little chilly but perfect with a jacket! Plus the accents are to die for!! I walk fast, but the Irish walk faster! I have been passed up by 70 year old men! I'm having a hard time keeping up and I love it.

It's strange riding in a car where the steering wheel is on the right side. and even stranger trying to figure out which way to look for cars when crossing the street. I'm doing my best not to get run over. :) thankfully they have painting on the road telling you were to look. :) this actually makes me laugh. 
It'

Ps. SHOUT OUT TO MY DADDY DAD!! It's his birthday today!!! Happy birthday!!! Love you!!!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Paris!!! ~Danette

What a beautiful sight! Amy and I we're going to couch surf while we were in Paris. -For those of you that don't know what couch surfing is, it's a website were you can meet the traveling type from all over the world. People invite you to stay on there couch for a night or two while you're traveling. Well, I had a couch surfing set up in Paris, except for the minor details of directions. I had been emailing back and forth that morning with our host but I had to leave our hostel to catch the train before I actually got the directions. I figured when we got to Paris I would just get on the Internet and have the directions. ....well, 8 at night we arrive in Paris with no where to go and no internet to be found. Amy and I hopped on the metro and headed downtown to see the (outside) of the Louvre. We ended up walking around (with our heavy backpacks) for probably 3 hours. We ended up laying under they Eiffel Tower and watching the lights. That was definitely amazing! (other than all the French guys hitting on Amy ha ha) Finally around 11ish we decide there eat going to be any Internet anywhere so we gave up. We talked about sleeping in some bushes and locking our backpacks up in a tree for the next day. But in the end we ended up at a hostel. Thankful I read this amazing blog called nomaticmatt, and I remember him saying that he stayed in a hostel called Christopher's Inn in Paris. We were able to take a taxi for a small fortune and ended up some where safe. :) In the end I definitely learned not to arrive in a new location with no address or hostel name of any sort.  

France ~By Danette

Okay, we are actually on a train to Paris this time. Very excited about this. And this train is super sweet! Comfy seats, a/c and way faster. Our 17 hour trip from Barcelona to Nice was less than delightful. it was so hot on one of the trains that one girl was about to pass out. And about ever 5 to 10 minutes we would make another stop.  Talk about patients getting thin. I'm definitely more of a plane person. :)

So Amy and I had our first little tiff yesterday. :( Apparently neither of us communicate with each other very well at all. There was a flight booked to Dublin and it was for the wrong time. It's an easy mistake to make and I'm sure I have done it myself. But I unfortunately was less than understanding. I realize that I am pretty quick to forgive myself for mistakes I make, but if someone else is to do the very same thing, forget it. I give no grace. Obviously this is a huge area that needs work. Not really looking forward to that at all. 

Anyway,  apologies and hugs were exchanged and we are better friends for it.  (even though I'm 50€ poorer.) ;)

France has definitely been fun and I'm so excited to see Paris tonight and tomorrow. But thinking about Ireland actually makes me giddy!!! I want to squeal a little bit and jump in the air. Ahh!!! This is really happening!!!! It's the one place I would have chosen if i could only travel to one other place in my life. 

Amy's sister will be joining us for a little over a week in Ireland/Scotland which is exciting! I think I will end up having to skip Scotland unfortunately and head right up to Norway and Sweden alone. I cannot even say how excited I am to see my beautiful Swedish friend Elisabeth!!! Some times when I sit back and actually take a second to look at my life I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. I don't know how I ended up being so fortunate with both amazing family and friends and also getting to experience so many amazing adventures in my short 27 years. 

Have you heard of the saying "YOLO" (you only live once)? Amy and I said that as a joke when we were leaving the US. Now we look at each other a couple times a day saying YOLO and laughing. Ha ha it's quite catchy.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Nice is Nice ~By Danette


The south part of France has been amazing! Lots of beach time and just wandering the streets of old town Nice. I'm not sure what I was imagining the French Riviera to be, but I'm pretty sure it's different. Not to be picky about my beaches, but im really more into sand than rocks. ;) 

Amy and I have made an English some Swiss, New Zealanders and American friends since we have been here in France. It's always great to meet new people. Especially travelers.

We leave tomorrow for Paris. We are actually holding legit train tickets this time, so hopefully we will actually be able to catch this one.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Point to Ponder ~By Danette

So if a French man has a mullet, does that make it an actual "French mullet"?

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Destination ~By Danette

Oh man. Traveling. It's always way more complicated than it sounds. We were told Paris was hard to get to, but I didn't realize how hard.  We asked a million times if we needed a reservation on the train to get to Paris. "no, no, no one train an hour leave from Perpignan. You get right on train." so we took a 5 hour trip to Perpignan were we were informed we would be able to hope right on the next train. Not so. Turns out all the train are booked until the 3rd of September! Agh! We were totally given false information!!! And now we were stuck in some random tiny little town. In the middle of no where. I wanted to stress a little bit, because this is messing with all my thought out travel plans. I have to cut a stop or two out now because of it. :( possible Amsterdam and London. :( after a lot of talking with the (super helpful) French ticket lady, we were able to get tickets to Nice. So we will be there until the 3rd of September. I really really hate when I plan something and then changes completely out of my control happen. But as frustrated as I am about the unforeseen changes,  it's hard to be bummed that I have to spend 3 more days on the beach. 

Adios Spain! Bonjour France! ~By Danette

Had an amazing time in Spain! Even got a little sun tan going on.

I have noticed that the European men tend to wear a lot of skinny jeans...I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. I'm trying hto picture them doing manly things like splitting wood and hunting, and it's just not happening. also, there are so many good looking people here! Everyone is dressed up. No matter what they are doing or where they are going. Everyone seems to always be looking their best. Woman with their high heeled wedges and dresses and men with their perfectly gelled hair... And skinny jeans. Why do Americans think its okay to go out unkept and in sweats? That is something I will never understand.

We are now on a train to Paris. It will take us about 11 hours. It was quite confusing to try and figure out which trains we had to get on and what connected to what. I think we waited in about 10 different lines trying to get the right information. We were always sent somewhere else, only to be sent back to where we started. The woman where very unhelpful and rude. And that has been or experience in Iceland as well. We now will only ask guys for information. 

I think its time for a little siesta now. :)


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beautiful Barcelona!~ By Danette

Amy and I arrived safe and soundly in Barcelona. Unbelievable tired of course but with huge smiles on our face.  We ended up wandering the streets at 1 in the morning lost. Took us about an hour but we finally found our hostel. It was so nice to sleep after what seemed like forever. 

Today I realized that 30 pounds is SO HEAVY!!! I mean, there is literally no way in the world I can carrying that around with me for two months!  I just laugh. Of course everything that I brought I am really attached to. But,  those extra clothes and scarf I threw in my bag at the last minute. They have to go. Same with the book I brought, my long sleeve running jacket, and extra socks. I will wear dirty socks if I have to. But my bag has to be lighter! My pack appeared to fit before I left, but now that I have walked around with it for a day, I think I am a little too skinny for it. :( 

Also, saying "can I squeeze by you?" means nothing when you are wearing a huge pack. There will be no squeezing happening. Period.

Other than the shock of the whole backpack situation, things are amazing. A swim in the Mediterranean, Mojito on the beach and  a little bit of sun shine. :)



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Iceland!!! ~by Danette

My first impression of Iceland as I looked out the plane window was, "wow! There is nothing here!" you see the ocean, town of reykjavik, then a few buildings along the way to the airport. One highway. Then rocks and mountains. 

The second impression was that they have the most modern, up to date, fashionable restrooms I have ever seen in my life! What in the world?! It felt more like rooms to a hotel. Amy is demonstrating the hand dryer as you will see below. :)

From the airport, reykjavik is a 50 minute drive.  Iceland has the feel of both Alaska and Hawaii in one. There Are volcanic rocks everywhere like Hawaii, yet it is freezing cold just like Alaska.  It's very unique. I like it. 

I had the most amazing, bread/doughnut things ever! Theyre called kleinur. Amazing!  



Monday, August 26, 2013

Departure ~by danette

On my way to the anchorage airport this morning and i saw my first pod of beluga whales!! This is already turning out to be an exciting trip! 

It hasn't quite hit me yet that we are actually doing this!! Backpacking Europe?! Leaving all familiarity behind! This is a trip of a lifetime! And yet I literally found myself in tears all day yesterday. ...and I worked all day, so that was an interesting day. Thank God for a back room in the salon.
I always feel a little stressed when I leave Alaska. usually because I don't know when I'm returning, but I know I will be back in 2 months time. Also, my parents are moving from Arkansas to North Dakota while I'm away. And I feel I need to be there helping. But instead I am off on one of my adventures.
Between that and my phone breaking, then my iPod stopped working for a while and stressing about missing trains and being lost and "what if this?" and "what if that?".  Somehow yesterday everything seemed a bit overwhelming.  A couple hours at my best friend Amanda's house last night and she got me back on track. 
I tend to always need a reminder to relax a little bit and breath. 

I woke up this morning feeling ready. Europe... 

Also,  somehow my pre pack was heavier than my actual pack! I feel like that's some kind of miracle. :) so I added a few more cloths, another scarf and my normal size flat iron. And my bag is still only 27 pounds. 

Danette

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ohhemmgeee!

    So I know I haven't written a blog post in forever and a day but here I am today, two days before we head off on our adventure! So much has happened since I last write last, I've been buying all the essentials for the trip, I even got a second job to help pay for this amazingness that we are about to embark on.
    I have been putting up with drunk people on the weekends for this and let me tell you that it is going to be totally worth it! I now have allot more money than I thought I would have which give me a little bit more peace of mind:-D
    I have been house sitting for a close friend this last month, its been kind of nice to get out of my parents and have my own space for a little while, since I have been staying with my parents for the past year to help save for Europe. He got this awesome hot tub that I have been using the crap out of! Danette could probably attest to that! Haha, there's an inside joke that goes along with that...maybe, just maybe I'll explain later...   ~Amy
   

Three Words!!!

DAY AFTER TOMORROW!!!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Trial Pack ~By Danette

Just when I thought I had found all the random pockets and compartments in my backpack, nope, I found another one!! So many secret places!

Did a trial pack today. 29.8 pounds. I was shooting for 30 pounds so I am going to go ahead and give myself a little pack on the back. :) the down side to this is, 30lbs all the sudden feels very very heavy!!! On the up side, I should be ripped when I get back. 

My packing list for anyone that might need a little help for an up coming adventure similar to ours:

1 pair of jean
pair of shorts
1 pair of work out pants (not that I will be working out)
5 shirts
2 tank tops
Rain jacket
Coat
Long sleeve shirt
1 Scarf
Flats
Flip flops
7 pairs of socks
Unmentionables ;)
Swim suit
Hat
Sleeping bag
Pack safe
Day bag
Book
16 Zip lock bags (because I collect rocks from every country I've been to. Very SMALL rocks)
Protein bars (because I will kill when I'm hungry... Very bad for Amy. Also, they probably weigh 5 pounds!!!)
Nerds for the Danish boys!!! (very noisy when I walk)
First aid kit
Towel
Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, razor, Q tips, tissues, tooth paste, tooth brush, hair brush, hair oil, mini flat iron, feminine products, make up, hair ties, bobby pins hair spray
Mace (hopefully no one takes this from me)
Flash light
Locks
Camera
Camera charger
converter
Adapter
Passport
Eurorail pass
Eurorail timetable
Credit cards
Wallet
My bunny (that had travel to every country I have :)
IPod and charger
Nalgene bottle

30 pounds of stuff! Not sure if I should think this is a lot for 2 months or if this is called "roughing it". I have everything (but a blow drying) that I could possible need. Life really is simple. Seems like we have to complicate everything with all the stuff we think we need. When in reality, everything we need can really fit on our backs. 

Getting so excited and started to fell a little nervous. The good kind of nervous. :)