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. 


Saturday, August 24, 2013


    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!!!


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
Long sleeve shirt
1 Scarf
Flip flops
7 pairs of socks
Unmentionables ;)
Swim suit
Sleeping bag
Pack safe
Day bag
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
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
Camera charger
Eurorail pass
Eurorail timetable
Credit cards
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. :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Saving! ~By Danette

Okay, so as some of you may recall from earlier posts, we had a goal of $6000 each for this trip. That was including airfare and a eurorail pass. Then in theory we would have $4000 left to spend the 2  months we're in europe. 

We had an entire year to save this. Amy and I have both had multiple jobs to make this possible. Plus the $6000 we were to save, we also had to buy supplies along the way. 

I have been adding all my receipts up tonight to see what I ended up spending on random supplies. And I decided it might come in handy for any other future Europe goers.  So I decided to post it for those that are interested. 

80l Kelty backpack $124.73
Columbia jacket/raincoat $146.28
Kelty Sleeping bag $122
Canon camera (because I ruined mine in the sand) $132.99
SD card  $16.67
Sketcher walking shoes $58.73
Reef flip flops $33.91
Pack towel $24.33
Enercell foreign converter $23.84
Adapter FREE thanks to Matt B!  (thank you for letting me borrow yours!)
Charger and camera batteries $15.94
First aid kit and random meds $15.
Sunglasses (which I actually had to buy twice, because I got so excited about them I wore them out commercial fishing... And ruined them. Boo) So, $20. For both of those.
Flashlight, locks, clips and carabiners $20. 
Pack safe FREE (thanks to my friend Brad B for letting me borrow his!) 
travel insurance $211.16

So $965 in random supplies.... Most of which I will have for ever. (unless I get robbed, which in that case, thank God for insurance because then I can buy it all again.)

Ticket to Europe with Icelandair $713.73

Ticket back to America with Icelandair $679.84

Eurorail ticket $1211.00

SO... $3569.50 before we even leave America!!! Ouch!!!! Ha ha this is a bit painful now that I have added it up.... so glad I didn't have to buy that all in one sitting.

And after I get my last pay check, on top of all those expenses, I will have successfully saved my $4000 Europe spending money! Im so proud of myself for all those coffees I did not buy! For those short little trips I didnt take and for learning to do everything on my ipod when my computer crashed on me. :) writing a blog post does actually take more time, but this is how I will be doing it in Europe. :)

So proud of Amy for saving the same amount!!!!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hardcore Planning ~By Danette

Chips, Salsa and a little bit of planning.
You think you can just be all spontaneous with your travel dates. But when it really comes down to it, if you have certain things you are doing in certain countries, you actually have to have some what of a solid plan. It will be flexible within a few days but we are going to have to book it if we want to see 16 countries in 2 months!

New dates. New Plans.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Attack of the sleeping bag ~By Danette

Sleeping bag. Stuff sack. Determination... 
This sleeping bag must go into this stuff sack.
Complete confidence.

This is not working....
 Unfortunately the task could not be accomplish. And in the end I ended up spending $120 on a smaller Kelty sleeping bag. Hopefully it will be shipped and arrive before we are to leave. :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gadgets ~By Danette

I got some locks, clips and little link things for my back pack. Wasn't quite sure what I should get for all the zippers on my backpack. I could just see Amy and I walking through a crowded area while someone has their hands in my backpack taking my things. Didn't really want to have to be locking and unlocking it every time I wanted to get in. So I think the little link things will be perfect. This stuff only cost me like $7. :)

It's two weeks today!!! Wow! The days are just flying by!!!

So the sleeping bag Amanda let me borrow goes inside this TINY little stuff sack!!! I couldn't get it to all fit but Amanda assured me it would fit (and successfully accomplished the task). I slept in my bag the night I got it as a trial run. The next day Amanda asked me if I had success putting it back in the stuff sack. I laughed and said I needed to wait until I had a day off work because i was probably going to need that kind of time to commit! Well this sleeping bag has been sitting on my floor now for a couple of day haunting me! Last night I even had a dream about the whole situation... Only I was stuffing an entire queen size mattress into this mini little stuff sack.  ...I will probably try to tackle this tonight... I may even post picture. :)


Friday, August 9, 2013

17 More Day! ~By Danette

17 more days!!!! Things are getting serious now!!!!

My camera arrived in the mail yesterday!!!! I love it!!! And I am now the proud co-owner of a Kelty sleeping bag. My best friend in the world was so amazing to let me borrow hers. Its perfect. However I realized it takes a special kind of skill to get it into a stuff sack... I will be practicing. =]

I think that is finally if for the large items. Now just to get little things like locks, clips and such.

I keep thinking we will spend 2 weeks in each Ireland and Greece, but as I was putting post-it notes on my map last night, I realized there won't be enough time to see 14 other countries. Getting so excited and giddy about this adventure!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

3 Weeks to Go! ~By Danette

Less than 3 weeks until we leave for Europe! I can't believe it's already around the corner! I feel like I'm not even close to being ready, but i guess there's not much else i need to get done. I made a final list yesterday of last minute things i have to get before our trip.  A sleeping bag is still on that unfortunately... I definitely have to order that today!

Also, I managed to ruin my camera while out clamming the other day. :( So I ended up spending $130 on a Canon camera. Definitely have to be able to take some good pictures while I'm there.

Saving is going a little slower than I was hoping.... Well, really that's not true. I've just been really bad about cutting out coffees and amazing Alaskan adventures here lately. The summer has just been way too beautiful to not have some fun! And they have all been totally worth it!

Also, just spend $211 on travel insurance through World Nomads. Hopefully I wont have to use it... But if I lose my new camera I just bought, it will come in handy... Of course the insurance has now cost me more than my camera. But if I lose my camera and my $130 jacket I bought... Then I will be glad I have it. =]