"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalks again; we had longer ways to go.
But no matter, the road is life." -
Jack Kerouac


Upcoming Plans

Hello everyone, we are currently in Berlin, planning the next few weeks of our trip. I thought I`d post an itinerary, and if anyone has any suggestions like sites to see, people to meet up with (or stay with!), or cool little dive bars that are a bit off the "tourist trail" that we simply must see, then please share!

Prague, Czech Republic
Krakow, Poland
Vienna, Austria
Budapest, Hungary
Munich, Germany
Paris, France

So there you go, share if you can. Hope everyone is doing well!


Calais, France and Brussels, Belgium

On the 21st, Emily´s birthday, we went by train from London to Dover, England. There, we planned to catch the ferry into Belgium, where we would catch a train to Brussels.

In Dover, we were told that it was impossible to be a foot passenger to Belgium (cars and motorcycles okay, no foot passengers, though). So, we were forced into going to Calais, France, where we were told that it would be impossible to take a train to Brussels that evening. We found a cheap hotel, and went out to a nice meal to save Emily`s birthday from being a disaster.

The next day, we were finally able (after several delays) to take the train to Brussels. That night, we went to a Belgian chocolate shop where we enjoyed delicious, expensive chocolates (and I told Emily that this could easily spell death to a diabetic), and later drank some Belgian beer. Delicious. All and all, an atypical Thanksgiving, but we weren`t complaining.

The next day, on our way to the train station, we also walked by a (supposedly) famous statue of a fountain that featured a naked little boy urinating. I kid you not, the name of it is Mannekin Pis!

Photos from Brussels HERE.



We started our visit to London the evening of 11/16 by wandering around lost (forgot to find our hostel on the map or get directions to it), but a quick visit to an internet cafe and 2.3 miles of walking later, we were checking into our hostel.

The next morning, we ventured onto the London subway (The Tube) and made our way to the city center. We walked out of the subway exit to a spectacular view of Big Ben and the British Parliament building. We walked around Westminster Abbey, but it was closed due to the Queen and the Duke´s 60th wedding anniversary party to be held the coming Monday. We wandered to Buckingham Palace, where we caught about 1/2 of the Changing of the Guard. All I know is that for 2 short people, even in the tourist off-season of winter, it was hard as hell to see anything. But, we watched and listened as best we could without me climbing up on Emily´s back to see (my idea!).

That afternoon, we took a flight on the London Eye. The London Eye is a huge, canti-levered ferris wheel rising some crazy amount of meters (135?) above the ground and providing spectacular views of the city (some examples in the London photo album). It lasted about 1/2 an hour, and was worth the touristy-price and long queue.

The next day, we went to the Tate Modern art museum, which was a lot of fun and a learning experience for both of us, as we do not know a great deal about art. There were Andy Warhol pieces, and I´ve at least heard a thing or two about him, so I felt good.

The Tower of London, the home of the Crown Jewels, was up next. This castle has a fantastic history of executions. When the floor of the cathedral was being refurbished in the 1800´s, they noticed that there were many uneven parts. This was due to unmarked graves collapsing/compacting. They dug them all up, and estimated that that were 1500 bodies worth! These were put into 2 big lead boxes, and put into the rebuilt brick wall, still unmarked. The jewels were interesting, but so overdone that it was hard to see them as real jewels, as they looked like childrens´playthings. There was a 530 carat diamond in the Queen´s sceptor, and that was nice.

We went through the National Gallery, looking at paintings from 1250 to 1900. There were many, many famous paintings, some of which we´ve seen copies of before. All in all, it was about 4 hours long, and Emily and I agreed that if we never see another version of "Rest on the Flight Into Egypt" again, it will be too soon!

We were able to tour the Westminster Abbey on Tuesday, the 20th. English Kings´ tombs from as early as the 1400´s, Britian´s oldest door (from 1050, and looking pretty solid still), and a Roman sarcophogus dug from under the Abbey which was dated to sometime in the 4th century were a couple of the many interesting parts.

One of the nights (they are all starting to blur together already), we stumbled in to a free Flamenco guitar show. Flamenco guitar, for those who don´t know, is played with all five fingers instead of the thumb or a pick.


Scotland Pictures

Pictures of Scotland, click here.


Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone back home! I hope you have a great day with friends and/or family!

Em and I spent the day getting to Brussels. Once here, we've done the chocolate, the beer, and the kebabs. Okay, the kebabs aren't native to Brussels, but they were a delicious international-Thanksgiving dinner for us anyway.

By the way, it was Emily's birthday yesterday, and although it involved going to the wrong city and being unexpectedly stuck there overnight (real posting on this to come soon), I think that she had a good time. Wish her a happy birthday with me!



Land of the Scots!

Hello all, this is our post about the very enjoyable time we got to spend in Scotland. Sadly, the communist hostel we are writing this from does not allow me to upload pictures from the camera, so we'll post those as soon as we can.

We took a ferry from Belfast, Northern Ireland to Scotland and then a train inland from the coast to Glasgow. Scotland is beautiful, very green (much greener than even Seattle) with rolling hills, rock fences, stone houses, and sheep everywhere. We arrived at the train station where I had to pay 20 pence to use the toilet (the first of what will be many times, no public toilets here!) and then ended up having to walk for a little over an hour to get to our hostel. The next day we rode the subway in Glasgow and went to a necropolis (a large cemetery) with upright headstones, huge monuments dating back to the 18th century, and great views of the city. We also walked by the Glasgow School of Art building designed by the artist/architect Mackintosh and went to the Kelvin Museum, which was awesome and free.

The next morning we met an older gentlemen who must have been in his 70's that was staying at the hostel; it was really neat to see him still traveling and staying at youth hostels. We then took a train to Stirling Castle, which was mind blowing because the first written history of the castle is from the 12th century. There was once a lion kept at the castle, and there was a several-acre garden called King's Knot, which featured multi-leveled plateus. Later that afternoon, we took the train to the town of Edinburgh, checked into the hostel, and then walked around the Old Town center for awhile. Edinburgh is a beautiful city that is lucky enough to have a castle perched atop an extinct volcano in the middle of it!

The next morning, we went to a Tea Room that we had found in an alley the night before for breakfast. Breakfast was okay, with the high point being blackened pudding. Neither of us had ever had it before, but ate it and later googled what we'd eaten. We found out that it is made of oats, barley, pig's blood, and beef suet (fat). Didn't taste too bad, though. We walked around more, up and down Royal Mile (touristy shops), the new Scottish Parliament building (a mess of concrete, bamboo, odd shapes and shattered architectural dreams), and the Holyroodhouse Palace (where the monarchy stays whilst in Scotland). Later that evening, Mike taught me the game of shuffleboard, seeing as our hostel was one of the few places in the world with a shuffleboard table. Mike said that there must be a strong element of beginner's luck in shuffleboard, because I was really good at sliding a weight down a smooth table, maybe even better than he! Later we went out with 3 of the guys from our hostel's dorm room for some beers and discussion. By the end of the night, we were sharing french fries in the street with Edinburgh-ians and Mike and I had developed the nickname "Team America", which I think was a sign of friendship from these New Zealanders/Australians. The next morning, after eating some haggis (animal innards, organs, and brains chopped up, spiced up, and baked in a casing), we toured the Edinburgh castle. It was a cold, windy day, so that plus the overall spread-out-ness of the castle made it less fun than Stirling Castle. We did get to see a canon with approximately an 18" bore, which is currently out of commission but impressive nonetheless as Emily could stick her head down the barrel with plenty of room. After several hours of learning and fighting the wind, we made our way to the train station and boarded our nearly 5 hour long train to London.


Ireland photos posted

Go HERE. Enjoy!


Our time in Ireland

Hello again to all. Following is a synopsis of our time in Ireland.

We arrived at 7 in the morning, November 7, after getting very little sleep on the plane. The flight went fairly smooth and quickly. Once we figured out how to get into the city, we spent the rest of the day walking around like zombies, attempting to convince one another of the importance of staying awake. I think we both ended up falling asleep a couple of times, either during lunch or over one of the many coffees we shared that day. We did make it through, saw a bit of the city by foot, and were in bed by 8pm.

While in Dublin, we went on a tour of the Guinness factory, and enjoyed a pint and an amazing view of the city. An interesting fact, we learned that 2/3 of Ireland's barley is turned into Guinness. We also went to the Irish writer's museum, where we learned about the many writers that have come from Ireland, including Oscar Wilde, who was quoted as saying (in reference to the dingy wallpaper in the Paris apartment where he lay dying), "One or the other of us has got to go". Next was the Jameson Distillery where we learned that there are not many differences in the way whiskey and stout are produced. We watched some live Irish music (guitar, flute, and accordion) in a small pub on Saturday night. They played "Whiskey in the Jar", which was cool, before asking us to either buy another drink or leave. I ordered a beer, and the guy said that if Emily didn't want to buy one, she could leave. We ordered her one as well, and then turned and walked out. Seemed a bit rude on their part, so we didn't feel bad for the unclaimed order.

We bussed north to Belfast on Saturday, the 10th. There we got to go on a day tour to Giant's Causeway, which allowed us to also see some of the famous Irish countryside and coast that we hadn't seen yet, as well as some castle ruins and a cemetery dating from the 1400's. Giant's Causeway is a formation of 40,000 hexagonal-shaped stones formed from volcanic activity millions of years ago. The stones, the tourists, and the breath-taking coastline provided for some great memories and photos.

Today, the 12th, we took the ferry from Belfast to Stranraer, Scotland. We then took the train north to Glasgow, where we'll be for 2 or 3 days. After this, we plan on going to Edinburgh. As we do not have the camera cable with us tonight, we'll have to post photos for Ireland, along with Scotland, at a later time.

Thanks for reading!


We made it!

Hello everyone! We are alive and well. The flight over went pretty well, aside from a screaming 2 year old and a "praise-jesus" lady. We will post more about Dublin soon, just wanted to let you know we made it. Now we are off to the Guiness brewery!