Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Praha (Prague)

Day 1 - The story of Praha absolutely began at the train station. Brtt and I were looking.. How do I say this politely... Haggard. Hungover from our beer crawl, we were waddling with our backpacks to the train. Apparently we are sort of loud because a boy came up behind us and said "You guys speak English!" We discovered he was from Canada, friendship ensued, and he joined us sitting in a 6 person cab. His name was Bader. We shared Europe stories for a bit until a guy popped his head in the door and asked if he and his brother could join us in the cab. We welcomed them in, as we love good company. They both were from Canada too. Basically turned into a giant maple leaf party, EH? Haha basially the next 6 hours in the cab were utterly hilarious. We quickly all became very comfortable with one another, kicking up our feet, popping bottles of wine (with extensive assistance from both the conductor and the police, priceless), beer drinking, singing, crawling around and on top of the seats and sharing big group hugs. So logically, we exited the train together and went on a quest to find a place to get a drink. But first, we had to find all 3 of our hostels. We found Bader's hostel first and made a few new friends there. Then we headed over to the brothers' hostel. We quickly realized that our hostel was much farther (and not walking distance from theirs) so we just changed there and had a drink at their hostel, Clown & Bard (haha yes, it was sketchy). We eventually found our way to St. Christophers Mosaic House (by far, the fanciest and coolest hostel we stayed at). We ate some dinner there and then headed out on a quest to do something fun. We heard about some reggae party that was happening somewhere, but I started to lose my voice and developed this super weird cough so when we passed by a tea house/hookah place, I was thrilled. My body was not cooperating enough for much else. It was a very chill and relaxing night after a long day of shenanigans.

Day 2 - We chose this day to explore Prague. We ran into our friend Ward at St. Christophers' that we met canyoning in Interlaken and planned to meet up with in Prague. He was hanging out with his two hostel roomies soo the 5 of us went out and walked all over the city, through old town, to the palace and church, but we were in a bit of a hurry to meet up with our Canadian friends from the day before because we said we would meet them at 5 at Cafe Lourve for coffee and dessert. Somehow we made it, a bit late, but better late than never. We all decided that we should do this one bar crawl that we heard about so we met back up at 9:30 at the first bar and had a super fun nigt hopping around the city experiencing the wild night life of Praha.

Day 3 - Cough was probably at its worst, but I was powering through. We met up with two of our 26-dorm roomies, Anna and Mariah, and went with them across Charles Bridge and saw the church and the palace again, at a much more casual pace, this time. Just beautiful. The views of the city from the castle are extraordinary. They told us about some monestary close by that brewed great beer so we went there for a late lunch (Czech goulash) and a couple tasty brews. We were very tired at this point so Britt and I went on back to the hostel to sleep. The girls told us about this awesome restaurant called Stoletti (sp?) so Britt and I tried it out. It was incredible. Go there if you ever go to Prague. We headed back to the hostel where every person we encountered tried extremely hard to get us to go out and party for the night, but we promised ourselves to keep it relaxed that night. Not even kidding though... At least 10 people harrassed us and told us we were boring grandmas. But we ended up saying in and bonding with our new roomies for that night at the hostel bar. Two very smart guys. It was refreshing to have intelligent and stimulating conversations with them. It was a good choice to not go to the 5-story club...

7:20am train...

München (Munich)

Day 1 - A majority of our first day was spent on the train. Trains are always a needed break during a Eurotrip. You learn how to perfect the art of sleeping while sittig, overcoming obstacles like drooling, snoring, sleeping with your mouth gaping open, or leaning too close to your cab neighbor. It's quite the adventure. But I truly have come to love traveling via train. It's effortless, you can get some quality reading done, you don't have to go through security, you can bring your own food, charge your phone/camera with your personal outlet, and you have gorgeous views of the countryside. I am pro-train. Anyway so we arrive in München, gather our things and walk the short distance to our hostel, Wombats. not gonna lie, the street it was on was a bit questionable, however, the staff were wonderful and helpful, the rooms were nice and the beer hall was fun. We quickly got ready, while I checked foursquare for a good place to eat delicious German food. We settled on Andechser am Dom, which was close to the huge church in the city center. We ate bratwurst, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut and drank the local beer. Wonderful meal. We were freezing by the end of it so we ran home, changed and then asked where a good crepe place was. We got our Nutella and banana fix and then headed back again to figure out which beer garden we wanted to visit that night. Sadly it was Jess's last night with us. We were told that Augustiner Keller was a great beer garden, totally massive too, do we walked on over. We met some people randomly who were also staying at our hostel so we spent the rest of the nigt with them as we enjoyed our liters. It started to pour down rain so we moved underneathe a tented area and continued laughing, talking and sharing stories for a few more hours. It was a really nice night. Also, I must mention that when we got back Britt hopped into bed and was on the phone with her grandma... Meanwhile, Jess and I are sitting across from her bed dubbing over our own ridiculous version of the conversation between Britt and her grandma. This went on for 21 minutes (expensive call) bahahaha and not kidding, this was hands down probably the funniest part of the trip for me.

Day 2 - Jess had to leave really early so she woke us up to say bye. It was so sad to see her leave. :( She was an incredibly fun person to travel with and I'm so glad that she joined. So eventually Britt and I rolled ourselves out of bed, ate a little breakfast and headed to the lobby where they were meeting for the free walking tour. It was going to be raining all day but this was our last day in Munich and we wanted to make the best of it. Our tour guide was awesome. He taught us so much about the history of the city, what it means to be Bavarian, and the huge disparity between Munich and Berlin. We learned about the churches, the architecture in general, the symbols of the city, the effects of the war and so much more. We took a tour of Hofbrauhaus and stopped and ate bratwurst and beer lung at a small meat shop. Wonderful walking tour. I highly recommend doing these. It's not totally free because you're supposed to tip at the end, but it's worth it. We got back, did laundry (finally) and relaxed. We went to the hostel bar for happy hour when all of a sudden someone stood up and announced that te beer pub crawl was leaving in ten minutes. Britt and I looked at each other and basically ran upstairs to change and get ready to go on this impromptu crawl. It was a definite answer to our question moments before... "So what should we do tonight?" anyway, it was a ton of fun. Way too much beer was consumed, but it was gloriously German of us to complete. 3 1/2 liters later.... Plus a few hours and we were on our way to Prague.



I am the definition of LAZY. I can't bring myself to blog. But I'm waiting at London Heathrow to board my plane home and I have many many hours to kill, including a 5 hour layover in Houston. 

I'm going to try to shorten my posts to appease the requests of readers. (Sorry about that...)

Interlaken - We left that morning from Rome, fairly early, grabbed some cappuccinos and boarded the train. A series of complications with trains occurred, which caused us to need to change trains several times in random cities, such as Spiez. However, during the chaos we spotted large backpacks attached to confused, worried twenty-somethings. "Balmer's?" we asked. Each backpack-wearer nodded their head. We formed a kind of loose alliance. We stuck together and navigated through the transfers. When we arrived the directions to the hostel were fairly simple. Before starting the trek, we satiated our unbearable hunger at a kebab place along the way. We soon realized after grabbing food that we were utterly lost (nothing new to us). The rest of the group carried on without getting food so Britt, Jess, and I stayed with our new friend Chris. Eventually we made it to Balmer's, checked in, got ready and headed down to Metro, the bar/club downstairs, which apparently is the most happening place in that area of Interlaken. It was a bit of a slow night but we stayed and chatted it up with the boys we met earlier in the common room. We called it an early night because Day 2 was going to be intense. 

Day 2 - One word... Canyoning. 8 hour trip. Expensive, thrilling, adventurous, fear-defying, and SO MUCH FUN. We went with a wonderful group of people. But anyway, it's hard to explain. Best way is to Google: "Outdoor Interlaken Canyoning"... Also I bought my own video. It was a great keepsake. We popped open out bottle of prosecco at the end and then headed back in the van. During or adventures Britt perforated her eardrum and got an inner ear infection. I felt so bad because her eyes were welling up with tears and she was wreathing in pain. She ended up taking a taxi to the ER. Jess and I kept our phones on us to make sure everything was okay but in the meantime we walked 10 minutes down the road to the tent city where the hot tub was. So relaxing after a long day. After all the chaos we took naps and prepared our bodies for the "Beach Party" that night at Metro. We cooked our own dinner, ravioli with wine, and enjoyed a few drinks at happy hour. We spent time with the great people who we canyoned with. The party was fun. We danced all night. 

Day 3 - We slept in. Finally pulled ourselves out of bed and ran into Jason and Alex, aka Precious and Bush, the twins from our canyoning group. They told us about the "hammock room" aka the hangover room, where we spent a solid 3 or 4 hours relaxing, reading, journaling and sleeping. It was absolutely lovely. We made it out a few times for chocolate and groceries, but it was mostly a relaxed day. We spent another night at Metro, hung out with some of our Outdoor Adventure guides, and other friends that we made and then eventually made it to bed for our morning train to Munich. 

All in all Interlaken was hands down the most gorgeous landscape of any city. Rolling green hills, snow-capped Swiss Alps, and crystal-clear turquoise lakes that reflected mirror images of the mountains. Just beautiful. Also, we missed Jodelfest by one day.... Disappointment. But, found brand new pair of Ray Bans on the sidewalk... Anti-disappointment 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Roma! (finally)

People, I know... I'm slacking hardcore. I don't een want to think about how many countries behind I am.

First things first, I just want to profess my thankfulness for prayers answered in regards to my Eurail pass troubles. After the trouble I had in Paris, my pass has not been checked at all. The seat reservations that we made were sufficient proof and I went along on my happy way galavanting around Europe. It was such a stress relief.

Okay so we left Nice early early in the morning. We were worried that we were goig to have to make quite the trek down to the tram because te hostel shuttle didn't start until 8 and our train was leaving wayy before that. However, we ran into our pony-tailed, South African, security guard friend the night before, explained our troubles and he, with a charming smile, said that he would gladly drive us all the way to the station in the morning because he was going to be up. So off Jess, Britt and I were to...

Roma! - So our first train stopped in Genova, which let me tell you... Does not have that much going on right around the train station. But we had a two hour lay over and were super hungry so we ventured out to find some fine Italian cuisine. We settled on a little cafe and split gnocchi and pizza and then wandered around the city some more. We came back to the station to just put our backpacks down and sit because we were tired of looking like homeless Goldwyn on the streets. We saw that our train was 30 min delayed. So we ventured out again and got dessert, gelato for me and Jess and both Britt and I got canolis (sp?). So delicious. We spent some more time sitting on our backpacks on the street and then made our way back to the station again where it said that it was now 2 hours delayed. Ugh... So we sat down in a corner of the station and strictly out of bored and tiredness and soreness of our bodies started doing some interpretive dance moves and then random yoga poses together right outside of the door leading to the platforms. Needless to say we got some strange looks and even applause from passerbys. Good times for all. Another 50 minutes were added to the delay and we believed we would never make it to Rome. But alas the train did come, delay was sadly due to a boy committing suicide on the tracks. We arrived in Rome and tried to decipher the somewhat confusing directions to our hostel, The Yellow. We got there and got some serious attitude from our receptionist. But we were over it so we checked in, got some delicious food and sparkling wine across the street at a cute restaurant. We split three plates. So so good. Then we made our way back to our room, primped and went down to the hostel bar to enjoy our complimentary drink, which we discovered does not cover a flute of Vueve Cliquot (sad day) but we had cute pink martinis/cosmos. We had difficulty meeting people and we were tired so we went to sleep somewhat early that night.

Roma (Day 2) - We woke up a little early do we could get a jumpstart on our jam packed day. Jess had to go to the train station to sort out the rest of her train tickets, so we split up at the station and Britt and I headed to the Vatican Museum. Longest line of our lives. People and straight hustlin' you the whole time to. "Skip the line! Pay 45£ for this tour" blah blah... And then we realized thaty shorts were too short to get in so we had Jess stop at te hostel to pick up my jeans. This all turned out to be a huge pain and we waited for her at the front of the line for a while but then she was going to be another 20 mins so we ended up tying some random clothing around us to get past the guards. The museum was absolutely gorgeous and MASSIVE. We finally made it to the Sistine Chapel, which was incredible. Then we met up with Jess and decided that we were super hungry so we went on a quest to find food. This was minorly disasterous, as I was trying desperately to find thi certain McDonalds where I could get wifi to check foursquare for a good place to eat. 30 minutes later we were distraught when it did not in fct have wifi. So we picked a place and just ate there. It was cute and te owners were even cuter. Next was the Coliseum, where we proceeded to take a cajillion funny photos, then we walked all the way through the ruins, the Forum, etc. We met this man on a bike who walked us all the way to the Pantheon. Very talkative but we were skepital. We made friends with a random hotel recepionist who gave us a restaurant suggestion and let us drink on the roof terrace, super classy. We got gelato and looked at the Trevi fountain. We then started heading back and ran into two boys who spoke English who we found out were from the states and decided to join them on their quest to find some Ice bar. It was quite the journey and we picked up a few more people on the way, and had the best time ever. Rome treated us well.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nice (Day 2)

I am about to attempt the impossible right now (aka blogging from the iPhone). It just takes way too much to find a free computer and I am already 3 countries behind. Alright well let's get to it then..

Nice (Day 2) - Jess, Britt, and I, being exhausted from our night out, slept in pretty late on our second day. Once we pulled ourselves and our things together, showered and primped, we headed out on an adventurous day gallivanting through the south of France. Our first destination was a gorgeous beach town called Antibes. We took a 25 minute train ride there and used our intuitive sense of direction and the handy dandy iPhone compass app and found our way to the beach. We walked up and down a cobblestone path that was elevated above the water. The weather was perfect and the bay was full of extravagant yachts and luxurious boats. In fact, on the walk through town, we passed dozens of yacht stores, which prompted the ongoing joke of "Hey guys, hold on a sec... I'm just going to go buy a yacht or two. Want one?" The prices of these things are beyond what you can imagine. It just goes to show how much money is surging through the south of France. Anyway, after a nice stroll up the coast we decided to walk back and perch ourselves on the beach that we first saw because it was closest to the station. And honestly, never have I ever seen such a gorgeous beach. This one in particular had sand instead of pebbles which made our naps that much more enjoyable. Also, we planned ahead this time and brought towels. After a few hours of sunbathing and sticking half of our shins in the cold water, as this was all we could bear (our attempts to heat up on the beah as preparation for submersion failed miserably), we packed up, bought some cold Coca Cola Lights and made our way back to the train station to hop on a 50 minute train ride to Monaco. Once we arrived, in our typical fashion of lacking pretty much any knowledge of the cities we visit, we chose a direction and just began to walk. We found a cute street with many cafes and restaurants and began our hunt for the best food price deal. Throughout our stay in France, we have done a great job of finding super markets where we buy groceries, usually consisting of some type of wine, bread, cheese, and meat, and occasionally fruit in order to cut down on our spending. In fact, the meals that held us over for the day were grocery store purchased. But we wanted dinner in Monacco. After examining te competing prices, we chose a place that served omelettes (after many meals consisting of bread, protein was at the top of our list) and crepes (our fave snack for our last day in France) all of which was reasonably priced. After eating, we walked around a bit more, window shopping, taking pics, and imagining our lives involving yacht parties. I failed to mention the eccentric, odd, middle-aged man that we met on the train from Antibes to Monaco. He made up crazy stories, what we interpreted as over-exaggerated truths about how he made millions flipping houses in the US, telling us how he now lives in a billon dollar villa for free and works on a boat and has a girlfriend who he fights with a lot. He told us that he lived in Hawaii, California, New York, and is now staying in the south of France. He was quite te character and was tough to get rid of, even while both Jess and Britt tried to send a message by taking out books to read. This did not deter him at all and I didn't have it in me to bring out the third book. Anyway, Monaco, beautiful. We finally got home and relaxed or a bit, showered and got ready for the "Rock Party" that was happening at the hostel bar that night, which really wasn't much different than the crowd/atmosphere from the night before. But regardless, we met more friends, drank cheap wine, and had a grand ole time together for our last nigt before we left early in the morning for Roma!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cannes & Nice (day 1)

This is going to be an insanely long post. I will probably only get through a few cities before I get burned out. We are currently in Interlaken, Switzerland and today is our lazy day (aka why I am blogging).

Cannes - Our day began by checking out of Sant Jordi Alberg (my fave hostel as of yet) and made the trek to the main train station to hop on the first of three trains to get to the south of France. I immediately encountered conflict due to the missing/stolen Eurail pass and had to shell out 25 euros for the first train. I got lucky on the 2nd train and they didn't check to see if I had it, but on the third train I encountered a terribly abrasive, burly French SNCF officer lady who confronted me until I was in tears trying to explain and show her some kind of proof that I paid for a Eurail pass, which she was not having, and I eventually had to shell out another 76 euros on the spot. This was beyond horrible to experience the first sting of what I believed would be the worst train of events from my idiotic mistake. We, or should I say I, pulled ourselves together and exited the train, hopeful and excited to be in the south of France. We got lost trying to find the hotel we booked for the night and realized, after some redirecting, that it was approximately 100 feet away from the station we arrived at. We made our way up and checked into our new, quaint, cute, accomodation for the night. It was the first time on a trip that we had a place all to ourselves with a private bathroom and shower. We set our things out, showeed and got ready because we were meeting Britt's roommate, Jess, and her godsister Allison, for dinner at Allison's GORGEOUS 3.5 million euro home. We walked up and I was completely taken aback by the elegance and beauty of this home. Allison warmly welcomed us in and immediately began to bring out all kinds of cheese, meat, and bread and several bottles of amazing champagne because she was renting out the house for a week and needed people to help eat all the food in the fridge before she left on her trip the next morning. Allison was the greatest host we could ever ask for. She continued to spoil us by making an incredible dinner consisting of chicken with bell peppers and an awesome salad with cucumbers, etc. She had taken a year and completed the program at Le Courdon Bleu. This 31 year old is super woman. She gave us advice about the south of France, where to explore and what places to avoid, and how it's only okay to cheers by clinking glass if you are being ironic about it. She told us stories about the people and celebrities, like Adriana Lima the Victoria Secret model, who have rented their home in the past for the Cannes Film Festival. Incredible. After dinner we enjoyed more champagne and a bottle of Rose while romping around eating macaroons and helping her get her home guest-ready for the week. We told her aobut how we visited an absinthe bar in Barcelona and low and behold, she pulls us into the other room to show us her absinthe fountain. She offers us the rest of her absinthe and teaches us the proper way to prepare it and drink it. She had told us earlier in the night that we must help her finish all the booze. We ended up going out to her herb garden to pick fresh mint and make home-made mojitos with the last of her rum. We danced around the house, listening to the awsome playlist that she had on all evening, and had a grand old time. By the end of it all we were a little drunk and it was nearing 2am. She proclaimed that she would not have us walk home at this hour alone and invited us to stay the night. The next morning we helped her clean some more and lock everything up before we headed back to the hotel, which ended up serving us merely as a stroage unit for our things. We packed up and made our way across the road to the train station to hop on for 30 minutes to get to Nice. Of course in our typical fashion, we forgot to look up the directions to the hostel beforehand.

Nice - So we spotted a McDonalds after exiting the train station and approached it hoping that it would have Wifi, unlike the one in Paris. I asked Britt how to spell the name of the hostel and this boy comes over and says, "The Gardens?" and we were like YES! He said that he was also staying there and was about to head back. Perfection. We took the tram and waiting for the "shuttle" to come get us, which turned out to be a smashed up silver van. They were whipping around the corners super fast. So we get to Villa St. Exupery Gardens and it's awesome and massively large. They gave us a tour around and then showed us to our room. We unpacked and got dressed and ready for the beach. We stopped first and got bread, cheese, ham, strawberries, and a bottle of whipped cream from the market. Okay so first off, I am completely obsessed with the beaches in the south of France. Incredible. One problem I had though was how they were covered in small pebbles instead of sand, which my feet are not okay with walking on. I struggled a ton and Jess was a pro. So we were exhausted and ended up just sleeping straight on the rocks (we didn't bring towels) after our picnic and woke up with rock indentations all over our bodies. We were disoriented as to what time it was so I asked the people sitting behind us what time it was. One of the guys, Lars, told us to sit down and hang out with them for while. Half of them worked at the hostel and the other half were guests so we immediately made friends. We headed back with them soon after, got dressed and showered and headed to meet them in the bar at the hostel. We stayed there drinking 5 euro bottles of wine for most of the night and then ended up leaving to go to Wayne's Bar, which was really fun. I got split from the rest of the group and by the time we left the bar, the tram was no longer running. Thankfully I was with the staff people from the hostel and we made a LONG 45 minute walk back to the hostel. This ends our first night in Nice. So much fun.

To be continued...

Monday, June 13, 2011

BARCELONA! South of France and Rome - **Soon to come!***

It has taken us ages to find a) a computer with a functioning keyboard and b) time to actually produce a post that is complete. In fact, it is merely me, Michelle, tonight because Brittney and Jess were too tired and went to bed. If I don't post now, it will never happen. Okay so last time we left you we were on our way to the Barcelona beach dance club, Shoko. Well we ended up making friends all around us, including, Marco, Jackie, Scott, Dave, Vincent and more! We were guided through the night by a few of the staff at HelloBCN, the hostel we were staying at for our first night. They took us on a bus and we got there and made our way to a separate line where we got free entry. Pause for one moment: they are playing Bon Iver - Skinny Love, in the bar at our hostel in Rome... I am so pleased :) Okay so we got to Shoko, which was this amazing dance club inside (they seriously played the best mix of music EVER). We purchased one FAR too expensive drink and made our way to the dance floor with our new friends and busted many moves. After a bit we got tired and made our way out the back door to check out the patio only to realize that the club was literally on the beach. So we walked out to the sand, sat down, took some pictures, bought a few rando, sketchy beers (5 for 4 euros) from an Indian man walking down the beach, and made more friends with people hanging out around us. By the time we wanted to go back it was around 4am and the club had closed so we saw that the neighboring club was still open and thought that we would give it a shot and try to get in with the stamps we had from the last club (and we failed... miserably). So we took a few taxis home and decided that we were hungry and went on a search for food with half of our group. We ended up giving in to some more sketchy street food and then headed back to the hostel and promised each other that we would meet in the lobby at 11am to go on an adventure the next day... These are the methods that you must resort to when you lack the convenience of a cell phone at all times.

Barcelona (Day 2) - We meet in the lobby at roughly 11am.. and by we I mean, Brittney, Marco, Jackie, Dave, and I. Dave had the idea that we would take the long journey to Montserrat, this crazy mountain about an hour out of Barcelona by train. This was a bit of a financial sacrifice, not much but still, in the end it was so worth it. It took us quite a bit of time to get to the train station to figure out how to get to this alleged mountain and once we finally figured it out, we missed the upcoming train ride by approximately 2 minutes, and mind you, the train for this comes only once an hour. So to kill time, we emerged out of the metro station and explored the bull fighting ring converted to mall, ate crepes and other goodies and then ironically almost missed the train again. We finally made our way there and piled into the gondola and made our way up the mountain. Of course, to our dismay especially due to the lack of preparation in the area of attire, it began to pour down rain. Most of us are wearing jean shorts and tank tops. Super unfortunate. BUT, we were not going to let this ruin our trip, so we pressed on and explored all the glory that is Monserrat, including, the gorgeous hiking trails, views down the canyon, the lift to the top of the mountain, the monestary and the gift shop where we bought copious amounts of Haribo gummy bears to sustain us on our trip. We took our time but began to get a little tired and sick of being cold and wet in the rain so we headed home. Once we got back, Brittney and I picked up our bags from the hostel and made the trek to check into our new hostel, Sant Jordi Alberg, before we were going to meet up again with the crew for dinner at Cuidad Condal (a recommendation from both Scott Urata and Deborah Gunther). We got there, after a bit of confusion with directions and completely fell in love with the hostel. We actually ended up staying there soley because of a recommendation from the girls we met at St. Christophers in Paris. They told us that it was their favorite hostel of their entire trip. It was so perfect, it is hard to explain. So we quickly got ready and asked the recptionist where Cuidad Condal was and he explained that it was SUPER close to our hostel and that we should tell our friends to meet us here. Well due to the lack of communication ability between our friend groups we decided to attempt to communicate via the hostel  receptionists. We had our hostel call HelloBCN and we explained to give a message to Dave to meet us by the metro exit as soon as possible because it was closer. Mind you, there was a language speaking barrier and just a general lack of communication therefore our hope of actually making this work was pretty low. However, low and behold one or two minutes after we arrived at the metro, our 3 new friends emerged, ascending the escalators. We proceeded to the restaurant where we ate, up to the point, one of the best meals of the whole trip. Absolutely incredible, and cheap! Afterwards we convinced everyone to come with us to go out with the people from our new hostel that we met and on our way, treking through the rain we saw the group on their way and decided to forgo changing and just hop along with the group, who was heading to an absinthe bar. After about an hour of getting totally lost, and stopping in a rando bar along the way to have a beer, we finally made it there, and partied it up with the green fairy. Actually it was no different than any other alcohol except that it was stronger. After fun times here, we ended up at Jamboree, another crazy Barcelona club and we danced, or at least I danced like a fool until 4:30am.

Barcelona (Day 3) - We decided to sleep in for quite a bit because of our crazy night and it took us forever to get out of bed. One of the boys, Bryan decided to make us the BEST breakfast we had the whole trip and we pretty much cooked for the entire hostel and we all gathered and ate eggs, bacon, and toast in the community dining area. Britt and I were still tired so we crawled back in bed and were woken up about an hour and a half later by the sound of dance music in the room next door. I wasn't even mad. I was so excited about great music and jumped out of bed to dance with our new friends, Dan, Max and others. We hung out with them for a while and they started talking about how they were going to fly to Ibiza that night to stay for 2 nights to see Afrojack that night and David Guetta the next. They told us to come with them and proceeded to thoroughly convince us that we would be missing the biggest opportunity of our lives if we did not log onto and buy the tickets to the flight they were on that night. We were pretty much sold and only needed to head to the train station to change our tickets to Cannes. So I went to the room, put on a jacket, grabbed my purse and checked to see that I had everything, but low and behold... "Oh my gosh... Wait guys.... I'm about to freak out.... I'm about to freak out" "What's wrong, Michelle?" "I can't find my Eurail pass..." And here begins the end of my happiness and relaxation of vacation. I transformed from being the most excited and eager person in Europe, ready to party in Ibiza, dance all night to Afrojack and David Guetta and make memories that would last a lifetime with some of the most fun people we had met on our trip so far and then my world and dreams crumble. I began, just utterly sobbing after ravaging through every single  nook and cranny of my things and everyone elses and realizing that my pass was truly gone. This began a series of events... called Mom, cried and explained how stupid I am and how sorry I am and tried to figure out what to due, realized that the process was really going to suck to be able to do anything about the lost pass, realized that "On Trak Protection" means ab-so-lutely nothing, and then regained composure and made my way to the police station to get an official police report (the first step in the painful process). After an hour ordeal Britt and I headed back to Cuidad Condal to drink and eat and forget about how our dreams were crushed and how we had wasted so many hours of the day on my stupidity. We still had yet to see anything in Barcelona so we hopped on the train to see La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and then make our way back to the hostel. Everything we saw was absolutely gorgeous and we have the photos to prove it. Once we got back to the hostel, after using our Spanish skills to get directions, we freshened up and made friends with all the new people that replaced our Ibiza-bound friends. We played a few drinking games and then headed up with the staff people at the hostel on a sort of bar crawl and ended up partying at another beach club till the wee hours of the morning. We had to get up super early to catch a train in the morning and we all somehow pulled it together and got there perfectly on time and everything worked out. Okay well it is literally 3:41am and I neeeeeed sleep. We have to check out at 10am and our train is at 12 something to Interlaken. I will tell you all about the glory that is the South of France and Rome so so very soon. It's all too much for now.


Monday, June 6, 2011

London, Paris, Barcelona OH MY!

Hello hello! (finally)

It has taken us this long to be able to find free computers to use and the thought of updating a blog on the iPhone was horrific, therefore here we meet!

Brittney and I are currently hanging out in the lobby of HelloBCN, our first hostel in Spain, after 5 extremely busy, fun, adventurous and tiring days. We arrived around 3pm, came to the hostel, put on our bathing suits, stopped for tapas y sangria and then immediately headed over to la playa for a fun, relaxed afternoon in the sun (exhaustion took over and we napped for 2 hours at the beach and for another 2 or 3 back at the hostel haha). Now we are waiting to go to Shoko for a fun night out at a club on the beach with the hostel. So letś give you a shortened version of our adventures so far in Europe.

First of all, let me say that we WON in London and FAILED in Paris.

London - My plane was 3 hours delayed so instead of getting to the hostel around 4 to meet Brittney, I got there around 8:45pm. Brittney arrived at the hostel around 12:30pm and I hoped that she read my Facebook message that said I was super late because we had no way of contacting each other. On top of that... both Brittney and I forgot to look up directions to the hostel before arriving at our hostel in Camden.... London Bridge... Paris... AND FREAKING BARCELONA. We still haven't learned.... hopefully we will soon. So after wandering around the city for 30 minutes, desperately searching for Wifi or someone who knew what they were talking about, a nice British man Google mapped the hostel and literally walked for almost a mile with me to make sure I got there. He said ¨See, chivalry isn't dead!¨ So precious and SO NICE. Brittney and I had such a fun night walking through the streets of Camden, having dinner at a place next to the canal, and meeting a group of guys who went to a fun little bar called Lock 17 with us. We headed back to the hostel, made friends with people there and with the staff and stayed up till 4:30am (even after 17 hours of traveling... insane). The next morning we woke up very early because we had ALL of London to see and one day to do so. Mind you, we had to carry our backpacks all day because we could not check in until 2 at our new hostel. So we started with the Camden Town Market, hopped on the Tube (our fave) and got off at Picadilly Circus, walked down Regent Street through So-Ho, walked through a bunch of cute shops (LOOOVE All Saints), ate the sparkliest and prettiest cupcakes at Top Shop, walked all the way down Oxford Street for more ¨shopping¨ but no money was spent. We finally made our way to Hyde Park where we sat down in lounge chairs and looked at the canal and proceeded to get in trouble for not paying for the chairs (oops). Then we walked to Buckingham Palace, Green Park and then we were dying from the weight of our backpacks so we made our way over to the hostel around 3pm and checked in. Then we hit London Bridge, St. Paulś Cathedral, Tate Modern, Harrods and Lauderee for macaroons, took pictures with red telephone booths, walked to Trafalgar Square, Westminister Abbey and Big Ben, ate in China Town and then went on a quest to find the Ernst & Young building to take pictures in front of it. It was around 11:30pm by the time we finished all of this so we headed back to the hostel to hang out at the pub that was below our rooms, drank Delirium Tremens on tap and listened to a fantastic band play. In my mind, a nearly perfect day where we did (almost) everything and made friends along the way.

Paris - Of course started out rough because we couldn't find Wifi to figure out where the hostel was. On top of this, we had the worldś most difficult time trying to buy tickets for the metro. I will not bore you with the details, but letś just say that we arrived at 9:30am and didn't leave till almost 12pm... Needless to say we were immediately missing the Tube. Also, side note: everything reeked of urine. Gross. So we finally got to the hostel around 12:30pm and couldn't check in till 2 so we left our backpacks in the luggage room and set out to explore Paris, mainly the Montmartre area/Moulin Rouge and grab lunch at a cafe. Paris is extremely expensive, as is London, but for some reason Paris seemed to be more. After Moulin Rouge we headed back to our fave place ever, the metro station, to make all the reservations on our Eurail pass. This took another 1 and a half so at this point we, or at least I, never wanted to be in the metro again. So we headed back to the hostel and checked into our room where we were staying with 9 other girls. They were all from the U.S. and we pretty much bonded right away. We decided to grab dinner and drinks with them downstairs at Belushiś and then we went out in Montmartre area to hit up a couple bars. It started pouring down rain so we stopped in a market, bought some wine and then ran back on the metro, where we ran into Marlee Klein and Jeff Klein in the metro entrance (SO CRAZY!!)  to the hostel to hang out some more. The next morning we got up fairly early and went back to the metro to finish making the rest of our reservations because Brittneyś phone died in the middle of our last reservation trip and we wanted to make sure we had the right dates and times for trains. It was the first Sunday of the month, which means that all museums are free in Paris... this was both great and terrible because the line for the Lourve was out of this world, literally. It was probably a mile and a half long. So we thought maybe we would come back to that later and headed to Notre Dame and Hotel du Ville. We tried to meet Marlee underneathe the Eiffel Tower at noon to grab lunch, but having not figured out how far everything is from everything else, we severly underestimated how long it would take to get there and arrived at 12:25pm and everyone was gone. I swear we lept through rings of fire trying to get there on time. We sprinted to the metro when we realized that the Eiffel Tower was not within walking distance and then sprinted another good half mile from the metro stop towards the tower but it was of no use. So we gave up and decided to get chocolate & banana crepes from a little cafe up the hill (overpriced and not Nutella... disappointing). We really wanted to see the Catacombs and so we hopped back on the metro and headed over there to only see that the line was equally as outrageous as the Lourve and they said that the last visit was at 4 and the line was so long that we could wait for 2 hours and not even get in so we cut our losses, took frowny face pictures in front of it and headed back to the Lourve in hopes that the line would be shorter... which it WAS! They told us it was going to be a 2 hour wait to get in but we were determined to make something work so we stayed, made friends with a family behind us and zoomed through the line in 20 minutes not 2 hours. We were so tired at this point that we hit the big, famous art pieces and the sculpture section (taking funny, immitating pictures) and then headed out to go back to the hostel to check in, change, buy grocerieis and meet our new hostel roomie friends underneathe the Eiffel Tower at 7. We were late again, typical, but only like 7 minutes this time, and the girls didn't end up showing but our other friends did and we waited till 7:35 before headed up to the grass to have a picnic and some more crepes (the right kind this time... AND they were cheaper, woooo!). Then we went on a quest to find cheap wine and bought 2 bottles and ran around the city swigging out of them with our friends. We headed towards the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. We got there 5 minutes before it closed and we ran up the millions of stairs and took pictures at the top, where it started pouring rain, and then realized that the Eiffel Tower must be closing really soon too, so we ran as fast as we could, getting soaked, saw it sparkling but missed our chance to go up it. I was a devious child and made up a lie to be able to get up by saying that I left my wallet, but the guilt and nervousness that I felt about lying made the experience horrible. When I finally got down we walked back through the rain to the metro and hopped on a train. When we went to make our connection, I inserted my ticket and Brittney hopped in behind me because her ticket was at the bottom of her bag and she didn't feel like looking for it. We had done this plenty of times and it was always completely fine but not this time.... not at all. There were actually people checking 10 feet away from us, which we failed to see... and then screamed for us to halt and show our tickets. We tried our hardest to explain but they did not care at all and were demanding immediate payment for the infraction or the police were going to come. Brittney had to shell out 50 euros on the spot. It was awful... So this was quite the damper on our not-so-successful day. We got back to the hostel and were so freaking tired that we just went straight to bed. We had to catch a train to Barcelona at 7am. 

This is quite the novel and if you have read this far, I am thoroughly impressed. We will write about Barcelona tomorrow and maybe will add pictures if we can. We miss you all!