After Aug 10
Even the trip of Europe was over, we still got some more of travelling.. first to Buffalo for a weekend at Jesse's cabin, saw Keith, Kevin, Tiffany, Jess, Matt and his gf... then up to Canada...stop by to see Leigh whos would be my roommate this year :) and stayed at Matt Brownell's neat trailer near the lake for two nights, finally to 195's parents to see them and get some of his things. We could only stay there for one night as the next day was first day of 195's RA training (his job of year while schooling) and I was shacked with a darling girl that I was to babysit for a week...next week would be time to pack up for moving to apt on Sept 1 then going back to my work on Sept 5...no time to real laid off,eh?
Hope to start posting pictures soon, right now we were having bit trouble to download memory card into computer :P
After Aug 10
The reality finally caught up, time for us to leave the summer of Europe behind. Was not looking forward it and it probably contributed to some of crankies btw 195 and I when trying to get on right tube and reaching to the gate which was 15 minutes walk inside the airport and got there in time to board. The catering for British Airways were on the strike so we wouldnt have any meals but was given a sandwich and water in "lunch bags". When boarded, it was pretty hot inside and got worse as the plane remained grounded past 8pm, the time it was supposed to take off. When asked the stewardess, turned out the starter of airplane was broken and had to be replaced. Finally after one hour, we took off toward New York City. We arrived there late at 11pm and missed our bus at 1am as the subway ride was long. The next bus was at 5:40am so we were stuck at bus station in a room full of other people and one guy seem to stink real bad. 195 couldnt stand it bu it didnt bother me that bad because my nose was bit blocked up and i was more irrated that we had to wait for several hours. Finally time came for us to wait in line for bus, what was more that the bus broke down so we had to wait for other one which arrived around 6pm! The busdriver went different way on backroads but got to Rochester in 7hours flat, no longer. We got into Rochester at 1pm so we offically finally arrived back after string of bad lucks as if North America didnt want us back. Frankly, we would be more than happy to stay back in London :)
Went out to Greenwich town, upitty part of London and home of 0 degree of logitude in the park of Greenwich. It was near water that bring perfect weather to the sunny day (its already cool in London). After stopping at a small cafe to grab some lunch for the park so that we could enjoy the outdoors. As we observed the people while eating, 195 pointed out a couple that was carrying a pinic basket waling down the sidewalk and mentioned that they were a true European. I had to add that the true America would be carrying a big pinic icebox filled with beers and big hunk of mean, then they would drive in car up to the spot they want to eat rather than to walk.
After our lunch, went up to top of hill, visiting the Greenwich museum and stand on 0 degree logitude. Afterward, spent most of aftertoon in park, lying on grass and reading our books. Finally went back into London, to "home" for the evening and grabbed last dinner from Indian place again :D
Nothing exciting and went to Camden Town (a down to earth, punky,hippie kind of part of London) They have lot of neat things at cheaper cost and foreign food courts. Got few things, not alot because its real cheap for London people but still a double cost for us (7pounds equals 14 dollars). Around dinner time we got some food from Indian place around the corner, they have real good foods there for good price!
All of us who went to rave slept in late except for poor Himel, he slept only for 3hours as he had to go to a wedding. 195 had little headache but Adam got a bad case that last him whole day into tomorrow when he finally feel better. I got little headache but it goes away fast when Stephen offer me a drink with solutable pill that worked real well (thinking of buying one but forgot to). A day of relaxing.
Slept in at last and did some laundry as theres not much left for us to wear! Chatted with Stephen, Adam and Himel bit of how our trip went and they fill us in of the bombings in London. They still got the newspapers of it, glad that none of them were in those places at time of bombings.
Most of day, boys were watching the cricket finals (very popular game in London, as well as Australia) I learned an quite about it and watched some of it with one eye reading the book that I was almost finsihed with.
Finally at 18:30 we got ready for the Deaf Rave (which was taking place at some church, weird isnt it?). Went with Adam out to meet up with Himel and his friends at a bar for few hours before going to the Rave. When we got there, it was pretty packed on every floors (three of it) and pretty dark. We lost eachother easily but managed to stick with one or two of us most of night. However toward late of night, we lost eachother almost for good. 195 couldnt find me or anyone else so he finally decided to head back to "home" and bumped into Adam at bus stop. He also had trouble finding anyone so hes going home and ran into 195. Now 195 would be able to get in home because hes planning on waiting on the step! As for me, I sure enjoyed Rave alot and saw few familar faces and met some new people...later I realized I didnt see my crowd or 195 so I started looking. One guy I was chatting with was looking for his friend too so we went looking together for his friend and me for 195. We didnt have much luck but I found Himel and stuck with him for the remaining hour and that guy's friend eventually found him. We got out at 7am when the rave ended. I was bit surprised that I was actually there all night toward early morning! I was sure that 195 was at "home" but still was relieved to find him there, sleeping :)
Last day of Dublin and of visiting new countries for we were heading back to the start of our trip, London, England! 195 wanted to check out Jameson Distillery, product of Ireland. Apparently they dont gave any discount for deaf people and they got phamlet explaining the parts of tour so we felt its sufficent that we didnt take a tour afterall. After checking out their store, didnt find anything to buy, went over to busy street of O'Connel, where lot of stores were located to get some things for the family. 195 didnt find anything of Ireland for its mostly sourvieor that he found to be cheesy,had to agree with that. Only thing I bought was a thimble for mom and nice shirt for brother. Went back to hostel, mulling over whether we should make our late lunch or wait til the airport. At that point 195 noticed that its 18:30 as we thought it was 17:30, were planning on taking bus at 18:00 to airport. So we rushed to the bus stop, unfortunately it seem to be the busy time of day for there were many people and we all had to crammed in with only one enter and exit on the bus. We arrived at airport in time and have enough time left to sit and wait for our plane, that was a close call. Certainly enjoyed Ireland but wanted to visit again to visit the rest of Ireland as they got several very intruging places to see such as Gaint Cuaseway that we didnt have time to see.
Landed in London within a hour (short ride, eh?) and found out that we were way outside in the outskirt of London and we had to take train toward center of London (more money going out of our pockets) and took tube to the Elephant Castle stop. When we arrived at the Elephant Castle,we wanted the bus toward Old Kent/east st where friend, Himel and his roommates lived at...so we were looking around for right bus stop as there were several on the same street. One guy asked if he could help so I wrote the number of bus (#63 or 168 toward Old Kent st/east st) we want to take, he didnt know. So we went our way and starting to remember one location that bus stop at but the guy stopped us and said he know and kept gesture us to follow him. He was very insisting so we followed but turned out he thought the number was the number of house..finally he got that we wanted the number of that certain bus, he felt awful and paid for our bus fare, sending us in right direction at last. It was nice of him to help, in a way we could have arrived friend's house earlier if it was not for misunderstandings but least we got a story to tell, heh. Our friend, Himel, was glad that we got there as he was wondering if we were arriving that night and almost ready to go to sleep when we arrived. I told him that we would arrive around 11pm but with all that long train ride into city and confusion with the guy, we arrived his home at 1am. Very beat out and light out shortly as we hit our head on temp beds (the couches, hehe). It kind of feel like we were returning to home already, we sure liked London alot and wouldnt mind to live there.
Posted by FrecklesFly at 1:00 PM
Decided we wanted to (more on my side) visit outside Dublin to nearby towns so that we could see more of Ireland itself. The tickets for train wasn't that cheap and the ticket was stamped at the gate (based on experience, conductor often didn't check the tickets when already boarded so it was bit waste of money) That led to the decision to buy roundtrip ticket to Howth (one of two towns we want to stop at) as it was closest than Drogheda. We went to Drogheda first, not much to see except for its old fort and one remaining gateway for it was a fortress in its old time. Several battles had took the place there and the rally, calling for peace between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland not too long ago took place there as well. After peek in one or two shops to see if could find Ireland wool sweater, no luck, we hopped back on train toward Howth. It started to rain when arrived there so we popped in a restaurant for a lunch and it was still raining when we were done eating. We took a quick walk around, along the shore and up the hills to take some pictures of true Ireland harbor town. Then decided its not worth to stay any long so we took train back to Dublin and stopped at food store yet again for our dinner (stayed at another hostel that was reserved for other two nights due to cheaper $$). Got a Guinness made for foreign market that had higher percentage, it taste strong and ok as the Ireland's way Guinness taste better.
Bright and shine, with some breakfast in our stomach, we took to route we saw in book with some of our add ons. Stopped at O'Mallory's pub that some famous people like JFK had went there. Got a draft of good ole' Guinness of Ireland there, the barman said to let it settle first then he would fill the remaining to proper level once it settle . Its quite different to another drafts. It was only 11 in morning and pubs were already opened early. Stopped at Trinity College, one of oldest and well known college where the grass were green because people were not allowed to walk on it but it look bit threadbare to me (wondered if there was school of students sneaking quiet stampede on it during darkest of the night).
Went through one small park where life-like with life-like color statue of Oscar Wilde (famous poetry?)on a rock and a big park, many people lounged out on the clean cut grasses on their lunch breaks and business men taking a stroll along its several ponds.
After small detours we reached to the vegetarian cafe where there was a long line of people waiting to order (quite surprising for it wouldn't be seen in east of north America for sure), enjoyed a good meal. Went to Guinness factory to take a tour of it, didn't get much of discount and had to agree with 195 that the Heineken Experience tour in Amsterdam was more worthy.
Hence to say, we saw most of Dublin and head back to hostel for the evening of unsuccessful attempt at cooking the vegetarian burger mix that we bought in Hungary for its in Hungarian language so we tried our best to guess. No luck as it crumbled and we had to ate it that way and tasted pretty bland too.
Gathered up our things and slung it over our shoulders once more and head out... No, not to train this time but to the airport of Brussels. However, it was half true because we still had to take a train to Charleroi (45 min out of Brussels) where airport was. The first train we hopped on said its heading to Charleroi but only to stop at next station and all people got off. We were puzzled why and tried to catch another one and missed. Still to our luck the another train going this direction was coming shortly afterward and arrived the destination before the another one we just missed. Also we left early so there was nothing to panic about missing the plane. We eventually got to the airport, checked in our bags, to our dismay they had a weight limit on bags and any that was over the limit was charged 7 Euro per 1kg. Mine was just barely at the limit (15.9), while 195 was 23kg. We took out some things but not to much of success and ended up paying 55 Euros.
Arrived at Dublin in nick of time and took the bus into the city (30minutes away) and got off on O' Connell Street as our hostel was nearby. After walk up and down the street several times, still couldn't find it so we stopped at an internet cafe (its everywhere! on every street!) and found out that it was Talbot Place not Talbot St (both intersect eachother thro). One thing to know about Ireland's streets were that their street name change on every block so one stretch of road will not have one but 5 different street names if it got 5 blocks on it. It sure make it easy to find a place for there was little chance of missing it but it sure confused hell out of new faces in the city.
Found the hostel and signed in, while 195 was at internet cafe, using up remaining minutes. Once I signed in I walked back to internet real fast that guy practically ran and was relieved to find me. He apologized for forgetting to have me sign the receipt and was friendly that on way back to hostel, he asked what I think of Dublin so far. Told him that its interest place but hard to say yet for it was only first day being there and after signing receipt, couldn't resist the temption to joke by asking the guy if there was no other thing that he might forget, he laughed and said, "Yes, that was it." 195 and I zoomed to the food store just down the street after make ourselves at home in the hostel, to buy some food for the dinner and the next day. Walked down the street abit before calling it the night.
Posted by FrecklesFly at 11:57 PM
Time to finish up the rest of last part of Europe!!! 195 sure managed to do most of his... ah, at least the lull give you some time to catch up on reading them all :)
Last day in Brussels, grabbed that day to explored the east side of the city. Went over to see the Atom that were often seen in books or postcard of Brussels. Turned out it was closed for repairs, another one where you just stand outside and snap the picture with all construction obscures. Walked over to the Japanese park nearby, eyed beautiful Japanese building which wasn't not open on that day. It got me thinking about traveling Asia next. Made a brief stop at internet cafe to check on process with finding an apartment for the fall back in the Rochester. 195 got some beers which was quite strong and bit too much. The end to long day of walking of Brussels.
Back to July 31
Took advantage of the LAST day of our Eurail Pass by taking trip to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (smallest country in Europe, slightly smaller than Rhode Island, USA) Beside Vatican or Monaco or Andorra.
Only three hours ride from Brussels to Luxembourg City(almost center of country), small, eh?. It was an old city with old walls still standing around most of city. It got one of really peaceful and nicest park set up in the valley outside the wall (looked it might once was a river or creek but long ago blocked off) It got excellent trail to run or walk. There were several little rail tracks for children to ride in small train, playground and great section of hill for sledding. It even got a pond, wouldn't be surprised if it was even used for ice skating in wintertime,and quiet little creek alongside trail. When we wandered into city (tips suggested to just wander through the city as we would came upon most of major sights), we stumbled into a medieval festival going on with everyone dressed up in medieval time except for the visitors. Bought ourselves a medieval lunch, a wrap with spread of onion and herbs..Another is with potatoes, quite good! But it left us a strong onion breath and burps! We took a walk on the route where there was brass triangle on ground point us the way to best parts of city.. Wandered along most of it and nearly lost 195's water bottle but someone was kind enough to put it on the side of trail, whew!
Finished the city to our satisfaction within approx. 4 hrs and headed back to Brussels early than we anticipated. On half-way back, a shy girl across us on the train finally worked up her courage to talk to us. Turns out she was a hearing girl from Luxembourg City on way to Brussels for her university year and she learned some sign language through a deaf girl who was in her class that introduced her to other deaf people. She signed in France Sign Language so we mainly communicated by writing for she know English as well. She got her deaf friend who lived in Brussels to meet up with us so that he could tell us more about Brussels better than she could. The guy, Reno, was nice guy and give us lot insights of what Brussels were like and how was it for the deaf people. There were still some oppression there but they were fighting back, unlike in North America where there were lot more rights.
They drop us off at the hostel after the bar place where we sat down to chat for while for it was already late in the night and bars were only ones that were open that hours. Nice end to the day of two countries visit despite Brussels' constant rainy days.
Posted by FrecklesFly at 3:02 PM
The day of walking enroute lair of Brussels, 195 and I chose the one that seem to be in the middle/lower class part of city, other was in business district and another was in rich part. Started out with the eagerness to wear out the soles of our shoes after a stomach-filling breakfast provided by hostel, quite filling mark my words...went past one of old church, walked through shopping centre with glass roof covering walkway between two buildings, got our hands on Beligan waffle (too sweet and it got syurp that reminded me of sugar cane syurp that my roommate loved for she was from near the New Orleans, where most people use sugar cane syurp rather than maple or else)...went thru Grand Place, an open square of the most oldest and most well preserved buildings around the edge of square of Europe. Flower fesival was held there annually where they made a design with flowers covering the whole square, too bad that day was long gone by the time we were there.
Ah ah time agoinggggggg, sorry got to leave you hanging
Posted by FrecklesFly at 9:00 PM
Forgot to add one thing of previous day.. we visited the Sex museum (hey, is that gasping and tsking come to the mind from some of you, eh?) Afterall, it was mentioned by some friends and a cousin who went there and practically Asterdam was the one that had it so I was wondering what it was all about. Basically it was all ah, better save the details for the sake (for those that didnt want to know and for those who do, better let them see for themselves)
Now back to day of July 29, uneventful day as we travelled straightaway to Brussels, Beligum after signing out the hostel. Brussels was only three hours away so no need for overnight trip or to waste the day in Netherlands when we could see Brussels on the same day. After dumping and taking claim of bed at hostel, we went out to explore Brussels alittle as it was late in afternoon. Stopped at food store across street to stock up for the dinner and getting some Beligum beer, naturally. Beligum was known for its wide varitiety of beers with higher percentage than rest of europe (most). 195 got a free map that have three suggested walking routine hightlighted on the map, it look interesting and pass most of the major sights and insights of city as well so we marked it in our mind to do on the next day. Until the next...
Posted by FrecklesFly at 8:40 PM
Nothing much left to see for all its famous tulips were long gone in may-June, they even have farms of it which reminded me of the tulip farm back in west that I saw when I was young. It sure fascinated me to see an "endless" colorful field of flowers back then. I also didn't see any windmills but we sure did see lot of modern windmills which were use to make electricity in Germany and Netherlands. Stopped at small greenhouse which supposely to have world largest water lily but it was actually second largest water lily for the other kind of lily that was largest cant survive in Netherlands' climate.
Stopped at library where they provided 30minutes of free internet, did the usual things but with limiting time so we went to an internet cafe aft it to work on our travel plan after Brussels, Belgium. Through all those bickering and mind-blogging, 195 and I figured out best way was to fly from Brussels on budget-saving airline, RyanAir, direct to Dublin, Ireland (in my delight that we had time to least visit it) Wanted to have 3 days tour around Ireland but time and money wasn't abundant so Dublin would do for time's beginning.
Posted by FrecklesFly at 5:00 PM
After short breakfast, headed to our reserved hostel to check in and dump our packs then nabbed a free map of city. Started out looking for well-known statue of penis in front of Casa Roma, in which, I was not familar with until 195 point it out alongside recommended places to see on the map. No such luck of locating it, since it was not most desired so we didnt try hardest to find it and headed to the Heineken Brewery for a tour. Interesting to learn how it was made and I am sure some of you were drooling at thought of it. Afterwards, tried to find a park that had a human-size chess, no such luck. Then tried to find vegetarian cafe, same thing again.. so finally we stopped at a coffeshop for a snack of brownie and cups of coffee so that we could use their toilets. Amsterdam's streets were pretty confusing sometimes and some places that said to be there didnt exist at all.
We looked up and found another vegetarian restaurant that we eventually found but meals was bit expensive that we went to yet another coffeeshop for dessert. We had cholocate cake and hot cholocate drink (amsterdam must love cholocates for they were plentiful and most of desserts were them!) Headed back to hostel for the night but got bit turned around and went in circle for bit before finally finding it. Stayed in for rest of evening, not in mood to get lost in their streets at evening where things looked different.
Time to leave Berlin to the next stange land but alas not before we stopped at the post office first. To send a postcard and for 195 and me to shed some extra pounds of unneeded stuffs, surprisingly mostly his :D Ah yes, I did have some things that I would love dearly to dump but backpack still got room for it so why not enured it and keep myself in shape ;)
Jumped on the train toward Hamburg, Germany, when arrived, we realized that it was city with little significant to see even thro it said to be most bomb riddled city out of others in Germany. Most or almost all of it was long ago repaired and rebuilt so not much to see of its damages. In end we decided to turn our tails and board back on train, heading straightaway to Amsterdam, Netherlands, hoping the hostel we reserved for the next night had an availibity for us that night.
Arrived at late evening but plenty of people out on street with interesting smell smoke coming out from coffeshops and plenty of red-lighted windows with women standing in them. A whole different environment, not exactly my atmoshpere but we got see much as we could of Europe, eh?
The hostel as not surprising was full and they referred us to an office that help people to find a room, apparently, it happened everydays :) We managed to get a room at 30€ per person (60€ in total) which was not baf for it was 5€ more than the hostel we reserved for the next two nights. This room we stayed was right on the corner of the building, with excellent view of busy street down below. Lights out.
Posted by FrecklesFly at 4:40 PM
Another typical day of sighting, one plus side I got my wish to see at least one building that showed the evidence of its war scars. It was a bombed-out church that partily of it was kept standing and its surrounding buildings were completely destroyed; new buildings now stand in it old spots and there even was a new modern looking church built beside the bombed church. It was intriguing to look at all old photos of the church and its surroundings in its former state and afterward. Then went on our way, peeked at Reichstag (Parliment) building that had torando shaped mirrors all way up to roof of its dome with long line of people way out into the building's lawn so we skipped going inside. Kept going to Soviet Soldiers memorial park, Terror wall where the SS headquarter used to be, and famous Charlie's checkpoint (they had huge picture of some soldier on the post front of check point station, didnt get to find out what it was all about of this soldier), and saw some of remains of Berlin walls scattered around the city as most of the wall were long gone (probably taken by some low budget construction company who saw the chance at free materials). Went in circles, almost in the vain, to find the square where books burning took place. Eventually did found it, thanks to our stubborn heads.... not much to see through except for glass window on the floor showing a bright white room with empty shelves and some cries from burning book can still be heard. The heavy rain broke out just as we were heading to subway for our hostel after a fast glance and snaps of the Red Town Hall, used to be Soviet's.
Posted by FrecklesFly at 11:45 PM
Another fretful sleep on the train, arrived in Berlin, Germany around 5am, literally hoped that we would get the beds right away. After a short ride on bus to the All Time Hostel (almost same name as the one in Krakow, Poland thats called Any Time but werent even open early in morning) This hostel actually lived up to its name for we got our wish, the naptime :) The staff was friendly and helpful that he even change the sheets on bed that one occupant unrightfully slept in it. The place was also most clean of all hostels we had been to. Rested up most of day, planned out of what we wanted to see of Berlin for the next day..did bit of wandering in the area of the hostel.
Correction to my little error, on July 22 ("yesterday"), we spent our whole day at those castles and hit internet cafe (no, not to rob them) when we got back in Munich to reserve the hostel for Berlin before calling it a night. So as of today as you already got the preview, we went to Rothenburg. No need to make any more addtions to it to bore you out for we basically wandered around, gawking and gaping at how it managed to remained standing throughout many centuries (also was once the largest city in Germany but now an ant-size in comparision to Munich or Berlin), plus snapping pixs like every other tourists. Now on to the next day....
Posted by FrecklesFly at 8:30 PM