The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Dirty Chewbaccas, Famous Paintings, and the Pieces of People in Boxes

From Slovenia, we took the fastest train possible over to Zagreb to meet up with a friend of ours (and Tyson Wallis' cousin in law) who is living there. It was great, we basically got to have an indepth look at what the life of a missionary is like. And I must admit it's a pretty cool; yet, potentially lonely one. So basically we met his roommates, and then headed down to a joint where we got something that sounds like it's called a 'Dirty Chewbacca' and it was ridiculously great! Then he took us on a walking tour of the town, showed us where the cool stuff happened. We also dropped in an Irish Pub where they had hot chocolate that was as thick as pudding...oh yummy! Met a guy in there too that was a world renowned writter about baseball, so that was cool. Speaking of baseball that's one of my friend's main passions, so we went to the local diamond and saw two hometown teams battle it out. Great fun, and decent company. That evening one of the coolest things imagineable happened though, we got to actually sit in on a bible study that they were having! It was amazing to think of openly talking about Christ in this country with people that really had a passion for knowing him better. Couldn't ask for more. That evening we ended up having a great convo about life, and then hopped a train to Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest was a blast. Basically, all you have to do is find a tent, park yourself there and drink and dance with the locals...only sad part was leaving.

Next stop was meant to be Rome, but I decided 'why not visit Florence on the way'. So we saw the Uffizi, (but only after a 4 hour wait in line), saw a few buildings, then went the rest of the way to Rome.

Rome at night was beautiful. Let me just say this was another 'we needed a girlfriend' moment. Cause with the lights and the buildings and the was perfect. I have a new favorite building: Venice Plaza. We got to soak up the Vatican at night. And per Chris' desire we trespassed into somebody's yard and slept on a hill. Where we got to see the sunrise.

Today we woke up and we really saw the whole town. The Vatican, check. Sistine Chapel, check. Ancient Roman Forum, check. Colosseum, check. Pantheon, check. Pizza, check. Gelato, check. All I've left to do is to go see the Spanish steps and I'll be golden.

But anyways, my time is almost up, so I must be gone. I'm looking forward to getting home now, but moreso I'm anxious to see everything that we've left to do.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Friends, Foothills, and Fouled Fun

So Salzburg turned out to be a really cool stop. The city is beautiful, mountains surround the place, the tourist bureaus think that every tourist is there to see Mozart. But hey, I got to visit this palace that some prankster built for the sole purpose of inviting over guests and then soaking them. Like he had this table where everybody had to sit at, and since at the time you weren't allowed to stand fromt the table until the host did, then he made it to where he could soak all of his guest, but he stayed dry. It was a pretty fun place...the kids who were there loved it.

From there I took a train to Graz Austria to meet back up with my friend Chris. The trip was all the way thru the Alps and just a jaw-dropper of a train ride. Fortunately when I got to Graz I was able to meet up with Chris no probs and we got to see the remains of the local town festival. There were even people in lederhosen and there was a small group still yodeling, so it was definitely worth it. Then we went to his friend's joint to stay. Speaking of joints, her roommate came in with the biggest one I've ever seen! It was more like a cigar. I of course said no, but man...if that was where I got my kicks I would gone crazy.

We took the first train out to Slovenia, and once we got to Ljubljana, we finally realized what some of our other friends have been raving about. The country is stunning, set in the foothills of the Alps, nice people running around, everything seems just natural and relaxed. Unfortunately those friends weren't there, so we went to a lake about an hour away where there are Canyoning tours, Zorbing, Hang Gliding...pretty much anything that a thrill seeker could want. Well, after a night of sleeping in the woods with some animal crunching branches all around us, we went into town and found out...Canyoning was full for the day, Zorbing doesn't really happen anymore, and Hang Gliding; they don't know what it is! ARGH! So our cool Xtreme sports day turned into moping around town, finding an ice rink and running across it while nobody was looking. Not the biggest thrill in the world.

Now we're just buying a little time before we meet up with a friend of ours from camp (Roxanne Green, physics major from SNU), and spend the rest of the day in Ljubljana. Then we'll either try to meet another missionary friend in Zagreb, Croatia or head to the drunkards paradise of Oktoberfest in Muenchen, Germany.

Weird Zen moment of the day:
So on the train from Austria I had a phone card with some time left on it, so I gave it to a guy who is a student in Graz. Well, later that day, we met some people from Ireland who were leaving the next day so they gave us a local phone card with almost the same amount of time left on it! How cool is that? Especially since we needed to call our friends in Slovenia anyways.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

So much, but so little time

Alright, so here's the scoop

Nice place if you are 60 married and love classical music and museums...otherwise, it's pretty dull.

Beautiful, but almost impossible to find a place to grab a bite to eat.

One of the best places in the world for 20 somethings. Tons of fun, lots of art, pretty buildings...everything you want in a town. Also met an old prof from my BMEN department!

One of the few places in the world where history really comes alive.

Other things
I got to visit my old host fams, and there was tons of love going around...such great people.
Went to a little town in the Rhein valley, had my longest jog ever (1.5 hours), slept in a real castle and did a beautiful river cruise.
Saw old friends...funny thing is they still smelled the same. Nothing better in the world than seeing old friends.

Now I'm in Salzburg, home of the Sound of Music (which I watched for the first time last night...not too bad of a movie). Everything is beautiful, and I couldn't ask for more.

Tomorrow Slovenia, later this week Italy...who knows what else. This trip is going faster than I ever thought it would. I love you all back home though and can't wait to spend more time together.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Bullies, Babies, and Buffy

2 min to write:

From there we went to Pamukkale (Cotton Castle). It's absolutely beautiful, cascades of calcium pools that look like snow. We then took a bus to Istanbul, got there early in the morning...that place is crazy. First off the city is really dirty and there aren't any trash cans (link?), secondly they try to suck every penny out of tourists, thirdly the people there are so focused on trying to bully you out of your money that it's really hard to just talk to them as people. If you go to Turkey, stay out of Istanbul. That being said there were some nice things, the Aya Sofia, some of the people, Hellboy was in English (Whoop!), and there is a bridge with people fishing on top and cafes below.

On the way out of Istanbul we met a couple with a baby who were on their way back home to Bulgaria. They invited us to come with them, so on a whim we got out early, they gave us a tour of their town (no clue as to the name...north and central Bulgaria), I got to play with their baby a lot, and then we went to their house. But not just any house, it was in a tiny village and surrounded by little walls. Turns out it was an old farm house and inside they grew just about everything: peppers, tomatoes, grapes, apples, raspberries, and other stuff I've never seen. For dinner we had homemade brandy, homemade wine, a pepper salad, and more other food than we could handle. Also we got to watch Bulgaria beat Iceland in football on the TV. That night we played music with them and went to sleep really late. The next morning we had a huge breakfast with fresh cow milk, homemade yoghurt, honey from their name it, it was ALL fresh!

That day we went to Transylvania in Romania. Beautiful place. We slept in the mountains near where Dracula was from, then went to his castle the next day. The village was amazing and the people there really used pitchforks and scythes to gather hay, had clubfeet, little tiny houses, old toothy men grinning, gypsies ruined the countryside, and there were horse drawn carts galore. It was straight out of a fairy tale...but half the price!

Now we're in Budapest, about to head out to Vienna, and who knows where the road will take us from's never gone quite where we thought it would before now, so why should that change?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Fast Ferrıes, Excellent Hosts, and the Wonders of Turkey

So ın Turkey the keyboard ıs a lıttle mıxed up and the ´ı´ does not have a dot...therefore I am not goıng to bother changıng ıt...ç=. ö=, and i=´so just put your fun hat on!

Alrıghtö so the next day I woke up to some guy tryıng to steal my packç I trıed to chase hımö but seeıng as I was wıthout glassesö gımpıng wıthout the use of a bıg toe and barefootö he got awayçççfortunately he dropped my bag as he was runnıngö so he dıdnit get away wıth everythıng I ownedç All told I just had my cheap camera stolen and a cap from campç Not too bad of a dealçççI fıgure at that rate I stıll only paıd about 10 bucks a nıght to sleep ın AthensçççI wanted a dıgıtal camera anywaysçççnow Iive got a good excuse to get oneç

Anywaysö we spent most of the day fıgurıng out how on earth we were goıng to get from Athens one evenıng to Turkey by the next by spendıng the least amount of moneyç Not that easy of a task though because there are vırtually NO connectıons between Turkey and Greece cause they hate eachotherç Oh wellö but we dıd manage to fınd a ferryö but the tımıng was goıng to have to be precıseö we would have to leave early from the marathonö stıll see Chrısis frıend run ın ıt AND take about a 45 mınute trıp on two dıfferent metro lınesö PLUS follow all of that up by a dead run from the traın statıon to the ferryö whıch just so happened to be on the opposıte sıde of the huge harborç So that was the planö we had nothıng better to doö so we tımed everythıng down to the mınuteç We then went to the stadıum where the marathon wasö watched the begınnıngö raced back to where we stored our bagsö got a traın to further up the courseö waıted for hıs frıend to começççfınally gave up on hıs frıend gettıng there ın tıme start headıng back to the subway and then we saw hım! Mındı from Lıthuanıa was just further back than we thought he would be. Fortunatelyö we saw hımö cheered for hım and then ran down the subwayç Then on the way just a mıle before the end of the traın trıps our traın stoppedçççfor 7 mınutesç Weire ın a bıt of a panıckö cause we had only a wındow of about 4 mınutesç Once the traın fınally gets there we bolt for ıtç Unfortunatelyö I dıdnit pace myselfö so I couldnit even breath after about 1/2 a mıleç But I dıd get there jumped on the platform and they left wıthın 30 seconds of me gettıng thereç It was amazıng and yet another ´God means for you to be then and there´momentsç

We got to Turkey wıthout any real problemsö got ahold of my frıend ın Izmırö and met her at her beachhouse just to the south of thereç Theır mom was hılarıousö but unfortunately we dıdnit understand a sıngle word that came out of her mouthçççso we just had to assume she was jokıng aroundç The next day they took us to the beach and out to Ephesusçççthe best and most complete ruıns that weive seen yetç That nıght they stuffed us wıth food untıl we were about to popö then we went to bed and woke up early to head to Pamukkaleçççone of the most beautıful spots ın the worldç That evenıng we caught the nıght bus to Istanbulş whıch ıs where we are nowç Istanbul ıs neatö ın factö Iid say ıtis bazaarç But the tourısty stuff ıs really expensıve and weire really ready to get the move on for the rest of the trıpç So for now weire tryıng to fınd out ıf we should fly to Germanyö take a traın thru eastern Europe or take a ferry from Greeceçççıtis just a matter of balancıng tıme and money and fındıng the best optıonç One thıng thatis pretty sad though ıs that there really arenit any amerıcans hereç Accordıng to all of the shop owners theyive been scared off by reports of terrorısmç So just a moment on my soapbox: If you are AFRAID of terrorısts then that means you are helpıng them to do theır job better. You cannot lıve ın such a manner that youire afraıd you wıll lose your lıfeö because that ıs no lıfe at allç Alrıghtö Iill clımb down nowç In fact I thınk Iim goıng to go get a donner and a baklava perhaps a lıttle more shoppıng and who knowsö maybe weill fınd a cheap flıghtç