Archive for May 20th, 2009

20
May
09

four planes, seven trains, six buses

Possibly more trains involved there. Hard to tell. What am i talking about? My most recent travels. First, though, we need to head way back in time to Trinity Ball. Oh, and all pictures are courtesy of Sarah Burton, once again, because she’s our photographer and i’ve yet to upload any pictures on facebook. Oh, by the way, this si sure to be a post of epic proportions. Should probably cut it up into thirds, but whatever. Take a break midway through and come back to me.

So, Trinity Ball, a time to get all dressed up in the nicest of clothes and get wasted with over six thousand schoolmates whilst concerts are going on. And, yeah, that was the intention. We’ll get to that. I put on my tux around four in the afternoon to see how it felt and how sweet i looked. Pretty sweet, turns out. I headed to Trevor’s around seven and they’re still preparing themselves. Apparently him and Rob, his guest at the time, drank the day away, fell asleep, and finally woke up to prepare for the night of drinking about to start. We bumble about in his room and finally head up to the girls around eight or nine or something. We all party and get ready and try to take group photos though it’s impossible to get a good one.

That’s probably the best one we got. From left to right: Trevor, Sam, Claire, some idiot, Sarah, LR, Josh [not pictured: Brittney (Sam's guest) and Rob]. Anyway, the fun continues and we head to the Ball.

Immediately the Ball goes a bit wild. Claire hurts her leg and her and Sarah disappear with the medical crew. That’s the last i saw of them for the night. The night was spent bumbling around in the dark whilst drunk with a constantly cycling number and variety of teammates. Me and Trevor were together for most of it, though. Sometimes Sam was there, sometimes Brittney was there, sometimes Josh and LR, sometimes my friends from the Butler program. I’m not sure if it was really a fun time, but it was definitely one worth noting. A very strange time, mostly. Oh, and part of the problem with getting lost is that my phone ran out of credit about ten minutes after arriving there. Apparently my free texts stopped being free, but i did receive about thirty texts only saying, ‘Where are you?’ or, ‘Come here.’ But, yeah, no credit so i couldn’t say where i was or ask where they were.

But, yeah, i’ll just say it was a good time and defiitely worth experiencing.

Oh, and Calvin Harris was there and this song below would dominate a lot of my earspace for the trainrides. The video, mostly.

So funny, that.

Anyhoodle, the next day we head to Barcelona. This is bus one, by the way, going to the airport, i mean. The plane ride, number one,  is unreasonably cold and i get a bit of cabin fever, but we make it there around 930pm. Of course, then we need to take a 90 minute bus to Barcelona because Ryanair never really takes you to where you’re going. Bus two. We check into our hostel and just kind of wander the streets of Barcelona for a while. Sam, Brittney, Trevor, and Rob buy some sexy beers as the random dudes selling it on the streets called it. Later, we would find out that they store the beers in the sewers. Real sexy.

We go to sleep and head out to explore Barcelona the next day. Mike, Sarah, and i take a sightseeing bus tour in order to see as much as possible. We do. Sam, Brittney, Trevor, and Rob, we would later find out, spent the whole day on the balcony of our hostel room getting drunk. The corner our balcony overlooked was also apparently the drug corner of the Gothic District. Very funny stuff went on from the viewpoint of that balcony. Anyway, some pictures of what we saw around Barcelona while the others drank the day away because it’s better than me writing it all down.

Most things of interest in Barcelona were constructed by Gaudi. He’s quite a famous architect who built amazing;y intricate and interesting looking buildings. Anyway, that night we went out and had a good time out in Barcelona, even ate some Spanish cuisine.

The next day, the last day i would see Trevor in europe, was beach day. Unfortunately, the weather was against us. It didn’t rain or anything, but it was quite cold, or colder than we would’ve liked. Pictures of the day spent on the beach and wandering around Barcelona.

A nice team photo to end there. Some of those pictures are from miss Brittney Winter as well because Sarah was missing some key moments in time.

After that, we had to say goodbye to Rob and Trevor and Mike. Mike we’d all probably see again, Rob was only here briefly, but we enjoyed him. Trevor, though, man, Trevor’s a real loss. I mean, him being gone here is like a huge hole in Dublin. He was my partner in bafoonery for the last couple of months. I mean, now there’s no one to call midday to start drinking a bottle of wine with and watch Jay-z mashed up with The Verve. I’m being serious, so don’t laugh. I guess it hasn’t hit me yet since i’ve been mostly studying the past three or four days, but today, man, i’ll feel it and i’ll feel it more when the whole group gets back together. But, yeah, sucks to have a true friend disappear, especially here, because back in amerika, we live a thousand miles away from one another. Gotta keep in touch, though. I’m bad at it, but these people here, i want to remember them and keep knowing them. I’ll get to more of these thoughts later, probably at a different time. When leaving europe is just around the corner.

But, yeah, we bid them farewell. Sam cried, which made me get real sad about it. After we gathered ourselves and tried to pretend like we’d see Trevor in just a couple of days, we ate and Sarah and i walked Sam and Brittney to the metro because they moved to a different hostel.

We spent the rest of the time planning Munich and Salzburg. Got to sleep early as we had to wake up at 4am to catch a bus to the airport to make our plane on time.

Yeah, the next day would prove to be nonstop traveling. We check out of the hostel and walk to the bus station, arriving around 5am. We wait for the bus, the third of the trip, to take us to the airport, our second plane.

The busride goes by as it’s meant to. We make it through the airport easily and then have about an hour to wait for the flight. The flight goes by in flashes and blurs, constantly falling asleep, but only staying asleep for about five minutes at a time. We arrive in Hahn where we take a bus, number four, to Mainz where we would be heading to Munich from.

Okay, something to keep in mind, we saved about fifty euros each by traveling in the manner i’m going to explain. However, it also, we discovered, meant six extra hours in transit. At Mainz, we take a bus, number five, to a train. That train took us to another train, which took us to another train and so on. Hard to tell how many trains we rode. Somewhere between six and eight that day. Also, neither of us speak any German and the train stations were very unhelpful about planning your journey. Basically, unless you know where you’re going, you’ve no business on the trains. We didn’t. We thought we were lost for a very long time until we talked to a train employee who barely spoke english. He told us how to do the rest of our trip.

At this point, we’ve been riding trains for about eight hours and we’re losing it. So, what do we do?

Yeah, we get candy, ice cream, soda, and Jagermeister. It was the first time Sarah had ever drank Jag and we decided to make a game of it. Everytime the conductor said something we didn’t understand, we took a shot. The Jag went quickly. It was a very funny time and there are more pictures from these two hours of drinking than there are of the rest of the day. Oh, too, the weather was miserable the whole day. Cold and rainy. And we’re dressed in shorts, the only people in Germany wearing shorts, truth be told.

We arrive in Munich and have trouble figuring out how to get to our hostel, so we take the underground, even though it turns out our hostel was about a fifteen minute straight walk. We check in, get a drink at the bar, and basically go to sleep. After more than fourteen hours traveling, there’s not much else to do. Especially because it was already near midnight.

The next day we went to Neuschwanstein Castle. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in dedication to the operas of Richard Wagner. It’s truly a beautiful place. It’s the castle that Disney’s castle is modelled after. Also, it’s built in the Alps, so there are amazing views everywhere. It’s a long steep walk up to it, though. It was supposed to be cold and rainy that day and we were dressed appropriately. However, it turned out being hot and sunny and the climb made you a bit sweaty. But, yeah, pictures because it saves my fingers time.

That’s probably sufficient. But, yeah, the glory and folly of kings. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but we got a few. It’s a magnificent castle, but mostly unfinished inside. Funny how the castles that bankrupted Bavaria is now what make it the most money through tourism.

We got back to Munich and went to catch a pub crawl that never ended up happening. We waited for it, the guy eventually came and told us that we were the only two tonight, so it wasn’t going to happen, but he gave us a free beer and told us good places to go and how to get there. We headed to the Haufbrauhaus, the famous beer hall where the first Oktoberfest happened.

It was glorious in so many ways. They had traditional Bavarian music playing, traditional dress for all the people working, huge liters of beer, incredible traditional food for cheap [by Dublin standards, anyway]. Songs were sung, food was had, beer was drank. It was a great time and so much of it reminded me of being a kid and hanging out with my dad. It was quite nastalgic and my dad was right, i do love Bavaria; he promised me i would.

After that, we headed back to the hostel, feeling good. We drank at the hostel bar for a while because it was really cheap and we wanted to go to bed relatively early. Sarah had her first Jagbomb there, too. Eventually Sarah went to sleep and i just planned on finishing my beer and heading up with her. Instead, i got talking to one of the bartenders who wasn’t working that night. We talked and then when i was ready to go to sleep, around 130am, he asked me if i wanted some chili. I did, so i followed him up to the employees area where he fed me chili, we drank, and talked until about 4am. I went back to my room, Sarah asked me where i was, i told her i’d tell her in the morning, and i slept.

The next day, we got up early to check out and go on a free walking tour through Munich. It was a good time and we got to know the history surrounding the place.

Yeah dude, surfers in Munich. They do it on this river. It’s hard to explain how it really works. I’ve a video of it, but i can’t upload it on here. Just know it’s pretty cool. We hung out with the tourguide who was from Wisconsin and this guy from Vancouver for the morning and early afternoon. Then, off to Salzburg, the whatever number train it was.

First though, let me talk about Munich. It’s a beautiful city full of wonderful and kind people. It’s a bit like a fairy tale, really. There’s so much to do and see there. I really wish i had more time there, like four more days because we really only had one night and one morning to see and experience it. It’s beautiful and wondrous and i plan on going back someday, for a long time. Oh, also, Sarah and i picked up the word Dunkel, which means dark in German, but, to us, it means just about anything. A perfect word, really.

Anyway, Salzburg. It’s a truly magical little town. We checked into our hostel and then just wandered around for basically the next two days. First, though, we ate at this super traditional Austrian restaurant built right into the side of the mountain. Oh yeah, Salzburg is basically right in the Alps, lots of mountains and steep hills and glorious views everywhere. Pictures because it’s better than me explaining everything and this is already too long.

And, yeah, that’s Salzburg and basically the whole trip. Our last night we went out and got crazy. We danced and the Austrians watched us in amazement and told us that they loved it. Very funny. One thing, though, to note. Austria doesn’t have smoking laws, so you can smoke anywhere. It never made sense to me why we have them back home until now. After two hours of a room full of people chain smoking, my eyes hurt, breathing sucked, and i smelled like an ashtray. So gross. Really, i’m so glad you don’t have to deal with that back home. It sucks.

Other than that, though, it was, as you can see, an exceptionally beautiful place full of magic and wonderment. I loved it. The whole bit of Munich and Salzburg was one of my favorite times i’ve had in europe. Also, it was the first time i traveled with just one person. It was a great time, we never fought, and me and Sarah managed to still be friends at the end of it without getting sick of one another.

Oh, the last bus ride was to the Salzburg airport. That’s plane three that took us to London where we had a layover for about four hours. We ate, drank, bought booze, and came home to dublin. Oh, i guess that’s the seventh bus. From Dublin airport to home. I guess i could edit the title, but i’d rather not.

Current news, three exams done, two to go, only failed one of them [not for certain, but seems likely]. I got my essays back and did exceptional on two of them and nearly failed one of them [the one for the class who's exam i think i failed (though that's mostly because i discovered my grade on the essay)].

Yeah, life’s good and i’m tired of typing. I’ll be back on to tell you more about life and how it works and my thoughts on leaving.

Thanks for sticking with this gigantic post.




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