Saturday, July 21, 2007

Trip Notes #1 - London

London: Day 1

- Flight was interesting, sat next to a 30-something music teacher from San Fransico who grew up with Sofia Coppola, used to date Reese Witherspoon's best friend, and frequently attends Quentin Tarantino's parties (which are apparently quite weird). Yelled at by cranky old woman for talking while she was trying to sleep.
- Arrived in Heathrow, took an all-too-expensive (but still the cheapest option) 13 pound subway ride to Central London. 30 bucks for a subway ticket? Seriously?
- Found hostel easily, dismayed at poor quality of carpets. Generally confused by the "hostel system", which takes some getting used to; left keys in room which automatically locks, flooded a bathroom, failed to persuade French-speaking man to let me into the luggage room, etc.
- Went to meet travelling companions, two girls from Ivey, at the London Eye at 11am. Disorientation took hold as I exited the metro and ended up walking straight ahead to what I thought was the closest bridge (there was also one behind 10 feet behind me) only to find that bridge was closed, and I would have to walk the 10 minutes back to the bridge I should have taken in the first place. Mid-walk the 11am bells started ringing and I was worried that being late would start the trip off on the wrong foot - so I ran to the London Eye and arrived at 11:02am sweating quite profusely. Of course, they were half an hour late.
- Walked around Central London with them, stopped for lunch at Covent Garden - decided Sangria is gross - got lost because we didn't have a map, agreed to go back to our separate hostels and meet at Picadilly Circus later that evening. I left them with the warning that I might just stay in that night and sleep off my jet lag.
- Had a nap at the hostel and met a few nice Chinese girls, one of whom was using the hostel as her permanent residence while she looked for a teaching job.
- Decided not to start the trip off on an anti-social note, and went to meet the girls for a night of dinner and dancing. How I would regret this decision later!!
- As you probably know by now, the evening ended tragically with us waiting for a bus home at 4 in the morning and the London underbelly swallowing up my purse. I did actually see whom I presume was the underbelly agent, walking quickly in the other direction (when we realized my purse was gone, we went to look for him but no trace). But then again, he could have just been a guy in a hurry.
- The rest of the night was spent filing police reports, making midnight phone calls home, retrieving luggage, and (barely) catching our early afternoon flight to Nice. Quite the day!
- Lessons learned: 1) when travelling, no matter how jetlagged and disoriented you are, have the wherewithal to separate your valuables and leave some of them locked up in your luggage. 2) never take both your eyes and hands off of your purse or wallet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hi there

Hello blog readers, if there are any of you still out there!

I am writing to you from Vilnius, Lithuania today. It is 9pm here and a bit cold despite it being July. (But this is apparently quite unusual, despite how far North it is).

I like it here. On Friday I am off to Riga, Latvia. After that Estonia, Finland, Germany, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Belgium, London - HOME.

So far I have been (oh gosh this is difficult!): Nice, Switzerland, Barcelona, Ibiza, Paris, Prague, Venice, Milan, Rome, Greece (Mykonos, Santorini, Athens), Vienna, Budapest, Poland, and Lithuania.

Top 3 trip highlights: Versailles, Pompeii, paragliding over Swiss Alps.

If you want, you can inquire of Matt for photos from Nice and Switzerland (it took about 3 hours to upload each because the computers here don't seem to have a much-needed Java plugin and I don't have admin priviledges to download it) ... so you can understand why I stopped there!

Well then. I have not much else to say!