Wanted to let you know that we updated for each day in seperate entries.. Since the entries show up in reverse chronological order, you may want to find my last post (look for my picture) and start reading up from there!
Sitting in the hotel in Olympia in the middle of the night and just discovered we can post from Paul's BlackBerry!! We haven't had internet since we got here but have been promised access tomorrow night in Delphi. They have been keeping us very busy running around and seeing all sorts of ruins. Did you know that Greece is almost 70 percent mountains? Very beautiful!
Hopefully we really will get a chance to tell you more about it tommorrow!
Alli & a sleeping Paul
PS. Greece is 7 hours ahead of Indiana so its around midnight here now
Oh and even if you don't have an account you can still leave us a comment, just be sure to sign your name so we know who you are!!
Thu, Sep. 9th, 2004, 02:01 am
Sorry we didn't really finish updating the journal with the very last part of our trip. I know that a lot of you will get this on your friend's page twice, sorry this post is mostly for non-lj folks. Anyway, we're all home now and settled back into normal routines. Thought you might like to see some of our pictures from the trip, so here is the link:http://imageevent.com/igz00/europe04/
You'll notice that this is not all million of the actual pictures but only the ones that are actually worth a look. Enjoy!
Yesterday we took a train from Bern to Basel, Switzerland. At about 1:00am we caught a night train to Paris that would arrive at 6:45am. From Paris we had another train to catch at 8:15am to bring us to London. Apparently, until now our trip had been going entirely too smoothly.
We were crammed into this tiny little room on the train to Paris with 4 other people. Neither of us could get any sleep, but we had bought books and were happily spending most of the ride reading. At about 4:45am Natalie got up to go to the bathroom. As she walked by the luggage car she noticed that my backpack was not there. She had dozed off for a while, but was still really confused as to why she hadn't noticed me move my enormous bag into our tiny compartment. She comes back to ask about it and I inform her that I haven't moved for the entire trip.
This is the point where I begin to freak out, I run down and check the baggage, sure enough, no backpack. I then begin to search furiously through all the train cars I have access to in either direction, still no bag. I finally found someone who was working on the train and he helped me look, however he spoke very very little English. In the best way he knows how he tells me to go back to my compartment and wait until the train stops again.
After the next stop I see him search each of the cars and compartments again. Several minutes later he, and another man who also apparently works there (and also speaks no English) come to get me. They take me to another compartment where between the 4 of us (Natalie was there too) we attempt to communicate enough to fill out a theft report.
When we finally got to Paris the man escorted us to the police station so that they could make an official report. This man also speaks almost no English. I, of course, am very frustrated, upset, and exhausted it occurred to me then that had we found someone with my bag I would probably be sitting in the police station for a different reason. It takes a lot to make my anger turn physical, but the combination of all the stresses was enough to make me about snap.
Needless to say, I arrived in London 40lbs lighter with just about nothing to my name. I'd say the total value of my bag and everything in it totals about 1,200 dollars. The only thing I can do anything about is the 200 dollars in travelers cheques that were in it. I've already called and had that taken care of as soon as we got here. The good news is that our passports, which were usually in that bag, had recently been moved to the smaller bag that I had with me in the compartment.
Jok, a friend who picked us up at the train station in East Grinstead, took me out to buy clothes and other essentials to last me until my parents arrive on the 5th. I am thrilled to be back around English speaking people whom I know, and am fond of, and have been extremely wonderful. Anyway, its been a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day, and I still haven't had more than 45 minutes of sleep since we got up yesterday at 9:30am (its now almost 5pm.)
Jok and his wife, Dawn are feeding us dinner tonight and then I think we are off to the camp (no internet) for the rest of the week. (We haven't quite decided if we want to stay here (Scott's) tonight or just go on to camp.)
And despite all the craziness of the last 24 hours, I'd still say I'd take this trip (or another) again in a heart beat.
The trip to Bern was not nearly as bad as the trip to Venice. Mostly due to the fact that we only had to take two trains, as opposed to the four we took to get to Venice.
We were very tired (understandably) so we fell asleep on the train. When we crossed the border, a guard woke Alli up to ask for our passports. Only she was half asleep still and very confused by having her leg shaken by a man with a gun. I woke up just as she realized what he wanted. It was a little amusing.
Once in Bern, we bought our tickets to Paris (for tonight). It is an overnight train, getting us there with plenty of time to spare before the train through the Chunnel (he he). We also went to the tourist center at the Bern train station. They were super nice, helping us figure out where the hostel was and such.
Once we got to the hostel, we realized it is actually a hotel, and super nice. The beds were awesome!!!
Today we spent traveling to Our Chalet (first on a train to Frutigen then a bus to Adelboden then a 20 minute walk up a mountain-not a hill, a mountain). Our Chalet was gorgeous. It was definitely worth the trip. Of course, we wanted to stay longer. Maybe next trip!!
So we left Monterosso, Cinque Terre, at around 3:30pm. From there we had to go back to Pisa, then to Florence, then to Bologna,and THEN to Venice. The whole trip took aproximately 9 hours!! We had some good quality conversation and relaxing time to ride on the train. The stressful part was carrying our packs around in each of the stations trying to get people to tell us which train we needed to be on next. When we finally arrived in Venice we followed the directions to the campground we are staying at, yet they failed to mention the bus stops running at 10:30pm. €10 later we made it there to check in and both fell asleep almost instantly. The good news is that last night was the first night we've actually been cold the whole time we've been here.
Today we slept in REALLY late, had lunch, and then headed out to the city. So far we've just been wandering around getting good pictures and checking out the little shops. Tonight we are staying in the same campground then getting up as early as possible to head to Bern, Switzerland. Tomorrow night we are staying at a hostel there then going to Our Chalet the next morning (Thursday.) After our tour of the Chalet we are heading to Paris!
To clarify, Natalie, not Alli, bought the pashmina. And it is kind of like a big scarf or a shawl. Very pretty.
At the hostel in Florence, the last night, we had a great time sitting with a few German guys. They were loud and drunk, but nice. Also, they were obsessed with Donald Duck and the show the Duck Tales. Which led to interesting conversation. They were appalled that Alli didn't know about Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France (I knew). Good pictures with the gnome were taken. And, horror of horrors, I dropped him and broke off a piece of his sleeve as well as a piece of Pepe's (the rabbit he rides on) tail. I hide my face in shame.
The next day (Sunday) we got on a train for Pisa. The leaning tower is pretty much the only thing interesting to see there. Of course, it is a 20 minute walk from the station, but that was fine. We didn't climb up it because it would have been 15€ each, way too expensive. But we rested on the pretty lawns surrounding it and took a lot of pictures.
Then off to Cinque Terre (Monterosso). This place is gorgeous. All mountains and ocean and just breathtaking. This seems to be the place where all the local Italians come to vacation in the summer. However, it is definitely too expensive to stay for a long time. Unless we could just live here forever. :)
We went one town up from where we're staying to see fireworks last night. They echoed off the mountains, very cool. Then this morning we lounged at the beach, relaxing and enjoying a little break from hurrying from sight to sight. Now we're off to Venice. Ciao!
On our way to the train station to leave Rome we took the metro (underground.) There was a stop on the metro it called "Euclide" (famous Italian math guy) and Chris' (my boyfriend) screen name is Euclid...so I figured he would appreciate a picture of the sign. We did't have time to get off on the stop but I thought there would be plenty of time to lean out the door and take a picture. Boy was I wrong!! Next thing I know I look at my hand and there it is, lodged in the door. I wasn't quite sure what to do so I kinda just stared at it for a while. Eventually, Natalie (only a few seconds later) asked if I was ok. With a hint of panic in my voice I told her that I was stuck! With in seconds at least 5 people stood up to try and dislodge my hand, and the camera from the door. Thankfully my hand was set free, however the camera was not so lucky. Fortunately we brought two on our trip and still have use of the digital one. Definitely the most embarassing moment of the trip! So I hope you have a good laugh at my expense!
We went shopping today in Florence!!! And I bought myself a pretty pink pashmina *self satisfied look on Natalie's face*
So as Natalie just told you all we did for most of the day today was wander around Florence and spend lots of money! We also went to see Michelangelo's David which was absolutely enormous and beautiful! We took some illegal pictures which we will share with you when we get home.
Tomorrow we are heading to Pisa and then to Cinque Terre in the evening.