A Travellerspoint blog

J'amor Paris

100% New Zealand?

overcast 16 °C
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Ah Paris..
We both fell in love. With Paris, with Pan o Chocolat and every French man that stepped on the metro. We arrived in Paris late Wednesday night and stepped out to have a few glasses of wine at a local bar. Woke up feeling ambitious and took a free tour (our third so far). Had Pan o Chocolat and espresso for breakfast and started our day at St Michal fountain. Saw Notre Dame, the Seine, the Opera House, Champs Elysees, and the Arc de Triomphe before heading over to go up the Eiffel Tower.
We were both a bit disappointed to see that they had strung a large inflatable rugby ball for the world cup in the middle of the tower making it look like a chicken straddling an egg. Also, there was an even larger inflatable rugby ball on the grass in front of the Tower with 100% New Zealand written on it. It just seemed a bit unpatriotic, would the states ever allow the Statue of Liberty to have a banner with Canada written on it?
Bought crepes by Notre Dame and headed to Sacre Coeur to see the Paris skyline at night. After buying a few cheap cartons of wine, bread and some cheese we sat on the steps and watched the street performers with the view of Paris in the background.
Headed over to see the Eiffel Tower glitter at night just after our second crepe of the day. After walking 12 hours this day, we called it a night
Second day in Paris consisted of about the same amount of crepes but a bit more art. Stopped into the Louvre in the morning. Both noticed an unusual amount of very tall women in the building and suddenly realized we were outside a fashion show...of course, this is Paris. Had coffee on the Champs Elysees and walked through Notre Dame. Very lucky to see the crown of thorns which is displayed on the first Friday of every month. Caught our "cheap" flight to Barcelona, which we did not realize left from way outside Paris only to arrive way outside Barcelona. Were happy to meet Eric Donovan, Sarah's friend from high school, at his place. Nice to walk around barefoot and not worry about what diseases we might be catching.

Posted by sgoodwin 11:44 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

More Amsterdam

I AM(still)sterdam

rain 12 °C
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Woke up early, fully clothed with shoes on to avoid bedbugs, we booked it over to the new hostel, The Flying Pig. Katie had time here at this same hostel about 10 years ago. It was amazing! Huge lounge area, bar and over a hundred backpackers AND a free breakfast!
Took another free tour through Amsterdam, but realized there was not that many historical buildings as in Berlin and left the tour half-way through.
Due to weather, we stayed indoors and visited the Van Gogh museum and the coffeeshop from Ocean's 12 (major highlight of the trip to be at the same spot as Brad Pitt, George Cloney and Matt Damon).
Spent most of this day and the next stuffing ourselves with whatever food we craved because it was all at our disposal on the streets until late into the night. Had beers with some locals at a tiny bar with over 150 different kinds of beer.
When we caught our train to Paris, our packs felt heavier but it might have just been our feet.

Posted by sgoodwin 11:36 Archived in Netherlands Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

I amSTERDAM

Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam - So much fun no time to write!

rain 12 °C
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Our last night in Munich was so much fun that we went back and forth on if we would leave and catch our overnight train ride to Prague or stay at the Oktoberfest. We managed to catch our train last minute and was happy to see the festivities were still being continued on the train - numerous backpackers with beer in hand ready for the long journey to Prague.
After arriving in Prague and dealing with the language barrier we arrived at our hostel (a room that we would share with 8 others). The weather was cold and raining but it didn't make Prague appear any less beautiful than you would find it on the hottest day of the year. We wandered across the Charles Bridge and up to the castle and traveled through Saint Vita. Found mulled wine comforting while crusing the street venders that had interesting jewelery and art for sale. A night out on the town with fellow hostelers lead to a five story club right by the Charles Bridge. Our second day in Prague we enjoyed just walking through the town and the Jewish Quarter before catching our train to Berlin.
After arriving in Berlin we crashed at our large hostel to prepare for our busy day ahead. We joined a FREE tour group that took us all over Berlin and was very informative on German history. Seeing the Berlin wall was great however, in order for us to get to the side of the street of its location we had to cross a very busy marathon, that was a tricky task for sure, I hope our crossing didn't ruin anyones "personal best time." The tour was recomended by Rick Steves (Dad, you would be so proud). We went up to the Reichstage and looked over Berlin from the glass dome at the top. Aftter taking in the views of the city headed home to prepare for a pub crawl. After arriving late to the party we ended up not having to pay the fee which made the night that much better. The next morning we had to get up pretty early to catch a train to Amsterdam but we wished that we had more time to spend in Berlin as there is so much to see and do.
This morning we struggled to get up early but was happy when our 6hr train ride to Amsterdam was over and we could take in the city. The amount of tourists was unreal but what was even crazier was the amount of food options and stands. Despite the cold weather, we are having a great time just taking in the city. We are going to have to get up early tomorrow to see Anne Franks house, take another FREE tour, take in the Van Gogh museum and wander through Vodelpark. We hope to pick up some bikes along the way as that is the way to travel through Amsterdam. Our hostel has by far has taken the medal for the worst hostel so far and we will be checking out tomorrow and paying the extra 10 euros for a nicer one.
Stay tuned for more stories of Julia and Sarah's excellent adventure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by sgoodwin 15:06 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Oktoberfest!

Large amounts of beer, gigantic amounts of food and enormous men.

rain 10 °C
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Julia and I went to Vienna on Saturday evening and had a wonderful hostel owner drive us through the city, pointing out all the major attractions. Sunday morning we went to Schönbrunn in the morning and loved it. We explored the rooms of Maria Theresa and the got lost in the labyrinths in the gardens...very confusing actually. Climbed a large hill to look out over all Vienna. Went to St. Stephans in the afternoon and explored the catacombs...actual bones and skulls stacked in the rooms, very creepy. Did get kicked out of a restaurant because we didn't order enough food...not California at all...i guess a pizza for two girls is too little food.
Went to Salzburg on Sunday and loved it. Pictured the Von trapps running through the hills and sang "i am 16 going on 17" all day. However, there was their annual festival the day we arrived...a much smaller scale Oktoberfest with rides and tents. We went to Mozart's birthplace which was very strange. It was interesting to see some of the stage designs and some of his original violins but they tired to make the rooms metaphorical...a baby's body with an adult head of Mozart because he is "timeless".
We arrived in Munich at the Frommel's (old family friends) on Monday night and were very happy to have a home cooked meal and tea! On Tuesday, Thomas took us to Oktoberfest. It blew both of our minds. Huge roller coasters and tents set up for 2 weeks. Went into a tent "the Heavens of the Bravarians" and had a liter of beer each. Ordered a plate, and between the three of us, we did not finish it. Figured out that the mass amounts of food is how they drink the mass amounts of beer. After Thomas left, Julia and I searched for a spot to sit and found only one place...next too a 400 pound fighter and a 6' 11" man. We have never felt so small in our lives, especially since we needed to use both our hands to pick up our glasses.
Wednesday we explored Munich a bit, but the rain slowed us down and made us want to take this time (halfway through our trip) to relax a bit. We are headed back to Oktoberfest today with Thomas and Andrea - in their traditional Bravarian garb- to drink again and catch a night train to Prague. Missing home very much still and cannot believe we are halfway.

Posted by sgoodwin 03:28 Archived in Germany Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Gotta love the speedos

especially on 70 zear old men

all seasons in one day
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Sorry, it has been a bit since our last blog. Katie showed and we cannot seem to leave the pubs. Budapest was beautiful. Buda was very quaint and we had a great adventure there.
We decided to visit the underground labyrinths that housed 10,000 people during the Cold War and also in WWI. Many parts are very spooky and while trying to scare Julia, Sarah managed to scare two Spanish couples. As revenge when we got up the guts to go through the courage room a maze pitch black with a rope on the edge to guide your way, they held the door to the exit shut. You can imagine the screams heard throughout underground Buda but when finally realeased the man had tears in his eyes from laughing.
We took and early flight to Dubrovnik where we were told our room was only 400m away, but we forgot to notice that Dubrovnik is built on a cliff and 400m was actually about 2 miles uphill....WITH packs on. We walked around the old town and a nearby beach for the afternoon and called it an early night with wine and homemade dinner.
The next day was one of Dubrovniks 12 days of rain but it left as fast as it came. We wandered upon a deserted swimming hole and jumped in just before the storm broke. We ran into a makeshift shelter which ended up being a clubhouse for 5 or 6 men 65 years+, in speedos, rehashing their youthful days. Free beers for the California girls and hugs from Ivan "the terrible". When asked if they go everyday, they replied "NO, just in the mornings and afternoons" Oh, right then.
Good night out with fellow backpackers that we have met along the way and left this morning for Split. VERY BEAUTIFUL!!! More tomorrow. Miss everyone!

Posted by sgoodwin 10:15 Archived in Croatia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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