EuroTrip Day 22

Day 22 started off a bit slowly. I was COMPLETELY out of clean clothes so I had to spent 2 hours this morning doing laundry while I worked on uploading my pictures to OneDrive and trying to do a little bit of cleanup to the blog. I’ve only fixed the first 3 posts, so there is still a lot of work to do, and the uploading was taking all the bandwidth so it was really hard to get much done.

Anyway, after doing this until around noon I decided to head out to the Atomium. It is a huge, 7 ball structure that it meant to represent an Iron atom’s crystal structure. It is around 100m tall and was erected as part of the 1958 Expo here in Belgium. I grabbed a sandwich on the way over (since I am going to start trying to watch what I eat – I feel really fat right now tbh) and road the MetroRail up to the grounds.

The structure itsself was sort of impressive. Well, it wasn’t so much impressive as plain odd. You’ll see when I post pics. I paid the 8 euro student fee and road the elevator up to the top, where you are treated to a good (albeit a bit far away) view of Brussels and the surrounding area. I snapped some photos and bought a souvenir coin and headed back down for the exhibits. Basically you walk around the different balls (atoms) in the structure and read about the building – some of the previous designs, why it was erected, what the ’58 expo was about, etc. It ended (as a lot of stuff here in Belgium has) with a strange modern art exhibit…

I headed out and took some selfies outside the building, which I think turned out fairly well. Then I road the train for 36 minutes to the complete other end of town to visit the Parliamentarium – the visitor’s center for the EU parliament. It was free, which was great. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it ended up basically being a bunch of pictures of bombed out cities and starving children, and quotes about how a United Europe was absolutely 100% necessary. They did talk about the actual formation of the EU for a little bit, but then we moved on to a huge photo gallery spanning the 50’s to now… Most of the pictures there were about political upheaval, protests, the fall of the Berlin wall, and strangely pictures from 9/11 and other stuff. I was a little confused. The next section was a diagram of the countries/parties seating chart, and pictures of all the members of the parliament. Lastly, there was a giant map of Europe and these movable things that showed you a different video when you went over different cities.

It talked about how an Earthquake destroyed a town in Italy and yay, the EU was there to help. And another about Munich which talked about the Patent Office (Europe still doesn’t have a single patent system so I didn’t understand that one either). You then enter a section where people enter their wishes for the EU and it’s displayed on the wall via projector… And lastly a section of old and funny maps of Europe…

It was kind of one-dimensional. The whole message was: “united Europe: good. Divided Europe: bad”… Alright cool. They didn’t talk about elections, the powers of parliament, the structure of the parliament, or any of the major laws that have been passed.

At least it was free.

So then I took the tram back to the Hostel where I had a beer and am writing this to you right now. I’m planning on going with Nick and anyone else who wants to join to go watch the Liverpool game at 8:45pm, so that should be interesting. Unfortunately I have to be awake really early tomorrow to make my 7am flight to Manchester/Liverpool…

EuroTrip Day 21

So today I ended up wandering around the city with the British Nick. We walked so much, holy crap. I was actually inspired to reinstall my pedometer app so I could keep tracking how many steps I am taking. I installed it about 60% of the way through the day today and already have 10,000 steps..

Anyway. We wandered around a kind of similar route as to what I did with Jolien and Cindy. We walked to the Palace, which entailed walking through the marketplace. It was pretty impressive – they also had those guardbooths with the completely rigid soldiers in them.. Not sure what 2 guys are going to do if something bad happens, but… Then we walked through the smallish Brussels park next to the Palace. After that we headed back into the market and grabbed some food at a place next to Delirium.. It was 12.50 for an appetizer (4 shrimp), a huge bowl of probably 20 mussels or more (which was good, but not that tasty), a Belgian waffle, and a 25 cL Jupiler. It was okay.

We then headed over to the Notre Dame church, which was cool, but churches are starting to get a little boring to be honest. It didn’t really have anything particularly cool or impressive about it either (except the stain glass windows). Then we walked back over to the massive Justice Palace, these capitol-building-like structures on top of a hill.

We took the elevator down and continued to walk around. We saw the Mannekin Pis again, as well as some other buildings (I’ll have to check my camera to see where exactly we went). The point being we walked a lot, all over the town of Brussels.

It was pretty cool, we had an interesting philosophical political conversation at lunch and also talked about random stuff related to travelling – since British Nick has been up to the Nordic countries (which were his favorite) and is at the tail end of his journey.

We headed to Delirium and drank a couple beers. I had a wheat beer which was OK (I think it was the same one that I got the other day), and after that a really good 9% ale. I ended up buying the Delirium menu, since it was so impressively large.

Eventually the weather turned and it started to get really cold and rainy, so we started to head back to the hostel. Along the way we stopped for Kebaps again (I had one with Feta cheese which was really good) while we waited for the rain to pass.

Eventually it did and we made it back to the hostel just in time for the bar to open. Yay. We headed in, but the atmosphere wasn’t that lively at first. There appeared to be a massive group of high school or college kids and we kind of had to wait for them to filter out before more people became approachable.

We ended up playing pool with some Scottish guys and had a couple drinks. Talked about football (soccer) and sports, as well as Amsterdam and working. We were joined by another Nick from Boston (yes, we had a Nick Pape from Austin, a Nick Whaite from London, and a Nick from Boston, ahahaha). What the heck?! It was pretty chill.

I eventually got seperated from them and talked to Ludwig and Lukas from North Germany. It was a pretty interesting talk. They were both students, while Ludwig had spent 4 years in the Air Force. We also had an interesting semi-political semi-social theory philosophical conversation for quite some time. They were pretty cool, and were relatively impressed by my German pronounciation – which makes me want to become fluent in it.

At about 1am they went to bed since they had to wake up early to go to the Parliament building in the morning, so we said goodbye and added each other on Facebook. The Scots and American were gone and the bar was closed, so I headed back up to my room for a good night sleep.

Pictures will be coming later. I don’t have much time right now since the Liverpool game will be starting soon!

EuroTrip Day 20

Well Day 20 was quite fun. Started off by packing up all my stuff and then walking down to the Groot Beginjhof, which is the medieval section of Leuven. It was a 1.6 km walk there. And 1.6 km back. It was pretty cool – I grabbed a lot of pics with the camera (not with the phone). Basically just really messed up cobbled streets and old looking buildings, cool gardens, and a couple canals. Neato.

Leuven was completely dead, mind you. On Sunday everything is closed and apparently most of the students are gone. Which was weird. It was a bit like a ghost town.

Anyway, I wandered back to the hostel and checked out, saying goodbye to some of the people and walked another 1.2 km to the train station. (That’s like 4.4 km before noon). Took the train into Brussels where I locked my stuff up in a locker and ate a waffle while waiting for Cindy and Jolien. Eventually they found me and we began our journey out into the French speaking town of Brussels.

We wandered around the Staadthaus (town hall), got some starbucks, and basically continually wandered around. We eventually went out to eat at this place that I don’t remember the name of. My first experience eating here was at a restaurant where the waitress didn’t even speak English at all. Haha. Also, the service was quite poor. Took us forever to get seated and the waitress kinda ignored us a little bit. It was some high quality food though. I ate this slow-cooked (crocpot) beef dish which was combined with beer and honey and some other stuff, along with Belgian fries. While we ate we talked about a ton of stuff – it was nice.

After paying (overpriced), we headed up a huge hill to the couthouses, which are unfortunately under construction. I got a couple pics of the view, and we got a selfie (on the camera). We also saw the statue of the peeing boy, haha.

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Very famous statue. After that we wandered around and stopped in a couple antique/retro stores where I saw this:

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Yessssss. I want one!

Eventually we headed to a place in the central market and had a beer while listening to street performers. They had to go home at this point, so we went back to the station around 6pm. I grabbed my luggage, walked 2km to the hostel and checked in. So that’s well over 10 km today. And the night is young. I’ve talked with my English and Argentenian roommates (both of whose trips are coming to an end), and I think it’s time to stop writing and start having fun again, so see you later!!!

Alright so I went downstairs to the bar with my English roommate, Nick, and we drank a couple Leffes and eventually started talking to this French guy who was in Brussels for a school function (they were doing something related to the EU parliament building). I downed like 1.5 L of Leffe and we headed to Delirium cafe – the famous cafe here with literally thousands of different beers. There we talked with some Canadian girls for a little bit and ended up picking random stuff on the menu to drink. First thing I had was an alright wheat beer, then I had a good blonde, then this vinegar beer which was probably the worst thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. I had to toss that and I ended up buying a good IPA. We talked about a bunch of stuff – of course it’s hard to remember when you are drinking… Eventually we headed out to get some food – I got a sweet doener wrap. MMM. We made it back to the hotel in the rain…

EuroTrip Day 19

Oh my gosh, my trip is almost over :( Day 19/35. Yikes.

Well I didn’t do too much yesterday. It was a relaxing day. I woke up a bit late and ate breakfast and ended up talking more with John about where he was from in Spain. He showed me pictures of the city of Bilbao, including the beach where he lived, the city, the Guggenheim, and their annual citywide party, as well as some hugely gory pictures of the running of the bulls. We talked about working at Microsoft: the dress code and corporate culture, and I showed him pictures of campus as well as some of the intern photos that we had taken…

It was a pretty good time. After a little bit, we went out to the grocery store and got food for lunch – where we were joined by the Greek guy who works at the hostel (who I am friends with on Facebook, although I don’t remember his name at this moment — I am going to have to do a lot of work on this blog, adding multimedia once I actually have a computer). I ended up getting some bread, cooked atlantic salmon, and mozarella cheese, and prepared one of my favorites: open faced sandwhiches.

Mmm. Too bad I didn’t have capers. Would’ve made it real good.

I also picked up a bottle of wine. And promptly drank it. I’m not sure what else we ended up doing, honestly, but I ended up buying another bottle of wine, drinking it – drinking 2 beers, going out for more Belgian fries, and then Skyping Kalyn for a couple of hours while sitting on the windowsill.
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All in all, pretty good night. Quite a bit more relaxing than usual.

EuroTrip Day 18

Day 18!? I can hardly believe it. This trip has been such a blur. It feels like just yesterday I was with Desi in Munich, and Alfee in Amsterdam.. Honestly it feels like just yesterday that I arrived back home from Seattle in my rental car. I remember that day clearly. It was hot, humid. I had been driving for hours. I ate Dos Amigos first thing when I got back. It makes me feel a llittle nauseated when I think about how it seems like time is speeding up. The 5 weeks I had in Austin before flying off to this trip were awesome for me. I had a good summer, even if I was busy and didn’t always get out enough: I relatively enjoyed my job and hanging out with my mentor, Pete. I had a great spring semester of college – living with my good friends and chilling with David Lukert almost every day. I feel like it took me  a little while to become really satisfied with how things were going in my life. I wasn’t very happy freshman year of college, and it really wasn’t until my 4th semester when I kicked into gear and started to change my attitude that I became a lot happier. Coincidentally, this was only a couple months before I ceased to be a teenager, so maybe that was it :)

Sorry, feeling a bit nostalgic.

Okay, so today I woke up, had some breakfast in the bar and set about wandering around Leuven randomly, in an attempt to collect some photos. I walked around towrds the beautiful Town Hall building and then towards the tallest buildings around, which appeared to be campus apartment buildings. It was pretty cool, Leuven has a much more modern and young feel compared with Bruges.

Eventually I pulled up TripAdvisor and decided to make my way to the University Library – an awesome looking building with a huge clocktower. I went in and started learning about the history of the library. It had been detsroyed in both world wars, and was actually rebult after the first world war with American dollars and engineers, as a reconstruction gift to Belgium (the image of a burning library has obvious repugnant symbolism, leading to public outcry and eventual support).

It was pretty cool. I got to go to the top, where I hung out for a bit and snapped a bunch of photos – including some selfies. Again, they are on my camera, so I’ll eventually get them posted up here.

Next, I went to the Museum of Leuven – which had an interesting collection of medieval biblical art, early anatomical work by Vesuvius, and architecture. I really liked the first part of the museum, but by the end there were some super trippy modern art exhibits. I got a message from Jolien when I was near the end of the library so I headed over to the train station and hopped on the train to Bilzen, which is a little over an hour east via train.

Jolien picked me up, and we chatted for a bit while driving to Cindy’s house to get her. Then we drove into Hasselt, walked around for quite a bit through the shopping area that they enjoy, until we finally stopped at a joint called Bier Punt (“Beer Point”), which has a massive selection of beer. They brought us interesting snacks, including peanuts, potato crisps, and hard pretzels. We also got this snack which was some sort of fried meatball – they were delicious!
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I had my first Quadrupel – the Gulden Draak (“Golden Dragon”). It’s 12%, but I think it is one of the best beers I have ever had, especially given its alcohol content. We had a few other drinks and took a selfie.

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All was good. :) After a bit, we headed to their favorite Belgian fries place. At this place, they actually put Mayo and all sorts of other suaces on the fries, and you got an interesting selection of meats (sausages, shiskebops, etc). Holy crap they were delicious fries. I ordered the medium, and couldn’t even finish it, though, as it came in a massive cone! We ate the fries back at Jolien’s house while watching Modern Family and I briefly met her brother and mother. At around 8:30 it was time for me to go back to Leuven so I was dropped off and rode the train back into town.

When I got to the hostel it seemed almost empty. I sat in the lounge (empty) for a few minutes and charged my phone up, until I saw some guy standing in the hallway and I figured I may as well invite myself to join him if they were going out :)

Turns out he works at the hostel and was going out with 3 other friends! So there was an English guy, a Dutch gal who is 18, a Greek guy and a Greek gal. We went out and chilled outside for a bit, and after we’d had a couple drinks, we headed into some more dance oriented clubs. It was a lot of fun! I think I prefer the really loud, crowded, dark danceclubs to just a bar or something. Definitely my style.

Haha.

After a long night, we headed back to the hostel at 3:40am, where I prompty fell asleep.

The end. :)

EuroTrip Day 17

Alright so not that much happened this on this day. I covered a lot of it in the last post. Basically, I ended up chilling and drinking outside the bar and writing some song lyrics. After a little while I walked around a bit and grabbed some cheap food from the grocery store. I headed to the hostel and took a 6 or 7pm train from Bruges into Leuven. After an hour or so of just sitting and listening to music, I arrived in the town of Leuven.

I was told that Leuven would be small and boring, but I in fact found it to be much more lively and interesting than Bruges. For one, it is a college town, so there were lots of young people roaming about when I got there – a stark difference from Bruges where there are no nighclubs!

I dragged my bag about a mile until I arrived at the Cube Hostel Leuven. I checked in and moved into my room, where I met two of my roommates. One was a 40 year old guy from Colorado on a 3 month long trip, and the other was a Basque guy who coincidentally is going to be starting an internship at Microsoft on Monday (note to self, alias:t-jonitu)! Haha, small world.

(I have media but ita failing to upload atm)

I went out to 3 different places along the “longest bar in the world” with the guy from Colorado. It was pretty chill, we just talked about stuff and had some drinks and got back in at a little past 1, when I then crashed. Fun day. Lots of students out – apparently Thursday is the night most students go out because they actually end up going home on the weekend…

EuroTrip Day 16

Damnit. I got onto the train in Bruges to go to Leuven and realized that I left my bluetooth keyboard back at the hostel! Oh no. So after waiting for 30 minutes for this train (since I missed the last one by 1 minute), I had to unboard and haul back to the hostel to retreive it. My plan was to write to you from the train, but now I figured that I will just chill out at a Belgian bar and drink my “La Guillotine” while I recount the story of yesterday.

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(I have no idea why this is upside down)

I got started a bit late yesterday, but it was fine – there isn’t that much to see in Bruges. In the lobby I met up with the Russian girl, Anastasia, and the Tasmanian/Thai girl named Grace. We were joined by a couple of Canadian guys who were studying abroad in Dublin and were here, like many others, on Europe’s 1 week “fall break”.

Mmm. This is quite a good beer that I am drinking. I’ve actually had to shy away from some of the 12% beers here, since they have been hurting my stomach a bit.

There was another girl, from Los Angeles, but I don’t remember her name at this exact moment. Anyway, we decided to climb the large tower in the center of town – the Belfort. We wandered in the general direction of town center (not too hard to get lost in Bruges, guys) and found ourselves staring up at a giant church tower that was originally built in the 13th century. Of course we joked about how if a building in America is older than WWII then we put a plaque on it :)

After waiting in line for twenty minutes or so, we ascended the spiral staircase of 366 steps. There were several spots to get out and take a break, and each time we resumed the climb the staircase grew smaller and smaller, until it was basically only wide enough for one person. At the top, we saw the bells (which went off at 44 minutes past in a cacaphony of dischordous (sp?) notes). I took quite a few pictures (which are still on the camera – yes, I will upload them soon) from the top and got some selfies taken as well. Unfortunately, it was rainy and foggy, so we couldn’t see too much from the top, but I love views from altitude (nothing except the UT Tower and Mt. Grouse in Vancouver beats Munich) , so I didn’t mind.

After we came down, we wandered around town to the restaurant Aquaria (sp?), where we dined on fine croquets (which I have never had before) and Tripel Carmeliet.

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After this, we walked around town in a sort of brownian walk (although I sort of took us in the same direction as the walking tour the day before had). Eventually we headed to t’Poatersgat, a bar that my older brother recommended. I think we showed up a little too early, because we couldn’t figure out how to get in! After some time we headed back to the hostel, after having lost Grace and the American gal and being about to lose Anastasia as well.

We reached the hostel, had a few drinks, chatted a bit, and finally found ourselves talking to a French guy who had walked over 800 km from his hometown to Bruges, and who intended to walk another 1,000 km to Italy! He was a muscician, a free spirit, intending to pay for his journey by busking and doing odd jobs. Haha. He said he had seen a documentary about it and decided that doing a walking journey was what he wanted to do.

After some strange beers I could barely stomach, we headed to a place called “Ribs n’ Beer”. Haha. I had been talking about it all day, after having seen that it was rated number 4! out of all the restaurants in Bruges. We walked 1.2 km in empty streets (yes, empty at 8pm – there are 0 nighclubs in Bruges) and drizzle until we arrived to find out that we actually needed a reservation. Oops.

We sat outside in the drizzle anyway – I didn’t mind, after all it doesn’t really rain all that much in Austin anyway, and rain to me means huge droplets pounding the Earth in an absolute torrential downpour.

Anyway, we ordered our all-you-can-eat ribs (18 euros, 1 full rack to start, 1/2 racks afterwards) and, of course, beer. I ordered the spicy ones.

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Holy crap guys, this was BY FAR the best meal I’ve had on this trip, perhaps even in a couple months (no offense, Mom). The sauce was perfect, a little sweet, but also hot and very barbequey. Man, thinking about it makes me want to go back for lunch :). The ribs were slow-cooked, and were basically unattached to the bones completely, they were so tender.

Mmmm. I gobbled up my rack really fast and was totally satisfied and satiated. We were eventually moved upstairs, briefly conversed with a 3 person British family, and finished our drinks while watching Anderlechs play soccer on TV. We paid for the travelling bard’s meal and headed back to the hostel.

Upon arriving, we talked with Nastia (short name for Anastasia), and drank some beers. We spent like an hour using the word-magnets to come up with a poem (a very dirty poem, which someone eventually rearranged into a phallic shape) in order to win free beer. We won, yay, and recieved 25 cl of Jupiler (about 1 euros 50) haha.

I talked with people for a bit, including a Russian couple who were human rights reporters, until eventually calling it a night at around midnight when they shutdown the common area.

I had a pleasant sleep (dreaming strange things – I’ve come to realize that the contents of someone’s dreams tells you more about them as a person and their thought processes than anything about the world), and awoke around 10am. Checked out. Walked to the train station, and you know the rest.

It’s interesting, I’ve come to be tired already on this trip. I mean, I was already tired in Munich after a couple days, but that was because I was not sleeping enough and drinking too much. I’m tired in a different way now. Kind of an emotional way. When you travel like this, you meet some really cool people from totally diferent backgrounds and with different (or similar) perspectives. You make some friends for a day, or for a week, but you are saying goodbye to people every day. Nothing is permanent, I know this, but it does suck having to leave these people every day. And yes, wherever you go next you will meet more people, but I dislike this commoditizing attitude. It’s worse when you latch on to someone or someplace because, as Desi said, the show must go on. You are here only for hours, a fraction of a year, a blink in a lifetime – and your life: your friends, family, job, and home are a whole world away. You wish you could bring others into your world, but you forget how difficult it was to even leave in the first place, and you don’t think about how the others must feel. It’s a strange life: the life of a traveller. Many of the people I’ve met have different attitudes about it than me. Many of them grew up in lots of different places (such as Grace), and never really grew any sort of attachment to one particular location – never really felt they truly had a “home”. As they say, home is where you hang your hat. This is so different from my life, where my parents placed a huge emphasis on stability. When we moved into the house back in 1998, they promised me we would never change school districts until I graduated, and they kept that promise. I’ve lived in Austin my whole life. It’s interesting how you can let a place become a part of you. The particular winding of the roads, the smells of the seasons, the twisted oaks, the eclectic foods all come to be a part of who and what you are. It’s so hard to imagine what my life would be like without those things.

It’s also interesting to meet these people from around the world. When you live somewhere for a while, and especially when you are very busy, the entire scope of your thoughts shrinks down to your immediate surroundings. You see the people walking around you and you know they all are living their own lives, all the time you have been around and longer, they’ve been doing a similar thing – enduring suffering and boredom, engaging in conflict, striving for an achievement. And there are so, so many of them. You see this in your immediate surroundings, and you can easily connect with it – of course, you and them live similar lives.

But when you go somewhere far away, somewhere you have only really imagined and never really known, and you see the people there, the absolute immensity of the world and humankind stares you in the face. For example, when I met Desi & her family, and they mentioned 9/11, I realized this. I thought: Wow, I’ve only known these people for a couple days, they live so far away in a strange country, and all the 13 years of life since that day they’ve been going about their business, as unaware of me as I was of them. It’s strange. Imagining all that time of their lives is almost as difficult as imagining the time from before your birth. Since I’m sort of young, I’ve really only been conciously aware of the passing of time for maybe 16 or 17 years. 1960 seems like a really long time ago. 1200 AD is almost too long to really comprehend for me….

Sorry, I’ve had a few 12% beers :), I’ll stop my odd, pointless, philosophical rant now.

I think I might chill in Bruges a bit longer – maybe go drink a couple more beers and go eat some ribs again. Thanks for reading!

EuroTrip Day 15

Alright, I’m going to try to keep this a little brief, because it’s already 11am on my second (and last) day in Bruges. I rode the intercity trains for like 4 hours to get here. With the EuRail pass it was really easy, all I had to do was whip it out and I was golden. The morning started off extremely foggy. Once we got into Belgium it had cleared a little, and I got to see some interesting countryside. It almost reminded me of Iowa or Minnesota or something.

After listening to music and dozing off for the whole morning (oh, and accidentally getting off my train too early, in Brussels-Central not Brussels-Midi) I finally arrived in the little town of Bruges. I grabbed my bag and walked 1.3 km through the park between the train station and the southwest corner of town. It was a very scenic park. The first thing I noticed about Bruges was that it felt a lot more open than Amsterdam (Apparently Dutchies don’t know there is such a thing as grass).

Very scenic. It’s cool seeing the medieval streets, apparently Bruges is one of the oldest, mostly unchanged cities in the world. The buildings are all a bit smaller, the streets uneven cobblestones, and the two churches’ steeples scraping the sky. There are some cool canals here as well, but less dense. The first thing I noticed was all the couples and families, a sight which was somewhat lacking in Amsterdam.

Anyway, I wondered around for a bit, taking pictures. Then I did a 2 hour walking tour at 3pm and got to eat some Belgian chocolate and waffles.  Took a ton of photos, and walked back with a Russian and American girl to the hostel for beer tasting at 7pm. I chilled with a group of people from all over North America during the tasting, and we tried to make a pub crawl, but missed it and ended up chilling at this cool bar. We ended up talking to a couple Irish dudes and playing some pool.

My stomach had been bothering me all night (probably from the strength of the Belgian beers), and I excused myself to leave the group and go back to the hostel. About 15 feet away from the door I realized I was going to vomit, so I ran back into the bathroom and did my short business of puking basically nothing. I managed to make it back to the hostel and trying to sleep for a little while before puking again. Yikes, it’s my first vomit on this trip you guys!!! Success. (not).

Alright, I’m chilling in the lounge with some Canadian dudes who are studying in Dublin, as well as the Russian and American girl, so I’m going to sign off.

I’ll keep the blog updated.

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EuroTrip Days 11-14

Haha.

Well first off sorry about not writing to you. Amsterdam was a total hoot. I also didn’t exactly know how to write about some of the material, and I ended up falling asleep pretty early most nights.

So the lines for stuff in Amsterdam was really long. I did end up making it into the National Museum, which was pretty cool. I decided not to go to the Anne Frank house when I saw the lines, and I’ve already been to Dachau, I honestly don’t really feel like hearing about WWII or Nazi’s anymore. I tried to get in the Van Gogh museum on my last day, but much of Europe has been on a 1 week break this week, which has led to the overcrowding. Whatever, I got to walk around a lot.

I got some pictures with my camera, mostly on the first day, as well as some of the pics I uploaded to Facebook. Let’s just say Amsterdam was chill. Very very chill. I mean there were at least 6 coffeeshops within a 5 minute walk of the hostel. This made the environment at the hostel quite a bit different from Wombats in Munich. There, everyone was drinking pitchers in a huge bar area; here, you could sit in the smoking lounge or patio and sometimes nobody would even talk to you. It was a bit quieter overall in that sense. I even noticed my fast paced vocal patterns slowing down quite a bit to match with the hostel environment.

Hmm, what else to talk about? Obviously Amsterdam is a pretty city, but not exactly my style of pretty. Yeah there are lots of canals which are cool, and there are tons of relatively old leaning buildings everywhere, but it wasn’t exactly my style. I think just as the aesthetic of the city goes, I like Bruges and Munich more. The whole city just seems a tiny bit seedy: touristy traps, sex museums, red light distict (which everyone just referred to as “the Red Light”), coffeeshops everywhere… It’s a city which I think you really need to go with some mates from home, because otherwise you are doing stuff with people who are basically strangers, or you just don’t go because you are alone.

I think I spent a few too many days in Amsterdam. I did end up shortening my stay by 2 days, and moving onto Bruges, Belgium. I did meet some cool people (not sure how many are on my Facebook), such as a pair of Malaysian girls, a English musician named Alfee, a couple cool Aussies and Canadians, and a bunch of crazy English lads. Overall, lots of fun. Don’t spend more than 5 days there, and if you are alone/are predisposed to partying, just know that the time can FLY by. It was my 4th day in Amsterdam before I even knew it.

I did walk around the Red Light district at night a few times. It’s kinda funny, honestly. No, I didn’t go in, but I heard plenty of stories, haha. Not sure the next time I’m going to go to Amsterdam ;)

Alright, now it’s time for me to write me recap of yesterday’s adventure in Bruges.

EuroTrip Day 10

Wow today just kinda flew by. Amsterdam is so different from Munich, it’s insane. I’ve been deprogramming myself from the German mindset all day. Like I accidentally answered in German all the time.

Anyway, the bike lanes are the crazy thing that immediately stands out here. I almost got hit about 7 times in them.

I arrived at the hostel, the downtown Flying Pig, which smelled like smoke when I walked in. I immediately got in a walking tour, which was fun, as I learned a bit about the city and met up with a group of (aspiring) entrepreneurs from Iowa and other parts of the US. We ended up hanging out, maybe trying some coffee at a coffee shop, and eating at a place called Pancakes!. Afterwards my feet were hurting so we headed back to my hostel where I hung out with people on the bar and patio for a bit.

The vibe here is totally different than in Munich. Whereas I felt perfectly social there, I feel a bit more quiet here. Maybe it’s just because my mind is still wandering the lush green hills of northern Munich.

I was supposed to meet that group at 10, but didn’t, because I didn’t see them. I grabbed a bite to eat and chilled in the hostel room talking with people until I fell asleep on my bed, two beers in hand.

I woke up to a pain. Which turned out just to be a bit of cold beer running all down my leg. Oops. I cleaned up and passed back out. And now I’m awake for my next day.

What to do, what to do? Luckily I have a list!