My First Review

Since this is my first review I guess I should start with something quintessentially American, the hamburger. The restaurant we went to was Cheers. In the heart of Boston Cheers is based on the sitcom and offers a great pub atmosphere with quick and friendly service at a reasonable price. We sat outside which was great as we got to enjoy the cool Boston evening which really added to the atmosphere.

Anyway onto the important stuff, the food. Maddy wanted mozzarella sticks for starters, an inspired choice because they were brilliant. The mozzarella was melted and stringy and went well with the marinara sauce. I am new to mozzarella sticks and was therefore easy to impress but Maddy rated them highly although wants to add that they could have been crispier.

To me the sign of a good burger is that once you pick it up, you can’t put it down without risking it falling apart. It turns a sandwich into a feast and with the right ingredients provides plenty of good flavours and textures. Cheers make a good burger. I ordered the bleu cheese and bacon burger, as a fan of meat and cheese it seemed like an obvious choice. The meat was tender and juicy, the bacon crispy, and the cheese an acquired taste. To me it was a great combination. The cheese was almost a sauce and with a bun that could have done with more toasting there was potential for the texture to become too mushy. This was saved by the crispy lettuce and onion which really added to the flavour but more importantly the texture of the burger.

The burger really was a feast as the different ingredients combined into one glorious experience and although I was not a fan of the under toasted bun it did somehow allow me to keep this feast together, no easy feat considering the quantity of food between the bread. My only criticism would be that I ordered my burger rare and it was hardly pink in the middle. It is hard to complain though considering how much I enjoyed it.

In the UK we would describe the food Cheers offers as “pub grub” a very unflattering term for one of my favourite types of food. Cheers gave me a taste of home but in an American way, the footie was on the TV but they served fries and not chips and ice water as soon as we sat down. It was great.

Thanks for reading my first review. I’d like to know what you think. What American food or restaurants would you recommend?

George

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We Made it to Boston!

George and I flew out of SeaTac late last night headed for Boston. We had a quick stopover in Philadelphia before flying up to Boston. We arrived around 9am Eastern time and made it to our Airbnb. We’ll be writing more on the blog tonight or tomorrow with what we’ve seen so far.

And now a note from George:

I made it onto the blog! It only took eleven months but here I am. I hope to use this space to talk about my traveling experience with Maddy, focusing on one of my favourite things: food, which from what I have heard is quite popular here.

Weird American observation #1: the supermarkets have sprinklers that water the fruit and veg automatically whilst making thunder sounds. Crazy.

 

Happy to be in Boston

Maddy and George

Ridesharing and What I’ve been doing

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting on here this trip. And you probably thought “Wow she didn’t post much” last time. I arrived in Paris this morning after taking a overnight bus from Bordeaux. It took about 7.5 hours and I got here at about 6am. Luckily my hostel was very easy to find and my stuff is now safely in a locker until I can check in and get my room later. I’m staying at the Paris Generator Hostel which I’ll post about later but I will say that I really enjoyed staying at the Venice Generator when I was there back in July.

Over the last week I spent time in London and Norwich. I went to the Tate Modern Art Museum, saw a movie, and slept, a lot. Then on thursday I headed back to London for a night and at 8am caught a flight from Gatwick to Bordeaux.

Bordeaux was really pretty. I met up with Jessica, who I met in Madrid, and we spent the day catching up and shopping. Then I did something I’ve never done before. That America doesn’t really do. We got a ride share from Bordeaux to her apartment in Agen. In Europe, I know for sure in France, Spain, and Italy not positive about other places, its not uncommon for people to go on sites like blablacar.com where you can put in where you’re going to and from on what date and they can match you up with a driver who will drive you there. The difference between this and apps like Uber and Lyft, which I use all the time back home, is that it’s for longer distances and there may be other people using the same driver. I’ve now done it twice, the first car was great. It was a french man driving and a french woman who spoke some english and she was funny and very nice. It was a really good experience. The second wasn’t bad. However The one thing to be aware of is that when in countries where english isn’t the native language people may not speak it.

I understand some french, more than I always thing I can, however my verbal skills are very slim and so on the 2nd ride, the one without Jess who speaks french well, I was in a car with 4 people who spoke no english at all. But here’s the real thing. If you’re trying to get from point a to point b and it’s expensive by train look for rideshares they’re cheap, neither was over 10€, and you can meet really nice people!

For america I think there are a few reasons we don’t have the same kind of thing. The main reason being that America is so big. In Europe 4 hours in a car is enough to almost get across a country, in some places it’s enough to get though more than one, in America you’re still in the same state. The other reason is that we’re more suspicious of people and I don’t thing we trust people as much. I know I’d feel weird having strange people driving with me. But here it’s convenient.

One last bit of advice. Also check busses. I took an overnight bus last night that got me from Bordeaux to Paris for under 8€ and I didn’t have to pay for a hostel. In my mind the not so great sleep was worth the 22€ I saved on top of the price of a train.

 

I’ll post about Paris when I’ve seen more than the metro and this hostel!

Maddy

What’s coming in 2016

I keep starting to write posts looking back on last year and I can’t seem to get the words to come out how I want them to. My solution to this is to instead write what’s coming this year and then I’ll write the looking back post later.

This year is going to be a big one. On March 3rd I’m flying to London to go visit friends from my trip as well as to see more of London. I’ll be there for about 3 weeks. I think the biggest deal about this right now is that I paid for the tickets with my own money. It’s probably the first time I feel like a real adult. Now I just have to save up for everything I want to get while I’m over there.

After March is a little more up in the air but currently I’m planning on going on a big road trip all over the US. Maybe I’ll head to Mexico or Canada and see more of those places. In September I’ll be in Alaska for a short time for a wedding then it’s on to Los Angeles…

I think the biggest thing that I’m planning though is that I’m planning on moving to Los Angeles around September. And I’m hoping that by actually posting it on here it’ll make it more solid. It’s a bit scary even though I have been planning on doing it for years. I’m not sure how it’ll happen but I know that no matter what I’m heading down there and I’ll do my best to make it work. If you have any advice please let me know!

I’ve been working at Old Navy as a sales associate and I’m hoping to continue working there for quite a while. I’ve been really enjoying it.

My goals for this blog over the next year is simple. I want to continue writing in it. Especially with how much traveling I’ll be doing. And I’m hoping to make some travel videos and so hopefully those will come soon too. I’ve been working on a two part slideshow thing of the trip from this summer and part one is done except for the music… someday I’ll finish it!

I’m off to have dinner and go to bed. Working tomorrow!

Maddy

Makeup and Backpacking

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of makeup, on most days I have enough in my purse to do my makeup in the car or anywhere, a few different ways. And when I was on my trip this was still happening. When I left I had one small bag of makeup. I came home with about 3 bigger bags. Most were things I couldn’t get at home but some were just impulse buys.

Before my trip I kept looking online for a list of things to bring and what I found was a lot of “I bring only these 2 things because it’s all I use” and for a lot of people that’s great! If you only use mascara and lip balm then just bring that. If you don’t use anything then don’t bring anything! But that’s not who I am. I bring more than most people bring on vacation when I’m spending one night at a friends house. But if you’re travelling for more than a few days and you have to carry everything with you well, makeup isn’t light. It adds weight and when you fly often times products are too big to be carry on, or you at least have to remember to put them in a bag before hand and if you forget you spend 10 minutes digging through to find all the liquids and creams.

First my advice: Bring the minimum daily things and then one or two products that you can use to dress up a look or wear for going out. Bring things that you know you like. It’s not neccesarily the time to try out new things. If you want to try something new wait until you get there and buy something you can’t get at home. That’s always an option!!!

Now for what I’d bring if I did it again:

Face:

  • Foundation
    • My favorite right now is the L’oreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation. Bring one that’s not in glass! Also make sure you know it works well. I brought one that I’d just purchased and after a few weeks it wasn’t working how I wanted and I just needed a different one.
  • Blush/Bronzer/Contour/Highlight
    • My suggestion when it comes to this stuff is to get either one palette that has a few different things or to get something like a z-palette that you can put a few different colors you like in it. The other nice thing is you can put your eyeshadows in here too! But really none of this is neccessary
  • Concealer
    • Just bring one you like that will last all day.
  • Powder
    • Again just bring one you like

Eyes:

  • Eyeliner
    • I had a pen eyeliner and that was it. It worked well
  • Mascara
    • Bring your favorite!
  • Eyeshadow
    • Either pick a few you like and put them into a z-palette or get a small shadow palette that has good everyday colors.
  • Brows
    • I just brought a eyebrow gel and that was fine for me! If you do more to yours go for it!

Lips:

  • Lip Balm
    • This is my #1 don’t forget thing. I ran out part way through and was very sad.
  • Lipstick
    • I went way overboard here. Just bring one or two that you like. Nudes are probably best but a good red or brighter color is good for a night out!
  • Lip Liner
    • If you’re not a fan of lipstick or want more of a range bring a few lipliners. You can bring about 5 in the space it’ll take for 2 lipsticks and topped off with a balm they’re not too different.

 

Here’s my real advice though. Just bring what you feel comfortable with. If you want to suck it up and just carry that extra weight do it! If you aren’t big on doing much just bring the few things you do use. If you don’t want to bring any and you want to buy a ton there do that! It’s fun to look at what they have and try new things! And you can always throw things away and repurchase them later.

A video/slideshow thing will be coming soon once I finish it!

Maddy

Packing and what I learned about it!

First of all I’m someone who does think you can travel for a long time with only a carryon IF you’re in one climate. If not I don’t know because i’ve never done it. On my trip I started with 2 bags. One with all of my clothes stuff and one that had my “carry on” stuff. I did end up with another but I’ll get into that. Also the clothes what I brought part is more for girls although I’m sure anyone could adapt it. Again this is just my opinion. This is largely what I’d bring next time more than what I did.

I’ll start with the carry on one.  I also had a smaller purse for going out and about.

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Packed and ready to leave Barcelona this is everything I had at this point. It expanded quickly but this is mainly it.

CARRY ON

I ended up using 2 different bags as my “Carry on” for me that meant a bigger purse that had some way of securing shut. The first one I had was a big black bag with a zipper and a button so it could fold over. It actually broke in Barcelona and I ended up buying a new one, a big tan boxy bag similar to this. This is the bag that I used for the majority of my trip.

What was in these bags was the stuff that I’d use when I was in transit between places along with other things that needed to be easily accessable or that I wanted to keep an eye on.

These are the main things in this bag:

  • My computer and it’s charger
  • My phone charger
  • Neck Pillow
  • A fleece blanket that I rolled up
  • A magazine or book
  • My Journal
  • First aid things (Medicines and Bandaids)

Other things like snacks were often tossed in here as well.

I have a 13inch Macbook Air. I loved having it with me. I did. However. If you’re not blogging or are as addicted to the internet as I am I’d go without it. Your phone generally has enough capabilities where you wont need a computer. But if you’re bringing one there are a few things to be aware of. First off I just weighed my computer, case, cords, and phone together and it equals out to be a little over 4 pounds. And that’s without any adapters, headphones, cameras, or anything else. Yes it doesn’t sound like much. But over time it gets to be a bit annoying. On top of that you’ve got to make sure it’s safe. It’s much less of a big deal to leave clothes unlocked than a computer. You need to be much more aware of leaving this sort of thing out. Meaning don’t. Don’t leave it out. Just don’t.

The other thing to know about electronics is that cords and adapters are the most likely things that you’ll lose. Be prepared that you’ll have to buy one or two. I actually lost both my phone cord and my plug adapter at the same time which led me to having to walk around looking for an apple store to buy a new cord for my computer and phone and a thing to plug the phone into. I ended up buying the travel adapter set for macbooks which is 29$ on their website. It came with all sorts of plugs for my computer. I’d actually reccomend it if you travel internationally a lot. It came with 7 little plug things that I can use forever. Do keep in mind that they have different plugs. The amount of people who complained about forgetting adapters and had to go out and buy them was absurd. In europe it’s two round pegs. England’s are different. If you’re going other places they might even have other different types.

That’s my elecronics advice. I had a point and shoot camera with me that I used maybe 3 times, then lost the cord and never used it again. Honestly unless you’re huge into photography don’t worry too much. My phone took good enough pictures. One of the guys I was with in Croatia and Hungary had a gopro and those I’d reccomend. I really want one. Also bring extra earbuds. They’re small and get lost easily. Also it’s nice if someone doesn’t have any to lend them some. Even if they’re the free tour ones you get. I kept them. Easy and nice to offer to people.

I do reccomend having some kind of pillow and blanket if you’re someone who wants to sleep on trains or other places. Also it’s nice to have something soft for the beds in hostels and the memory foam pillow I had was great until I lost it but that was my bad. A book or something is also nice for trains and going to bed as is having a journal or something. First aid stuff was in here just so it was easy to get to!

A very annoyed me on the train platform wating to go to Paris. I don't know if I was more annoyed that I had that bag or that my mom insisted on taking a hundred pictures.
A very annoyed me on the train platform wating to go to Paris. I don’t know if I was more annoyed that I had that bag or that my mom insisted on taking a hundred pictures.

MAIN BAG

Both bags I used were from Rick Steves and while they worked I wouldn’t neccessarily reccomend them for future use. I started with a backpack that was just too big for me. It made my balance bad and was just too frustrating. So when my mom left to go back home I traded herr bads along with sending some stuff home with her. This meant that I ended up with a rolling bag. For some people this may work better. However aside from the awesome callouses I don’t think it was worth it. It was easy because I didn’t have to carry everything. I could just put the straps around the handle and balence everything on top of it with little to know problem. However. Pulling a rolling bag is annoying. And you pack it heavier because it’s not on your back meaning when you have to lug it onto trains or up flights of stairs to your hostel or store it on a plane it gets to be a problem. Also. The wheels are no longer aligned so it tips over and leads to a lot of frustration. I yelled at it alot and kinda wanted to light it on fire by the end. Although I never did.

What I do reccomend is trying bags on and finding one that fits and is comfortable. Also a nice one should last a while!!! I would reccomend using packing cubes and ziplocks. it just keeps things a little more organized but after a while you should repack because at least for me every time I opened it it exploded. This list is close to what I brought for a 2 month trip.

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At Mont Saint Michel with my first bag. Heavy. Pinched my shoulders and I’m leaning forward to keep from falling The black bag is my first that broke 2 weeks later.

What I’d reccomend (Not what I brought)

  • Undergarmets, I reccomend black and nothing you care about. I got a lot from target. I wouldn’t reccomend lace because even though it dries fast they don’t last long. Also not cotton because they take longer to dry. As for bras I had 3. Didn’t always wear them. Just bring things that are comfortable for you. Honestly one or 2 would probably be fine. Done talking about this. Also don’t forget this.
  • Swimwear, I had 2 bikinis. I mostly wore one of them. Unless you’re swimming everyday one is probably fine. I actually had planned to buy one on the trip but never found one I liked enough.
  • Pants, I had one pair of jeans. Comfortable. Good.
  • Shorts, I had two pairs. One dark one lighter. They worked well. Wouldn’t change them except maybe getting a size smaller. Also had a pair of cheershorts that I wore to sleep and around
  • Shirts, Go cheap. It’s easy to find more. Mine were 3$ from forever 21 and I wore them out pretty quickly. I did buy more as I went. I had a few other shirts, crop tops, a long sleeve, a band shirt. Just bring things you feel comfortable in but don’t mind losing. And keep it to probably 3-5 more if they’re small
  • Sweaters, I originally brought one and sent it home. I had two long sleeve buttonups that worked fine although next time I’d bring one just for cooler days or in hostels
  • Dresses/Rompers, I started with a lot. Ended with alot of different ones. My advice is to find one long one that you like in a LIGHT fabric can be either a romper or dress. Mine was too heavy and I didn’t end up bringing the dress home. Also black is nice but it gets hot fast. as for short dresses I started with one. I ended with 4. I prefered them and as soon as I had more they were all I really wore.
  • Sleepwear, Bring whatever you like. One pair is probably enough.
  • Shoes, less is better I had 2 pairs. a pair of knock off birkenstocks and these. I originally brought tennis shoes but they hurt my feet so I got rid of them quickly. I was comfortable in these. Also bring flip flops.
  • Going out wear, I bought one nice skirt that I could wear when going out. One or 2 things that are a little dressier is more than enough. This is really optional
  • Toilitries. Bring whatever you use. Keep it minimal. Anything else you want you can buy later. If you want to know about the makeup I’d reccomend I’ll do that another time
  • A towel. A travel one is nice but really any are fine. I had a travel one and bought one in Croatia.

My only real advice when it comes to this is bring what you know you need and if you think of something later buy it there. They have stores. It’s easy and especially in Europe there’s an H&M everywhere. You have options. I bought a lot of stuff.

Also for toiletries if you’re going for a while buy them when you get there. Especially if you’re not flying. It’s fun to find them. Mine I got in London and they lasted perfectly until the end of my trip. Same for soap and that kind of thing.

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My second “carry on bag” with my wheeled bag, Hat (I miss this hat) and day bag

DAY BAG/PURSE

This is where I kept things like my money, passport, phone, sunglasses, anti itch creme (misquitoes love me), and other daily needs. I suggest a coin purse for money and getting anti RFID pouches for your passport and creditcards with chips. My bags were crossover that were pretty small. It worked for me. I usually had one of those loose knitted grocery bags in there as well which made for a good beach bag!

Next time I think I’m going to have a different bag that’ll fit my computer as well and cut way back on the makeup, be more selective about what I bring and think more about what I’ll actually wear.

This was it! My 2nd post in a week. Go me!!! I’m pulling together pictures and video from the trip that I’m going to edit into one thing and then put other pictures up on here soon! If you think of something you want to hear about let me know!

Thanks!

Maddy

Booking and Finding a Hostel / Maddy is trying to start writing again

I miss travelling so much so this is (hopefully) going to become my outlet so I don’t go crazy.

Since my trip I’ve had a few people asking me questions about travelling! Which I love and encourage if you havea  question I’ll of course do my best to answer it. And I’m going to talk about my tips on one of the things I’ve been asked about in this post but I am going to say before I write this whole thing that all of this is my own experiance and my advice and I know plenty of other people have more experiance with this stuff. This is just what I’ve learned and what I want to share with anyone who wants my advice. I hope to write more of these too so if you have anything you want to hear about please let me know!

My topic for the first of this series (Or whatever it is) is about hostels. I was asked what I look for when I’d book one. So this is my advice. And I’m going kinda in depth here so… here I go.

http://generatorhostels.com/en/destinations/venice/ This photo isn't mine! It's from the website of the Generator hostel in Venice! I repeat not my picture
http://generatorhostels.com/en/destinations/venice/
This photo isn’t mine! It’s from the website of the Generator hostel in Venice! I repeat not my picture. Also this is one of my favorite hostels I stayed at. Super nice and the beds were comfortable! The photo above is from their website as well. 

WHAT I LOOK FOR

First off I booked all of my hostels through http://hostelworld.com/  which is super easy to use and I highly reccomend it. Their app is great too. Every time I booked a hostel I’d pay an extra Euro so that if I had to change my plans I could get my deposit back, which something like 15% of the total cost so usually about 15 Euros for me and if I didn’t pay that extra euro and my plans changed I’d have lost that money. Usually it has to be within 48 hours or something like that but it usually worked out.

When I’d look at hostels just for me I’d look at a few things in the reviews. First I’d narrow down my price to whatever I was willing to pay and sorted them from highest rated. Simple makes sense. Right?

Then I’d click on the ones that looked nicest to me. Generally I’d go by appearance here. I’d look at their facilities. Do they have anything special? Do they have a kitchen and a lounge? Air Conditioning and Wifi were almost always a necessity for me. They were usually my only requirements.

Then I’d look at the reviews. I ignore a few things in the little ratings breakdown. Staff, Cleanliness, Atmospehere. They seem like important things! I know. But this the advice someone at one of Rick Steve’s seminars about hostels gave me. The people that are reviewing these hostels might be used to 5 star hotels or they might be used to camping. So really the cleanliness isn’t that important. That being said if the hostel has a really low rating on that look at the reviews to see the exact problems. With Staff you don’t know if one guy had a bad day or if the guy even still works there. So don’t worry too much. Mostly they’re young people who just want to show you a city you like. There may be a rotten egg or two but they’re probably having a bad day. And atmosphere I just ignore unless I’m somewhere where I’m looking for something in particular. You never know what the people rating them were looking for. Genereally speaking i do look at the Location, Value for money, security, and facilities ratings but I hold them with a grain of sand until I’ve read what real people have written.

When I look at the actual reviews I only look at 2 things. I sort them first from newest to oldest. See what people who were there the other day say. Then I look at worst to best. Sometimes because they’re hilarious, and they are, but also because sometimes they will say something like “Everything here was amazing except that I saw a roach and the internet never worked” and if those are the two things I’m concerned about they’re good to know. One thing though. ALWAYS look at the dates on reviews. The guy who went to the free breakfast and it wasn’t free at all and there wasn’t any food… that might’ve been 5 years ago on the off season. Another good idea is to look at their social media to see what people have posted from there or about them you can easily get a good vibe about the people there or at least the area around the hostel.

When it comes to price I’m someone who is willing to pay an extra 5-10$/Euros a night in order to get a slightly nicer accomidation. I never splurged and got a private room because I was alone, however I did stay in 2 hotels, one because after a month I needed a night alone and the other because I was sick and had an awful day and I have the best moms in the world. I don’t really think the number of beds in a room matters that much. Yes you’re more likely to get woken up by strangers in the middle of the night but in a smaller room you’ve got a pretty good chance of that happening anyways. I stayed in rooms ranging from 4-16 beds and I think the only times I really got woken up were in 8 bed rooms. When it comes to single gender or mixed dorms I prefered the mixed dorms. This is all personal preferance of course but for me it just didn’t matter and generally an all female dorm is a few Euros more or the same price and I just never minded that much. Was I ever the only girl? Yes. Did I care? No. Did I feel safe? Yes. And if you’re put in a room where you feel unsafe tell the people that work in the hostel! They will help you to the best of their abilities!!!

Quick run down

  1. Look online
  2. check out reviews
  3. pick a hostel that you like!

My last bits of advice:

  • No one is to old to stay at a hostel. Anyone can. I mean that.
  • If you want to party and the hostel online is decribed as chill, quiet, or laid back maybe look somewhere else
  • If you don’t want to party and they advertise booze, clubbing and general debauchery maybe look for the chill place?
  • And look until you find somewhere you like.
  • oh and it always is a good idea to look at the hostel on a map before you book it and before you arrive/on your way there

I want to post more on here about this and general life stuff. If you want to know about anything please contact me!

Still working on getting pictures up! I’m awful about it I know.

Maddy

My Thing

I talked to a few people while I was on my trip who had weird things that they did in each place. Or something they looked for in each place.

I had two of those. The first was pretty normal. Whenever I had time to look around for a market I would. Often it ended up being where I would eat almost every day, or that was the case in both Florence and Lisbon. I didn’t do this in every city but in many I did, and part of that was that I wouldn’t look it up on the internet. I wanted to just find them. The two I found both had food courts where you could get a quick meal or ice cream, also air conditioning!

IMG_4363 IMG_4631

The other thing I did was that I looked for the best Chinese food. I tried chinese food in nearly every country and in most cities. Some had amazing food. Others… Not so much.

The winners: Paris and Budapest
The loser: Madrid

I’ve been asked over and over “Didn’t you eat the local food?” Yes. I did. But it was something, like pringles, that just seemed like a comfort thing. When I was missing home of just felt like I needed a touch of something familliar.

I think it’s good when you’re away from home to have something comforting. For me it was going out for chinese food, although in a pinch Pringles did work. I don’t really even like Pringles. They hurt my mouth. But I think my point is that even though what I picked to be something to make me feel better when I missed home, which I did of course, I think everyone needs that. If you’re at College across the state or travelling around the world something to remind you of home is always good.

So I’m thinking about posting things about what I packed and stuff like that. Let me know if you’re interested or if you want to know about anything else.

Maddy

A reflection 2 weeks later

I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say to really wrap up my trip. I posted on facebook asking for questions so as I wait for some, meaning hope I get some, I’m going to take some pictures of things that I’ve taped into my journal and just talk about what they are/stories about them.

First off. About my journal! So my journal is this leatherbound dark blue/green hand made journal that I got for christmas last year from my cousins. I orignally used it for some planning, meaning there are SO many lists in here, things like places and hostels that looked cool, packing lists, prices of rail passes. I never actually wrote about the trip in it. But I did have tape with me and put so much random stuff in here. So this is some of it!

These are a variety of tickets! This page specifically has a Paris Metro ticket, My Ticket to Versaille, My ticket to the Louve, and my London pass which let me get into things like the Tower of London and Hampton Court along with a few other places!

I really loved going to the Louvre and seeing all the sculptures. The paintings were cool but not as interesting to me, it was really cool seeing the vermeer that they have there! Unfortunately… I accidentally deleted all my pictures from the Louve. So that was really unfortunate. I believe there is a picture of me and the Venus di milo on my instagram… here. That is (VERY SADLY) my only picture from the Louvre. I heard a lot of people who didn’t like it or thought it was so big. I just think you just had to figure out what you actually wanted to see.

Versaille was a little er… disappointing for me. I did enjoy it. But I found that the outside was so gorgeous that the inside could’ve been so cool but it just felt like it was a ton of not too cool paintings shoved into rooms. I wanted to hear the history and see more of that. On top of that we had 4 hours (I think) to go look around and about an hour of that was spent waiting in line to get in and we had our tickets already. That frustrated me quite a bit. We didn’t make it to the gardens because we only had about 10 minutes until our bus left.

Overall that day that we went to Versaille was great. We saw the Eiffel tower, Got an amazing burger from a little stand, oh and saw a ton of pickpockets get arrested which was really cool to watch. A bunch of cops ran after them and the whole time I was picturing some of them being regulars and being like “Oh joe. Again? C’mon dude. Lets go”

As for London, I basically loved everything I saw and did in london so I don’t have many specifics to say about that…

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These are tickets to St. Pauls Cathedral which I’ve already talked about how much I loved that. It was so amazing to go to. I cried. It was beauiful. Go if you find yourself in London. Worth it. A ticket to Parque E Palacio Da Pena in Sintra, Portugal. And to Westminster Abbey. Also the map of The Tower of London.

Pena was incredible. My phone was dead and I forgot my camera so I couldn’t take pictures but It was this really cool palace on a mountain. It’s colorful and all tiled and was just super cool. If you’re in Lisbon for even just a day you should go! It’s about 20 minutes outside of Lisbon.

Wesminster was cool but seemed like they just kept shoving things into the Abbey but seeing Poet’s Corner was super cool!

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These were mostly all transit cards. Green is Lisbon, White is Venice, White and green is Barcelona, and blue is London. The little white one is Paris again. The blue pamphlet is El Duomo in Florence and The tan is Sagrada Famillia in Barcelona.

I’ll talk about the transit in a few minutes because someone did message me about that!

El Duomo. I went there on the last day that I was in Florence and while the day overall was kinda shitty, That church is amazing. It’s really old and really cool looking! I climbed up all the stairs and looked out over Florence. When I was there I actually got my only injury, besides the countless mystery bruises, I hit my shoulder on a big cast iron hook… and bruised the bone in my shoulder. It hurt for 2 weeks and now just feels weird with some serious lack of range of motion right now. For an overall bad day seeing that church was definately a high point!

Sagrada Familia… I kinda have no words. It was so incredible to see in person. The church wont be finished for at least 10 more years but seeing it in its unfinished state just makes me more excited to see it in 30 years which is my prediction for when it will be finished. If there’s a pool on when it’ll be done I want in on it!

Also in my journal are tickets for trains and boats, a few other maps, pamphlets, postcards, and more tickets.

ON TO THE QUESTIONS!

  1.  Was it worth going on the trip (Not just cost wise but time wise too)
    • YES! 100% yes. I did feel like I missed some stuff and some people from back home but mainly I’m so glad that I went. I did for sure catch the “Travel bug” But the best thing was that I got to see and learn about places that I don’t know that I would’ve ever seen otherwise. Also I learned about myself. I learned a lot about growing up and how to take care of myself and that alone made it so worth it. That’s not even mentioning the friends that I’ve made that I hope are going to be a part of my life forever, even if they do live far away.
  2. What did I learn?
    • I learned that it’s okay to be on my own. That no matter where you are there are always people around. I met some people just asking what time it was and others just because I heard english being spoken. I learned that things that don’t go according to plan often lead to the best experiances. I learned to loosen up a little. Most of what I learned I can’t really describe.
  3. What was your favorite part?
    • Croatia and Budapest were incredible. Barcelona the first time was also just amazing! I don’t think I have one favorite memory but the Baths in Budapest and the beaches in Croatia were both really high up there. Also the Ferry from italy to Croatia was so much fun! Really picking a favorite part is impossible because it all was so great. I wouldn’t change anything!
  4. What was your favorite place?
    • In no particular order
      • Dubrovnik, Croatia
      • Hvar, Croatia
      • Budapest, Hungary
      • Middle of nowhere, Hungary (JOKES it wasn’t fun)
      • Barcelona, Spain
      • Madrid, Spain
      • Sintra/Lisbon, Portugal
      • London
      • Florence, Italy
      • Venice, Italy
    • One thing about the Cinque Terre, it was great however I feel like I would’ve enjoyed it way more with a friend or something.
    • One thing about Paris, Both Suzanne and I were sick in Paris so that kinda ruined that… also there were concerts going all night while we were sick that kinda dampened that…
  5. Most Beautiful Place
    • Again in no particular order
      • Dubrovnik, Croatia
      • the islands just around Hvar, Croatia
      • Cinque Terre, Italy
      • Sintra/Lisbon, Portugal
  6. Favorite thing I did
    • I can’t do it! I can’t! I don’t have a favorite thing. I loved just spending time on the water in Croatia and Italy. I loved going to churches. But what I did a lot of my free time was just walk around the cities. Sometimes I got lost but it was amazing to see the places that weren’t neccessarily in the touristy areas.
  7. How was the transportation?
    • Getting between cities was pretty easy. I mostly took trains. I took 3 flights (Madrid-Lisbon, Lisbon-Madrid, and Budapest-Rome) within Europe. The trains varied a lot in comfort and age by country and by type. The highspeed trains were generally pretty nice and they go between the big cities and between countries. The local trains or the ones that go shorter distances tended to be a little more run down and less comfortable. The worst was the one that took me from Zagreb, Croatia, to Budapest. That one broke down twice which led to me and my friends being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no food for about an hour and a half. By the time we got to Budapest we were starving but it worked out! We got there! The other way that I travelled was by boat which I did 3 times as well. Bari, Italy to Dubrovnik, Croatia which was a 10 hour overnight ferry and was a TON of fun! We all hung out and played cards. Had some drinks. And piled 8 people into my tiny 4 bed cabin. It was a blast. The next was SUPPOSED to be from Dubrovnik to Split… But we got off at the wrong stop and ended up in Hvar… which is an islanded. The next evening we took another ferry (the worst) from Hvar to Split which I felt super sea sick on and it wasn’t fun.
    • Within cities there are 4 options.
      • Metros, not everywhere has them. But when they do they’re amazing and quick and once you’ve figured them out once they’re basically all exactly the same.
      • Busses, I hate them. Sometimes they work sometimes they take forever. I did take them if Metros weren’t available or didn’t go where I wanted but mostly I just went with Metros.
      • Taxis, I only took these when I was going back to the hostel from a night out or going to and from airports/trainstations. Occasionally if I got really lost I took one but that might’ve only happened once and it was in Croatia so it was super cheap.
      • And last. Walking. I did this alot because I never realized how far places were from eachother… also I like walking and the cities I went to generally were really good for this. For the record the most I walked in one day was 10miles and that was in Barcelona! Go me!
  8. How was communication?
    1. It wasn’t too bad. Sometimes doing things like getting train tickets was hard but generally if they didn’t speak english I could point or use google translate. I did learn how to say thank you in every language EXCEPT Hungarian.
      • English – Thanks (Obviously)
      • French – Merci (Already knew this too)
      • Spanish – Gracias
        • Sorta funny story about this one. I knew how to say it because of Mexican resturants but when I was in Madrid I picked up their accent so now I say Gra-th-ias. The guy that worked in the conveniance store next to my hostel in Barcelona (who hated me to begin with) looked at me so weird because the first time I was there I said it how I always have. 2 weeks later I’m saying it differently.
      • Portugese – Obrigado or Obrigada
        • I think it has to do with gender but I never figured it out… oops…
      • Italian – Grazie
      • Croatian- Havala or Fala
        • For a while I thought it was K-vala. Like Koala but with a v… I was wrong. Its Fah-la.
  9. Cultural Differences?
    • The things I did notice were things like Italians and Hungarian drivers are crazy, being able to buy ONE bottle of water and just sit in a cafe for as long as you want is cool. Drinking wasn’t as big of a deal for people because they can do it quite a bit younger. Some stores close in the middle of the day for the siesta which freaked me out. Dinner is later and bars never seem to close. People somehow always seemed to know I spoke english even if I wasn’t talking. But after a while everything felt so normal that I barely noticed. Oh but I always noticed the speedos and tiny shorts that guys wore. I never got used to that.
  10. How were the hostels?
    • Surprisingly good! Some were better but all felt pretty safe and secure. Most were clean. The people were all nice! I prefered ones with AC, Wifi, and an elevator. but most weren’t that nice.
  11. Scary things?
    • Being out at night in Rome was freaky. I was staying right near Termini station which is known for being a bit sketch. Same in Portugal. Besides that I always felt really safe. There was one instance that wasn’t scary but there was an old guy in portugal who heard me say excuse me or something and he asked where I was from. I said america. We had a little conversation and I turned to leave. This is the day that I was flying back to Madrid, and I was all “I have to go…” He proceeded to try and get me to go to the beach with him. I politely said no and started walking away. He then yelled at me “Oh. You don’t like sex?!” And at that point I ran. Took a few random turnes and kept looking back to make sure he didn’t follow. He didn’t and now it’s a kinda funny story.
  12. Worst and best moments?
    • The worst was when I missed a train that was taking me to a boat. That sucked. I cried and called my parents waking them up at 3am their time. The best. Everything. It was amazing.
  13. Worst moments that turned out for the better
    • See previous question! Because I missed that train and boat I ended up on the next one and ended up meeting 4 guys from England who invited me to Budapest and I ended up getting really close with them. If I hadn’t missed that boat we never would’ve met and I can’t even picture that! That was one of the best segments of my trip was that week and a half with them!!!
  14. What to expect if you take a trip out of the country?
    • I think you should expect to not know anything that’s going on and take it day by day. Planning ahead is good in some cases but always make sure you remember that you can change those plans. I think the best euro I ever spent was when I’d reserve a hostel I paid that extra euro so if those plans changed I got my deposit back (minus the dollar) and now I have amount of hostel reservervation credit so next time I don’t have to pay that first 16% or whatever out of pocket.
  15. How did I change?
    • I don’t know. I feel more independant and more confident but I think that because I was there I can’t really see how I changed so I guess I don’t know.
  16. Which Culture surprised me the most?
    • Probably Croatia because I didn’t know much to begin with so I didn’t have any preconceived notions. Croatians were so nice and open.
  17. What do I miss the most?
    1. The people
    2. The freedom
    3. The endless NEW things to see and experiance
    4. Going out at night. I said it. I miss it.
    5. Just all of Europe in general. I miss the vibe.
  18. Most importantly: Favorite Foods
    • Patatas bravas from Tapas Victor which is a tiny hole in the wall across from Sant Jordi Rock Palace
    • Pizza. specifically this one IMG_4881
    • Pasta. Just all the pasta.
    • Kababs were good. WHY IS THIS NOT A THING HERE?! Is it? Am I nuts and I didn’t know it was? So good.

Thats it on here for now I guess. If you read all of that go you!

I’ll be posting pictures soon I hope. And I need to figure out what to do with this now that I’m home. If I go anywhere I’ll post and I’m planning on having a tourist day here soon so I’ll post about that when it happens. But what else? As I’m planning trips I can keep updated on that. But if you have any other questions let me know and I can do another post or something!  Again thank you for your support while I was gone and I hope to see you soon if I haven’t wether you’re here or there.

Maddy