Sunday, May 25, 2008

ITALY!!!! right for you and me.

Seriously, this trip has been amazing and way more than I expected, but camping in Italy has just blown everything out of the water; the crystal clear, beautiful water. Only pictures can do this justice because my words will fall very short of describing the unique beauty here. The food is amazing. No offense Susan, but Pizza Hut needs to take a lesson from Montorosso, Italy. An entire pizza with fresh pesto, basil and three cheeses (the best in the world in my opinion), and bottle of house wine (in Pizza hut terms the "fantastic family feast") for about 10 Euro or 15 American dollars (once again in Pizza hut terms, "five bucks, five bucks, five bucks!") So really good food. But the hike through the mountains was by far the highlight of the visit. We were hiking right along the coast and passed roses, cherry trees, lemon trees, olive trees, grape vines for the local wine, all of them bursting with color. Now these pictures are going to be awesome, trust me. To be continued again (battery power and train times don't always work in our favor here.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ok, my bad it's been a while

o.k. where to start???
first there is England, then Ireland, then Amsterdam, then most of France....dangit!!!
so much to write about and so little time.
The highlights of England: London is expensive but awesome. We saw a production of Spamelot and went to a service at Westminster Abbey. I think I might have already written about we'll assume I have. Other than that, however, Ireland was short lived but let me tell you the Guinness in Dublin was like heaven in a glass. Watching the beverage poured is half the fun. It was magnificent, and very filling (much like a milkshake from Steak and Shake.) We took a ferry to Dublin from the U.K. that was run by a full Russian crew. We half expected them to take us to their father land and put us to work, however, all is well we ended up in Dublin. After Dublin was the plane ride to Amsterdam. It was with Ryan air where the slogan should be, "it's cheap, but you'll love listening to/paying for all the advertisements during the flight!" Honestly, it was like a flying commercial...with no interruptions, prime time. However, what a view from the plane!!! Amazing to see all the islands and such while in the air.

So once again, skip a few (pictures to follow and they are apparently worth 1,000 words, so they will do most of the speaking for me...hopefully,) and now we are in Amsterdam!!! Unfortunately I am currently in Nice in France and it is 2:11 in the morning, so, according to my mother back home, it is far past my bed time (maybe that was a joke, maybe it wasn' decide.) So I will continue this a.s.a.p! Alright readers I have left (i.e. my family) sit tight, because the best is to come!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

After a long, but gorgeous train ride we arrive in Inverness. Alright, we all knew it was coming, enter the haggis! The best meal yet. No joke, haggis is pretty tasty. No offense to the English, but your food makes me feel like I'm an inmate. It's kind of a punishment considering how much it costs. However, the food in Scotland is a real treat. Cheers Scots! We hit up the art museum which was rather small, but quality is definitely over quantity at this place. Fantastic bronze sculptures, very fluid in movement and surely nothing to scoff at. Also included in the museum were a collection of man made insects. That is to say that this artist had assembled her own replicas of beetles, moths, stick bugs and so on out of twigs and leaves and nuts. It was impressive to say the least, very detailed and fooled me at first. I thought we had stumbled into some sort of biology museum but upon a closer look I noticed the intricacy of them all. Brilliant!

So we returned home, but it was no ordinary trip back to Sterling. We were sat right behind a Scottish navy man on leave from his submarine. This guy had 3 small bottles of vodka (sold on the train) three beers (also sold on the train) and a shot of whiskey (notice the trend.) Eventually he was spitting out sentence fragments all embellished with a nice layer of f-bombs. Example: "You're f-ing dumb, you're f-ing American and if you say anything else I'll knock you in the f-ing jaw!" This guy made an ass of himself insulting every possible country. No one was safe from this guy's criticism, even Scots. Warning: if you run into John from the Scottish navy and you happen to be English, American, German, French, Irish, Polish, etc... he will "knock you in the fuckin' jaw!" (what a jackass, but an entertaining jackass at that.)

Unfortunately when we reached Sterling Patch and Josh didn't quite make it off the train. So I looked back expecting to see my buds I saw the door closing in front of Patch's wide eyed face. I just shook my head, cussed and started back to the hostel. I decided to watch a movie while I waited for my mates to return and low and behold, the hostel had Akira. Yeah!!! I was joined by Patrick a.k.a. Canadia a.k.a. Cah-Nay-Dah. We enjoyed this animated gore and insanity over pizza and strongbow. But the night was young so after Patch and Josh returned Patch, Canadia, and I headed out to the pub. Here we downed a couple while comparing America and Canada (not much fun for us) and later ran into some older Scotsmen. I would have an easier time understanding a Chinese man with a wet towel over his mouth than an older drunken Scotsman. But they were jovial and great nonetheless. When we told them we were from Tennessee one man hummed dueling banjos and the other sang Davey Crockett. So once again, the night came to an end. Sorry, no photographic evidence this time.

One two skip a few, now we're in Sterling

Well let's see. Scotland. It's been an adventure so far. We started out at the Willie Wallace hostel where an American Mel Gibson look alike checked us in. After check in we took a stroll up the hill and there found what to the Scottish is average scenery, but to us was heaven (pictures most surely coming soon.) No wonder this country started golf because the grass everywhere in Sterling is like walking on a green tended to by millions of illegal immigrants (it's not racist if it's true.) Amazing views from Sterling as well, including a monumental spire to the true William Wallace. So we returned to the hostel and I found that they were renting out movies for free to the guests. I went up and told the girl behind the counter I wanted to rent a movie and she rolled her eyes and sighed "Braveheart?" I said no to which she, relieved, said "Thank God! I've rented that movie out 30 times in the last 2 months." Instead I decided to go with a more mature, insightful movie, Robin Hood Men in Tights and got the thumbs up from the staff.
Soon as I can remember we went out to an Aussie joint and had some fish and chips. Btw, Scottish food, much better than British food. But we finished early and returned to the willie wallace hostel at an 8 yr. old's bedtime. I had just sat down to watch Robin Hood Men in Tights when, as luck would have it, Terry our roommate and willie wallace employee asked me if I fancied a pint. The answer was obvious and so the three amigos rolled out to go drink in Scotland with an Irishman. Terry is a baller and a damn good cook. We hopped around the bars for a bit and ended up back at the hostel after some jagger, system of a down (patch cut up a rug), and laughs calling it a night.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Canterbury, Portsmouth and South Sea

Well our flight left on time at 6:30 p.m. Chattavegas time. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any sleep on the flight which arrived at Gatwick around 8 a.m. their time. Thus, sleep deprived, we begin day one of our tour.

First stop was Canterbury. Large crowds, and even larger prices come to mind in this area. However, we were able to take time to appreciate the more natural beauty around this area (pictures to come soon) the most astounding attraction being the Cathedral. We walked in and I immediately felt very small standing in the largest single room I'd ever been in. To put things in perspective, I was like an ant and the cathedral a shoe box (but a very ornate shoe box at that.) It was so beautiful that I actually cried. It could have also been the extreme lack of sleep, but either way, I was moved. It was incredible. (once again, pictures to follow, my words don't do it justice.)

The night ended with the three American tourists, including yours truly, walking approximately 10-11 miles ALL OVER PORTSMOUTH looking for our hostel, which we were 4 hrs late arriving to. We asked 6 different locals for directions along the way and by the time we got there the hostel was closed. What we didn't expect was for the entire area surrounding Portsmouth and South Sea would be booked solid. That's right, after 5 more miles, not a single room found. So we went into badass mode and slept on the ground in the park near the pyramids at Portsmouth. We weren't able to get that much sleep, but it was certainly an adventure. Welcome to England blokes!

translations (starting with English slang and then it's American equivalent)
bloke = dude
cheers = thanks
wang = sex
Portsmouth = Unwelcoming

Quote of the day
"Ummm! that guy is standing up before the airplane is stopped. The stewardess is going to slap him in the face..................with fish and chips!"
- 10 yr old sitting behind me on the plane. He said this loud enough so the
whole plane could hear. I laughed so hard I almost cried.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

the day before

The trip is tomorrow......I should probably start packing.