Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Who: Me, Ali, Alisha, Mariana, and Molly (all au pairs)
How about now?
Prices: We saw AMAZING ballet in the Hungarian State Opera House (STUNNING) for about 4 euros. I saw crappy ballet in a crap auditorium in Switzerland for about 22 euros. I got a massage for 12 euros, hostel for 7 euros a night, fast food for under 4 euros, taxi ride to airport for 4 euros, and Wild Boar Stew (goulash...to the left) for 10 euros at a nice restaurant.
Money: It took forever to get used to the prices. Basically, 1 euro=280 HUF. And even though I knew this, I nearly peed my pants when they told me it was going to cost 5,000 florins for a Taxi.
The baths were set in a gorgeous old building (to the left). And this is were the confusion starts. It took a little bit of time to find the entrance. Then we were bombarded with signs in Hungarian and English with different services and where to go, but nothing telling us the basic info. We just got in line and paid what we were supposed to. We walked into the lobby area, and had no idea where to go. Knowing that I wouldn't be changing with the girls, I headed off in my own direction trying to find out what to do. I found an Irishman who was equally confused. We finally made it to the locker room. Then after some more wondering...this time, half-naked, we found the coed swimming pool. That's what you see in my picture below. On the other side of the pool, there was a coed hot tub as well.
Then on each side of the pool, there were single-sex areas. Walking into that was like walking into a Hugh Hefner dream...if he dreamt about old fat naked Hungarians. So now I had the option of sitting in the saunas and hot tubs with these men or sitting in the coed section with a chance of seeing a good looking girl amongst the crowd.
Weather: We never saw the sun. Rain on the first day and beautiful snow on the last. Cold and dreary the rest of the time. Not really that cold.
American Embassy: Roaming the streets one night, we came up to a group of policemen standing behind barricades. On one barricade was a sign of a camera with a line through it. We looked around wondering what it was talking about but couldn't figure it out. Then we saw an American Flag on a building and forgot about the sign. In our excitement in seeing the good ol' USA, I grabbed my camera. The policemen quickly stopped me. "No pictures."
"Of what? I'm just taking a picture of that flag."
"That's the American Embassy and due to terrorist threats, you can't take a picture of the building."
They were nice about it. I told them that I was an American. I asked if I could take a picture on the building with my passport in it.
Language: Most people spoke English pretty well. And if they didn't, they knew someone else working who did.
People: Very nice people in Budapest. It seemed like they were genuinely interested to talk to us Americans. And they were happy to help us. We couldn't figure out how to use a pay-phone. So I flagged this random guy down and he called the place for us with his own phone. Super nice and down-to-earth people.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
A few weeks ago, I was feeling homesick again. No secret. And to be honest, I was looking at Christmas being away from my family as the pinnacle of my homesickness. I figured that the most family-oriented holiday of the year would lead me to a mass bone marrow-selling spree to buy a ticket back home. While, a ticket back home for the holidays still sounds great...I'm not getting homesick enough to resort to such a drastic plan. Male prostitution is still on the table, though.
Instead, Christmas is having the opposite effect. Instead of making me miss my family, its making me feel more connected to them as ever. Its amazing.
As soon as I listen to Dido sing Christmas Day, I immediately smell my Christmastime home growing up...pine tree, oranges with cloves, Yankee Candles, etc. I can sense my mother slaving away to bake us 23 different kinds of Christmas cookies, of which I only eat 6. I can hear my dad begging us boys to help her because it would mean so much to her. We'd come to help take the cookies out of the oven.
As soon as I step into a mall here, I hear more Christmas music and see the same decorations as back home. This transports me to my local mall running through the stores to find crappy last-minute presents for my family. I can remember splitting up with my brothers because we are all shopping for each other. Or my parents taking me into GAP to see if Devin would wear a certain sweater that's on sale.
As soon as I see a house garishly decorated, it takes me to a somewhat cold, dry December morning with my dad yelling at Andrew to get his ass outside to help us with the manly outdoor decorating that needs to happen. I can then see Devin's ass as he ascends to the uppermost reaches of our dieing Oak tree in the front yard to get the best wrapping of Christmas lights around the branches. And finally, I can literally then see my dad's ass as he's bending over untangling last year's lights. I guess I not doing much in this scenerio.
As soon as I put on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for my boys here, I can remember my own mother gleefully watching with us every Christmas special she can manage to find. And I can see how much I enjoyed it when I was my boy's age, but then remembering how much of a struggle it has been over the last decade to sit through a tired Christmas show or made-for-TV movie.
I could go on...but my testicles have now officially retracted, and I'm now the proud owner of a nice new vagina. Before I run to the store to get some tampons, diet pills, and a Driving for Dummies book, I'll wrap this touchy-feely stuff up.
While being here, its easy to get a different perspective on things. I've always appreciated my family (immediate and relative) and the traditions that we have. But I'm seeing for the first time just how much these traditions will always be able to transcend time, distances, and experiences to bring me back to the most important part of my life. So thank you, family.
*If you're up for some more reading...this is hilariously accurate. And hilariously poignant for this blog...
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
After searching all over the city for a place to eat, we settled on Chez Yvonne. This was the cutest, most homely little restaurant I had ever seen. Old paintings on the walls with quilted French sayings next to them hung everywhere. These were sandwiched, inexplicably, by photos of possible French celebrities. Eclectic?
Anyway, the kind old lady who seems to own the place leaves us waiting at the bar for a few minutes after she greets us at the door. She then shows us our seat. After what seemed like 17 and a half minutes, she comes to take our order. We had decided that we were going to get some Foie Gras and a typical Alsatian dish, sauerkraut and sausage (Alsatian is Alsace...the region Strasbourg is located). We would share. The patient old waitress said no. We had to all get a dish. She sped off.
Round 2, she comes back 10 minutes later. Ali, the most francophone of the three of us, starts the ordering. After some hesitation, she says what she wants. A little timedly. Then Alisha and I order. She gets our order, but points to Ali and says "I don't have time for you!". The gentle and warm old lady gets someone else to come talk to us. She speaks in English to us with a smile. Perfect. We give our order.
Round 3. The sweetheart of an old lady throws a menu on our table and points to the drink section. After 5 minutes, she comes back and asks us what we wanted. We tell her we aren't thirsty. "OH! You three are REALLY speacial! ASNDAFKNFDSK!" As she storms away, we can feel how much she is working to get our tip. We decide to leave. We ordered and dashed. We are rebels.
The Christmas market was AMAZING. I was expecting maybe 30 booths with some mass-produced pieces of crap. Nope. There were hundreds of booths with mostly hand-made pieces of mediocrity. You could find everything from candles that never died to Santa Clauses that never gave presents to snack huts that never made anyone skinny. We ended up getting a 6-pack of beer. At least it was from a local brewery.
And the amount of people! Tons of people. And what I liked most of all, the people were old and local. We were easily in the 99th percentile of coolness. I'm usually in that category when I'm alone, so it was nice to be back up there as a collective group.
As for the set-up. Basically, there were 14 different areas dispersed throughout the city. They were easily walkable. This gave a great tour of the city. And best of all, it was all centered by its magnificent cathedral.
And the lights! The market was a lot cooler and night because every street was strewn with lights. It finally felt like Christmas.
I drove for 9 hours that day. I left at 6AM and didn't get back until 11:30PM. Long day. We went up through Switzerland, into Germany, and finally back into France.
This was my first time in Germany and onto its Autobahn. I should probably research this before I write about it, but I'm sure I'm an expert on this subject. There is no 1 Autobahn. It is the name for highway, in German. And yes, there are no speed limits on some parts. Where these parts are, I don't know. I just noticed that several times during our trip in Germany, I didn't see any speed limit signs. During these times, BMWs, Mercedes, VWs, and Opels roared past me easily over 100 mph. I tried to keep up. I really did. But my crappy French Renault can hardly get up to a normal French speed limit. There was one point where I hit 95 mph and I almost pulled over because I thought I blew a tire. I really thought the car was going to flip over.
But we made it safely.
Russia was the guest of honor at this year's market. The Russian women are gorgeous.
*Warning! History nerd alert! Quit reading now!!!*
Strasbourg has been the center of conflict for hundreds of years. Every time there is a war including any German states and France, Alsace (again, the region Strasbourg is in) is up for grabs. Both countries think its inheritantly theirs. Therefore, the city benefits from a strong influence of both. Both languages are seen all around, but French is dominant and is spoken much more often. But what I thought was really cool are the buildings. They looked very German, but then the city felt very French. The wooden panels felt German, but the giant cathedral was very French. The food was very German (sauerkraut, sausages, beer), but with a strong influence of France (quiche, wine, baguettes). I thought it was a perfect marriage of the 2 cultures.
Geneva needs to learn from this city. Instead of feeling French or Swiss, Geneva feels like...an awkward 15 year old with acne and a strange fascination with world politics. Its trying to find its place.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The turkey. This was a bit of a problem. No grocery store had turkey prior to Thanksgiving. The butcher shop could order it for me. -FYI, turkey is "dinde" (Dond...with your nose)- This led to a lot of confusion because I can't say that word. But anyway...the turkey was going to cost about 100 euros ($150) for the cheap small one. I could have gotten something in the vicinity of $300. The butcher said it would be good, though. Let me think about this...I could get a turkey that I'll probably overcook or go on a vacation. After turning him down, I hoped that Migros (Switzerland's Wal-Mart) would have a turkey on Thanksgiving. They did! For 55 euros ($80)! Pass again. Instead, I just got some drumsticks and thighs and pieced together a turkey. It was great!!! And cheap.
And now that that's all done...we move on to Christmas season! My FAVORITE time of year! Thankfully, all the towns here have lights up waiting to be turned on. We (the au pairs) might be going to Strasbourg (they claim they are Europe's Christmas Capital) for some Christmas markets.
I've been showing the boys American Christmas Classics (Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, etc). They are thoroughly intrigued. Macsen says that he doesn't believe in Santa...sorry, Father Christmas. But some of the questions he asks me leads me to believe otherwise. Its rather cute. I'm also trying to have them listen to Christmas music. The said that they normally don't listen to any! The lack of Christmas spirit here is absolutely depressing. I'm glad that my family's given me such a burning spirit that can't be extinguished even in these harsh environments!
Happy Holidays everyone!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I can't wait! I think this has potential to be a REALLY interesting trip. Why? Mostly because I plan on couch surfing. For those of you who don't know what that means, here's my best explanation. There is a website called couchsurfing.com. Basically, I set up a profile, and then search other profiles who live in the cities I plan on visiting. I then choose who I want to contact, and send them a message asking if they'll take me in for a few nights. This is a really long process! There are so many profiles to look through and some many messages to individually write to everyone. A few minutes ago, I got my first positive response! So it looks like I'll be staying with a Polish girl in Krakow. Yay! Now hopefully I can find somewhere for Christmas and New Years.
On a totally different note, I've been noticing a couple driving differences here in Europe that I wanted to share.
- MUCH more people park backwards in normal parking lots. Why? While I'm awesome at it, isn't it harder to do for no good reason? It seems like a waste of time to me. It also leads to a lot of people parking on the lines.
- Funny side note: A few days ago that exact thing happened causing Macsen to not be able to open his door because the guy parked too close. When we got to the car, Macsen asked why he didn't have room to open the door, so I told him it was because the guy parked on the line, too close to me. So then he started pointing at the car and looking on the other side seeing how much room the guy had on the other side...making a big production of it. The problem was that the guy was sitting in his car!!! I felt bad.
- Drivers are much more impatient here. If someone who wants to go fast gets behind someone who wants to go slow, they will either pass immediately (if they can) or ask the slow driver to pull over by flashing lights or putting on their left turn signals. I think this happens because there are hardly any 4 lane roads here. Nearly everything is 2 lanes.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I know I posted information about my future travel plans last week...but now I need to vent to someone about my problems I'm having. Ok, maybe they're not problems. I just have too many options and not enough time and money. Here are some itineraries I'm planning for my Christmas Break:
Milan-->Helsinki(Finland)-->St. Petersburg(yes, Russia)-->Riga(Latvia...really?)-->Milan
Milan-->UK-->Canary Islands(off the coast of Africa)-->UK-->Milan
So where do I go? Any suggestions? As you can see, I'm a man who doesn't like to do the usual. I don't know why. But who would pick Baltic or Scandinavian countries during the winter during his one year in Europe?
After visiting my second Olympic city last month (Barcelona...the other was Sydney), I realized that I have an infatuation on the Olympics. I've been an unaware Olympic-phile. Just off the top of my head (with no help from wikipedia), I can tell you the previous 8 summer olympics...Beijing, Athens, Sydney, Atlanta, Barcelona, Seoul, LA, Moscow...with London and Rio to follow. Is that normal? Wait...is it normal for someone my age? Maybe it is. But really, over the years, I've fallen in love with the Olympics. I think it was my crushes on Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, and Shannon Miller that started it all.
Anyway, I decided to take a short jaunt to Lausanne (a little North of Geneva) to see the Olympic Museum. The official one. It really reminded me of some sort of Hall of Fame. That means it was really cool. Lots of multimedia stuff and really interesting artifacts. I loved it. Definitely one of my favorite museums I've seen in Europe.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Upcoming trips: In almost exactly a month from now, I'll be going to Budapest for a 3-day weekend. This city has been very high on my list. Then, in 2 months, I'll be spending another 3-day weekend in Stockholm. Yes, I head north for winters. If I'm going to be cold, I want to be cold. And then, I'll have about 2 weeks off for Christmas and New Years, so I'm planning another trip somewhere. As of now, I have several ideas. But I'm thinking I might do a roadtrip exploring the North of France (Champagne, Normandy, Verdun, Loire Chateau's, etc.).
Here's a list of the places I'd most like to visit before I leave (kind of in order):
- Polland (Auschwitz)
- Czech Republic (Prague)
- Austria (Vienna, Graz, Strasbourg)
- Romania (particularly, Transylvania)
- Belgium (Brugge)
- Holland (Amsterdam)
- Denmark (Copenhagen)
- UK (Scotland, Ireland, London)
- Italy (Florence, Venice, Rome)
- Russia (anywhere...I HIGHLY doubt this will happen)
Weather: Sucks. Since I've been back from Spain, I've seen maybe 20 minutes of sun, total. Its been 10 days. And everyday it's rained. I asked if this is normal. It is. And its a shame because there is now snow on the mountains, and it's GORGEOUS! Too bad the clouds cover it.
American: I'm too much of one. Aside from being able to travel, here are the top things I look forward to each week:
- Bears games (though this is PLUMMETING because they are playing horribly)
- New TV show episodes (Curb Your Enthusiasm, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, The Office, 30 Rock, Community)
- Hearing from family and friends
- Its the most expensive area in France (that may not be entirely true...but it might be)
- I feel trapped by the mountains
- Its not French nor Swiss
- There's nothing to do
- The weather sucks
Saturday, November 7, 2009
We arrived at 9:45, because that's when we were told to arrive. We show up and the hosts are still in gym shorts and t-shirts. They told us we were early. So they stuck us in their living room while they continued to prepare the food (awkward!!!). It wasn't until 10:15 when the next guests arrived. And I really think that time was shortened because of our early arrival.
They did make some authentic Spanish food for us because we were visiting. Very nice of them. All the people (early 30's) were very nice. The problem was that most of them didn't speak very good English. But its funny how little language matters when everyone gets drunk. My ease of communication kept improving throughout the night.
I'm not saying the following to be a bigot, its just interesting...here's a list of guests:
1 Gay Couple
2 Straight couples (one guy being the ex of the Swede)
a few "regular" Spaniards
So, this was an interesting night. Everyone was VERY nice and VERY welcoming. But this had to have been one of my top 10 most awkward situations. And yet, I'm glad it happened.
Then to cap it off, during the night after I'd been sleeping for awhile, I threw up. Gross throw up. And I got a lot of it on Molly's clothes. I thought it was because I drank too much. But it was because I was sick. I swear.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
- Barcelona is laid back. Madrid is up-tight.
- Barcelona, while big, seems small. Madrid seems big.
- Barcelona's beach creates a different atmosphere. Madrid has no beach.
- I saw maybe 4 suits my whole time in Bar. Madrid, I think 86.
- Bar.'s old town is charming with many winding streets. Madrid's old town is...ehh.
- Bar. has a lot of green space (parks, beach). Madrid has very little.
- Equal metro systems.
- Bar.'s women seemed hotter.
- Bar. is very adapted towards tourists. I heard tons of English and French and it seemed like the locals all spoke English. Madrid seemed to speak only Spanish.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
The following day, Juliette (his mother) had to pick him up from school and take him to the doctor's office because he wouldn't do anything because of this "Damn Leg." After X-Rays and a blood test, the doctor concluded nothing was wrong, but he'd like for Aiden to rest it a little bit. So he gave hime crutches to take some weight off of it. Aiden uses them sparingly at best, and when he does use them, he uses them incorrectly. But it's so darn cute to see him use them!
In other news, I bought my ski pass for the season today. By doing it early, I saved 150 euros...but it was still 300!!! Thankfully, my family (here) is paying for half. They are also chipping in to rent equipment. Its expensive to ski. I better like it and I better be good at it.
Tomorrow, I'm off to Spain! I'll be spending 3 days in Barcelona and then 3 days in Madrid. Originally, I wasn't all that excited to go to Spain, but now that its getting close, I'm stoked. Yes, stoked. Maybe I should rent a snowboard?
Monday, October 12, 2009
While hiking, I realized that the Juras are a LOT like the Appalachians. The Juras are smaller, and less numerous...but to the naked eye, they are quite similar. They both have more rolling mountains than greak peaks, and they both are covered with a lot of similar foliage...or so it seems. Now that I've hiked in the Appalachians, the Juras, and the Alps, its clear just how different the Alps were (more rocky, pastures of grass and flowers, etc.). And despite me living in a rather well-off area, the socio-economic levels seem similar. While driving in the mountains yesterday, this seemed apparent with the large numbers of small run-down towns along the way.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
And it was nice. However, nothing was in English. You see, typically when you go to a museum in Europe, they will have multiple languages available. And despite recent renovations (it just re-opened last week), this one did not. It was pretty neat to see Roman pottery and typical household items, though. Photography wasn't allowed inside, so I can't show you what I saw. Just imagine Roman things.
However, with admission to this museum, I got to go in the city's castle for free. This was much cooler. Instead of a typical castle, this was more of a museum. The 2 best parts were the jail and the gallery of photographs of local people from the late 1800s. The photos were disturbing to say the least. The UGLIEST women I have ever seen. This is what they reminded me of.
And in the jail, I could go inside old cells where there were writings on the walls. Here are my 2 favorite quotes:
- Vive le Sex (Long live sex)
- La femme/ Elle a les beaux pieds (The woman/ She has beautiful feet)
Something of note...the colors of fall here aren't very good. First of all, there are a lot of pine trees here, so there is still a lot of green (faded green). And secondly, the trees that are changing colors are brown. Nothing like the yellows and reds we see in good ol' Indiana.
Monday, October 5, 2009
If you look to the right, there is a new button that says "YouTube Videos." I've realized that many times, videos do a better job at illustrating things than pictures do. So, I'm going to be taking more videos of more things and putting them under this link. From time to time, check this link out to see new videos. I'll also try to remind you when I add new ones. I just added a new one.
This is pretty interesting...
Monday, September 28, 2009
Last week, Greg was in Paris. On top of that, Juliette's busiest time of the year are these few weeks. And even more than that, Aiden was sick Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Adding all of that with 2 babysitting gigs, I was BUSY. Basically nonstop childcare is exhausting. At least I was rewarded for it...financially.
This previous weekend, Molly's parents were gone, leaving her to watch the kids. She has 2 girls (10 & 12) who are really quite fun, and I enjoy quite much. So I decided to hang out with Molly and the girls. The most interesting part was the carnaval that was going on in Thoiry. All week, at school, carnies were setting up rides and games. There were 3 rides and 3 games. Tiny. However, the whole event was quite fun.
On Saturday, there was a candlit parade. There's no way this would happen in America. Every kid got a candle with real fire. To make it worse, the candle hung surrounded by colored paper, making a lantern. Guess what happened when the latern swung in a wrong way? Fire. Then the adults and teenagers got torches...not candles, torches.
Sunday had the best feature. A parade. Molly's girls were very excited because they helped make a float and were going to go on it. Great. I thought there would be maybe 4 or 5 floats. This is a VERY small village. And it wasn't even a holiday. Boy, was I wrong. There were probably close to 15 floats with several marching bands. And the floats were hilarious. There was no cohesion. Just random, weird floats. But the BEST part was what they passed out. No candy thrown to little children. Instead, booze and fondue. I got some wine and some Grand Marnier with orange juice. How awesome is that?! Just something else that would never happen in America.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
- Macsen doesn't believe in "Father Christmas." The boys were just talking about presents and Christmas, and Macsen asked me if he should let the cat out of the bag for Aiden. Of course, I told him no. Macsen is only 7...this is heartbraking to me.
- I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don't just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas.
- This may sound like a commercial, but for my birthday, my parents got my the best present. Its called a HAVA (Slingbox is a similar product). This little contraption erases homesickness. Well, not all the way, but a great deal for a sports fan like me. What is it? Well, it hooks up to your home TV source and your home network. It then streams that source over the internet for viewing anywhere in the world. Thus, I'm able to watch (and control) my home's American television (for free...after the intial price). Sure, I can download shows to watch over here, but not sports. I ended up waking up at 2:30AM to see the Bears lose to the Packers on Monday morning. For more info, visit myhava.com. They gave me $20 to say that.
- Speaking of the Bears, I'm depressed. People who know me, know that when the Bears lose, I'm sad that entire week. This was an especially hard one for me. However, I think everyone is overreacting to this loss. Sure, we lost of team leader on defense and our team leader on offense was horrible, but despite this, we STILL should have won. I still have optimism for the rest of the season. Cutler will improve.
- Back to France. Because we are in France, my kids learn in French even though we all speak English. However, Macsen started going to an English school this week. This way, he'll be able to read and write in English as well.
- Macsen has problems with reading, writing, and spelling (much like me!). He's really a bright kid, but he struggles in these areas. He constantly reverses his letters and numbers. All the time. We really think he's dyslexic. The problem with France is that he has to fail 2 grade levels before they do anything about it! By that point, he'll be too far behind. I don't like this.
- Just finished getting up to date on Mad Men. If you haven't seen this show, you should. Its probably one of my favorite shows of all time. It's fantastic.
- Molly told me that I use the word "fantastic" too much. She says "perfect" a lot.
- Children need encouragement. If a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way, he develops a good, lucky feeling.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
During my time out here, I am putting this weekend on the top of the list. Easily, it was the most beautiful place I've been (without trying to compare it to anything in Australia). But the adventures Molly and I went on are what made it really stand out.
Our main purpose for going to Interlaken was to see a traditional Swiss festival of when they bring the cows down from the mountains for the winter. During said festival, they have a cheese-sharing element where farmers sell their excess cheese. We were nearly certain of where it was going to take place, but not exactly sure.
We got to the small town where we were expecting it. Not there. So, naturally, we asked our waitress where it was. The problem was that she didn't even understand me when I said that rosti is a Swiss food. She thought I said that it has meat in it. Looking back on it, it was not the smartest thing in the world to accept her advice for where the festival would be. We ended up driving and driving until we finally found how to get to the town she said to go to. The problem: it was WAY up the mountain. 4,364 feet up the mountain to be exact. The entire time driving along the cliffs we were praying that no one was coming down because the road could fit 2 cars on it maybe 20% of the time. But for some reason, it seemed like there was always juuuust enough room to pull over when a car was coming down. It was a little scary to say the least. The town's name: Rosenlaui.
Did this town have a festival? Hell no. However, it did have a waterfall/gorge. It was gorgeous. And there was a little farming area where pigs were loose and the cows were beautiful. So, we were too upset that we didn't find it. But just then...I had a hunch were I thought the festival would be. And I was right.
Interlaken is in a valley. Rosenlaui was up the southern mountains. We needed to go up the northern mountains. We did. But we found out we needed to take a gondola up to the festival. The last ride went at about 4 something. It was 5 something at this point. No luck. Oh well.
To drown away our sorrows, we went to Interlaken, found some American tourists, got them to take us to their hostel bar, and enjoyed happy hour. I'm being facetious about drowning away our sorrows.
Instead of staying in a hostel like normal tourists, Molly and I decided it would be fun to camp. We borrowed a tent from Molly's family and were pretty excited for it. Until we set it up. I don't even think it was the size of a Queen Size bed. It was about 3 feet tall, too. It was close quarters.
The next day, we went hiking. I honestly have no idea how high we hiked. But it was probably the most hiking anyone has ever done. We spent almost 2 hours going straight up. There were no horizontal portions. And what's worse, on the way down it's still hard. It just works a different set off muscles. So I have 2 sets of muscles that are inoperable today (it’s the morning after).
Here are random things about Interlaken that didn't make my narrative:
- Drink the water. We filled up water bottles from a waterfall during our hike. I'm fine. Maybe I should check on Molly?
- I never realized how many waterfalls there are in the Alps. Tons of little-medium sized ones.
- I hiked the Alps. I guess that was in the story...just wanted to say it again.
- It is definitely colder the higher you go up a mountain. Unless you are sweating from your hike.
- Interlaken means "town between lakes." Imagine mountains to the north and south with two decent sized lakes framing it on the west and east.
- Costco sells an energy drink mixture called Zipfizz. You pour it into water and shake it up. Do NOT pour it into carbonated water. It will erupt and get pink sticky stuff all over your car.
- Molly laughs a lot.
- Meiginen (the small town where we thought the festival was) is home to Sherlock Holmes. We think. There was a museum there and several things named after him.