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Big Trees

Spring break 2013, the story of a close group of friends and their adventures in the Redwood National Park…

March 22nd, 10 A.M. Time of departure is upon us.  Graham is at the wheel and Slug is standing guard in “shotgun.”  The middle seat of the minivan that we like to call “Ol’ Bessie” was taken out to make space for the luggage, so Bruce, Jon and I climb over the mountain of miscellaneous items into the backseat.  One stop at 7-11 for a cheap breakfast fix and we are on the way to Redwood National Park to live amongst the giants for four days.

Like I said, giants:

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We arrive Friday afternoon at the ranger station in “BEAUTFUL Crescent City” (this reference is an inside joke that was developed during our time in/around “beautiful” Crescent City) to get our camping and fire permits.  Ranger Mike helps us make an itinerary.  Here is how it pans out: 40 miles, four days.  Yippee!  Friday night we camp at Craig’s Beach, a campground on the Smith River consisting of a mere two campsites.   After we set up camp about twenty feet from the aqua-green colored river it is time to make a fire.  Bruce is the engineer of the flame while the others gather wood.   As the flames rip and roar the big dipper lingers above the tree line.  We spend the night drinking Keystone Light, roasting brawts, sharing stories and fostering our friendships around the flame.

I wake up Saturday morning to find my face literally two inches from Jon’s.  Because we have 8 adventurers (Bruce, Graham, Jon, Slug, KJ, Michael J., Michael Park and myself) and only seven sleeping spots (3 two-person tents and 1 one-person tent) Bruce, Jon and I all squeeze into Bruce’s tent.  The result; four nights in close quarters.  Good thing we aren’t strangers.

From the left, Bruce, Jon and I.

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Anyhow, we wake up and make the 5-mile trek through the beach, creek and switchbacks that lead us to DeMartin, the campground that we call home for the second night.  After a grueling uphill climb we are all happy to reach our destination.

Awesome defined by a camper; when there is no one else at the campground and in turn the camper has free reign on which site to choose.  Awesome achieved.  Spent the afternoon climbing the trees in the nearby grove and playing catch with the Frisbee.  We played like little kids on this afternoon.

Saturday night was spent the same way as Friday night, except we ran out of beer and instead took the edge off with a bit of Burnett’s Vodka.  Thanks and no thanks, Michael Park.

Woke up Sunday feeling rested (we set up tent on a flat surface instead of a slant as we did on Friday) and ready to conquer our first big hike.  We each scarfed our individual servings of oatmeal and shoved off.  Today we walk 12 miles on the gorgeous coastal trail.  Destination is Nickel Creek campground. One foot after the other my friends.

Twelve miles Ranger Mike! ? Did you not get the notion that the majority of us are out of shape college students who work out via intramurals, who don’t own hiking boots and who didn’t bring the proper apparel to protect us from the chafing that occurs on the inner thighs after hiking 12 miles up, down, over and around this massive forest?  Apparently not.

Upon arriving at the campground we immediately shed pack and get horizontal.  The campground at Nickel Creek is 200 yards from the beach and the creek that feeds into the ocean runs right past our site.  Tonight, Nickel Creek is inhabited by a rowdy group of fifteen college students from Central Wyoming Community College, all of whom are outdoor education majors.  In turn, there is only one site left; right next the outhouse.  It seems as if they have chosen wisely.  Fires billowed smoke, the ukulele rang song and the voices lingered throughout the night.  They wanted us to join the party, but we knew that come sunrise we have another tough hike.  Tonight we are in bed an hour or so after the sun disappears beyond the horizon.

Sunset

On Sunday morning we are huddled around the map trying to figure out which route we want to take from Nickel Creek to Little Bald Hills.  Ranger Mike told us to stay away from one trail but nobody really knows why… and it makes the hike a bit shorter.  Oh, the options.  After some debate we decide to listen to Ranger Mike, who hasn’t led us astray thus far- but there is still a debate; should we walk the trail or walk through BEAUTIFUL Crescent City for the first half of the hike?  We decide that walking on cement for the first eights miles could freshen things up a bit.  Out of the bush and onto the pavement we go.  All the while a massive blister is birthing on the underside Michael Johnson’s right foot.

Before we leave Nickel Creek and depart on the 16- miler, a stretch is deemed necessary.

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The last half of the hike is much harder, but after a thirty-minute lunch break consisting of PB & J’s and summer sausage sandwiches with pepper jack cheese we are feeling properly prepped to conquer the monster that ends with a 3.5-mile hike in which we ascend 2,000 feet.  We rest at the base of the final 3.5-mile stretch to catch our breath and mentally prepare for what is ahead.  Bruce, Jon, Slug and I take off but before we know it Slug and I are panting and Bruce and Jon have disappeared around the bend.

Slug and I are sweating like dogs as we make the ascent- don’t look ahead, just stare at the ground and follow your feet, this is our recipe for success.  After hiking for what feels like forever we hear a cry of celebration up ahead- it must be Jon and Bruce, we are close!!  Finally we have made it.  Little Bald Hills is a beautiful campground, situated on an open, rectangular field.  If the trees were hair, and the open field was the scalp of a ginormous giant, this would literally be a little bald hill. There is a father and daughter camping at a site about 100 yards away, on the other side of the field.  To do list: set up camp, purify water at the creek, make fire and eat what is left of our food.  I never knew that dehydrated food is actually quite scrumptious.

The last hike!  We leave Little Bald Hills in the morning feeling extra motivated as we are on the home stretch.  The remaining six miles is all flat/downhill.  Easy peasy, plus, we are high in elevation and have a great view of the forest and the Smith River that runs through it.  A perfect home stretch indeed.

Graham, Slug, Jon, Bruce, Michael Park and myself reach the highway ahead of the others (remember that MJ has a meteoric blister) and Graham heads up the road about a mile to where he parked his car.  Mission accomplished.  A meal of large proportions is in order.

Once back in Crescent City we are on a search for something wholesome and tasty, so naturally we land on Pizza Hut.  While Jon, Graham, Slug, Bruce and I split three large pizzas MJ, Michael and KJ head to McDonalds to get a juicy Big Mac, or two.  We each had seven pieces.

Some people like go on lavish cruises and spend their money on expensive alcohol during the Spring Break of their senior year.  It is kind of the thing to do these days I suppose.  Sounds fun, but we decided to go off the grid, embrace the outdoors and drink cheap.  This is exactly what we all wanted out of our breaks and we did it with the perfect group of guys.

I encourage all to get outside and dive into the beauty of the great outdoors, and if you can, do it with your friends.  I promise you won’t regret it.

Grand total of the trip; ninety-four dollars.

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(Slug, MJ, Michael Park, Bruce, myself, Graham, Jon, KJ)

Photos courtesy of KJ Neish.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Alt(ernative)-J

Here is what I am listening to right now.  The band is Alt-J, an up and coming alternative rock group out of Great Britain.  When the music is coming from Britain, it usually isn’t half bad (see; Rolling Stones, Beatles).  And this isn’t either.

You like?  Check out http://altjband.com/ to learn more groovin’ info about Alt-J.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Incredible.

All of a sudden I am at the San Francisco airport.   Before I attempt to explain the surreal feeling that exists in my person I will look into my memory bank and tell you some cool things about our time in Rome.  First things first, if you are the least bit interested in history you need to visit.

The train ride from Cinque Terre to Rome took about 5 hours and cost forty euros.  Not cheap, but affordable.  Like usual, the duration of the train ride was spent snacking on candy, playing cards and attempting to no avail to get some shut-eye.  We arrived in Rome to find that one of the metro lines was closed.  And what do you know, of all the various lines, it is the line that we need to get to our hostel.  What was even funnier is that the line was only closed for two days.  Well, our timing was perfect.  Via bus, and then another metro line, we did eventually made it to our hostel, but only to drop off our stuff and then return to town.  Time to find some pizza.

Is it possible for something to be easier done, than said?  When we walk off the metro that we took to get back into town, we spot six pizza places in a two-block span.  We have hit the jackpot.  I get a pizza with ham, mushrooms, olives and an egg, and if I recall correctly, Jon chooses the four cheese with mushrooms and sausage.  Delicious AND filling, this is a travelers ideal meal.  After dinner we walk around town, go to a lovely park where we have a panoramic view of the city.  As a bonus, the sun is setting and the sky is turning to a pinkish-orange.

The next day is a history lesson of a giant proportion.  We wake up at 7:30, first stop; Vatican.  The Vatican was incredible.  Both of our favorite part, which should not come as any sort of surprise to anyone is the Sistine Chapel.  A real thing of beauty.  The type of thing that you hear about all your life, but never understand what all the rave is about until you get there yourself.   And then you get there and it is better than you could even imagine.  Scanning the walls of the Sistine Chapel is sort of like receiving the worlds quickest history lesson on Christianity.  We spent a couple hours at the Vatican and then continued to the Coliseum.

Being inside something as epic as the Coliseum makes you feel a bit weird.  Not due to the fact that men used to fight other men, bears, tigers and lions to the death, but because it is just that old. Especially if the country you come from is as young as America.  It is a difficult thing to even comprehend, the fact that the gorgeous structure that your looking at was built by man power a couple thousand years ago.   Interesting to sit back and think in times like these.  Today we watch people kill each other on the television screen.  Back then it was real life.  A cool thing that we learned about the Coliseum is that the citizens of Rome went for free, and food was provided.  It also held 70,000 people, bigger than Autzen.  Lets go Ducks.  Following the Coliseum we walked through the Forum, where my amazement with the Roman people and their history continued to grow.

The next day we walked around town all day, but the most remarkable thing we did was go the Pantheon.  We arrived at 11:00, but mass was going on so we came back a couple hours later.  How cool is it that mass is still held at the Pantheon?  We learned that it is one of the best upheld monuments from the ancient times.

London was a brilliant place for the last stop of our European adventure.  It was the only city that we went to in which the native language was English.  Because of this, London ended up being the perfect transition back to America.

At the moment, Jon is enjoying his last moments London and I know that he plans on writing his one and only blog.  Why not save the best for last!  Not sure when he plans on doing it, or what he plans on writing about, but I will not include our London experience in this entry, in case he plans on covering that.  But to give you just a small smidgen of my opinion of the city, I absolutely loved it.  London cracked my top 5 favorite cities of the trip, and that is saying something.  I would very much so like to go back there some day.

At that, I will leave you with a list that I compiled while I had a surplus of time (6 hours) at the London airport this morning.  Just a very, very short list of some of the fun things that I can remember off the top of my head.

  1. Hiking down the Schlithorn in Switzerland.  Stopping at the lake and then the waterfall on the way down.  One of the best days of my entire life.
  2. Hiking up to the Shark’s Fin in Switzerland.
  3. Swimming with the Fish in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Mykynos.
  4. Vatican/Coliseum/Forum day in Rome
  5. Going to the castle in Sintra, a town twenty minutes outside of Lisbon.
  6. The night we stayed up all night in Copenhagen and then proceeded to go to our first day of class without a wink of sleep.  Also the only class where my finance teacher decided to call on me randomly.
  7. Renting bikes for a day in Amsterdam.
  8. Hiking through the Cinque Terre
  9. Going to the Tivoli theme park in Copenhagen on our last full day in the city.

Just boarded the plane.   This was the best Summer of my life, hands down.  If you spent any time reading the blog I hope you enjoyed it and at least got a small taste of the amazing things that Jon and I experienced during our time abroad.  Ten countries, thirteen cities and zero regrets.  We did it right.  Northwest bound.

Adios for now.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Five cities and facial hair.

Another city has come and gone.  Today’s victim; Cinque Terre.  Cinque Terre, which translates to “five cities,” went by so quickly it feels like it was just a pit stop on the way to Rome, what a beautiful place.  The way the cities are built is quite amazing as they are all on steep hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean.

Unfortunately, we were unable to stay in the Cinque Terre, probably due to our own actions.  We waited until 3 days before our arrival in Cinque Terre to book our hostel in Cinque Terre- or so we thought.  It ended up that there weren’t any hostels in Cinque Terre that were readily available and in our price range.  We ended up staying in Deiva Marina, a small town that was a twenty minute train ride from Monterosso, which is the first town in the Cinque Terre.  From the Deiva Marina train station, it was a thirty-five minute walk to our hostel.  This is the walk that we made upon arrival at the train station, backpacks and all.  By the time we got to the hostel one might say that we were feeling exhausted, I’d say that we were pooped.  Any way you slice it, we were tired.  We ate individual pizzas, watched part of Pineapple Express, probably the fifth time we have watched it this trip, and then proceeded to sleep the night away.  In the morning Jon told me that I snored.  Hate to hear that, I remember when I was young and I could hear my parents snoring from down the hall.  How annoying!

We grabbed a sandwich and two juicy peaches from the local market and set off for the train station.  Today’s goal; hike through the Cinque Terre.  Starting in Monterosso, after a brief dip in the ocean, we set off on our journey.  A guy that we had met the previous night from the Netherlands told us that it took thirty minutes to hike through all the cities.  At least that is what we got from the conversation.  Coming from Switzerland, where all we did was hike, this came as good news.  Perhaps it was too good to be true.  As we are hiking from Monterosso to the next city, Vernazza, we slowly begin to question his word.  Could it be that he meant it was thirty minutes between each city?  Wait a minute, it just took us an hour to get from Monterosso to Vernazza…. Interesting.

Got our ice cream fix in Vernazza, along with two giant waters.  Keep in mind it is about 90 degrees outside.  The hike to the next city, Corniglia, takes equally as long as the first hike and the sweat keeps building- as does the irritation on my inner thighs.  We haven’t even gotten to the third city and the chafing has already begun.  This is not pleasant.  In Corniglia, which sits a bit above sea level, we stopped at the ATM as well as the market.  Jon got another peach and a baguette for a grand total of about $1.50.  Off to Manorola…

The path to Manorola is under construction so we take a train there.  A bit of a bummer but we don’t mind the rest.  While we are waiting for the train we hide in the shade of the subway, playing cards and people watching.  Train has arrived, after a short ride we arrive in Manorola.  Manorola has a nice little swimming hole where the locals (what do locals look like?) are jumping off rocks, so Jon and I join in.  After swimming we take the path the Riogiamorre, the last town in the Cinque Terre, we are almost to the last city!  And my inner thighs are almost raw.  In Riogiamorre we have a celebratory beer, and another ice cream.  Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, we love ice cream.  Jon really loves ice cream.  I have recently dubbed him the candyman because of his sweet tooth.

We walk around the town for a while, and then head back to the train station.  We eventually get back to our hostel, it is sometime in the evening, probably about seven, but that is just a guess.  Due to the fact that neither of us have a phone or watch we never really know what time it is.  We are actually getting pretty good at reading the sun to see what time of day it is.  Being able to tell what time it is based on the position of the sun makes me feel smart in a really dumb way.

So that is the majority of our Cinque Terre experience.  The next day was not quite as eventful, although we did rent a kayak for 12 euros an hour, along with a pair of goggles.  Took the kayak for a 2 ½ hour trip around the Monterosso bay, taking turns swimming around with the little fishies that exist in the clear Mediterranean waters.  Another great day to notch on the ol’ European adventure belt.  Right now we are on the train, somewhere between Pisa and Rome.  Rome is the second to last city on Jon and Brad’s European Adventure, scary to think that 9 ½ weeks have passed this quickly.  Only 5 nights left and we are going to make the most of it.

Note; I am quite positive that I butchered a few of the names of the cities in Cinque Terre, but we don’t have internet access on the train so I have no reference!  Another thing worthy of note, our facial hair.

I realize that I can’t grow legitimate facial hair, but it gets better thanks to Jon.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The greatest place on earth.

Goodbye Gimmelwald.  Goodbye Switzerland.  Five nights wasn’t enough to fully discover all that you have to offer, but I suppose that is a good excuse to come back one day.  At the moment it is about noon, we have been on and off trains since 8:30 and still have about 7 hours to go until we reach our destination; Monterosso, a town in the Cinque Terre.

We had four full days in Gimmelwald, by the fifth day our legs were absolutely shot from the previous three days of hiking.  I already told you about the hike we did on day one, called Chilchbalm, in which the trail followed the river to the valley’s end.  The next day we took the steep trail up to the “Shark’s fin,” about a 2,100 foot hike up to the top.  That morning we were debating what hike we were going to embark on for the day.  When the idea of hiking to the Shark’s Fin came about, I looked up into the sky at the god forsaken cliff of a mountain and this is what I said to myself, slowly but definitely surely, “holy……. shit.”  I knew right then that was going to be one hell of a day.  For the majority of the hike, it is so steep that you have to lean forward just to keep from falling backwards.  Keep in mind that we haven’t been working out much, if at all during our time in Europe.  My mind was telling me no, my body was telling me no, Jon was telling me yes.  I can say confidently that there is no way that I make it to the Shark’s Fin that day without his motivating words, “1 more hour… Ok Brad, 30 more minutes… lets just go to the next juncture and gather our thoughts.”  Two and a half hours later we find ourselves at the summit, towering over Gimmelwald.  Keep in mind that Gimmelwald is already 4,500 feet up the mountain.   This is no hike in the Columbia Gorge, the air was to thin that I could hardly talk due to the pile of saliva building up on my tongue.

This was no doubt the hardest hike that I have ever done but it was worth every ounce of energy-and sweat (there was a lot of that)- that I put into it.  That night, after inhaling a massive plate of spaghetti, we met a 27 year-old Australian name Kale.  Strong accent, and hair below his shoulder, Kale was a real badass dude indeed.  We agreed that we would go up to the highest point in the area, Schlitholm, the next morning.  Little did we know, the next morning we would both feel quite like we did the morning after we did our first set of squats. If you lifted weights, especially if you lifted weights at a pre-mature age than you know how I felt.  Legs like cement.  Very sore, too sore to make the 3 and a half hour hike to the top of Sclitholm.  Luckily for us, there is a tram that will take us there, no hiking needed!  Yee-haw!  We agree to take the tram and then hike down.  After soaking in the gorgeous view from the top for a few hours we begin to head down.  And then Kale starts jogging, and then he keeps jogging.  Besides a few stops on the way down we basically run down the whole mountain back to Gimmelwald.  It was one of the most fun experiences of my life.  Crystal clear skies and a fair temperature, combined with the fact that we are on a mountain that is usually inhabited by skiers in the Winter season adds up to a real nice time.

About halfway down the mountain we spot a lake.  Obviously we ditch the path and traverse straight for the lake.  Not the first time we will ditch the path, at one point we realize we took the wrong path, but instead of backtracking we just blaze our own trail down a rivine between two ridges. Anyhow, the three of us skimp down to our boxers and take refreshing, although short-lived because the water is just about freezing, dips in the greenish-blue colored lake.  The lake is situated right next to a drop off, and you can look directly over the edge of the lake to the other side of the valley.  Behold a beautiful landscape of rolling hills of green and snow-capped alps.

As I am swimming in the lake I realize how lucky I am.  I am swimming in a lake, on a mountain in the Swiss Alps in my boxers, while two of my buddies are skipping rocks and having great laughs on the shore.  This is the goodlife, it just takes a bit of outdoor exploration to find it.  We all skip rocks for a bit. Kale shows off, he can get about 20 skips per rock compared to my 5 or 6, and then the three of us head back down the mountain.  Running again, but this time we are going commando style.  Right before we get back to Gimmelwald, Kale shows us to a waterfall where we again skimp down and freeze our balls off for a brief second. By the time we get back to the hostel we are all complaining about how bad our legs hurt (2 hours of running down a mountain will do that), but are feeling quite accomplished.  We exchange high fives when we finally reach flat ground.  Beers are in order.  And rest.

Yesterday Jon went bungy jumping.  No surprise to me, he said it was one of the coolest things he has ever done.  Due to monetary reasons, and the fact that heights aren’t my cup of tea, I skipped out. Then it started raining, which quickly subtracts all fun things you can do in Gimmelwald.  All in all yesterday was a much needed day of rest.

Sorry this blog was so long.  I blame the beauty of Switzerland, and because I am on a long train ride and am not distracted by the various activities that have been a stones throw away in every town we have visited.  Time to get back to my book now.  I have been reading “Pistol,” for the past week.  The biography of the great Pistol Pete Maravich.  It is calling my name at the moment, quite the page turner!  Just crossed the border into Italy.  Talk to you soon if I can find the time.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Hello, beautiful.

Good morning, Gimmelwald!  This is what we see when we look out or window;

 

As were making the ascent up the railroad tracks, through the countryside of Switzerland, snow capped Alps on either side, the conversation between Jon and I went something like this;

Me:  “I feel like if you lived here you would be happy all the time.”

Jon:  “I would literally be so happy.”

This is the closest place that either of us have ever been to “heaven on earth.”  Located at about 4,500 feet, with a mere 108 residents, Gimmelwald operates a bit differently.  The ideal situation for the “you have to be here to know what i’m talking about,” line.  It is clear to me that the only thing that the locals worry about is the possibility of an avalanche in the winter time.  Our hostel is pretty rad also.  Take a look;

 

The door to our 18 bed room doesn’t even lock and there are no lockers.  I suppose that says all you need to know about the type of people that come to stay at the Mountain Hostel.  Outdoors-y people, beer lovers, people who wear hiking boots when they aren’t even hiking. Definitely not anyone who is out to rob a fellow human.

When we checked in yesterday, we told one of the people staying at the hostel that we were from Oregon.  She replied, “so many Oregon people!”  Apparently four others from the great state checked out that morning.  Considering there aren’t more than fifty people staying at this hostel we thought that was pretty cool.  Had to say that made me, once again, proud to be an Oregonian.  We then made the trek up to the neighbor town of Murren to go to the grocery store and the ATM- neither exist in Gimmelwald.  It was about a thirty minute scenic walk up the cement path, weaving it’s way through pastures of livestock, up the mountain to Murren, which is a bit bigger than Gimmelwald.  Probably closer to 1,000 inhabitants if I were to venture a guess.  We bought all the essentials, spaghetti, meatsauce, eggs, bread and beer and then walked back to the hostel to cook up the grub.

This morning we went on a hike along the river, Alps towering over us on either side.

 

There’s Jon!  He is often in my pictures, as I have to stop and snap the bad boy, he usually ends up a few feet in front of me.  I find it kind of funny, and it puts more perspective to the picture which is nice.  We stopped near the river and ate spaghetti out of ziploc bag, surrounded by butterflies all the while.  The butterflies wouldn’t stop landing on us.  I had never experienced this before- butterflies that behaved like mosquitoes.  It probably sounds awesome, but it was pretty odd at the moment.  After our meal we dumped our heads in the glacier water and headed back to camp.  Here I find myself writing this blog looking at massive snow capped mountains with sheer, 2,000 foot drop offs to the base of the mountain.  We might make the short train ride into Interlaken in the next couple days, or we may stay on the mountain.  Can’t really go wrong at this point, too many awesome things to do.  “Yes Anna, we would like to extend our stay to five nights.”

Can’t say i’m not content.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Mykynos/Lisbon/Madrid and a taste of Barcelona

^Mykynos by day

Mykynos by night..

Unfortunately, we only stayed in Mykynos, a small island off the east coast of Greece for one night.  Not staying longer was only a small mistake on our great adventure.  Mykynos was an incredible place, Jon and I had a surplus of fun swimming with the fishes in the clear, but salty water of the Aegean Sea, eating cheap gyros by the pool and playing french drinking games with a group of girls we met from Paris.  That night the sky filled with beautiful bright colors, Jon and I sat at the bar, shared stories and watched the olympics.  Next morning we ate yet another gyro, swam in the ocean (we bought googles so we could see all the fish) and headed to the port to catch the ferry back to Athens in the afternoon.  We ran into a bit of trouble here- the guy who selling tickets for the ferry only excepts cash, and we only have card.  So we catch a taxi back into town and visit the ATM.  Ok, this is good, we will just catch a taxi back to the port, right?  NO.  We can’t flag down a taxi.  We make the forty-five minute trek up the coast back to the port.  Include this in your mental picture; it is 95 degrees and we are carrying our large backpack on our back, and our day pack on our chest.  We are walking toaster ovens and our stomachs are the toast.  We make it back to port eventually to barely catch the ferry and we are both literally covered in sweat.  Six hour ferry ride, let’s do it.

Back in Athens at about 9 pm.  Our flight didn’t leave until 4 in the morning, so we meandered around the airport, eating and watching the olympics, struggling to keep our eyes open all the while. The flight was delayed until 5, but finally we set off to Portugal to meet up with our buddies Adam Grodahl, and Peter Maletis.

It’s about time to cook dinner so I will sum up Lisbon and Madrid quickly.  Spaghetti and beer is on the menu tonight, what is new people!?  Lisbon greatly exceeded my expectations.  Not sure why I had the pre conceded feeling that Lisbon would be just ok compared to the other places on our adventure list, but it was absolutely magnificent.  The nightlife was spectacular, the four of us had a great time together.  The weather was perfect.  My favorite day was when we took the 30 minute train ride to the neighboring town of Sintra;

pretty cool right?  This castle was on top of a massive hill, and you could see the Atlantic from the top.  I guess it makes sense that Portugal was once a world power.  Fast forward to Madrid; it was once again a great place.  Geographically, it is in central Spain so it was toasty hot.  Ventured around town until we couldn’t stand the heat, came back to the hostel and witnessed the USA basketball team dominate opponents.  Got to Barcelona, and it is wonderful like Madrid, but the water makes it that much better because you can actually cool down, very vital.  Today we went to La Sagrada Familia, coolest church I have ever seen.  Then we went to the F.C. Barcelona stadium- holy shit they are a dominant club.  Hit the crowded beach, swam in the bathtub temperature water and now were back at the hostel.  Chow time!  Talk to you soon, have a wonderful day.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Uncategorized