Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Buda April 19th 2009

Um, what? I guess this is the part where I say something about how these past 10 weeks have changed my life, blah blah know the drill. It's the part where I close this chapter of my life and hightail it back to the States, where I belong. Yes, the good ole US of A: land of the free and home to McDonald's. While my time here in Europe has certainly opened my eyes to the simple relativity of human existence (as well as my lungs to the outrageous amount of second-hand thing I learned about Europeans is that their first love is tobacco :P), I'm eager to head back to the place I'm most familiar with... or where I can at least read the damned signs and not worry about whether the strangers ... read more
Tram 49
tuna sandwich!
another sandwich

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina » East » Sarajevo April 11th 2009

I'll have to admit that I knew embarrassingly little about Sarajevo before I came -- all I knew about it was that it's the capital of one of the longest country names I had the misfortune to memorize in geography class, and that its claim to fame (in my mind, mind you :P) was being the city that was bombed to smithereens in the recent Bosnian conflict. The moment I arrived at the bus station, I instantly learned a couple of important things: 1) The Lukavica bus station is a decrepit, sorry-for-an-excuse bus depot/hovel which serves as the secondary international bus station in the city where all the reject routes end up in Sarajevo (AKA the buses coming in from Serbia and Montenegro :P), located in the middle of nowhere 2) And because I was currently ... read more
Latin Bridge
Elite Model Management!!
Pigeon Square

Europe » Montenegro » Kotor » Kotor April 7th 2009

I've never had hot chocolate quite like this. I stared down into my cup, not exactly sure whether to be amused or bemused. Both seemed strangely appropriate. Isn't hot chocolate supposed to be drunk? Not...eaten? I stirred up a spoonful of the fragrant concoction, noting how it refused to spill over the sides of my proper liquids were supposed to do. Or so I thought. We took our breakfast at the Podgorica central bus station -- adjacent to the train station where we were dropped off -- where I was able to sample a traditional burek with sir and meso (puff pastry with cheese and meat)...and also where I spent a full half-hour grunting and sawing at said burek with a knife and fork. Somehow I gathered that these things weren't ever meant to be ... read more
walled fortress of Kotor
Kotor harbor
Hotel Philia

Europe » Serbia » West » Belgrade April 6th 2009

A full day of playing tour guide to my mother was a bit more challenging than I expected. In truth, it was something I should have seen coming, judging from the way she gave a decidedly unladylike snort when I told her that Belgrade has been called "The New York City of the Balkans." I think she's been spoiled by Athens, so nothing can compare now, naturally :P. We looped around the Kalemegdan and strolled down the Knez Milhailkova, where we had lunch at a little tavern tucked away underground. Food was great! Yum, my stomach remembers that lunch fondly, lol.Cevapi (ground beef and pork, served in balls), Pljeskavica (spiced hamburger meat), paprika salad...what more could you ask for? And then night came... Somehow I don't quite believe that my mom and I learned our lesson ... read more
Central Station Hostel

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini April 4th 2009

Well, I think it's safe to say that this and my last birthday do have something in common: they both involved confusing the hell and beating the crap out of my body. lol...I do admit I'm prone to exaggeration, but seriously...I'm starting to worry that I'm beginning to develop a taste for pushing my body to the limit when the clock strikes 15:38 :P Last year it was this spur-of-the-moment 20+ hour drive through Oklahoma, a crack-y attempt to return to my roots, to reacquaint myself with the part of me I thought I had left behind (why does everything seem so much bigger when you're younger? Go figure :D). haha...let's just say that I didn't get a wink o' sleep during that long drive through the desolate landscape that Oklahoma and Texas share (well, I ... read more
Omonia Square
the white arches!
the velodrome!

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini April 1st 2009

We kicked off the month of April beginning our stay on the Island of Santorini, about an 8-hour ferry ride from Athens. There has been healthy amounts of speculation that the volcano eruption from Santorini from way back when might have had a hand in the sinking of the mythical civilization of Atlantis. Holy crap, are you serious? A volcano on this tiny little speck of something-something that would take maybe a couple hours to drive across? Of course, according to our local guide, this eruption was something pretty fierce: apparently people could hear the eruption 3 separate times (i.e. the sound of the eruption traveled the globe thrice). Gee, and all I've ever heard about Santorini was how pretty it was...:P My mom and I had a half-day sailing tour booked that morning, which took ... read more
holy crap indeed
Old Port
the boat!

Europe » Greece » West Greece » Olympia March 27th 2009

Ever wonder where we got the English word "gymnasium" from? I know I have...n't. (lol) Perhaps it wasn't a shock that we borrowed the word from the Ancient Greeks, but what surprised the hell out of me was that it meant "place to be naked." As in bare-bottomed, with all your bits and pieces on display for public inspection. Er? I think we have another English equivalent to that's more commonly referred to as "porn," in my native tongue, lol. Athletes would also slather their naked bodies with healthy amounts of olive oil to imbue their skin with a healthy glow, so as to appeal to the spectators of the Games...which were all men. Women weren't allowed even to watch the events. ... So what exactly does that say about the Greeks in the realm ... read more
my hotel room!
main street in Olympia
Greek orthodox church

Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens March 25th 2009

I didn't know exactly what today would bring -- the only thing I did know was that I was going to exploit the hell outta my 3-euro 24-hr subway pass. Athens reminded me exactly why I love the subway system. After spending over 6 weeks in the Balkans, coexisting primarily with people who've never been able to leave the country (let alone the Balkan region), I've forgotten what it's like to blend in in a foreign setting. Even though Asians are unusual to come by in Greece, at least there are always those ubiquitous Japanese tourists to help the Greeks acclimate to the Asian presence, haha! Today was Greek Independence Day, and I just happened to be in the capital of Greece, of all places! And I happened to wander into Syntagma Square (where the National ... read more
subway art
metro ticket kiosk
View of the Acropolis from the station

Europe » Greece » Central Macedonia » Thessaloniki March 22nd 2009

HOLY CRAP. This is probably the most POORLY planned traveling excursion imaginable. The day before, I was dismayed by the fact that only 1 train leaves for Thessaloniki from 7am. Holy shit. Now, getting up at 7 is nothing to quibble's just the small detail that there was something I had forgotten to pack for this European stint. A watch. A goddamned watch. After a couple of days here, I'd gotten used to not ever knowing what time it was (usually I looked to the position of the sun in the sky for a clue...though this never worked when it was crummy out). The only thing outside my realm of control was waking up on command. Holy shit. Factor in trudging through inches of snow with all my worldly possessions on my back without ... read more
Skopje train station
Greek border

Europe » Macedonia » Skopje March 20th 2009

While the bus ride to Skopje was pretty uneventful, my quest to find my hostel once I got there was anything but. Gah. One thing I seemed to have forgotten (damn short-term memory, haha) is that taking the bus typically results being dropped off in the middle of nowhere (AKA not exactly in the bus station ^^;;;) at your final destination. I had to take a stab at which stop I was supposed to get off, and once I did, I could only pray that I was in the right city. Haha, such a loser I am! But all is well and good -- I took a risky gamble (it was snowing quite a flurry at the bus stop!), and thankfully it turned out to be somewhere in Skopje. Visibility was rather terrible, so I folded ... read more
the street
the river
my room!

Tot: 1.258s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 17; qc: 54; dbt: 1.1258s; 1; m:apollo w:www (; sld: 3; ; mem: 6.4mb