Monday, December 10, 2007

The singer in the band made me want to cry

Real post coming later. For now, song lyrics:

Silver Birch against a Swedish sky
The singer in the band made me want to cry
We’re all inside our own heads now
We are leaving new friends
We are leaving this town
I wish you could be here with me
I would show you off like a trophy
The road it winds, it twists, it turns
Now my stomach burns

Once again, I’ll be the foolish one
Thinking a blink of these lashes would make you come
Don’t you worry, don’t get in a state
I don’t believe in true love anyway
Who’s being pessimistic now?
I could document this as our first and our last row
The more you look forlorn, the more to you I warm

I won’t be seeing you for a long while
I hope it’s not as long as a country mile
I feel lost..

I can't remember who gave me this Camera Obscura, but it is all I can listen to at the moment. I love it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christina: that is the biggest problem with traveling in boots

Now that the hecticosity (don't blame me; I just read the latest Georgia Nicholson installment) of November is over I'm getting very excited and planning out my trip to Belfast. I'm doing all kinds of things that I would never bother to do to be prepared on an epic summer long trip, like checking the weather, seeing which underground train time will get me into liverpool street in time to catch which stansted express, booking my hostel and thinking about tours. I'd never do this normally, mostly because I'm lazy but also because I like to be spontaneous, but the two often tie in so well together. On the other hand, I only have two and a half days in Belfast and I want to make the most of them.

So: staying at Arnie's, taking a day trip up to see Giant's Causeway and possibly a black cab tour of the peace wall because it seems it is not to be missed, Ulster museum, university, botanic gardens and probably much more. I wonder what kind of fellow travellers I will meet in the dead of winter. It's supposed to rain the entire time, so I'm going to take my boots even thought they are such a pain at airports. I'm going to try carrying on, in spite of Ryanair's notoriously stingy luggage policy. I'm also going to try and spend as little money as possible without missing out on anything essential. I'll let you know how it goes.

My biggest problem so far is my guidebook. I bought this one because, well, it's the only one. My affair with Lonely Planet has been so... monogamous that I can't actually get used to the format of another guidebook.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Woot is on the road again

Good news! The Woot is ready to take up her backpack and re-start wandering. Here is the schedule for the Winter 2007-2008 season's travels:

Dec. 6-8: BELFAST!!!
Jan 26-29: ROME!!! (Accompanied by fellow nano-er and mad girl Charlie)
February 19-21: BERLIN!!!
March 15-26: VIENNA and PRAGUE (along on a tour of central Europe with old-time travel buddy Christina)

These are all new places for me so I'm very excited. Stay tuned for details on the adventures.

This post was brought to you by Ryanair sales.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

All good things...

I'm going to (try to ) continue update about my trip with posts that got written but never typed up, so keep an eye out, but for now, back to our regularly scheduled programing.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Leap until the gulfstream sets you down

I made it to London safe and sound, and now am reunited with all of my worldly belongings in my cozy (?) room, despite all obstacle. I seem to have a magic ability to make trains run late, and I have blisters from dragging my suitcases all over the underground. There is still Tonks hair all over my stuff.

My grand adventure is at an end... and another is just beginning. I've been so excited lately to actually be coming to London, and now here I am. It's strange to think that this is actually my life.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Srecan put

I am leaving Novi Sad in a few hours. Despite my initial non enthusiasm, I managed to survive this week and actually enjoy it. For the last class we had a test, and I certainly know where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I got all of the conjugations right and all of the personal pronoun declinations wrong. Oh well. I'm too lazy to write more. Overnight train to Budapest, morning flight to London, then a new life.... strange

Monday, September 17, 2007

We're being followed by a tent. Walk faster.

I am back from Budapest and unfortunately wish I had never gone. Not because it wasn't a great time, it really was. I liked the city even better this time, although I had forgotten how expensive it was, and even though it was overflowing with mid-September midlde-aged tour groups. I liked it so much I was bit by the travel bug, as I so often am, and the last thing I wanted to do was come back to Novi Sad. 3 weeks ago I was more than ready to settle down for a month here and head to london. Now I want to travel for another month. At least heading to London will be an exciting adventure rather than going back to the same old boring thing. But I am a bit tired of drilling through Serbian courses everyday. Hopefully this week will go by fast. It should! I will have to figure out a better way of doing it for next time. I might be more interesting if I were doing research at the same time as studying. Maybe I will know enough to do that next year (If I am not forced to drop out of school for lack of funds, hurrah).

Friday, September 14, 2007

This is for me the most beautiful cookies in Serbia

Njamb wafers
Tzatziki flavored potato chips
fake serbian feta cheese
ice cream *fortunatley it got cold and I never go to the city center
pašeta (?) šunka i sir pastry from the bakery at spns
kinder eggs

I don't like to imagine getting on a scale

My cat is happier than your cat

So I am heading off to Budapest tonight with two others from Azbukum. Yes, I know, Budapest. I was there quite recently, and I will be going there again shortly (next friday on the same train, actually, unless it turns out to be horribley late, because it's supposed to get in only 3 hours before my flight and it takes at least an hour to get to the airport according to LP.) All my intentions were for Zagreb this weekend, a mere 5 hours away by bus, but Novi Sad isn't exactly a transport hub and the buses only leave in the morning. I didn't want to miss class today so I've had a nice afternoon, nap, going to do some homework them some hanging out, then onto the train at midnight. We arrive in Budapest at 5 and will hopefully get to nap at the hostel, then we're taking the train back on Sunday night. Two full days in Budapest and two full nights on the train! It will be exhausting but worth it. I am actually really looking forward to it. I can go to the Soviet statue park, try out a different bath, and revisit the palace of iced coffee and cakes. Plus I was always planning on buying a few souvenirs and presents there, this way I can have them very well packed and arrive by the night train, and spend my full last day in Novi Sad.

Sorry again for the lack of posts. I had a whole complaining entry written out about my land lady but I haven't typed it. I was hoping to escape her clutches this week but the director of program has squashed those hopes. Oh well. Like I said, I am very much enjoying my time here and I feel very satisfied with the amount I am learning, but this is one thing that irks me and puts a dark cloud over everything else. Plus I am in general looking forward to getting back to London. I keep thinking about my room and the computer, books and clothes I have in storage, and the things I can do to make my set-up nice. Then today it occured to me that I will have to start looking for a job in a little more than a week, that is not so exciting. It has been nice to have such a long holiday! I think I will start off applying at the Waterstones about 5 minutes from where I live (I chatted with someone there and he said they should be hiring) for the meantime and try to look for something better (paid) for the long run.

We have had a couple of interesting interludes. Yesterday we went to a "working" monistary outside of novi sad, where they are doing all kinds of things: making candles, rakija, cheese, painting icons, and running a rehab program. We had a hilarious, stone-faced monk who delivered the kind of jokes you wouldn't know were jokes unless you were listening carefully. "You want to go to the dentist? I will show you a dentist." Then we went a kafana called Kraj Svet (End of the world). I thought it would be more end of the worldy, honestly they made it seem like it would be the most remote place we have ever seen--maybe it was for some people but I have certainly been nearer the end of the world. However, the fish soup DID eyeballs and brains in it. And was really good.

The cats are always with us. My fellow cat-mate, I mean class-mate, has a thing about cats too. Today we practiced comaprative and it turned into a war of cats. Yesterday our professor said, "You must miss your cat, where is he?" I replied, "U Sand Franciscu.... stric...." I was trying to remember the Serbian word for uncle from mother but she heard "street"; "NA ULICU?" Poor Tonks.

I think I'll end on a quote from my flatmate while we were joyriding to the zelenica stanza to get our tickets.
Aleks: (describing and English bookstore in Novi Sad) And there was a huge Harry Potter display.
Nate: The definition of American culture right there.
Aleks & me: ...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I forgot my mittens

Someone flipped a switch and it became fall in Novi Sad. Actually, it extends further to much fo southerastern europe, and its more like winter, actually. It's FREEZING. This happened about a week ago. Even the East Coast kids, which is every American but me, are complaining about the cold. None of us were prepared for this, except those two who are staying longer than just one month. And I have to say, I expected a little more delicate of a transition. It was literally 90 degrees one day and 40 the next. Today is a little nicer, but I remain suspicious. There is no H&M in Novi Sad, which is a great tragedy, so I scurred over to Zara to buy the cheapest jeans and sweater they had. It was quite necessary! And I think I am going to buy another sweater today, as I haven't had a chance to wash the first one I bought it or my original one as I have been wearing both together everyday. This kind of thing is ok when you are traveling but seems less so when you are stuck in one place. With a washing machine, even is your dragon-like landlady is fiercely posessive of it. I'm still keeping close records of what I'm spending, so it seems a bit comical to see my average $3-5 a day contrasted with $50-100 when I have to buy jeans or send something through DHL. I really can't wait to get back to london and my coat. and sweaters! and flannel jammies... yeah.


next time I see someone with a UCLA sweatshirt, I will ask how they came about to have such a thing. (this has happened twice)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Well,I stopped off at the internet cafe with the express purpose of making a post, but nowI am feeling too tired to do so. However, the mimimun time is half an hour and I just signed in, so
I might as well.

As you may have guessed by the lack of posts, my free time here in Novi Sad is not so polific as I had anticipated. Added to that, whenever I sign on to email I seem to get more bad news, which makes me lazy and all I want to do is read other people's blogs, not write my own. I am having trouble with the bank, which demands I call to verify purchases, despite the fact that I just did so less than 3 months ago, and that I told them I was going to be traveling abroad, for how long, and to which countries I was going. When I emailed them to tell them the collect number for overseas was not accepting collect calls they replied with a form email saying please call this number if you are overseas. SO HELPFUL. Even worse was on Friday, just as I was about to leave for a weekend in the middle of nowhere, Serbia, when I got an email from a stupid legal secretary demanding to know why I had not signed the document I have never received and why I have never returned her phone calls or messages. From someone I TOLD I was going abroad less than a week before I left. And she waited until 5 days before she needed a document signed by me for the hearing to ask my brother where I was? Apparantly totally ignorant that he has power of atterney for me so I shouldn't have to sign anything? Of course I freaked out, not able to find anything online about DHL or Fedex in Novi Sad, thinking I would have to go to Beograd to mail this document and it would never get there in time and all our lies were ruined. As it happened it worked out but I am still angry.

Anyway, enough complaining. My mornings are occupied by classes, we have several hours of homework a day, and usually an activity such as history lectures, games or parties in the afternons and evenings. I am really loving Novi Sad, which is a fantastic place to live. I am enjoying my time here in almost every aspect. Today I was paid a very important compliment. One of my profesors told me that they commented on how they can see me improving everyday. This about someone who despaired of every being a sucessful historian for lack of langauge ability! Actually, I am really, really pleased with my progress here and I think I am learning a lot.

So I've suddenly become brillant at learning languages? I think not. Rather, there are a number of factors that make this an opportune opportunity, if you will, for me to be learning Serbia. Firstly, I have a really good base from what I learned last year. I certainly wasn't as sucessful as I am now, but you don't spnd three weeks in Serbia to no avail, and it is all coming back and falling into place for me. Secondly, I have just come back from 2 months of complete mental, if not toherwise, relaxation, and I am really well-rested mentally and up for the challenge. Perhaps I am smarter than I suspected! Thirdly, I have true motivation because I realize the importance for my own future. Fourthly, I am not recently recovering from a traumatic event... Sorry there is no spellcheck installed on this computer.

A lot of other things I'd like to post about, but my time is running out and I have to pee....

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

From an email

I am lazy so I copy and paste: I am completely recovered now and I have been in Novi Sad for a week. Things are going really well here. The program is small so we all made friends very quickly, except for some who tend to keep to themselves: a polish couple and an Austrian girl who is staying here with friends. The rest of us are about half a dozen americans and a pair of swiss germans. There are only two people in my class, although we may have gotten a third today, a girl who arrived late. The instruction is really good and I am learning a lot, I think a lot of things are falling into place for me because I have a good base and I am ready to learn. So I am pleased with my progress. We have been working very hard, class all morning, several hours of homework, and activities in the afternoon or evening. Of course there is also time for relaxation, as they say here... The swiss have fallen in with a gang of Serbian football hooligans so that makes things interesting. I just returned from a weekend in a traditional serbian selo (village) farm where we ate a lot of food (they really wont take no) and herded cows, etc. It was a lot of fun and good language practice, although we were in central serbia and the monasteries we went to visit were the same ones I saw last summer in Valjevo. One of them has some really nice frescoes. I am uploading some pictures of novi sad, you can see them here if you like:

Random quick post

Soon Ićll get used to these keyboards having z and y switched. mazbe.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

3th birthday party

I'm back from a weekend in the middle of nowhere in serbia. I'm reeaaaaly tired although all I did was sleep and eat. And herd cows and sheep. And speak Serbian. Ok, so no wonder I'm tired.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I made it to Novi Sad and I am settled in a cozy communist apartment with two old ladies and another American student. I still suck at Serbian, that hasn't changed, but hopefully it will.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I still have a cough, which gets really bad at night. Going to make taking a night bus to Beograd reaaaaally fun. Not. Apparently there is no such thing as good cough syrup in Eastern Europe. I havetried two different ones and niether does anything to either help me sleep or stop coughing. I really miss the stuff wth codine I got at the student health center. I would even settle for some Robitussin.


Here I am, at least for today. Trying to figure out how to get to Novi Sad on Sunday morning, it seems pretty complicated. Anyway. The bridge is nice. I hope my points won't be so succienct from Novi Sad.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quick update

In Sarajevo... it happens to be film festival time, which makes things interesting. More later. Just a few more days till I settle in Novi Sad.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I survived and made it to Sighisoara... about to embark on a crazy tour for my last few days of travelling... no exactly sure where I will go, but first we are heading to Sarajevo via Belgrade.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I do not cough for my own amusement

Today I went to the hospital. I know that sounds rather drastic but when I asked the lady at the hotel desk about a doctor she sent me there. I was pretty nervous about going to urgent care because it was always a disaster when i went there with mom, but it wasn't bad at all. Mostly just a few old ladies with nosebleeds. There were very kind and saw me right away, shuffling me back and forth listening to me and taking x-rays to make sure I didn't have pneumonia, then the doctor wrote out pages long list of prescriptions. It cost about $60 to get them all but one that the pharmacy didn't have, but I can't really complain because the visit didn't cost anything. I suppose I might get sent a bill later, a Brit told me that happened to him once after a hospital stay in France ( he never paid it) but it seems unlikely, they didn't take my address or anything, just where was I from and did I have insurance. When I expressed concern about this to the hotel lady she said it was free of charge. I know that most EU countries have reciprocal health care agreements but I explained I wasn't from an EU country. "So what?" she said. "It's urgent care." As easy as that, even in one of the poorest countries in Europe. I didn't even have to bribe the doctor with coffee like Susie did. The hospital was old-fashioned, with a few concessions to modernity, but not too many. The x-ray machine was almost like an amusement park ride. I had to stand on it and it moved around. I kept thinking it was what one of my war hospitals might look like, minus all the casualties of course.

I have read a ton of books. I finished a chick lit and The Professor, and today devoured the whole of The History of Love, which was great. But I am tired of laying in bed reading and I am ready to be better! I am going to Sighisoara tomorrow if it kills me!

10 points to the first person to place the title quote. No cheating.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bitten by a vampire?

Anyone who has been feeling jealous of me can stop now and start feeling pity! I'm come down with an awful bug and I am stuck in Bucharest paying my daily budget for a cheap hotel room so I can rest in peace and quiet and not spend my germs to a hostel full of people. Plus Bucharest is surprisingly overbooked, go figure. I'll tell the whole story (its not very exciting but it does involve getting a ride from policemen) some other time when I am not feeling so sick from spending half an hour in an internet cafe trying to sort out my bank accounts. Who know so many things could go wrong at once! Probably my own fault for being so unprepared.

It is no fun being sick on holiday. There are no such things as make being sick bearable and even somewhat pleasant: no big comfy bed, no kitties, no new Nora Roberts books, no friends to coerce into bringing me jamba juice--in face, no jamba juice. True, Ben did bring me juice and water and crackers last night, but he's gone on to Brasov today, sick of expensive Bucharest and no place to stay anyway. I'm hoping to feel well enough to join him there tomorrow but I'm not holding my breath. I suppose its my own fault for not eating enough veggies, drinking enough water, taking my vitamins more regularly. No one could eve accuse me of not sleeping enough but I have had my share of long nights. It looks like I'll be taking it pretty easy for the rest of my trip. So much for a frantic vampire hunt!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bulgaria photos

Romanian holiday

Playing it by ear does not necessarily mean being disorganized and unprepared, but unfortunately, when you're me, it often does. I woke up this morning in Bucharest thinking, "what was the name of the hostel I booked at?" There were some brits on the train who were heading to one that sounded vaguely like it might be where I am meeting my friend Ben, but I couldn't be sure. I had no idea where the train station was in relation to the town, or even what train station I was at, or what Bucharest had to offer. Thank goodness for lonely planet. I settled down for a muffin in the train station, after finding the only working bankomat, and had a read, deciding to head to an internet cafe in the center and hopefully be able to walk to the hostel. I'm a bit farther than I thought I would be but I think it will be a nice walk.

The train journey was the most comfortable I've been on all trip. I had my own compartment (empty except for me) and a sleeper, and my friends from the hostel a few doors down to chat with before we went to sleep and while we were all waiting at the border. It's nice to be American in a way, because even though they looked at your passport with jaundiced eyes, scan it and write down your number and ask you lots of questions and look at you suspicously as though you might be coming to Romania to live off the state!, at least you always get a stamp whereas those with EU passports have to ask if they are trying to collect them, and sometimes are denied. I am actually running out of room in my passport and will have to get more pages before another big trip. The guy at the Bulgarian side stamped over my (very faint) Croatian stamp which I wasn't too happy about. I only have one because for some reason passport control in Istria was very lax and I went through 5 borders without my passport really being looked at. I only have one at all because I ended up in Zagreb unexpectedly when I didn't know which route my train from Ljubljana was taking.

I haven't decided about Bucharest yet. It seems nice in the center but you can never tell with first impressions. After 2 hours in Sofia I was ready to leave that day but it turned out to be all right. That's the curse of capital cities, I think, and Bucharest more than any other I have noticed. Most people say its total crap and not to bother, but one or two have loved it so much they say to stay for 5 days. Well, I'm not going to stay for 5 days but I wanted to decide for myself. In this I think it is a matter of personal taste. I could have done without Sofia; but on the other hand I have never heaard a good word spoken about Skopje and it was one of my favorite places I visited last summer, I think I was there for 3 or 4 days when most would say it isn't worth 2 hours.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Traveler's lament

I arrived in Varna and managed to survive my first two days here against all odds, not least my own stupidity. I was literally no where near internet so I hope no one was worried. I am staying in Varna for two more days, relaxing on the beach gobbling up novels and catching up on my journaling, then I am heading off to Bucharest to meet an old traveling buddy. We have vaguely formed plans of a vampire hunting trip but who knows where we will end up.

In about two weeks I am due in Novi Sad. I will be happy to be there but its disappointing how quickly these months have gone and my traveling time has dwindled down... plus I am terrified of immersing myself in the difficult Serbian langauge again. Hopefully I will better prepared to deal with it this time. So in about 6 or 7 weeks I will be back in London with my nose to the grind. How quickly this summer is going!

It occurs to me how dull my weblog is vis-a-vis the exciting things I am actually doing. Only because if I had more time for exciting weblog entries I would have less time for doing exciting things. So I've decided to use downtime in Novi Sad to put up a more complete narrative of my exciting travels, based on journal entries. Hopefully I will actually do this.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ode to a small balkan nation

Finally I have found the cheap, easy, interesting holiday I have been looking for. I love Bulgaria. The land is beautiful, the people are friendly, the prices are cheaper than one could possibly hope for. Thank goodness. I may stay here a while.

Pictures update

I hope these liunks work better than the last ones. I am in a place callled Veliko Tarnovo in the middle of Bulgaria. It's very beautiful and I am staying a few days to relax and catch up on my sleep.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I made it save to Sofia. Actually the train ride was not so bad; I slept through most of it. We ended up going through the whole of Serbia, which explains why it was 2 hours later.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Hello, sorry for dropping of the face of the earth, I realised yesterday that I hadn't posted in a while which is bound to make the worriers worry. Unfortunatley an irrespressable wave of laziness overcame me here in Budapest... I have done little but sleep half the day, go to the thermal baths, and yesterday I stirred myself enough to take a cheesy hop on hop off tour bus and visit the Terror Museum. Tonight I am leaving on a train at midnight for Sofia (Bulgaria) and I arrive at 6 PM tomorrow. That should be fun!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Funicular funicula funiculi!!

I feel like anything I can say about Slovenia will never really describe it as well as pictures can, so I will put some up as soon as possible. The cave was really amazing, and yesterday I spent the day at Bled, which is at the foot of the alps, and it was just perfect. I went with a girl from the hostel and we rode bikes around the lake, rowed in a boat to the little island on the lake and got out to ring the church bell for a wish. I wont say what I wished but it was rather a lot to ask! A girl in my dorm asked if it has come true yet but I said I thought I had better give it longer than a day! WE ate lunch in the boat on the way back. While riding the bikes I spied something on the opposite hill that looked like a great deal of fun. Upon further inquiry we learned that it was a track upon which one could descend the hill in a very rapid manner, contained in a bobsled-like contracption. That seemed like a good idea to me so off we went to the 'funbob'. It was soo cool! Then it was nap and sunbathing time on the lakes beach, and then up to a cool antional park gorge type place where we walked along the side of the river through the gorge for a few miles. All in all in was a pretty perfect day.

Today is the first day I have spent the whole time in Ljubljana... Its a reallly lovely city, cafes everwhere, the embankment is particularily charming. I have been up to the castle in a funicular (which I have never heard of until Slovenia, much less ridden in, but here I have done two, one also at the cave--my lazyness declares it an excellent invention.) and shopping for postcards. Anyhow, time to go, I hate being a computer hog at the free internet. Onto Budapest on the night train.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lovely weather

It rained all of yesterday so I made friends with an Aussie girl and we walked in the park in the rain to a contemporary history museum and then wiled away the rest of the afternoon and evening in various Ljubljanian cafes, chatting with each other and locals. Today Im going to see about some caves.

Monday, July 30, 2007


I made it to Ljubljana.... I got here late last night, and since the hostel I wanted to stay at was booked I figured I would just stay at the cheaper university dorms near the train station since I got in so late I was just going to sleep anyway. I quite accidenatly fell in with some Belgians while searcihng for this hostel and we ended up and some other university dorms farther away. I was so tired by this point and was given a room in the last dorm, up 5 flights of stairs but when I got there there was no free bed! I went back to the reception full of righteous indignation. It's imposible, said the man at reception, pointing to the computer screen. AS if computers never made a mistake! WEll, it worked out all right for me in the end because I got my own room for the dorm price, 9 €, and I slept like a baby. I checked out this morning, the Belians were grumbling about their room and wanting to go somewhere else too, and made the long walk to the city center in the rain, finding refuge along the way in a local cafe where the elderly were having their morning pivas and slivovicas. Now I am in the Alibi hostel, which is more expensive but much cosier and freindlier. I would rather stay in a nicer, central place and spend less on food or something. If its still raining I'll go see the musuem of contemporary history, if not jsut wnader around the town. I am dissatisfied with LP, I just had a look at some one's Rick Steves and it has a lot more on the hitory of the place. Of course Rick Steves hasm't got a Eastern Europe guide book... I suppose it is economy of space going hand in hand with economy of information.

I was a little disappointed with Pula. I think it was nice to be able to spend some time on the beacha nd swimming... I miraculously escaped sunburn by prolific application of sunscreen which has now made my skin break out, but that is nothing new... It was nice that the hostel was right on the beach but annoying to be 2 miles away from town. And the water was nice but the beach was full of rather sharp rocks. I suppose for better beaches one must go further south in Croatia, but Pula was on the way. Bulgaria, I think will be nicer and cheaper. The buses only ran half an hour and was quite expensive as far as buses go. About $2. So I ended up walking most of the time in the heat. There wasnćt much to see or do, onlz the amphitheatre, which was nice but not THAT nice. One fo my finnish freinds expressed surpise that as a histoian I wasnćt more imporessed by this really old building. I explained that I find places where events of historical significance took place much more interesting than stuff that is just old. I'm not an archilogist!

Anyway I really like Ljubljana so far and I think I will want to stay longer than I will be able to... I should have been in this region 5 years ago! I must get to Romania where things are affordable. I am tired of eating salami sandwiches and pasta with tomato sauce.

spell check isn't working. sorry for your pain. At least I am making an effort to use the y key instead of z.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Pula is nice but there isnćt much to do. I have been hanging out with two Finnish girls. Thez are going to Ljubljana tomorrow but I am going today.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Under the Istrian Sun

I made it to Pula, deciding to trust my luck, as I said in my last post, but not being very trustful. I was so paranoid that I would get off at the wrong local bus stop or that there wouldn't be space at the hostel. I didn't and there was. The hostel is right on the beach. It didn't take me long to get reacquainted with my old friend the Adriatic. Its so salty that you can float for hours with zero effort. I wonder if anyone has ever drowned by falling asleep while floating in the Adriatic.

En Route

I'm going to Pula today. I shelled out tons of money to send and email to a hostel and wcheck to see if they responded, but they haven't. I considered going to Ljubljana becasue I'm not sure of a spot, but decided to risk it. There are always the old ladies at the train station, maybe I will meet someone to split the cost of a room with, and I could really use a few days at the beach. Venice has been really nice, but it's very hot and unlike Bakersfield there is not air conditioning everywhere. Plus you have to walk. Anyway I am taking the train/bus because it's much cheaper and I get to see Trieste.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hi Bye

internet in venice is ridiculously expensive... like almost everything else. itàs very nice here, though.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I worked really hard and paid a lot of money for internet in order to upload all of my (good) photos to facebook (since yahoo photos has gone kaput). It took so long. I hate to think how long it will take me to do the rest two months from now! Here are links:






Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just a quite post to let you all know I am still alive, back in krakow and on to london tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Queue jumping is the national pastime

Well, Lviv has been interesting. I will have to tell you all about it some other time. I am taking an early morning train back to Krakow then Friday an early flight back to London. Starting to get really excited for Harry Potter!!

Monday, July 16, 2007


what a place to come to! I survived the bus ride, barely, now I'm off to explore this remotest part of europe.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Killing time in Warsaw

Here is what I have done:
Climbed the tower of St Anne's church
explored the old town
walked the royal way
visited chopin's heart in the church of the holy cross
walked walked walked.
probably some other stuff I forgot about
met up with crazy girls from gdansk
went to bed early!

Bought my ticket to lviv (this was a huge ordeal)
Went to the warsaw uprising museum which was really cool. I wanted to buy some reproduction propaganda photos or some postcards comparing the destructed with the reconstructed old town, but they didn't have any so I bought one with a soldier holding a kitten instead. Very nice. A lot of women particiapted in this uprising, might be an interested research topic if it has not already been done.

Some polish guys adopted me while I was trying to buy my bus ticket to Lviv... It was only available at this bus station 5 km from the center of town, bad enough I have to go there again to get the bus but I wanted to make sure I had the ticket! Well, they were very helpful but worried about me travelling to Ukraine. "It's Eastern Europe, you know..." I had to laugh and remind them that Poland is Eastern Europe too. "Yes but we are part of the European Union." As if that chanegs everything! I am actually very excited for Ukraine becuase I think everything will eb really cheap and Lviv sounds so nice. Finally I am going to an up and coming place before everyone else gets there and makes it so touristy. Not that I didn't love Krakow but the huge coach tours don't do much for ambiance.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

warsaw has been a bit anti-climatical... maybe because of all the walking. I'm sure I'll feel better about it tomorrow. I'm taking the night bus to Lviv, assuming I can get a ticket, instead of the train because it is 1/3 the price and I won't have to change twice. ugh bus...


I had a really great time in Gdansk visiting historical sites such as the shipwayrd where the 1980 solidarity strikes took place and Westerplatte where WWII started. It's a really beautiful town; they did a great job rebuilding it. I also went to Sopot, a sea resort just outside of Gdansk. My holiday is rather unfortunatley timed, however; it has been rainy these last few days and will get very hot this weekend, when I am far away from the sea.

At the hostel I meant these crazy girls, one polish one american, and I came with them on the cheap train to Warsaw, arriving last night. I am meeting up with them later today, in the mean time going to go site seeing in the old town and royal way. Two days to see Warsaw! I am taking an overnight train to Lviv tomorrow night. Hurrah for not needing a visa!

Sorry for the lack of posts, the bad thing about all this free internet at hostels is that there is always someone waiting and I feel guilty taking a long time to write a post, so I usually just check my email and get off. And I am too cheap to go spend $1 on the internet cafe! WEll, I have been living on a very strict budget, less than $40 a day which is like 30 euros. I don't know how long that will last once I leave Poland, howver; for example the train from Ljubljana to Budapest is 40 euros for the reduced price! However I am hearing that Romania is even cheaper than Poland so maybe I will be able to make up for it there. Better to go to these places while they are still cheap, I figure. But I am not making too many decisions yet, I like being free in my itenirary and able to do exactly as I like and change my mind as often as it occurs to me to do so. That is, I think, the main benefit of traveling alone.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I made it safely to Gdansk, despite the fact that I was convienced I would be robbed or worse on the overnight train. So don't worry, worriers. I had to force my way into a compartment because all the others were full but the occupants were relatively graceful about it and I slept pretty good for being crammed onto a train. The bathroom was pretty bad but what can you expect. I managed to only go once and hold it till I got off, despite the fact that the train was an hour late. I don't know why I expected it would be exactly ontime.... This is Eastern Europe after all! haha. Anyway I am getting settled into my second choice hostel and I think I will take a shower and go grab a bit and explore the city! Maybe join some anti-communism movements, I dunno...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Short update: Today I went to the Salt mines. Yesterday I went to Auschwitz. Tomorrow I am going to Gdansk.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Suddenly everything is in Polish

I made it to Krakow practically despite myself, had a shower for the first time in three days, and am really looking forward to a full night's sleep for the first time in a week tonight! I have lots of observations to make but I don't really feel like it when there is a city waiting to be explored, and I don't know how long this enthusiasm will last.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Well I made it to London. Apparantly the piece of crap phone I bought doesn't work over here after all so don't send me a text message cause I won't get it. I'm planning on buying another cheap one in poland hopefully with better luck this time. I met Brendan at the tube station and he helped me carry my stuff to storage then we got lunch. I have spent the last few hours exploring stomping grounds old and new. Soon i am heading off to stansted and i am soo tired I think i might actually sleep.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

At the airport

waiting waiting waiting . I really have nothing novel to say. I've had a great time since I left Bakersfield and all the franticness of getting ready behind (although my goodbye party was lots of fun too!), relaxing at the hotel and having fun at the races... It was great to see everyone one last time and Pat and Alan dropped me off at the airport and helped me sneak on a heavier bag than I am allowed, I hope. I was going to make a long post about my packing technique but that didn't happen. I'll let you know what works and what doesn't after the fact. Praying to get a sympathetic checker-iner worked for me, I told the guy I was getting a PhD and those were all my books and he left the fact that my bags were 1.5 kilos overweight slide. This is a disorganized post from a disorganized mine, sorry. I'm meeting up with Leonard's friend Brendan after I drop my stuff off at a safestore tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

White on White [on leaving]

Well, I am officially visa-fied. I really think I was psyching myself out over nothing, after reading online about how anal and tough they are. I was sooo paranoid. I went last night to Kinkos to take my picture and the lady said she'd had someone say their picture in a white shirt was unacceptable because of the white background (I was wearing a white shirt). I didn't think the consulate would care about my shoulders but I went home to change just to be on the safe side. I brought a whole folder full of stuff, bank statements going back three months for all my accounts, copies of my loan application, something about the house, every letter my school had ever sent me… I'd read not to even bother applying until you had all your loans approved and everything, but mine aren't processed yet, so I was really worried they would say no, I don't have enough money. The woman just took a cursory glance at the top of the pile of bank statements I handed her and asked how much the loan I had applied for was for. Ta dum! So it was no big deal. But better to err on the safe side. I wasn't the only one, there was one girl who had a letter of support from her mother notarized. I got there about 40 minutes early and I was the last appointment so I didn't get my interview till noon. But I sat reading and chatted with a girl who is going to do her undergrad at St Andrews for a while, so it was fine. In between the interview and picking up my visa-fied passport I went to Santa Monica to buy a sink plug at REI.

I came up with a clever way to use up all the blank cds I found… I'm making a travel mix to give as a party favor at my bon voyage tomorrow night. As well as the cds I found the most incredible amount of stuff I thought had disappeared when Pat was here Wednesday helping me pack up all my stuff. Kyle helped me move it all into storage, I don't know where I would be without them, probably dead. I found a missing flying fox temple balm, a bag I thought I had gotten rid of, my missing tennis shoes, my old passport! Which it turned out I didn't need for my visa application.

I'm slowly emptying my inbox by replying to all the emails that have been sitting there forever. I imagine if I had left as early as I wanted to I would have left a lot of things undone. As it is I am feeling very frantic about leaving and maybe because I am so busy a little ambiguous about it, too. I suppose it is more healthy than just being completely relieved to take off, opposition in all things etc, but probably comes from being tired more than anything else. Too tired to feel excited, though I know I am excited. Am I doing the right thing? (What else is there to do? But really, I can't imagine anything I'd rather.) Won't I be lonely on my own? I've been let down recently in so many ways, big and small, that it will be a relief to be on my own and not let anyone else, other than myself, have the opportunity to let me down for a while.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Not a moment too soon

So welcome to my travel blog. In exactly two weeks I will be jetting over the Atlantic... or perhaps somewhere a little less exciting like Minnesota. Needless to say, I can't wait. I was originally going to leave the 30th, but I changed my ticket. This means I'll miss some exciting and important events in Bakersfield (like the HP releases and Paul and Christina's wedding) but it also means I won't sit around all summer feeling sorry for myself, plus I will have more time to travel, so the balance tips. On a related note, can I just say how much I love STA? It only cost $35 to change my ticket. Of course, I had to drive all the way to Westwood to do it because it was a paper ticker, but that's really Air New Zealand's fault.

Anyway, I'm really excited. I just booked flights to Poland for the new leg of my trip. I haven't researched or planned or thought about this nearly as much as I have my original plan, so it will be a bit more improptu, but I can't think that will matter since I usually abandon travel plans anyway. So I think I will wander around Poland a bit and then decide whether to head to Romania or the Czech Republic. (probably Romania since I am poor) And since I have an extra week on the second leg, I might head over to Bulgaria after Croatia. But who knows! I am starting to reconnect with old travel buddies and friends so it should be a really great trip. All I have to worry about now is getting my visa before I leave! All I have left to do for that is prove I won't be a burden on the state and that I have enough money for a year of fees and living expenses... hahaha...