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The Europe Trip - the first of a many part series

By Tuesday, July 31, 2007 , , , ,

Lukas and I had a wonderful and amazing trip through Europe this summer. We saw many great things and learned a lot about traveling and each other. While we were traveling I tried to keep a journal about where we'd gone and what we'd seen so that I could share everything with everyone when I got back. Things started out good with my journaling, but as we got further into our trip I started falling behind. I'm still playing catch up, but I decided it was time to start sharing our journey. (P.S. The picture below is a little preview of latter in the trip. The yellow dot to my left is a castle.)

June 18th
We've made it! Or at least we're on the right continent, but we're not quite done traveling to get here yet. Early yesterday, I guess -- the days are all running together, we left SFO for Houston and then for Paris. Both flights were uneventful which is a very good thing. We didn't get to sit together on the way to Houston and we originally weren't sitting together for the next flight but I asked if they could put us together and they did.
Once into Paris we collected the big red backpack from baggage claim and made our way through CDG. We felt slightly lost but we knew where we needed to get -- the train station. All it took was a stop at the Tourist Information and we were headed in the right direction. And... a long hot bus ride later we were at the train station. I think we both were a bit taken aback by the size of it. At first glance it looked very daunting. People everywhere, trains to our left and a huge marque above with many trains and destinations. It was relieving to see Irun on the board and at the time that matched our tickets. Irun was where we would change trains to the over night train to Madrid, Spain where we would change again for Seville. Still, we had question about how exactly we'd catch that train and how our rail passes work. We found the information office and though the woman at the counter only spoke "a little" English she answered our question and validated our passes. Next we shared a sandwich and waited. And wait. Then our train was here and we got a nice speed walk to the end of the train where our car and seats were. And now here we are, on the train somewhere in France on our way to Seville. Then for two days we are done traveling. Another 16 or so hours and we'll finally get our first showers in days -- EWWW!! We are smelly and tired and ready to be off planes and trains and buses.

June 19th [no, maybe it's still the 18th]
Today began with last night. We found our overnight train from Irun to Madrid without much trouble and once we were settled we remembered that we were hungry. With about 30 min to spare before our train left I went off in search of food. First I asked the station mast if there was food on our train. "No, but there's a bar on platform one" was his answer. (Thank goodness he spoke English.) With a quick glance at my watch I headed down the steps and then up again to #1. I found the bar but the door wouldn't open. From inside a woman with a sad face mouthed cerado -- "closed". Shoot, now what was I going to do. It was time to try out my Spanish. With just a few minor stumblings I got my question across. It may not have been perfect but it was good enough to get the job done. The ticket sales mane pointed me in the direction of food and I was off at a run. My inability to read the menu (in Spanish) when pressed for time led me to grab 2 croissants and 2 premade sandwiches. And then back to the train I ran with time to spare.
Our sleeper car, or coachette as it was called, was tiny. I am not exaggerating when I say tiny. Think tiny and then dived that by two. That was how small it was. Turning in from the narrow hallway that ran the length of the train we came to our compartment. Inside was barely wide enough for one person to stand upright. On either side stacked three high were the bunks. The bunks were just long enough for me to fit on, not even close to long enough for Lukas to fit on and with only about two feet (maybe less) between one bunk and the next there was definitely not going to be any sitting up on this train ride. We climbed to the top (our assigned bunks) and settled in. We hoped the seatbelt like strap that ran from the roof to the side of the bunk would somehow keep us from rolling out when at some point we did fall asleep. We shared our compartment with four old Spanish men who, Lukas said, snored and smelled a bit weird, but I wouldn't know because I fell right to sleep. I learned on this trip that trains have the affect on me.
That's all for now. It's late and my legs ache. We spent a good amount of time lost in the streets of Seville today looking for our hostel. What should have been a 30 minute walk was 3 hours. It's all part of the adventure and at the end we did find it and it's very nice. The best part of it so far -- well at first -- was the very clean shower. Here we are freshly showered and feeling like new. -->
Now to rub Lukas's tired shoulders because he carried the big pack all day. I tired to carry it but with the pack on me our walking speed was cut in half. I tried, but I just couldn't get my legs to move any faster. Much more to write about our first sites of Seville but it'll just have to come later.

Other little bits of my life...


  1. Hi! I miss you too. These next few weeks are going to be crazy, but I hope to talk to you on the phone soon! miss and love ya!

  2. ps..Ive been on that same train! It is stinking tiny. I just sat in the hallway the whole time. :)