Archive for the ‘Europe 2014 KK&KL’ Category

Rain in Spain

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Well, we were just a little tired today. We also dominated our breakfast (Uhhh yummy toast with Nutella anyone?!)

We took the metro over to Font Màgica de montjuïc (magic fountain) even though it wasn’t doing the show today. (We managed to miss all of the markets and the fountain because of Sunday/holidays)

image

It is a really cool area of Barcelona and is actually right by where dad and I stayed when we were here! (Miss you!)

our old hotel

our old hotel

We then attempted to travel over to Castell de montjuïc but got semi lost in a park where much to my excitement (and then dismay when it was closed) we stumbled upon another cat cafe. I just love me some cats. Don’t worry though… I saw a few roaming around. (Kate was happy it was closed… Weirdo)

font de gato

font de gato

Unfortunately it started to rain and we couldn’t quite find the castle (seems like it would be easy right?!) and instead we turned around and went to another cafe for tea and crepes.

We hung out with the people in out hostel for a bit before Kate, Collin and I went out for dinner and gelato. We let him know it was a big deal to be invited to food with us… We take eating very serious (trip = Kate and kaytlen eat Europe 2014?)

Warm showers, packing and a little minor surgery (I have a blister -_-) later we are off to bed for our last night in Europe :(. I’m sad to leave but happy to get home to my animals. (oh and my family too I guess ;) )

Dear mother, I really want BBQ chicken for dinner!! With an orange soda and a s’more. Little things I tell ya…

See you soon America.
-KK


St. Joan’s in Barcelona

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Hola!

So today we ventured over to the beaches and laid out for a while. It was great… so relaxing and just what we needed after all of the hectic travel days. No top? No problem. I may or may not have taken part of this motto that seems to be popular along the beaches here. (At least long enough to get that shot ;) )

image

A light snack and sangria hit the spot before heading back over to the hostel where we quickly prepared for the busy night a head of us. It was St. Joan’s Day here so tonight we went to the beaches to celebrate with our hostel and to watch the fireworks (more like watch out for fireworks… they are legal here and children were setting them off. It was a war zone.) We got home with the sunrise but that is the point of it. There were tons of DJs on the beach and crowds everywhere. Being natives like we are we avoided the tourist areas and hung out with all of the locals. Not a big deal but it kind of is.

image

image

Oh and before you ask.. I really don’t know what the holiday is for, so google it? So what did I learn on this evening you ask? Children are even scarier that you think and never trust the Canadians in regards to your drinks…. there may not be anything left when you get it back.

Good night! (Morning?)

-KK


Hiking (dying) on those Swiss Alps!

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Breakfast was pretty yummy. As long as you got the toast and not the funky oatmeal/ cereal stuff. We even got some Swiss cheese to put on our toast! We met some guys at breakfast, Grant and Nate. Who invited us to join them on their hike…

I hiked the Swiss alps everyone!

We did the Harder Kulm pass which was terrible. Beautiful, fun, but difficult. It was actually a harder level than we originally thought and we took lots of short tree stumps (code word for breaks). I forgot my inhaler in the rush because we were planing on leaving later. Lungs loved it. (Sorry mom) There was a tram that went up the mountain as well and we stood there for a minute thinking about jumping on top of it but we stuck with it and dragged on. We were pretty close to beating up some random old people who we passed (that totally took the tram up and “hiked” down. Like not event the real path, on the bike passes) to take their walking sticks. Walking sticks are a hot commodity here.

image

When we eventually got there {after some close mental breaks…} it was totally worth it. You could see the crystal blue lake and the famous JungFrau in the distance. It is so beautiful it looks fake like someone just slapped a poster on a wall and was like here you go tourists!

image

Even better than the view? Grant and I split french fries at the top. They were on point. Going back down was interesting… while we were enjoying our french fries a random hurricane like rain hit us so we took shelter at the restaurant. It lasted just long enough to throughly soak everything and make the paths wet. Don’t worry everyone… I only bit it twice going back down. Once was quite graceful, falling into a field of flowers. Next one? Not so much.. hey rocks. The rest was fun though, we sang backstreet boys and other classics and even came up with a pretty legit band name… The Tree Stump Band.

image

We grabbed a quick snack and rested on hammocks and lounge chairs out at the other part of our hostel which is a tent village. We went downtown to explore before heading back and watching the footballs games and dancing. (Just want to give a quick shout out to my sister… thanks to dancing with you for years I can not be lead and I always try to take the male lead.)

Hope you are all doing well!
-KK


Switzerland!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

It was sad saying bye to Mara and Alex but we are off to somewhere new again! Switzerland! I’m so excited, I have never visited here before.

The train is nice, we even have a place for cookie! I keep re-reading my note my mom wrote me before leaving. Keeps reminding me to soak up every minute I can and appreciate all the little things.

This train ride is by far the prettiest yet. We pass by different landscapes and little towns and off In the distance you can begin to see faint lines of the alps.

You have to watch out for travel days.. They can be a bit stressful and we both need to get food as soon as possible afterward. To make matters worse, I’m pretty sure cookie is on her last limb. Literally. One of her wheels stopped working and now she is dragging/ developing a hole. -_- makes travel days just that much better.

image

Interlocken is absolutely beautiful. Like don’t believe it’s real kind of thing. It’s a small town with bright blue water and surrounded by the alps. One downside of Switzerland though… It’s expensive.

image

We watched the football match between chili and Spain tonight as well (randomly a ton of chili supporters?) and pretty mad Spain choked and is out of the cup. We were banking on them playing while we were there!

So excited for hiking tomorrow :)
-kk


J’aime Paris.

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

This morning we were woken up and given breakfast in bed by Alex (Tea and eggs! He is great) we got up and took the metro over to the Gare du Nord to try and grab some tickets for the train which is extremely difficult with the strike going on..

On the way to the station, the metro was a strange and different experience. Paris as beautiful as it is, constantly reminds you it has a darker (not dangerous) undertone. The metro was silent and there was only a beggar singing a haunting song that goes “boncourage madame” or good luck Madame. It was creepy and high pitch and literally sounded like one of those songs that sad movies play before a terrible accident or death. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion and we rushed off when we got to our stop.

After waiting in a short line for ever (like time wise it was long but the que itself was short?) we finally had some success with the Eurails and booked reservations to and from Interlocken. Yay! Also Olivia met up with us here to spend the day together :)

Paris in less than 36 hours is quite a challenge but we are doing out best. We started out with grabbing some macaroons at Jean-Paul Hévin because when in Paris oui? We walked and sat in the Luxembourg gardens where we enjoyed our delicious treats in the sunshine.

image

We continued through to the Jewish quarter where we stopped at the famous falafel stand. We walked through the city, seeing lovely buildings and Notre dam. I grabbed icecream in memory of my friends who I traveled with last time at our favorite gelato shop next to it.

Just wanted to put in here that I am now currently sitting in the Shakespeare and co writing this.. It’s a super famous bookstore beside Notre dam where writers can come stay/ write for free up to a year. It’s so relaxing… Being surrounded by books siting on old chairs while someone plays the piano. It’s magical really.

image

A quick photoshoot in front of Notre Dam and goodbye to Olivia we were off to THE COOLEST PLACE EVER. A cat cafe, Le cafè des chats. J’aime les chats.

image

I was so happy. I drank my orange juice (they ran out of black tea) with a little kitten on my lap.

Le Café des Chats

Le Café des Chats

image

We went back to the apartment to make some dinner and later on went over to the Sacre Coeur de Montmartre to have more snacks, look at the view over the city and enjoy each other’s company. Few things are better than these moments with the ones you love.

Bonsoir Paris, until next time.

-kk

Paris thoughts:

KL: What a whirl wind! While we only had about one and a half days in Paris, we made sure to make the most of it. I loved the ambiance of the art and architecture of the city. It is hard to beat watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle at midnight with good friends. Off to Switzerland now, but leaving with fond memories.

KK: Paris is always a good idea. It was nice just walking around the city. Paris is a great location because there is something there for any travelers budget, it can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. Sad to leave so quickly but I know I will be back. Time to head to those Swiss landscapes.


London Day 2!

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

ello erryone!

Today was a big day from the beginning… WE ACTUALLY GOT TO EAT BREAKFAST! (not just out protein bars we brought) Our hostel served up croissants, toast with jam, and cereal! Living the dream over here.

First stop of the day was 221B Baker Street to visit the Sherlock Holmes house/museum. It was great and had a super cool set up. :) There were little exhibits of some of his more famous cases, letters from fans around the world (one little girl wrote “My teacher is making me write to you and you are dead. I feel so stupid. At least I will get extra credit.” That kid is going places), knickknacks, and you could put on his hats and pose. I really enjoyed it and it makes me want to re-read the stories as well as re-watch the movies.

221B Baker Street!

221B Baker Street!

Sherlock at your service

Sherlock at your service

Next stop was Camden Market which actually use to be horse stables back in the late 1800s. Today it is converted to a market full of crafts, food, clothing and a few other miscellaneous shops. There are foods/stores from all over the world and represent multiple different ethnicities. We both grabbed a shirt, fresh OJ and a quick lunch while wandering around. I loved all of the giant horse sculptures within the area. I wish America had similar style markets like they offer here in Europe. :(

One of the sculptures in the Market

One of the sculptures in the Market

Unfortunately it looks like we missed out on seeing a play in the Globe Theatre while visiting London. So instead we took a tea and dessert break, which is always a good idea in my book. Then we decided to walk into the glorious Harrods pretending like we could afford to be there and go shopping. (Lets be real, I was too scared to go near anything…)

Harrods!

Harrods!

A quick stop to check out Neal’s Yard, which was a lot smaller than it looked like on pinterest, and returned to the Hostel to change and rest the feet for a moment.

Neal's Yard

Neal’s Yard

Not quite sure what Kate and I have done to get such terrible luck on finding dinner but its nearly impossible for us to find an open place pretty much every night on this trip so far. We eventually found an Italian place along the river Thames and ate delicious pizzas with a side of mediocre leaves,  “side salad” bah humbug. We tried going to find a fun place to go out for a little but it started raining and we were getting tired/ crabby and decided it would probably be a better idea to rest up and get ready for the big day tomorrow… HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR. I will probably cry. No shame.

Cheers!

-KK


Paddy Wagon part 2!

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

“I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves” – eat pray love

Hiyah everyone!
Day two of the paddy wagon tour was lovely as well, we were totally spoiled by our first driver though. Today we had Eveen Murphy who was from Cork. She was very nice and informative and unfortunately for her we had this one group (really just one person) who would not stop talking… She also sang for us ( I’m pretty sure it’s a Paddy Wagon thing to do) and it was so good. The drive once again was beautiful. So much green farmland littered with cows, sheep, and stone fences. Every now and then a castle would casually pop up over the landscape, no big deal.

Our first little rest stop was located in “stab city” or the locals call it Limerick, Ireland. The unfortunate nickname came from a few years back when stab binges happened quite frequently due to the government trying to situate all the travelers (gypsies) in one place. However, they forgot that very few traveler groups get along. They all kind of moved in and started killing each other off, whoops. At least the phase died out, or one group prevailed, and now they are gaining a better reputation.

view of Limerick/ King John's Castle

view of Limerick/ King John’s Castle

Limerick is also a city that has the Shannon river flowing through and was founded by the Vikings way back in the day. Where they use to control the land now stands King Johns castle built in 1209 when the Anglo-Normans (Britain) came over and took control. Driving by you could see it was built for war because the windows were tiny little slits.

Next was a little town named Doolin where we stopped for lunch. We ate at Fitz Patrick Pub and ate some good old “meat and potatoes”. But let me tell you… It was delicious. I choose the beef and Kate opted for chicken. Both plates were decked out with cooked veggies and cabbage as well as a mound of potatoes. We stuffed our faces and cleared our plates pretty quickly.

We took a little detour to the “mini cliffs” which were located in a place where apparently over 75% of the flora/ fauna species in Ireland are located. They were
Amazing. It’s crazy to think of how old these rocks really are!

mini cliffs

mini cliffs

image
The big stop of the day was the Cliffs of Moher. They. Were. Awesome. Like true to the word awe-inspiring.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

image

Kate and I were rebels and hopped over the surrounding wall (more of a careful step over really) to take pictures.

Some idiot tried showing off for the girls he was with and attempted to jump over the wall… He failed. He caught himself on the wall and almost bit it off the cliffs. I just stepped to the side, I wasn’t going down with him. (Even more unfortunate that the entire group ended up on the bus we switched to and would not shut up… I thought Kate was going to kill them.)

Our poor Bus driver John just didn’t have a great group to work with. He seemed friendly but couldn’t get any response from the bus… We did have a limerick contest for passing through Limerick. Kate rhymed 2 lines and stopped trying haha. Here is my literary piece…

The lovely Cliffs of Moher
Are they dangerous or
Are you just dumb
And jump for fun
never to be seen anymore.

One for the books I realize. A quick stop in Bunratty before returning back to Dublin where we found a place serving salads (after walking all over trying to find a stupid salad we got back to our hostel and literally 2 stores over in the opposite direction we found salads -_-)

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

In our Hostel, Abbey Court, we stayed in a 12 bedroom mix where we met David from Spain (“I fix dis” he kept saying about our cages where the suitcases/ bags were SUPPOSE to go… Cookie is a diva and refused to fit. “Nobody puts cookie in a cage”) and a fun group from Georgia Tech who were studying abroad. Together we all went out, starting out at the pub where we found the salads purely because the bartender was very attractive. Next we traveled over a pub named “The Vat” which all of the “vits” go according to Kate. (Vit = very important traveler a term Kate coined earlier in the day when we accidentally found our way into staff only territory in Bunratty.. Whoops) It was a fun place with live music and a laid back feel. The real importance of the Vat is where we met Paul the bartender. He was great, super cute typical Irish guy. (Kate said they looked too related so she got dibs on first bartender) After one new place, and a quick last stop in Vat, Kate and I headed back to the Hostel for a very short night of sleep before traveling to London tomorrow!

“Such small girls drinking pints” said the sweetest lady ever.

Tips for fellow travelers: brita filter wattle bottle is a game changer, paddy wagon tours were awesome and a great way to see a lot in a little amount of time, both main hostels were very accommodating, centrally located and clean (Four Courts Hostel & Abbey Court), if you are lost or confused look at the maps inside a store and not on the street = easy prey and last grab a card with the address where you are staying before leaving to explore

Thoughts about Ireland:

Kaytlen: Ireland is a beautiful, beautiful country. And those accents… Fabulous. *swoon* Dublin was fun and definitely interesting to explore but at the end it was another large city. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed my stay and would return but I feel as though the best way to experience Ireland would to be to rent a car or jump on tours like we did. You can see the green countryside and explore smaller towns which is where you can get the more cultural feel.

Kate: From the countryside and cliffs to the winding city streets, Ireland carries a historic, charming character. While Dublin was fun to explore, my true appreciation of Ireland came from the views along our tour through Blarney, Cork, and Moher. If I were to do it again, I would spend more time in one of the smaller towns we stopped at along the way to get a better feel of the local culture. What I wouldn’t change is touring the Guinness factory within four hours of landing in Dublin. What a way to get into character!

Hope you are all doing well.

-KK


Paddy Wagon Day 1!

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Ello everyone!

So today was so much fun despite being poured on constantly. Kate and I woke up nice and early to meet up with our tour group through Paddy Wagon. Our driver, Tiernan, was really nice and sterotypically irish. Red hair, pale skin and don’t forget that accent! (also my favorite part about him is when he was discussing all of the religious troubles Ireland has been through between protestants and catholics he declaed himself a Jedi) He was super knowledgable about the history and made it interesting to listen to. A few things we learned on our bus ride…

- True meaning of Black and Tans as well as the civil war history/ independence treaty from Britain

-When England took more control over Ireland they renamed a lot of the cities to be phonetically correct to the English language

-When England’s queen or king couldn’t pronounce an Irish city name they renamed it simply to King’s Land or Queen’s land. After the independence Ireland reversed all the cities back to their original Irish names.

-Cobh, pronounced cove, was actually a cove settled by England soldiers who creatively named it… Cove. Also the story behind it was that when changing back the names the Irish didn’t have an original name for the area so they did what the British did and changed the name to be phonetically correct in the Irish language.

-Information on gypsies

-How to understand Irish license plates (year-county-#made)

AND SO MUCH MORE.

The drive through the countryside was beautiful. Everything was so green and fresh! Tiernan was listening to Irish music on the way over and if I learned anything from this trip it was to like the music. I was apparently mindlessly editing pictures to the beat of the music while Kate laughed at me.

Our first stop was Cobh which was the last port city of the Titanic before it headed out into the Atlantic Ocean (there is a museum now located in the original white star line building.) On our way into the city, the road we were travelling along was actually the main passage of immigration during the famine in the late 1800s.

image

It poured on us the entire time walking around but it was worth it. We checked out their cathedral, small shops, and got tea/coffee in the Titanic cafe. And of course.. I managed to find a kitty to love on.

St. Colmans Cathedral

St. Colmans Cathedral

image

Next stop was Corcaigh or Cork where we found a little marketplace and grabbed sandwiches for lunch before heading over the the main site of the day.. The Blarney Castle!

Blarney Castle!

Blarney Castle!

The Blarney Castle is a defensive style castle and home to the famous Blarney Stone. Don’t you worry, Kate and I hiked up through the rain and the castle and kissed that bad boy. Eloquent speech here we come! Jk, I still can’t talk straight.

Kate kissing the stone!

Kate kissing the stone!

Me kissing old Blarney

Me kissing old Blarney

Also the Blarney Castle has a garden to the side called “The Poison Garden” so of course Kate and I had to check it out because what says friendship more than a poison garden?

Poison Garden

Poison Garden

Our last stop with Tiernan was when he dropped us off back in Cork city at our hostel for the night, but before we got there, we had a lovely sing-a-long to some famous Irish songs as well as Fresh Prince. Being soaked to the bone, we were all about finding a hot dinner (which we found! Beef and Guinness Stew yummm!) and showers. Getting ready for bed because tomorrow starts early again!

Sláinte! (Irish for Cheers)

-KK


Dublin – a haon

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Dia Dhuit!

Ahh! We are here in Ireland! Kate and I arrived around 7:15am, home’s 2:15am, and much to my dismay my phone refused to work on the global system. (Its ok though, hours later dad saved the day). We caught a bus and headed towards The Four Courts Hostel were we are staying for the night.

image

Since our room wasn’t ready we dropped off our things and walked over towards the Guinness Storehouse.

image

Barley, Hops, Water,  Yeast and of course Arthur we learned are the 4 important parts of the beer. The museum was nicely laid out and on the 4th floor we were issued where we learned how to pour the perfect pint and then made our own. We even got certificates! I like to make my mom proud… (Look I graduated!)

image

We then got to take our perfect pints up to the top floor called the gravity bar. It is a 360* glass walled bar where you can see all of Dublin from!

image

Next we ate lunch at a local cafe and tried Boxty’s (pretty much a patty of hashbrowns… Irish love their potatoes) After we walked around the Medieval section and saw Christchurch as well as the Dublin Castle.

Christ Church

Christ Church

Dublin Castle Garden

Dublin Castle Garden

The castle didn’t really seem all is was said to be. It was modernized and didn’t have much to offer about tours on the history. We checked back into the hostel (and then proceeded to check out our eyelids) before heading over to St. Patricks Cathedral.

St. Patricks Cathedral

St. Patricks Cathedral

It was beautiful! We got to walk inside and while we were looking around the chorus began to warm up for their evening service (the chorus was founded in the 1400s!) After the tour Kate and I grabbed icecream cones and sat in the neighboring park enjoying the beautiful day.

After one more nap we walked over to the Brazen Head Pub for dinner which is the oldest pub in Ireland! It was founded in 1198! America wasn’t even around then…

image

While strolling around the river we ran into some friends than we met on the plane over who are also backpacking! Together we went to the ever popular Temple Bar and explored the area surrounding.

Now we are back meeting some new people but about to hit the hay because we have an early morning tomorrow!

Hope you are all doing well!

-KK


Farewell America, Hello Europe!

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Kate and I are off!

Watch out Europe we are coming for you! 8 countries and 3 weeks lay ahead of us of new adventures and experiences. For those of you who do not know our travel plan it is…

Dublin>London>Brussels>Amsterdam>Luxembourg>

Paris>Interlocken>Nice>Barcelona

My favorite part about it is, in all of these large cities we have a list of cultural activities and sights to see but when you scroll the itinerary we created to Brussels it literally just says “chocolate and waffles”.

Obviously I started off the day on a good path when on the way to the airport I called it a post office. Dad said he was going to stick a stamp on me and hope for the best.

 

Kate And I!

Kate And I!

Just wanted to give a shoutout to the parental units and say thanks for everything! Both Kate and I are so excited!

Daddio and I (insert mother here ^)

Daddio and I (insert mother here ^)

Kate and her momma bear

Kate and her momma bear

We were a little worried boarding onto our little hop over flight to Charlotte because the announcer started declaring all of the cabins full and Kate was trying not to check her bag. We got lucky that we happened to find a space (after I shoved some unknowing persons stuff far to a side) and didn’t have to worry about it. Now we are currently sitting in the Charlotte Airport waiting the arrival of our plane. Kate and “Little Osprey” (her backpack) are sitting across from me while i’m just praying on “Cookie” (my suitcase) meeting me in Dublin…

See ya in Dublin!

-KK