Posts Tagged ‘Vienna’

Hup Holland Hup!

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Woke up this morning a little tired and not up to traveling.. Unfortunately we didn’t have a choice and had to get to the rail station. Eurails are almost not worth it. It is incredibly hard to get on a fast train and near impossible to find someone who will sit down and map things out with you.
Eventually we got to Amsterdam and walked into our own piece of heaven. A real hotel (thanks momma larsen!!) we are so not use to nice things that we look like 5 year olds playing with all of the gadgets. (Our faucet turns red to blue from hot to cold including purple in the middle)
We met up with their family friend Caroline and went out for a drink to chat. (Where we saw a real life mannakin piss) Afterward we grabbed dinner and headed out to the square to watch the football match between Holland and Spain.
Hup holland hup!

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We won :) woo!!! Hopefully that doesn’t hurt us in Spain. We celebrated with the rest of the country and went out to the wee hours of the morning singing and dancing.
We love happiness. In all forms.

-kk


Bienvenue a Bruxelles!

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Bonjour!

Our 5am alarm clocks came painfully fast this morning. Thank goodness we were already packed and ready to go…
We had a 6:50 train out of London for Brussels and you will be proud to know we got there with plenty of time left over. (I want to know why in the world did we ever think these early morning travel reservations were a good idea) Unfortunately we didn’t get to sit together on our train over. She was lucky and got to sleep while I on the other hand stayed awake to upload the pictures I’m behind on editing/ posting. -_- I finally got them all uploaded and prepared to take a quick nap only to be teased because I forgot about the time change. Right when I started to fall asleep we arrived.

Bruxelles is a very pretty city. However, it is smaller and easy to see or do in a day. We are happy that we decided to make it a one day trip because to be honest we aren’t sure what we would really have to do tomorrow. After arriving we dropped off our stuff in our hostel and ventured towards city central where we caught a free tour. It was interesting enough, I didn’t know anything about it’s history nor it’s foundation and we also saw some really important sites on it… (Mannakin piss anyone?! *sarcasm)

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Grand Place

Grand Place

We ended up bouncing half way through (the tour guide wasn’t quite keeping out attention and kept trying way to hard to be funny it became annoying) and sat in the royal park in front of the palace eating icecream. We also made it over to see the famous Atomium sculpture.

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3 Belgian waffles each (some in chocolate), a basket of fries, Icecream cone, and dinner later, we returned back to the hostel to relax, get stuff done and get some sleep before traveling once again tomorrow.

when in Brussels...

when in Brussels…

Amsterdam better watch itself!

Bonne nuit!

-kk

P. S. I actually spoke some French today and made sense! Wooo!
P.P.S. Brussels kind of smells?


Last Day in London :(

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Rise and shine! Since yesterday was my large day of the trip, today was for Kate. She, of course, chose to visit Wimbledon being the tennis champ that she is. (She totally called me out on calling it wimbleTon. Whoops)

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It was a really nice facility! Like I would like to learn how to be coordinated enough to play. It was funny first off I probably embarrassed Kate with how little I know about the sport second at the beginning of the tour the guide said “raise you hand if you are a tennis fan”. Kate responded to this with her hand up. He then continued to say, “now raise your hand if you are married to a tennis player and dragged here” Obviously I rose my hand and was the only one. I became the designated photographer for some people after that. While she was geeking out on all of the tennis things I learned I too could take an interest in this tournament… More on the spectator side of things. She can go play the game while I watch the handsome men, eat strawberries and cream, and have a glass of champagne. Her top 3 favorite things about the tour were:

- behind the scenes of how they prepare
- the history and importance of the championship itself
- seeing the press conference room

Centre Court!

Centre Court!

happy kid

happy kid

Also another note, Kate was giving me such a hard time about glaring down some little girl yesterday at Harry potter world when she was hogging a computer. It’ sent like she understood it! Then today SHE was glaring down two little kids who were in the press chairs that she wanted to take a picture in. Hmph. She can only talk so much now.

Afterward we took a stroll through St. James park and sat on a bench with icecream cones people watching.

View of Buckingham Palace from St. James Park

View of Buckingham Palace from St. James Park

(“are you hungry? You sound hungry” Kate’s way of calling me weird) Next we went to Trafalgar Square where we witnessed a taxi union protest. It was (loud) kinda of cool. We grabbed some lunch and sat in front of the national gallery before heading to the London eye for one last look over London.

view from the London eye

view from the London eye

Some stupid kid attempted to take us out with his scooter that he (accidentally) flung at us hitting Kate and cutting my ankle. She was ok but we were both pretty pissed especially when they didn’t even really acknowledge what happened.

BUT ANYWAYS we both came back and packed up our things and proceeded to accidentally pass out. We are really cool I promise. At least we woke up and met up with our new Aussie friend David before popping out to a local bar. It was scary. We just sat around a table and sounded like grown ups talking about school systems, traveling and politics. I’m getting old :(

David!

David!

We got back around 1am but stayed up in the common room chatting with people for a bit. Hostels are pretty amazing things. You meet people from all over the world and sit there laughing, listening and learning from one another. Each from our own little world but mixing for this short amount of time. It’s really an eye opener and more people should really take the opportunity while you can.

So long London. You have been grand.

Big Ben

Big Ben

London Eye

London Eye

Overall thoughts on London:

Kaytlen: There is no time long enough to spend in London. It is ever involving and already stuffed to the brim with opportunities, knowledge and experiences waiting for you. London is a fabulous place and has my heart. One day I would love to take some opportunity to move over to the UK even if it is for a brief period of time. I HIGHLY recommend visiting this beautiful city seeing that there is something for everyone here.

Kate: I loved everything about London except the exchange rate. There is a nice mix of modern diversity set within the grandeur of the royal family. I also am always fond of cities that keep moving, and London definitely does. From music to markets, business news to bake shops, there is always something new to explore. London would definitely be a top pick to return to, and hopefully my Oyster card would retain it’s value.

-kk


London part 3 :)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

I would just like to confess to my mother that I broke the rules today… I took TWO croissants at breakfast when it CLEARLY says only take one. Told you, living on the wild side. #YOLO anyone?

Our hostel is adorable. It is inside an old converted building and has tons of charm and character, however, our room at night is a sauna. Not only that but our roommates go to bed at like 11:45 and turn off all the lights. Unfortunately for me we are staying in an attic room with lots of beams and I am very tall.. if you do the math you can reach the proper conclusion of what happened when I finally went to bed last night. I hit it so hard I was afraid I woke up my neighboring bunk mate.

Anyways, enough of my struggles, first stop on the itinerary was to see Buckingham Palace. (we got there a little later than planned… we were sleepy and wanted our breakfasts) We stumbled upon some random building where we found guards and while taking pictures of them we actually got to witness a changing of the guards up close and personal by accident. It was really cool, and a little silly.

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When we finally got to Buckingham Palace itself they were going through their own changing of the guards and we got to see a (very) little of it.

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But, the main attraction of the day was…. HARRY POTTER STUDIOS WOOOOOO!

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I can’t even begin to put how amazing this tour was. Kate isn’t even a fan and enjoyed the tour and now wants to see the movies. Me, being a huge fan, totally teared up (no shame I cried a little) when it began with the videos out of pure excitement and happiness. I looked like a five year old in a candy shop walking around with my wand in hand gawking at all of the props, sets, costumes etc. Thankfully Kate was there to assist in capturing the moments. (Today was my day, hers is Wimbledon tomorrow) You know its a good day when your main problem is your hair flying into your butterbeer.  I’ll save you the novel and tell you my top 3 favorite parts of the tour…

1. Green screen flying on broomsticks/ flying car. Kate and I had a fabulous time of it, others seemed more reserved the weirdos.

2. Seeing the great hall. So much happens in here throughout the film so its amazing to see where it all took place and how much detail they put into it.

3.  Seeing the model of Hogwarts that they do their landscape shots on. It was amazing. I can’t even give it justice by description.

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staring in awe, wand in hand.

staring in awe, wand in hand.

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HI FRANDS. jk, I hate you.

HI FRANDS. jk, I hate you.

imageA few more tears later and we were off back to London and went to The Sherlock’s Pub (running theme?) and GOT DINNER ON OUR FIRST TRY. This was a big deal. Traditional fish and chips… same thing happened as last time I was in England though… I was noming well until I saw the weird dark skin and that was it. I got about half way so thats a job well done in my book seeing as I never eat any type of seafood. (when in London, eh?) Plus, I ate all my mushy peas and chips.

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Being the exciting girls we are, we were going to try and go on a crawl tonight… nope. We were easily swayed with the temptations of iceacream and being lazy at the hostel. Sorry not sorry everyone.

Cheers!

-KK


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


Hallo London!

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

It was by no mean easy waking up this morning… not only that but we actuall woke up and literally through on what ever was on top of our suitcase and hailed a taxi to take us to the ferry. Only the problem was when Kate told him “Ferryport” he heard “airport” and took us the complete wrong way. He had to quickly turn around out of the traffic and speed to the ferry where we JUST made it on time. Wayyyy too close.

In order to get from Dublin to London we decided to do the sailrail through Irishferries which I highly recommend. Half ferry, half train. Really quite simple. We rode through Wales and through the outer counties of England which were beautiful per usual. On the rail we met a very friendly guy, James, from wales who is actually part of the army in the UK. He was on his way to London to go back into the barracks for more training but took the time to make sure we made it to the underground and that we knew where we were going from there. He had so many questions about how certain things worked in the USA and it was interesting going back and forth in comparisons.

A quick shower to wash away the travels and Kate and I venture out to a very romantic dinner at the local subway. Those sandwiches didn’t stand a chance. We bought our Oyster cards and were off to central London to see the city at night. She didn’t disappoint. As we walked along the river Thames the tress were lit up with blue and white christmas lights adding a magical touch to the evening.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Parliament and Big Ben

Parliament and Big Ben

London Eye

London Eye

The lit up trees along the path

The lit up trees along the path

On our way towards the tube an older english man started talking to us and showed us the building where the Crown Jewels were kept before transferring to the Tower of London. Very friendly but we were eager to get back to the hostel, Palmers Lodge, because we have another earlier morning tomorrow! So much to see and do in London!

Cheers! Miss you all (especially Cedric and Kitty),

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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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!)

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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!

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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…

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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