Bed bug bitten.

6 Jul

Its almost five in the morning at the Split International airport and the sun is finally starting to rise. In a couple of hours i board a flight to geneva and then another one to madrid where I’ll be staying two more nights before coming back HOME!

Since I last wrote I have been to two more countries, although I dont know if i would count the side trip to Austria as really seeing the country.

Essentially Chelsea had another random connection this time in vienna. Her mother’s college roommate is living there for the next couple of years and let us come stay with her for the weekend. It was a good couple of days and Debbie (the name of the lady) was so nice and interesting. She has travelled all over the world working with the UN and had just gotten back from Japan. Vienna was beautiful but it felt too fast to be thrust into this entirely new city after just having been in Budapest.  We were really lucky because that weekend there was a humongous music festival going on in the island in the Danube River. We met up with our friends emma and brooke at the concert as they also happened to be in vienna at the same time. Other than that we spent the couple days we had walking around more palacial buildings, visiting some gardens and going to a trivia night at an irish pub with debbie.

This past week I have been in the WONDERFUL country of croatia. Our first three days we spent in a town called Plitvice where we hiked around the Plitvice national parks.  The town itself was not really a town and we stayed in a kind of bed and breakfast type place. The park was absolutely incredible it comprised of plank pathways that follow the most beautiful waterfalls and cut across the bluest most pristine lakes I have ever seen. Our second day we hiked out of the national park and found our very own lake with another beautiful waterfall and went swimming, we even managed to swim up behind the waterfall ahh it was so exhilirating. After that Chelsea and I travelled to the island of Brac where we spent every single day laying on the zlatni rat beach,also the most photographed beach in Croatia. Zlatni Rat is a pebble stone beach that juts out into a peninsula so our first day we sunbathed at the very tip ahh it felt so good to do nothing after so many months of always doing something. I could write so many stories but apparently at five in the morning my writing skills arent functioning at the moment.

I will say that at the bed and breakfast we stayed at we acquired a backpacker’s nightmare…

BED BUGS, read blood sucking most annoying creatures in the entire world that wont stop biting us. They are an invisible enemy, one minute you look at your hand and its fine next minute 10 red welts are making there way to the surface. ahhh i hate it.

Well thats all for now!

Miss everyone so much!!!!

Jessie

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Opera, thermals baths, and tea with a princess.

24 Jun

Turns out the transition from a 6 person mixed dorm to a princess’s apartment is actually fairly easy. Did i mention ifeel like the luckiest person alive? For those of you who dont know the story, essentially chelsea has this really random connection through her grandmother’s friend’s sister that got us in touch with a PRINCESS. This woman is actually an heir to the house of hapsburg and her last name is pretty much associated with every other street, building, bridge and thermal bath in Budapest. Anyways this princess lady let us stay in her spare apartment for the past week and it was so surreal.  One minute I was trying to fall asleep to the scraping of tables in the Dublin airport and the next minute I was prancing through this beautiful elegant lounge room  listening to classical hungarian music after having just taken a shower WITHOUT having to wear sandals!

With or without this little luxury Budapest would still rank on my list as one of the most liveable cities I have ever been to. It is a capital city without all of the hustle and bustle and with more green space. Everyone is super relaxed, cars will let you cross the street without threatening to run you over, the people generally have a smile on their face, parks dot the entire city, it is filled with some of the most palacial buildings I have ever seen, and it straddles the Danube river. Not to mention one of the bridges connects to an island in the middle of the river that acts as Budapest’s very own central park.  Also, it is relatively cheap compared to the rest of europe, isn’t yet overrun with too many tourist attractions, and plain and simple is a nice place to live.

Well seeing as how i was now staying in a classy little apartment in this beautiful city I had to make the transition from outdoorsy i take showers in tevas Jessica to classy i attend operas Jessica. However with a backpackers wardrobe the stepover to Budapest fashionista never was entirely complete. Meaning that when Chelsea and I attended Othello at the Hungarian Opera House and showed up to claim our boxseat ticket, me in my black shorts and fanciest blouse, and chelsea in her wool dress we stood out compared to the people in their suits and red carpet dresses. Not to mention the opera was obviously in Italian and then conveniently translated into hungarian, so not helpful. After the first act I told chelsea how much it moved me to hear the singing and how I could feel the emotions in their voices she feverently agreed. In the second act i realized that I had been basing my knowledge of Othello off of the movie called  ’’O’’  …well turns out that movie is about hamlet. Third act I almost fell asleep thoroughly confused by one of the actors who would repeatedly seize and die on stage only to wake up within minutes. By the fourth act i tried to regain any semblance of composure and muster up all of my energy to clap along with all of the other very deeply touched members of the audience.  Lesson learned? When going to an opera not in your native tongue, look up the synopsis so you understand when the main guy kills his wife, because i have yet to figure it out.

Along with the opera we spent a full morning in thermal baths (named after the lady whose apartment we are staying in), took a tour of parliament, went to the house of terror (a museum all about the cruelty of communism, and went to Margaret Island. Now  I am off to have a night cup with the princess!!!! In other words, a late cup of tea.

Tomorrow off to vienna and then croatia!!

See everyone so soon!

Jessica

P.S. who we are about to meet! (from Conde Naste 33 trips of a life time)

HUNGARY
Bohemian Rhapsody
Dine with Fürstin (a princess in Hapsburg nobility) Suzanne Lobkowicz, who lives on her family’s lands near Sopron, just across Lake Neusiedl from Austria. Her Szechenyi ancestors (the Fürstin‘s maiden name) famously led the Magyars against their Turkish occupiers in the seventeenth century; the beautiful Szechenyi Bridge in Budapest is named after them, and there are statues of family members in many Hungarian towns. Her former husband, Fürst Ottokar Lobkowicz (now deceased), came from another famed Bohemian family with a castle north of Prague. The Fürstin can tell you about her years in Geneva while the Communists ruled Hungary, her work as a horse trader and farmer, and her son’s Ludmilla winery, as well as centuries of aristocratic family history. Cost: From $1,025. Source: Ellison Poe, Poe Travel (800-727-1960; epoe@poetravel.com). BEST FOR: Aficionados of the much-celebrated House of Hapsburg. BUT BEWARE: Do your homework so that you sound reasonably knowledgeable in the presence of this elegant princess.

Snapshot of Ireland

19 Jun

In Dublin

Chelsea at the Temple Bar pub scene

In front of the infamous Temple Bar

The hostel I worked at. Miss it so much!

The music festival!"!!!!

On Scaffolding????

Wet suits at the lake

lovin life

the hostel crewwwww

Random road trip with Bill

We figured out her sunglasses are reflective

Awesome waterfall in Killarny

In the Sky Gardens near the hostel

The Beacon in baltimore!!

Rock pools 🙂

really really steep cliff. thought it would be a good idea to get super close to the edge

Before the Blarney stone

Recieving the gift of gab (side note chelsea freaked out doing this)

ah Ireland 🙂 It really was a wonderful place full of the nicest people in the world. We never felt out of place,( thanks Obama) and towards the end of our stay it really felt like home.

I couldn’t say enough thank yous to cover all the wonderful people we met during our stay.

You treated us so wonderfully

I Love you Ireland!

P.s. shoutout to Ethan. The coolest 16 year old I have ever met. You showed us such an amazing time our last couple of days, come visit me in Colorado!!!!!!

The oddities of Ireland.

11 Jun

It feels like forever since i wrote my last blogpost. Unfortunately this is going to be a weird sum of events type post  to give a small idea of what life has been like in good ole skibbereen.

Last weekend the big thing was the music festival. Before i start with the explanation let me just provide this visual. It is two in the afternoon i am dressed in a highlighter yellow vest sitting on a two story high scaffolding looking over a campsite next to a field of cows with ska reggae jammin from a nearby stage. Thats right ladies and gentlemen, the wonderful and naive people of skibbereen appointed Chelsea and I to be security guards to keep things calm at the camp and rv site. Far from being a forced to be reckoned with, we were mainly just those weird american girls that thought visiting skibbereen and sitting on scaffolding would be “a good idea.” Seriously, everyone was so confused as to why we were there even we were confused as to how we landed such a bizarre job. WE tried our very hardest to act convincing as the “crowd safety” every once in a while we would walk around shouting things like “hey keep it safe over there” or “hey you guys! keep it real man” if we really wanted to make people nervous we would proceed to more aggressive words of caution like, ” you guys look like your up to no good…but seriously” and then after we threw around these phrases we would usually end up giggling or asking how the festival was or what they thought about the states. I would like to think that overall we gave camp security a good name. The people at the campgrounds were so friendly to say the least, they taught us irish dancing, gave us cake, let us play with their dogs, and handed us the occasional beer. when we got off shift it felt like we were famous or something literally groups of people would come up to us and say ” You are those girls at the campsite!!!!”Even when our boss came to see the show he said that at the entrance he mentioned he worked at the hostel and that people asked him if he knew the americans.

Yesterday was also pretty wonderful. We were able to help with a group of school children on their adventure day and went kayaking at the lake. It was beautiful and we wore wetsuits and went kayaking to a little island and played group games. It was SO MUCH FUN seriously I could do that everyday. That night was also hilarious because chelsea and I ended up  recreating a Crete moment and sang in front of a bar at the pub Baby Hannahs. We really wanted to sing “You can call me al” by Paul Simon but the guitarist did NOT know the song whatsover so it turned into like this weird acapella session and it was so awkward. Chelsea thankfully saved the show and played the electric guitar herself while i took control of the microphone and we sang to Pink Floyd. The night took a weird turn when we found out that the guy we hitch-hiked with two weeks ago was at the bar and was celebrating his 22nd birthday!

Today we went on a roadtrip with Bill AKA my new favorite person at the hostel. Bill is a british guy who has lived at the hostel for over a year and helps around with running it etc and he has  family in England and is just really easygoing and fun.  Anyways he took us all around the countryside, saw the most picturesque coasts, beautiful pastures with really happy cows, and an ancient ruin with a stone circle.

Now we are back at the hostel hanging out with a huge group of guys who are here for a warhammer competition. Its one of those boardgames where you paint all your peices and then fight everyone on big boards with trees and stuff I don’t know i don’t really understand it. Interesting none the less.

Ireland has been full of adventure.

LOVE JESSIE

See you all in less than a month.

 

 

Short post from Irlanda :)

2 Jun

Now I am in Ireland. Ahh travel is so weird that way. Last week I was on the camino, then in Madrid and now in the countryside of Ireland.

We were in Dublin our first few days and it was a great introduction. The first day we went to do some sightseeing we noticed a bunch of guys in kilts. Being naturally curious we went up and asked why and somehow ended up drinking two pints of guinness with them while they tried to convince us to visit Scotland. The rest of the day we walked around and saw the sights and then that night we went to the temple bar area to go see the different pubs. There was live music at practically every pub.

Now we are in Skibberean working at a hostel adventure center. Our bosses are really nice and super laid back and so far its all been wonderful. There are two other volunteers here as well, one from New Jersey and another from Italy. We are kind of like an orphan family and we all eat dinner together and go grocery shopping together and hang out when we are done working. Our first day here Chelsea and I got to go to the lake and help a bunch of 50 year old social workers do team building. This involved orienteering and then they had to make a raft and float it around the lake. Every day so far has been so nice so far I  love it!

Funny story time. When we first arrived in Skibberean we had no idea how to get to the hostel so we ducked in to the nearest pub to figure it out. Well, we ran into this french guy there who had also been on the bus and he told us that he was here working for a music festival. Him and his friend told us that maybe if we stopped by we could volunteer for tickets. Three days later we went by the venue of the concert and went up to some people and got jobs!! So now we are working two shifts in exchange for tickets that are being sold for 98 euros ahh so exciting. Apparently we will be working the campgrounds but we work good hours so we wont miss much of the concert.  Life is so good here.

here is a link to the concert http://www.corkxsw.com/

 

also, might be staying with a hungarian princess…but more about that if it works out.

all for now, don’t have time for pictures 😦

 

Jessica

Just a couple of pictures from the road…

27 May

The beginning

Amador, the crazy man who showed me astorga

all the backpacks!

best walking day of the camino

Poppies on the meseta

Veronique Jane and I

misty morning

another great day

beautiful

me and mister pilgrim

Self portrait time

My 21st!!

just eating a snack

the 21 km marker!!!

in front of the cathedral doors in Santiago with my credencial

The BEAUTIFUL Cathedral

in one of the villages

Drinking my morning coffee

the cove i swam in on my way to Finisterre

around 400 kilometers later

at the end of the world and the end of my trip

The end.

Here are a handful of pictures from my trip! hope it gives you an idea of what it looked like. Missing the camino already but ready for Ireland in the morning!

LOVE

Jessie

The end of the world.

25 May

Walked to Finisterre.

One of the best days of the camino.

The finale.

I feel wonderful, whole, bursting with energy.

We watched the sunset.

Burned our clothes.

Ate chocolate on the rocks.

Ran into a girl I met my first day.

Saw the 0.0 kilometer sign.

Felt love all around.

Hitched a ride back home with a guy named Manual.

Drank hot chocolate with Jane.

Bed and bus tomorrow 🙂

send my love to everyone back home!

Jessica