europe places to go reminisce stories to tell

The time I missed a train

on thursdays i try to do a little travel throwback, emphasis on the story from one photo

2006 – photo taken on my first DSLR – canon rebel

i told my parents that i thought it would be fun to visit my brother in budapest for christmas. yes, i told my poor parents that i’d miss christmas a second time to join my brother who was also missing christmas. instead of them being bummed, they decided to join me. i hadn’t traveled with my parents since i was a kid so it was definitely an interesting experience! we thought we’d make more of a trip out of it than just visiting my brother and we planned on going to several countries.

well into our journey together, i needed some space from my parents so instead of staying in the same hotel as them, i decided to find a hostel while in poland. i found a really fun hostel and met some awesome people from around the globe. after a couple days in poland, we had planned on going to slovakia and then back to hungary to leave for home. my parents and i were going to meet at the train station in the morning and head out.

but i didn’t wake up.

the hostel owner was supposed to wake me. i didn’t have an alarm clock or a phone. they were supposed to wake me up but they forgot. so i slept. i woke up minutes before the train was supposed to leave. at first i freaked out a little. i didn’t know what to do, my parents didn’t have a phone, i didn’t have a phone and they were probably wondering where i was and assuming i was dead like parents do.

so i did my best and emailed them not knowing when they’d be able to check. things like this make me wonder what we ever did before smart phones…

then i looked up train times for overnight trains going to budapest so i wouldn’t miss my flight too and enjoyed one extra day in poland. that’s the night i snapped this photo. i hung out with a new friend (who is still a facebook friend after all these years) all day and then wandered around by myself that night. i don’t know what this statue is all about, i don’t remember even reading the plaque, but the weather was brisk and my cheeks were red, and i was left behind in poland an extra day and making the best of it.

moral of the story: don’t get left behind in a country…but if you do…live it up.

europe places to go

lisbon, portugal – ’08

this is a story of two people trying to be clever and then failing…miserably…

we thought it might be funny on this trip to bring fanny packs back into style because we’re so cool we can restart fashion trends… or because we’re so cool that we can make fun of people who wear fanny packs…

well, lesson learned: keep reading for the rest

the fanny pack is on and ready to make a statement!

also, please disregard my horrible long shorts fashion phase in this post…see told you we’re cool!

so off we went to portugal to work with orphans and run a summer camp. halfway through the trip, we had some resting time in lisbon. jared was mistaken as portuguese throughout the trip which we figured was due to his incredible ability to tan! this is what a few days at the beach will do to him!

before the halfway point lisbon trip though, jared and i got to have a little sneak peek at the city only a few days in with the orphans because i got sick. the funny thing was that i was leading this trip because of all my travel experience and of course i’m the one who has to go to the hospital 2 days in and leave everyone to fend for themselves! our translator (who also had a job as a stunt driver randomly enough) took us to a hospital where she used to work.  jared was driving the rental van through the tiny streets and crazy traffic while i was rolled into a ball in the back. she wasn’t very good about giving directions in a timely manner so it was a slightly scary drive. the directions usually consisted of  ‘follow dat car!!’ or ‘left…i mean right!’ so jared was a little stressed while i winced with every bump in the road.

we finally  made it to the hospital and they examined me a bit, then the doctor spoke with our translator for 5-6 minutes which was a bit worrisome to me, but then she turned to me and said ‘you have a bladder infection’. oh…that’s ALL he said?? ok… i was pretty sure this was my problem because i definitely did not drink enough water on the flights over, that was partly because the airline wouldn’t give us water at all and i refused to purchase water on a flight. ridiculous of them, ridiculous of me…pride might be a good title for this entire blog post, i’ll be honest.

so he gave me a bunch of stuff written in portuguese, a shot in the back for pain, some antibiotics and some sort of weird cleanse drink.

apparently europe doesn’t like to hand out water either and i had a tough time getting them to fill this water bottle up for me so i could drink my nasty mystery drink. they look at you like you’re crazy if you want tap water (instead of water with gas for purchase). man that is one thing i am so thankful of here in the states…they just GIVE YOU WATER at restaurants…like for free!!

so then i was all good, we went back to the camp (blog post in the future on the camp) and then came back to lisbon halfway through the trip.

portugal has some interesting things going on with their real estate and they have to make sure that there isn’t some living relative somewhere that could take over a property before they sell it again or some strange rule like that so there are tons of places that would be beautiful but are all boarded up empty.

ahh, more long shorts…what’s wrong with me?!

the beaches were beautiful! tops optional yikes!

loved the random banksy style art

except this one above was creepy…it was on the outside of a travel agency

there’s a big obsession with roosters here because legend has it that some dead rooster miraculously proved the innocence of a man who was sentenced to death for allegedly stealing silver. he said the roasted rooster would get up and crow to prove he was innocent, and he did. now it’s a popular symbol there, random.

mocktography for the win!

this just reminded us of our former governator, hee hee

love the upcycling going on here!

sometimes the graffiti didn’t really make sense to us…

had to indulge in a yummy treat called pasteis de belem, which is kind of like a flan type of custard but crispy on the top like creme brulee but not as sweet. it was good but not amazeballs like we were lead to believe.

recognize this skyline from two different continents? the ‘golden gate bridge’ and the ‘christ of hope statue’ from rio de janero (this one is called christ of peace)

yes, this says urinal…and yes, there is someone currently using it…

yes, they don’t believe in guard rails here…

and yes, jared and i are NOT tour people…we like to explore and take fun pictures, it was not our vote to take a tour of a castle 🙂

but we did have a fake tea party overlooking the city which made it worth it

so we met up with some of the group for lunch in the town center and this is where the fanny pack comes back into play. i was holding on to my camera bag really well because i’d been robbed before (story to come) while traveling and so i had warned everyone to be super careful and watch out for gypsies. i think i even warned people more than a few times about this. well so as much as i was paying attention to my camera bag, i didn’t care about the fanny pack too much, it was more for the fashion statement and didn’t have much in it. well, we were approached by gypsies while we were eating and while a couple of them were getting really close to us demanding (not asking) for money, their partner in crime (apparently) took advantage of us being distracted and nabbed my fanny pack!!! i didn’t realize it until we got up to leave and then i was laughing about how stupid i was for warning everyone else when i’m the one who gets robbed!! (see: pride)

then i stopped laughing because i realized what i did have in there…3 things: chapstick, the cell phone we were loaned while we were working there, and my antibiotics

so the rest of our ‘down time’ in lisbon was spent hunting down a pharmacy open on a weekend so i could convince someone that i needed to finish a round of antibiotics without a prescription, fun times…but i did think that the gypsy would at least be sorely disappointed with her loot 🙂

we also enjoyed trying to find coffee in a full sized mug (another difficult thing to do in europe – they like their little coffee drinks) and watching as jared and another guy in the group got offered to buy drugs multiple times. we were never quite sure if it was because they were tourists or because they had beards because portuguese men didn’t have beards at the time. my hubby is so shady with his beard!

 good times…

europe places to go

Winneweer, Holland – ’09

holland…or the netherlands…discovering my roots! i’m half dutch and still have some relatives over here so we went to visit 🙂

here are some excerpts from my travel journal:

one phrase to sum up this leg of our journey – lost in translation

we took the train from berlin to gronigen where we accidently got off a stop too early. we called tante dicky [my great aunt] but i guess she only gave me her home phone number so we started fast walking to the next station 2km away. when we got there, we found her and oom henk a little worried. i guess they had called us over the p.a… embarrassing! We drove to winneweer from there, settled into our room which was their finished attic and rested. in the afternoon they took us on a drive. we went to the harbor and saw a couple ‘tall boats’ that were coming from around the world for a festival. we also drove through EVERY village along the way to check out their churches and surrounding buildings. the next day, we saw the farm where my opa met my oma [grandpa and grandma], where my opa went to school and where he went to church. we also got to meet my second cousin and got to (were forced to) sit in his big rig (it’s kind of a big deal so we just went along for the ride, ha!) we also took a bike ride around the beautiful little town and saw a graveyard where some of the family is buried. tante dicky makes homemade liquor and so we enjoyed that while trying to figure out why there are two names for the country. they must have explained it 3 times and we still can’t figure it out. that, along with some other explanations, were definitely lost in translation. but that’s the beauty of traveling and adventuring. you can’t always figure out what’s going on, but you enjoy the ride!

btw, the picture below is straight, but the buildings and roads are so old that they are sinking!

my aunt and uncle’s house, isn’t it beautiful!! i LOVE LOVE their backyard but have to keep reminding myself that this was in the middle of summer so i’m sure i wouldn’t love it in the middle of winter 🙂


europe places to go

doolin, ireland – ’09

blogging some travels by city…here’s one from ’09

this was our favorite favorite city in ireland, quaint and lovely with lots of fun experiences.

we bring an old tripod with us when we travel so we can do pics with the two of us…this one took a few tries :/

one of the neat things about ireland is just finding old ruins wherever we went. it’s so cool to see countries with such a rich history

well well well…

i don’t want to brag, but i do make a lot of friends when i travel..

this town has a population of 500 and there are just as many signs

apparently big foot was irish, who knew?

definitely enjoyed the night life here, the guy on the right was helping encourage young musicians to think outside the box by using other objects to make music. he bought the washboard and thimbles for under 10 bucks.

we chatted with someone at our b&b and they asked if we had gone to this little cottage. we hadn’t so we decided to check it out. they sell pottery that they make and they have the pieces set out all over the yard and garage. when we went inside, we found a note that said that if they weren’t home to just leave money in the tin. what a different world, no one trusts people like that here! it was one of our favorite memories from this trip and i have our little pot sitting on my kitchen window sill. of course we just stole the pot, suckers!!

just kidding, we paid of course 🙂

europe places to go

Our trip video!

So since it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I only finished this video a couple days ago, I figured it would be appropriate to share it with you now…

Jared and I decided to take a longer trip over the summer of ’09 and visit some places we’d always wanted to go. Some of the best advice we’ve gotten from married couples about marriage is to make good memories the first few years. Since we don’t have kids yet, now is the time to explore the world together. We chose Ireland because that’s a place we both have wanted to go for a long time. We decided on the Netherlands because I still have family there – and so we could “discover my roots” hah! And we thought the history of Berlin would be cool to see as well. We definitely had some fun adventures as you will see through this video. We just brought our “handycam” video camera which we hand held so excuse the lack of quality and the bumps! hah 🙂


europe places to go

Photo Friday #32 & #33

We just got back from an awesome trip to Ireland, Germany and The Netherlands. One of the best pieces of advice we got before we got married was to make lots of good memories in the first few years (and before kids) so that when you have difficult times you can always look back on those memories and remember good times.
So we’ve taken that to heart and have really tried to be intentional about doing fun dates, weekend trips, leading a missions trip together, and now this, a real vacation!!
We decided on Ireland because both of us had always wanted to go there! We knew we would be going to The Netherlands (to discover my roots, haha) to visit my great aunt and uncle so since we had to fly to mainland Europe anyway we figured we’d sqeeze one more spot in…so we flew to Berlin for a few days before going to visit the fam.


I’ll post some more pics with some stories soon (plus i posted a bunch on facebook), but for now, here are a few teasers:

The cliffs of Moher (pronounced Moore) – we were literally on the edge, if you look closely, you can see the tiny people in the distance to give you some perspective on how big these things are! It was kind of scary walking along here, but exhilerating all the same!

Our favorite place in Ireland was this city called Doolin (also where the cliffs are), we watched this glorious sunset the night we were there and just wondered at God’s creation 🙂

Anyway, stay tuned…more to come!