1998 Europe Travel Journal

I found the following Travel Journal in a bag of my old stuff given to me by my mother.  It’s from my from my Trip to Europe with school in 1998.

I’ve provided it below, unedited And awesome. I’ve left it mostly intact and punctuation preserved for your enjoyment.  Go ahead and laugh, I did.

4/16/1998

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn. ~Joseph Addison, Chicago Cultural Center (former library)

I expect Germany will be like country kind of towns with lots of public transportation and then in the big cities more very modern looking buildings and I expect the people will be very friendly.

4/17/1998

The towns here just kind of end.  And then there is nothing for miles.  Walking in Rothenburg was like walking back a few centuries.  Even in the smallest town, which is where we are staying, there is a bus stop.

4/18/1998

Today we went to Dachau.  It was interesting.  There were many more concentration camps than I thought there were.  I guess we only hear of the big ones.  I also learned that Dachau’s gas chambers were never used to kill anyone.  The gas chambers at Dachau were never used and nobody knows why.  It was strange being at one of the Nazi concentration camps where people actually died by the hundreds.

4/19/1998

We had to get up at 5:45 this morning which meant I got about 5hrs of sleep.  That stunk.  We headed out to Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II‘s castle.  When we got there we hiked up the mountain to the castle and toward it.  After touring the castle we went up on the bridge that was a few hundred feet high.

4/20/1998

Today was travel day.  We have to go to Venice which is about an 8hr trip but we stopped a lot along the way.  Our travel plans were sort of changed because of some snow conditions.  Instead of going to Innsbruck on the way to Venice we stopped at Salzburg.  That was just as good because Mr Stoker lived there for a while and showed us around quite a bit.  I bought some spoons there while shopping and a chocolate pretzel which was very good but was so rich I could only eat 1/2 of it. When we got to Venice it was suppertime and we had pasta and then some viel stuff hat I didn’t like at all.  After all that just our group went out and walked around the town we were staying in (not Venice but close).

4/21/1998

Today was the best shopping day so far.  When we got up we ate (the same thing for the 6th time in a row) and then took the bus to a boat.  When we got to the boat we had to wait about 10 minutes before they got started.  Then it was about a 15min ride.  After that we took a 2hr tour around Venice and saw the “sights.”  I imagined Venice to be much better than it was, but it was really a dump.  But I suppose if you build a city on top of water it will tend to do that.  We had freetime for about 6hrs and then went back to the hotel.  The worst part about the day was it rained for most of it.  In Venice it normally is quite whet though, so…  They even have planks a foot off the ground to walk on in case what they call a (double high tide) happens.

4/22/1998

This morning we left from Venice for Verona and then on to Lucerne.  Today for once it’s not raining.  Big surprise!  It’s travel day and it’s not raining because we’re not doing anything.  It took about 10hrs to get from Venice to Lucerne.  I only got about 1hr of sleep on the bus.  When we got to Luzern nothing really happened, we ate then hung out for a while and went to sleep.

That’s it.  Which is really sad, because Lucerne was my favorite part of the trip.  I think Switzerland really spoke to the outdoorsman in me.  This makes me wish I had kept a real journal of everything.

We Came We Saw We Crawled (In Rome)

When Charles, Rachel and I visited Rome in 2005 the last thing I expected to do was drink until the sun came up.

That’s exactly what happened.

We stayed in the Yellow Hostel in the middle of Rome and, although we didn’t know it until the second night, we were bunking(in the same room not the same bed) with two Australian girls in town for the weekend from their Nanny jobs in Milan. Rachel quickly made friends and what do you know but they both had a thing for partying.  They told us about this pub crawl starting at the Spanish Steps they had heard of:  $25 for a t-shirt, a drink and deals at every bar/club and a night of spending time with people from all over the world drinking till we forget it happened!? Sweet, where do we sign?

We literally drank until the sun came up and we had to catch the bus to the airport to fly back to London. One of the girls didn’t come back with us. No news on how her night went, but since she went home with one of the guys on the crawl with us, you can draw your own conclusions…  Our reward for the night was a shirt that said ‘We came we saw we crawled’ that lasted about 5 washes and a hangover (on the Ryan Air plane) that you wouldn’t believe.

Seriously though, we had an awesome time and have some great stories to share. Getting kicked off city buses in the middle of nowhere, BJ contests  in the bar, drinking beer at the top of the Spanish steps, drunken German speak, drunken French speak. Good times.

That said, if you get a chance to pub crawl in Rome, Do it!

A Vehicular Crossroad

Rachel’s car has finally hit that point.

The point at which we need to choose to keep it till it falls apart or get rid of it now.  For the second time in the roughly 60,000 miles that we’ve owned it, it needs a head gasket.  The car is a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu with a 3.1L v6.  From what I’ve heard this is an extremely common problem with this engine.  Awesome.

So, our dilemma…

The car is paid off.  Irregular maintenance has not yet turned into regular maintenance, so monthly costs have been negligible for the better part of a year.  It’s in good mechanical condition (besides the recent development), although it’s in extremely poor cosmetic condition.

The cost of repair is approximately $1200.  We can safely assume if we were to buy a new (to us) car to replace the Malibu we’d be looking at payments somewhere between $200 and $400 a month and a minute trade in value.

At those costs it would only need to last us another 3-6 months before the benefit of repairing it outweighs the cost of a new car payment.  Of course, this assumes that we don’t have any other major issues with the car in that 3-6 month time period which is big possibility.  On the other hand, we haven’t had to do anything to the car (and it’s been paid off) for almost a year, so really it’s already earned the new head gasket.

It’s a gamble, we either bet on our car to last another 6 months or we bet against it, and move on with our lives without the complication, but with a little added cost.

One last thing to consider: We only drive 1 car on a regular basis as I ride the bus to and from work.  Therefor; having one unreliable car has been something we’ve been prepared to live with for a while.

What would you do?

We haven’t decided but if someone decides they want to give us an offer… let us know in the comments.

Biking in Downtown

No matter what people tell you there is a lot to do in downtown Rochester. There are lots of museums, parks and weekend activities. Last Saturday Rachel actually had off so we went downtown on the bus and took our bikes along for the ride. The idea was to ride around and see some things we normally take for granted in Rochester. This was the first time with the bikes on the bus and every time we hit a bump I peaked my head up over the seat thinking I’d get to witness them shattering all over 490. Luckily they made it in one piece.

Our first stop was the Center at High falls where we got an awesome 10 minute taxi cab tour of the city including the now closed silver stadium! The Center also hosts a photography gallery on the 2nd floor which we took in and learned that Rochester’s main street completely flooded in 1865. From there we headed out across the footbridge to take in High Falls itself and then we were off for lunch.

While eating inside, the Hail started and WOW! I went outside to grab a few pictures and got nailed with one in the leg. It left a mark! Don’t worry, as always in Rochester Ny, If you don’t like the weather just wait 10 minutes, it’ll change. It did, but not much. We decided to play it safe and hop the next bus.

This trip was short, but not for lack of things to do. Next trip we’re heading to the Eastman House, Memorial Art Gallery, Susan B Anthony Park, among several others. We’ll also be making the trek up to the lake along the river if we have enough time. If not, we’ll catch it next time!

Utilizing the bus and our bikes to make these trips is very satisfying. I only wish they ran on Sundays too.

Final Snow

Street Light in Fairport

Today we got what is probably our last snow accumulation of the year. We woke up to one of the prettiest snowy scenes from the entire season. About 4 inches of wet sticky snow came down overnight. I took an extra long walk to the bus just so I could enjoy the scenery and take a few pictures.

The Amazing Maize Maze

The Cool BusYou can always tell its fall again when my department organizes the annual Maize Maze team building exercise. This year is no different and Friday my team (consisting of myself, Mike and Matt) came in 3rd overall and 2nd among those obtaining all pieces to the map.

While we were at the Farm we had to give the coops something to do and we arrive at the ‘Cool Bus’ Ryan and Matt are up front with our coops, Anne, Andrew and Matt taking the backseats.

Definitely beats working for a few hours!

Don’t mess with the dead, they have eerie powers

Spidey

I was walking into the parking garage on my way home tonight when I noticed a whole bunch of these creepy looking spiders setting up some webs right next to the doorway. I have no idea what they are but they look nasty.

Mr Moth

Then I was walking down the stairs to the lower level and noticed this guy just sitting there.

It made me think about how many different insects and other creepy crawlies must be lurking in all the dark corners and crevices of the garage. As soon as I started thinking about that I wanted out! maybe it is time to start riding the bus…