My Trip: Day 14

Today’s been a pretty good last day with the people of the tour.  We woke up and we had a decent breakfast in the hotel.  Then we all gathered to go out and walk to the market.  This was the only annoying part of the day.  

I was expecting this to be a day where we all just split up and do our own thing. But they were trying to make it a big group deal.  It was fucking annoying because we just wanted to go shopping while the old farts wanted to go see the museum and stuff.  And us young kids were using our phones to lead them to where they wanted to go.  But all they did was complain the whole time about how they thought we were not going the right direction.  They were over there looking at their maps and the position of the sun while we were using our GPS.  A long story short,  we got there and we left them there.  

Me,  the girls,  and their grandma and aunt all walked to the market area and we looked at all the shops.  One of the girls is really,  really bossy and she tries to make her younger sister do everything.  I feel bad for the sister because she gets annoyed and I feel like she thinks everyone takes her older sister’s side.  When really I’m taking hers.  Then she kind of pouts and walks with the grandma the whole day.  Which is slightly immature but I kind of don’t blame her.  

Anyways,  I bought a wallet made out of a German newspaper that was made in the 30s.  Plus some other stuff like magazines and stuff.  The stuff in the store was made entirely out of recycled material.  I really liked it actually.  And my wallet is really cool. 

We walked about 7 hours and we took the subway back to our hotel.  Then I just kind of rested and took a shower and then we went downstairs to have a beer.  

Then at 6:50 we all gathered around the lobby and got ready to get on a bus to take us to our restaurant we’re having our goodbye dinner at.  Still can’t believe this is the last night with these people.  The days have gone by so so fast.  

The dinner was good but maybe not as good as ao was thinking it’d be.  I was hoping it’d be more like the Vienna vineyards like the first night we stayed here.  It wasn’t as good and we only go one glass of wine so…  What’s even the point.  

No but the food was good and we got to spend our last moments with our new friends.  As were given several courses of food and also got to watch the entertainers dancing and singing.  They also danced in fire or something like that but I didn’t get to see that part. 

All in all,  it was a good last night.  Many memories were made on this trip and I’m so happy I went.  

This isn’t officially my last day of the trip but it pretty much is the last day because for the next couple days it’ll just be me and my grandma.  It won’t be that fun anymore. 

My Trip: Day 13

No more wake up calls in our room.  Though we do have to take our bags down to the lobby at 9:15 and then get on a bus at 9:30. Not sure if it’ll be a coach bus with another guide or what.  But we’re going to a monastery and then I guess we just walk around.  Today may be the last day I hang out with the girls but I’m not sure. I’m not excited to have to spend a couple more days with just my grandma and I’m not excited for the super long trip back home.  But oh well,  I won’t remember any of the bad stuff of this trip later in life.  I’ll only remember the good. 

Well the monastery was pretty lame to be honest.  We drove like an hour or more just to get to it and we stopped an unnecessary amount of times.  And the new guide talked the entire time.  She knows a lot,  I’ll give her that.  But still.  The drive just didn’t seem worth it.  I wish we just did our own thing today.  But the monastery was pretty old and I guess it looked pretty cool.  We saw a few monks and stuff.  It was all a pretty religious place.  Lots and lots of information was given to us about it. I don’t think I retained any of it though.  

On the way back we went to a restaurant and it was pretty good.  I got a chicken fillet.  One of the girls ordered a chicken skewer and the waiter asked if she wanted one. She said yes assuming he meant one serving or one plate but when the food came she only had one single skewer.  I feel like that happens a lot in Europe.  If that sort of thing happened in America the waiter would have asked if they specifically wanted a single skewer.  I bet Europeans think we’re so dumb because we ask for stuff that isn’t right because we think they’re saying something else or whatever. 

On the way back the bus stopped so people could use the restroom and there was a giant stork nest.  There’s a lot of those around here for some reason.  We passed a lot that were on the telephone poles.  They’re really big and many storks sit in them.  It’s kind of cool to see.  They may not be storks but whatever.  I have no idea. 

We finally got to our new hotel and it’s definitely no 4-5 star hotel like we’ve been having, but that’s fine, it’s not that bad.  We’re here for two nights.  I pretty much layed down and stayed there for the rest of the night.  I haven’t rested that much on this trip other than going on the bus.  Plus nobody invited me to go anywhere so I just stayed laying down to text my girlfriend for a while.  Sort if a boring day.  Probably my least favorite day of tge trip but oh well.  The trip is almost over and it’s different when we don’t have a set schedule each day.  

These past two weeks went by so quickly.  Thinking back to staying in Vienna our first couple days it feels like that was so long ago.  But thinking about the whole trip as a whole it feels like it went by fast. If the trip will be like it was today then I’m excited to get home.  But I’ll still miss Europe when I’m gone.  Who knows when I’ll be back. 

My Trip: Day 11

After a so so breakfast,  we all gathet onto the bus for what is supposed to be another long day on the road.  My phone barely charged last night so this will be a fun ride not being able to listen to music once it dies.  Not sure if I mentioned it but the lake that’s next to our motel is so huge and it has waves that sound like the ocean.  I walked down to it last night with the girls and it even smelled like the ocean.  But I guess it’s just a big lake. We had the window open this morning and I woke up to the sound of the waves crashing.  It was sort of nice,  different to say the least. 

We get in the bus and drive for who knows how long.  The time goes by pretty fast and I can never really tell how long it’s been.  We stop at a gas station to go to the bathroom and spend the rest of the currency we have from Macedonia.  Which is called “denar. ” One euro or dollar is around 66 Denar.  And the stuff in Macedonia is very cheap.  I had a Burger and fries for about 5 euro.  

Anyways,  we get to the capital of Macedonia,  a city named “Skopia” or “Skopje. ” It was sort of nice I guess.  Back in the 60s I think,  a giant earthquake hit the city and 80% of it collapsed during the summer.  And they rebuilt a lot by the time winter came.  And now they have a lot of modern and old looking buildings.  We went on a tour and saw a mother Theresa museum and a LOT of statues.  They had some initiative that was supposed to finish in 2014 where they were to make a bunch of statues.  And they did,  there were probably too many statues to be honest.  They were nice but they were just spread everywhere and I didn’t really think it looked good. 

After the tour me and the girls and their grandma and aunt went and ate.  This was when I had the 5€ chicken sandwich/burger thing.  It was pretty good,  the fries were different.  It was like they were hollow.  We had to rush back to the bus and one of the girls got a crêpe to go and a stray dog followed her all the way back to the bus.  This part of Europe has stray dogs everywhere.  It’s really sad actually.  They usually will have a tag on their ear that means that they were taken and given shots so they are at least not going to have rabies or something.  Mario  our tour guide said that these dogs can usually easily get food but what they normally want is attention and a new home.  They follow people around and of course they want food but they also just want to be around you.  It’s very sad,  I saw a cute little puppy laying under a fig tree eating figs that fell down.  I wanted to take it home so bad.  This is the same for cats in other smaller towns,  lots and lots of stray cats.

Well we got on the bus fot about two hours before we got to the border.  We had to go through two. The border police officer would come onto the bus and take our passports.  Then mario came back in and gave them back,  then the next border we’d do it again with another officer.  The first officer was nice.  He saw that one of the girls,  Jasmine,  was working on a Sudoku puzzle and he helped her with one.  But the second officer was sort of mean looking and I think he was the one who was asking for all of our luggage to be taken out of the bottom and looked at.  But thankfully mario talked him into only taking a random three and he looked through them and that took a little while but then we were off. 

We didn’t stop until we got into Sophia, the capitol of Bulgaria. The time here is one hour ahead of what we were used to the whole trip.  This is our last stop on the tour with Mario and Charlie our coach driver.  We say bye to them tomorrow actually and I’m kind of sad about it.  

We got into our hotel and it’s pouring down rain.  We got our room key and freshened up before coming back down for dinner.  This is usually how it goes when getting to a hotel late.  This trip is fast paced and not a whole lot of time to rest.  The buffet dinner was okay but not a whole lot of variety.  Which will suck if we have to eat it for the couple of days we stay here.  I was happy at dinner because one of the girls,  Holly.  Was actually talking to me.  Or maybe I finally made an effort to talk to her but it was nice.  We even stayed and talked when the other two left.  Which I was very surprised that she stayed.  Usually she runs off with them.  I was probably red in the face because it’s hard for me to talk but I did all right.  She was red too,  and didn’t make as much eye contact as me.  

That was a good end to the night.  I just went back upstairs and charged my phone and went to bed. 

Tomorrow our wake up call is the lastest it’s ever been.  And then we go on one last tour of the city in the morning. 

My Trip: Day 9

Ugh waking up early after a night of staying up late wasn’t fun.  But we all managed to eat breakfast and get to the bus within…  Very little time.  

We were in the bus for about two hours before making a stop.  Then we crossed a border and that took a while.  And that pretty much summed up most of what we did today,  cross borders and sit in a bus.  

Well sort of,  we actually stopped in a place in Montenegro.  Can’t remember the name but it was pretty damn cool.  They were known for having cats I guess.  There were a good amount of stray cats walking around and they had a cat museum.  I saw a cute little kitten that had to be a couple months old and it was just walking around.  It was so cute,  I seriously contemplated taking it.  But I figured that’d be frowned upon.  

Me and the three girls ate at a restaurant and the thing to remember when eating out here is that they are really slow and take their time getting your food to you and all that.  We had two and a half hours to kill and ended up with only an hour.  But the food was good.  Actually it was just alright.  We got ice cream too,  I got raspberry I think.  I didn’t go into the cat museum unfortunately but I kind of wanted to.  I did get two postcards though,  one with cats on it and one with just the city.  I see the picture of the postcard now and it was Kotor,  Montenegro.  Very popular tourist attraction.  With cats,  I highly recommend 

That was the highlight of our day.  Pretty much the rest was just on the bus.  It’s hard to sleep on the bus too so I’m exhausted right now.  We got to our hotel at 8 and we had to eat dinner at 8:15. Afterwards I just went to my room and took a shower.  I’ve been sweating so much in this hot temperature.  But I heard it’s going to start cooling down where we are now.  

Tomorrow I don’t have to get up too early.  We will take a tour and then go someplace else.  I don’t really like the area we’re in now to be honest. I don’t even remember the name.  And I don’t really like our local guide, he’s a bit boring and he tells bad jokes. 

My Trip: Day 8

We got to wake up an hour early but I still woke up around the same time. Tbe dinner here was pretty good but the breakfast was just normal.  Nothing special.  Today we go on another tour but some people are just skipping it so I kind of would rather that.  And go see game of thrones stuff for my friend.  

I was invited to hang out with the girls last night but I fell asleep early unfortunately.  So I wasn’t able to.  

But today they didn’t want to go on the tour so I asked if I could join them.  Really glad I did because we walked all around old town Dubrovnik. we paid to walk around the huge wall around the city.  Where they shot bits of Game of Thrones and also Starwars.  We went into lots of shops that were pretty much the same as each other.  I got my sister a bag and I got a few postcards.  

But the town was absolutely beautiful.  Lots of different little walkways that had shops and restaurants.  We ate at a little restaurant,  I had a salad and so did one of the girls and the other one had a pizza.  They don’t cut your pizza for you here so that’s a little weird. It’s our last day in Croatia so we just tried to spend the rest of our Kuna.  Later tonight we have the boat ride while some of the people on this trip who are apart of the symphony will play music while we eat. 

Wow,  that boat ride was amazing.  Soft waters,  sunny skies,  great food.  What more could someone want while having a nice three course meal on a boat. They offered a choice of chicken, fish,  or vegetarian.  I chose chicken so I got this nice piece of chicken along with some other stuff.  They also gave unlimited drinks.  Reason I say unlimited is because most of the dinners we’ve had had required us only to have a limit of one drink with our meal. But on the boat we could have all we want.  

I’m not an experienced drinker,  I’m 20 and I have had problems with my dad drinking in the past and a whole lot of other stuff so I stayed away from it. But here it’s legal so I just decide to go with the saying “when in Rome. ” and I try to drink.  So I had 4 glasses and I was fine at first.  I didn’t know 4 was a lot.  Maybe it isn’t,  but my tolerance is really low.  But I started to definitely feel it.  The girls asked me to go on top of the boat with them and I was just thinking oh boy.  But I somehow made it up there.  I didn’t want to seem like some drunk young kid so I really tried to act normal.  The girls realized I was drunk and they were laughing.  They kept asking me questions and they’d watch me try to act normal.  It was a really good time.  

Later on they asked me to hang out in their room and we talked and played a game called never have I ever.  Which was sort of fun,  ot taught me a little more about them. 

All in all it was a great place to stay for two days. Dobrovnic is amazing and the buildings are all pretty old. They shoot a few major movies and shows here and they really try to push that onto tourists.  

My Trip: Day 6

I woke up about half an hour before the wake up call.  Which surprised me since I went to bed so late and get up early.  We had a breakfast that actually wasn’t that great.  Nothing compared to the other breakfasts we’ve had.  Now we are on the bus and heading to Bosnia.  We will cross a border or two.  I found it funny that our tour guide,  Mario,  who’s awesome by the way.  Well ge bought beer to give to the border police.  My grandma told me when she took a bus tour in the 90s,  her tour guide was usually an easy going guy but when they would cross borders he would become very nervous and I saw that same behavior in Mario when we crossed the border before.  Makes me wonder what’s going on with the borders.  Why give the police gifts?  

So we crossed the two borders easily. We’re now in Bosnia and we stopped in a town/city named “Mustar” it’s a fairly beautiful city.  I think what gives it its beauty is its big bridge over a very pretty river.  There’s a ton of little stores on each side of you as you walk along a narrow trail with hundreds of people walking.  It’s a very different atmosphere.  There were beggars sitting in the 91 degree weather.  Which I’ve seen before but these were very young children.  And a woman that was about my age and she was holding a couple month hear old child.  They were sitting in front of a store.  So I’m not sure if the store owners are family of them and make them sit out there.  I’m not sure if that girl my age had those other children as well as the infant or not.  I’ve heard of things like this happening but it was harsh to see them sitting in such hot weather.  Someone on the bus just said they think the beggars were gypsies. Anyways,  So the markets were interesting.  Everyone would be standing in the doorway of each store and they’d just be standing or sitting there. I didn’t get any food but I did get ice cream and that was pretty good.  It was 5 kuna for one little scoop.  Not sure if I was ripped off or not but it was good regardless.  

We left Mustar and drove two ours directly to our hotel in Sarajevo.  I’ve found that each of the hotels we’ve been to have been pretty different from each other.  I love how they did that.  When we opened the door to our room I walked in and was amazed at how big it was.  Probably the nicest room I’ve had in a hotel.  A cool light on the ceiling,  huge windows and just really cool things in it.  In 20 minutes we’re going on a tour and apparently the tour guide is pretty weird.  From what Mario told us.  We’re going to a mosque.  and the women will have to wear a head scarf and the men just cover their shoulders and knees.  it’ll be a unique experience for sure.  I am curious about how unique our tour guide will be. 

Another thing in Europe is in the hotel rooms they have you put your key card in a slot by the front door in order to turn on sometimes all of the electricity or sometimes just the air conditioning.  Maybe this happens in the US too but I’ve never seen it.  There’s a lot of things the US can learn from Europe in terms of energy saving and other means of helping the planet thrive.  I saw a whole parking lot with each parking space made out if these shaped bricks that have grass growing between them.  it’s perfect. Unlike our impervious surface filled parking lots that don’t soak in the leakages and other harmful things.  They have these types of parking lots.  And the hotels lights turn off if no ones moving around.  I know we’ve implemented this in some buildings but I’ve never seen hotels using this.  

Just got back from the tour.  The guide was definitely unique.  He had long hair and he had a unique facial structure with very few teeth.  And after every little rant he’d go on he’d always say “welcome to my country. ” in a sarcastic tone.  He seemed to dislike a lot of the people here.  He said the word “idiot” many many times.  He knew ehat he was talking about but I don’t know.  He was funny to say the least. 

Now I’m just sitting in the lobby waiting for dinner to be open for us.  I’m guessing it’s going to be really good. Based on the fanciness of the hotel room.  

The dinner was okay.  Not nearly as good as I was hoping.  But afterwards I went out with some of the girls that are my age and we just walked around and got ice cream.  It wasn’t as nice as hoe that sounded.  Not sure if I really fit in well with them.  But it was fun regardless.  I found the perfect gift for my brother.  I’ve been picky about presents for each of my family but I finally found one I knew My brother would love.  So in the 90s This place I’m in.  Sarajevo,  was under siege for 3ish years and snipers in the mountains would just shoot down at innocent people.  Anyways I got my brother a big pen made out of a shell of the giant ass bullets they used.  50 caliber I’m pretty sure.  He’s going to love it.  Now I just need to find a present for my mom.  Maybe her boyfriend too but I don’t know. 

I hope I get to do more with those girls but I just feel awkward around them.  No idea if they like me. 

Another day of getting up early tomorrow.  I swear we are busy ALL day.  From 6am to 10pm or later.  Very busy and fun.  

My Trip: Day 3

I’m sitting on the coach bus on my way to Croatia.  we’ll be traveling for 12 hours in the bus.  Our tour guide gave a long detailed explanation about the traveling plans and things we will need to know and do.  We just left Vienna which uses the Euro.  But when we get to Croatia we will need to change our money into the currency Croatians use.  There will be many things we have to do.  Such as,  women on the tour will need to buy and use head scarfs when we go into a mosque in an area that is mainly Muslim.  The men just have to try to cover up,  wear pants,  show no knees or shoulders.  We will have to go through several borders on our way because some places are EU and some aren’t and they’re separated by borders.  We may have to all get off and show our passport or the officer may get on and ask for our passports.  We will have to see. 

The guide also said that in restaurants they will give us a lot of food.  Because they want to make sure we have plenty to eat and they will sort of feel bad if no food is left on the plate because it will seem like they didn’t feed us enough.  Another thing I found very interesting was that you should ask for your bill as soon as they give the food.  Because the people never expect you to be in a hurry for anything.  They are never in a rush because they just live day by day.  They stay hours in the restaurant just eating and talking.  Nobody sits down hoping to get back up and leave soon after like us Americans.  Because the Bulkan people have gone through many wars and suffering and they all just live fully each day and try to enjoy everything.  It’s very interesting how different our cultures are.  I feel like there will be some stuff I may feel uncomfortable with on this trip because of how different it is to us. But that’s the reason for traveling. To experience something that isn’t home and isn’t something that you’re used to.  To see how people live on other parts of the world.  

We went through two border crossings.  I got my passport stamped when we went through into Slovania.  Then we went through another for some reason but the guy just scanned it electronically.  We stopped to pick up our local tour guide in Croatia.  We have a guide for the entire trip but sometimes there’s local guides who help us too.  After we got her we drove to this little restaurant in the mountains.  After passing many villages and random houses on the mountain side.  When we arrived we were greeted by the people and they gave us little pieces of bread that you dip in salt because it’s an old tradition that they used to do where you gave your guests that because it was thr best thing they could offer or something like that.  They also offered us a shot of something called Rakia.  Which is a type of fruit brandy.  It felt so good being greeted by the people like that.  We then got taken upstairs where we were seated. And the waiters proceeded to bring us plates and plates of food.  It was a three course meal but the first course consisted of many many little plates of stuff,  pickled peppers and cabbage.  Then we had some weird gelatin meat thing.  Pretty sure the gelatin was lard.  Then some really good baked beans.  and a meat platter full of cold cuts, the meat was all kind if different.  Sort of..   Like jelly or something. Not sure how to explain.  But anyways we had other stuff then the makn course came.  Duck and veal and potatoes and salad.  And some noodles that didn’t seem European.  It was all really good.  Then for dessert we had two different kind of strudel.  It was a great time,  I really love the dinners when they bring us rounds of food.  The waiters and waitresses were so nice too.  My grandma tried to say thank you in their language and she said the wrong word.  He said the right word and said “and you’re welcome. ” and smiled.  Super great hospitality here.  

Afterwards,  we drove to some really old village of wooden houses that are still up somehow.  And there was a little bit of history about some general guy.  Can’t remember his name.  Then we drove to the town where our hotel is, called Zagreb.  But on our way it started raining hard and lots of lightning and thunder.  It was pretty cool.  But we have a five mile walk tomorrow so hope it clears up.