My Trip: Day 16

July 8, 2017

Today’s the last day that we walk around and see the sights.  Tomorrow we will be taking like,  4 different planes to get home and we will have several layovers.  Tomorrow will be the worst day of the trip most likely

We went on a tour pretty much all day.  We got picked up at 7 and we got back at 7. It was just us and a tour guide named Teo.  He was very nice and smart.  He took us to a few castles including the one that was used as the setting for Dracula’s castle.  It was not how I was expecting it to be. He took us to another castle too and it had a ton of cool looking weapons and knight armors.  I can’t remember the name of either castle though. 

The guy that wrote Dracula based Dracula off of a real guy named Vlad the impaler. Vlad was pretty bad ass. He was cool cause his castle was in the middle of a forest or something and he would go out and poison all the Wells and eating supplies along the way.  So when thousands of soldiers in the other army came for him and his little army.  They’d die of the poison or not eat or drink so they’d be starving and then he’d always have some of their men captured so he’d put their men all cut up and stuck on spikes on the way of the trail as well.  So the soldiers were starving and also going insane from seeing their friends dead and they’d get to the castle all insane and he’d just kill them.  He was smart like that.  He was also very strong.  He’d challenge his men to duals and if anyone beat him they could be the new leader.  But no one ever did obviously. He’d also be in the front of each battle and he’d never get hit or hurt at all. So they believed him to be invincible. They had a rumor that at 12 he would drink a pint of human blood.  That’s sort of where the author got it from for Dracula.  But Vlad eventually was betrayed by his brother who got a lot of money from it.  

Anyways so we saw all that and we went to a little town that I have no idea the name.  We had lunch,  I got fried chicken for some reason. I don’t even like fried chicken so I don’t get why I ordered it. It came with a garlic sauce that was strong but good.  I also got a Dracula Lemonade.  Which was red and had ginger flakes in it.  I’ve had two unique kinds of lemonade this trip.  Ginger and I also had mint in Sofia.  

Our guide was really nice but he was way into politics.  God I had to listen to him and my grandma talk shit about Trump for a long time.  It got real annoying,  real fast. 

Now I’m just in my room resting.  Contemplating on if I should go walk outside for the last time or just rest for the long day tomorrow.  This is my last night in Europe for a very long time most likely.  I think I should probably go.  I just hope my grandma won’t come. 

I walked around for hours.  I bought a few magnets and I was going to get my girlfriend a bag but the store closed when I decided I was going to get it.  So that sucks.  

It was a good last day to this trip.  Tomorrow will be a lot of travelling but I’m so excited to get home and try to find a job.  My girlfriend might come visit me this summer and I need money. 

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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 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 10

We started our day off by having a pretty good buffet breakfast in our hotel in Tirana,  Albania.  The breakfast was way better than the dinner that the hotel served last night.  This morning was nice because we didn’t have a super early wake up call and we got to check out around 8:30. 

We got into the bus and got a tour of the city we stayed over night in.  The local guide showed us the history of the area and what it used to be.  We We walked around a museum and there were a few cool things.  Some old WW1/2 guns.  

After all of that happened,  we walked back to the bus and we were on our way yo the border out of Albania.  On the way,  we stopped at this nice little café type thing that was family run.  Mario,  our guide told us how he’s watched this café progress and grow so much bigger as the family made more money.  I’m sure that’s so nice to see.  A family start off pretty small and then make it big.  

Anyways so we got through the border and met the next local guide as we entered his country of Macedonia.  We drove the bus to Ohrid,  which is a beautiful little town with a lot of history to it.  The guide showed us around and I got lots of pictures.  I have gotten quite a few postcards the last few places I’ve been.  I’m going to try to make a habit of collecting postcards so I can see where I’ve been in the world.  

After the tour was over we drove a little bit to the hotel we’re staying in that’s on the side of the massive lake.  When we got into our room the first thing I saw was the beautiful view of the lake.  It has pretty strong waves and it sounds like the ocean.  Smells like it too.  Weird that it’s just a lake actually.  

Anyways that’s pretty much what I did today.  My stupid battery on my phone is dying yet again so I’m just going to sleep now.  Yet another bog day planned for tomorrow.  

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 7 

Woke up early again,  or right around the time I’m supposed to.  Clearly my circadian rhythm is adjusted to this time zone now.  Went down and had breakfast.  It was way better than the dinner I had in the hotel last night.  I guess they are just better at making breakfast than they are at making dinner in this hotel.  Anyways I’m getting on the bus in half an hour and we’re going to go on a bus tour around Sarajevo.  Then we drive another couple hours back into Croatia through a couple border crossings again and we will end up in Dubrovnik.  I hear a lot of game of throne scenes were shot here so I hope I can get some pictures for my friend who watches that show.  I don’t watch it so I’ll probably find it hard finding the places to take the pictures. I hear we won’t be walking a whole lot today.  So that’s sort of good,  I don’t mind sitting in the bus and getting bus tours.  But the pictures are much better when we’re walking.  

We took the bus tour to a tunnel that was used here in Sarajevo.  They used to it get items in and out of here when the Serbs were holding this entire area under siege.  It was very interesting to crouch and walk under the little tunnel and to wonder how hard it would be to walk a lot longer than the ways we did.  It was interesting and scary to think about the town being surrounded.  Being shot if you walked outside.  Makes us see a different side of things,  we don’t have it this bad at all in the US.  

the unique tour guide was our guide again and he showed us a video of the people walking through the tunnel and also the town being attacked and buildings being shot by tanks and snipers. 

It’s been a long day.  Made a couple stops at a few little restaurants to eat or use the restroom  but mostly just sat in the bus the entire day.  For some reason the hours go by fast though.  We traveled from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik.  Crossed several borders while also learning about things that we pass.  Now I’m sitting in the hotel room which is sort of different from the others we’ve had.  I’m just glad the bathroom is seperate from the main room.  Because I don’t think I’ll be able to do that again. This room is pretty nice,  at least the view is and this hotel is hugeeeee,  probably the biggest I’ve been in.  

In an hour and a half we eat dinner in the hotel and Mario said it’s a huge buffet.  Most of the dinners and breakfasts we’ve had have been buffets but that’s alright.  It’s probably easier for them because we just can choose what we want to eat.  But apparently this one in particular is big.

I sat by the girls my age in the bus but we didn’t say anything. Grandma is trying hardcore to get me to hang out with them.  I’m not gonna just push myself at them begging for their attention.  If they ask me to go somewhere then of course I’ll go.  But I can’t tell if they even like me or want to hang out with me.  My grandma kept on talking about her not being sure what the girls were going.  Girls this and girls that.  Like I’ll hang out with them if they ask.  I don’t want my grandma arranging play dates for me. But one of the girls friended me on facebook,  oh actually right this second she asked if I wanna go to the beach.  I’m sure their aunt made her invite me but I won’t question it.  Better than being around here all night.  

I went with them to the beach.  I didn’t wear my swim suit because I’m scared of swimming in oceans and lakes and all that. Fear of the unknown.  But I layed down on a chair by their aunt and grandma.  It was super nice,  perfect weather.  The girls asked me to take a few pictures of them so I did.  One of the girls,  actually the one who wanted all the pictures.  Reminded me of my ex regarding getting her picture taken.  Always posing and wanting pictures taken of her.  Seemed a little high maintenance.  I really like her sister though,  even though she’s quiet and I’m not sure if she likes me. 

I had fun.  Oh and they even asked me to sit by them.  Well I guess the nice one did.  I doubt the two sisters would have but oh well.  The one who sent me a friend request is nice,  she’s talkative.  I’m happy I’m not totally alone on this trip anymore.  I’ve been sitting alone,  standing alone,  everything alone other than with my grandma.  Which I’d rather be alone than that.  Hopefully the girls keep inviting me places. 

Tomorrow we go on another tour around Dubrovnik.  This place is fucking beautiful.  I need to get some pictures of the game of thrones scene settings for my friend. 

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.