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Archive for May, 2010

The two of us made it to Barcelona and had a good long nap after our horrific night bus experience.

In the next couple days we saw the Picasso museum, the Sangria Familia cathedral, the Barcelona Cathedral, the Park Guell, and the Casa Batllo. We also walked down La Rambla, which is an awesome shopping street and bought more clothing than will fit in our carry-on bags. Checking a bag is about 30 euros, so we`re just going to layer all of our clothes when we fly!

We were glad to get most of our touristy sight-seeing done in the first few days, because after we met the group of people in our hostel, we didn’t get going quite as early. The Sant Jordi hostel in Barcelona is the best hostel ever. We met so many people, and ended up spending most of the week with seven guys from the UK. We played Ring of Fire with Sangria every night, had kitchen dance parties and usually ventured out to find a club later in the evening. By later in the evening, I mean no earlier than midnight or you`ll find all the bars empty.

We were sure glad we were flying out of Madrid, because everyone we had met in Barcelona was getting grounded by the Ash cloud. We had booked another night bus back to Madrid (before we knew how terrible it was) that left at 11:59pm on Monday night.

Our hostel was awesome enough to let us leave our stuff there and hang out until our bus left. We almost missed our bus, after our luggage got locked in a room with no keys. Everyone at our hostel almost had us convinced to come out and take a bus the next morning, but finally we got our stuff out and made our bus with minutes to spare.

The next day in Madrid we dropped off our bags at our hostel and walked around the center of looking for things to do. We visited a huge cathedral, parliament and hit a small market.

Our plan was to hang out at the hostel, maybe sleep for a couple hours and then wake up around 1 am and catch the metro to the airport for our 6 am flight, since there was no other way to get there after that. We checked our flight and realized there was a big red `CANCELED` across our flight status.

Mild panic was my first feeling.

Liseanne and I started looking up flights. All of the flights out of Madrid over the next 5 days were either cancelled or incredibly expensive. Our airlines website was incredibly unhelpful, but advised we do not come to the airport to sort out our flight problems, which made things difficult.

We looked into buses and trains to the south of France so we could actually find clear airspace, and buses and trains all the way home, but everything was reeally expensive.

We finally found one flight out of Barcelona on Thursday that was reasonably priced. We booked it immediately and realized that we would have to take ANOTHER night bus to Barcelona.

For anyone counting, that is 3 buses x 8 hours = 24 hours on a bus this week.

The up side? They provide a free bottle of water, and WI FI that doesn`t work.

We made it back to the hostel at about 7:30 am on Wednesday morning and they were cool enough to let us crash there for a few hours while we figured stuff out. They found us a couple beds in another one of their hostels close by, so we took them! We went out for lunch and drinks with the UK guys, who were still also stuck in the city, and hung out on a patio for the afternoon.
We made our flight Thursday, both of us wearing multiple layers that would not fit in our bags. (2 Tanks, 2 Tights, 2 Shirts, a scarf and a dress to be exact.)

Love for now,

Ashley Lynn

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Madrid With No Sleep

We caught a ride to the Brussels airport with our friend Tinja, who was flying out the night before we were. The first thing she said to me when I got in the car was ‘You should put on your seatbelt; it is well suited to my driving style’. Her driving ‘style’ was scary.
After making it to the Brussels airport alive, thankfully, Liseanne and I decided not to book a hostel for the night. We couldn’t find anything under 50 Euros so we decided to sleep in the airport.

It was not a good idea. I’m going to leave it at that.

The next morning, looking haggard, we boarded our flight to Madrid!

I slept all the way there, and we found our hostel quite easily after we got there. It was in this beautiful building right in the center, with a black metal cage elevator, which was very cool. In Madrid we went to the Reina Sofía Museum and then went shopping! We found a really cute little market in a park beside our hostel, so we spent quite a bit of time there browsing through the stalls.
Madrid has terrible postcards by the way, so no one is getting a postcard from there.

We spent the day in a huge park in the middle of the city.

We took a night bus from Madrid to Barcelona, which we thought was a brilliant idea to save money on a hostel and transportation!
It was not a good idea either. Liseanne and I had a discussion the morning after we arrived in Barcelona, as we sat in a cafe, waiting to check into our hostel. Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness has not attempted to sleep in an airport or on a bus in Spain. Lesson learned, we should have dished out for a flight.

More soon,

Ashley Lynn

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Queens Day

Thursday afternoon we decided to head to Amsterdam for Queens Day. Romain offered to drive there so Liseanne, Can, Emir and I hopped in his little car and hit the road.

We drank, we sang, and we yelled as loud as we could through every tunnel on the way there.

Three and a half hours later, we made it to Amsterdam. (Traffic + numerous stops = Taking us forever to get there)

Most of the evening was spent meeting up with different groups of internationals that had arrived at different times. We also met up with Dan and by about 10 that night, there was a pretty huge group of people to party with. We had troubles finding any bars that had enough room for all of us, so we ended up buying a bunch of liquor and just walking around the streets making our own party.

At around one we started looking for a club to go dancing, but it started pouring rain, so we took refuge under this huge bridge where this amazing drum line was playing. For the next two hours we danced under the bridge to live music. It was waay better, and way more fun than any club we could have found.

I feel like I’m over using the word ‘we’, but I don’t feel like editing.

Dan was awesome enough to put us up at his place, so we had a nice comfy place to spend the night. Awesome. Way better than the car, or a 50 euro hostel.

The next morning we woke up and headed back out, sans shower, brush, or change of clothes. Friday was the actual ‘Queens Day’ so the streets were absolutely PACKED, and there were all sorts of events happening. All the internationals met up again at a big concert at the Museumplein. (Which sounds easier than it was, finding people in a crowd of thousands requires holding Liseanne in the air so we could try and spot them.) After an hour of everyone trying to look like we were having fun, dancing, hung over to some guy singing catchy Dutch songs, we headed back out to the streets.

Vondel park was only a couple blocks away, and had amazing green grass perfect for laying away the afternoon in. I found a sketchy guy selling cheap beer out of a baby carriage painted orange (Very inconspicuous), so we bought him out and lay the in the grass listening to an awesome musical ensemble jamming in the park.

Leaving for Spain tomorrow, more soon.

With love,

Ashley

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