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Europe 2010

a travel blog by Sarah Andrea

Here, there, everywhere.
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1 Week Out

Calgary, Canada

Only 1 week to go before it all begins!

I know where I want to go, but the organizing of it all seems challenging. I know where I begin and I know where I end. At least that is for sure. Everything else in between is just a rough idea in my head. I have just purchased my rail pass and I should have that within the next couple of days-- so obviously the majority of my travel will be via train. There will be a few flights here and there...which I have not booked yet! Ah!

For this trip, I'd like to be a little less organized and a little more 'go with the flow' and spontaneous. Having said that, on the list are...

10 days in Spain
A visit to Dublin
Amsterdam, The Hague
Germany- Berlin, Munich
Vienna, Salzburg
Krakow (hopefully!)
and finish up in Paris (which I have been twice so hoping for some shopping, a little Versailles and Giverny)

  • *A lot of this is subject to change...ha

  • On this trip, I am most looking forward to some great art museums, Spring weather, a few concerts, and some very scenic train rides. Also, I'm looking forward to taking lots of pictures!

    But until next week...

    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 12, 2010 from Calgary, Canada
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    So far...

    Calgary, Canada

    So far... it's still on. Despite all the chaos caused by Iceland's volcanic ash clouds, my flight to Spain shows as still going and there hasn't been any news by the airline to say otherwise. Fingers crossed.

    A while ago I made an itinerary of places to go with a certain order of how I would travel with an open mind that it would be subject to changes depending on where 'the wind would blow' me.......... I never really expected it to be a volcanic ash cloud (!!). So I probably won't be relying on any air travel while I'm there. I'm just glad I have my rail pass. We will see what happens and hopefully when it comes time to come home, things will be back to Normal.

    I'm also trying something different this trip. I've decided, thanks to an early birthday present from my parents (thank you!), that I will be traveling with a rolling duffle bag-- as opposed to a suitcase or a backpack. The rolling duffle (catchy!) is a cross between a suitcase AND a backpack. Though I fully intend on rolling my way through Europe, at least there is the option of strapping it on my back in those cases where it's necessary (ie steep uphill gravel road a la Annecy, FR, or the gazillion sets of stairs a la Paris metro, etc etc..). I have to say, now that I've really looked at this rolling duffle...it's a mother of a bag...and it's only the medium size!! The good thing is that I've packed it only half full in a preliminary packing job.

    All in all, this trip is turning out to be very interesting...and I haven't even left yet.

    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 18, 2010 from Calgary, Canada
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    Really going? Like, right now?

    Montreal, Canada

    Just a little 5 hr sit in the Montreal airport.

    It already has been, and is going to be, a long day. But so far so good. I feel really good about today. I've run into some old friends while waiting for my flight in Calgary and made some new friends along the way. I think this is a good sign of what's to come.

    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 20, 2010 from Montreal, Canada
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    Tango el gatto los pantalones..

    Malaga, Spain

    You know I don't speak Spanish!

    The flight was... interesting. The character beside entertained my with his own spiritual philosophies. Harmless, really. He had a funny sense of humor and made the time pass quicker until the crew turned the lights off so everyone would sleep.

    It took AGES to get through customs because they had to bus us to the terminal from the plane citing some volcanic ash cloud thing as an excuse as to why a bridge was not available...lol....Anyhow... they stuffed us on a bus for about 30 mins so we could circle the terminal a few times (???) before they finally let us out to breath. After all of that, most of us caught another bus into town. Eventually, I figured out where I was going with the help of a fellow Canadian working in Spain.

    I was too tired to do any sightseeing, but wandered around (partly my choice) for a bit until it started raining. Conveniently, an Irish pub was nearby where I ordered my first Bulmers in 5 years. You can't get that in Calgary. As far as I've seen. Unfortunately, the pub was near empty so I nodded off into my pint until it was time to go.

    I really need to find a way to Ireland without having to hitch a ride on an volcanic ash cloud.

    My feet are a little swollen, my eyes are burning with fatigue and all I've had to eat is a Bulmers.

    Night night.

    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 21, 2010 from Malaga, Spain
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    Siesta Time is the Perfect Time..

    Malaga, Spain

    The perfect time for blogging.

    Woke up from the post-travel coma this morning ready to go. I was up and ready so early that the guy downstairs at reception was just finishing his nightshift. I sat and had a very confusing breakfast with him. I say confusing because I'm still unsure of where he is from.. at first I thought he was Spanish, then Parisian, then perhaps Californian.....note to self:ask next time I see him. The more I think of it, the more it bugs me.

    Anyhow, first on the agenda-- Museo Picasso. Of course, Malaga being Picasso's birthplace and all (at least we know for sure where HE is from!!) I was slightly disappointed that the museo had closed off all but 2 of the galleries as they were renovating or moving the works around (can't quite remember) ......BUT don't dispair!! The temporary exhibit was WOnderfuL! FrantiĊĦek Kupka ... look him up. Much of this exibit was on loan from the Pompidou in Paris. I remember seeing only a couple of his works there in October. At the time, amongst all that art they never really stood out to me, but in the context of this collection...so great.

    After the museo, I took a a walk through the park and then ended up at the Alcazaba-- an old Muslim fortress. Great views of the city and only 2 euros to get in and walk around.

    Once again, around 3pm it started raining................. no Irish pub in sight. Instead, the next best thing: Pans &Co. (Robyn!!) .....and as i hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, this seemed fortunato.

    Anyhow, that's it for now.

    Pictures: Malaga is a very ornamental city. Love the details.

    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 22, 2010 from Malaga, Spain
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    Sevilla, Spain

    Coming soon..

    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 24, 2010 from Sevilla, Spain
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    Sevilla..take 2..

    Sevilla, Spain

    Still here...

    Lots to see; lots to do! I've been out and about doing it all and I'm not sure where to start.

    It's been very hot here and yet it is only Spring and people are dressed as though it is cold-- long pants, closed shoes, etc.

    Anyways, I've met some very nice Americans to tour the town with ...although, they are considerably younger than me.

    Other than the usual sites, I have taken in some of the festivities of The Feria de Abril-- a yearly celebration of traditional music, dance, dress, etc. It ended last night with a lengthy fireworks display.

    I think perhaps I've taken a thousand pictures. I won't bother you with them except for maybe a few that I really like.

    Tomorrow I head for Madrid...only a brief one day affair as I have booked a ticket to Dublin....

    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 26, 2010 from Sevilla, Spain
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    Flamenco, Sleep, Madrid

    Madrid, Spain

    Of course, I couldn't leave Sevilla without first enjoying some Flamenco... and sangria. Very fun. I'm not really sure what the name of the place we went to last night, but I do remember how hot and smokey it was. It's been a few years since anyone has been allowed to smoke in a club back in Canada and now I remember how gross your clothes smell after. Lots of people smoke here.

    Anyways, after a very late night and a very early morning, I arrived in Madrid. I got to use my rail pass for the first time this trip. Bought a first class spot and wow! What a difference in service... how can I possibly go back to being a 2nd class passenger???!!! Pssshhhh..ha! WE had a meal, several beverage services AND a movie! ("The Young Victoria" or something like that...good, but not "Marie Antoinette" good, ha)

    Checkin wasn't until 3pm so I left my luggage at the left-luggage at the train station and ended up walking the prado and then perusing the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. They have a very impressive collection along with a very nice temporary Monet exhibit. Seeing Monet's Water lillies has definitely given me more incentive to go to Giverny when I end up in Paris later. I wanted to go to Reina Sofia but I guess it is closed on Tuesdays. Ah, well. I did see ONE Miro .... and since I won't be going to [[Spain/Palma-de-Mallorca]], I guess that will have to tide me over for now.

    Believe it or not it is 33C today in Madrid!!! It's very exhausting. I plan to walk around a bit later when it cools down (hopefully) before I call it a night. Although I haven't been here very long, my impression of Madrid is that it's a sprawling Metropolis. I guess I can't really have that much of an opinion if I'm leaving tomorrow, but that's just my 2 euros.

    Tomorrow, Dublin.

    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 27, 2010 from Madrid, Spain
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    The Homeland

    Dublin, Ireland

    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 28, 2010 from Dublin, Ireland
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    Dear Mommsie,

    Dublin, Ireland

    I'm writing to inform you that you have reached your sainthood.


    permalink written by  Sarah Andrea on April 29, 2010 from Dublin, Ireland
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