Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cheese, Chocolate and Pocket Knives.

After having the pleasure of staying at Amber's grandparents house in downtown Brussells, and enjoying the late night conversations with her grandparents, we hit the train to Interlaken, Switzerland. We stayed in a hostel that is apparently in the "world famous hostels" list and it definitely lived up to it's reputation. Interlaken is most well known for it's extreme sports and it was hard to even look out the window without seeing sky divers gently floating back to earth on their parachutes, or hang gliders soaring through the perfectly clear skies. Some guys we met at dinner time had been canyoning that day (look it up on YouTube...amazing) and had the time of their lives. Andrew and I talked about it and decided that the expensive stuff wasn't for us, as fun as it sounded. We met some girls our first night in town and enjoyed watching the football matches with them and the beer specials at the hostel bar were amazing, so naturally Andrew bought them drinks the rest of the night because he is such a gentlemen.

Clubbing in Belgium...before I passed out

The next day we decided to tackle those big mountains that kept laughing at us from a distance. We took a bus to a town called Wilderswil and then a train to Lauterbrunnen and then the hike started. The trail was listed as 2 1/2 hours, and we had heard it would be fairly steep. While on this epic journey we had many stops, mostly by the waterfalls, and even a quick break by a stream to get a drink of the purest Swiss water I've ever had in my life. The hike was very difficult, but the views made it completely worth it. Once we got to Murren we sat down and started chow down on the bread, cheese, ham, and bananas that we had bought earlier that day from the meanest Swiss lady in the world. On the way down we took a gondola to Gimmelwald and then hiked down to Stechelberg and took the bus and then the train back to Interlaken. That night the whole hostel gathered round the TV for the Spain vs. Portugal match and luckily everyone was Spain fans so it was very fun when they pulled through in the end.

Getting some of that sweet, sweet Swiss spring water

Enjoying our view of the Alps from Murren

The trail we walked down to get to the bus station, the only downhill part of our journey

Today, we took the train to from Interlaken to Milan, and then to Rome. Andrew and I have enjoyed some Italian wine, and some Roman gellato while getting used to the southern Italian humidity. Already we've met a lot of people in our hostel and apparently we've got some dates for our trip to the Colosseum tomorrow, woohoo!

Get it done, Annu.



So Switzerland was unreal. Literally. It felt like I had just stepped into some part of Disneyland.

Little Swiss homes, all complete with window boxes filled with little red flowers. Everyone with their own little garden and little fountain fixtures covered in flowers on every bock.

The hostel was legit. We've gotten really lucky so far and most of the hostels we've been to have been a blast and super social. It felt like a huge Swiss house and was decked out (like everywhere else in town) with Swiss flags. We had a good time our first night and then woke up the next morning for a big hike.

My life was the Sound of Music that whole day. The hike was INTENSE but so worth it. We got to the top at around 4000 feet and looked out at all the mountains that were surrounding us. On the way down we walked through several small Swiss villages...the whole thing was incredible.

Hamilton, proud of himself after the hike up (even though he complained so much we just carried him the entire way)

Time for bed...Rome awaits.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ah Belgium. Currently sitting in the kitchen with a Sinatra record on while Marsh and Amber cook brunch. We're staying at her grandparents place (giant, old european condo right in the middle of Brussels). Every window is huge and pulls open, and right now a nice breeze is blowing in.

Actually, here is a pic we took last night of Marsh and I sitting in that exact window.

We apologize for the delay in posting another blog update. These past several days have been crazy with lots of traveling. But I guess that just means we've got a lot to say. So ima say it now.

Dublin was awesome. The hostel we stayed at was super cool and really social. It's been awesome to be able to just check in, introduce ourselves to a few people, and then have friends for the rest of our stay that we can go see the sights with (and go out with at night as well). Our second night we did a pub crawl which was a blast. We met a ton of cool people and saw several Irish pubs that weren't the touristy packed ones we'd been in the night before in Temple Bar. It was a good night.

Oh, and Marshall and I represented our country in a beer pong match against our Irish pub crawl guides.
It was an intense match. Down to one cup each. And then Marshall blew it. The ping pong ball bounced off his chest and into our last cup. We lost it. Our country lost it. Thanks Marsh.

Just a quick story: The next morning a guy from our room comes up and tells me that Marshall has met a few girls from Portland and is talking to them downstairs. Crazy. So I head down and I totally knew one them (shout out to Nalina and props if you are reading this). Small world.

We took a bus through the Irish country side to Galway. I'm convinced the stereo type of how much the Irish drink isn't just that, because every little Irish town we'd drive through had more pubs than it did houses.

Galway was much different than Dublin, but in a great way. It had much more of the small town Irish feel with a cool strip of old pubs next to what was called the 'Spanish Arches'. The first night we found this pub called 'The Quays' which was huge (and old; opened around 300 years ago) and had traditional Irish tunes. Plenty of dancing and pints of Guiness later it had been a good night.

We took a bus out to the Cliffs of Moher while in Galway. AMAZING. Seriously breathtaking. Pictures won't do it justice, but here are a couple anyway.

Marshall and I are also going to be submitting a couple pictures to the Blazer's 'Wear in the World' photo contest. We think we've got a good shot. (no pun intended)

Also, it should be noted that although there was a sign that we were not supposed to cross a certain point on the cliffs, we did anyway. (Its where all the best views were).

Here is Marshall clearly breaking the rules.

Matter of fact, here is some 80 year old woman clearly breaking the rules.

The tour showed us ruins of castles sporatically appearing throughout the country side, old monasteries, and ruins of tombs older than Stonehenge.

A couple planes later we were in Amsterdam. At around 11pm we take a train to the central station and then a tram to the leidseplein, and as the doors open I can tell i'm already going to love this place. The plaza is packed with tables packed with people and the bars are overflowing. Music is loud and everyone is having a great time. Everything stays open till like 3 in the morning.

Our hostel 'the flying pig' was off the hook. The reception desk was downstairs in the basement (coincidentally, the same area as the bar). MGMT was on, the place was alive, and we didn't take long to order our first drink and take advantage of all the city has to offer.

The next day we walked through the town to Anne Frank's house as well as hit up the Van Gough museum (literally around 100 of his paintings..unreal).

Amsterdam is a gorgeous city with canals ruining through most of it. One of the coolest we've been to thus far.

Our friend Amber met up with us our last night there and then we drove to her hometown of Brussels yesterday. We went to the La Grande Place, a huge plaza with some of the most regal buildings i've ever seen.

Also, big thanks to Amber for buying Marshall and I our first Belgian waffles, the majority of which got all over my face.

We went to a couple different clubs last night and will be hitting up another one tonight (as well as possibly a friend of Amber's pool party?). We're looking forward to a good time.

Next stop: Interlaken, Switzerland.

P.S. Sorry we have no photos of Hamilton to share this entry. He got a temporary job as a boat driver through the Amsterdam canals, but should be joining up with us again shortly.

--what up marshall.

Words cannot describe how much I loved the pub scene in Dublin. It was exactly the atmosphere I enjoy, exactly the kind of music I enjoy, and everyone is always in a good mood. While keeping up with our pub crawl group I got to know a few of the other crawlers fairly well and specifically had some great conversations with some girls from Lichtenstein and Germany. My German is no where near what it used to be, but a few pubs into the crawl and I was convinced I spoke more fluently than the girls. I embarrassed myself.

While in Galway we got to experience a much smaller town feel. Not as many bars as compared to Dublin, but still probably 4 times more than in all of Corvallis. The hostel was definitely worth only the 8 euro we spent on it but we met some more interesting people, although I'm really missing my Florida buddies (keep it real Kelly and Katie).

Before the pub crawl, Andrew grabbed a guitar from the hostel and we went downstairs with a few of the girls we had the pleasure of getting to know while in Dublin. Hearts were melted right before my eyes and then the drinking began!

There have been many opportunities to listen to music while traveling, my favorites have been in the bars in Dublin though. Munich will be filled with music since it's considered one of the rock hubs of Europe, but until then I have enjoyed the Celtic music and look forward to hearing the mandolins sing to me as I eat pasta in Italy.

Amsterdam was...great. Insane atmosphere, beautiful buildings, great public transportation, cool museums. But in the words of Forrest Gump: "and that's all I have to say about that".

Now, as we enjoy our temporary palace in Brussels, I really get time to sit back and relax. We made a great breakfast today with hashbrowns and eggs and croissants. This pretty much kicks our previous breakfast's asses because the times that we've even been lucky enough to wake up on time (sans alarm clock) breakfast tends to consist of toast and jam and gross instant coffee.

(drinking and biking, legal in Belgium)

I have experience so much since this trip began but so much of it is hard to put into words right now. Andrew and I have seen some crazy shizz and I've been meeting people that I hope I keep in contact with. If anyone gets a chance, ask Andrew about his kitty we found in Galway. Today we are off to explore Brussels some more and hopefully get some more great Belgian beer. Yesterday we went to Delerium Cafe with Amber, they have the most beers available for sale at one time, 2004 beers. Holy catfish, batman.

-Kennedy: out.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Greetings From Dublin!

Hey all!

So London was ACE. (english for: excellent, or the best.)

First off, our hosts were amazing. My good friend Molly hooked us up with a couple of her friends to stay with and we're very glad she did.

Katy made us fajitas.
Henric and I shared our love for Electro music.

They both are are just incredibly awesome people. The first night they showed us all around town. One of the first stops was the House of Parliament. Seeing something like that which you've grown up seeing on TV and in movies is something else. It felt unreal.

We saw the London eye, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and ended the night sharing a couple pints at a pub in Camden.

Its often better to just show pictures, so here is a few Marshall shot that day. (i'm shooting film the whole trip)

The second day we woke up, had a cup of coffee with Katy, and then headed out to explore the town some more. The first stop was the British Museum, which was really something else. Again, some pictures.

(British Museum)

(Rosetta Stone)

(Some statues from the Parthenon) 

(Easter Island baby)

It was Buckingham Palace next. We took the Underground (which we were getting quite good at navigating through at this point) to Green Park, walked through and there it was: The magnificent home of the queen.

Hamilton was beside himself and insisted we take a picture.

It was time for the US game, so we headed back to Trafalgar Square to find a good pub to watch it at.

But it was too tempting to stop and climb on the big lions before settling down. So we did.

After the game (which we should of clearly won if it wasn't for a terrible call) we headed back home to the flat to relax for a while before the nights adventures. After a couple hours Henric, Marshall and I headed out to meet up with a couple of his mates for drinks at a nearby bar. After a little dancing and a drink or two we moved on to the next one, had another, and then headed to a club called Koko across the way.

AMAZING European club. The Japanese Pop Stars bumped the loud electro tunes and we danced till about 4 in the morning. Our train for Ireland was at 6:30 and after realizing we didn't have an alarm clock, I opted to just stay up for an hour and a half till it was time to leave.

So there is London in an ultra quick nutshell. We'll of course post later of our Irish adventures.

Marshalls turn.


From the traveling I've done with my family in the past I haven't ever been able to see a city like London in such a truly personal way. Staying with two locals provided countless benefits, everything from knowing the hot spots for a quick drink, to short cuts through areas of the downtown. London blew my mind with all of its character and personality. I really thought it would be dirtier but I was pleasantly surprised to see how well kept the ares we were in were. Camden was like Portland, except for the hipsters walking around said things like "mate" and "cheers". Besides that though, I might as well have been walking down Burnside and MLK.

I am extremely interested in historical aspects of all these places we will go so it was great to see all the touristy sights in London like Big Ben and the Tower of London. I even got to walk across the Tower Bridge, which from a structural engineers point of view is absolutely breath taking. Finding bars and pubs has been fun as well, we could easily stop in at any of the cultural stops that can be found on every block in town, but we made a point to find the true English pubs. This backfired on us though as we listened to the locals cheer against the "bloody yanks" as we sat next to them.

The ride to Dublin was fairly uneventful, Andrew and I were as tired as we've been in a long time (thanks to the baptism of bass and strobe lights at Koko) so naps were a common thing as we transfered from train to train to ferry to bus.

Walking around Dublin has been confusing, no one ever got the idea of making right angled roads, or even roads that keep the same name for more than two blocks, so having the address to a location literally means nothing without directions. I guess we got here at a good time because there was some giant bike race that was really fun to watch, but quite the hassle to get around while exploring Temple Bar, the main bar street here. As the day went on though, we were able to find some great fish and chips and PLENTY of beer. One of my favorite parts of Dublin so far is the pub atmospheres, I could write a book about the crazy stuff I saw last night. At least three bachelorette parties were just at the first place we went, and some old man was getting his groove on with some of the ladies. There were also boobs being signed by some of the guys taking advantage of the opportunities presented when women and alcohol come together. As the night progressed we made it to the original Temple Bar (the bar not the street) and that's when I realized how seriously drinking is taken in Dublin...

(me as the racers went by)

(Andrew enjoying his fish and chips, we should have split one order because neither of us could finish)

Today we are headed out to the Guiness store house and then possibly on to the Jameson whisky distillery, with a stop by Trinity College and then tonight is the big pub crawl hosted by the hostel we're staying at. Dublin has been super friendly and I've enjoyed myself while here. We have done a great job at meeting people at the hostel and some of the girls who helped us hit the town last night are joining us for the Guiness tour. We have a lot to do today though so it's about time to get on today's adventure.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Just a quick update.

Marshall and I (and Hamilton) are currently sitting in the Silver Cross, a pub outside Trafalgar Square and near the House of Parliament, drinking a pint of Hoegaarden and watching the US game. It's halftime. We're losing. But we're having an amazing time. We just got done checking out Buckingham Palace a little while ago (Hamilton's favorite place so far).

We'll be adding another post soon, pictures, included, but now felt like an appropriate time to say hi.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Well here we go.


If you are reading this you PROBABLY know who I am. And chances are you MAY know who Marshall is as well. But for those of you who don't, or for some strange reason maybe were googling the words 'groove train' and just found this blog, we'll show you a picture.

Marshall and I are about to embark on a adventure around Europe. We'll be gone for about 5 weeks. This blog will be used to keep all of you updated during that period.
I'll post sometimes. He'll post sometimes. We'll high-five each other afterwards regardless.

Our route will roughly be as follows:


We're expecting to have some crazy/interesting/awkward/absolutely fascinating stories to tell, so make sure to tune in. If you want.

Oh, and we have one more member joining us (he'd kill me if I didn't give a proper introduction).

Meet Hamilton.

Hamilton is probably more excited about this trip than both Marshall and I combined. He told me yesterday he's been dreaming about European women for weeks. I told him fat chance.

Anyways, time to go to bed. We leave for the airport at 10:30 in the AM. You'll be hearing from us again soon.