Johnson Family Reunion

I feel like I need to preface this post by explaining some things about my family.  If you know me, you probably know that my moms family is kind of big.  My mom has five brothers and sisters, and I have 10 cousins before adding any significant others, cousin’s babies, or various hangers on.  My family is also pretty diverse.  The majority of them live in Texas, but some of us are also from as far North as New Jersey or Detroit.  The main thing we have in common is being slightly crazy, so family reunions have always been interesting.  I am told from the media that reuniting with my extended family is something I should dread, but I always find myself looking forward to our reunions as events to catch up and tell stories and laugh a lot because my family is ridiculous.  To make things even better, my grandparents do not live in some boring retirement community, but instead retired to Corpus Christi, TX meaning lots of delicious sea food and beach time.  If you don’t believe me here is proof:

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Taken Friday night at sunset from a dolphin cruise.  Anyway, here is the details.

We arrived in Corpus Christi for my family reunion around 8:30 Thursday evening.  By the time we were an hour away, my sister had already called with drink orders so we stopped at the corner liquor store on the way in.  Most of the “adults”(term loosely used for the parents generation) were at my Grandmothers so the cousins who were around sat in one of the Suites sharing drinks and teasing each other relentlessly as is the Johnson way.  Later when the parents returned a large group sat around near the pool and I went to bed around midnight.

Friday we went up to my cousin Holly’s room for coffee and pastries and I was delighted to finally meet her 9month(ish?) old daughter who is all smiles and bows.  My mom and I went over to my grandma’s and she stayed with my gramps so that I could take grandma down to the beach where everyone was congregating. Four generations of Johnsons on the beach.  I hung out there for most of the afternoon until around 4.  The water was incredibly warm and we played in the waves like when we were kids.  After showering and napping for a bit ten of us loaded up two cars to go on a dolphin cruise out of Port Aransas.  The cruise took an hour and a half.  We saw some dolphins but were equally entertained by the kids on the cruise, a pair of dogs, and taking photos in the sunset.  By the time we finished it was 8:30 and we went to meet a few more people for dinner at a bar/restaurant called Scuttlebutts.  The food was pretty good and they had lots of beer on tap although we had to wait 40minutes or so for a table.  The major dent in the experience was a kind of terrible guy on guitar who rapped and sang “teenage mutant ninja turtles”.  There was no escape because when we returned to the pool, somehow the group out there had adopted a nineteen year old kid who insisted on performing.  I had to have some respect for his lack of stage fright, but he didn’t actually know the words to most of the songs he sang and when security came to ask us to keep it down I was kind of relieved.

On Saturday we didn’t make it down to the beach, and instead I spent a while updating my blog and then we started planning our trip west.  We booked a place in Las Vegas and came up with a theoretical route.  We decided to head north in Texas and then West through New Mexico and southern Arizona with the objective of making it to California so we can spend some time there before heading to Vegas.  In the afternoon we climbed into JJ with Alison and went to Snoopy’s Pier for some fish sandwiches.  Alison wanted to find some cheesy souvenir type things so we stopped at a couple beach shops.  I bought a greyish fedora because I thought a hat might be a good idea in the desert.  I look kind of like a hippy hipster in it, but such is life. 

When we returned it was time to shower and change for the big reunion party.  My aunt Amy had designed t-shirts with a logo of waves and birds so we could all match in the photos. We took a lot of photos and joked around ate some delicious brisket my Uncle Harold made.  I made friend with my four-year-old second cousin and had fun play fighting with him.  I kept trying to tell him that he couldn’t win because my arms are so much longer than his. He was a fun addition, even though we could not bribe him to say “Oh Balls” to his mother no matter what we offered.  As it got late, the cousins were prevailed upon to clean the kitchen and my oldest cousins went through an album pointing out the embarrassing photos of each of us from when we were kids.  Around 9 we took the party back to the hotel because the grandparents were tired, although they seemed really happy.  I went for a swim and towards the end of the night we set off some fireworks on the beach. 

 

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Welcome to Texas

ImageOkay, well this story doesn’t begin in Texas.  But Texas was kind of a landmark for us.  We have officially driven over 2000miles (more like 2300), Molly had never been to Texas, and it is the first state we hit that I hadn’t driven into before.  Texas just feels like hey, you are actually getting somewhere.  

So Sunday we hung out in Nashville.  We went to brunch at the Tavern with Alex and my Senior year roommate (also Alex…confusing sometimes).  I caught up with them and Molly heard some of her first stories about “Amelia in College”and we had 2 for 1 mimosas.  Then we got in JJ and headed for the Country Music Hall of fame.  Three years in Nashville and I hadn’t been.  JJs check engine light came on while we were driving down Broadway….great…so I checked the fluids/gas cap to see if it was something obvious, then we went into the museum.  It turned out to be really quite interesting.  I was especially fascinated by the earliest years of country music because the development of it is closely intertwined with American history.  And there were a lot of really outrageous costumes and fancy guitars on display.  

We were pretty tired afterwards so we went to Bongo Java near Belmont to get some coffee and enjoyed “hipster-watching”, an activity much like people watching but at places where hipsters hang out and I called my father about the car.  We decided to take it into a shop in Nashville before hitting the road the next day.  Molly and I bought some groceries for dinner and breakfast and spent the evening hanging out at Alex’s apartment watching bad tv.  

We got up at 7 to get going and took JJ into a shop I had used before.  They were super nice.  They checked it out and told us that JJ’s light turned on because the engine was running cold at the time.  Only time in my life a car mechanic has advised me NOT to fix a problem.  I called my father (since JJ is his car) and decided that was the thing to do.  Diesels are fine if they run a bit cold they just get worse gas milage. And it would be easier to fix it later if it continued to be a problem.  Five days later and the light hasn’t come back on so hopefully it will be okay. 

After that we drove south to New Orleans. We got to Gootee’s at like 5.  She took us out for happy hour at some place called Monkey Hill, then we picked up her friend Ferf before going to the High Hat for dinner.  We both had red beans and rice with fried chicken and both were kind of perfect.  We went out for another beer before heading home kind of early.  The next day Emily showed us around a bit taking us to a place called Yo Mamma’s for lunch where we had epic hamburgers.  Then Molly had never had a Hurricane so we took some touristy photos and went to Pat O’Briens for drinks on the patio.  I had a rainstorm instead and we headed back to Gootee’s so we could get on the road to Mobile. 

When we got to Terica’s she took us on a tour of Mobile, showing us all of her favorite places and updating us on her life.  We went back to her place to get ready for her birthday dinner then drove over to an oyster shack called Wentzel’s where I met more of her friends and her sister.  I had shrimp and grits for dinner and Molly had a sausage Po boy.  Then we went to her favorite hang out spot “OK Bicycle Shop” which also had a lot of beer on tap and hand made margaritas where we had another drink before returning to her house to meet some more friends of hers.  Molly and I excused ourselves and went to bed around 1am even though they were still up chatting.  We got up at 7 again to face our longest day of driving yet, through Louisiana and into Texas for 11 hours.  Woo driving.

We drove all the way to Austin by about 7 where we met up with my cousins Reid and Kalyn and a couple of Reid’s friends.  We met Max the puppy, who was solidly one of the cutest puppies ever.  Molly started plotting to steal him but decided against it because she liked the owners.  We had beers and pizza at a place called the Hangar lounge where we tried a bunch of local beers and Molly learned that she really likes Shiner Blonde.  Convenient because it is available all over Texas.  Next we went to the Ginger Man and had a few more beers including Pyramid Apricot which was very delicious.  

On Thursday my cousin Reid (whom we were staying with) sent me a long list of good things to do in Austin and we picked what looked most agreeable.  We had breakfast tacos at Torchy’s tacos and the best queso of my life.  Seriously though, breakfast tacos are kind of my favorite.  Then we went to Mayfield Park to spend some time outside for the first time in like a week.  They had really cool peacocks, but we decided against trying to make them fluff their tails.  Apparently they only do that when they feel threatened (?) or trying to mate.  No such luck.  We walked around the nature trails for about an hour.  Next we went to the Bob Bullock Texas State Museum which wasn’t entirely what we expected.  We expected it to be more ridiculous and like TEXAS HELL YEAH but it was mostly a history museum.  Still really interesting though because Molly and I are well educated on Colonial history, but early Texas history is something entirely different.  Around 4 we hopped in the car to head down to the coast for the Johnson family reunion.  So far so good, but I am going to leave that experience for a later post.

 


Asheville/Nashville

I feel that a trip like this requires a certain mindset. I am having a hard time with it.  Every time we get in the car so far, my mind goes to what we need to do next.  It is a ridiculous way to think on a trip where, in reality, we don’t NEED to do anything.  The idea is to be driven by what we WANT to do.  I am not sure why that is so hard for me, I didn’t feel like I had to try to let go when travelling in Europe.  But at the same time, this trip is different.  For one, I am back in charge.  Weird but almost every time I went somewhere outside of Budapest, someone else was calling the shots.  Who knew it would take having to make my own decisions to realize how much I hate to decide (or maybe everyone who has known me has noticed).  Anyway, something to work on.  Doing what we want.

            I guess it doesn’t help, but it has kind of been a quest so far this trip.  12 hours of driving in two days.  Better than the 10 hour direct trip I am used to making, but still kind of tiring.  We finally got on the road around 10am Friday after saying goodbye and gaining advice from every single one of our parents.  JJ the Jetta was packed full with four weeks of everything we could imagine we could possibly need.  We drove for a couple of hours before stopping for lunch in Harrisonburg.  We stopped at Chik-fil-a because I had been craving it since returning home from Europe to find it completely packed even though it was relatively early in the lunch gap.  It turns out that July 13th is “Cow Appreciation Day” so there were lots of people with their small children dressed up like cows.  Apparently a drawn on white t-shirt and a pair of ears earns you a free meal.  Too bad we didn’t get the memo early enough to come prepared…

            The rest of the drive to Asheville was uneventful, and we got to the campground just after 6.  We picked a site pretty far in and set to work pitching our tent before dark.  The campground was right on the French Broad River and was relatively small and compact.  Our tent was not.  Molly borrowed it from her aunt who seems to have some strange need to sleep around a dozen people in one place while camping.  It was far too big to fit on our two tarps and could zip into three rooms.  It took us a while to assemble it, so we drank a beer meanwhile.  The rainfly was the hardest because the Molly hadn’t put it on in the practice run and we weren’t entirely sure how to attach it to the tent. 

            After we had the tent together we decided to go into town to find dinner.  Asheville was packed with people even though it was already sprinkling off and on.  We parked the car in a lot and walked around and eventually settled on the Asheville Bier Garden for dinner, working with the logic that if you can’t be guaranteed good food you should at least go for good beer.  We had some sandwiches and I drank a something Highland Wit.  Molly went for a Kolsch instead, but I drank half of it because she was full.  Both were really delicious and locally made in Asheville.  We discussed checking out another bar type thing because it was only about 10:30, but we were actually really tired.  And it was already raining.  So we headed back to the campground and were in bed not after 11.  It seems kind of like wussing out to be in bed so early on a Saturday, but I felt like even if we went somewhere else we wouldn’t really enjoy it.

            We woke up the next morning to pouring rain.  We found out the gargantuan tent was indeed water proof, although the humidity made it feel like everything was slightly damp and sticky.  We packed up the car and both experienced the joy of packing a wet tent for the first time.  Instead of attempting to cram it back in the bag we put it in a trash bag.  Yay for being well prepared.  Then we drove to Asheville intending to walk around and find a place for some coffee and ended up at a café called “Ello”.  They had good coffee and I had a breakfast sandwich.  Molly had some banana oatmeal, which was also delicious.  By the time we finished eating the parking meter was already running out so we tried to check out the Biltmore, just to drive up and look.  We decided the admission wasn’t worth it (the women at the gift shop claimed it would cost us $64?) so we came straight to Nashville instead.  We had a few torrential downpours on the way and it was still raining when we arrived limiting our ability to entertain ourselves.  We got some Paletas and went to Fido to try to get on the internet.  When my friend Alex got back from New York we met him at his apartment so we could get a pair of keys, then he ran out to go to two separate dinner engagements and Molly and I went to dinner at Jacksons.  We had some buffalo fingers and salads and discussed how birth order has effected our personalities.  Afterward we went downtown to check out Paradise Park and the Stage and were interested to see the abundance of bachelorette parties that had taken over Broadway. Seriously though, I guess it is the time of the year but there were at least 5 at each bar. We headed home pretty late and stayed up a bit chatting with Alex.  It feels really good to be back.


Finding Americana

I am a complete failure as a blogger.  I am pretty sure my last post was in February….can we consider it a case of being “too busy living to write about living”.  Yeah probably not, but I am going to try this again.  At least for a while. 

Anyway, since February I have finished three Semesters of grad school (although 2 of them were extra short).  I have taken three weekend trips, visited eight different countries (Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Greece and Turkey) and been on a six day road tour of the balkans.  I have pretty much seen every square inch of the island of Lesvos, and finally made it back to the states where I suffered possibly the greatest culture shock of all. But can I skip recapping all of that.  Trust me I am regretting not writing about it then but I was actually too busy having the time of my life.  Oh yeah, and “studying” or whatever but my point with this post is to introduce the next chapter of the adventure.

Wanderlust.  Not something I am actually sure that I have, but the best explanation for my lifestyle.  I can’t seem to stay put.  Although I am not sure I love that lifestyle.  Whenever someone asks about my life in Europe I feel like it is crucial to emphasize that it is all twofold.  It has been the best year of my life, but also probably the hardest.  I don’t totally love having to fit my life into two 20kilo suitcases and having to purge my things every time I move on. I don’t love the jetlag and the exhaustion of moving all the time.  and I especially don’t love being constantly separated from so many of the people I love.  I guess that is what inspired me to keep moving for a while this summer.  My program gave me a couple of months off, too short to really do much productive so I decided to take advantage.  My grandparents are turning 80 and we are having a reunion to celebrate so I thought I would turn the trip into a longer one.  Starting Friday, my friend Molly and I are packing up JJ the Jetta and driving west (well south west to be exact).  Over about a month we will traverse the United States all the way to California and back.  

I guess my purpose by returning to blogging is to tell this story.  It seems pretentious, but more than anything I wish I had better documentation of my adventures this year and am hoping this will provide a venue.  Additionally, in case anyone actually reads this it will let you know where Molly and I are, and where we are heading.  My hopes are it may lead us to you on our journey.  

With love and wanderlust, 

Amelia

 


There is nothing fun about night trains. When you are one very tall girl there is ESPECIALLY nothing fun about night trains (why don’t my legs fit anywhere). But sometimes you’ve gotta do, what you’ve gotta do, and taking the night train was the best way to make our Serbia trip happen.

Back story: My Icelandic roommate came back from winter break raving about her genius plan to attend the European Handball Championships in Serbia and cheer on the Icelandic team. Our friend Svenja is also an avid handball fan and as her German team would also be competing, she was pretty easy to convince. I thought it through for a while. I am American. I don’t know what handball is. But screw it, sometimes you’ve just gotta throw caution to the wind and travel to a different country to watch a sport you know nothing about. Why not, it sounded like a party.

 

Which brings us to Thursday night, where we find ourselves drinking beers at midnight on the train from Budapest to Belgrade. After a mostly uneventful trip (we got woken up a few times by border control, and saw some interesting characters but nothing too special) we arrived in Belgrade at 6am in the rain. We were extremely pleased when we went to check into the hostel and they let us go straight up to our room because they weren’t too full so we could get a few hours of real sleep before travelling again.The friday games were being held in Vrsag, a couple of hours by bus from Belgrade. We bought tickets at the bus station, then grabbed some pastries because we hadn’t eaten all day.

After a couple of hours we reached Vrsag. Svenja started speaking to one of the other passengers in German and he pointed us in the direction of the stadium. We passed a drugstore and bought red and blue makeup pencils to paint Icelandic flags on our faces, but they got taken away in security along with: any other toiletries/makeup we were carrying, our bus snacks, my water bottle, umbrellas, and writing instruments. Seriously, the most extreme security check point I have ever seen. What in the world did they think we would do with pens and eyeliner that would be a safety hazard? Iceland was playing Slovenia, and there fans were crazy. They were possibly the loudest craziest fans we saw all weekend, and there were only like 12 other Iceland fans because they had much farther to travel. We cheered loudly, but Iceland lost, but Norway lost worse (in the next game) so Iceland advanced anyway. We left the match quickly and caught a cab to the bus stop because the last bus to Belgrade was scheduled to leave in like 15 minutes. We were really boring Friday night and decided to just grab a late dinner and head to bed.

Saturday we got up at a reasonable hour to be touristy before the 8pm Germany Serbia game. What a long day. So much walking. We started walking toward Kalemegdan, the large fortress at the intersection of the Sava and Danube rivers. We got a bit sidetracked on the way and stopped to buy ourselves some new makeup pencils and to grab some brunch. We walked around the fort for quite a while and took a lot of stupid photos which are shown in the slideshow above. Afterward we intended to walk most of the way across the city to where the large St. Sava church is, but we kept getting sidetracked. First it was a vendor with lovely jewelry, then a cake cafe. We clearly had to replace our facepaint, and by the time we decided we needed to grab a beer before the game we were still pretty far from the church. We gave up on making it there and suited up for the Germany game before taking a tram to the arena.

The Belgrade arena was much larger and our seats were pretty far back, but Gitta made friends with some people Danish people who had free seats near them. We ended up much much closer to the court and because the tickets covered all three games for the day we weren’t taking anyones seats. The Serbian fans did not like us, and were even more unhappy when Germany secured a tie in the last minute by playing a 7th player in place of the goal keeper. After the game we went back to the hotel to regroup, and we managed to overcome our exhaustion to head out for the night. We walked to a bar we had seen the night before called “Cafe Sofia” and were pleasantly surprised to find that they had live folk music. It seemed like the bulk of the people were Serbian because they were all singing along and we regretted not knowing the words (or any Serbian). It was a really tiny bar, so every time the bartender brought someone a drink, the band had to make room. We ended up chatting with a couple of Danish guys who were also in town to watch their handball team and convinced them to go to another club with us. One of the receptionists at the hostel had given us three tickets to some club that left them as a promotion so we took a cab to what seemed like a completely random abandoned building. According to the guy at the hostel this set up was some kind of fad in Belgrade, where many musicians were buying up old buildings and using them as recording studios/nightclubs/all kinds of things, and this particular party was on the 6th floor. The music was great and I really enjoyed how unique the set up was to the city.

We slept in the next morning before heading to Novi Sad for our last match of the weekend. We bought some snacks on the way to the bus station and made it to Novi Sad just in time to check our backpacks and take a cab to the stadium. We once again painted our faces and were decked out in icelandic colors. The game was Iceland v. Hungary which was an interesting match. We were literally the ONLY people there cheering on Iceland and managed to grab seats close to the court. We spent the entire game cheering in icelandic and yelling at the team and dancing and everything. Instead of hating us, the hungarian fans really seemed to like us and gave us some support. Iceland actually won the match by several points, we were on the teleprompter like 5 or 6 times and now we are pretty much handball celebrities. Several of the hungarian fans came over to ask if they could take their picture with us, and the icelandic team gave us some applause after shaking the other teams hand.

The bag check closed at 7 so we took the bus back to the train station and met a very nice Serbian girl who helped us figure out where we were going. She even asked around to the cops to find us a nice restaurant before catching her bus. We spent the rest of the evening there and sat for over three hours eating delicious salads, and bread with this cream, and spicy stew and wine and coffee and finally caught the train back to Budapest where we arrived at 6am. We were so exhausted that none of us spoke on the 10minute walk from the train station. Definitely worth the trip though. Gitta returned to about 50million facebook notifications because we were on TV in Iceland. Like I said, celebrities. And I am a permanent handball convert.

For all of my lovely Serbia photos you can check out this link: https://picasaweb.google.com/111339694551427046923/20120123121718?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNvM-MGamLXsjgE&feat=directlink

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Croatia

I have been meaning to post this blog for over a week since i returned from Croatia on October 31. That week, however, was consumed by school work as we came back to a final exam and a report. And then I was being lazy, so here goes.

We left Budapest on Friday on the 6:30am train. I had a hard time sleeping at first, so I ate the breakfast I had packed and then was able to sleep pretty steadily until about 11:30 when we stopped at the Croatian border. We had to wait for about an hour and they checked our passport about four times and informed us that we would have to change to get to Zagreb. The train backed up for about 10minutes and then we took a half hour bus to another train station where we got on a different train to Zagreb. Strange, but we arrived more or less on time so I couldn’t complain. We had decided to walk from the train station to our hostel, which took about 20minutes. We checked in to the hobo bear, which was a cute downstairs hostel with brick walls and a cozy common room and went out to find lunch. We walked toward these cozy back streets and eventually gave up finding a perfect lunch place and settled for a pizza-by-the-slice place instead called Pizza Cut Duck and then hiked up to St. Catherines Cathedral. It was beautiful and is one of the trademark buildings of Zagreb, without being too huge. We continued strolling around for a few hours afterward and found some less touristy areas of Zagreb. I would refer to photos, but for some reason my camera is refusing to upload. We went back to the hostel to nap before dinner.

After relaxing at the hostel for a couple of hours (I was napping but I don’t think the rest of the girls were as lazy) Gitta decided it was time to go have a beer and I felt as if I didn’t move I would be out for the night so we went with Paulina to find a place to grab a drink while Natalie stayed at the hostel because she felt a cold coming on. We turned down a walking street and tried our first Croatian beer (…?). We were getting a bit hungry so we had some mushroom soup before moving to a different outdoor place. It had started to get cold so we looked around to find another place that had a> heat-lamps or b> blankets and ended up at a dessert place that had both as well as a different croatian beer (…?). Everything looked delicious so we asked for recommendations and Pauline and Gitta both got some chocolate bon-bon type thing topped with some delicious caramelized nuts, and I had a black forest cake. All of the desserts were AMAZING so we considered it a good find, but this place was closing around midnight so we went to some trashy fast food joint where we had a final beer before heading back to the hostel.

Natalie woke up early Saturday morning and announced that she was heading to the national park to hike around the lakes. Gitta decided to go with her and Paulina and I slept for a few more hours. By the time we were finally ready to tourist it was lunch time so we wandered through the main square to find a place. There was a huge flower market because of the upcoming holiday (All saints day), and we found a nearby place where we could sit outside and enjoy the Croatian version of a cheese burger while some guy with a guitar serenaded us (well the whole square) with Croatian music. We sat for a while and people watched, but decided we should probably go see some of Zagreb instead. We decided on the the Mimara Museum, which is named after the collectors and is housed in a palace in the middle of Roosevelt Square. We spent the most time on the 2nd floor viewing their collection of paintings, but rushed through the first and ground floors because we noticed the sun coming out. It had been grey both in Budapest and Zagreb for a while so we wanted to take advantage and walked over to the Botanical gardens where we enjoyed the changing leaves and took a lot of cheesy pictures. We were quite chilly after spending so much time outside so we grabbed a coffee before going home to the hostel to meet up with Gitta and Natalie. They had missed the bus they wanted so we had to wait a while, but finally went out to find dinner around 9pm. We found some Croatian looking place and tried yet another Croatian beer. Most of us had some weird pancake action rolled up and baked in a sort of creamy sauce. It was tasty, but I am still not sure how “Croatian” it really was.

We went out for a few beers after and tried Rakije, the Croatian local spirit, which we liked much better than Palinka even though it was kind of sugary. Gitta and I felt like we should at least try a club in Zagreb so we went in the first place we found while the other girls went home to bed. The first thing we noticed while waiting to get in was how drop-dead gorgeous all of the girls there were. Seriously, they looked like models and were wearing posh outfits with heels. We were wearing what we had been touring in all day. Needless to say we felt a bit out of place but bought a drink and went to the dance floor anyway. It was crazy packed, and we only lasted like maybe 20minutes there. When we got back to the hostel Nat and Paolina were still getting ready for bed so it hadn’t been so long. That was probably for the best, since we were planning to leave early for the coast.

Originally, we had planned to head to Pula on Sunday and to stay there through Tuesday, but we were all having mixed feelings about spending so long on a bus (5 hours to Pula and 5 back) and we were starting to stress about our exam on Thursday because we didn’t do any studying in Zagreb. So Gitta asked one of the workers at our Hostel and she recommended some small town on the coast, and said that although it was unlikely that we could find a place to stay there it was right by a bigger town called Rijeka where we could easily find a place to stay. So early Sunday morning we packed up our things and headed to the bus station to go to Rijeka. They loaded us into a minibus which took about 3 hours with a bus change in the middle. When we arrived in Rijeka, Paolina asked in the information center (which turned out to only be bus information) about where we could get a room for the night and they sent us on the 1 bus to a hostel about 10minutes away.

We stayed at a “Hostelling International” which was nice and clean and had large windows that open to a view of the coast (and some huge machinery that was positioned in it). Once again we lucked out by getting our own room, since 4 is a nice easy number. The woman at the desk was extremely helpful, recommending two restaurants to us and explaining how to get to the nicest beach. We walked 15minutes up the road to a place just off the road. We sat on the terrace once again overlooking the ocean and enjoyed the beautiful weather (it must have been about 65). We all ordered various seafood. I had calimari while the other girls had other fish specialties most of which came with this really delicious garlicky chard and potato side. I had a glass of wine and afterwards a tiramisu. We probably would have lingered longer but it was getting later in the day and we wanted to make it to the beach, so we walked back up to the road where we took the 1-bus once again to the opposite edge of town.

We got off at the correct bus stop and walked into this insane looking swimming complex. It had windows overlooking a huge pool and several cafes/restaurants. We walked down half a dozen sets of stairs before we reached the beach. The bulk of it was made up of pebbles and there were peninsulas of bigger rocks by the shore. It was kind of foggy in the distance but you could barely see the outline of mountains. Natalie ran off to explore and I took my shoes off to wade into the water. It was freezing so that plan didn’t work out so well and instead we spent the bulk of the afternoon sitting on the shore or strolling. After the sun set it started to get colder so we went back to the bus stop and went to town and went to this chocolate shop that had dozens of different types of chocolate drinks and desserts. There was not much to do in this smallish city on a Sunday, so we headed back to the hostel early to read and internet and I went to be early as well. We had to check out of the hostel by 10 so we had breakfast and packed and got on the 1-bus again to head back to the bus station. We bought tickets for an 11-o’clock bus back to Zagreb, but it turned into a fiasco because after we were already settled in on the bus they decided that even though we had four tickets we had only paid for three. They pulled Natalie off the bus and we had no idea what was going on. We sent the Latina in to try to raise hell (because Gitta and I are both really wussy), but regardless if they said we hadn’t paid we couldn’t really prove we had so we bought a fifth bus ticket and were on our way home. In Zagreb we grabbed lunch before boarding a 4pm train back to Budapest and I finally did some exam review before getting back to Budapest late.


Nerding Out

The following post may be a bit over-exaggerated.

Yesterday I almost slept through my first class.  9am has been seeming really early lately, and “Humans and the Biosphere” aka how we are screwing everything up is a bit of a downer, not to mention the topic of an entire course I took Junior year of college.  In other words, its a bit repetitive, and resultantly boring, but I made myself attend anyway and was super excited a did because we were discussing Agriculture and Food Policy.  I actually managed to pay attention for the whole class, take notes, even comment.  Super nerdy exciting.  It was like my WHOLE LIFE made sense.  Oh thats why you interned on a farm this summer, to foster your interest in agriculture.  I could even imagine writing my thesis on food policy (yeah people already expect me to have that figured out).  I worked on the farm as a gateway to solving world hunger (and peace?).  Dramatization, sure.  But still it was a good lecture.