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Subject:Visited Steph's Grandparents today
Time:10:14 pm
It's always fun visiting Raymond and Lise because they're just such good hosts! As soon as we walked in we were offered food, then wine (but not until 6pm, hahah), and other soft drinks. I declined on the wine since i'm on antibiotics right now, but we had a good time chatting about plans for Thanksgiving and watching their two cats hiss at each-other.

I've found quite a few cool things I want to do to my car:
1. Lambo Doors (~$300-$600):

2. Cat-back Exhaust (~$300):

3. Cup Holders (~$???? They dont exist for my car... this is from the SLK320 (same car-ish)):

Steph is going to get me a weekend at The Drivers Edge for christmas! 2 days of training on how to drive fast. Wooo!
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Subject:What I've been up to...
Time:06:41 pm
Since we got back on Sept 24th -
~2 Weeks in Magnolia visiting my family.
~1 Week in Dallas visiting Steph's family.
~1 Weekend in Austin visiting friends.
~1 Week in California visiting my family, then a detour to the Grand Canyon.
~1 Week in Dallas visiting Steph's family.
~1 Weekend in Austin visting friends again.

You may be wondering.. what about work? I am wondering the same exact thing. Was originally "supposed" to start Oct 5... then it was "a couple more weeks" then Nov 1, and now as of today... maybe Nov 17th?

Needless to say, I am looking elsewhere now. I'd love to work @ Dell again, but I need to start earning again. I've been not working for >3 months now.

I've been sick for the past 4 days. Just a sore throat, but a pretty severe one. My good friend Dr Chuck recommended Tylenol and Chloraseptic, so that's my treatment plan. Oh, and lots of tea. Warm liquid makes me feel a lot better.
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Subject:Still need to write about...
Time:03:37 pm
Dijon, Strausburg, and visiting Ben in Hamburg!
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Current Location:Hamburg, Germany
Subject:Paris, Dijon, and Geneva
Time:03:34 pm
Paris Day 1:
After arriving the night before at 11:45 at night due to some major train issues (all of the trains in the NL supposedly being down) we just checked in, had some horrible Belgian wine, and went to bed. In the morning we grabbed a quick breakfast from the nearby grocery market and headed out to see what we could see. Our hotel was right near the Eiffel Tower, so that was our first stop. The line wasn't too bad, about 30 minutes, but literally as we walked up to the window to pay for our ticket, they closed the ability to go to the top. :( Because of that we could only go to the 2nd level. So sad. It was beautiful up there anyways and we got some great photos. Had a beer and a coffee while looking over the city and headed down. We thought that the Notre Dame would be a good 2nd stop. We were wrong. Apparently the Pope was in town, so the whole area around it was shut down. As expected, we were disappointed, so we decided to go find a cafe in which to drown our sorrow. Couldn't find a cafe I was willing to spend the money on, so instead we headed to ******INSIDEOUTBUILDING*********. It's this building where all of the plumbing, electricity, etc seems to be on the outside of the building instead of the inside. Makes for a VERY colorful and pipe-y (is that a word) building. Headed down to Place D'Italie for some Pho at a place called Pho 14 and then called it a day. Headed back to the hotel with a bottle of wine and spent the evening watching some questionable French TV.

Paris Day 2:
Since we knew the Pope was still in town, we decided to skip the area of town he was in and instead headed to the Louvre. Very cool giant museum. We saw the Mona Lisa and many other paintings and sculptures. Not many of them appealed to me as much as I thought they would though. There was a cool Egyptian exhibit with giant sarcophogi and lots of Heiroglyphics. Makes me want to learn again. We had a crepe on the way out and then headed over to Notre Dame to see if we could actually get near it this time. We could, and it is pretty amazing. The Gargoyles all around it are awesome. Headed over to Pont Neuf and made out some (we had to, it's a Parisian tradition), and then back to the hotel for a nap. Walking around the Louvre will knock you out. It's BIG. Had dinner at a french restaurant near our hotel, I had a really good, if not too rare, steak.

Paris Day 3:
Versailles, a palace outside of Paris, was our destination for the day. When we arrived, there was an approx. 2 hour line to get into the palace. I went exploring and found we could get into the gardens in about 5 mintues of line. We decided to skip the lines and see the gardens instead. The gardens take up 960 acres. They are GIANT. Huge lake in the middle, 30 or so fountains, and lots of green space. Had a yummy sandwich right outside the train station and headed back into Paris.

At night we decided to hike around paris to see what it was like all lit up. I highly recommend doing this. It's beautiful. The Eiffel tower glows bright blue and sparkles every hour on the hour. We tried to get to the Arc De Triumph before it closed at 11pm, but we were too late. We were told by friends that it had amazing views of the city at night.

Paris Day 4:
Stephanie really wanted to see the Sacre Cour, a church on a hill in the south of Paris, so after checking out of our hotel, we took our bags to the rail station we had to leave from and then the Metro to the Montmarte area of Paris. After a grueling walk up 250 steps or so, we made it to the church and some beautiful views of South Paris. After a quick bite of a waffel covered in whipped cream, we headed back to the station to get our train to our next stop: Dijon.
Dijon Arrival Night:
Arrived at the station and picked up a taxi. Riding through the town, I was suprised to see how big it was. I was expecting a quaint little town but it's actually pretty big, and full of stores/etc. We got to the hotel, checked in, and headed out for dinner. As we had no idea where anything was and the internet wasn't much help, I turned on my GPs and we started exploring. Found a cute little cafe and had their plate du jour - Beef Burgandy. Yummy. Wine and a dessert later, we were ready for bed.

Dijon Day:
Early start as we wanted to get in as much as possible before heading to Geneva. Took the bus to the station and dropped off our bags then looked for something to do. Even though the city was lively, there wasn't a whole lot of tourist stuff to do. We wandered through a very big outdoor/indoor market, saw their local churches and had lunch. Left a little earlier than planned for Geneva due to the lack of options, but it was a nice town nonetheless.

Geneva Night 1:
Arrived in Geneva around 6pm and picked up a car from Hertz. Pretty nice car actually, a Kia C'eed. Drove to our rat-motel just over the border in France and dropped off our stuff. The hotel was nasty. Smelled like 10 smokers lived in the room we were in, 3 single beds (one was a bunk bed), and not even a phone! Can't complain too much though for 38euro/night.

Had dinner at an expensive French restaurant, each of our meals was more expensive than the hotel was. After dinner we decided to head over the border back to Switzerland to see the lake. When we had come across the border from Switzerland to France, there was no border control, so we were quite suprised to find one on the way back. The crossing guard was incredibly amazed that we didn't have our passports. When I handed over my US drivers license (Texas), he commented "Texas is close to Mexico, no? You bring your passport when you go to Mexico, right?" - Imagine his shock when I told him we actually didn't need a passport to go to Mexico, haha. He wouldn't let us through, so we had to head back to France. :(

Geneva Day 2:
Shouldn't actually even call it Geneva day 2 since we never actually made it to Geneva this day. Took the car and headed towards Chamonix, France instead. After skirting past 1 traffic accident and going under 20 or so tunnels, we made it. Small town entirely surrounded by 3000M + mountains. We weren't sure what to do once we got there (just went there since the guys went back in Jan and had a great time) so we headed to the info/tourist office. The most interesting thing looked like a gondola ride up the tallest mountain there, the Aguielle Du Midi at 3842M elevation. That's like 12000 feet! It's quite expensive to do but well worth it for the views! I was a little scared because of my fear of heights, but once you're in the enclosed gondola, you dont even recognize that you're rising at 12M/s almost vertically on a cable.

Once we got back down, it was time for lunch... or more like 3 hours past lunch time. The town was horribly crowded though and I got quite frustrated at not being able to find a parking spot. So I threw a fit and left the town in some random direction. It turned out to be the wrong direction, but whatever. Finally found lunch at 5pm in Martigny, Switzerland at the best place ever, McDonalds. Our giant meal of 9 chicken nuggets, medium frys, medium drink, and a small chicken sandwich was only $19. Deal, right? Back on the road, we passed some cool towns, like Evian. Yep, like the water. It's a very pretty town and has a GIANT casino. Wish we had stopped there.

Got back to our hotel after picking up 3 bottles of wine and headed to dinner at a local Kebab place just across the border in Switzerland. Came back, downed 2 bottles of the wine and proceeded to accidently destroy one of the beds. We were looking up cars for Steph for when we get home and I accidently knocked a glass of wine all over her and the bed. Took off the blanket and one under blanket before too much damage was done and kept looking at cars. Steph kept commenting that she was glad it wasn't her who knocked over the glass.... then she did. Yep, same bed. Now the red wine went all the way down to the mattress. Oops. At that point we decided we were done ruining the room and went to bed.

Geneva Day 3:
Woke up 15 minutes before checkout time. Rushed to pack and jumped in the car with our destination: Geneva city. We threw away our travel book back in Germany, so we had no idea what to look for or do in Geneva other than the giant water fountain in the lake. Saw that, a cathedral, and did a little shopping (Steph got a jacket), had some lunch, and went to the train station to see what we could catch a train to. We had 8 minutes to catch a train from Geneva to Basel to Strausberg to Luxembourg, so we raced through the station and caught the train. While on it we read some about Strausberg and it looks like that is where we'll be staying tonight and visiting tomorrow. The 33euro each way ticket to Luxembourg doesn't appeal to me much, plus Strausberg looks pretty bad ass. It's where the European Parliament is located, has canals, people speak German, and it's cheap because it's a university town!
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Current Location:Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Subject:Augsburg, Karlsruhe, Romantic Road, and the Black Forest, oh and 2 hours in Amsterdam
Time:08:57 am
Day 30: Munich
Arrived from the train at 6am. Tried to check in but was unsuccessful, so we headed to a coffee shop instead for some croissants and internet access. Hung out until 11, then went on a 7 hour walking tour of the city. Saw all of the sites, including 2 bier gartens, surfers in the park, the glockenspeil, and more. We had to leave the tour a little early so I could go get my passport, then it was off to meet Chris and Katherine for dinner. They had driven down to Munich from Hamburg. Had dinner at a brewery, then me and Steph went to the hotel bar for a nightcap.

Day 31: Romantic Road to Fussen and Augsburg
Well, after hanging out in Munich for 1 night and 1 day, we were off in our BMW 320i convertible to see the rest of Southern Germany. We took the A5 south to Fussen with Chris driving at speeds up to 230km/h. We were heading to Fussen to see the Neuschwanstein Schloss, the castle that Sleeping Beauty's was designed from. The first thing that really caught my eye though was the Lederhosen... a whole set including shoes for 199euro. Oh how I wanted it. Didn't get it though since I couldnt really see myself wearing them other than on drinking dares and on Halloween.

Took a bus up to the castle and spent some time taking pics and walking around it. It's beautiful but we didnt want to pay the 9euro to get in, so we just had to admire it and watch the parasailers fly around off the cliffs above the castle. We had originally planned to take a walk across the border to Austria, but the hiking took a little too long so instead we took the car on its way to Augsburg, a town about 150km up the Romantic Road.

Augsburg was not much to look at, but the hotel we stayed at was pretty nice except for the 10k spiders everywhere. F'in A. I hate spiders, so having 15 of them outside of each window kind of freaked me out. Luckily none (that I knew of) came inside, so we didn't have to leave. On the way back from dinner, we saw the coolest thing: a metro with a disco inside of it going along the street. Full on with strobe lights and everything. Need to find out more info on that in case I ever decide to go back to Augsburg again.

Day 32: Romantic Road, Black Forest, Baden Baden
Woke up and decided to head along more on the Romantic Road towards the Black Forest. It was my turn to drive. 130 miles an hour! And usually cruising at 100! I love the Autobahn! A lot. We hit up some small towns on the way towards the largest waterfall in Germany. There were supposedly squirrels to feed there, so I bought some peanuts to feed them... mainly just ended up throwing them at Stephanie instead.

We tried eating Black Forest Cherry Cake but the horribly shitty restaurant was out of it. They then tried TWIcE to say we didn't pay for our drinks (we did) and chased after us. I'll post the name when I get the pictures back from the camera, took a pic of it to warn people away from it. Drove another 2 hours or so to Baden-Baden for the baths. Steph and I were uncomfortable with mixed nudity w/ other people, so we went to dinner while Chris & Katherine went to the baths. We had a pretty eclectic dinner, nachos, tomato soup, thai noodles, pasta, beer, and wine. Yummy though. Chris drove to the hotel in Karlsruhe and we checked in.

We were channel-surfing and came upon the coolest thing ever... strip human sized foosball. They had girls being the little dudes who kick the ball and any time one team scored, the other had to strip. Way to go German TV :)

Day 33: Karlsruhe, trains to Cologne and Amsterdam
Woke up and found some breakfast at the local gas station, then headed to the "castle" in Karlsruhe. It's more like a small palace, but whatever. It did have a nice park around it that we spent some time at. There were a lot of fountains. There are actually a lot of fountains everywhere in Germany.. most i've seen in any country. Had some Pho like soup for lunch and headed to the train station.

We rode in our first German trains today. The 1st class ICE trains are NICE. Power, reclining seats, tv's, and AC! Much better than the other "1st" class seats we've had so far. Arrived in Koln at 5ish, and spent the next 45 minutes trying to figure out how to reserve a seat for the train to Amsterdam. The computer kept saying that none were available... what it meant was that none were needed. Because of that, we had to RUN across the entire station to get to the train 2 minutes before it departed. Made it! I was very happy because you know what I love most about Amsterdam? Their Mexican food! Yep, that's our dinner tonight. Then pancakes tomorrow! We're spending 3 days in the 'dam, then off to Paris to visit with Sofia.

The Mexican food was awesome, from a place called Las Pilones. On the way back to the hotel after dinner, I found a bag on the street full of english-language books, including 2 by the author of the book I just finished! Awesome, right?
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Current Location:Munich, Germany
Subject:Day 28 & 29
Time:06:45 pm
Day 28 Rimini:
Spent the morning at the beach, in our rented umbrella and chairs. Read most of a book called Obsession - good read. Had lunch from the grocery store, Suppli, Croquettes, Chicken Wings, pasta salad, and mozzarella. Yummy. Spent some more time at the beach and then headed to look at the eee pc I'd been drooling over since we got here. Well, I got it! Eee PC 900 - it's the cutest little computer ever. Weighs just at 2 pounds, 1gb ram, 12gb storage, 9" screen. Yay!@!@

Spent the rest of the afternoon playing on the internet, then headed out for dinner. Went to this cool restaurant along the strip that had the craziest manager ever. He tried to get every girl in a short skirt that walked by to give him a kiss.

Texted Frappa and Facebooked Stefania - we're all meeting up at 3pm at Fontana Nettuno in Bologna for some food/drink/socializing.

Day 29 Rimini & Bologna, then a train to Munich:

Woke up this morning and packed. Exciting huh? Ate breakfast at the hotel, the best one yet. Had 5 kinds of cake, salami, prociutto and apricot juice! Ran to the train station to catch a train, but we missed it, then got a reservation for the next one... but it was at least 50 minutes late (we dont know because we finally took a different train), and headed into Bologna.

Stopped for lunch on the way to the statue at PaneVino e San Daniele. Yummy plates of prociutto and other little things w/ tons of bread. Oh, and prosecco!

Spent the later afternoon with Stefania and Francesco drinking at a bar in the Uni district off of Via Zamboni. Dinner at an Indian place, then the train to Munich - More about that later.
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Current Location:Rimini, Italia
Subject:Night 26 & Day 27 - Ferry to Ancona and Rimini
Time:06:54 pm
Night 26: Well, I got on the ferry. Just went to another ticket agency and didn't bring up that I didn't actually have a passport until after the ticket was issued... worked just fine :) The ferry was a long one 21.5 hours, and since it left in the afternoon we had all day to hang out. It wasn't very crowded, so we read our books by the pool, I won a LOT of money on a slot machine (enough to pay for the ferry, all our food and drink on it, and still have ~ 100 euro left over), and watched some tv.

Day 27: Arrived in Ancona and caught a train to Rimini. Checked into our hotel, had some lunch, and went back to the hotel for a nap. We're real partiers, huh? Tonight we'll have some dinner and then see about this supposed "Ibiza of the Adriatic" - seems more like "Ibiza of the Geriatric", but whatever. Tomorrow it's off to Ravenna, San Marino, possibly Fiorano to visit the family, then who knows. We have 2 nights in this hotel, so we'll be using it as a base for day trips around Emiliga Romagna.
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Current Location:Patra, Greece
Subject:Night 25 & Day 26 - Boat, Bus, Boat?
Time:12:14 pm
Current Mood:aggravatedaggravated
Well, we got on the ferry from Irakilon to Piraeus... deck passage. You don't know traveling in style until you've slept on a beach mat under a staircase on the 3rd floor of a ferry. Yep, we didn't spring for seats this time since they were sold out. Finished my book, The Dice Man, and played a bit of Poker on my iTouch. The boat left at 9 and arrived at 6:20am... not a good sleep at all.

There was almost a mutiny this morning at the disembarkation. We were supposed to arrive at 5:20, but were an hour late... that didn't sit well with the 4-500 of us waiting to get off. All sorts of people started yelling in greek and 1 girl fainted. I've seen more people in Europe faint than anywhere else ever. At least 1 per country we've been to. AIRCONDITIONING, you idiots. And if no A/C, then drink some water. Jesus.

Got on a bus to Patra with little hassle. The bus ride was much better than the 5 hour train ordeal from Patra to Athens. Airconditioned and no stops and 3 hours to the minute.

Once we arrived here, we went to the office to buy the ticket to Ancona (our next stop) and they told me that since I didn't have a passport, I may not be able to travel. Greece and Italy are part of the Schengen Zone, so there shouldn't be any need for a passport, but we'll see. I am supposed to meet at the boat at embarkation time to see if they'll let me on. If not, I am stuck in Greece forever and will just live here illegally. Sounds good, right?

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Current Location:Irakilon, Crete, Greece
Subject:Day 22, 23, 24, 25 - Crete
Time:05:42 pm
Day 22: Took the ferry to Irakilon, Crete after lazing around the pool for the rest of the afternoon. It was a FAST boat, like a big airplane, but on the water. A little rough for me though, I felt kind of seasick for most of the ride. After unsucessfully looking for a rental car place at the port, we took a taxi up to our hotel. It was about a 30 minute ride, but we got to see most of Irakilon during it.

The hotel was at the top of a 1000 or so foot cliff. Amazing views of the bay and town (Agia Pelagia) below. Had a very limited dinner due to the distance of the hotel from town, a bottle of wine, and some nectarines.

Day 23: Our rental car arrived very early in the morning and we decided to see what there was to explore. Knossos looked like as good of a place as any, as it was where the whole myth of the Minotaur and the labyrinth came from. It was pretty cool, even though Steph says it wasn't restored correctly. Spent the rest of the day hanging out at the hotel after picking up food for dinner and lunch. Dropped off our clothes as well so that we'd have clean ones to wear through Germany.

Day 24: Took a drive to another city in Crete. The drive was amazing, 100km of curvy hills, but the city sucked. Hung out for a couple of minutes and started the trek home. Stopped at a really good ταβερνα for dinner and then had dinner at the hotel after hanging out at the pool.

Day 25: Since we had to check out today, we made breakfast, packed, etc. Watched a neat special on CNN on John McCain and then took a taxi to Irakilon. Tried to find an internet cafe for an hour then gave up and went to a little cafe. Had the strongest beer EVER - 14%, Samichlaus. It's very sweet, but good. The bar was expensive, but with every drink brought *free* treats - a tower of cookies, cheeses, salami, cooked pork, french fries. Awesome stuff. Finally found an internet cafe and I'm posting. We'll be out of contact for the next few days while we try to make it to Germany to meet up with Chris and Katherine - Ferry tonight at 21:00 from here to Paraeus, then a bus to Patra, then a ferry to Ancona, Italy, then trains to Deutschland. Oh, and I left my passport at a hotel 2 islands back - I hope the copy of the front page of mine works for the Eurail pass. They're supposed to mail it to the consulate in Munich, hope it gets there.

Oh, and photos finally:
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Current Location:on a boat near Santorini Greece
Subject:Days 18 & 19 & 20 & 21 & 22 - Paros & Santorini
Time:02:29 pm
Day 18:
After Athens we took a ferry to Parikia, Paros. It is a member of the Cyclades islands. Checked into an awesome hotal that had a welcome drink, 2 bottles of water and flowers on the bed ready for all of us. Wandered around the port and town some, then went to dinner at 12 midnight, everything in the town was still open then, even on a Sunday night!

Day 19:
The next day we took a long relaxing day at a place called Golden Beach. It was very pretty and the water was impossibly blue. Very shallow water too, so we could walk really far out. Dined on some Chocolate ice cream at a cafe on the beach and then took the bus back into town. After a long rest we hit up Naoussa (a town nearby) for the club/bar scene. We went to a bar and had 3 Coronas... I said i'd get the bill. Oops. It was €24 for 3 beers! Ack! After that, we went to a mini-mart and got 6 more beers for €6 total and drank them 30 feet away from the bar on the same little harbor.

Day 20:
Hung around in town until our boat for Santorini arrived. The boat, Blue Star Paros, was the same as the past 3 boats we've taken, so we just chilled out on deck and I played poker on my iTouch.

When we got to Santorini, our hotel guy was there in a bus to pick us up. The arrival port in Santorini is amazing. Sheer cliffs about 30 feet back from where the boat pulls up, then a zig zag road up ~300 feet to the top. Santorini has all these white houses and churches everywhere, so many so that it looks like the cliffs are snow-covered.

Rented some scooters and went to Oia to see the sunset. It's supposed to be the most beautiful sunset in Greece. Rode back at night (thank god we didnt die) and had some beers at the beautiful pool our hotel had.

Day 21:
Went to Kamari beach, a black sand and black pebble beach. VERY hot to walk on. Bring shower shoes if you ever go there :) I had some issues with our next boat tickets when I went to pick them up. The people had run out of paper, and when they refilled it they put it in backwards. The tickets printed wrong, so they said "no worries, we'll just reprint", but when they cancelled the tickets to reprint them, someone else bought them! ACK!@@*)#(@$. Got it all worked out in the end though. Had some AWESOME (and expensive) mexican food at Senior Zorbas for lunch. Seriously good food, try it. It's also got a beautiful view of the harbour and the volcano.

Rest of the day was pretty relaxed. Hung out at the pool, then walked into town at night and had dinner and went to a club.

Day 22:
Rented another scooter and went to see the ruins of a castle. There was nothing to see so now we're back at the internet cafe :) Boat to Crete tonight!
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