Europe

Touring Chernobyl and Pripyat (inside buildings)

Touring Chernobyl and Pripyat (inside buildings)

On the 24th, I finally made my trip to tour Chernobyl Nuclear Exclusion Zone, the highlight of my trip to Ukraine. Background: The Chernobyl disaster occurred on 26 April 1986 and was the worst nuclear disaster at its time, responsible for approximately 4,000 cancer related […]

Flying back to Greenville

Flying back to Greenville

As planned, I woke up at 3:30am. I took a quick shower and packed my things up. Luckily there were no problems with transportation, as the taxi I reserved was waiting for me outside. We arrived at Ljubljana airport around 4:30am and I didn’t have […]

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj

The paragliding company takes us back to Bled and I decide to give Lake Bohinj another try. It takes about 40 minutes to get there. I grab a large lunch at a grocery store and sit by the water and watch a sailboat regatta. The […]

Paragliding in Slovenia

Paragliding in Slovenia

At 10:30am, it was time for me to head towards Triglav Adventures for paragliding. One good thing about paragliding as opposed to skydiving is that the flight lasts 20-30 minutes. On the downside though, you can’t hire someone else to jump to take pictures or […]

Morning in Bled, Slovenia

Morning in Bled, Slovenia

Again on Saturday morning I woke up with the intention of photographing the sunrise. I parked in such a way that it would be impossible for someone to block me in – lesson learned there. I’m changing hostels today because I’m waking up at 3:30am […]

Bled: Vintgar Gorge and Kozjak Waterfall

Bled: Vintgar Gorge and Kozjak Waterfall

I woke up early this morning to hike to an overlook for sunrise shots. I didn’t wake up quite early enough, but I still leave my room around 7:00am. But I’m quickly disappointed when I see that the hostel’s van has blocked my rental car […]

Surprised with good weather in Slovenia – at least for a couple hours

Surprised with good weather in Slovenia – at least for a couple hours

Note: This will likely be my last blog post until I get back to Greenville. It takes too long to upload pictures and I’ve got to wake up at 4:15am on Sunday so I’ll need to catch up on sleep. I’ll update this blog with […]

Bled, Slovenia – Caves and castles

Bled, Slovenia – Caves and castles

In planning my trip months ago, (not an exaggeration – I booked my hostels in mid-May), I reserved a rental car, mainly to do a self-guided tour of the Julian Alps. Seeing as how the next two days are going to be overcast and raining […]

Travel day – Arriving in Slovenia

Travel day – Arriving in Slovenia

I woke at 5:45am – plenty of time to get ready, shower, and pack up my things. I checked out of my hotel and got to the bus stop at 6:20am. The bus came pretty close to on time, and after paying to check my […]

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

In order to beat the crowds I witnessed yesterday afternoon, I got an early breakfast at the hotel and set out for the trails again, this time concentrating on the Upper Lakes. And here are the ‘real’ pictures: A little before noon, the crowds started […]

Financial update

Financial update

Of what I’ve had budgeted for this trip, I have $2743.47 that I haven’t spent yet. I then counted the money I have on me: In wallet: 1310 kuna,  ~$230 $200 €100, ~$130 Hidden inside large backpack: $100 So that means I really have about […]

Travel playlist

Travel playlist

I’ve been keeping a list of all the songs I recognize while traveling in Europe, some were heard from street performers, others in the airport or a hostel. When I get back, I’ll create a playlist later and it will be like a soundtrack from […]

Day 1: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Day 1: Plitvice Lakes National Park

I woke up this morning 30 minutes before my alarm at 6:15am. I felt back to normal and hungry. I quickly took a shower, shaved for the first time on my trip, and put in my contacts for the first time in days. Already feeling […]

Shared my bed for the first time on my trip

Shared my bed for the first time on my trip

Well this was unexpected. I came back from dinner and lied down in my bed. I heard some scratching, but I just assumed it was just loud sheets. 2 minutes later, my sheets are moving. I get up and chase this guy around my room […]

Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Split to Plitvice Lakes National Park

This morning I woke up feeling better, but still not back to normal. I got out of bed around 8:00am after lying down yesterday around 4:00pm.  If nothing else, I feel more rested. I was planning on going to a Crossfit gym this morning, but that wasn’t […]

Not my favorite day so far

Not my favorite day so far

If I could have gone home this morning, without having to pay for a ridiculously expensive plane ticket, I probably would have. I stopped counting how many times I threw up last night after 10 and probably spent more time in the bathroom than in […]

Last full day in Mostar

Last full day in Mostar

Today (Thursday) I slept in until 8:00 am or so, then got some hot breakfast made downstairs by Majda. It was similar to french toast and with jelly. Very good. After eating, I took some time to catch up on my blog posts. Because the […]

First full day in Mostar – tour with Batas

First full day in Mostar – tour with Batas

I decided to take a tour of the local area with Batas, the brother of the woman who runs the hostel. I originally was going to rent a car and do many of these things by myself, but decided this would be a better choice. […]

War-torn Mostar, Bosnia

War-torn Mostar, Bosnia

I arrived in Mostar around noon. We came into the city, and I was less than impressed at first. It looked rundown and I didn’t see many other foreigners – quite the change from Dubrovnik. Upon arriving at the bus station, I said goodbye to […]

Traveling to Bosnia

Traveling to Bosnia

I woke up at 6am to someone else’s alarm clock. I was worried that I would wake everyone up while gathering my things in the morning, but everyone else was already awake. I left my hostel and dropped the keys on the front desk. This […]

Exploring an abandoned Yugoslavian hotel: Hotel Belvedere

Exploring an abandoned Yugoslavian hotel: Hotel Belvedere

I walked back to my hostel and took a quick shower. I lied in bed a bit, but then decided I was wasting the good light at sunset so I walked back to the edge of the Old Town. On my kayak tour I heard […]

Last day in Dubrovnik

Last day in Dubrovnik

Despite trying to talk myself out of it, I woke myself up at 5:15 am to take pictures while the sun was rising, after going to sleep around midnight. It was neat seeing the city wake up and barely another tourist is site. The Stradun […]

Panoramic views and sea kayaking

Panoramic views and sea kayaking

I slept until 9:30am and took the time to fully recover from the flight. I stopped by a small bakery store and got some pastries for breakfast. No idea what they were or what was in them, but they were good. Pastry breakfast – 28 […]

Dubrovnik is gorgeous, but confusing!

Dubrovnik is gorgeous, but confusing!

After arriving in the Old Town of Dubrovnik, I first tried to find my hostel. Not as easy as I hoped. I should have printed out a map or directions, but I just got lazy and didn’t. Dubrovnik reminds me of Venice: a lot of […]

Busy travel day

Busy travel day

The flight to Munich was predictable and went by pretty quickly. It was my first time flying with Lufthansa and I’d probably fly with them again. They handed out warm towels in economy class before meals and even though I turned down dinner, it didn’t […]

Ready to take off

Ready to take off

Despite all my worrying, everything has gone smoothly so far. Instead of using the drawstring workout bag, I put my carry on items in an fabric bag I had lying around. I got some bubble wrap and wrapped my camera, lens, and laptop and then […]

The worst part about traveling is traveling

The worst part about traveling is traveling

Lesson one: Double check the carry-on requirements before you buy and pack luggage I found out the day before I leave that my carry on bag won’t fit with Lufthansa. According to their website, the dimensional limits for bags are 22 x 16 x 9 […]

Finally figured out how to get from city to city

Finally figured out how to get from city to city

Figuring out how to get from city to city isn’t too straightforward in the Balkans. Most of the places I’m going don’t have train stations, so it’s recommended to travel by car. Seeing as that isn’t very cost efficient for one traveler, (especially since you’d […]

Less than a week left

Less than a week left

I fly out in 6 days at 5:10pm out of Charlotte with a direct flight to Munich! I’ve got some last minute planning to do in the next week, but I think I’ve got a pretty good foundation: I’ve actually been sending private messages to […]

A new adventure awaits

A new adventure awaits

My last trip in 2010 ended well, but I forgot to make a final blog entry. I got back to Paris fine, spent the evening seeing the sights, and then caught my flight back in the morning. I had a great time exploring Europe by […]

Back to Paris to fly out

Back to Paris to fly out

So here’s a real quick recap of the past couple days: My train to Cinque Terre from Sorrento took most of the day and I didn’t get to Vernazza until 4:00 pm.  I checked into my room, and then spent the rest of the night […]

Day 69: Sorrento/Pompeii

Day 69: Sorrento/Pompeii

I left my hostel around 8:30am and took the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii.  I got there around 9:00am, about 30 minutes after they opened, and had to wait in a line about 50 people long. I decided not to get a guided tour because they […]

Day 68: Florence/Sorrento

Day 68: Florence/Sorrento

Today I finally left Florence.  I checked out of my hotel around 10:00am and then walked to the train station to catch my 11:10am train.  I got to the station in plenty of time, but the train didn’t leave until 11:30am due to a twenty […]

Day 67: Florence

Day 67: Florence

I woke up early again this morning, around 7:00am, this time to see the Uffizi Gallery.  The Uffizi Gallery holds some of the most influential paintings of the Italian Renaissance.  When I walked in, I bought an official guide book that had detailed pictures and […]

Day 66: Florence

Day 66: Florence

I woke up early this morning, around 7:00am, to go to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David. I was happy I took my guidebook’s advice and made a reservation because when I arrived at the Accademia fifteen minutes before my 8:15am reservation, there was […]

Day 65: Florence

Day 65: Florence

Today ended up being a much better day than yesterday.  I slept in until 11:30am and then went downstairs to sort out the internet and shower curtain issues. I was greeted by a different receptionist, this time a guy who did speak English.  I explained […]

Day 64: Venice/Florence

Day 64: Venice/Florence

I woke up this morning pretty early, around 8:00am, to pack up my things and get ready for my train to Venice. I typed up some blog posts in the morning, went to the train station for lunch, and then boarded my train to Florence […]

Day 63: Venice

Day 63: Venice

Today was much better than the previous day, as far as temperature goes. I left my hotel room around noon and spent the rest of the day walking on the island. Venice isn’t too big, so other than my first day when I took a […]

Day 62: Venice

Day 62: Venice

I slept in this morning until 10:30am and had a great night’s sleep thanks to my air conditioned hotel room. I decided to spend the first half of the day in my hotel room because it was too hot to stay outside all day. I […]

Day 61: Interlaken/Venice

Day 61: Interlaken/Venice

I checked out of my hostel at 6:30am, in order to catch my 7:28am train to Venice. Problem was, the woman at the front desk gave me my key deposit back in Swiss francs instead of Euros, even after I was assured I could get […]

Day 61: Interlaken

Day 61: Interlaken

Today was my last full day in Interlaken.  Even though I woke up early, around 8:00am, I felt well rested.  I got a much better night’s sleep than the previous night.  It was raining in the morning, so I took the time to write my […]

Day 60: Interlaken

Day 60: Interlaken

On Monday, the 12th, I got to sleep late because the Australian boy kept talking to me in the lobby while I was typing up blog posts.  I was planning on doing a bike ride on Tuesday, the 13th, but decided to wait until Wednesday […]

Day 58: Lucerne/Interlaken

Day 58: Lucerne/Interlaken

Sunday was my last full day in Lucerne and I can’t really say I did much of anything. I spent most of the day taking pictures and just walking around. I can just walk around for most of the day and be completely happy – […]

Day 56: Lucerne

Day 56: Lucerne

Yesterday I woke up and decided to go swimming down by the lake. I knew it was going to hot outside so I walked down the street to buy breakfast and sunscreen at the local supermarket. I bought some fruit, a towel, and some sunscreen, […]

Getting to Lucerne

Getting to Lucerne

The wi-fi in my hostel doesn’t work, so this might be only blog post until I can find reliable (and free) wi-fi somewhere else. So this morning started off well. I set my alarm for 6:00am, so I would have plenty of time to shower […]

Mountains of Innsbruck

Mountains of Innsbruck

This morning started like yesterday by waking up early and getting a big breakfast. The weather today was supposed to be the best I’ve had since I arrived, so I decided to take a cable car and spend the day on the mountain. I walked […]

Bored in Innsbruck

Bored in Innsbruck

I woke up around 7:00 am, as planned, and went downstairs to get some breakfast which had the best selection I’ve had on the trip so far. They had fresh fruit including kiwis, pears, and bananas, and about eight different types of juices. There was […]

Munich to Innsbruck

Munich to Innsbruck

I woke up this morning around 8:00 am, showered (the light worked this time) and packed my things. I rented a locker for my luggage in the hostel after I checked out, and then went to the train station at 9:00 am to take back […]

Day 51: Munich

Day 51: Munich

I woke up this morning around 8:00am again, and went to take a shower, but the light in our bathroom wasn’t working. The hostel I’m staying at (Euro Youth Hostel) is definitely not the best I’ve been in; the push buttons on the shower last, […]

Celebrating in Munich

Celebrating in Munich

I woke up yesterday around 8:00am and went to the top of St. Peter’s to catch a panoramic view of the city – climbing the 306 steps was worth it. I then went back to Mike’s Bike Tours to rent a bike. I rode around […]

Vienna and train to Munich

Vienna and train to Munich

Yesterday I slept in and then walked around the city. I went back to Stephensdom and they still didn’t have any guided tours, so I had to get an audio guide instead. It was alright, I guess. When you spend over two months in Europe, […]

Vienna

Vienna

My overnight train to Vienna went pretty well, and I did manage to get some sleep. We arrived in Vienna about an hour late at 7:30 am, and then I caught the metro to my hostel. I dropped my stuff off and then went into […]

Day 44: Krakow

Day 44: Krakow

On Saturday, the 26th, I had to wake up around 5:00am to catch a taxi to the airport and check in before my plane left at 8:00am. The plane landed in Vienna around 9:00am (there is a one hour time zone difference, it was actually […]

Day 39: Kiev

Day 39: Kiev

On the 22nd, I took a tour of the city with Sergei and Tim. I took a crowded, hot bus into town with Sergei in the morning and then took the metro into the city center. Kiev is divided by a river, with the suburbs […]

Day 37: Krakow/Kiev

Day 37: Krakow/Kiev

Because the weather was constantly raining in Krakow, I didn’t bother to take any pictures. Hopefully the weather will be a bit better in Kiev. The past couple days I’ve been wandering around Krakow hanging out with people in the hostel. I took a bike […]

Day 33: Arriving in Krakow

Day 33: Arriving in Krakow

I woke up on the train around 5:45am and slept surprisingly well. If we would have had the full six people in the cabin, it would have been much worse. Our train was about 30 minutes late so we didn’t arrive in Krakow until 7:15am […]

Auschwitz and Birkenau, Poland

Auschwitz and Birkenau, Poland

I got to the train station and bought a round-trip ticket for around 30 Zlotsy and hopped on the first car I saw. The train goes from Krakow to the small town of Oświęcim. (Auschwitz gets its name because it is the German translation for […]

Day 32: Prague/Krakow

Day 32: Prague/Krakow

Early this morning, I woke up around 4:30am to some of my roommates coming back from a pub crawl. After about 10 minutes, I leaned over and was about to ask them to turn off the light when I realized it was actually the sun […]

Day 31: Prague

Day 31: Prague

EDIT: Uploading pictures from 6/16 and 6/17 tonight. Will update the blog tomorrow morning with two new posts and pictures (including Auschwitz). Today I woke up around 8:00am and went to the lobby downstairs to plan for Krakow and Kiev. My hostel in Krakow costs […]

Day 30: Prague

Day 30: Prague

Sorry for the lack of updates to the blog. It gets tough trying to plan where you’re going to go next, what you’re going to do (and actually doing it), and trying to keep a blog all at the same time. If I don’t add […]

Train from Berlin to Prague

Train from Berlin to Prague

After going to bed at 2:00 am, I briefly woke up at 4:45 am to notice that is was completely bright outside. With the latitude of Madrid relatively equal to that of New York, Berlin is a bit further north and gets a lot of […]

Museums and World War II History

Museums and World War II History

Yesterday, I went to the top of the TV tower and the Pergamon museum. The TV tower was built by East Berlin to showcase their superiority to the West, but due to people leaving to West Berlin by the thousands per day, there wasn’t enough […]

Checkpoint Charlie, Nazi buildings, and the Holocaust Memorial

Checkpoint Charlie, Nazi buildings, and the Holocaust Memorial

I woke up around this morning around 11:30am – I have no idea why I was so tired. I went back to Checkpoint Charlie and got some better pictures, then went to the Topography of Terror museum which is located on the former site of […]

Day 24: Berlin

Day 24: Berlin

Well waking up this morning was fun. I found some things I had unknowingly misplaced the night before and went out to do some laundry around 8:00am. Not sure why but if I drink, I never sleep in very late the next day. Around 11:00am […]

Day 23: Cologne and Berlin

Day 23: Cologne and Berlin

I woke up early around 6:00am, got some breakfast at the train station, and then got on a 7:48am train from Cologne to Berlin. The train trip was pretty uneventful and long – about 4.5 hours. Even though it says nonstop, it probably stopped eight […]

Cologne

Cologne

I slept in this morning, waking up around 10:30am and grabbed a chocolate croissant and cheese covered pretzel at the train station. I got to the NS-Documentation Centre of the City of Cologne around 11:15am, fifteen minutes after it opened. Most of the museum was […]

Day 21: Cologne

Day 21: Cologne

First thing I did this morning was go to the Dom Cathedral. It was mostly empty when I got there at 8:30am so I walked around for about 45 minutes and took some pictures. I noticed they had a guided tour at 10:30am so I […]

Day 20: Belgium and Cologne

Day 20: Belgium and Cologne

Yesterday, I went to the military base which is where my G. Uncle Tom and Aunt Stella go shopping. I bought two books, “What the Dog Saw” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Best of Europe: 2010” by Rick Steves. I actually have the book by Rick […]

Belgium

Belgium

On Monday we left around 9:15am and took the 100 km drive to Yeper. Yeper is a city in western Belgium that was completely destroyed during World War I and was rebuilt. G. Uncle Tom and I went inside of a WWI museum which had […]

Day 15: Reims/Mons

Day 15: Reims/Mons

I left for the train station around 8:00 this morning for my 9:15 train. I got there a little bit early and saw Josh there – he’s headed south-east near the German border and then going to Switzerland. I didn’t have much trouble finding my […]

Day 14: Reims

Day 14: Reims

I didn’t do a whole lot today. I woke up around 8:30am and got breakfast downstairs with Josh. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a loaf of French bread with strawberry jelly before. There wasn’t a whole lot to it, but it was good. After […]

Some thought on the language barrier and money

Some thought on the language barrier and money

Traveling in France is a bit harder than I imagined. Something as simple as ordering a large coke in a McDonald’s or trying to find directions is a bit harder without knowing the language. The hardest part is understanding signs. In the train station, everything […]

Day 13: Reims

Day 13: Reims

Before I left the hostel this morning, I bought 200 GB of online storage from Google. I’m in the process of uploading all my pictures (at their original resolution) to Picasa web albums for people to download and so I can use it as a […]

Day 12: Paris/Reims

Day 12: Paris/Reims

Turns out the national strike didn’t effect me at all; it was mostly in southern France. There were two TGV (high speed) trains leaving for Reims this morning so I woke up at 6:30am to catch the earlier one. I checked out of my hostel […]

Day 11: Paris (still)

Day 11: Paris (still)

I woke up this morning around 8:00am, ate breakfast at the hostel and then took the metro to the Louvre Museum. I got there around 9:05am, (they open at 9:00am) but the line was still pretty long. For some reason, the opening of the museum […]

Day 10: Paris

Day 10: Paris

Yeah, so waking up at 5:30am to catch the sunset didn’t happen. I rolled out of bed at 6:45am, ate breakfast at the hostel, and then walked around the empty city. I took some nice pictures over the reflection of the Seine River and then […]

Day 9: Paris

Day 9: Paris

I woke up this morning around 7:30am with a little bit of a sore throat (probably thanks to some people in the Clemson group being sick 🙂 ) and walked around to tried and find an internet café. It turns out that no one in […]

Day 8: Paris Update

Day 8: Paris Update

After lunch, I crashed and went to sleep until 7:00pm. Because Paris is so far north, it has very long days and doesn’t get dark until around 9:15pm, so I had a couple more hours of daylight. I took some picture of Notre Dame in […]

Day 8: Paris

Day 8: Paris

I woke up today at 6:55am and said goodbye to everyone from Clemson. I’ve really enjoyed spending time with them and while we didn’t know each other before the trip, I think we all had a really good time and developed good friendships. As soon […]

Day 7: Rouen, Versailles, Paris

Day 7: Rouen, Versailles, Paris

Today we left the hotel around 8:45 am and took a quick tour of the historic district of Rouen. We visited the Rouen Cathedral (which had four bombs dropped on it during World War II) and a church dedicated to Joan of Arc. The Rouen […]

Day 6: Normandy, Caen, and Rouen

Day 6: Normandy, Caen, and Rouen

**I finally got the chance to upload some pictures so go back through my previous posts and look at them!** Today we left the hotel at 8:45am (which had a ping pong table which we played on for three hours) and took the trip to […]

Mont Saint-Michel and St. James Cemetary

Mont Saint-Michel and St. James Cemetary

Today was probably the best day so far. We left our Mister Bed hotel around 8:30 am and made the trip north-west to Mont Saint-Michel. This island is famous for it’s monastery which was built by monks and completed in 1523. It has become one […]

Wine tour and chateaus

Wine tour and chateaus

We left the hotel around 9:30am and toured a vineyard, Plou & Fils in the Loire valley. We went through the cave (which keeps the wine cool) that the family dug out by hand about 500 years ago. We got to taste a lot of […]

Chartres Cathedral and Tours

Chartres Cathedral and Tours

Today we woke up at 7:00am and left Paris for Tours, stopping by the Chartres Cathedral on our way. We aimlessly walked around by ourselves in the Cathedral but then managed to get a public tour with Malcolm Miller, a famous historian on Chartres. He […]

The Louvre and other Paris Sights

The Louvre and other Paris Sights

On our way to the bus tour, my camera slipped out of my hand and fell right on the sidewalk. It’s a good thing I had a lens filter on it because it got a nice crack in it. So here I am just on […]

Notre Dame and a walking tour

Notre Dame and a walking tour

Today was a busy day. We arrived early in the morning and dropped our stuff at our hotel. We made our way into Paris and started  by attending the 10:00am mass at Notre Dame. For mid-May, it was pretty cold so I’m glad I brought […]

Travel day

Travel day

Our flights today were all on time – first from Atlanta to Montreal and then from Montreal to Paris. I sat next to a guy from Canada on the way to Montreal. He told me that it’s a federal law in Quebec to have the […]

Preparing to fly out to Paris

Preparing to fly out to Paris

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be studying abroad for 10 days in Paris/Normandy followed by a 2.5 month backpacking trip by myself. I’m planning on visiting France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. Greece, Spain, and Portugal will have to be on another […]