A Travellerspoint blog

Tomorrow....what??

Oh yeah, Europe!

I can't believe we are leaving tomorrow! It's been so many months of planning and spending outrageous sums of money. And now, it's going to happen. Yes!

I thought I'd put down a tentative itinerary so you can follow along with our progress and know where we will be.

April 2 Fly out

April 3-4 England
Here we are staying with David in Finchingfield!

April 4-11 Ireland
We plan on visiting Galway and Dingle. We will end up in Dublin. There should be a few days where we go ruin hunting. Oh yeah.

April 11-13 Paris
C'est Cool!

April 14-17 Switzerland
Hello alps!

April 17-26 Italy
Here we will meet with some family, and maybe learn about our Italian roots! Also we'll be staying with Gideon, a friend from the States, and hopefully touring Rome, Florence, and Venice.

April 26-28 England
Last hurrah in Finchingfield and London, then back home to regale you with our stories!

Posted by hangtime41 16:46 Comments (8)

Ready, Set, Blurb....

BOOOO

I just wrote a huge blog, and the site deleted it. And I'm still feeling the effects of the flu I've had the last 4 days. Therefore, my sweaty feverish self has no patience to re write the whole blog. I'm sorry, I'll attempt again soon :)

Posted by hangtime41 16:13 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Holy Exchange Rate!

and on a light note....

semi-overcast 41 °F

I've been preparing myself for the exchange rate heart attack since November, but actually putting in an order for some Euros and Pounds today hurt! I can't believe how sad the dollar is right now...

On a lighter note! I spent the weekend with my dad's parents, aka my grandparents. It was such a great time! One reason being, is that I'm very interested in my heritage and family. We spent most of the day Saturday talking about where my grandpa's family came from. Now, I know that seeing old pictures of people that aren't related to you isn't exactly exciting, but it's exciting to me. I've added 3 pictures into my photos, so that if the spirit moves you, you can see where I come from. The pictures are of my great parents, my great great grandparents, and my great great great grandmother. Let's start at the beginning! My great great great grandmother's name is Parmelia Minerva Phillips McElroy. She was full blood Irish, born in 1845! I can't believe they had pictures back then. Then her daughter is my great great grandmother. Her name is Mary Ellen Rolando, but they called her Molly. My Aunt Molly was named after her. She was also full blood Irish. She married John Rolando. John is where we get the awesome Italian heritage! He was full Italian. So then along came my great grandmother, Tracy Rolando. She married Verne Ward, who is descendant from the Vikings. From there my Grandpa Verne II married my full blood German Grandmother Viola. THAT is a heritage! I think that is so cool!

Tie all of that into present day and there are 3 Rolando relatives in Italy that I get to visit! I hear tell that they can show me where the roots of my family grew up in Italy. It gives me butterflies of excitement to think that I get to be there and experience living history.

Posted by hangtime41 17:30 Archived in USA Comments (1)

It doesn't happen alone.

We were made for relationship. Why not plan a trip that way?

Today, my travel hero, sent me some tips and a tentative site seeing calendar for Europe. Her name is Pat, she lives in Utah, and I've never met her in person.

Back when I first committed to the possibility of going to Europe, I remember this overwhelming panicked feeling. It's one thing to dream and think about the coast of Ireland, the Castles of Germany, or hiking in the Alps. It's a monster to realize that you have to plan it, the whole thing, every part, A to B. How do we get there? How much money will it cost? How do we get around, where will we stay, what do I eat? What will I eat after that!? Twenty years ago, actually, scratch that. Ten years ago, I would have had to go the library, research places to visit, talk to a travel agent, and hope that I would find someone that had been there to glean info from. That would have meant hours of painstaking look ups and fights with Dewy and his decimal system. Thank Al Gore for the internet! I jumped on and starting scouring the net during my breaks at work, hoping someone could give me advice. I was learning all sorts of new terms: money belt, Eurail Pass, Cinque Terre, convertible backpack carryon etc. The list kept getting bigger, and the daunting realization that I needed loads of help was growing everyday. Then I found her. Mele Furikawa. She was a woman that taught classes on how to prepare for and get to Europe. I emailed right away. We chatted for a few months, and then she gave me over to one of her associates, Pat.

Pat has been a life saver. She helped me talk out the trip, gave me excellent advice, and helped me plan for and purchase my Eurail tickets. She helped me not to stress so much, thinking about all the details that I needed to iron out, and helped me focus. She would answer question after question on the phone, always giving more and more time to help me feel prepared. I can honestly say, that without her encouragement and help, I would have a nervous twitch. Thank you Pat!

Being able to pick the brains of previous travelers (whom have all been selflessly generous), paired with the overwhelming generosity that Pat showed, has been vital to the planning of this trip.

Posted by hangtime41 23:09 Comments (1)

This couch is too small...

Couchsurfing Experiences: Pre-Surf

sunny 36 °F

I thought I'd share a bit about couchsurfing. I mentioned it in my first post, and it's a remarkable thing. People from all over the world come to a common meeting place, albeit, a virtual one, and offer travelers a place to stay on their journey. Most have couches available in a living room, but if you're lucky, you can get your own bed and room! I think it's brilliant. I've always been intrigued with people that have a different culture. I think one of my best experiences and memories from college was the days spent in the common room talking with students from all over. So this couch surfing will be a way for me to experience Europe the way I've always wanted to: as a local.

My first real connection on the site has been a gentleman by the name of David. He lives with his wife and kids in Finchingfield, England. It looks to be a little town surrounded by farms and fields. Pictures of the place are very, well, British. And I love it! He will host us at the beginning and end of our trip, giving us a launching pad, and a place to relax before we head home. What got me, was how helpful and excited he seems to be about us coming. My first response from him consisted of offers to pick us up at the train station, all the directions we would need to get to his town (Finchingfield is 2 hours from London), all the websites for our own research, tentative times, and just general helpful information. How awesome is that? He even offered to take the day off from work, to show us the best, non-tourist-trap locations in London. Of course, followed by a party at the local pub with some of his friends in the evening. (Hate to break it to him we don't drink) What a generous person! And I bet his accent is excellent.

As of now, he's our first and only host. I need to find 2 in Ireland and 2 in Paris. Thankfully our Italian leg will be spent with a good friend stationed there, and hopefully some of my extended (Rolando) family.

Posted by hangtime41 16:46 Archived in USA Comments (2)

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