Julianne’s Blog

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The Duke abides 29 April 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 8:13 PM
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The last week has been very eventful, and the internet here is free, so this is going to be a long post.

Long story short, after Madrid I went back to Le Vignaud. I wound up staying a little over a week, longer than I had planned, because there were 2 celebrations. The first was the 50th anniversary of Jason´s neighbors, Jean-Francois and Lucienne. They set up a large tent in their front yard and filled it with about 50 Frenchies, plus us American crashers. The food was in a separate tent and the wine was everywhere. It was pouring rain, and the tents dripped everywhere, turning the yard to a muddy mess. By the time the strawberry cake was served, a guitar had been found and the singing commenced. I didn´t know the words, but I could generally understand the songs and a good time was had by all.

The next day was the birthday of our American friend Gigi. She and her boyfriend Alex came over to Jason´s house, as well as our British friend Darren, and we made a party. Jason shucked and fried up some oysters, and we made some delicious poboys complete with Avery Island Tabasco sauce that we bought at Carrefour, the European Walmart. Apple pie a la mode came next, and suffice to say we all went to bed stuffed. The next morning we had biscuits and crepes for breakfast. It was quite a weekend for binge eating!

So on Monday, after all these parties, Jason and I drove up to Paris, and I took a train to Munich. With my railpass I only had to pay €4! I was in a 6-seat compartment, but I was the only one there. I put up the armrests and laid across 3 seats, and it was comfortable. I arrived in Munich at 7AM only slightly blurry eyed.

I went on a free tour of the city, and the American guide was pretty cool. Outside the Frauenkirke he was telling us the legend of “The Devil´s Footprint,” which involved the Duke of Munich making a deal with the devil. Of course, the duke tried to cheat the devil, and when he found out Satan declared (in the words of Kevin the guide): “This aggression will not stand!” I laughed, but no one else did, and Kevin continued with the story, in which the Duke wins and keeps his soul. Once we were inside the church I saddled up to him and asked if the moral of the story is “The Duke abides.” This called for a high-five, my first in a Catholic church, but hopefully not the last.

So everynight in Germany has involved drinking. The first night I went out with some people I met on the tour for a beer house crawl, including the hofbräahaus, complete with the umpapa band. The next night I went to an Irish pub with a German guy I met at a Jesus street rally, where I heard “Blueberry Hill” played live by an ex-pat. And I did it all in my new orange sandals… Oh yeah, I dig Germany.

This morning I woke up in Munich and took a train to Regensburg, about 90 minutes away. It was a nice little town, and walking through a park some people at a picnic table offered me a drink. The Germans like to drink and they like to share. They also like mushroom cafes, and who could blame them?

The shroom cafe in Regensburg

After a couple hours in Regensburg I hoped back on the northbound train for Nuremberg. What a wonderful city! I have to say, I like it much better than Munich. Walking around town, you always see at least 1 church and half-timbered house. I met a Hare Krishna and found “American Store,” which sells mostly camouflage and Jack Daniels souvenirs. But I did buy a paper American flag. Later on, walking through the market, I found a gift for my mom. I can´t say what it is but Mom, you are going to love it!

The hostel I´m at in Nuremberg is pretty nice, and very friendly. I just went out with a guy who works here and 2 other girls, to another Irish pub (I do like the whiskey). Tomorrow I am going to do more Nuremberg sightseeing, then catch a ride to Prague to chill with Izzy for a couple days before going onward, eastward, to Krakow. It is turning out to be quite the adventure!

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The thing about plans is that they never last 15 April 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 10:59 AM
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So according to the detailed plan I made 2 weeks ago in Marseille, I should be heading to Florence right now. But no, I´m back in Barcelona and I´m staying in Toulouse tonight, and back in Le Vignaud tomorrow.

Spain is strange. All the touristy places play the same bad American music from 10 years ago. I have heard the Cher song ¨do you believe in life after love?¨so many times in the past 2 weeks that it´s disgusting.

I really stocked up on books at some used English book shops I found in Madrid. It´s great to have the books, but they are so heavy! I can´t believe how much stuff I keep accumulating and carrying.

I think I´m going to go back to Amsterdam for Queen´s Day on 30 April. It will be an interesting and exciting experience, I´m sure. Last night in a bar I met a guy from Louisiana, who also had not been home since he was 21 (but he is 35 now so it´s a little different for him). It was great to have some bayou talk in rainy Madrid. I didn´t sleep at all last night, except for 1 hour on the Madrid-Barcelona train this morning, so my brain is totally fried. I brushed my teeth in a Burger King. It´s one of those days.

Oh, also you will all be glad to know that my wallet is now securely fastened to my pants by chain. And I finally have my ATM and credit card back!

 

Madrididado 10 April 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 10:13 PM
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Photos from the Austrian roadtrip can be seen on Jason´s site here! Also see this and this.

I´m in Madrid now. Ooohhh, not much I feel like saying right now. I went to see The Reader at a theater around the corner, which reminds me of when Izzy and I went to see Benjamin Button in Prague, and I got to see New Orleans streetcars again! Well I really just don´t feel like blogging right now, but I am uploading some photos so just look.

 

Bowling in Barcelona 8 April 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 9:29 AM
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So I’m in Barcelona and I’ve been staying with an American girl I met in Amsterdam way back in January. It’s been rainy the past 2 days, so there hasn’t been much going on. Yesterday we went to the Western Union by the Sagrada Familia because I lost my ATM card and needed some cash to hold me over till my new card is delivered in Madrid (thanks Mom!). Then we met her Turkish and Frenchie friends for lunch and then we all went bowling. I was throwing rocks, and all those times I’ve seen The Big Lebowski definitely paid off. Also at one point I knocked down 8 pins, and the computer system definitely marked it 8. Basically I was babbling Lebowski and no one understood. Where’s my dad, Jason, and Clint when I really need them most?!

Mark it 8!

Also, we were watching Catalan TV and guess who popped up. Walker, Texas Ranger! Oh I just knew I would see Chuck Norris again in Europe, that’s why I made a post tag for him.

So for today, maybe Gaudi’s hill. I’m probably going to a hostel tonight, and on Friday I am heading to Madrid. Then it’s Italy, Greece, Croatia, Budapest, Krakow, Prague, and Munich, so if anyone knows anyone in those countries who might want to have an American sleeping on their couch you should definitely let me know.

 

The humid air of Marseille feels like home 5 April 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Julianne Dodds @ 1:07 PM
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So Izzy just left for Milan after 4 days together in sometimes sunny Marseille. I’m on my own again. But it’s getting warm, and I even left my coat from Cesky Krumlov at the train station when I dropped her off. It’s strange how sad it is to leave something like that behind…

Well, I’m finally getting back into backpacking. After spending the last 7 weeks in France, tomorrow I’m starting a whirlwind 10 city tour before meeting my dad in Paris at the end of May. This is where my railpass comes in handy. First off is Barcelona, which should be lovely. I’ll be in Italy for the middle of April, and then Greece! Then follows Dubrovnik, Zagreb, maybe Ljubljana, Budapest, Krakow, Prague, and finally Munich. I don’t know how I’m going to handle it, but I am excited. Also getting tired and ready to go home, but then I remember that I don’t have a home anymore. So I guess I’m ready to make a home again.

Yesterday we went to the Callanques on the Mediterranean. Easily the most beautiful land I’ve seen in Europe. The walk took 1.5 hours through rocky mountains covered with wild rosemary. When we finally arrived at the rocky beach (where I ate a blood orange I found on the way) I was so excited to get into that turqoise water, and even though it was so cold my legs were numb it made sunning on the rocks that much better.

The day before we walked around the Vieux Port of Marseille and sat outside a restaurant and ate big pots of mussels. The city is strange, and I can’t help but be uncomfortable walking through some of the ethnic neighborhoods where there are only men on the streets. But still, I like this place and would come back, at least for the beach.

On the way here from Jason’s house I lost my wallet in Limoges, so I’m dealing with that headache. My new wallet is on a rope tied to my pants, but really I need a chain. At least I had another credit card and some cash stored somewhere else, so I’m not stranded. Also having parents looking out for me makes a huge difference!