My workbench

My workbench

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A test

I he some time to kill, just spoke to the parents for a half hour, wish more people used skype, and testing a mail to blog setting to make posts easier and shorter.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bosnia

Slept by the water in Dubrovnik, didn't get disturbed though a few people did drive and walk by. Snagged the 8:00 bus to Mostar, where I had planned to stay the night but i have already seen the bridge and old town, as well as been harassed by local beggar children. I am currently sitting in a cafe where for about five euros i had thitch if they are expensive, which i cannot imagine to Sarajevo. Spend a night there, contact Vanja, and if it works out visit here in Be lrade, otherwise pass straight thr rough to hit timisoara and finally see romania. I am blown aay by all of the abandoned buildings in mostar, most likely a result of the 1999 war. Anyway, more later.ers and possibly the best chicken pita of my life.

A few hours later...grabbed a train ticket from mostar to sarajevo for 5 euros, so i can't really justify spending hours in the 35 degree sun hitching. I jumped into the river for a quick dip, and now i have a few hours to kill waiting for the train. Contacted some more CS hosts, both in belgrade and timisoara, as well as shooting a message to Vanja. Everything seems to be working itself out, the bugbites and irritation from sleeping in my boxers on the ground is dissapearing (jo did apologize for stealing jelenas leeping bag, though offering mne may h.a. Moving on...probably wont see sophie in ireland, though i will def visit her in the netherlands. Tats all for now folks.

And more updates since i have been in sarajevo, but only a quick one. Met some cool dutch girls, med students, going to visit them in a few weeks or so when i make my way back up north. Had two good nights, ran into Roberto and will probably see him in belgrade tomorrow, headed to the pyramids of visoko for now. Still healthy, things are going well, and i love what i am doing.

Another poem

A toast.
Here is to fortitude,
Insight, intelligence, tact,
All those things I never had,
Or simply thought I lacked.

They are not missing,
Neither hidden, nor gone.
These things which I've sought,
Have been with me all along.

I don't mean to boast,
Proud grinning aside,
You must simply realize,
I never knew what was inside.

And so here is a toast,
Borne today out of pride,
To what I am made of,
And what you may have inside.

Dedicated to all those people whom have yet to realize how wonderful they are.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just a quick test

I just want to me sure my little python coded program still submits to my blog properly. In dubrovnik, headed to mostar tomorrow.

oops, missed a post (or two)

So apparently I've missed a few posts...dunno why they didn't get posted, but oh well.

Anywho, I am in southern croatia, a but croatia-ed out, and heading down to Dubrovnik to catch a bus to Mostar, Bosnia. From there I plan on hitching up to Romania and doing about a month's worth of couchsurfing/traveling to unwind and re-orient myself. This does, however, mean that my awesome plans to see family are scuttled. I am dissapointed that I won't be able to see everyone, but at the same time, I simply can't take the head and humidity of this area right now, and I have a real serious nagging urge to get up to Scotland and Norway and do some mountain climbing. I know everyone will understand, it kinda bites, but it is, after all, my trip. Loves ya all!


-Matt

Monday, June 16, 2008

Switzerland update

So, I am in Interlaken staying with Lara (last night and tonight). I really think couchsurfing is a brilliant idea, and this trip would either be much more difficult or much more expensive without it. I just finished unpacking and repacking my gear, trimming down a few things I dont feel that I need, and will hopefully be sending back to mom and dadś´place soon (i am headed to the post office and laundromat later this afternoon). Gimmelwald was amazing, though the 20+ km hike out without food yesterday was trying...especially on only four hours of sleep. But it was worth it. Made some cool friends, had a blast, and after a looong night of sleep last night, I am good as new. Sore as hell, but good as new. I know Mom doesnt´like the mountains so much (well, the height aspects), but I think this would be an awesome spot for a family vacation, if we could convince dan to do something up here (no pubs, no clubs, plenty of farms and hiking//climbing trails). Ah wel, some other time.
Hereś´a quick rant: I got a response from EMS, basically saying that unless I had the original reciept, they would ëvaluate the useage¨on the boots and determine if they could/will do any sort of refund, credit or exchange. BUllsh*t. I am quite literally never going to EMS again. I wouldnt have had this problem with REI, but now Ivé learned. At least these were not horribly expensive (well, 100 or so isnt´cheap!) Boots, but they should have lasted more than 100 trail miles (if that many). I think I am going to switch ro Chacos and waterproof/goretex socks...with the reductions in my load, the additional ankle support given by boots is unnecessary as Ishouldnt´be doing any more serious hills until Scotland.
One thing I relaized on my hike down yesterday is that I *may* have been a bit ambitious in my RTW ¨Plans.¨ I think I will skip any more mountains on this time around, and focus more on the people and places. Next time, I can bring good mountain boots, poles, and all the necessary gear to do some more serious climbing. Like an axe. Yeah, that would have been smart. Oh well.
So, from Interlaken, I am going to try to get over to Slovenia tomorrow. I am not totally confident that I can make it in one day, but thatś´why I have a tent and a hammock. Actually, that is one of the other things I have been debating...I am having a hard time justifying carrying both, except that i know when I hit Croatia and the beach, I wont relaly be able to hammock as much, and would prefer a freestanding tent to pitch directly on the sand/rocks. We shall see. I am also reconsidering an umbrella, though I have not been able to find a good dome shaped umbrella in Interlaken. I will keep searching.
FRom Slovenia itś down the croatian coast, with a quick stop at a croat national park which is supposed to be beautiful. Some beachcamping, a night in a hostel possibly, and then itś´over to Bosnia, to spend some time in Mostar. Dont´worry, itś´pretty far south of the Sarejavo conflict areas. FRom there I hit Montenegro, and therein a slight snag. When in Paris, I met up with a gent whom has traveled around abit, and recomended steering clear of Albania. From the words he gave, I think it may be a wie idea, and so I will try to find bus service from Montenegro. Jill and Eric will be in Greece soon(ish), and I would like to get down there, especially before the horrible influx of British tourists swamp everything. I am also interested in roaming around Bulgaria for a bit, returning up the coast of the black sea, and heading back up towards Prauge. I am not sure on any dates, but my current estimation puts that in line with meeting the Seiegels and then hitting Sora, then possibly hitting Scicily to see the other parts of the fam.

WEll, thats all for now, see y'all eventually.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Switzerland...and an update

So, just to let everyone know that I am alive (and hostle lockout is in 10 minutes, so more posting later this afternoon):

I am currently in Gimmelwald, Switzerland staying at a mountain hostel. Lots of stupid Americans. But anywho, I climbed the Schildhorn yesterday...from 1500m to almost 3000m and back in a day, a true alpine experience. My boots are busted, I emailed EMS and am waiting for them to respond...I need to dump some useless gear, and I am debating giving it away or just binning it. One of the compression straps on my backpack is tearing away, I will need to sew it, though I am going to email REI and let them know, simply because this shouldn't be happening. I have a host to stay with in Interlaken for a few days, and then I think I will be heading south...Croatia, here I come! From thigh deep in snow at 3000m to beachside on the med...I love Europe. Everything else is going well, I'm sore as hell, managed to bend one of my trekking poles yesterday during a somewhat scary self-arrest (wish I had an axe...sigh), so very VERY thankful to Val and Fiona for making fun of me/inspiring me to get much better at map and compass work, that arguably saved my life yesterday (descending snowfields in whiteout with hidden cornices...). My GPS also helped out a lot, and I think I want an altimeter watch if I do any more serious mountaineering, I never realized just how invaluable they are for orientation.


I have done a fair amount of writing, most of which I will post later, but most importantly....


I am not going to return for Derek's wedding. It was a tough decision, but I have been thinking about it quite a lot, and I've realized that I simply don't have the drive to do that. I will Email parents with specific details to RSVP.

10 minutes to lockout, and i still have a few things I need to do. Ta for now!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Derek & Beth's wedding: the dilemma

So dad just sent me the details on the wedding...and i'm a bit bummed. The end of july? This is why i had requested the date from derek before leaving the country. If i had known, i probably wouldn't have left. So now i have to decide how much i want to go, and i must decide quickly. NOT going means i wont return to the US for a much longer period, but going means scramming almost all of my ccurent plans...

Paris recap

So a quick recap of my first trip to paris. Kids, rugby, lost my heart pendant (Dan will be happy.) The catacombs were interesting, though much less than i had hoped for. Not worth losing a night of sleep over. My first parisian cs host was pretty rude, though she showed me around and we went biking to the park. Need to leave a reference, will be nice but not enthusiastic. Went out with Leigh for a drink, met a number of her friends, made it home at 4am. But it was agood time. Hithed to strasbourg in a half day, hoping that luck holds out ffor tomorrows trip to Thun. Contacted a host, she sounds pretty cool, and i cannot wait to be in switzerland! SPend a day or two in Thun. Then trek or hitch to interlaken(only 20 km) and from there camp a day or two, equip, and head for the hills. I am going to ask my host in thun if i can leave some stuff with her, which i will not need on the mountain. Hopefully no problem. My host in strasbourg is awesome, and we went out to eat earlier. Who know toast could be so good?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Belfast

Made it to belfast, staying in a dirty little hostel becauseanone of te CSers responded. The rides were uneventful, walked out of cork and hitched two rides intto dublin. Ddn't feel like standing in traffic on the n1 so i walked about 10km to the airport and for E14 got the bus. Not sure what i am going to do tomorrow, thwn need to find out how to get to te airport for my flight to paris!