Little Europe

Portland’s easy access trains makes getting around so painless. And the walkability is surprising, for a girl coming from Florida. If I were to walk from my house to the nearest Publix, I’d be trekking down the sidewalk on the main road for about an hour!

If you take the red line, right from baggage claim at the airport, you’re in the heart of downtown Portland in about 15 minutes!

   
 

Advertisements

Portlandia

So, my latest adventure involves skipping school and flying across the country to explore Portland, Oregon with my cousin for a few days. She had a business conference, and offered me free hotel stay with her! So we will be doing some sight seeing together, as well as me being on my own to explore the city too! 

The plane ride was absolutely beautiful!! Utah’s landscape was breathtaking! Pink lakes, red mountains… And Mt. Hood flying into Portland caught me by surprise! 

    
    
 

Éire

Upon landing in Éire (Ireland) around 10:30 p.m., I caught a taxi that took me right to the door of my Air B&B host Monica’s house for a little over 10 Euros. When I got to the house, she was up and waiting for me, and was promptly making me a “cuppa” (cup of tea). We chatted for a bit and then I went upstairs to my little loft room. Staying there made me feel so relaxed, and I got to take a nice hot shower and get a good night’s sleep. I woke up the next morning around 7 a.m., and had a cup of coffee and some bread, and then got ready. Monica gave me some suggestions of what to do, and told me how to get to each place, and with a warm goodbye we parted ways.

First I went to Ward Park, and walked through the grounds and fields surrounding for about an hour. It was misty rain, but it didn’t bother me. It was just so beautiful and green!! I really felt at peace walking through it. After that, I then caught the bus down to Malahide Beach front. The bus driver was so kind, and told me which stop to get off on to see the coast. I got off and walked down to the pebbly beach and sifted through all the pebbles for a while, finding some really beautiful ones, and enjoyed the salt air and pretty view of dunes and open water. It started to rain after a while though, so I decided to head back up to town. It was about a 10 minute walk into the little town, and I got lunch and coffee at a little coffee house right next to the bus station. It was such a lovely last day, and a great relaxing way to finish off my trip. I then caught the bus back to the airport from there, which only took about 30-40 minutes and cost me nothing. Then alas, I was at the airport, and my Eurotrip came to an end. ❤

Blur

The last few days of my travel in Europe were a bit of a blur, as I was mentally and physically worn out by this point. I spent my last full day reading Alice in Wonderland in the Darmstadt Orangerie (a beautiful and relaxing public park), and then traveling to Heidelberg for a few hours to explore. In Heidelberg, it was about a 20 minute walk to the old city. I walked down the main street, passing pretty shops and old buildings, and peeking down pretty alley ways. After walking all the way through to the end of the street, I walked down to the river, and sat on a stone wall there on the water for a while, staring out at the scenery. I got a salad at a small cafe, read a little more, and then headed back to catch the train in the evening. That night Michelle, Marius, and I hung out and watched German T.V. and ate dinner together.

The next morning was the day of departure for me. I woke up early and ate some wurst and had coffee, watching Castle in dubbed German. I took my time getting ready and then met up with Michelle on the tram to say goodbye. When I got to the train station, all the trains were delayed! I was supposed to make it to a connecting train in Frankfurt to Paris, and I ended up missing that one! When I got to Frankfurt I had to purchase a $100 reservation, on top of the EuRail pass I had already purchased, in order to get back to Paris and onto my flight in time!

It all worked out though,and I got to walk through a few streets of Paris once more before catching the train to the airport. At the airport, I bought a Heineken for about double what it was worth, and being that I hadn’t eaten much besides the brötchen and bratwurst Michelle had for me, I felt fairly tipsy. So I guess it was worth it haha.

Frankfurt for the afternoon

Saturday I decided to take a little afternoon trip to Frankfurt. It’s only 20 minutes by high speed train from Darmstadt, and so I hopped on and was in the heart of a city again easily. I walked the streets for a while, enjoying the hustle and bustle of city sounds and life, and made my way to Römerberg, which is a little plaza of old, charming buildings and cafes, with a pretty church at the corner. I sat at one of the cafes with a beer and read my book for a while, enjoying the cool breeze and bright sunshine of the day. Darmstadt isn’t located on a river like each other city I’ve been in, so I was itching to see water again. I made my way over to the River Main, walked across a lovelock bridge, and sat at the water’s edge for a while, eating a sandwich and peach Michelle had kindly packed for me, and just relaxed in the moment for a while.

Michelle, Marius, Eric, and I had plans for the evening, so I headed back around 6:30. We borrowed an extra bike so I could bike around as well, and made our way over to a pizza joint to pick up some pizzas, and biked over to a pretty park area in front of the “Five Finger Tower”, a cool, copper-topped old tower that looks like a hand giving the middle finger. We sat in the grass and ate our pizzas, then climbed an old building to look at the sunset, and then biked over to Hundertwasserhaus, which is a cool artsy building complex designed by a guy who didn’t want any straight lines in the architecture, so it’s all curves and organic shapes, and bright squigley stripes painted all around the building. There’s a hookah bar on the top floor of this building, so we went there and got a hookah and relaxed for a while till after the sun went down.

Never doing tree parkour again

So on Thursday, my first full day in Darmstadt, I slept in for a while, got some mint ice cream, had some spaghetti for lunch at Michelle’s and then went to a class with Marius and Michelle at their university. I didn’t understand a word of what was happening, but it was a pretty interesting experience.

Afterward Eric came and picked me up while Michelle and Marius did errands. We were all going to a rooftop barbecue that evening so Eric and I went to the grocery store and got the meat and bread and chips for it, and then met up with Michelle and Marius on the way to the barbecue. It was a really beautiful evening, and everyone their was so friendly. We grilled our food and chatted over drinks, and then when it got dark we all made our way to a club on the edge of town called Ponyhof. It was a neat place, it was an old building renovated to be a club. We all had a good time there, talking and enjoying each other’s company.

And then Friday Michelle, Marius, Eric, and I went to a place in the forest called Kletterwald… which is a place where you basically do parkour course sets 10-20 feet up in the trees. I have never done anything like this whatsoever, and it was honestly so scary. I looked like a complete chicken the whole time, taking 3-5 minutes to even muster the guts to start each new part, but nevertheless I did it! Eric stayed behind with me to cheer me on, and we had a lot of laughs throughout, mostly just laughing at me and my scaredy-cat-like behavior. It was actually pretty cool though, because each time I completed a part, it felt so good, like a little victory for myself. But one time of this is really enough, I think. I don’t believe that I’ll be doing that again unless coerced again somehow.

In the evening Michelle, Marius, and I went out to Michelle’s parent’s house in a little village a short train ride out for dinner. We sat out in their back yard, where her dad cooked meat, corn, kebabs, and vegetables over open fire, and I tried grilled plums wrapped in bacon, which was freaking amazing. We hung out at her parent’s house for a while and chatted, and then her dad drove us back to Michelle’s, where we stayed in for the night.

Darmstadt Impressions

Darmstadt has been the most relaxed stop on my journey, which is actually really nice because I’m quite worn out by now. Darmstadt is a small town about 20 minutes from Frankfurt by train, where my friend Michelle lives. I met Michelle when she was a foreign exchange student at my high school about four years back now. When I got into the Darmstadt station, Michelle was there waiting on me, and we quickly made our way back to her place, where her boyfriend Marius, and two guy friends, Sebastian and Eric, were waiting to meet me. Michelle and Marius made us a nice dinner of salad and cream of mushroom spaghetti, and I got to know them a little bit chatting over dinner. Michelle had to go to bed early, so she sent the three boys off to show me the great little bar called Krone. We ordered some good German beer, had a lot of laughs and great conversation, and they unsuccessfully tried to teach me how to play foosball. All in all, it was a really great start to my time in Darmstadt, and the guys were all so kind.

That’s something I’ve really overwhelmingly noticed on my trip– so many people being kind and helpful and friendly, just for the sake of being a decent person. It’s incredible how many beautiful souls I’ve met throughout my trip. Countless discussions, sharing of dreams, laughs, food, and drinks… I’m truly grateful to each person I’ve met along my journey.