Sunday, October 08, 2006

Proof!

I'm about 85% done with my scrapbook... see? I haven't forgotten to remember my trip, heh. For those of you who live locally (or come to visit!), you can see all of my ticket stubs, brochures, some memorable kodak moments, and read about some memorable/embarassing adventures...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Photo Mania

Now that classes have started, I've come to the realization that typing up all of my handwritten journals is quite a daunting task... so for now, since it has been almost a month already, I'm going to tide you all over with a bunch of photos. Blogspot is kind of a pain in the butt, so I'm using yahoo... follow the link to see them. Sorry they don't all have titles yet, someday I'll work on that too...

http://photos.yahoo.com/lauriehoffinger


then click on the album "Europe 2006"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sarah's Post from Salamanca

Sarah posted this on her journal when we were in Salamanca... I'm working on titling all of my photos, and then I'll get to blog-writing. I swear.

Aug. 5th, 2006

11:28 am

I know I am terrible at updating this journal now. But I just updated a friend a little about what is going on and so I figured... what the heck, I should post an entry. YAY!!!!

Still no pictures (Sorry Matt, but it's a little difficult)

We began this trip dying from the heat.. literally dying. I was in shock coming from cold and raining Mexico to hot and humid Spain. I felt like I was melting and the only refuge was AIR CONDITIONING. I swear.... you would pass a place where the doors would open and a cool gust would drift toward you as you walked by and it felt like God had descended upon me an blessed me for about 2 seconds. Then the doors would close and you would go back to the heat and realize that it was just air conditioning and that whole god thing was just a 2 second fluke and that I must really be going insane.

Other the heat.... in the beginning, Spain is awesome. We met up with Beatriz who was my mom's exchange student in high school and who I met as a 4 year old. She was fun and full of life and energy. She invited us to stay with her when we go back to Madrid to fly home.... YESSSS!!! We are so going to stay with her.

Barcelona was huge, the LA of Spain. I say the LA of Spain cause 1st, it was on the beach, 2nd everything was spread out like LA. You could not just walk around and see everything in about 1 hour, no it was more like you could walk around for days and still there would be more of Barcelona up that hill, or down that way. Yeah it was big. We saw the famous European beaches with the famous naked people. It was really funny cause we were with Alejandro's family... Mama Carmela and all...and we are standing at this light waiting for it to turn when a butt naked man comes up right next to us. Stark naked.... all of it!!! We all look, my eyes widen until I hear someone grab Arianna and say.... uhh Arianna come here and let me cover your eyes. Andrea quickly runs over to Mama Carmela and blocks her view while she is standing giggling and smiling. I could not help but watch him as he continued his way down the street. Ahh... Europeans.

After Barcelona was Andorra, which is a ski resort country, but it is summer. So really you could hike or bike all day or go shopping. It was ok... got us away from the heat. No great stories there.

Pamplona was next. Which was a quaint little town but nothing special. I had great fun walking around the whole place looking for a hotel with g-ma. I almost lost my voice talking so dang much between the gazillion questions back and forward.... yeah that I so much fun.

In the last town we were in it rained a little and we all freaked out. It was really exciting as I took tons of pics... hehehe. It is actually not hot in the town we are in today.... which I did not realize until I actually stepped out onto the street in my tanktop and shorts and realized... aahhh it's kind of cold, I really wish I had a sweater. But it's ok cause we found a laundry/internet place that is nice and warm. We were the only ones in here until about 2 mins ago.. damn.
(

Oh my cousin and grandparents left today back to the states.... it's so sad, I can't bug my cousin anymore and she can't give me the death look.... ugh!

Spaniards like talking to me in English even when I speak in Spanish... I don't get it. They will even give me an English menu. I suppose my Mexican accent throws them and they think I don't know what I am saying. Ay!

Last night at dinner there was the typical American family eating.. my favorite typical american quote was... "Gosh! Did they have to give me a whole cow for dinner?" - Daughter

Friday, September 01, 2006

The long journey home...

After 26 hours of either sitting in an airport or on an airplane, I am home!

I'm nearly recovered from the jet-lag and am heading to Santa Cruz for the night.

Although I miss the constant new-ness and adventure of everything, it's good to be back home where things are easy... and in English.

A "real" update and photos coming soon!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

That'll be a euro and a beer... thank you very much!

We just got back from a jazz jam band show at a fancy hotel in Luzern. It was a really nice place with lots of people and a view of the city. We're calling it a night because in the morning, bright 'n early at 6:45am, we leave on our 13+ hour trekk over to San Sebastian, Spain (beach town! Whoooo!!!). We're taking a train from Luzern to Basel, then to Paris, then to St. Jean de Luz (where we had originally planned to stay, but the hostels were booked), and then a combination of trains over to San Sebastian. All is well because we're well stocked with Swiss chocolate and it's our second-to-last train ride of the trip! Hard to believe...

I've really enjoyed Switzerland. I think coming here at the end of the trip worked out perfectly... It's relaxing, scenic, and Dennis' mother is a great cook. Heh. After 5 weeks of seeing-an-entire-major-city-in-one-or-two-days (which, don't get me wrong, I've loved... it's exciting and fun, but also extremely exhausting) it's felt good to go for hikes and take it easy. Well, take it easy except for our trip to Australia today.......










It rained so we went to an IMAX, heh. It counts, sorta kinda. Okay, not really, but it made me wanna go... so... there's that.



WHOA -- there are fireworks across the lake! Gotta go watch, end of post.



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

As usual, a brief and unsatisfying post...

We're in Switzerland! Yet again, the keyboard is a bit confusing (z and y are switched, the ' and ! are well hidden...), but aside from that things are going great! I have tons to write about everything we've done, but it's been a long day (like the last 30+ days) and we have a real bed to sleep in tonight! We're staying with Dennis, Sarah's friend who stayed at their house three years ago in San Diego as a foreign exchange student. It's a gorgeous area, Luzern, and I'm looking forward to a change of pace... a hike instead of museums and churches, heh.

Italy has been quite the adventure... We spent two hours in Florence, a day and a night in Siena, two nights and a day in Rome, and a day and a night in Venice.

I have so much I want to write about, but I know if I start I'll be here all night...

Thank you everyone who has posted and emailed. As I'm sure you all know by now, internet access has been extremely limited and mostly spent making hostel reservations, heh.

I'll be back in Oakland in a week and a day! Though there were times when I felt ready to come home (usually when we were lost, hungry, and tired......), I've had some amazing experiences and an absolutely fantastic time over the last month.

I apologize for the lack of postcards, too... stamps and mailboxes and finding the two before realizing we're in the wrong country for the stamps we bought the day before has been a bit of a challenge. I have tons of postcards that I can send from Santa Cruz! Ha, not quite the same, I understand...

Carrie -- feel free to use whatever you like from this blog. There's not much now, but hopefully I'll get around to posting the whole trip, photos and all. Be patient, heh.

We have a bit of flexibility as to our next destination, so if you have any suggestions as to a place somewhere between Luzern and Madrid that would be good for a day or two, email me! We're thinking a beach town in Southern France that a couple of Kiwis recommended to us last night, but we don't have our hearts set on anywhere...

Oh, and THANK YOU ALYISE for letting us stay with you and eat amazing homecooked Italian food... Thank Jon Franco and Flora for us!!!

Ciao!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Washin´ and Writin'

We're currently at an internet cafe/laundromat in Salamanca, Spain. Itś a college town and I really like the vibe... We arrived here yesterday evening after splitting from Sarah's grandparents and cousin. Now it's just me, Sarah and Rima (her mom). I'm going to make a bunch of photo posts about the last couple weeks once I get home, so for now... a more general entry about the trip. First off, Sarah and I officially HATE eurail passes. WORST INVESTMENT EVER!!!!!!!!!!! They are 1) a waste of money, 2) inconvenient, 3) ANNOYING... ha. Oh well, that's how you learn, right? Right. Ever since we left Barcelona we've been in much cooler weather; it even rained in Pamplona. We're appreciating the break before we head to the extreme temperatures in Italy. Yikes.

Here is our upcoming itinerary:

This week we're probably heading to Portugal.
Aug 11 - Travel to Paris
Aug 12 - Paris
Aug 13 - Paris
Aug 14 - Paris/Travel to London
Aug 15 - London
Aug 16 - London
Aug 17 - Travel to Italy
Aug 18 - Arrive in Siena
Aug 19 - Florence? Travel to Abruzzo
Aug 20 - Rome/Abruzzo
Aug 21 - Travel to Venice
Aug 22 - Travel to Luzern, Switzerland
Aug 23 - Luzern
Aug 24 - Luzern
Aug 25 - ?
Aug 26 - ?
Aug 27 - ?
Aug 28 - Madrid
Aug 29 - Madrid
Aug 30 - Fly home!


Last week was a little rough. First, upon leaving Barcelona and heading to Andorra, my suitcase broke. Once we got to Andorra, I got sick (fever, chills, cough, etc.). Luckily, I was able to temporarily fix the suitcase and now all I have is a nagging cough... but I was down for a couple days.

Things are going better now and I'm getting even more excited for the second half of our trip because we'll get to see some of you and I'll get to meet some of Sarah's friends from this past year.

If you would like a postcard, email me your mailing address. I thought ahead enough to make sure I had email addresses, but not mailing ones... lo siento.

There have been some funny and not-so-funny-but-amusing-in-retrospect instances so far on this trip, but I want to wait until I have time to write them in an entertaining fashion... oh the suspense!

This is a very scattered entry.

Our laundry is done!


Side notes:
Talia - I didn't see the scarves in Barcelona, but Sarah said she saw them in France last time she was here, so I'll keep my eyes open! I'm glad you're feeling better!
Matt - When do you go to Japan? I forget the exact date...
Sarah H. - Hi! How are things with the house?