Europe Travel Stories

Santorini
Welcome to the Europe Travel Stories. Within these pages, you can read selected stories and musings about our waterfall-themed adventures in Europe. Hopefully, you'll find these stories entertaining and educational. Perhaps you might get a good laugh at our expense, or you might find some nuggets that you can apply to your own travels.

Thumb through the travel stories below. They are arranged chronologically with the most recent escapade at the top. Enjoy :)



Sagrada Familia (15-June 2015 to 23-June 2015)
Independent Minds
: ...we pretty much spent the next few minutes arguing with this guy as he wouldn't let the issue go. When we tried to explain to him that we had already done what he advocated that we do this instant only to be ignored by the taxis for several minutes, it seemed like he wouldn't accept our answer. Indeed, he kept pushing the argument when I knew neither of us were going to change each others' minds. Finally, I asked, "Sir, are you looking for a fight?" (which was probably not the wisest thing to ask), and that really amped things up as if the semi-senior guy was ready throw down as well...

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Classic Don Quijote country at Consuegra (1-June 2015 to 14-June 2015)
Heart of Spain
: Next, I continued onto the next hairy part of the scramble. This time, there was a bit of a longer and more involve wade through knee-deep tide pools and rocks. Again, since I was prepared to get wet, I trudged forward... I was now only one of maybe a dozen people (out of hundreds) that have made it to this point. It was nice and quiet, and now I found myself in front of a few surprise arches as well as the triple arch that made As Catedrais Beach so famous... so I took what photos that I could for as long as I could before a handful of people started showing up. I conversed with one guy who told me that this beach tended to have 10,000 people here at one time in the months of July and August. The fact that there was so few people right now, made this a very memorable and photogenic experience......

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Inside the Mezquita (23-May 2015 to 31-May 2015)
Spanish Inquisitions
: We were back at the car park at about 2:35pm. Then, we promptly paid our 1.05 euro to the machine to validate our ticket before returning to our car. As we were all loaded up, I drove up to the machine controlling the barricade, inserted the ticket to open the lever guard on our way out, and then suddenly when I pulled forward, we heard a brief crunch, then next thing we knew, the right passenger mirror was dangling!!! "What happened?!?!" both of us said and thought together...

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Conwy Castle (31-August 2014 to 12-September 2014)
The Remaining Kingdoms
: When Julie returned to the car, she dropped me some bad news as we learned that there was a NATO Summit going on at exactly the two full days that we would be spending in Cardiff. We weren't sure what the consequences would be in terms of road closures or our ability to access Cardiff Castle or other parts of the city center, but we knew that nothing good would come of this (in much the same manner that we had to ditch Acadia National Park due to the government shut down on our last trip to the New England area). This development totally blindsided us, and now we had to think fast in terms of how to respond to this sudden turn of events...[read more]



Calton Hill in Edinburgh (19-August 2014 to 30-August 2014)
Scotland Yards
: But to salvage something as I had forsaken Clashnessie Waterfall earlier in the day, I decided to make the detour there on the way back to Inverness. The GPS made it seem like it wouldn't take long to get there. However, when we ultimately got to the B869 road, we saw that the single-track road persisted and was more dangerous than we thought. The road was narrow and steep, while it was full of blind turns and even blind summits where we'd go up and not even see the ground until we made it to the summit and face downwards. With such sharp and surprising turns, we had to take it even slower there. There was even one incident where a van nearly hit us head on around a turn. Plus another incident where I had to back up to a passing place to let someone else get through...[read more]



The Shambles in York (12-August 2014 to 19-August 2014)
Being One With The Force
: Outside, I could hear rain hitting the roof and the windows. The winds were also blowing pretty hard. The thought did cross my mind that I could very well do the 2.5-mile hike from the town of Clapham all the way to the hole of the Gaping Gill, only to find out that the winch would be cancelled due to bad weather. But another thought was also that if I was going to be wet anyways from being winched down into the cavern containing a waterfall with possibly the tallest uninterrupted drop in all of England, why can't I be a little wet from the hike to get me to the winch meet? Indeed, it was times like these that the doubt in my mind was also what made adventures like this all the more memorable and rewarding. And so it was that I was going to stubbornly press on despite the forecasts for the wind and rain...[read more]



Lago di Garda from Riva del Garda (30-May 2013 to 7-June 2013)
Identity Crisis
: ...When I found one across the aisle from Julie next to this fairly heavy-set American lady where it appeared that her and her husband had the entire row to themselves, I figured I mind as well go there. So I made my move as the plane started to taxi, and to the shock of the lady sitting next to me, she said, "Uh, we paid for that seat!" I somehow couldn't believe that two people bought four seats on an expensive international flight without going for first class or business class first, so I called her bluff. But I replied by saying that the headphone jack wasn't working on my seat. She grumbled and didn't say anything afterwards (though she would ultimately stew and start getting racial by calling me banana as well as name-calling with "jerk off" and other things)...[read more]



View of Florence from the Campanile at the Duomo (26-May 2013 to 30-May 2013)
The Renaissance of the Trip
: The first order of business was to go to one of the self-help kiosks to buy train tickets for the 8:30 train. However, when we got to the machine, we found out that both the 8:30 and 9:15 trains were sold out! Damn! I knew we should have bought the tickets last night! Anyways, we then went to the biglieteria where the lady there said the same thing the machines already indicated to us. So we just bought tickets for the next train at 10:15am, which was about a little over 2.5 hours away. The next thought on our minds was to use this unexpected time in the city to do the one thing we wanted to do but couldn't because yesterday the museums were closed... see Michelangelo's statue of David! There was some concern whether the lines would be so long that we might even miss the 10:15am train, but at this point, we weren't going to sit idly at the train station for over two hours. So the decision was made and we were now going to act on it. Indeed, the idea of seeing David was resurrected...[read more]



Assisi (21-May 2013 to 26-May 2013)
The Medieval Theme
: We could see that we were surrounded by some mean-looking squalls as we went down. And after getting our car with the permit in hand (that the receptionist gave us), we then finally parked next to the accommodation at 8:10pm. I then contended with more bouts of diarrhea and discomfort, and the timing couldn't have been worse because Julie ended up observing one of the most surreal sunsets she had seen. All I could do was listen to her descriptions and rely on the photos that she took. It wasn't until I was finally done with the porcelain god that I went out to see for myself, but by then, then sun was gone. Damn!...[read more]



Belvedere of Positano on the Amalfi Coast (16-May 2013 to 20-May 2013)
La Dolce Vita
: As stuffed as we were, we finished that tiramisu. But we also accompanied that dessert with a heavily alcoholic lemon drink that might have been mixed with something like everclear or moonshine or something (it was called limoncello, I believe). I think the drink looked like it could've been a cocktail, but when Julie took her first sip, she gagged a little as she was totally thrown off by how strong the drink was. Adella said, "Odio!" as she wanted to make sure we were having a very good meal. I had a feeling it was something that Roberto told us about on the drive here, and now I saw what he meant about that strong lemon drink. I was only able to finish half of my little glass (maybe slightly larger than a shot), but I knew Julie couldn't drink much more than another sip...[read more]



Annecy (10-May 2012 to 24-May 2012)
Le Tour De France
: It was about 6:30am when my alarm went off, but to my horror, outside was raining and there were clasps of lightning and thunder! In my half-conscious state, I figured I mind as well sleep in since the conditions weren't optimal to do the hike at Gavarnie. After a little more dreaming (hoping the weather might miraculously improve in time for our hike), I got up for good at 7am. That was when the rain seemed to have stopped, but the clouds were hanging low. If there was a discouraging start to the day (especially after the weather forecast looked so rosy), this would be it!...[read more]



Paris (3-May 2012 to 9-May 2012)
Kid In A Candy Store
: ...as we were loading up the car with our stuff, we were dismayed to see that the car charger for our GPS was missing! I swore it was in my bag when we left home, but it was conceivable that it was forgotten in the hectic hours we were trying to get ready for the trip while at the same time tending to Tahia as well as some other errands that were going on at about the same time. In any case, c'est la vie. We were now in damage control mode... [read more]



Swiss Alps (7-June 2010 to 16-June 2010)
Heidiland
: As I was busy taking photos of the mess by the station, one guy came up to me and tried to get into my photo. He insisted that I take a photo (blurry as it may) of him, and then asked the usual questions of where you from? Japan? Korea? I told him that I was from the US, in Los Angeles, and he then tried to explain to me that what I was seeing was how the Swiss Celebrate their soccer team beating the supposed #1 team in the world in Spain. He then said, "Don't be scared..." [read more]



Dubrovnik (30-May 2010 to 7-June 2010)
Croatian Sensations
: In any case, no one wanted to give us change. Even the lady at the souvenir shop didn't want to. The parking enforcement guy was also a bit cheeky and didn't feel like helping us in that regard either other than to write tickets. So we ended up just paying for an hour (that was all we could figure out anyways at the time). And we'd have to come back in an hour just to feed the meter maid once again... [read more]



The Acropolis (19-May 2010 to 30-May 2010)
Never Far From History
: ...at that moment, the lady got in front of me and said, "Stop!" "Stop!" she repeated again. "Stop!" she said once more, this time pushing me back. I wasn't sure what this was all about, but I thought we were getting scammed. When Julie rejoined us, that was when the lady finally showed her badge. She was a customs officer... [read more]



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