Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Athens airport


Just killing time in the athens airport. They have free wifi. Score.

Their airport is set up strangely though. Once you pass through security there are nit any shops. No food places. No snack places. No airport bars. Nothing.

So confused.

The nice airport lady directed us to gate A7 where there was a tiny little kiosk pretending to be a coffee shop. I had 15€ to spend so I bought some motion, water, chips, candy and chocolate covered Oreos. So healthy. But that is all they had. And motion is good for you. And I can't spent euros at home.

So... Athens...

Our ferry from Mykonos got in a little late and we had to wait in a crazy taxi line to get a cab to the hostel. The cab driver had no idea where he was going and kept calling his friends and asking something about our street name and the area it was in. We finally arrived at the right street and the hostel had no signs outside but there were some guys sitting on a stoop and they said it was the hostel. Also one of the guys introduced himself like this: "my name I Alejandro, like the lady gaga song" awesome. Get it Alejandro from Argentina.

The hostel was okay. You had to pay for a hot shower and the water lasted seven minutes. And for some reason the showers were elevated from the floor and had drop ceilings. Real people can't fit in those showers Greece. Must have been a hostel catering to the midget backpacking population.

We went to bed and got up and went to the acropolis the next day. We heard that it cost six euro with the student card and twelve for regular people. We got to the desk and the lady asked Amy where we went to school and she said trinity college in Ireland so we got in free. We had noticed that European union students get tons of free stuff. Somehow this lady believed that we went to school in Ireland and just let us in. Woot.

We walked around and looked at(touched) old stuff. We couldn't walk around in the Parthenon unfortunately because it is covered in scaffolding. They are re-building it or something lame. I think they should leave this one alone and go build a replica somewhere else. Or a wax copy or the Parthenon for Madame toussades or whatever.

After that we ate some gyros and went to see Bad Teacher. Marshall from how I met you mother was in the movie and I'll see anything he's in. The movie was good. We were the only people in the theater, amy, paige(girl from our room) and I.

Next day we wandered around a little bit and packed up our life. I threw away my spanish shampoo and body wash after my midget shower last night and threw out my sheet towel and washcloths this morning.

We got up at 540 ish and left to get a bus to another bus to the airport. Saw the guards at some giant building doing a hilarious walk/ballet routine. They have giant puff balls on their shoes and swung their legs up to their face while walking around and pivoting. So great. Couldn't get my camera out, but I'll try to find a picture online later.

Got to the airport and made it through security, the guy was really confused by my hand sanitizer, but he let it go. Amy got randomly searched before entering gate 13. We were the only two people there. So funny.

Now we are just waiting for our 11:20 flight. We got here extra early because Amy wasn't allowed to check in online for some reason. But it worked out fine at the airport.

Time to eat Oreos for breakfast.

Bye! See you all in the states soon!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Petros and his pals

Update on the giant bird situation:

They are the unofficial mascots of Mykonos. There was one roaming around the island for a while and his name was petros. Petros got hit by a car in 1985 so they(those mysterious people who are always doing things) brought in three more giant birds to help keep everyone in line. Now there are three giant birds wandering around the streets. I think they are all still named petros. Or petras. But I don't want to get close enough to determine os vs as.

Also there are a billion cats here and I am thinking of filling a carry on with cats and nutella. It just feels like the right choice.

We are taking a ferry tonight to Athens. Leaving Mykonos at 7:25 and getting to Athens at midnight ish. I wish we had stayed in santorini for two weeks. The beaches here just could not compete. But there were giant birds, so I guess it was worth it.

Bobby, the pension hotel owner may or may not drive us to the port. I hope he does because I don't want to pay for a cab. I'm trying to not take any more money out of the ATM because I don't want to come home with euros I can't do anything with.

Athens plan:

Look at acropolis.
Drink ouzo.

Buy nutella to take home.
Pack bags for flight.

Somehow make it to the airport by 9 ish in the morning.
Locate plane.
Check a bag.
Arrive at JFK around 3 ish.
Linger around JFK until 6 ish
Fly away home.
Arrive in Cleveland around 8:30

Or eat pierogies and chips and salsa.
And then sleep.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Double trouble

Sep 6, 2011-1 by michelle.e.kowalski
Sep 6, 2011-1, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.


Giant birds in mykonos

Sep 4, 2011-5 by michelle.e.kowalski
Sep 4, 2011-5, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

He just wants some crepes. I get you giant bird.


Aug 31, 2011-111 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 31, 2011-111, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Most hilarious form of transportation.


Sep 2, 2011-18 by michelle.e.kowalski
Sep 2, 2011-18, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Mannequins here are super extreme.


Sep 2, 2011-45 by michelle.e.kowalski
Sep 2, 2011-45, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Safety first as I always say.... Or never actually say but whatever. Helmets!! You can imagine how awesome our hair was after this day.


Sep 2, 2011-69 by michelle.e.kowalski
Sep 2, 2011-69, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.


Red beach

Sep 2, 2011-91 by michelle.e.kowalski
Sep 2, 2011-91, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

You hAve to do a little bit of climbing to get there

1 week?!

Also, Cannot believe I only have one week left. I was getting so tired in Italy of dragging my bag around and looking at stuff. But after relaxing in Greece for a couple weeks I feel ready for another two or three months! Now I know how to plan the next trip. Put a vacation in the middle and you will be ready to go for another couple months. Brilliant. See everyone in a week!



Sorry it has been awhile we don't have very reliable Internet access here.


We rented atvs and drove around the island for the day. It was great! we drove around little roads and up some mountain thing that had great views over the whole island. Took tons self portrait style photos with our helmets on. We went to the red beach which was a little black sand beach with massive red cliffs behind it. Really cool looking. Then we went to a lighthouse at the end of the island and watched the sunset surrounded by lovahs. Santorini is definitely a couples island. Snapped some pics of people doing hilarious sunset poses. Amy was fast enough to capture the titanic pose. Lucky.

We went to the beach the next day and walked down to the bubble pool bar. Never realized how awesome it is to lay around water in a comfy lounge chair. So great.

Left for Mykonos on Sunday. Took an eight hour ferry. Really rocky boat. Not so hot. They played the karate kid on whatever tv channel was on though so that was nice. I now feel like a karate champ, can't wait to use my new skills.

Our hotel/pension owners picked us up at the ferry port and took us back to their place. We are staying in a private room, two beds, bathroom, fridge, air conditioning. It is nice. Havent met anyone though. Well that is not true. I have had a great time making growling monster noises back and forth with a little boy here. Don't knw what language he speaks, but we both speak monster so it works out.

Mykonos town is really cute. Tiny winding streets that run into each other and turn into other streets. Tough to find our way around but it is so cute you don't mind being lost.

They have some giant pelican type birds here. Really giant. They roam the streets and wander into the fancy jewelry shops. The workers are not phased by it so it must happen a lot.

We have seen so many fabulous men in summer scarves riding around scooters. It is great. If an island had to have a tag line and santorini is for lovahs, I would have to say Mykonos is for gay lovahs. So excellent. A lot of the bars have drag shows and go go dancers nightly, but people don't go out until one and we haven't quite made it out yet. We get back from the beach or wandering around at 8ish when the sunsets and nap and eat dinner at ten and there is still so much time to kill that we end up sleeping. We are developing a foolproof plan for Friday which involves eating downtown and waiting to go out there so we aren't in our beds.

I think we were spoiled with the glory of perissa/perivolos beaches in santorini. They were huge and had umbrellas and chairs spaced out with large areas for towels on the sand. Not the case here. We went to ornos beach Monday which was okay. And paradise beach yesterday. The umbrella and chair situation in them was horrible. You cant just buy a drink and use a chair, you have to buy the chair set for the day as well. And they are packed in so close it is like an umbrella chair parking lot. We are going to try psarou beach today. The hotel owner said it wad her favorite.
We have been eating gyros, yogurt, Greek salad, spanekopita and things like that. Food is still pretty cheap here if you look hard enough. Lastl night we made our own salads in cups wee bought from the dollar store in Florence. Cut up tomatoes, feta, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Yum. Also have been drinking tons of motion. Delicious juice with a bunch of fruits in it. Seriously the best juice ever. Think, better than orange peach mango juice. Which is relly saying something.

Alright, I'll post some pictures on here soon. Otherwise fickr is up to date through santorini.

Time to eat and venture to the beach. Hope today's beach is better than yesterday's.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

24 hour bakery.

Greetings from paradise.

I am considering never leaving the Greek islands. Seriously. We got to santorini and were met at the ferry port by the hostel owner/manager and he drive us up the terrifying winding road to the hostel. We are staying two or three minutes from the largest beach on the island. The showers here are nasty, but who even cares??

We layer around on the black sand beach the first day, I keep getting a little confused when I look a the beach and the sand is dark, but it is so great. The water is crystal clear even when you go out to 8 to 10 feet deep. You look down and think you can touch, nope. Super far down...

Next day we took the bus to fira a main city on santorini. Cute little winding streets full of shops. Walked around there for a bit, got some falafel gyros and called it a day. They put french fries on the gyros here. I asked what was in the vegetarian gyro and one guy listed potatoes.... Soooooooo French fries? Delicious.

There is a 24 hour bakery about two minutes from our hostel. They have the most amazing things wrapped in philo dough. Spanekopita or however you spell it is only 1.90€ amazing! They have great desserts too! We have found that it is cheaper to buy pre made food here than to try and make our own. So easy!

Got some Greek yogurt with strawberries for breakfast, it is better here than at home.

The next day we took an all day excursion that included: walkng up a volcano, swimming in natural hot springs, riding a donkey up a volanic island and watching the sunset over santorini. All for 20€. so great. It is nice that the food and our hostel are soooo cheap here because we can actually afford to do things. Such a treat.

The volcano was a long, hot walk but the views from the top were amazing. Took tons of photos and am in the process of uploading them to flickr.

The hot springs were kind of nasty. Not hot enough to not feel like swimming through pee. And there were some bright orange rocks that got stirred up with the water so we all ended up covered in orange slime. I can count it as something I have done now.

We then took a ferry to thirassia a small rather deserted island. Payed five euro and rode donkeys up a steep winding cliff side. The donkeys were hilarious. They just do whatever they want on the walk up. Kept ramming me into the concrete wall and the bushes on either side. Such a crazy experience.

Thirassia was gorgeous in the little collection of houses and churches. Saw a lot of cute kittens lounging around.

Then we went to oia to watch the sunset and wander around. Oia was nicer than fira. It was exactly what you would picture when you think or Greece. Beautiful white buildings with blue accents and large domed churches popping up all over the place.

Sunset was really pretty too, unfortunately there was a lot of fog so we couldn't see the sun sink into the water, but I got hundred photos anyways.

Today we went to the beach. Walked twenty minutes down to a bar on the beach that had a pool with a bubble section and great lounge chairs on the beach. You buy a drink and lay around all day. We got frappes. Big hit in Greece. Instant coffee, water, milk and sugar blended together and served with ice. Delicious. Got a ridiculous sunglasses tan today because it was too bright to lay around without them on. Brilliant.

Tomorrow the plan is to rent scooters or atvs and ride around the island. Can't decide which one I want to get... I have always wanted to ride a scooter around Europe, but an atv would be easier to drive I think. I'll just decide whenever we get to the rental place.

Time to FaceTime Jennifer. Byeeeeee!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Donkey donkey donkey

Aug 30, 2011-21 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 30, 2011-21, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Guy riding a donkey leading another donkey along behind.

In santorini.

I think i have a donkey problem. I love them so much.

Santorini is gorgeous. Black sand beaches and cute little towns. And donkeys galore.

More info to come later

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Green cabin number 3

Aug 22, 2011-6 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 22, 2011-6, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Home sweet home for four days in sorrento


Aug 24, 2011-15 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 24, 2011-15, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Apollo statue in Pompeii

Naples, sorrento, ferries galore.

Typing this on a ferry... The water is super choppy and I'm not feeling too hot. But I have 5 more hours to kill until we reach santorini. Backtracking a few days... Naples? Did I already write about naples? Might have. We stayed in a hostel that was supposed to have air conditioning. Liars. We mostly just wandered around Naples and looks at stuff. I had been warned that Naples is dirty, but I guess I just expected a Cincinnati level of nastiness. Nope. Giant would be gorgeous buildings covered in graffiti and garbage is a little sadder looking than regular buildings covered in garbage and graffiti. 

Naples had excellent pizza. You can buy the pizza from vendors on the street. One euro for a twelve ish inch pizza folded up. When I get home I am definitely going to call up dominos and request that they fold my pizza before they give it to me. So great. Also got some delicious gelato. We would wander around for a little bit then come back to the hostel to get out of the sun. They had an impressive DVD collection, and the first season of prison break. Success! People probably thought we were freaks sitting inside watching prison break for hours. After so many hours outside in the 100 degree heat, you can't really stand it anymore.

Sme nice Italian people helped us figure out the bus so that we could get to the hostel. It is interesting to see in each city how strict the bus ticket rules are. You get a ticket and have to validate it in a little box. In Naples we never bought bus tickets. Didn't see anyone validating theirs so we just went with the crowd. In sorrento everyone validates their tickets. Sme buses have a bonus guy checking tickets. In the states it seems you cant even get on the bus without putting in coins or your ticket, you could never just hop on and not pay. 

Sorrento was a great town. Cute little shops and gelato places to the max. We stayed in a campground. We had one of the "green cabins" which was a mini house on wheels I think. Two beds, queen and twin. Communal bathrooms and showers. There was a restaurant, shop, bar, pool and beach. The beach was a hike though and not very big so we hung out at the pool. I love pools. I get really excited when there are pools at the places we go to because any pools at home or school, I guard at which makes it weird to go swim at them later.

Sorrento was pretty buggy, so we bought some mosquito coils, you light them like incense, we had one on the windowsill in the room. Woke up feeling like we smoked 10 packs of cigarettes, not that I have done this, just guessing. So we reevaluated and bought citronella candela for the windows and put the coil on a table outside. That worked out better. Not quite so lung cancery.

We took a bus to amalfi from sorrento. The drive was really pretty.  We were planning on visiting positano as well as amalfi, but the bus on the way back didn't stop there. The bus back to sorrento was horrible. You pack as many people as possible on to the bus, sitting and standing, we were standing for the two hour journey. Really shaky journey, tight winding turns, terrified that the bus is going over the edge of the cliff. Joy. 

The next day we went to Pompeii. I dont know why I didn't realize they excavated the whole thing. I expected more things covered in lava rock and that we would have to guess what they were. Nope. You could see rooms and counters and things. Bit of a let down for me. The giant stadium ring thing was cool. The rock covered bodies were sad though. Not my favorite place, but now I can check it off my list of important things I have seen/ old buildings I have touched. 

We took the train to Naples and got on another train to Bari. From there we took a bus to the port and got our ferry tickets. Waited around for a couple hours, then boarded the ferry at 5. Ferry took off around 8 and we arrived in patras, Greece around 12:30 or 1:00 pm. Such a long ferry. We were deck passengers, which essentially means you sleep outside on the floor. It was okay though. I slept in my tiger suit. So warm and comfortable. Got some weird looks from people when walked to use the bathroom... Oh well. Bet they weren't as comfortable as me. From patras we took a 3 or 4 hour bus to Athens. Walked to our hostel. It was alright for one night, but we are going to book a different place for the last few days before our flight out. The showers had those handheld sprayer things and no wall mount. So tricky to wash your hair. 
Got up today and took a bus to the ferry port. We set our backpacks down in the luggage section of the bus. About 15 minutes in to the trip some guy got off at a different stop and took Amy's bag with him. She got off and started yelling the it was her bag and he just dropped it and walked quickly away. Probably didn't realize how heavy it would be, or that someone would notice he took it. Joke would have been on him though if he got somewhere and opened it to find piles of dirty clothes and literally nothing valuable.

Now we are on an 8 hour ferry to santorini, one of the islands. We are staying there for a week. Plan on doing plenty of beaching. Might rent four wheelers and drive around the island. We have to take two more ferries, one between santorini and Mykonos, hopefully that ferry exists, and another to get back to Athens. Then I think that may be enough ferries to last the rest of my life. Not sure why Derrick on Greys anatomy likes ferry boats so much. This ferry didn't have any more room in economy class so we had to buy first class tickets. Not really that swank for first class. Just fewer people so it feels like there is more room. The price ended up being a few euro cheaper than the other ferries because this is not a high speed ferry.

I'll post this once we have Internet. Might need to buy a little wifi on the ferry to check and see if the people from the santorini hostel are going to meet us at the port. They have a free shuttle. Just not sure if it is going today.

Also...... Forgot how difficult the Greek language is. Different letters! The other languages we have dealt with all used the same letters so at least something was familiar. No so here.  But everyone has been really nice, so it's okay.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Not good internet here

Two trains and a fifteen hour ferry to get to Greece tomorrow. Ferry leaves Bari Italy at 800 pm and gets in around noon the next day. Mght have already posted about this.

We are then taking a bus to Athens. Sleeping there for a night. The ferry to santorini for a week. Then Mykonos for a week. Athens for 2 or three days then back to the USA.

More about sorrento from Athens when we get free wifi again.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pinocchio galore

Aug 17, 2011-15 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 17, 2011-15, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Not sure if that is how you spell pinocchio...and iPad keeps trying to atuocorect to pimp chip. But yup Italy loves him. Totally forgot about the whole thing until this store.

Naked police

Aug 18, 2011-45 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 18, 2011-45, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Guys in charge of judging whether or not you are too naked for the lord at the churches.



Our last night in Rome, Amy's parents treated us to a dinner at a restaurant they really liked from their trip in the winter. It was amazing! Eating food that real people eat and not worrying about how you are going to eat the next day was so excellent. thank you so much!

Got to Naples two days ago. We walked to the train station in Rome from our hostel. Big mistake. It was a billion degrees and we were carrying about 40 pounds of stuff on our backs/in our duffels... This caused my first "what the he'll was I thinking/ what the he'll are we doing?!" moment. I think we both literally thought we might die. Hd to take frequent sitting down/chugging water breaks.

Got to Naples and took a cab to our hostel. Only 15 euro and so worth it.

Naples is interesting. Parts of it are even dirtier than Clifton. Impressive. We ended up finding some nice areas and walking around them. Saw some nice water features, the true indicator of a great city. Walked to the water and tried to get the bus back. We hopped on one bus and the drive said we would have to change buses. Some nice people not he bus told us when to get off and then helped us get the correct bus to our hostel. One man kept trying to talk to use in Italian, then rapid spanish when we said we could do Spanish. Spanish mixed with Italian spoken with a thick Italian accent was too hard for us and I think he got pretty frustrated and gave up. He was nice though and helped us get home!

We are going to try to get to Capri or ischIa today and tomorrow we head to sorrento. The plan is to stop in Pompeii along the way and walk around there if we can drop off our bags at the station. We are staying in a hostel, camping, cabin resort thing in sorrento. On the beach and it has a pool. We are going to try to find a mosquito coil or something before we go. Insects here LOVE me. Covered in bites still. The ones on my face have gone down a lot though so that is nice.

This hostel is nicer than the one in Rome. Though they promised air conditioning online and don't have any here. I wake up drenched in sweat and super uncomfortable in the middle of the night. Tricky tricky.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bag again

Aug 13, 2011-2 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 13, 2011-2, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Not quite this red. Mine is medium brown Amy's is light orange ish brown


Aug 13, 2011-3 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 13, 2011-3, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Duffel from florence

Little blurry but this is close to the real color... I'll posts other clearer one.


Aug 12, 2011-2 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 12, 2011-2, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Dinner with amy and Dan in Florence!

Perugia farmhouse

Aug 15, 2011-8 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 15, 2011-8, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.


Aug 16, 2011-6 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 16, 2011-6, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Me at the colosseum. It is hard to get pictures in front of some things because they are so giant.

Also... Touched this.

Trevi fountain

Aug 17, 2011-11 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 17, 2011-11, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Both of us at the Trevi fountain

Touching old buildings

Aug 17, 2011-20 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 17, 2011-20, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

I make a point to touch all the old buildings/places we see. Touched the pantheon. Hooray

St peters

Aug 17, 2011-63 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 17, 2011-63, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.




Our last night in Perugia manuele, owner guy, was on vacation but his mom and grandma made pizza for everyone. So delicious. And free. Hooray. I am covered in bug bites from Florence and perugia. I used tons of bug spray and bug repellent wipe things but it was not enough. There are 10-12 on my face and neck and probably 20 ish on my legs. Horrible. Washing my face is tricky now because it makes the bites itch more. I look crazy with welts all ov my face but whatever.

We got a train around 1:45 and headed off to Rome. Train was supposed to be direct, but it ended up stopping and we had to switch to another train. Ran into Jenna, friend from Madrid two months ago on the train. So weird.

Our hostel in Rome is strange. There is free dinner which is great and the guy who cooks the dinner is really nice. He made a separate vegetarian meal for me. That is about the only nice thing about the hostel though... The bathrooms are not clean and there are only two bathrooms for thirty ish people... Also there is a lockout from 11-4 for cleaning, dont know what happens during those hours.

We have noticed tha bathrooms are very strange in Italy. They don't have toilet seats which makes us feel weird. It is fine, squatting and all, but we don't see any reason for not having toilet seats...

We have spent The last couple days wandering around Rome looking at things. It is crazy to be wandering aimlessly down a street and then boom, colosseum. Or boom, pantheon. wild.

We went to the vatican and looked at st peters basilica and then left. Giant lines. We made up for skipping the inside of the Vatican museum and st peters by visiting 5 other churches. Huzzah! Saw the ecstasy of st teresa and a few other famous churches/ sites.

Tomorrow we head off for Naples for 3 nights then sorrento on the amalfi coast for another 3 nights. Then Greece... Which we have yet to plan. Uh oh.


Sunday, August 14, 2011


We are staying at a converted farmhouse in Perugia. It is amazing. We had some trouble finding it and ended up walking really far in the wrong direction. It was super super super hot out and walking with our backpacks and duffles was getting really hard. Thankfully a nice Italian women offered to drive us to the right place. she did not speak any English but she was so nice for driving us. We were walking with two other girls and she could only take two at a time so she made two trips to drive us. So nice.

I have a new life goal of moving to a foreign country and buying a giant house in the country side and turning it into a hostel. this place is great. They take volunteers to staff it, we had emailed them a few months ago but they didn't need any more help for this week. They have a pool and some great deck chairs. And they have tons of animals! Donkey, horses, geese, goats, chickens, a gross looking turkey and some sheep. So great. They also have two dogs, one of them plays fetch with rocks. Only rocks. You can throw something else and she will come back with a rock.

We have decided to stay here another night and go to Rome on Tuesday. Monday hia a holiday so it would have been difficult to get a train anyways.

My fear of bees is becoming a problem. There is a bees nest in the window for our room... They haven't come in yet but everybody laughs at me when I run away from them outside.

I'll take some pictures tomorrow and post them so everyone can see how cute this place is.

Pasta time


Friday, August 12, 2011


Aug 11, 2011-19 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 11, 2011-19, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Fountain in the statue party area.

Statue party!

Aug 11, 2011-13 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 11, 2011-13, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Woot woot


Aug 11, 2011-12 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 11, 2011-12, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Fake David = good enough for us.

Final day in Florence...

And I'm sick and covered in giant bug bites.

Rotten luck.

We bought some bug repellent wipes, but need to pick up more before we leave. I was convinced for a while that some are posionous Italian mutant bug bites and my limbs would fall off soon, but I think I may be okay. Bought some stuff from the farmacia to put on the bites. Also nought some mystery dissolving powder stuff for my cold. We'll see how that works out. Saw the words Johnson & Johnson somewhere in fine print on the box, that has to be a good sign, right???

Bought the gorgeous leather duffles I mentioned in my last post. Amy got a light brown one and I got a medium brown one. So lovely. Can't wait to pack tonight. It is going to be a breeze. I'll take a picture of the bag once it is packed, it looks a little weird empty.

After we bought the bags we lounged around on the terrace and then went to the Lorenzo festival. There was music and long lines for food. We got massive pieces of watermelon and yogurt and pasta. Pasta had meat all up in it so Dan(of Amy and Dan from Australia/Barcelona) passed it on to someone else and I grabbed a kebab on the way home. Super cheap and falaffel is apparently not bad for you. Score!

Did some walking around and found one of many fake David statues. Got some pictures and decided that the lines and 10 euro charge to see real David is not worth it. This fake David was surrounded by a bunch of other statues in a little statue party. Neat-o.

May or may not have bought some little gifts for mis hermanas... Get excited. Also if you are reading I think we should get matching tats. 2014! Tiddlywinks will be 18. think about it. I'll design something snazzy. Think... CATS.

Back to real things...

Went out with everyone from our room last night to an American bar. Dear all Italian men: please don't grab my ass. I know it looks great and all, but really, it is not for you. Go away. Also, don't run back into the crowd before I can kick you in the face. Wimps. Thanks.
The bar was fun other than the creeps. Our group, six of us from our hostel room plus a few other candians our roommates were friends with, took over the hallway leading to the back room and bathrooms and had our own dance party away from the crowds. Started to cheer for people as they would enter or exit the bathroom. Some fun people would get really into it and dance with us for a while. Others tried to walk through without interacting with us. We knew they were just jealous of our prime hallway spot.

Today we booked our train to Perugia, which we just decided to go to today. We had two days to kill before Rome. We are staying in a converted farmhouse in the countryside, should be amazing!
After that we are heading to Rome, staying in a place with free dinners every night, owner used to be a chef. Score! That should save some money.

Then Naples for a few days, day trips to capri and Pompeii and then sorrento campground, cabins, not intense camping. Then off to Greece for a few weeks. Then home. Time flies.

Hey tiddlywinks, I'm looking forward to watching you shake your thang as a rockette when I get back!!!

I'm coming up with a list of things to bring/leave at home for my next backpack trip, and just some things we have learned along the way. I'll post it here if anyone is interested.



Aug 11, 2011-8 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 11, 2011-8, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.


Problem solved

Aug 11, 2011-7 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 11, 2011-7, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Must have clicked something weird on my flickr app for the last upload... Oh well, solved it now.

Florence is gorgeous!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Can't figure out what to change on the camera so the flickr titles will be pointless for the rest of the trip I guess...

This is a part of the view from the hostel terrace. Amazing!

Double dome building

My photos all have super weird long mystery titles now... I might not have set up the camera correctly... I'll look into that. First self supporting dome. Inner and outer dome. Supposed to have a staircase winding up in between the two domes with paintings all around. Costs a bunch to get in, probably not doing it. Really pretty from the outside though!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Aug 2, 2011-21 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 2, 2011-21, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Sigmund the donkey. I love him so much


Aug 3, 2011-22 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 3, 2011-22, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Cliffs of moher. Boom


Aug 3, 2011-54 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 3, 2011-54, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Beach in la hinge Ireland


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. We did a lot of moving around in a short time so we have been super exhausted. Relaxing in florence is amazing.

Left off in Dublin.
Hanging out with Ben was great. We wandered around and I acted as the worlds best(worst) tour guide for an hour or so. We all bought tiger suits, which are the best thing ever. Full body fleece pajamas with a hood and ears. No tail, but I bet we could sew one on. They were great to wear while watching movies. Sadly it is way to hot in Italy to wear them here.

Flew into Milan on Sunday. Got there around 9 and solidified our position as dumbest backpackers ever. Didn't book or write down any hostels. We got a bus to the central train station and thought that would be central. False. We walked around in the rain for a little bit trying to find a cheap but not terrifying place to stay. Convinced a guy at the hotel boston to let us stay for 35 euro each. We got up the next morning and went to the train station to leave our bags and go see the duomo. I kept asking people where there was an ATM.... Which does not mean the place to get money, but instead is something to do with the metro. Awesome.

We got to the duomo and got harassed by the guys with bracelets. I was standing in front of the building for a photo and some guy threw birdseed at my feet. Swarmed by pigeons. So great.

We looked at the duomo and walked around there for a little bit and then got fed up with milan and got the 3:15 train to Florence. That's right, less than 24 hours in milan. Horrible backpackers.

Florence is great. The hostel is really nice, sadly no kitchen so we can't make our own food. They have a cheap restaurant in it though. And a pool and terrace bar with really amazing views of Florence.

Walked through the open air markets yesterday. We are going to buy leather duffels today. We need more room for our things and we managed to talk the guys into a massive discount, so it works out. Did a pretty bad walking tour after that, but the guide did tell us about a festive for saint lorenzo tonight tha should include free pasta and free watermelon. Totally going to that. After we buy duffels today we are going to lay around on the terrace and maybe swim before eating free food. Hooray!

We need to find David at some point and then we will have done enough things in Florence.

Really glad we already went to london and missed the rioting and fires that are happening now.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Quick update

Galway was a success. Got a new, new camera. The guy tried the other one and said it was working perfectly.... No it wasn't sir, otherwise I wouldn't be here telling you it is slow.
Bought a new nikon one so all is well.

Went out with some people from the hostel and found some live music. Frank the weirdo from holland kept trying to go back to the weird hipster club that no one liked.... We could not seem to ditch him.

Took the 7:45 gobus from Galway to Dublin. It was great. Much nicer than the other buses and it had free wifi. I is an independent company competing with the Irish national buses so I think they try harder. It was cheaper too. Score.

Got to Dublin and have been hanging out with Amy and Ben. Made macaroni and cheese last night. Delicious.

More later

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Aug 1, 2011-7 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 1, 2011-7, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Street in galway

Moving to Ireland to hang out with donkeys

Greetings from doolin.

We hopped on a train Monday and headed across ireland to Galway. We didnt really have any set plans on where to stay, but a bunch of hostels had availability so we figured we would find one when we got there. We met a girl from Alabama in the Dublin train station and tagged along with her to her hostel, snoozles. It was great, right next to the bus station and two minutes from the train. Checked in there and then wandered around Galway for a little bit. Galway was a smaller, more adorable, city compared to Dublin. They had a little park/square and some cool pubs. We walked around in search of some live music, found some guys setting up and figured we would come back around ten when they were supposed to start. Grabbed some cider from spar and hung out at the hostel for a little bit. Didn't get back to that pub until 11 ish.... The band was wrapping up at midnight and we hung around and talked with them for a little while. They were all hilarious guys from a town outside of Galway. They suggested a place that stayed open later than midnight on a Monday so we went there. Aso the guys in this band in addition to being hilarious were adorable. Irish win. Spent some time Tuesday morning creeping all over the Internet. Located them based on two first names. Amazing creeping skills.

The late night bar(late night meaning "open until two", nothing like the seven am spanish bars) was pretty deserted. The dj was playing strange alternative music, stranger than usual. We danced around for a bit. Here is where the story gets sad. I went to move a couple purses farther away from the dancing people and got bumped by a rowdy birthday man. Beer dumped all over my closed purse, somehow managed to seep inside my camera case and break my camera. Awesome. I was not too happy after that. We were walking home and found a couple people planking(laying down in weird places, it is a real thing). Obviously we joined them.

Tuesday morning I got up early and went to the camera store. Camera could not be fixed, bummer times a billion. I bought a new camera, recommended by the worker. It is horrible. I am going back to Galway tomorrow to try to exchange it. It is supposed to have features that stabilize and keep your photos from being blurry, lies. Oh well, I like Galway so this is an ok reason to go back.

Got on the bus to doolin at 11:30. Insanely carsick. Thought we were going to have ask the bus driver to pull over. I kept trying to look outside and enjoy the amazing views. I got a few minutes of eyes open time before I thought I would die and had to close my eyes again.

Got to doolin and found our hostel with the help of a nice b&b owner. Doolin is adorable. Looks like how I pictured the Irish countryside. Woot. Our hostel is cute, and outside is a donkey! Hooray! Some girls in our room named him sigmund. It fits him well. I get super excited every time I see him, it is weird. Love playing spot the donkey. He moves around his tiny little field. So great.

Went to the pub last night for some Irish music/beer. Earlier in the day we had run into a couple we met in Barcelona. Super random. This is a tiny town and neither of us had planned on visiting it until a few days ago.
The pub was great. Music was grand. A thirteen year old boy played the traditional irish tin flute thing. He was amazing. Seriously, insanely talented. We hung out with him and his cousin for a bit. The cousin offered to drive us, me, amy, two girls from pennsylvania-amy and j, to the cliffs of moher today, so we met him this morning around 10:30 aka half ten and went to the cliffs. They were gorgeous. I got some ok pictures with my stupid camera. Super windy up there, I am not surprised that people get blown off the edge. Got really nervous for a tiny little girl being pushed through the fence by her parents. She was crying and obviously terrified. Bad parent award.

After the cliffs Amy and j headed off for Galway on the bus and Amy and I and Darren? It got too late in the day to ask for a name reminder, awkward... We drive around through some cute ittle towns and spent some time in la hinge A beach town famous for it's surfing. Hilarious to see pasty white Irish cutes getting into their wetsuits. I still picture Californian or hawaiian people when I think surfers. Gorgeous views of the water. It seemed way too cold to go swimming, but tons of people were enjoying it.

Got back and did some laundry. Went to a little cafe up the road and got some delicious veggie soup, essentially pureed vegetables. SO healthy.

Time to make some pasta for dinner, then off to find Shane the child musician and his cousin Darren/mystery name. I'll have to find a way to work in some kind of introduction with someone else so we can get his name.

I'm going to head to Galway in the morning and stay there for a night then go on to Dublin. I'll try to meet up with the girls from our doolin hostel in galway. Amy is going to stay in doolin for another night if she can find a hostel and we will meet back up in Dublin and wait for Ben there. Couldn't book the same hostel we were at before in Dublin, which is sad because we loved it. But I found another one in a similar location that could accommodate the three of us for two nights. Amy and j, from Pennsylvania, found some amazing tiger print fleece onesies, with feet and ears, so we have to buy those in Dublin, they said they were super cheap. Cannot pass that up.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Giant heads

Jul 29, 2011-1 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 29, 2011-1, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Tribal faces on the street in Dublin.... Sure!

Christ church cathedral

Jul 29, 2011-11 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 29, 2011-11, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

And me

Temple bar

Jul 29, 2011-29 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 29, 2011-29, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Irish Danny Watson keepin it real in temple bar, Dublin

New statue friends

Jul 29, 2011-31 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 29, 2011-31, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Frolicking children


Jul 30, 2011-17 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 30, 2011-17, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Trinity college


Jul 30, 2011-10 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 30, 2011-10, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

The architecture firm, when asked why the building was painted like this answered: the architect really liked those colors.

Great answer.


Jul 30, 2011-30 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 30, 2011-30, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Irish music in the pub.

Dear Irish people, I love you

Ireland had been great so far! Today we are going to Galway and then the next day a little town, famous for irish music, called doolin. We missed the walking tour the first time we tried because they moved the time to eleven instead of noon. We walked around on our own and saw some great things. We are really close to a giant cathedral, hello loud bells all the time. Apparently in the bottom of this cathedral there is a crypt with a dead cat chasing a rat on display. Sweet.
We grabbed some cider from a store and watched a couple movies in the hostel that night because we were too exhausted to go out. They have a giant collection off movies here. Five or six on a disc with around fifty discs. We have watched black swan, inglourious basterds and The social network.
Made it to the walking tour the next day and heard all about Irish history and saw some cool old buildings, castles, walls, parks. Went to st Stephens green, largest park in Europe. It was gorgeous. Water features galore. My favorite. The walking tours all end up at pubs for food and drinks, I got a half pint of something called the "Galway hooker" it was okay.

After the tour we went to find me a new backpack. I have been using a 40-45 ish liter backpack that Katie had for weekend trips in Luxembourg. After seeing all the backpack options at a couple stores I am amazing mine lasted this long! I thought my bag was just fine, top loading, one or two pockets, okay material.... But no. It would appear I have been living in backpack squalor for six weeks and didn't even know it! My back ripped at the seam between the top lid and the straps because it was not reinforced for extreme capacity. My new backpack is insanely reinforced, has a side zipper entry as well as top loading access, padding on the back, multiple compartments, bottoms compartment with divided to the inside, a rain cover(!), and a bunch of different straps and buckles to hold things to the outside. Amazing. If I knew how to write a sonnet, I would write one about my backpack. Also it is 55 liters, bigger than my old one. I'm still learning the best way to fit everything in it so I have my sheet attached to the outside. Better than before though where I had my sheet on one side and my towels on the other!

We did the pub crawl Saturday night. I'm done with pub crawls too, i think. No More museums and no more pub crawls. The pub crawls don't really end up being worth it. The free drinks are weak and the main draw is supposed to be free entry into a club, which I don't even like. So... No more. We did go to a few cool places though. Great live music. If they aren't playing traditional Irish music, they love johnny cash, kings of Leon and Mumford and sons. We went to the pub that was featured in ps I love you. I didnt recognize it though. I'll have to watch it again. The club was some giant place called dandelion. Bumpin music and insanely bright lights paired with weird trampy looking people and creepy guys= someplace I want to leave. We rayed for ten minutes listened to a couple jams and left.

I am so excited for doolin, little pubs with live music are so great. We went to a pub last night that we had gone to on the pub crawl and spent a couple hours there. Got a few pints and sang along with the guitar player. It was grand(say with Irish accent). Feckin' grand is a common phrase. It is not a rude word/curse word when it is pronounced "feck". Awesome. Using it at home.

We learned on the tour that they are some crazy laws in ireland, one being that everyone has to ain't their door a significantly differnt color than their neighbors. Why? Because too many drunk Irish people were stumbling into the wrong house at night causing a commotion with the real house owners. Hilarious. Our tour guide also had a really moving speech about Ireland's struggle for independence from the UK. He has givens hundreds of tours so I know he has had a lot of practice with this speech, but it was amazing, very impassioned, I almost cried.

We considered going to the guiness storehouse, and then didn't. Also considered going in trinity college's library... Then didn't. Too costly. The library was used as the Harry pott library though! So great. And we got guiness in a pub. So thrifty.

Shout out to mr kander if you are reading this, we did a bunch of things on your suggestion list, thanks! Popped in the bank vault bar and it looked really sweet. The crowd was a little to fancy for our current outfits but it was cool to look at!

Today we have to find the train station and get on a train to Galway. Once there we have to find a hostel. So not prepared. We will stay in Galway for a night then go to doolin where we have booked a couple if nights in a hostel that is a converted farm house. From there we wait for Ben! Woooooo.

Hope everyone reading this is doing well!

New and improved

Aug 1, 2011-0 by michelle.e.kowalski
Aug 1, 2011-0, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Ripped my backpack. Kind of to be expected with all the things I was cramming in there. Bought a new one, it is bigger and better! I still have my sheet strapped to the outside but I'm still figuring out the best way to pack everything in it, so I think next time i pack it I can get everything to fit. Hooray!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Jul 27, 2011-17 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 27, 2011-17, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Not sure what kind of racket this was. Seemed too small to shove your whole body through but whatever.


Jul 27, 2011-16 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 27, 2011-16, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.



Jul 27, 2011-5 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 27, 2011-5, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Strike a pose.

Changing of the guard

Jul 27, 2011-2 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 27, 2011-2, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Sooooo many guards

Camden markets

Jul 26, 2011-4 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 26, 2011-4, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Camden markets in the horse stables/horse hospital... Giant horse statues everywhere.


Jul 25, 2011-63 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 25, 2011-63, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

British chipotle!

End of England start of Ireland

So we had the wrong end date in our head... Thought we were leaving london on Friday but really we were supposed to leave Thursday. I thought of this Tuesday night after we had already planned out things to do for two more days. Oh well I'll just have to go back and finish being a tourist next time. Wednesday we went to see the changing of the guards which was hilarious. Tons of guys in red with giant furry hats marching around and playing marching band music. Wednesday musical selection including songs from phantom of the opera. Two of the guards in the fanciest outfits carried flags around, marched up to the each section of the gates where all the tourists were, lunged forward in a pose then pivoted and walked away. So funny.

After that we went to get our train/ferry railsail passes to Dublin. We went to kings cross to make the reservation and sent some time searching for Harry potter. The train workers stationed at platforms 9-11 have to spend all day laughing at Harry potter fans. There was construction happening all over the train station so we couldn't find Harry. Saw a few different groups of people walk all the way down to the end of the platform, look sad, and turn around. I went up to the train worker and was about to ask something when he said "platform 9 3/4?" haha duh. He directed us outside the station where the platform had been set up under some scaffolding and next to a fake brick wall put up during the construction. There were a lot if people milling about waiting to get into hogwarts. I couldnt get in, but I have to assume that there was just a house elf concerned for my safety blocking my way. If only I packed my flying car. Next time.

Speaking of next time, pretty much every day I add something else to my next time list. There are things from each city we have went that are on my mental "next time" list as well as new countries. Next time is going to be amazing!

After Harry potter we went to Coventry gardens, a plaza area where a lot of street performers go do weird things. Saw a guy pull his whole body through a mini tennis racket, woof. And a guy who juggled things. He spent too much time leading up to his final trick, knife juggling, that we had to keave to go pack so we didn't see it.

Went back to the hostel to pack up our lives and get ready for the pub crawl.

The pub crawl went through Camden, Camden is full of very interesting people. I think I would have fit in more if I shaved off a random patch of my hair, dyed the rest green, and pierced four things on my face. Next time.

The pub crawl was pretty fun, we went with two girls from norway that we met in the hostel. They managed to piss off some angry Australians by pretending to be from Ohio. We went to a cool bar/photo gallery/live music venue that used to be horse stables. The stables were each turned into different rooms with couches and tables and things. Cool. The bars closed around 2 or 3 though which was strange after going out in Spain until 6 am. We went back to the hostel bar and hung out there for a little bit before going to bed. Had to wake up at a reasonable hour Thursday.

We went and got our nails done before the train on Thursday. We found a cheap beauty training salon and I got a manicure and Amy got a pedicure. Hers turned out really well. Mine... Well the girl painting them was really nice! I think the nail polish was super old, or she put it on too thick because they have all those annoying bubbles in them now. Oh well, couldn't be any worse than how they looked before hand. And it was nice to just sit and relax for a little bit.

Took two trains to holyhead and got a ferry to Dublin. The ferry was crazy! I don't know what I was expecting, but this was super nice. Tables and chairs, bars, restaurants, movie screening area. The showed tangled. Score! I felt pretty sick at the beginning while we were just sittign on the water waiting to move, but it was okay ish later on. Should have brought some dramamine.

Got to Dublin, and realized that we didn't write down out hostel. Again. We are dumb. Tried to find free wifi somewhere to look it up, couldn't get McDonald wifi to work. There was an internet cafe across the street that was closing but the guy let us in to look up our hostel. Probably felt bad for us, we looked like dying pack mules. Eventually found the hostel with help from a few different nice Irish people. The hostel seems cool so far. Took a shower last night and the base filled up with so much water I thought it was going to overflow. I had to take a break and wait for it to go down before washing my hair. Might not be showering for the next four days.... Woke up on time for the free breakfast today, score! Amy is sleeping, but everyone else in our 8 person room was getting ready for the day, so i figured I would join them.

There is a free walking tour at noon today that we are going to try to find.

Also our friend Ben is going to join us in Ireland next week! So pumped!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hyde park

Jul 24, 2011-2 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 24, 2011-2, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Pretty day at hyde park

Paint balloons

Jul 25, 2011-17 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 25, 2011-17, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Paint balloons covered in plaster then shot at.

Harry potter bridge!

Jul 25, 2011-51 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 25, 2011-51, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.


Museums and markets

Went to the Tate modern museum yesterday. I think it was my favorite so far simply because the art inside was hilarious. One piece was a canvas with a mirror glued to it. That is all. Another was a white weirdly shaped octagon stuck to the wall. Loved it. I like one that reminded me of princess diaries. She filled baloons with paint and stuck them to the canvas, covered the whole thing in layers of plaster and then had people shoot at the piece to break the balloons. Sweet. It was very different from the Jesus painting filled museums we visited before.

Right outside the museum was the Harry potter death eater attack bridge. Millennium bridge I think is the real name. But it was sweet! We walked across it and I kept waiting for it to move and twist but it never did.
After that we walked around the outside of st Pauls cathedral and finally found a burrito place! I have wanted a giant chipotle-esque burrito for weeks. This place was called chilango and was essentially British chipotle. Hooray! So great.

Then we headed back to the hostel for happy hour and hung out with some hostelers. Talked with a guy who was a body guard for Michael Jackson when he stayed in London. Amazing. He said mj was a super nice guy, which is nice to know.

Today we went to the Camden markets. They are so huge. There were so many shops/stalls full of everything you could ever want, need, or think of. Goth clothes, frilly clothes, vintage, new, handmade, food, accessories, leather things, sunglasses, tights, I bet you could buy a pet if you tried. Some of the booths were in old horse stables and there were tons of horse statues around. I bought a pair of sunglasses because I have already broken the two pairs I brought with me. We got some indian food there, it was good, but I think I am too in love with Krishna to properly enjoy other restaurants.

Tonight we might do a pub crawl through Camden and tomorrow we are thinking of going to a park or platform 9 3/4.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Cone hat

Jul 23, 2011-28 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 23, 2011-28, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

Orange street cones as a hat for this man on horse statue. Sweet.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hello palace

Jul 23, 2011-8 by michelle.e.kowalski
Jul 23, 2011-8, a photo by michelle.e.kowalski on Flickr.

queen wasn't there. Bummer. But I guess it is pretty easy to break into the palace... Might have to do that.