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Brugge Part II

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View Europe 2010 on Khandilee's travel map.

Yeah...It took me a little bit to get to part II, but here it is:

Brugge is BEAUTIFUL!! I loved it!! What a great place to spend a relaxing day away. The city was all lit for Christmas and there is an Ice Rink in the middle of the center with Christmas music and children laughing....yep, sounds just like a Christmas story; doesn't it!?

After a restful nights sleep at Charlie Rockets we started the day at another hostel, called Bauhaus. It's full of charm and has a very relaxing and cozy feel. "crammed full with impressive mirrors, old lamps from the Paris subway, neogothic arches, easy couches...." and an old clock above the bar that runs backwards! If I had known of this place; we would have stayed here (not that our place was bad).

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Arron and I mapped out a walking tour for ourselves in an effort to minimize the time exposed to the elements. It was wicked COLD! Our next stop was at Pas Partout for some traditional Flemish cuisine for lunch. The atmosphere was bland but where it lacked, the food made up for it. Aaron and I both chose the stoverij (beef stewed in beer) with frites (fries) for a mere 10Euro.

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Next off to the Belfry....

For those of you that don't want to click on the link and are wondering what the Belfry is; it's a beautiful bell tower in the center of Brugge. Aaron braved the 366 steps to the top to take in the view (I stayed below and chatted with a gentleman from Ohio!)

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The rest of the day was spent wandering around trying to find other obscure points of interest without much luck. I was freezing and got a little bitchy (yes, really! Me! Bitchy!?).
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We ended the day with a wonderful Belgian Waffle from a street stand....OMG!! I want to go back just for the Waffle!!!! It was perhaps the best thing that I have ever tasted. Beat the one we had in Brussels hands-down! Hot....sweet.....moist in the middle...crispy on the outside...... I'm drooling just thinking about it!

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Aaron was attempting to pay for our parking and ended up breaking the machine. Here he is trying to get it all figured out....
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The drive back was long...about 5 hours. Aaron was flying out Monday morning so we were late getting in and early rising to make it to the train in time to get him to the airport for the flight....

Aaron always finds a way to make things interesting. He took the train at 0512 and arrived in Frankfurt to the airport around 0700....flights were being canceled all over the board when he arrived. The flight that he had hoped to take was full and he wasn't able to make the flight. Food and water were being handed out to stranded passengers. People were camped out everywhere.....

He tried all day to get on another flight, without success. Around 10pm he called and told me that he was going to take the train back to Landstuhl. After he hung up, I looked up the train and it had a warning that the connection might not connect due to his train being late. I frantically tried to notify him (he didn't have a phone). Aaron ended up getting on the train with fingers crossed. Somehow, the train split and he ended up in Germersheim instead of Landstuhl (about an hour and half away from me) around midnight! I looked at the train schedules to see where we could get him so he could have a warm place to sleep and there were NO trains until 0430! I'm not certain of all the details but I think he slept a while in a phone booth and pretended to be a vagrant for the evening at the train station....

He finally arrived back in Landstuhl around 0600! What a nightmare!!

He is safe here with me for now and we will probably be having Christmas together....

Posted by Khandilee 11:11 Archived in Belgium Tagged automotive Comments (2)

My Car (That I can't drive yet)

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Posted by Khandilee 14:15 Archived in Germany Tagged automotive Comments (1)

Stats on the Pre-Germany Road Trip

Because I'm a geek and I know that you want to know!!

Total Miles Driven: 7511

Home to Ottumwa, IA = 471 miles
to Denver, CO = 586 miles
to Clearfield, UT = 562 miles
to Halfway, OR = 488 miles
to Portland, OR = 554 miles
to Willow, CA = 491 miles
to San Fran, CA = 337 miles
to LA, CA = 367 miles
to Tucson, AZ = 489 miles
to Nogales; El Paso; Austin, TX = 1116 miles **Most driven in one stretch
to New Orleans, LA = 682 miles
to Ft Walton Beach, FL = 314 miles
to Georgetown, IN = 778 miles
to Home = 276 miles **Least driven in one stretch

Total States visited (only counted if I stopped in a state): 11 States; 2 Countries
Iowa
Nebraska
Colorado
Wyoming
Idaho
Oregon
California
Arizona
Mexico
Texas
Louisiana
Florida

Total Days on Trip: 32

Total Nights in Hotel: 7
Halfway, OR = 1 night
Clearfield, UT = 1 night
Willow, CA = 1 night
Tucon, AZ = 1 night
New Orleans, LA = 3 nights

Total Friends visited: 15
Robert; Ottumwa, IA
Jason; Fremont, NE
Teresa K; Kearney, NE
Teresa P; Denver, CO
Kim; Portland, OR
Mike; Portland, OR
Aaron; San Francisco, CA
Judy; Los Angeles, CA
Stephanie; New Orleans, LA
Jenni; Ft Walton Beach, FL
Lisa; Georgetown, IN
Connie; Georgetown, IN
Randall; Corydon, IN
Tony; Corydon, IN
Jason; Corydon, IN

Total New Acquaintances: 14
Lisa; Denver, CO
Dick and Charlene; Hell's Canyon, OR
Jared; Hitchhiking in OR
Peter; San Francisco, CA
Brent; San Francisco, CA
Derek; San Francisco, CA
Matt; San Francisco, CA
Tom; Los Angeles, CA
Don; Palm Springs, CA
Antonio; Nogales Mexico
Trish; Austin, TX
Eric; Austin, TX
Nate; New Orleans, LA
Ricky; Ft Walton Beach, FL

Aco's Doggie Friends: 4
Dakota; Denver, CO
Blacky; Hells Canyon, OR
Bentley; Portland, OR
Leo; San Francisco, CA

I was lucky to have no major traffic jams, no automobile break-downs, no sick days; and only FABULOUS experiences all along the way!

Thank you to all the friends (old and new) that helped make this trip possible!!

Posted by Khandilee 19:26 Archived in USA Tagged automotive Comments (3)

A Hitchhikers Tale

Ok, please DONT FREAK OUT!! I'm ok....no harm done! I promise that I was careful and I didn't tell you until now because I knew that you would all have a heart-attack!!

I picked up a hitch-hiker! Yes! It was SO MUCH FUN!!!

How? Why?

I was driving along I5 somewhere in Southern Oregon chatting with Teresa on the phone and came upon a hitcher. He looked innocent enough...young kid (around Corey's age), clean looking, with a backpack and a guitar strapped on his back. 'OHHHH Teresa!! It's a hitchhiker! Can I pick him up?!' Well, you can imagine what the response from Teresa was, "HELL NO, Are you CRAZY?" As I pleaded with my friends good senses, there was a fuel stop for the Explorer. I took advantage of the stop (as I passed the hitcher), and stopped to feed the explorer and my-self. After eating and taking Aco potty, I hopped back onto the road. I had continued thinking about the hitchhiker and was certain that he would be about at the exit I was on by this time. I was right!! As I approached the on-ramp to the interstate, there he was! Rolling down my window, I shouted "where you headed". He was going my way it seemed so he jumped into the Explorer and off we went!!

I was correct in my first assumptions that he was just a young man. Let me introduce you.
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Jared is a 21 y/o from Denver on a very similar journey as I am. He left Denver hitching (and his mother is having near daily heart-palpitations), going from one town to the next and staying with friends. Some he knows and other were recommended through other friends. He is playing music along the way and hoping to find work in California to fund his trip for just a little while longer. He loves photography and has a tripod strapped to his pack.

We chatted easily along the drive. He was headed to Ukiah, CA to stay with friends there. Now, Ukiah is a little off the path that I was originally going to take.....but, looking at the map I decided that if I were to drive him all the way to Ukiah, I could then hop over to the ocean and enjoy some great scenery along the way.

We got as far as Willow, CA and I was getting tired of driving and hungry. I got a hotel room and Jared splurged on pizza and beer. Yes, we shared a hotel room and NO, nothing else (except some pizza and beer)!! It was great to have someone else along for part of the drive.

The next morning, after fueling ourselves with the free breakfast we hit the road again. Along the way to Ukiah, Jared got a text about a favorite band of his that was going to be playing in San Fran. He knew that I was headed to SF and asked if he could ride the rest of the way. Of course!

We traveled through a mountainous area with winding roads, great redwoods, and beautiful vistas. Stopped at Sonoma Lake, and finally made it to the coast. It was a long drive but the scenery was beautiful. Along the coast were more beautiful vistas and winding roads.
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I was impressed by Jared's courage, attitude about life and personality in general. We had an enjoyable time on the road. It was equally exciting for me as for him when we wandered out to the beach for a little stroll. It's fun sharing new experiences with people. Although I had previously explored California beaches, it seems that Jared had not. It was like seeing everything new again through someone else's eyes.

We made it all the way to San Francisco, then got stuck in traffic trying to cross over the Golden Gate Bridge. With the recent cable breaking on the Bay Bridge, the traffic was horrid! I'm at Peter and Brent's now and was greeted as an old friend.

More on San Francisco later...

(don't forget to check out the gallery for more photos. These are some of the best of the trip so far!)

Posted by Khandilee 09:56 Archived in USA Tagged automotive Comments (3)

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