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Our trip is a failure.

Monday, April 24th, 2006

So we are officially (maybe unofficially) back now.  Some stats on our trip:

Countries kicked out of: 0

National monuments desecrated: 0

European Countesses seduced: 0

European Duchesses seduced: 0

European Commoners seduced: 0

Fistfights with soccer hooligans: 0

Vampires defeated: 1.25 (the second was a half vampire and I only got credit for half the kill)

Werewolves defeated:0

Werewolves seduced: 0

Hasselhoff sightings: 0

ERA: 3.88

All in all we have to write this off as a learning experience.

The Great Fire of London burns in my pants.

Monday, April 24th, 2006

We got to London in the early afternoon. We went to our hotel to drop off our bags. We mostly stank of seawater and various venereal diseases but we wanted to get as much seen in London in the next two days as possible so there was no time for showering.

The Tube system in London is obscene. There are branches of branches of routes and colors (colours) for lines that range from green to forest to lime. We managed to find our way to the lower west side of the Thames to see the Parliament building, Big Ben, and a statue of Wilt Chamberlain that makes him look like Kingpin from the Marvel Comic Universe.

We went into Westminster Abbey to see the grand cathedral. The inside is very impressive and grand, but there are so many memorials and statues to the departed that it looks like they were thrown there by a violent behemoth working on a short deadline. That being said, holy crap there are some rich people in England.  We then journeyed to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We did this mainly so I could mock him and his supposed accomplishments, but the theater is actually cool to see. We then went to Wimbledon but were too late to see anything.

The next day we got up early and set off for the Tower of London. It is an impressive sight but there is almost too much to see. The armories are really neat even if you don’t like guns. My favorite moment was when I asked one of the beefeaters if they had bear baiting there and he immediately started laughing. He also guessed that we wanted directions to the dungeon area two seconds into our conversation. I guess Jay just has that look about him.

After the Tower, we still had time to kill so we tried to make our way to the Saatchi Gallery on recommendation from Florida. He neglected to mention that it was closed, as in gone. Neat trick, buddy. It turned out to be okay because they had Dali Universe on the other side of the buidling and it was open. We went in and took in the sights. There weren’t many paintings, mainly etchings and drawings, but they did have Spellbound which is incredible. The whole experience was very surreal. /rimshot

We then made our way to Matt’s place in Oxford. It turned out here landlady’s nephew was in town at the same time as us (with family) so we would be sleeping on Matt’s floor instead of the common room couches. Jay shows remarkable adaptability in situations like this and suffered without complaint. I am basically a masochist at heart.

We went out for a few pints the first night and turned in. The following day, we did the awesomely unthinkable and rented a car in England. Yours truly got to drive in England since I am over 25 and Jay is not. Matt had to work so we took the entire day and went to see Stonehenge and the Avebury rock formation. Stonehenge is very clean and roped off, but it is still pretty impressive to see. You get fairly close to get a good perspective on what it was like and how impressive building it must have been. The Avebury rock circle isn’t as impressive, but it isn’t roped off, you don’t have to pay to see it, and there is also Silbury hill close by. The rocks are in the middle of sheep pastures so the only trick is avoiding their leavings.  There is also a burial mound close by but we ran out of time and had to get the car back to Oxford.

A word about driving in England, the only real trick is shifting with your left hand.  And I don’t drive manual normally so it took a while for me to get the feel down again.  I left a significant portion of the tires in the Stonehenge parking lot.  Also, I drove on the right side for a portion of the trip.  It was an empty road with no lines painted.  I would argue that it was entrapment.

We returned to Oxford for dinner and a few drinks with Matt and Andrea.  The following day Matt showed us around Oxford.  The University is composed of a loose alliance between 36 different colleges.  Many of these are significantly old and have a lot of history to them.  It is pretty neat to see all of the old chapels and such.  Matt’s friend Heather also took us up one of the towers to get a cool view of the campus.  Overall it was pretty cool.

It was our last night of our trip so we went out for a traditional English meal (bangers and mash, actually better than it sounds) and then got tanked.  Matt, Jay, and I stumbled back to Matt’s place in a drunken stupor.  Jay called Valerie on the street and we proceeded to have the conversation every group of friends has with their buddy’s girlfriend.  At some point along the route home Jay got in the quote of the night:

Old English Slags: Where are you guys from?

Caleb: Chicago.

Old English Slags: We love your accent.

Jay: First of all, we don’t have an accent, you do.

Good times.

…the beaches at Normandy…

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006
The overnight express put us in Paris with no time to sightsee.  We figured we were better off anyway since I haven't spoken French regularly in more than ten years.  Eventually, we made our way to Bayeux.  Once there, we ... [Continue reading this entry]

It’s Mainz, not yours

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006
I know I'm behind on this.  Hopefully I can get caught up in the next day and a half.  After a very brief train ride, we were in Mainz, a medium sized German city.  Kyle is studying there at the Max Plank Institute.  ... [Continue reading this entry]

Vaihingen cannot be pronounced.

Saturday, April 15th, 2006
Eight years ago Jay participated in a foreign-exchange program with a school in Germany.  The student he was paired with was named Sabine and she is a fun, little German girl who is nice enough to let Jay stay with ... [Continue reading this entry]

A Journey with no Steve Perry

Friday, April 14th, 2006
Saturday we packed up early and headed for the train station to catch a train from Athens to the western coast of Greece. From there we were to board an overnight ferry to Italy. The day started with bad karma ... [Continue reading this entry]


Thursday, April 13th, 2006
Just a few pictures from Athens. Not in the mood to update right now. Check back later. Hosted by Hosted by Hosted by

No man is a Mykonos

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006
Okay, The next updates are going to be in series so I don't have to do this all at once.  So eventually this will be up to date but for now I am limiting the discussion of this entry to our ... [Continue reading this entry]

Athens in Ruins

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
We have now walked Athens North to South pretty much in its entirety.  My feet are sore and I need a nap but the sites here are pretty cool.  For those interested, the National Archeology Museum is incredible.  Athens is a ... [Continue reading this entry]

F***** Hostel

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006
Writing this in Athens at our Hostel. It's alright. Hostels are hostels. Athens is a maze. I'm just glad to be off a plane and sleeping in a bed. Our room stinks like Jay. No pics yet. ... [Continue reading this entry]