Move over, Napoleon: Two months taking over Europe

Originally, this was going to be a post about our first month of travel. But, an entire second month has flown by and I never really got around to finishing that first update post.


It’s quite difficult to capture each and every city I’ve been to in words without turning it into a novel. By the time I finish writing that, it’ll be much farther into my adventure and I want to share at least something before any more time passes. 

For those of you who have lost track at home, here’s where I’ve been since we left Austin on June 18th: 

  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Limerick & Dublin, Ireland
  • Amsterdam & Baarlo, The Netherlands
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Cluj, Romania
  • Riva Del Garda & Bologna, Italy
  • Leuven & Brugges, Belgium

I have laid eyes on the most stunning views I’ve ever seen, I am starting to lose track of how many castle ruins I’ve climbed through, and I’ve tasted glorious foods I didn’t even know existed. I have managed to meet up with some truly fantastic people, some old friends and some new ones. 

I have also had the opportunity to really refine my photography skills and write/record music in new and wonderful places.

Highlights So Far

hairycoo

Edinburgh, Scotland

We visited the Highlands in Scotland, led by the Hairy Coo tour… and if you’re ever in Edinburgh, please try them out. They are truly fantastic.

Honestly though? I was most excited to get to see my friend Hope while we were there! Who would have guessed the UK is where I would next see my Australian friend?


castles

Limerick, Ireland

We hiked 10km in drizzle through mostly non-pedestrian highways to get to Carrigogunnell Castle from our hotel. We did some absolutely stunning photography there.


campfire

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I was sick. Emma had fun, though. It was right when The Netherlands won one of their last games in the World Cup. 

In other news, a Red Light District lady was insistent on figuring out whether I was a man or a woman. “The world will never know,” I called back over my shoulder.

By the end of the week I was well enough to attend a campfire in the middle of the woods with a lot of new CouchSurfing friends!


baarlo-cow

Baarlo, The Netherlands

We stayed with photographer Rutger ten Broeke and his wife, Blanca, at their unbelievably scenic home in farmlands. There, we got to learn how to develop film in his own dedicated dark room — which was actually a whole building unto itself out in the backyard. 


berlin-gate

Berlin, Germany

Oh, Berlin. Where we ate 3 Euro doner, daily. It felt like we lived in the U Bahn. We barely saw daylight… leaving our room at sunset to go dancing and exploring, and returning by around 5/6am during sunrise. 2 weeks was nowhere near long enough. I want to live in Berlin.

I can’t even get started talking about Berlin, because I would never stop.


romania

Cluj, Romania

We partied so hard in Berlin, that we mixed up the times and missed our flight to Cluj. After spending one full day in the airport, we made it to Romania. The family we stayed with makes palinka (a dangerous Hungarian liquor, which I have written about before) and had more than they knew what to do with. Due to this, and the fact that a 2.5L bottle of beer is only 1.50 Euro, I was very often embarrassingly drunk while we were there.

However, we also some of the best homemade food found anywhere and were surrounded by great company. Our new friend André even fixed my guitar for me!


riva-del-garda

Riva Del Garda, Italy

Neither Italy or Belgium were originally on the menu for this trip. We were to spend 3 weeks in Romania, but this changed to just 1 week… leaving us with some time to fill before our apartment in Budapest would be ready.

A photographer Emma had been recommended to in Northern Italy was happy to have us. Primo didn’t speak a lot of English, but he didn’t really have to. He was one of the most delightful people we have ever met, and basically knew everybody in town. He had access to the most gorgeous views and interesting places, and was more than pleased to show us all of them while we stayed by the lake for a few days.

Also, see: Best pasta, pizza, and wine. Ever. (Did you know that tuna on pizza is actually really amazing?)


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fil5XzEwsCI]

Leuven, Belgium

Did I mention we stayed in an abandoned mental hospital? We visited there briefly in March, but this time we stayed a few nights with Pascal, an amazing photographer who took over one of the buildings back in 2003. 

Salve Mater and the art created there is a magical experience. We were then allowed to be there during the first day of one of Pascal’s workshops — Emma modeled, and I assisted in the kitchen and helped get things taken care of for the actual participants.

Not to mention, several of the rooms had great acoustics — so I spent a lot of time playing and recording guitar everywhere.

What’s Been Difficult

It has been really hard to consistently stay in touch with everybody.

Even when there is wifi, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of news and information and people there are to keep up with. Often the wifi is good enough to hold a text chat, but not much of the wifi we’ve encountered really holds up for video.

We are now here in Budapest for a month, and I’m looking forward to having enough downtime with good enough wifi to get back in touch with people again, as well as spend some time on my personal projects (and maybe some small freelance gigs).

That’s all for now, folks…

I am sure to post more about my adventures and travels, but I wanted to get a quick update out before stalling any longer. If there’s somewhere you’d like to hear more about in particular, do let me know and I will post those stories first!

In closing, please enjoy these gratuitous pictures of me around the world: