I'm back home, recovered from jet lag, happy to have made a dream come true, and ready to plot my next adventure. There are quite a few new ones that have surfaced since returning home. More on that at a later time. First, Wonder Woman needs a new pair of boots!
Time for a recap of events in the last few cities of my adventure. Leaving Greece was hard for me on many levels because it felt like home to me. One friend said the best remedy for getting over a broken heart is to go have an affair with another lover. Well, why not give that philosophy a try by applying it to visiting other cities in Europe? Paris and I had a rocky start, but managed to see some magical moments. Oh, and then there was the cheeky visit with Amsterdam. So much fun! How could I forget the cozy moments with Copenhagen? Those memories of The Laundromat Cafe.... Priceless! Then I was reconnected with my first love in Reykjavik - ROAD TRIP!!! So, yes, having an affair with a new lover certainly helps you forget the other lover, but it can be exhausting! Now that everyone's mind is in the gutter (thanks to my description) I'll take a left turn to clean it up.
Paris - My arrival had me in an emotional state and very tired! I left Santorini at 12pm and arrived in Paris at 10pm because of layovers and delays. I did the most amateur thing a tourist could do - I got into an unmarked taxi cab and ended up paying for it. It was a quick education on staying sharp while traveling. The next morning is when life hit hard. After a good crying jag in the hotel room and a quick breakfast the best choice going forward was to see what kind of adventure Paris would offer. Paris delivered!
It was so easy to step into the life of a Parisian by doing a solo walking adventure. Let the wind (quite literally) guide you through the wonderful streets of Paris. Since I didn't have to meet my travel mate until 5pm at the Louvre it was all about power walking. The sounds, shops, foods, and cafes were a marvel to the senses. The fashion was incredible! Somehow I found my way to the Eiffel Tour, but chose not to wait in the three hour line to see life from the top. I'll save that for another visit. At one point I impressed myself with my ability to understand French at a cafe. The entire ordering process/experience was in French - speaking, listening, and reading. Not having studied French it sort of surprised me in a good way.
The only real downside to Paris was not being able to see the insides of any museums. They were closed due to a National Holiday or on strike. All of this simply means I'll be planning another visit to Paris. The big highlight of Paris was visiting my friend Guy and his fiance Summer. Guy knew of my love for hot chocolate and promised to take to the best place in town for hot chocolate. This hot chocolate was better than dot dot dot and other dot dot dot stuff. Wow! The French do it right with hot chocolates. My time with Guy and Summer went way to quickly. We are trying to figure out a time to reconnect next year for their wedding in Brittany. Keeping my fingers crossed for that adventure.
Now that my savvy knowledge of taxi drivers was fully implemented (along with some coaching from Guy) it was time to head to the train station. Amsterdam called.
Amsterdam - This has to be one of my favorite European cities! For many reasons. Let your mind wonder as far as you want. Go ahead and take five minutes and imagine all the shenanigans I could get into. I'll wait....... Ok, now that you are laughing with all your thoughts of the trouble I could get into refocus. For the record dot dot dot, and you can't prove it. That is about all you will get me to admit to. Outside of that I was lucky enough to meet up with my friend Giuseppe. He gave me an incredible tour of the area complete with history lessons. Saw the Heineken brewery, cool art studios, the palace, The Dam, Red Light District (my eyes are still in shock over some things), tall ships, public library, and so much more. It was such an easy town to navigate. Even more tempting was to pack it all up for a permanent move to this fabulous city. Not exactly sure why I stopped myself either.
At one point Giuseppe introduced me to his his wife and best friend. We all met at a windmill that was converted into a brewery. Best blond beer on tap anywhere. Complete with good cheese served with celery salt. Good stuff! All of us had a good time comparing notes about our experiences in different countries. Or talking about different things in our own countries. That was a conversation to always remember! After dinner we went our separate ways. Amsterdam is on my list of places to visit again soon!
After one bus ride, a train ride, then a plane ride, and one last train ride I was in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen - This is where it finally hit me that my journey in Europe was within days of coming to an end. Most of my time was spent journaling, walking, journaling some more, and wondering what was next. At some point I decided to do laundry. This was my first experience with just how expensive this place is. After several frantic searches for a laundromat on google The Laundromat Cafe was found. I walked about three kilometers with laundry bags in hand to the destination. This place turned out to be a remedy for all things in a tourists life. A cafe complete with a menu of delicious food, coffee, alcoholic beverages, dessert, free wi-fi, AND you do your laundry. Think art deco meets trendy crossed with a book store. You have to see the pictures to understand. I was able to wash and dry my clothing, eat a good meal, surf the net, and enjoy a cup of coffee for cheaper than the hotel washing one pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and one pair of socks! Love my knack for finding quirky cafes.
The other favorite part of Copenhagen was meeting a long time pen pal, Jette, for the first time. It was like we had met many times before. She and her husband made me the traditional Danish Christmas dinner for my welcome. It was so much fun and tasted so good. Her kids were a lot of fun to interact with too. We picked a day to go sight seeing by way of walking, canal tour, and more walking. We saw The Little Mermaid statue, but what was more entertaining was the swan that had its behind sticking in the air pointed at all the tourists taking pictures. This set the mood for the rest of the Jette Tour of Copenhagen. One laugh after another was to be had for the rest of the day. It really was a fun time. We even went to a wonderful bakery for hot chocolate and dessert. Perfect way to end the day and my time in Copenhagen. I miss Jette and her family.
The next day was filled with a train ride, plane ride, and a very long bus ride to Reykjavik. This is where my sweater and spring jacket were put to the test of how warm it could keep me. It failed miserably.
Reykjavik - Even though only one night was spent here it got my wheels turning about my next adventure. A few locals told me about different things to see in Iceland. I now have my next road trip adventure planned out - 10 days in Iceland! Yes, I'm crazy enough to do something like this. Luckily they drive on the same side of the road that I do, and have about as warped of a sense of adventure too. The shops provided plenty of entertainment with the references to Vikings and Trolls. This is the land of trolls. Haven't a clue as to why either. Walking up and down the streets as a tourist had me cracking up. There are things here that you just don't see in everyday life. Well, except maybe Seattle, WA. Which reminded me that home was within hours not days or weeks.
So begins the journey home and integrating my life back to the States. I want to thank Amy and Joni for picking me up from the airport and helping me get back home. Couldn't have done it with out your both! Thanks!!
After 13 weeks away from work to make a couple of dreams come true this year I'm ready to close one chapter of my life and start creating the next. I'm not exactly sure what is next for me next year, but I have a few really good ideas of what it might be. Until then, my next adventure will be cooking a Greek Christmas dinner for my family. I will never be the same, and nor will my friends and family. Opa!