Monday, July 28, 2014

Birthday in Innsbruck

Wednesday 23 July
When I wake up Kathrina sings me 'happy birthday'. What a way to start the morning. Lea told us of a local breakfast place which is delicious so we decide to go. 

And the sun was shining! Yay for birthday sun! After the coffee was gone, we noticed our neighbors at the next table had wine. Hmm. Obviously a birthday wine at noon is acceptable. 

RIGHT as we were paying it started to rain. No joke. Rain means we have to spend the day inside shopping. Shucks. Okay and we did a little sightseeing too. 

For my birthday wish I wanted a gigantic chocolatly cake. Lea also conveniently provided a bakery so in the late afternoon we sat on the river and ate cake, strawberries & cream, and bubbles. 

After dessert we headed back through the city to Lea and Lucas' for dinner. 

Dinner on the patio while looking at the mountains. 

Rain Followed us to Innsbruck

Thursday 22 July
First thing I did today was check the weather forecast. Sadly, it was the same as yesterday. Rain rain rain in every city in the area. After little deliberation we decide to go to Innsbruck. Kathrina has friends there that she thinks can host us. 

Our breakfast from the farmer. 

While we we're siting on the back of the camper eating, an Italian man walked by and asked "cafe?" along with the drinking motion and waves us to his camper across the path. He spoke no English or German and we don't know Italian, so while the coffee was brewing we spoke via gestures about the weather. 

After leaving our new Italian friend, we check out of the campground and go into Seis for some sightseeing before the rain hits. 

The drive through the mountains was gorgeous and about halfway to Innsbruck we saw a convent on a mountain and decided to stop. It was a 30 minute hike from the city. 

View from the convent. 

We get to Innsbruck and no one is answering their phones. With no place to stay yet, we go to the city center and walk around in the rain. 

Eventually Kathrinas friend Lea answers and says that she and her boyfriend Lucas would be more than willing to host us! We have some snacks, beer and chat before heading to bed. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Camping in the Rain

Sunday 20 July
At 12:50, Chiara, Nico, Lino and Christina put me on the train to Bolzano. Once again, I'm so sad to leave a place I've grown to love, yet excited for the next spot. There are worse problems to have, I know. 

I spend the next 6 hours speeding through northern Italy. I get to Bolzano, and there waiting for me is Kathrina. It's been 4 years since we studied together in the Netherlands. She has a weekend of camping and hiking planned, and as she lays out our options I get really excited. There are castles and mountains and wine roads. Eeeeeee

At the campground we park our camper and get some pizza and wine from the only restaurant open. 

No chairs needed, blankets on the ground will do just fine. I'm sure our neighbors were thrilled at our antics. 

Monday 21 July
I wake up to the sound of rain. Kathrina and I look at each other wide-eyed, then start laughing. We didn't even THINK about the possibility of rain. Oy. My second thought is about the leftover pizza that we kept on top of the camper. There is no devastation like ruined leftover pizza - and there went our breakfast. With no reason to get out of the camper, we sleep til 11. 

Kathrina heard of a local organic farmer who sold his own cheese, meat, and bread at a little store on his farm. The rain can't ruin that for us, thank goodness. Thinking it was right around a corner, we parked the camper and walked.... And walked... But it was okay because it was only lightly sprinkling... (That will change) As we approached the farm I laughingly said "haha what if it's closed!" Then "OMG it's closed..." In typical Kathrina fashion, she says "well, we'll just ask them to open it for us" and rings the doorbell. Just then the farmer comes around the corner and welcomes us into the store. He then takes us into the cave where he cures the meat for some samples. He spoke no English so Kathrina was my translator.

He also forced homemade schnapps on us.... We really protested. 

One hour and 10€ later we leave with a bag full of sausages, speck, cheese and bread. Unbelievably cheap. 

It's now downpouring. By the time we get to the car were completely soaked through and freezing. I had seen a sign earlier for a hotel advertising their sauna... You can see where this is heading. 

At 1:30 we asked the hotel about the sauna. The receptionist told us that it normally doesn't open til 5, but they'll make an exception and start it all up for us. There are three saunas: Turkish, Finnish, and bio. We can spend all day in there if we'd like. It was so warm and perfect AND for a while we were the only ones in there. Eventually other people caught on to our brilliant idea. We sat in lounge chairs and watched the rain in between sauna sessions. Not a bad way to spend a rainy day. 

We tear ourselves away from the sauna at 4:30 and dive back into the rain. Back at the pizza place for early dinner, and THIS time we kept our leftover pizza inside the bus. Kathrina said that she couldn't handle the loss a second time and I wholeheartedly agreed. 

We spent the night in the camper, drinking wine and talking. One of our neighbors asked us to please be quiet because his kids were sleeping. We tried I swear. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sailing in Hyères

Saturday 12 July
Spent the morning eating breakfast, hanging out in a hammock, and playing more Molky. 

At 4 we pack up and A picks us up for our trip to Hyères which is about an hour drive. We're going to sail from Hyères to Toulon early tomorrow morning. After checking the beach in Hyères, and deciding it's not windy enough for kite surfing we get a beer. 

Then head to a local rhummerie for infused rum. We went with vanilla then strawberry. 

Goes great with pizza. 

Sunday 13 July
Sailing day! We were kinda nervous because it wasn't too windy at first, but that changed fast. 

About an hour into our sail it was incredibly windy and wavy so we got drenched, but hey what's 4 hours at sea without a little waves?

We took the bus back to Hyères for a little kite surfing and to pick up the car, then drove back to Cannes. 

I only watched because I didn't want to kill myself. It does seem really fun though... Next time. 

Glow Sticks and Facepaint

Friday 18 July
At the Brazilian restaurant on Wednesday, Chiara's friend Cami told me I should go to Mole Antonelliana because it has a cool cinema museum as well as an elevator that takes you to the top to view the city. It's another stifling hot day, so spending some time in an air conditioned building sounds perfect. 

This place was great for several reasons: A/C, free wifi, and interactive displays throughout the museum. 

First I went up to see the view. 

At 3 I realize I've been here entirely too long, and hit the streets. 

Lunch in the grass by the library. 

This was my view for lunch. 

Found this place when I got gelato. It's always gelato-time and I'm completely obsessed with lemon flavor right now. 

Today one of Chiara's friends graduated, and was throwing a party. Chiara had to work late, so Cami picked me up and Chiara met us there. 

Cami and Chiara wrote Alisa a poem to honor her graduation. 

At 11, we all went to Valentino park to continue the celebration. 

We found glow-in-the-dark facepaint!

I pulled the 'I'm an American visiting Torino!' card and got two glow sticks. Sometimes it works. 

We had a very fun night.