Ryan King: GIT Reflections (E-mails sent to the Ramsey Family)
I’m still alive and currently kicking it in Mykonos, Greece with some friends of mine from school. To give a quick overview of what I have been doing to this point, please read on:
(no dates will be given, I’m just going with it) I flew in to London and made my way to visit a friend of mine from school, Joe Brown, who is working this summer in Belfast. The two of us took our traveling DJ show to Scotland where we met up with some folks in Glasgow.
I then went to Edinburgh for two days (really cool city) before meeting with my dad in London.
I changed my plans here and went to Brussels in the hopes of scoring a ticket to Euro 2000, and I got lucky by getting a ticket to the Belgium/Italy game. It was so worth the four successive nights of night trains that I took to get from there to Greece.
After Brussels (and the game), I went to Liege for the day to catch up on some memories from last year’s class that I took there. I then took a night train to Florence and spent my day there touring most of the art buildings (it was great) and then took a train to Brindisi to catch the ferry to Greece.
I boarded the TWENTY-hour ferry to Greece. That was not the coolest, but I did meet some cool people. Then I went from Patras to Athens and spent my first night in four in a bed. The next day found my touring the Acropolis in the morning before catching a flight to Mykonos in the afternoon. I’m now here till the 27th of this month before working my way up to Vienna for the 1st of July. My schedule should slow down nicely then.
Okay, sorry I was scant on the details here, but I wanted to clue everyone in to how I was doing. I miss everyone, and don’t feel like I’m copping out by replying this way. If you reply to this message, I promise I’ll do everything I can to get back to you personally. I hope this finds everyone in good health, and I’ll talk to you later.
July 18, 2000
Once again! Wow, it’s hard to believe that the last real update I gave everyone was from Greece, but I guess that’s what I get for being slack. I’m going to update everyone with what’s happened recently, so brace yourselves.
Last Monday, the 10th of July, I left Vienna-after my ten days there-and went to Mannheim, Germany. Why Mannheim, you ask? Well, two friends from school, Josh and Val, are finishing up a year long tenure there, so I thought I’d go and visit. I didn’t do too much in Mannheim, but I had a great time hanging out with Josh (and Val, but I didn’t see her much because her boyfriend was in town). I made a day trip up to Dortmund one morning to do some shopping, and I did a fair amount of sightseeing in Heidelberg too since it was only fifteen minutes from Mannheim via train. Heidelberg is really beautiful, and I hope my pictures come out.
Oh yeah, before I forget…I spent a few hours in Munich on the way to Mannheim, and I met some Americans there from Atlanta. Even cooler than meeting some Southerners was the fact that one of them is going to be a freshman at UA next year. I took down his name so that I can call him up some time next year just for the heck of it…but considering the fact that I favor a terrorist right now with my hair and beard, he might not accept my call.
Okay, so I left Germany on Thursday for Spain, and I decided to go through Paris since it’s a big city and I should easily be able to catch a night train, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. It turns out that I am somewhat of an idiot, for I didn’t realize that the next day was Bastille Day. Considering that it fell on a Friday, everyone and their mother (and their sister and their everyone) was going out of town to take advantage of the three day weekend. Therefore, everything to Spain was booked for several days. By the time that I figured out the enormity of the mess I was in, it was about 10:00 at night on Thursday.
I met an American named Pat from Seattle who was in the same mess I was, but, poor guy, that was his first day in Europe. We decided then and there to team up, mostly to watch each other’s back when we had to sleep in the train station that night. Then came an amazing stroke of luck…we figured out how to use our railpasses. I know that everyone who just read that sentence probably thinks that I am an idiot for not knowing the extent of my pass’s power, but the supplemental book you get with your pass don’t tell you all of the details. Basically, we have a guaranteed place on any train we want with the pass…those that are full just mean that I have to either stand or sit in the area between cars. We figured this out after we (Pat and I) had already jumped on a train heading to East France. We hopped this one just so that we could begin going south, but we had to get off in Dijon at 2:00 in the morning because our path would have severely diverged had we stayed on our present train any longer. We then had to wait until 7:30 to catch a train to Avignon, and we slowly, oh-so-slowly, pieced our way to Barcelona by 8:00 that night, not having a seat on any train until we snuck into first class about an hour from Barcelona. More adventure, for, once we got to Barcelona, there were no rooms. We called every hostel in both mine and Pat’s book to no avail. We were about to clear away a spot on the train station floor when I got a phone number of an unlisted hostel from the last place I called.
We hooked up with a married couple from Idaho (the girl could speak Spanish), and she worked out the details with the hostel and got us our directions. The place said we needed eight people to check out a room of eight beds, so we grabbed the first travelers we saw-two guys from Rice and a couple from the College of Charleston-and headed out. We got the room-rather, I got a mattress on the floor-but it was better than nothing. We took in Barcelona for a couple of days before catching a night train Sunday night to Malaga, in the South of Spain. That’s where I am now. Pat has a friend named Lee here who’s studying and has an apartment, so we’re kicking it with him now. Beach, beach, and more beach.
Oh yeah, almost forgot…another reason everyone was heading to Spain that Thursday night was because Friday was the last day of running with the bulls in Pamplona. Big time, from what I hear. Anywho, this is probably my last update until I get home, so I hope you enjoyed. I’ll probably hang out here one or two more days until I get up to London in time to spend a few days with my dad and such. Peace out.