Monday, July 06, 2009

the greatest story ever told

well we reach the end, i spent the night with Jordan last night in Lyon, and ill start the end of my tale there. i arrived at the train station and met Jordan and his brother Jeremy. Jordan has a broken arm from some drunken encounter with a fence and concrete, so Jeremy was driving him around to pick me up. We head back to their house and then Jeremy goes to the skatepark while i shower and get ready for dinner. We had an awesome meal of ratatouille and kebabs that his mother made for all of us... but Jeremy wasnt there...
about an hour later there is a phone call to the house that Jeremy has to go to the hospital because he broke his foot. So this sounds like a funny story huh? It was really funny to see them both in matching casts. Whats the significance you may ask? Oh, thats because I am now the only one physically able to drive us around last night. I do not have an international driving permit, nor do I like driving around in traffic identical to the french connection. On top of that Jordan didnt even really know where the party we went to last night was. So it was quite an adventure, but I met all Jordans friends last night and had a good time, and i didnt kill us, which was my main goal. i got up today and we went over to one of his buddies places to eat lunch and then I hopped on the train to Nice. of course this train was full, so i had to pay the fine when i got on, but i did luck into a first class seat.

so here is the story, I met my friend from Mexico in London, went to a stag party in Tallinn, rode a boat to Finland, got lost in Helsinki, went to a dolphinarium in Klaipeda, rode a van from Vilnius into Latvia, had a good train ride in Riga, spent 12$ on a beer in Copenhagan, followed some Swedish to Christiania, rode a train onto a boat to get to Germany, blacked out like an idiot in Berlin, lost a flip flop in the great Czech flip-flop disaster, saw the biggest castle in Europe in Prague, ate a sausage in Vienna, took a 19 hour sauna ride to get to Croatia, cursed the weather in Split, rode a catamaran to Hvar, rented a boat with some ridiculous Canadians, should have stayed longer in Zagreb, fell in love with Buda (even though i may have seen someone die) and went to bathes in Pest, had another good trip to the englishgarten in Munich, jumped out of a helicopter in Switzerland, went to a high school party in Lyon, and now im living up my last night in Nice.

i hope everyone enjoyed a small taste of my travels, this was absolutely the best trip i have taken yet, and it couldnt have been any better or any more ridiculous. traveling alone makes every day a little more interesting, and every night an adventure. there is no better way.
so now i am about to head down to the riviera to try and find Paul Lehman, the piano player at the Hotel Negresco, and maybe play the slots again here and see if i cant luck into a few hundred euros again.

thats all ive got, adios everyone

Saturday, July 04, 2009

and finally my skydive video

Here is the video

click on the link above, its hard to not look like a bitch before jumping out of a helicopter, so for that i am sorry

if it doesnt work go to YouTube and search for skydive interlaken graham

a few pictures

i found a chicks computer i could use, so here are a few pictures. i posted right before this so read that for the highlights of yesterday. i got to cruise around the peaks of those mountains before we jumped. still cant believe it.

Happy Birthday, America

So another 4th of July abroad for me, my 4th in 5 years. Apart from
feeling like an expat, there are several things that help me enjoy
Independence day abroad. 1. Americans use this day as an excuse to
abuse other English speakers, mainly the British and Canadians 2.
Austrailians use our Independence day as an excuse to go even crazier
than usual 3. Loads of deals at American restaurants 4. Dressing like
a patriot (idiot)- people, regardless of nationality, love to wear
stupid looking shirts with American flags all over it 5. The Harley
Davidson summer festival in Interlaken this weekend- should be self

So if you hadn't already guessed, I am still in Interlaken. Yesterday
was too nice to waste being on a train, so I went rafting instead. The
river was great, the water was pretty high and fast. You can refer to
my previous post in summer 05 for details of the river. YouTube video
of jump is still not up, but I am going to walk over there today to
see what the deal is. I have been out all morning searching for some
Budweuser, but as of yet my search has yielded zero results. In my
room the last few days there have been two chicks from south Georgia
and a few guys from Texas (and one Canadian that we are going to pick
on), so we are all going to go down to lake today (because I'm
obviously not going to travel on a national holiday) and then probably
get some good ole American mcDonalds for dinner.

Here are a few notes for Tyree (who was with me last time in
Interlaken): backpackers villa is still full of asians goig to the
Jungfrau, I have searched for the little car we rented but have not
been able to find d it for an updated picture, the guiness tent at
funny farm was destroyed in a snowstorm, the bonfire pit is no more,
and Balmers still sucks.

So I guess I have to leave tomorrow, Jordan is going to be back in
Lyon tomorrow, so I'll probably go there, unless it's a lot easier to
go to Nice. I hope everyone has a great day on your respective rivers
and lakes, see everyone in a few days.

Friday, July 03, 2009

I jumped out of a helicopter...

...and had I been able to make any noise I probably would have
screamed like a girl. So I was going to write this yesterday and post
the YouTube video of my jump, but it still isn't up there yet. I will
post the link whenever it's available, the video is awesome, and I've
also got like 20 still pictures.

I left Munich around noon on Tuesday and train hopped all day, and
then of course as soon as I arrived here it started thunderstorming. I
was prepared for this, and I have come up with several fun games over
the last few weeks that involve swearing into the sky as loud as
possible. So I hung out and played pool with an Aussie from my room,
and then for dinner I remembered a small tidbit from the last time I
was in Interlaken. They have a Hooters here. So the Aussie was
immediately down, and just when I thought my chicken wing and baseball
withdrawls were at their worst, I was delivered into the promised land
(I actually had to watch cricket, but since I don't understand it I
like to pretend like it's baseball). So one absurdly expensive Hooters
meal later, I was satisfied and returned to the Funny Farm (my hostel)
to get drunk enough to not stay up all night thinking about
Wednesday's activity. I awoke around 7am, went for a jog, ate some
breakfast, threw up said breakfast, and then played on my iPod for a
couple hours. I had my first glass of liquid courage around 10am and
then I started talking to a chick doing the same thing. Obviously my
skydive partner. You'll see her on the video, she's from Florida. So a
couple hours of AM beers and then at noon they picked us up. 1 hour
and 14000 feet later, I'm attached to the hip of an Aussie named
andrew and the helicopter pilot is screwing with us doing a kinds of
dips and bank turns. I watch Alex and John bail out and then about 20
seconds later me and Andrew do a sick front flip into free fall. The
video will tell the story, and I can't really write down the rush that
comes. The rest of the day is fairly insignificant, it involved a
pool, a massive bike ramp and some awesome Thai food. They brought our
videos over last night and played them on the big screen here which
was very cool. I got up early this morning to write this, and then I
am going to hike to this restaurant on top of the mountain. I'm headed
to Lyon this afternoon for a couple nights with Jordan (if I can find
him) and then to Nice for another vacation before I come home. I'll
try to write an independence day blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

i live a tough life

well i just realized that i have done a pretty poor job of keeping this thing updated, and that i dont write down half the stuff that i intend to, so for that i apologize to you all. there are a few of you with a substantial investment in this trip and im sure you would like to know where all that money is being funneled.

Budapest on sunday night was an absolutel blast, we saw the hungarian national orchestra playing in a huge open air park, and then i went to this massive club on the river with a bunch of friends. on the way home (about 4am) we saw a drunk idiot dive into the very fast moving and flooded danube river. i cannot confirm the outcome of this swim, but we did notify the closest cops for a rescue\recovery mission. somehow i got up relatively early on saturday morning, and i did the free walking tour of the city with my canadian buddies. i cant describe how much i love budapest, and im still bitter about only spending 3 nights there. after the tour i went through the caves and the labyrinth underneath the castle. when i went in, it was a beautiful day, and i emerged a few hours later into a rainstorm, without my rain jacket. so this consumed all of my day and by the time i had walked in the rain for 30 minutes i was pissed, so i determined that i needed another trip to the hungarian bathes followed immediately by a massage. i went out with some suisse last night to morrisons opera (which is not an opera at all, its a kareoke bar), and then got up at 6 this morning to hop on the train to Munich.

i was quite sad to leave the east, especially once i got to Munich and remembered how bad you get raped with the exchange in the euro zone. i have now changed currencies 11 times, so it was already hard to take any of the money seriously, but the hungarian forint was by far the most ridiculous and worthless. the exchange is a little over 200 forint to 1 USD, so it was really like using monopoly money the whole time. i took a sweet picture of myself rolling with about 50,000 forint the other day.

i got to Munich early this afternoon, and i remembered that i really liked Munich, but i couldnt remember why, but then as i was reading my book at the Englishgarten, i remembered why. i was befriended by 3 really old bavarian guys, who happened to really like the same beer i was drinking. this was why i liked Munich so much. so through various hand signals, broken english, and rounds of "proast" (german for cheers), i had another awesome day in Bavaria. i love this place. i wandered around after this, looking for my favorite thing in Germany, the guys who surf in the river in the middle of Munich. i had some cool videos of them from a few years ago, but i am still fascinated by these guys. i spent a couple hours on the river bank, and finally called it a day when the rain started about 8. i will no longer be complaining about the weather, as i think my complaints are the reason that i get rained on every day. i am getting up early to head to Interlaken tomorrow, and then i am skydiving on thursday. im pumped

Sunday, June 28, 2009


what a crazy few days it has been for me. so i left Split on friday for the beautiful train ride through the croatian mountains up to the capital city of Zagreb. i arrived at my hostel, and was greeted by name with beer (i told him what time id be arriving). i liked Zagreb already. the hostel is called Fulir, which is croatian slang for "pimp". thats exactly what it was. i had a blast there and decided that i really like the croatian people. not only are they super friendly and very good at english, but they also enjoy the art of the all night bar hop. so my 8am departure on saturday came very early, but myself and a few other people from the hostel made our train to Budapest. i have quit encountering austrailians so much over past week, but now they have been replaced by canadians. i find canadians easier to understand and much less ridiculous looking, though they all really like to take "chinese" pictures of themselves (where someone takes a picture of you standing in front of a building by yourself with a blank stare on your face). the chinese picture taking thing really bothers me, but other than that i have enjoyed my encounter with the 10 or so canadians i have met in the past week (3 more at my hostel here in Budapest).

so yesterday, i set off to do something that i havent done since i have been traveling by myself, which was to actually be by myself for a little while. i went out of my way to not introduce myself to anyone at the hostel yesterday, and set out to walk the streets solo for a little while. so im walking along, minding my own business, when i stumble upon an outdoor concert. as im walking up, i here a tune that sounds vaguely familiar... okay so i walked into the 2nd verse of a butchered version of sweet home alabama, in the middle of a random park in Budapest at 5 oclock yesterday. i took a video because it was so ridiculous. after i got my fill of them repeating the same verse for about 3 minutes i wandered on down into an outdoor skate park and made some conversation with some hungarians, who are also quite friendly. last night i finally broke down and made friends at the hostel, and then played quarters for a little while before calling it an early night.

today i woke up and met some friends at this local hungarian joint for some lunch. hungarian food is suprisingly awesome, and if i could even pronounce what i ate i would write it down. it was some sort of bread with chicken and cream sauce inside it on a salad. so delicious. after that i walked from Pest over to Buda (they are actually seperated by the danube, which by the way is flooded right now because it rained ALL night and all morning, not that im bitching). i toured the Buda castle and bounced in and out of various little street cafes and bars to avoid the rain. this is by far the coolest city i have been in and im kind of bummed i dont have about a week here. this afternoon, me and the canucks went to the hungarian hot bathes, a massive complex of pools, saunas, and springs. it was a great end to a day of walking. im back at the hostel now, and i just met 5 irish people that are staying here. i think everyone knows the high regard i have for the irish and their ability to party, so you can imagine my excitement. thats all for now, im going to caving tomorrow in Buda to squeeze through "the sandwich of death"

Friday, June 26, 2009

one for the road

sorry its been a few days, but it was not convenient to use the internet in Hvar and I didnt have a whole lot to write about except laying around on various rocky beaches. what was interesting starts on Wednesday night... i made it to a club called Carpe Diem where these Canadian guys were doing flaming sambuca shots. One of them asked for a lighter, and i had a lighter that i had just recently adjusted (to hold up at the concert we went to before the club). so this lighter is spitting out a flame roughly 6 inches high, and this guy lights the shot on fire in his mouth, simultaneously catching both eyebrows on fire with the giant lighter. i dont know if that description makes any sense, but it was one of the funniest things i have ever seen. so Marie left for Italy a couple days ago, and i ended up partying for the past two days with these ridiculous canadians. Yesterday we rented a boat and spent all day cruising around to different beaches and coves on all the uninhabited islands around Hvar. it was a beautiful blue sky day and the water couldnt have been prettier. of course i was the only one who knew how to drive a boat, so i spent all day as captain (sucked) while every one else partied. i finally crashed last night about 8 oclock for the first time in 48 hours and woke up early this morning to catch the catamaran back to Split, which is where i am now. i am heading to Zagreb in about an hour for the night and then tomorrow i am going to Budapest for 3 or 4 days. i wish i could post some pictures but the internet cafe doesnt have a memory card reader. this week has been awesome and was definately a nice break from traveling and walking all day, but i am really excited to see Budapest. Also i finally updated my travel map, so if you click the link above there is a map of everywhere i have been so far. Hope everyone had a good week, ill update tomorrow from Pest.

oh yea, somebody told me this morning that michael jackson died? someone please email me what happened, i am out of time on this comp.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the weather wins again

I dont know what I did to piss off the weather gods, but I definately did something. It never rains in Croatia, ever. A lot of resorts here even guarantee the weather will be nice or your room is free... so obviously its raining today, which is why I am on the internet. Hvar island is unbelievable, I cant describe it much better than that. Hopefully the sun will show its face sometime in the next few days. I think I am going to meet some friends I met in Berlin in Budapest this weekend. Then I think I may go to Interlaken and sky dive out of a glass bottom helicopter next week. I told Jordan I would meet him in Lyon on July 3rd, so I am going to have to start making my way back west sometime. And as with every trip I have taken to Europe, I am scheming on how I could possibly get to Barcelona before I leave. Only two weeks left and then back to reality.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


So I'm now 1500 miles away from where I was last weekend (in Riga),
and I finally stumbled upon some nice weather. I left off in Vienna,
so on Friday I wandered the streets all day and then went to the
supermarket to prepare for my 19 hour overnight train to southern
Croatia. I'm going to quote what Eurail says about night trains
"Imagine gently rocking to sleep to the rhythm of the rails and
arriving at your destination the next morning relaxed, refreshed, and
ready for a day of sight seeing." so that's what they had to say, this
is my interpretation in accordance with my 19 hour voyage: Imagine
sweating yourself to sleep, in a couchette with 5 Austrian strangers
and no AC, and being awoken three times in the middle of the night by
the Austrian police, Slovenian police, and the Croatian police, all on
a train that has no bar car, and arriving at your destination looking
closer to dead than alive. So that about sums up Friday night.

Anyway I arrived here Saturday morning to beautiful weather and Marie
Lemay (the frenchie I met in Latvia) walking off the boat she had been
sailing on for the past week. It was like I had never seen sunshine
before, so as soon as I showered a day's worth of train dirt off we
took it down to the beach for the whole day. I couldn't have asked for
a better day. We went to a Mediterranean restaurant last night, where
I made the mistake of ordering "fishes". I forgot that I was going to
get about 10 tiny little fish and then have to negotiate the ribs out
of each one. It was more frusterating than it was delicious. After
that we found a "Billiards" bar and shot some pool for awhile. The
forecast was for 80% chance of rain today, so we were thinking of
dipping out to some island further south, but we walked out into
sunshine this morning, so spent another day walking the coast and
laying around on the pebbles of the Adriatic shores. Probably going to
go Hvar island tomorrow, maybe for the day or maybe more, depending on
how cool it is. Happy Father's Day, Dad! I'll try to find a phone
around here sometime tonight. Peace to y'all

Thursday, June 18, 2009

austria? put another shrimp on the barbie

well last night i was going to go around and take some pictures of the charles bridge and the castle at night, both seemed to be pretty cool pictures. then the aussies decided that i had to do the pub crawl with them. every single aussie is ridiculous. also, on the austrian keyboard the y is replaced with a z so from now one i am just going to tzpe and im not going to adjust to the new position of the z on the kezboard. last night i was just chilling in prague and of course the aussies talked me into doing the pub crawl with them. it would have been prettz cool except that i didnt leave the second stop. i ended up hanging out with a bunch of Czech dudes all night and went to some clubs with them. we listened to an awesome band last night, two guzs doing drum and bass and then two other guzs plazing trumpet and horn. it was a reallz interesting mix and an awesome time. i took off this morning and headed to Vienna. it was a hot daz and the train i was on was full of gzpsies and had no air conditioning, which leads to a verz smellz situation. so i got to mz hostel todaz and started some laundrz, and i met a dude that had lived in birmingham and had gone to church camp in alabama. i tell him im from anniston, so he asks if i know Rob Childers or Corey Davis. (his name is Peter Rutgers, in case an camp folks reading this know him) such a small world. so i know me and this guz knew each other from camp mcdowell, and we have been hanging out a bit and talking about good ole camp dazs. i am about to go out with a few folks from kansas and see some of Vienna. i have most of tomorrow to wander the citz and then i am getting on an overnight train and headed to Split, Croatia tomorrow night. i am going on vacation from vacation. how manypeople can say that?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Czech me out

It's been a crazy few days around my neck of the woods. I'll preface
this with a few things. austrailians are every where and they are the
drunkest people on the planet. My struggle with public transport
ticket machines continues. I have renewed my love affair with ham and
cheese sandwiches from the train station. Anyway with this being
established I will continue on with my tail. I was planning on having
a low key night in Berlin... then the Aussies came clean with some 5
dollar bottles of wodka. So I partied with like 20 Aussies and a
couple chicks from Florida. They headed to Prague the next mornng and
I went to try to go to Krakow. The train was full, so needless to say
I hopped the next train to Prague. It has been an awesome few days
here, I have made a ton of friends and will def meet up with some of
these peeps after Croatia. Having a phone over here right now would be
really convenient. Today we did a walking tour of the city and then
walked up to the castle. This is absolutely one of the most beautiful
places in the world. I am staying at a cool hostel some people
recommended me called the Czech Inn. Def the place to be. On the not
cool side of the past few days, my debit card isn't working and I lost
one of my flip flops under the train. That's it for today, I am going
flip flop shopping and then I'm off to Vienna in the morning