Monday, June 29, 2009


we've been in latvia for almost a week now. started out on the southern coastal town of liepaja, which is cute and full of old and interesting architecture, probably some of the oldest wooden buildings I've seen in Europe. visited karosta, an old military base with a tour of an old military prison, which was functional until 1997. we opted not to get the full treatment and spend the night in the prison as a "prisoner" (yes it doubles as a hostel where they lock you up and harass you in the middle if the night).

from there we headed to kuldiga, which has the widest waterfall in Europe (245 meters). not very tall though (about 6 feet) and wasn't extremely impressive. cute town though with lots of historical buildings.

spent a night in Riga to see it. it's a nice city with lots of sights but definitely caters to the big partiers, one night there was enough. kind if like a nice european version of khaosan road in Thailand including the strip clubs.

we're now in sigulda which has castle ruins, hiking, caves, and sandstone rock formations (which we can't get to without a car). we'll head from here to Estonia on Thursday.

the Baltic states have been very nice so far, very few tourists except for Riga, cheaper food, very cheap transportation.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

klaipeda and missile base

we've spent a couple days in Klaipeda so far, it's a nice city. our hotel is interesting located in the suburbs south of town in old communist housing. very stereotypical communist housing- big concrete buildings in variou states of disrepair. the room itself is very nice though.

headed down to the southern end of the curonian spit yesterday, to nida with a cute summer village and big sand dunes.

today was quite interesting. saw some stuff in town, a blacksmith museum which wasn't what we were expecting and a good clock museum. highlight of the day was a trip to an abandoned soviet missile base at plokstine reservation (an hour from Klaipeda), decommissioned as part of the SALT treaty. it had 4 nuclear missile heads capable of reaching turkey. now it's an empty underground bunker with massive underground missile silos, very fascinating place. don't think I'll ever see another nuclear missile base.

one more day here then we head to Latvia.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

vilnius, lithuania

we've spent 2 days here in vilnius, after arriving at midnight thursday because our plane was delayed in Munich and we missed the 25 minute connection in Riga. bad news we had to wait 5 hours for the next flight, which got in at midnight and subsequently we got ripped off on a cab ride to the hostel because the bus and train stopped running by then. good news they gave us a voucher fir 2 coffees at the airport. not enough for food, just coffee.

spent one day being tourons in vilnius, which us a really nice city. modern with an old feel to it, very clean, interesting architecture. saw the KGB/genocide museum yesterday. today took a day trip to trakai which was the ancient capital and has a beautiful island castle. lots of local tourists but not many foreigners. interesting local bus ride there too. we head to the coast tomorrow (Klaipeda) where we'll spend 4 days. if all goes well we'll get to visit an old abandoned soviet missile base.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

some photos...

posted some (fortunately edited) photos from our trip so far... i plan to upload photos to my picasa page when we have time and cheap internet connections.


roma, bern, stuttgart

after being rained out of val di mello, christie, erick and i spent 3 days in rome being tourons. went to see the colloseum, lots of ruins, many fountains, the catacombs, and walked around a lot. urban hiking is so much more tiring than trail hiking! ran into many chinese people in italy, didn't think i'd have to use my mandarin until china!

christie headed back to val di mello to climb for the weekend, erick and i headed up to switzerland, using bern as our base. little did we know that switzerland is ridiculously expensive, especially transportation! we spent a day walking around the city, which is really nice. the next day we planned to take the train to wengen and do a hike near the base of eiger (actually see the nordwand up close). but when we got up it was cloudy in the mountains and we didn't want to pay 100+ dollars per person to take the train to the mountains if the weather was bad. so we ended up taking the train to spiez and walking around the lake back to thun (about 10 miles). it was nice, mostly urban, though there were fun exercise things, play structures, and zip lines to play with on the way.

we lucked out on weather, it was beautiful and sunny (and hot!) both days, yesterday was pouring rain. took the train to stuttgart where we're staying with erick's friends dieter and angelika for a few days, before flying to lithuania on thursday. hopefully the baltic states will be cheaper to travel in than western europe...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


val di mello turned out to be an amazing place, very yosemite like. huge granite walls, big waterfalls, beautiful, and even better, no tourons! we met up with christie and got in 2 days of (bolted) climbing. unforutnately our luck turned after that. 3 days of constant rain and thunderstorms, luckily we rented these old converted campervans, complete with space heater, so we were warm and dry, just couldn't climb. christie even managed to borrow a rack and 2 half ropes for us too!

after wating many days and hearing "it'll be nice and sunny tomorrow" without that happening, we came to rome instead to be tourons, since christie and erick haven't been here before. we're staying one more day, then erick and i are heading up to switzerland for the weekend with the plan to be in stuttgart to visit erick's friends by monday...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Oregon, Barcelona, Andorra

Quick update since I'm typing on an iPod.

After the appendectomy, spent a week at home then we took a road trip to oregon, up the coast to Portland to crater lake back home. Another week at home then we spent 3 days in Barcelona with Christie and Matt. Erick and I then came to Andorra, did a nice adventurous 3 day trek and have been hanging out here for a few days.

We fly to Milan tomorrow to meet Christie for some climbing at val di mello in the mountains.