Loren Arrived!! It was actually pure luck that we were able to meet up. Sodertalje has two train stations. I had a player drop me off at the one that a train would most likely come from Stockholm. The problem was Loren was not arriving in Stockholm, he flew into a smaller airport south of Stockholm. He then took a bus to the train station. Luckily the bus dropped him off at the right train station and we were on our way. We spent two days in Sodertalje while planning on little excursion. We chose to go to Ireland for about 5 days then to Amsterdam for a couple. He has a friend that lives ten minutes south of Amsterdam. That would save a little bit on accommodation costs. The plane tickets for the both of us two go both places was less then $150 which I found to be pretty amazing.
We flew from Stockholm to Ireland on a night flight which arrived in Dublin right at 12 AM. We bought bus passes to go to the city centre. The buses stopped running at 11:30 so we then had to buy a bus ticket on this air coach. It did not set us back to much we were able to use the bus pass the next day. The air coach dropped us off downtown and we started heading the way Loren remembered from the last time. Except it was not the way and we had to make a U-turn. I was a little nervous as we wandered through downtown with my heavy bag on my shoulder, but sure enough he knew where he was going and we stayed at a hostile named paddy wagon. We were pretty hungry so we were looking for a pub serving fish and chips. A lot of the pubs were open just not serving food anymore only that black stuff, I think it is called Guinness. We had to settle for Eddie rockets (exactly like Johnny rockets). The following day we did two real cool things. The first was tour the Guinness factory. Which was neat and they have a panoramic bar at the top which looks over the entire city. That night we went on a literary bar craw (Which basically means you learn while you drink). They had two actors who spoke and acted out different parts from different authors around Ireland. We visited four pubs and also walked through Trinity College (Catholics were not allowed to attend the school until 1972). I also learned that Dublin had one point in time had over 4,000 pubs. Today they ONLY have 857 (just proving I did learn something).
The following day we spent all day traveling to Killarny. It is a small town that reminds me of a Colorado town or Jericho from the TV show. It has flags hanging all through the city from the buildings, a very welcoming feel. Loren had been here before so we stayed at the hostel he was at last time again. We got this crazy idea to rent bikes and ride them about 30 some miles around this ring. Now if this was in Indiana it may not be that bad, but we rode up about 2 ½ mountains. There were many places we had to actually get off and walk. We also rode about 6 miles extra that we did not mean to when we got lost. It took us about 6 hours with a half hour stop at a café. The trip was really amazing, the views and waterfalls along with the mountains were amazing. After riding up the second mountain I don’t believe my legs or butt were thinking the same thing. It was a sense of accomplishment when we returned. Our legs were really wanting a hot tub so we decided to go to the richest resort in killarny and ask to pay for a hot tub. She sent us down to where it was and no one was at the desk. We figured that meant they wanted us to just go in and enjoy the steam room and hot tub. That may have been the best decision I have made since I have been in Europe. Dinner that night was at our ancestors place Cronins. Loren said we our Irish and German and that is close to our name so I figured that has to be family. For some reason they were not buying it when trying to pay the bill. That night was spent out at a couple small pubs where the locals can tell stories all night. I really enjoyed the town and it is defiantly someplace I would like to come back to. On a side note I’m glad growing up I learned the basics of looking both ways before you cross the street, but I must say it did not help me one bit in Ireland as I continued to look the wrong way as they drive the other way on the island. Loren and I both were almost hit about three times.
Due to the fact that we had no idea we would be going on a trip like this until about a week in a half ago neither of us have much money to just be doing whatever, which means some uncomfortable travel at times. Friday night was spent in a hotel lounge as our flight to Germany left at 6:20 Am. We enjoyed one more fish and chips before heading out of Ireland. We met this really nice girl on the plane that offered to take us almost to Utrecht (which is right outside of Amsterdam where Loren’s friend lives).This could not be just an ordinary ride when you are dealing with Loren and I. From the outside the van looked like a regular Chrysler van but the inside told a different story. They had taken all the seats out and made a window barrier separating the back from the front. Her dad told us to stay down so we couldn’t be seen. What can I say it was a free ride to the train station and cash at that point was getting low. Other wise we were going to have to take a bus, then a train and it would have added about another two hours to a night/day that was already spent traveling.
Now I am in Holland where I found out the reason why they like to be called the Netherlands. The actual meaning of Holland is “ass land”. Not sure how many people knew that so I thought I would educate everyone. I was having a problem dodging cars in Ireland now it is the bikes here. I have never seen so many bikes. I thought I saw a lot in Germany, but holy cow. We saw a lady carrying a 32 inch TV on the back, A small kid with a windshield, and little kids bike added on to a parents bike to just peddle. It is an extraordinary site and I know you are thinking “Brandon they are just bikes”. I recommend coming here and trying to ride with them and then we can talk (I mean they have there own street lights and path for them). We spent a whole day in Amsterdam doing everything we could a lot of walking and a canal boat tour. We viewed a movie (kingdom, very good) and ate a ton of food like pizza, ice cream, and fries.
Basketball wise I will be going to Germany Monday to try out with a team in first division. They had an injury on the team and our looking for a replacement. It seems to be a very good situation for me as I will be able to have my choice of teams. I will know more of this in the coming days. I know Germany will have to be able to offer a lot to make it worth it. I don’t mean money wise more professional wise and living situations.
This is BC gone for now