Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I am about to start blogging about my adventurous Eurail trip.  While I was gone jumping from train to train is I decided to write out my blog posts. So these posts are the frame of mind I was in at the time and place where I wrote these posts. I have some different insights now that I have been traveling for a while, but I will share my original thoughts and then add in others that I have now (if need be) at the end. 

So if these posts seem a little odd, that is because they were written a month ago. I have changed so much (or maybe I should say have learned SO much) while gone that I think my posts are even a bit odd now. 

But let this adventure begin! It all seems so long ago that I will have to relive all this again. 


Ok, maybe I should explain a bit more before I jump in. What is Eurail? It means Europe by rail (aka trains). It is a ticket... an (expensive) ticket that you buy for however many days there are different options. At the time we (Sophie and I) bought our tickets there was a special where we got 3 days free. So our ticket was valid to travel for 21 consecutive days + 3 free days. So 24 straight days of trains if we wanted. Valid in 24 countries. 
So we could get on a train (if it doesn't say reservation compulsory) and if they asked for our tickets we would show them our Eurail passes and that was that. The reservation trains we had to pay extra for (sucky, but there is nothing you can do about it). 

If you are looking to Eurail and wonder about the price... I will say that if you are literally going to country hop like we did then it is completely worth your money. You won't be able to travel as quickly, to as many countries, and for the cost we did any other way. However, in Europe flights are cheap, so if you looking to go to a couple countries and spend time there than flying or buying a couple train tickets would probably be for you.  

So here we go.... 24 days of train time, 32 days of free time, and 10 countries---lets do this.    

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Troshynskis are in London!

On the 22nd of March I took off for London.  Now, in England you might have one snow fall... Ok, well, yeah, I already told you all about that. I even told you about the 2nd and really really unusual happening of that snow fall... ok, yeah..

Well, on the 22nd of March a nasty fall of slushy-snow presented itself for a 3rd time in the England winter. Yuck. So I boarded my mega bus with wet feet. :( 
My mega bus was a bit late because they had closed down the main road into Birmingham. Yep. (By the way, I took mega bus for 4 pounds rather than paying for a 30-50 pound train ticket). My bus took me into London and my train took me to the suburbs only to be picked up by some wonderful people who are family to me--THE TROSHYNSKIS!

Bill, Shannon, and Rachie. 

When they lived in London 13 years ago they made some great friends--Roy and Greta.  We all stayed at Roy and Greta's house. We had a wonderful time hanging out, having some brews, sleeping it... it was vacation! What else are you supposed to do? 

On Saturday Roy drove us all into London so we could drive by the main sights and stop at Harrods  .....there is little Rachie! 

We didn't have very nice weather in London. It was cold and either snowing or raining the whole time. 

On Sunday, Shannon, Rachel, Sophie, and I went to Harry Potter Studio Tour. I have been waiting for this moment!!! 

It was amazing and worth every pence of my 30 pound ticket. However, I left the studio tour feeling pretty gloomy. The actual sets from the movie are in this big warehouse and you see everything and how all the magical movies could be put together. 
But it made it seem not real having the burrow a little box with no front and just so.... set like. And that is how everything was! I mean I guess that what studio tour means but........... 
I know that they just had to make "sets" and everything so the wandering muggles don't try and get too far into the magical world. Some (silly) ones would just look at this and cry because it's over. But not I. I know that it is real. So i'm going to stick with that. :) 

We all enjoyed it. It was a long tour showing us absolutely everything. It took 2-3 hours in total. It was also kind of sad leaving because that meant that it was time for them to take us to our lonely hotel and to back to Roy and Greta's house.  

I was really really happy that they were able to come to England, and that they have such good friends here to continue to visit. It was just what I needed for a half way point abroad and before taking of on a months journey.  When they dropped us off at the hotel the next morning we flew to Barcelona. 

Thank you for your hospitality Roy and Greta!! 

Thank you for coming to England Bill, Shannon, and Rachie. :) 
Miss you! See you soon!! 

Friday, April 26, 2013


Leaving for Dublin caused more trouble than expected.  My friend Katie booked a flight earlier than the rest of us and her plane was delayed because it flew into the wrong airport. There were 3 flights leaving from Birmingham to Dublin within an hour and half time period. That is crazy. Sophie, Jess, and I had a flight together. Sophie was already through security and everything because she went earlier with Katie, and then Jess and I went to the airport separately. Jess and I waited in the security line for over an hour, and by the time we got through we were sprinting to our gate. Last time I was in Birmingham's airport I was through security in 5 minutes, so I was not expecting that. And yes, that was airport run #2. 

We made our flight (good news) and Sophie was pretty happy herself already boarded thinking she was flying to Dublin alone. We waited two hours in Dublin airport for Katie and once she got there we were off! 

The girls made an Irish friend on our bus ride into town. I say the girls, because of course, I am getting bus sick, so I am standing there closing my eyes hoping we are there, yet. Once off the bus we started exploring Dublin by foot and with our backpacks. 

So as we were exploring, we ran into that guy that they had met on the bus. We said hey and go to talking again. He had a couple friends with him and we were all chatting. After about 15-20 minutes standing on the side of the road talking they decided to take us to our next stop. They were great company and we learned a lot more about the Irish! They don't eat corned beef and cabbage as a meal together. What?! Ha, silly Americans... They say the word "grand" a lot and it means "eh, fine". If I had heard the word grand I would think like wow, pretty great. Not the case! So be careful if someone asks you how their food is...........

Here is a picture of some of our Irish friends! One is up ahead walking (he is the one that we met on the bus) and there were others but one by one they all had to go back to college for meetings or class (it was Friday!). 
So pretty soon they all had to go, and we were getting tired from a day of traveling and seeing Dublin (especially carrying our backpacks) so we decided it was time to head back to our hotel. 

But not so fast, we have a train to catch to be able to get to our hotel (absolutely everything in Dublin was completely packed). So we get on this train and we are a little confused about our stop. This woman that Jess and Sophie are talking to tell us to get off. However, we have been talking and most people are alone on the train so they very easily could be listening. When the lady tells us to get off and the girls stand up.. about 3 other men yell no no no next stop! 



note to self: although they look nice on the outside, it is a little creepy that they know exactly where we are going. 

So we sit back down and wait for the next stop. Right before we get off this man says "here". and hands up a drawn map of where we are going after we exit the station!!!!!--how to get to our hotel. 

Wow. The men were really nice, and that is how I found all the Irish. Wonderful people! 

We go to the hotel which was so nice because our room was way bigger than we thought it would be. The next day we were up early for a 12 hour bus tour. The bus took us all the way to the west coast to see the Cliffs of Moher. Along the way we enjoyed the countryside and a few cute towns. I tried Gunniess crisps.  I have never not liked a crisp or crisp flavor for that matter--until I tried these. They were horrid. It makes me sick thinking about it. On the other hand everyone quite liked them.  

More evidence, as if we needed any, how short I am. 
 Irish coffee :) Quite nice! 
 The Cliffs. Wow. Cliffs of Moher. 

The cliffs were amazing (and a little more so when I recognized the cave as the one off of Harry Potter when Dumbledore takes Harry to get the horcrux in that cave). Well! I saw that cave! Another check for the Harry Potter things I've seen. 

The cliffs were beautiful. I could have just sat and stared at them for a long time. Packed a picnic and called it good. The drop from the cliffs to the water is about 700 feet or so and would take 7-9 seconds of falling time. 
What really got me was a grave before you entered the part of the cliffs without rails for those who have lost their lives... and the suicide help lines everywhere. *shivers* RIP

The bus tour was a long day, but we met another friend. He was from Canada and was studying in Italy. He came alone for the weekend. Brave soul. You meet a lot of people traveling alone, and it is quite impressive. I wouldn't be able to be one of those people I don't think. I like my friends to come along. :)

We ran into our friend after the bus tour again, and decided to eat dinner together. I had Gunniess Irish stew. YUM! and yes, stew is a common Irish dish ;)
 This is our friend! He even had plans to have predrinks at someones apartment before going bar hopping. Now that is what you call outgoing! 

St. Pattys Day we got up a little later than expected due to alarm problems. We rushed to get ready and headed for the first train... we made it! ....almost. 
Sophie forget her purse, so we get the next train (no biggie) and head to drop our bags off for storage. People are already 5-6 deep in lines along the road for the parade. We squeeze into the crowd. We even find a spot that wasn't technically for viewing (emergency exit, but said we could stand there as long we got to moving if emergency vehicles came otherwise they would run us over.......ok.) So we watched the parade and it was really fun. I have to admit.... It was slightly different than the parades I have been watching for the past 20 years in Logan. 
The parade represented many countries and even had some ladies in, um, hardly nothing (to put it lightly) dancing, yeah. 

We headed to a pub on the Temple Bar Block. We wanted to buy a few brews from the convenient store before we headed to the pubs, but the cops asked them not to sell until 5 pm. So we pushed into a pub for a Gunniess and a green shot. It was Sophie's 21st! We made friends with these men/guys (2 older men (dads) and 2 guys our age) from the Netherlands. They guys and men had just met and were hanging out in the pub and then we basically crashed their group. After a few hours of "celebrating"(I learned from a lady at the parade that this day is celebrating St. Patrick for bring Christianity to Ireland--which I found pretty ironic considering how it is celebrated)we needed to head for the bus to catch our plane back to England. We head to go pick up our bags, and right before we retrieve them Sophie remembers she forgot her coat in the pub (#2 forget of the day, #1 being her purse at the hotel). I run back with her and then hurry to squeeze on a packed bus. We get to the airport and chill before our flight. We fly "home" and get our passports out to go through customs. Sophie realizes she has left hers on the plane---forgetfulness (#3). She got back in time and got her passport back. 

We all lived. We loved Ireland. 


I must confess to all the St. Pattys Day lovers:: no corned beef and cabbage, no green beer, and lots of different people from different countries and not so many native Irish men around (to my observations and conversations). Maybe they leave the big hyped up area and stick to their local pubs and traditions. Or maybe they party hardy every other day of the week so this wasn't that different to them. I don't know!! But if you ever make it out to Ireland for St. Pats expect a lot of drunk people---just not drunk Irish people! 

I forgot to mention that the first day we were in Ireland the weather was beautiful and the guys we met told us that these days happen never so we were extremely lucky to see the sunshine. The next day for the cliffs of moher it is rare to be able to see all the cliffs at once but it's usually foggy or just bad weather and again we had amazing weather to be able to see off the cliffs. So on st. pats day it was snowy, drizzle, rainy but hey everything turned out ok! 

These pictures aren't the best, I think my friends took the better pictures of this trip. 

**If you want to see more of my pictures from these trips I put the whole album on Facebook. I have been leaving the albums public so anyone can see them if they wish (for you guys basically).  So even if we are not friends and you would like to view the entire album you can find me on facebook under Abby Foutch and then click on my photos and you should be able to pick the album from there. Leave a comment if you need help or have any questions like always!! :) 

Have a grand weekend!!         


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Hi everyone :)

Before I get started on my amazing Easter break blog posts I have a few to catch up on. I hope to be able to give you one every three days or so. I will try my best, but no promises!! 

P.S. While I was gone I wrote out all my posts so they may sound a little weird, but that is because they were written a month ago. 

I made a trip to Oxford two weeks before Ireland and I didn't care to blog about it (laziness) but i'll share a few key points like Oxford University. ......."didn't care to blog about it" meaning that Oxford wasn't the most amazing place I had seen so I feared for a boring blog post. 

The main thing about Oxford University besides it being ancient is their great hall (for me at least). The idea for JK Rowling's great hall is said o have come from Oxford's great hall. 

This is Oxford University from the outside. My brain was convinced that it could have been apart of the movies somehow. 

Like this picture reminded me of when they had their first broom lesson with the blue sky and green grass. 

Courtyard inside Oxford University. Beautiful. 

Back to the great hall business. (I'll show you in a second, because it is not even the best part)
The stairs leading up to Oxford's great hall are the stairs/staircase from the 1st Harry Potter movie right before they are about to go into the great hall to be sorted. AH!! I stood on this staircase. 
That is where the movie really takes off by Harry shutting down Malfoy in being his friend and picks Ron. Ahh, what a glorious day. 

Second thing to note was there was a cute Alice in Wonderland shop there because he went to school at Oxford University. 

Third thing.. I earned my 4h point by having my first British fish n chips. It was really good! I definitely liked having the tarter sauce on it though. Speaking of points... I earned my 3rd point by eating ostrich burger. We have markets on campus once a month and they have ostrich so I sucked it up and put myself out there. Not too bad!! Definitely different than the beef I am used too. I am glad I tried it, but come on... you can't beat Iowa/NE beef. 

This is probably my most boring blog post. I promise the ones to come are pretty exciting! I had to get this one out of the way, but hey the worst is over (hopefully). 

I have a paper due in on the 1st. It is my whole grade for my history class this semester. I am in England and like traveling (as you have seen) and sometimes I am lazy (as you have also seen). I didn't attend any of the history classes because I didn't really enjoy them. So if you are wondering where the hell the posts are this next week, I am trying to pass my class by writing a really nice paper! OR maybe you'll see many blog posts and pictures because I am doing everything but writing my paper. We will see. :) You can place your bets below............ 

P.S. Found out some pretty exciting news about coming home to Iowa the 31st of May. Wow, how do 5 months go by so quickly?