On the road again...

Trip Start Dec 14, 2004
Trip End May 25, 2005

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

hola! we realize it's been a while since our last update... this one shouldn't be too long , so no worries about that.

our last report was all about our taj mahal saga... it's amazing that it was only a little over two weeks ago, and already we are worlds away from that land and the mindset that it took to make it through those few weeks.

it was an interesting kind of relief to land in london. we spent about 24 hours there, with a bit of recurring sickness and attempting to acquaint ourselves with the western world again. the british pound was a shock to our bank accounts, to put it mildly! after hopping around the shops of oxford street for the day, we set off on our own routes for about 10 days.

Jodie and Allison made their way up to Edinburgh, Scotland... neither of them had been back since leaving four years ago (that is where they both studied abroad during university)and needless to say, they were so excited! They stayed with a SERVAS host, Elaine, who turned out to be wonderful...she lived in a great flat in their favorite neighborhood, and had done a similar round-the-world trip a few years ago, so there was plenty to talk about. They spent the days roaming the Royal Mile, Victoria St., Princes and Rose St. They reunited with Nelly, a friend from when they studied there and went out one night, and spent the other evenings with Elaine over dinner. The last night there, Elaine made a traditional Scottish dinner- haggis, neeps, tatties and Scotch. An experience, for sure. The girls lucked out with totally beautiful weather, which is a rarity there.

Meanwhile, Rachel made her way down to Italy to meet up with her mom and a close friend of her mom's. They had a great time and great weather... started in florence and spent a few days in that region, taking a cooking course and winery tour, seeing a few of the sights in Florence, and exploring the adorable town of Siena for a day. They made their way up the coast to Cinque Terre for a couple of days where they hiked and enjoyed wonderful views of the coast, along with delicious wine and food. They spent the last two days in rome, doing various tours in the city and walking a lot... all of this was laced with tastes of delightful gelato and many laughs.

the three of us reunited in valencia, spain on friday. jodie and allison made their way down the coast from spending a few days in barcelona, and we were all happy to be together again. we don't have too much time here (it's crazy to think how quickly this trip is coming to an end!), so to make the most of the time we had, we rented a car! We've named her Val-- she is an adorable, periwinkle citroen... Rachel is putting her skills of driving a manual car to the test... truly.

We've made our way down from Valencia to Alicante, along the Autopista Mediterrean (i.e. really overpriced toll road that runs along the Mediterranean Coast... some things you gotta learn the hard way!), spent a night in Alicante, and then continued on to Granada, through the Andalusian region and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The drives have been gorgeous, and the radio stations here usually play good, cheesy 80s music. All in all, a great way to end our trip. We are in Cordoba now, and will make our way all the way north to Bilbao by the weekend, when we return Val to her rightful owners.

It's kind of hard to imagine being home again in just 10 days... We are excited, nervous, scared, ready and not ready at all. It's a conflicting feeling-- when you're sick of shlepping your heavy pack every day, wearing the same clothes every day-- but still, it's worth every second of it all.

We will try and write again soon...
Jodie, Rachel and Allison
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