While we were supposed to be working on a group project, one Sunday during the semester, a couple friends (Izzy and Jessica) and I ended up on Google Flights looking at cheap places in Europe to fly to. Some incredible deals were found, the owner of an AirBnB was emailed, and the beginnings of an adventure were hatched. In what was one of the most spontaneous actions of my life, something I am definitely not know for, we booked a post-graduation adventure not even 12 hrs later. When later that same semester, my New Zealand plan was concocted, I realized that travelling is probably the only thing in life that I never question or hesitate about. I’m always confident that it will bring me pleasure and so nothing holds me back.
Throughout the rest of the semester, whenever one of the three of us got stresses out, we would periodically look at pictures of the places we were going and it would help us through.
This is how I find myself sitting in a cute AirBnB apartment in Ajaccio, Corsicca having an absolutely incredible time.
The trip started on an excellent note as we drive to the airport while blasting a delightful collection of songs and unknowingly assigning Sweet Caroline as the theme song of the trip. From there we had relatively smooth sailing (there was a little bit of turbulence) over the Atlantic Ocean. The flight was filled with conversation, laughter, card playing, snacks and some free airline wine.
After arriving at our first port of entry, Amsterdam, we procured some euros and ventured into the city. We initially intended to walk straight to the hostel to drop our things but plans are made to be broke so we ended up walking and wandering for hours. During our walk, we saw beautiful canals, perused street markets, bought some cheese, bread and strawberries, ate lunch in a grassy patch of the University of Amsterdam, and saw more seedpods raining from the sky than you can imagine.
Eventually, our shoulders were begining to hurt a little so we headed over to the hostel to drop our bags. A quick stop turned into an hour nap (the beginning to our wierd sleep schedule that I will discuss later). After pulling ourself from the extremely tempting beds, we wandered the city some more having all kinds of random but fascinating discussions. Eventually we ended up at a cute bar/cafe/restaurant drinking beers, eating chips (also known as Frnech fries), chatting some more and playing a game of guessing which country tourists were from. By about 7pm, we decided to head back to the hostel, knowing that we had to be up at 3 am for our 6 am flight. After an hour, because we wandered in the wrong direction, we finally made it to the hostel and almost immediately crashed.
The next morning, at 3 am, we were up and moving as we navigated the streets back to the train station and then on to the airport. After a few more hours, and a mildly terrifying moment on the plane as we were instructed to undo our seat belts as they filled the plane with fuel, we were on our way to Ajaccio, Corsicca.
The Napolean Bonaparte Airport in Ajaccio is actually halfway around a bay from the city, something we hadn’t really thought about. We exited the airport and saw some joggers running right by the airport so figured, why not walk to town? Google Maps told us that it would take an hour and a half which seemed doable, so we did it. During our walk we got to dip out toes in the water and walk along the beach for part of the journey. We also observed the extreme athleticism and level of tan of the Corsiccans. About an hour into our walk, we were dripping with sweat and there was no end in sight. In that moment we began to doubt our decision a little bit. Looking back on it, it was a crazy decision and we got a serious workout but it was actually a pretty nice walk that I don’t regret at all.
After finally making it to the AirBnB, we were allowed to drop our bags but told to return at 6 pm to check in because they were in the process of redoing the floors. Since it was only about 11 am (I haven’t been wearing a watch so all times are approximate), this gave us about 7 hrs to kill. We wandered around Ajaccio, picked up some delicious fruit, savory pastries, tomatoes and some cheese samples, which we enjoyed while sitting in a market and people watching. From there, we wandered some more before ending up on a beach. On that beach we napped for about four hours (successfully messing up our sleep cycle even more). Luckily it was quite overcast, but still warm, so we didn’t end up too sunburnt. After stalling a couple more hours by eating some ice cream, doing a little grocery shopping, buying some tasty bread, and wandering some more, we finally checked into the AirBnB. We cooked up a meal of pasta with red sauce and the options of added in olices and capers. On the side we had bread, cheese and tomato. We also cracked open a bottle of local Corsiccan wine (picture of our fancy meal attached). Unfortunately, the AirBnB only had two wine glasses so one of us ended up driving from a normal glass.
Not long after dinner, we read for a little but quickly all fell asleep, at 9:30 or 10 pm.
The next morning, I rose during the late morning, 10:30ish, after some well deserved rest. The couple nights of weird sleep and early mornings meant I was desperately in need of it. Most of the day was spent laying around, reading and relaxing after our previous days of walking 10+ miles each day. We ate ice cream again, had intriguing conversations about everything under the sun, ate a lot more bread and crashed early once more, with both my companions asleep on couches by 9 pm, leaving me to write this blog as my body struggled to figure out what time it was.
The next couple of days were spent napping, chilling at the beach, hiking, and enjoying lots of baguettes, wine, and cheese. Before we knew it, we were going on a nice long walk backto the airport. We decided that the first walk had actually been quite nice (and we didn’t know how to order a taxi in French or know what our address was) so we got up early and headed back to the airport, waking along the beach.
Back in Amsterdam, we tried to retrace our previous steps, and we were eventually successful, but it took a lot of hours of wandering. Later that evening, we met up with my older sister (who lives in Sweden and came down for a visit) and had a lovely time catching up.
The next morning, we added to the family reunion feeling by meeting my mom at a delicious cafe/bakery called De Laste Krummel (a must visit place in Amsterdam). The rest of the day revolved around delicious food as we adventure around and stopped at The Pancake House Upstairs for a delicious treat. Early in the afternoon, we bid Farwell to my sister who was off to Germany. My mom, Jessica, Izzy and I spent the rest of the day wandering and in the evening were overwhelmed by large swarms of sports fans. It turned out that that evening was a big football (or soccer) game so there were loads of crowds out to wach it on enormous screens in parks. The crowds were so drunk and boisterous, we were convinced that the Amsterdam team must have won but we found out later that the game hadn’t even started at that point. Since none of us were really sports fans, we stayed in doors playing cards and then went to bed early.
Another early morning saw us up and out of bed and off to the airport once more. Along the way we passed horrific quantities of trash left over from the previous night’s crowds. At the airport, we were offered the he possibility to switch flights, earning enough cash to cover the original cost of our tickets. Another advantage of this was that I got to spend a little more time with my mom.
After a few more flights, a short run through the Houston airport, delays, and a few naps, we found ourselves back in Denver (earlier than our original flight would have had us back).
Overall, it was a delightful trip filled with excellent people, delicious food, lots of sleeping, reading and relaxing, and so much fun!