Thursday, May 1, 2008

west side

We know, we know--where in the world have we been? Good question. We've definitely failed of late at keeping you in the loop. Our apologies if you feel like you're not getting your money's worth out of this, and sorry too if we're not better bloggers this month either. We made it to Europe last week, and this continent is expensive! Prices for internet will be no exception, we're figuring. Just a warning. Anyway, an update on us:

Going back in time a little bit, we wrapped up six weeks in Asia by continuing to explore the sights and sounds of Beijing, then last Wednesday we bid farewell to eastern culture as we followed our compass west. So, Portugal is where we've been, Portual is where we are--for now. Tonight we depart for Spain, perhaps Wanida's favorite country in the world, but our time here has also been a favorite. A best friend of Wanida's lives here near Lisbon with her husband and two young children, so for a week we've been babysitting (practicing for parenthood), catching up, sharing some good meals, walking by the water, and going on outings here and there. Last weekend we even joined them up north in Porto for surf camp! We don't surf though.

As we begin our trek back east across Europe toward Istanbul and, ultimately, Amman, I'm coming to terms with the fact that last minute travel through Europe on a budget is a logistical nightmare. Take tomorrow, for example. It's a holiday weekend in Spain (who knew), so we'll get to Granada (in which there are zero beds available) to see the Alhambra (for which they limit the number of daily visitors), and we can't find a place to sleep in the city or purchase advance tickets to see the attraction. We believe we've got a hotel just outside Granada, but I Skyped the front desk, and the woman's report of the room situation conflicts with what we booked on the internet. Nonetheless, we're showing up tomorrow with our reservation confirmation, then we're showing up early Saturday morning to buy Alhambra tickets. Admittedly, in the grand scheme of planning and preparing for this trip, Europe was a minor detail, but now it is not. Flights are expensive, Eurail and trains are expensive and a hassle, and gas--if we rented a car--is painfully expensive (converts to $8 or $9 a gallon, it does)! Start thinking old school, and I'll let you in on what we foresee for the future: tonight, a 12 hour bus ride from Lisbon to Granada (that's right, bus ride); tomorrow night, staying in Granada, hopefully sheltered from the elements; Saturday night, another 12 hour bus ride from Granada to Barcelona. Beyond that, life may be a little easier again. We'll spend probably four nights in Barcelona inventing teleportation before we use it as a new and creative way to get to Nice, France, where we're looking forward to meeting up with my dad next Friday. Watch the news for word of our scientific/travel achievement for the 21st century.


Corrie said...

Thanks for all the new pics and the update. I have been eager for some news. I can't believe you guys are in Europe already. Time sure does fly. Can't wait to hear more adventures. Enjoy Spain!

Renes said...

I talked to your dad and said that you guys were with Hillary and Zach. I am sure Yama is jealous...cause he's been dreaming about visiting them. Glad to see that they are doing well...oh Joe is ready to be a dad...he's a natural!

Loved the pictures from China...thanks for the arial shot of the tobogan lane. It gave me a better understanding of what it was. hee hee

Tomorrow marks 16 weeks of pregnancy for we will get to hear the heartbeat of our little one for the first time. Please continue to lift us up in prayer.

Hope all works out in Spain...that you guys find a bed and able to find some tickets to this famous event.

Much Love!

Hillary said...

It's just so amazing that you two are having this time together around the world, with friends and loved ones. I am so happy for you and the memories you are making. Thanks so much for sharing it with us back home!

Anonymous said...

If you end up wanting to change plans in Europe for any reason, some of my dearest friends are in Munich, Germany and near Brno, Czech Republic (Wanida, you've met them both before) and they'd all gladly house you and whatever else if you'd like :-)
And others near Brussels who are great, also...and some in Turkey.

Just give a holler! I love following your adventure!

Praying for you!
Lisa (Scott's sis)

Melissa said...

i was beginning to wonder what happened to the maertz's. Glad to know you are well. Just read on the logistics of the next few days made me stressed but knowing you both you will find the adventure in it all. Glad to hear time with Hillary was fun! Miss you both!

Luke said...

We miss you both and have been totally lame about leaving comments. Your trip sounds amazing thus far. Bummer that much of New Zealand was overcast, but it sounds like you still saw some great things. Our mutual friend the yak, Mr. Yakov Smirnoff sends his love and can't wait for the winter holidays to come around. He is a christmas yak...crazy guy. Well, we can not express how stoked we are for you and this experience you are on. We can't get over what an incredible opportunity it was to go and you guys just went for it because you are both are AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Kat and Luke

Ms Moneyone said...

Love the pics. Love the stories. Love you!

Tatum said...

Love the update!! Have so much fun with dad and friends. Wow, your trip is going so fast and I love living vicariously through your travels and thoughts ;) Joe, Eric feels your pain with figuring out the money!