BrandonoBrien.com

Brandon O'Brien

Travel and Adventure Journal

I wanted a place to journal all my travels and adventures around the world. I always enjoy going back and reflecting on my past travels and getting to relive them through my words and photos.

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2010 Labor Day Motorcycle Ride - Day 1 - Albuquerque to Denver

Friday, September 3, 2010 @ 7:00 PM in General Travel

I purchased some Nelson Rigg CL-950 saddlebags from NewEnough and packed them up the night before. In the morning I attached everything to my bike and headed off.

Since we were camping, I had to pack a sleeping bag and my sleeping pad. Amazingly, I was able to fit everything on the bike without any real issues. I also bought a magnetic tank bag that came in handy for gloves, camera and other misc. stuff.

When I left Albuquerque at 7:30am, there were wind gusts hitting about 50mph. Luckily that died down a few miles out of the city. It got colder and colder and I had to stop and put on my heavy gloves.

I stopped for lunch in Trinidad, CO and then started riding again. By now the temps were warming up and I could switch back to my summer riding gloves.

The ride was pretty uneventful, just normal highway riding, and I made it to my buddy's house around 3pm or so.

That night, we went to REI and bought a new camping stove and I bought a little folding chair (which you'll see below). We ate and had some drinks and then went to sleep.

Total distance today: 440 miles

Teaser photos:

Motorcycle packed and ready to go
Motorcycle packed and ready to go
folding camp chair from REI
folding camp chair from REI

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Tags: motorcycle, labor day 2010

Posted from: United States

Vatican City and Exploring Rome at Night - Day 13 - Eurotrip 2008

Vatican City and Exploring Rome at Night - Day 13 - Eurotrip 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008 @ 11:00 PM in 2008 Europe Wedding

Today is our last full day in Europe before we catch our flights back to the states tomorrow. There was just one last major spot we needed to see while in Rome and that was Vatican City.

We toured the museums and the Sistine Chapel on the Vatican grounds. The main chapel at the Vatican was gigantic. It's incredible how much work was put into all the paintings, woodwork, architecture and sculptures. I felt like an idiot but when we walked through the Sistine Chapel I wasn't looking up and missed the Creation of Adam painting (to my credit, we were being cattle herded through the whole thing so I got confused which part of the tour we were actually on). After realizing it, we did a quick backtrack so I could grab a quick look. They were being super strict about photography so I didn't get any pics of it.

We had a nice dinner with some pasta and wine before doing one last evening stroll and photo session. Rome is beautiful at night and the pics we took only kinda capture it.

This was a whirlwind trip where we covered so much ground in a little less than two weeks. This was the typical "American" approach to travel where you need to see as many sights as you can. While I loved the trip, I made sure that subsequent travel to Europe and elsewhere had me spending a lot more time in each location I visited. Feeling like you have time to actually learn the area and pick up on more of the culture is such a cool feeling.

Note: This post was written about 13 years after I went on this trip. Unfortunately I didn't keep a journal so this is pieced together from our itinerary and photos.

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Tags: italy, rome, vatican

Posted from: Italy

Gelato and Exploring Rome - Day 12 - Eurotrip 2008

Gelato and Exploring Rome - Day 12 - Eurotrip 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008 @ 11:00 PM in 2008 Europe Wedding

We hit a lot more landmarks in our sightseeing adventure today. These included the Piazza del Popolo, Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II

When we were in the Piazza Navona, there was some kind of filming for a movie going on. They had a bunch of people dressed as hippies protesting around the obelisk. I'm still not sure what that was for, but it was interesting to see. We walked from there to the Spanish Steps where people kept trying to get us to buy knickknacks and flowers. We didn't stay too long before walking past the Trevi fountain and taking a lot of pics.

The Pantheon is another favorite of mine. The architecture and the hole in the roof are really unique. We started walking around near the Pantheon and stumbled on Nice Ice Gelateria which blew our minds. They had more gelato flavors than we'd seen at any shop throughout the trip. I was partial to the Stracciatella (vanilla with some chocolate pieces in it) and had been trying that flavor whenever we stopped for gelato. (Unfortunately it seems like this place has closed down and isn't around anymore. That's a shame.)

After stuffing ourselves with gelato, we made our way to the Piazza Navona and then walked over to the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II to round out our sightseeing for the day.

Note: This post was written about 13 years after I went on this trip. Unfortunately I didn't keep a journal so this is pieced together from our itinerary and photos.

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Tags: italy, rome, gelato

Posted from: Italy

Venice to Rome - Day 11 - Eurotrip 2008

Venice to Rome - Day 11 - Eurotrip 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 @ 11:00 PM in 2008 Europe Wedding

We left Venice at 6:45am and got into Rome a little after 11am. We checked into our hotel and then set about exploring the city. The first spot we made sure to hit was the Colosseum. We paid for entry so we could walk around inside the Colosseum and took more pics than I'd like to admit. The Colosseum was definitely a highlight for me, not just in Rome but the whole trip.

We walked from the Colosseum to the old Roman Forum which was basically the "downtown" back in roman days. Seeing all of those sights and walking around was enough for one day, so we went and caught a train back to the hotel (we were staying slightly outside of Rome, but not far from a train station).

I don't remember having many feelings one way or another about Rome prior to this trip. I knew it was a city filled with history but I don't recall it being one of the destinations I was really looking forward to. We booked Rome because the flight back to the US was significantly cheaper. I'm extremely glad we made it here though. Some people say Rome is a hot touristy destination, but I really liked the city.

Note: This post was written about 13 years after I went on this trip. Unfortunately I didn't keep a journal so this is pieced together from our itinerary and photos.

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Tags: italy, venice, rome, train

Posted from: Italy

Venice - Day 10 - Eurotrip 2008

Venice - Day 10 - Eurotrip 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 @ 10:00 PM in 2008 Europe Wedding

We started the day wandering through some of the fish and fruit markets. If we actually had a kitchen or a way to prepare the food, it would have been awesome to get some of the fresh seafood and prepare it for dinner.

After the markets we went to St. Mark's square and took a tour of the St. Mark's Campanile (the big bell tower). There were some amazing views of the entire city of Venice and surrounding islands. Pretty much all you see are the orange roofs of the buildings and the winding alleyways going between them.

Once we finished up at St. Mark's, we did some more aimless wandering and eventually came across a waterfront where there were some huge yachts parked. We took some photos and explored some more before getting some dinner and heading to bed. Tomorrow is another big travel day taking us from Venice to our final stop of the trip, Rome.

Note: This post was written about 13 years after I went on this trip. Unfortunately I didn't keep a journal so this is pieced together from our itinerary and photos.

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Tags: italy, venice

Posted from: Italy

Venice - Day 9 - Eurotrip 2008

Venice - Day 9 - Eurotrip 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008 @ 10:00 PM in 2008 Europe Wedding

We got into Venice bright and early (around 7:30am). One thing I still remember is pulling into a station just prior to the crossing into Venice. It was neat waking up in an entirely different climate, region, city and country. We left a small farming village in central Germany the previous day and were waking up in Venice Italy this morning.

We spent most of the day today doing some walking and sightseeing. We made sure to hit the Rialto bridge where we spent quite a while taking photos. We spent some time walking through all the various narrow alleyways and basically getting ourselves lost in the maze of the city. We did end up at St. Marks square

It's too bad I didn't write down what we did each day. It's really hard to recall all the stuff from this trip after such a long time.

Note: This post was written about 13 years after I went on this trip. Unfortunately I didn't keep a journal so this is pieced together from our itinerary and photos.

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Tags: italy, venice

Posted from: Italy

Frottstadt to Munich to Venice - Day 8 - Eurotrip 2008

Frottstadt to Munich to Venice - Day 8 - Eurotrip 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008 @ 11:00 PM in 2008 Europe Wedding

A recurring theme with our planning of this trip was being overly ambitious in regards to seeing as many sights as we could. That being said, we spent today mostly on trains traveling from Frottstadt to Venice, via Munich.

We said goodbye to all of our friends in the morning as everyone was going their separate ways. Patrick and Chrissy were heading off to spend some time with Tobias while Scott and Stefanie were going to their honeymoon in the Greek islands.

We left Frottstadt around 1:30pm and after several connections got to Munich around 6:40pm. We had a couple hours to kill before we had to catch our overnight train to Venice which left a little after 9pm. We walked around the main square area of Munich and had dinner while waiting for our train.

The train wasn't too bad. We were in a room with 6 beds that were stacked hostel style. I remember waking up quite a bit, but that's to be expected on sleeper trains.

Note: This post was written about 13 years after I went on this trip. Unfortunately I didn't keep a journal so this is pieced together from our itinerary and photos.

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Tags: germany, frottstadt, munich, venice, train

Posted from: Germany

Wedding Day - Day 7 - Eurotrip 2008

Wedding Day - Day 7 - Eurotrip 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008 @ 10:00 PM in 2008 Europe Wedding

Today is the wedding day! We started out heading up to the Wartburg Castle which isn't too far from Frottstadt. The castle was in great shape thanks to some restorations in the past. We were all pretty hungover from the night before but it was a fun time seeing and exploring the castle. Scott and Stefanie had some photos taken here before we went to the equivalent of their city hall for the official marriage signing.

After the wedding vows were done in front of a small group, everyone gathered in the town square for some traditional ceremonies and champagne. One thing they had to do was cut a giant heart out of a sheet with some dull scissors and then Scott had to carry Stefanie through it. After this, they got in a horse drawn cart and were taken to the reception venue.

Once we got to the venue, Scott and Stefanie had to saw a log in half using an extremely long and flexible saw. This was supposed to represent the give and take in a marriage. It was pretty funny watching them try to keep the saw moving.

As the night carried on, there was some delicious food, a huge variety of desserts and even more booze. This was followed by a lot of dancing and celebrating late into the night.

Note: This post was written about 13 years after I went on this trip. Unfortunately I didn't keep a journal so this is pieced together from our itinerary and photos.

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Tags: germany, frottstadt

Posted from: Germany

Munich to Frottstadt - Day 6 - Eurotrip 2008

Munich to Frottstadt - Day 6 - Eurotrip 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008 @ 9:00 PM in 2008 Europe Wedding

We all checked out of the hostel by 6:00 this morning (tough after all the drinking yesterday) so we could catch our first train in the journey up to Frottstadt. Our first train left Munich at 7:22am with a connection in Saalfeld and Neudietendorf before finally arriving in Frottstadt at 11:30am.

We met Scott and Stefanie at the train station and they drove us through town and to the hotel we'd be staying at for the ceremony.

The main event of the day was the big reception / party that Stefanie's family threw. There was an overwhelming amount of beer flowing and everyone had a great time hanging out and catching up.

Note: This post was written about 13 years after I went on this trip. Unfortunately I didn't keep a journal so this is pieced together from our itinerary and photos.

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Tags: germany, munich, frottstadt

Posted from: Germany

Munich Bike Tour and Augustiner - Day 5 - Eurotrip 2008

Munich Bike Tour and Augustiner - Day 5 - Eurotrip 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 9:00 PM in 2008 Europe Wedding

Most of today was spent on a bike tour that hit several beer gardens and took us through several of the sights in Munich. We got to see people surfing in the river in the Englischer Garten too.

We ended the night at the Augustiner brewery where we all had some delicious beer.

Note: This post was written about 13 years after I went on this trip. Unfortunately I didn't keep a journal so this is pieced together from our itinerary and photos.

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Tags: germany, munich

Posted from: Germany

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