The whereabouts of Klaus James
Now that I am a little over a month into my journey I felt it was time to touch base with everyone and share my story considering I have been so distance with social media this last month. I thought some of you might be wondering what I am up to!
Short version, I am just going with the flow. As for the long version, well where do I began?
So far my trip has treated me pretty well. I was a little skeptical on how it would start out being that I impulsively changed plans for the start of my trip by leaving for LAX to see Yosemite with a friend of mine. The bus ride from ABQ was 22 hours but it honestly didn’t feel that bad. Taking overnight buses or planes can be pretty beneficial if you are able to sleep and have an empty seat next to you like I did. I arrived in Carpinteria and INSTANTLY fell in love; such a little town but that's what made it so incredible. Quite but still hip enough to be apart of California. After 4 days of exploring Carp, I was ready to kick Yosemite's ass! Little did I know that it would be Yosemite kicking my ass (see "How Yosemite Kicked My Ass" below).
Though there were a few hiccups along the way, I still had a great visit to the park and now that my 2 days of Yosemite were up it was time for me to gear up for Spain!
The start of the international part of my trip was not too bad despite having a 14 hour layover in DC due to delays but on the plus side I got a window seat with no one next to me! I knew I was meant to do this trip right then and there.
8 hours later I was in BCN! Well almost, customs took an hour and a half to get through; there were hundreds of people in line with only 2 open windows. I wouldn't have cared but my friend Ed was outside waiting the whole time. Thankfully it was super easy to pass; no questions, just a stamp. The guy didn’t even look at me! My first impression of Spain was that they are very laid back!
Now it was time for the real adventure to begin. Ed and I had a road trip planed to explore Northern Spain and Southern France so we decided to leave 2 days after I arrived in Barcelona. Besides suffering from jet lag for 4 days, it was spectacular. We visited a couple of small towns, lakes, and the Pyrenees in France. The Pyrenees were by far my favorite. Amazing peaches, great views, and friendly people all over. It reminded me a little bit of Colorado! Leaving the mountains made me a little sad but that's okay because I was headed back to Barcelona!
Being able to explore BCN for almost 2 weeks gave me a good perspective on the city. In the end I came to the conclusion that everyone just loves to have a good time. They aren't to caught up on making money and working all their lives. Often in America, you hear the stereotype that Spaniards are lazy. Sure they may be lazy from an American point of view, considering we work our lives away and don't spend much time being with friends and family. At the end of the day they aren't lazy they are just trying to enjoy life. Even in a big city like BCN. Though I may be wrong, this is the impression that I got during my stay.
Now that my 3 weeks in Spain were up it was time to make my way up to Belgium and Holland!
After an hour plane ride and a 4 hour drive Ed and I arrived in Amsterdam on the 16th and I had 4 days to explore and learn about the city. I was excited and ready. I've wanted to visit this city since I was 16 so my whole goal was to get the full Amsterdam experience (w/o visiting the red light windows haha). I took a free walking tour around the the city, ate bitterballen and poffertjes, drank local brew, saw the red lights, visited some coffee shops, and even had some fun with magic truffles! I can easily say I left that place feeling successful about my stay! It was incredible but I was ready for Belgium!
My stay in Belgium was just like the country is itself; quiet, peaceful, and full of chocolate. Ed and I took a smart car and visited Bruges and Ghent for a day! So far Ghent has my favorite architecture! It makes sense because I later learned that Ghent is famous it! See the castle and building styles in my Belgium photos! Other than that, we saw Brussels and relaxed for the rest of my stay.
For the most part it was a good time to refresh and get ready to be on my own because after Belgium it's just me! It was awesome meeting Ed's friends and family. They were all so friendly and down to earth! I can definitely say that they left a great impression on Belgium! Not the most "hip" country but I would definitely go back!
Now its 9:45am the 26th of August and I am on a bus and on my way to the most visited city in the world.... PARIS! Wish me luck taking on the world alone and thank you so much for all your support! I miss you all in the 505!
How Yosemite Kicked My Ass
So it goes a little something like this....
We arrived on Friday around 7pm, which wasn’t too bad but we didn’t quite know where we would sleep for the night. For those of you who don't know, Yosemite is kind of hard to stay at spontaneously. If you don't make reservations, there is a first come first serve camping area that may only take in 50 campers a night. So the plan was to find place to sleep and then go early in the morning to the first come first serve campsite. We ended up sleeping in the car in a parking lot down the way from the park. Not ideal, but it was free. After an EXHAUSTING night (30 mins of sleep), we arrive at the campsite 3 hours before it opens and it's PACKED. We stood in line, made coffee and oatmeal, and met some beautiful souls. After an hour of waiting, we realized we weren’t getting a site and decided to just start our hike and figure out what we would do later that night. So unprepared, I know... whatever though, all I cared about was seeing Yosemite! Abandoning the campsite idea was actually smart because we ended up getting an early start on the Mist Trail. It was practically empty compared to the way down. It was beautiful! I have never seen a mountain range like that before. Being so big and magnificent I can see why Ansel Adam was so inspired by the park. It was wonderful. So many photos, so much exercise, great views and awesome conversations with my friend. I felt so alive! However, that didn't last forever! For most of the way down I felt good; more than good actually - I felt GREAT. I was so happy that I felt the need to make everyone else happy around me and give anyone I passed on the trail high fives while making them realize how proud they should be for hiking Yosemite. It was fun but about than about a mile before the bottom my stomach started feeling pretty turnt. I was fairly good until we basically hit the trail head. That's where everything took a turn for the worst. My head started throbbing, I got a bit delusional and my legs completely shut down. I couldn’t stand up to save my life. I was as weak as a newborn baby. Than came the tingling on my lips and hands. At this point I honestly had a thought that I could possible die. I had never felt this way before. My mind started racing. I was so thankful to have my friend there and fortunately there was a rescue team near by that had just arrived to the trail head. Not only that but there was a physician that was on vacation that noticed I was sick that came to my rescue as well! In the end they think that I may have had hyponatremia. After 10 mins of throwing up and answering questions in between I finally felt a little better. The tingly ended and my energy started to come back. After 4 hours of sleep and 2 bottle of gatorade I started to feel like myself again. Once I felt better it was like I was the happiest person in the world. I was ready to get grub and shoot the tunnel view during sunset.
I got a ton of amazing photos during that session. It was a good time full of laughs, pretty colors, and awesome people. It was so good that my friend and I, out of no where, agreed that we got the most we could get out of Yosemite and decided to pack the car and head home! Yup, thats right. We literally left Yosemite just as fast as we arrived. We took a couple photos of tunnel vision at night, drank some coffee and headed back to Carp. They best part about it; I didn't regret leaving early that night. Singing tunes and eating junk with best friend was a great way to end my trip in Cali. It also gave me some time to refresh before my adventure to the beautiful country of Espana!