Monday, September 29, 2014


Hello! As you can see, I decided to do a blog for this trip after all. Turns out it is easier to upload pictures to this website than to upload them to an email, and I think this is probably a better format anyway since all of the updates will be in one place. I posted my original email update as the first post on this blog for anyone who wants to go back and read that one too.

So to update you all a little more about my trip in general, I have now been in Germany over a week. My days have been fairly quiet and laid-back, but that is a good thing because I still have travel-related things to research and plan. One reason for the name of this blog ("So Many Countries, So Little Time") is that I won't have as much time as I thought to do everything I want to do without a visa. Because most of Europe uses the same visa system, instead of being able to stay in any given country for 3 months without a visa like I thought at first, I can only stay in the larger visa area, called the Schengen area, for 3 months at a time.
I didn't realize this until about 2 weeks before I left, so I had to alter my travel plans a little to account for that, and I won't be able to stay in certain places, like Spain, as long as I originally wanted to if I want to fit everything into 3 months. Luckily for me, the UK is not part of the Schengen area, which works out because I was going to go to England for Christmas anyway, so that corresponds well with the date I am no longer welcome in most of Europe. Ireland is also outside the Schengen area, and so are some other countries that I originally wouldn't have thought about going to like Croatia, Turkey, and Romania. So in a way it's kind of cool that I'm being forced to branch out because I'll get to see places I wouldn't normally have traveled to. And then if my money lasts long enough for me to spend 3 months outside the Schengen area, I will be free to reenter for another 3 months. Fingers crossed I'm able to budget well enough!

Now onto some more specific things I've been doing, on Saturday my sister and I went to Baden-Baden, a town to the south of Karlsruhe. We spent some time walking around and enjoying the scenery, and then we met up with a friend of hers, Robert, to go to the casino that is there. The town is quite different from Karlsruhe. It has a much more quaint European feel to it, and probably for that reason is much more tourist-y. I loved the style of the buildings and took lots of pictures!

An old bathhouse on a hill

View from the path up the hill towards the old bathhouse

A beautiful tower we walked past. I'm not sure what the building is. 

Danielle and I in front of the church in the center of town

Danielle and I in the park near the casino

The casino was also different than what I am used to. Coming from living in Las Vegas and Reno, first of all I did not expect to see casinos here but I started seeing them as soon as I arrived, which was a little strange. I thought I had just left all that! But this casino we went to in Baden-Baden was definitely not your run-of-the-mill Las Vegas casino. It was by far the fanciest casino I've been to, and it's a requirement that you are dressed well to go in. We also had to pay to get in, which never happened in Nevada. Once we were inside, the main floor just had tables, no slot machines. If you wanted slot machines you had to go into the basement to a completely different area of the casino. I decided to get some chips and play roulette (I was too scared to play blackjack in a language I didn't understand), and ended up winning 12 euros even though I barely understand the game!

The casino in Baden-Baden
Me, Danielle and Robert outside the casino
So that was basically my weekend. This week will probably be another laid-back week until we go to Munich on Friday, although I hope to go hiking at some point. I'd like to go to some National Parks while I'm in Europe, or at least get some sort of outdoor experience in each country I go to. I've really started to miss hiking and camping and just being outside, so hopefully I can fit that into my trip every so often. Getting to places like National Parks isn't quite as easy without a car as traveling within cities, but I'm going to do my best!

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