It's looking like I may not be able to go to Boston, which stinks. I was planning to route myself through Boston on my way to the Netherlands and do the Boston Light marathon swim (eight miles in Boston Harbor), but I don't know if it's going to work out. Flight prices are just so ridiculous right now; I've never seen them this bad. I'm still crossing my fingers that Virgin Atlantic will run a Boston-London special, but no dice yet.
As for Eurail, I think I'm going to just do a 3-country pass: France, Italy, and Greece. Crazy as it sounds coming from the 'Spanish Queen' of Stanton, I just can't seem to find anything in Spain that really interests me, and Ireland (my other choice) doesn't have all that much, either; just the Giant's Causeway and the Blarney Stone. But I've been to Ireland before, so I don't think I'll be missing out on much if I skip it this time. There's so much to do in the other countries that I really can't justify going so far out of my way; Greece is already going to be a royal pain, due to having to take an overnight ferry from Italy.
Anyway, here are my high points so far:
France: Paris, obviously - I want to see the Louvre and all the touristy things I didn't get to see last time, plus take a day trip to Versailles and maybe do that cool bike tour to Monet's garden again. Then I want to see the D-Day beaches at Normandy, take a day trip to Mont-St.-Michel, see the winelands at Bordeaux and the Lascaux caves by the Dordogne.
Italy: Rome, of course - the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and Vatican City with the Sistine Chapel - and Florence and Pisa ("It's the leaning tower of cheese-a!"). But my favorite spot in this country seems like it's going to be Naples, because I can go from there to Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, Capri, Vulcano, and maybe Stromboli - an active volcano - if I have enough time.
Greece: Athens, duh (the Acropolis and the Parthenon, plus day trips to Delphi, Marathon, and the Temple of Poseidon), along with Thessaloniki, the city closest to Mt. Olympus, which I plan to hike at least part of. And then the islands of Mykonos, Delos, and Santorini, purely for some eye candy and photo ops.
Anyway, that's my trip in a nutshell - I'm planning to jump from the Netherlands to Paris, spend maybe a day or two there, take an overnight train to Rome, spend a day or two there, then go to Bari (coastal Italian city) and take the ferry to Greece and then sort of slowly work my way back, with five or six days in each country. I'd rather do the long boring traveling in the beginning when I'm still fresh, and since this isn't really a route I can make a circle with, I'm just going to start at the far end and work my way north. If I don't get to go to Boston, I'd like to work till August 15th (the last day of the pay period) and leave on the 16th, but two weeks doesn't seem like enough time to see all that stuff, if you factor in travel time. On the other hand, sleeping on trains and ferries would save me hostel money as well as daytime hours. I guess I need to spend some time poring over the 121-page train timetable. Yay. Can't wait.
Oh yeah - the Amelia Island swim. Thanks to tropical storm Arlene, the water was unbelievably rough - the Coast Guard boats couldn't make it out, and only one kayaker managed it. As a result, they canceled the 5k swim and made everyone do the one-miler. Most of us never made it out past the breakers - we just sort of pushed along the bottom the whole way, diving over and under the waves, dropping down to swim a few strokes whenever we got a break in between, then getting up again. Not exactly efficient, but the current was so strong that I still finished in 19 minutes (compared to 32 in St. Augustine). Ah, well, I got my shirt and my free breakfast (and a certificate for being third in my age group), so it's all good.
Speaking of swimming, I have to swim tomorrow no matter how tired I am. I had my normal workout on Thursday, nothing Friday because of the race the next morning, did the race (then came home and ran the 5k that I didn't get to swim :)), did nothing today because of our houseguests (yet still ate like a truck driver - eggs and hash browns for breakfast and enchiladas for lunch!), and will not be in the mood to do anything 'tomorrow' (today...) because I have to 'wake up' in, um, 12 minutes to get ready for work. Regardless of that, I still have to do at least 3500 yards, because Key West is in less than two weeks! I'll start tapering in a week, but this week needs to be hard, like normal. I'm gaining weight being home; my clothes don't fit quite like they did a month ago. I sure hope that team in the Netherlands is good and that I fit in okay there (me not being in high school and all...), because I don't want to lose all my progress. I'll be coming home in the middle of swim season and Club Alligator will be right in the thick of things.
That all being said, I am sooo excited about Key West!
Today - work 4 AM, swim 3500 at the Y (distance... like 5 x 500 or something, and then a little IM work)
Tuesday - work 4 AM, swim with Masters 7 PM
Wednesday - work 4 AM, day off from swimming
Thursday - off from work, swim with Masters 7 PM
Friday - work 2 PM, swim 3500 (distance) at the Y
Saturday - swim with Masters 8 AM, work 2 PM
Sunday - swim at the beach, off from work
Monday - work 4 AM, swim 3000 easy distance
Tuesday - work 4 AM, swim 3000 easy distance
Wednesday - off from work; do last-minute shopping and packing, maybe one last easy swim
Thursday - drive to Miami, spend the night with Erin
Friday - drive to the Keys, stay at the Sheraton with Christine (my kayaker)
Saturday - swim!!!
Sunday - drive home
Monday - back to work, 4 AM
Oh, and about work? I met a guy at the airport yesterday who works for American Airport Shuttle, or something like that, and he started trying to recruit me. He offered me a higher salary and better hours, too. I'm still planning to stick it out at Runways, at least for the summer, but this may give me some bargaining power if things get too bad up there.
2:58 - time to get up.