New Adventures: Headed for some heat...

Dear Friends and Family,

If you read my last e-mail, you will know that we have
been heading steadily south since we arrived. We left
London via a flight to The Netherlands, and from there
went to Belgium, where I last wrote. Fortunately, we
are now in Spain, where the weather is much nicer, and
the keyboard has a recognizable layout!

We spent three nights in Brussels staying in youth
hostels. The weather was quite chilly, and in fact
there was frost on the ground one morning. While we
were there got some new shoes for Sarah, as the boots
(which were sent home) had been hurting her feet.
This was quite an improvement, as we can now be
comfortable walking!

In Brussels we encountered the first of many Christmas
fairs we´ve seen, and perhaps the most impressive.
They have three different cultures there, and all were
represented. It certainly felt like Christmas,
although from what we hear, the weather back home is
much colder! After a light-show on the wall of the
ornate guildhall in the middle of town (which included
a Santa flying through scenes from every European
Union nation... Santa looks a bit out of place
blasting along past Michaelangelo´s "David"), we
snacked on a Keilbasa and traditional hot mulled wine.

Our last full day in Belgium we took a day-trip to the
medieval city of Bruges, which is famous for hand-made
lace and chocolate. If you have ever seen a store
entirely devoted to hand-made lace, it is something
you wouldn´t forget. They can make anything from
elaborate shirts and parasols to tiny lace
butterflies. We also visited a chocolate museum
there, learning about chocolate from the beginning of
its history until the present, and enjoying an edible
presentation of filled chocolates being made right in
front of us. This was definitely a trip highlight for

The next morning dawned misty but not quite as cold.
We took the metro and busses as far south as possible,
then walked out to the Belgian equivalent of an
on-ramp to the equivalent of an American Interstate
freeway and stuck out our thumbs. We succeeded in
getting a ride after about 20 minutes of waiting. We
got out of town to a gas station on the freeway a few
miles down the road and had to wait again. I have to
note that European gas-stops along the freeway are a
bit different than ours. There can be nothing at all
there except the gas station and shop and little
restaurant. You can take a break from driving, get a
beer, and then get back on the freeway. I have
actually seen this happen...

Anyway, our next ride was with a truck-driver who took
us across the French border and into a tiny town just
on the other side. Unfortunately, I forgot my gloves
and hat in his truck. No one spoke English, but Sarah
successfuly bought us train tickets into Paris, and we
left about an hour later, having saved over $100 by
our short stint of, as they say "auto-stop."

We spent almost a week in Paris. Dragging in our
first night a bit late, we went to the¨"Woodstock"
Hostel, recommended in our guidebook. It was amusing,
with half of a Volkswagen "Beetle" with
bumper-stickers pasted all over it attached to the
wall in the lounge. We had a tiny room painted bright
yellow. It was inexpensive, but for the next day,
which was our two-year anniversary, we stayed at our
most expensive hotel to date, on the other side of
Paris. The day after we moved into our home for the
rest of our stay there, the Hotel Bonsejour. Our room
was probably the best in the place, with a tiny view
of the tip of a dome of the Sacre Couer Cathedral from
our window. Unfortunately, it was also on the 6th
floor (although here it would be called 5th, as they
count the bottom floor as zero), up a steep spiral
stairway 94 steps tall. Really interesting, but also
a LOT of work!

We made sure to see the "sights" in Paris, although we
also spent a good deal of time searching for crepes
(very yummy with chocolate/hazelnut "Nutella" in
them), finding a pair of jeans to replace some of
Sarah´s trousers, and looking for a hat to replace the
one I lost hitchhiking. The hat had to say "PARIS" on
it, but just happens to have earflaps and one of those
fuzzy bauble thingies on top.

Of the sights, we saw the "Arc de Triomphe"... what
a monster! Also on the list was the unmissable Eiffel
Tower, most spectacular from a distance at night, when
the entire thing is covered with lights and strobe
lights which make it sparkle on the hour. We spent
most of a day getting to and wandering around the
Louvre. It is so huge, we walked past innumerable
masterpieces, and missed entire wings full or
paintings and sculptures. Although we were ready to
pay the hefty entry price, the admission happened to
be free, most likely due to a noisy demonstration
going on in the lobby... very French??? Anyway, my
personal favorite was the "Winged Victory of
Samothrace," but of course we saw the (surprisingly
small) "Mona Lisa" and (surprisingly large) "Raft of
the Medusa." We also made a point of seeing
Michaelangelo´s "Dying Slave" and were dazzled by the
royal apartments of Napoleon III.

It was still quite chilly in Paris, so we hopped a
Ryanair flight to Barcelona, hoping to find warmer
temperatures. The flight was late at night, and both
airports were a very long way from the cities they
serve. This is, we have found, a hallmark of Ryanair.
We spent the remainder of the night in Barcelona,
where it was markedly warmer, if still not as warm as
we´d like, then headed south again, this time to a
small place south of Barcelona called Casteldefells.
Here Sarah got her first glimpse of the Mediterranean
(I couldn´t miss out on taking a quick dip), and we
camped for the first time on this trip. It also truly
rained that night for the first time...
coincidence??? Unfortunately, the campground, in a
nice area otherwise, happens to be beneath the takeoff
flightpath for Barcelona International Airport. From
early morning until midnight large jets fly almost
nose to tail directly overhead, making for a deafening
nonstop racket. There was no question of moving on
the next day.

We found our next stop, Tarragona, very nice. It is
built on top of and around the ruins of the Roman
capital of their Spanish province. The ruins are
impressive, and include parts of the largest Roman
circus in the world. We had a nice room there above a
restaurant for a good price, and stayed for almost a
week, basically relaxing. Travelling can be very hard
work. Sarah and I both got colds started there, and
needed the break.

We left Tarragona later than planned, headed for the
supposedly warm "Costa Calida." Our first day we
spent on trains, passing through Valencia to Alicanti.
It was an interesting place to stay, although we only
spent the night. Above the city is a fortress built
on the hill, probably (my guess) by the Muslim Moors
to defend against the Christians which were their
nearby neighbors. We also had at least three
belltowers which (out of sync) clanged out the
quarter-hours loudly. One played "Silent Night" every
fifteen minutes! Fortunately they quit at midnight.

We took a crazy bus through probably two hours of
stop-and-go roundabouts to overshoot our hoped-for
stop and end up in a resort town called Los Alcazares.
It is on the Mar Menor, a large saltwater lagoon with
water considerably warmer than that of the

Christmas Eve.... What a day! When we arrived, we
noticed that almost everything was closed. There were
bars over the doors and plastic shutters drawn down
over every window. It was like a ghost town! We
searched and searched for a place to stay, but not
only the supermarkets and shops were closed, but also
the hotels! Only one hotel was open, and above our
price range. We skipped it at the beginning of the
search, only to find ourselves too far away to return
later. To make a long story slightly less long, we
ended up staying in the guest bedroom of an old German
fellow who had tried to help us find a hotel! He
spoke almost no English, but chattered all night...
glad for the company I guess. He didn´t wake up by
the time we needed to leave Chrstmas morning, and we
had to climb over his gate to get out!!!!

What an unusual Christmas! We were starving when we
left there, and couldn´t find anyplace AT ALL open!
We finally happened upon an Italian restaurant which
opened two hours prior to their normal hour of 1pm so
we could have some breakfast! We feasted on a spicy
Italian meal... much needed! After an unsuccessful
wait at the bus stop (not many busses Christmas day!)
we decided to splurge and stay at the very hotel we´d
passed the night before. Topped off with a nice
dinner of Pizza (where are we anyway?) and phonecalls
to home, we had a decent, if very unexpected Christmas

Today, with time to spare and relatively beautiful
weather, we´ve moved back a few miles to our original
destination, still on the Mar Menor, of Santiago de la
Ribera. We´ve found a nice hotel close to the beach,
and plan to stay a few days.

Sorry for such a long e-mail, but recently our time
has been very busy with the business of travel, and
internet has been difficult to come by. Hopefully
future e-mails will be shorter and more often.

Merry Christmas!!!

-Dustin and Sarah

"An ADVENTURE is trouble you got out of..." -Jim Stenberg, high-school English teacher.

We will have no address other than e-mail during our trip, but our mail is now going to the address below. The phone number will be current until we leave.

Dustin and Sarah Radford
2357 Rodney Ct.
Springfield, OR 97477
(541) 928-8647

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New Adventures: Arrived at least...

Dear Friends and Family,
I am typing from an awful remapped keyboard in
Belgium, apparently someone here is trying to get back
at me for something... perhaps just speaking English.
Anyway, I will keep this short, as it is painfully
slow to type anything.
We arrived without unusual event in London,
exhausted even though we had been fortunate enough to
have three seats to stretch out on for the entire
10-hour plane ride. We spent about a week in London
seeing the sights such as Big Ben, The House of
Parliament, St. Pauls Cathedral, The Tower of London,
and pharaohs and Greek gods galore at the fabulous
British Museum. Of course we also had a generous
helping of fish and chips, or french-fries (which are
both supposed to be eaten with a fork).We stayed with
a friend at her apartment in north London, and the
real highlight of our time there was meeting friends
of hers and seeing "real London" the way few tourists
are priveleged to.
We never did fully recuperate from jet-lag, but
decided to hop a short Ryanair flight to Eindhoven,
The Netherlands, on Wednesday. We arrived late, and
without a clear idea of where we were going to stay.
It was a nasty windy night and somewhere near
freezing. After the bus ride from the airport (which
was free thanks to the driver, who couldnt take the
large denomination which was the only money we had),
we walked 30 minutes to a Guesthouse, similar to a Bed
and Breakfast in the States, but without the
breakfast... Only to find no one home! We stood
freezing on the doormat trying to decide what to do
next, and finally ended up walking all the way back to
the bus station in search of a phone. By then we were
both tired and more than a little grouchy, so we got
into a cab, hoping it could take us to the nearest
youth hostel. The driver had no idea where one was.
Neither did we.
After sitting in his comfortable cab for half an
hour, during which the cabbie made numerous calls to
try to locate a place for us to stay, he finally
called the number listed for the same guesthouse we
had walked to earlier. The owner answered his mobile
phonbe, and informed the cabbie that we could stay,
and that the key was under the very doormat we had
been standing on!
The next day we rented bikes and spent the day
seeing Eindhoven in true Dutch style. This morning we
left our friendly Dutch host with an unpronounceable
name and took the train to Brussels, where we have
just gotten comfortable. The weather is quite cold,
however, and it is likely that we will continue south
soon. I will write more later, but from a more
comfortable keyboard. We have posted some pictures to
our Flickr account (available through the blogsite),
if you are interested.

Until then,
-Dustin and Sarah

"An ADVENTURE is trouble you got out of..." -Jim Stenberg, high-school English teacher.

We will have no address other than e-mail during our trip, but our mail is now going to the address below. The phone number will be current until we leave.

Dustin and Sarah Radford
2357 Rodney Ct.
Springfield, OR 97477
(541) 928-8647

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We've gone High Tech!

Hi there everyone!

If you are one of those gadget and gizmo people, or
just spend plenty of time with your computer, you will
be interested to know that you can now have our blog
delivered directly via your RSS feed to your homepage,
mobile phone, or toaster! (ok... that would be a
very expensive toaster). I'm not a techie, but it was
very simple for me to "Syndicate" our blog and allow
an RSS feed to anywhere. If you are interested (or
have the least idea what this is all about), the blog
is now available via:


The days of technology.... wow.

-Dustin and Sarah

"An ADVENTURE is trouble you got out of..." -Jim Stenberg, high-school English teacher.

We will have no address other than e-mail during our trip, but our mail is now going to the address below. The phone number will be current until we leave.

Dustin and Sarah Radford
2357 Rodney Ct.
Springfield, OR 97477
(541) 928-8647

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New Adventures 2: Almost Ready...

Dear Friends and Family,

In less than two weeks Sarah and I will find ourselves
in London. Even a casual observer to our lives would
be able to tell that we are in a great rush of
packing, repairing, sorting, selling, and giving away
Stuff. It's amazing how Stuff is what really ties you
down. Last week we filled up the 4Runner with Stuff
and took it to our parents' homes for storage. On
Thanksgiving we will be filling the 4Runner again and
pulling a trailer behind it as well... and I am
beginning to doubt that even then we will have moved
all of our Stuff... not to mention the 10 boxes of
books we took a few weeks ago! You may be able to
understand (quickly think about "Getting more Stuff"
for the "holiday season")how liberating it will be
when all of our belongings within ten-thousand miles
will fit into our backpacks. There is no other
experience which can lighten the load which material
posessions impose more than hoisting the entirety of
them upon your back and walking wherever your fancy
may take you. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Aside from putting together my list of e-mails, we
have had only small adventures. I traded my bright
yellow 1981 Honda 900 motorcycle for the
above-mentioned 1988 4Runner, and have been trying to
get everything fixed on it ever since. For those of
you who remember my first car, my beautiful yellow
1978 Toyota hatchback, it has finally moved on... I
fear perhaps to its final rest. It was not, in fact,
yellow when I sold it. Last year I attempted to sell
it, and thought that I had when a (I know now) shady
character gave $100 of the asked-for $400 and promised
to return that night with the rest on condition that
he could drive it away. Of course I never saw the
rest of the money. I retained the title and extra
key, and one month later hunted down the vehicle,
which had been camoflauged with a grey paint job, and
returned it home. It worked out well for me, as I
have no idea what I would have driven last winter if I
had actually lost that car! He came by a few weeks
later and had the nerve to ask for his money back!
(He didn't get it.)

When the 4Runner appeared on the scene, I found a
buyer for the car via internet in Portland. He seemed
a reliable type, and so one rainy afternoon I drove up
to meet him. He was a young guy (I didn't realize
until later that he was still in high-school!) and
when I arrived he informed me that he was planning to
buy the car along with a friend. They asked if they
could go for a test drive, and I (not knowing any
better) agreed. With two fairly large guys sardined
in the tiny back-seat, and myself and the driver in
the front, the car was fairly packed, although I was
soon to be thankful for the added traction!

After a little excitement when the push-button starter
was inadvertently engaged with the car in gear, we got
it started. They were obviously unfamiliar with a
clutch from the beginning, as we nearly rolled
backward into Sarah's car before, with clutch smoking
and engine racing, the balding tires spun and caught
and we went swerving at amazing speed through the
narrow residential alleys that pass for Portland's
streets! At this point the driver was distracted by
the facts that the stereo was made by Ford and that he
didn't know how to operate it. As the music drowned
out the over-revving of the engine, we neared a corner
with the turn-signal on, only slowing slightly. I
clutched the edge of my seat and pressed my feet into
the floor where the brake pedal should have been. We
attempted the corner, and I felt the back of the car
loose traction as one of the back passengers,
obviously more in tune with the situation than the
driver, yelled "woah!" I still remember the color of
the car we came within an inch of totalling: Blue.
At the next block they switched drivers, but the
driving did not improve. I was more than relieved
when we finally came to rest, still in one piece and
even properly parked!

The rest of the sale was anticlimactic, but still
amusing. After filling out the paperwork, I was
informed that one of the partners had forgotten his
portion of the money, and that this was not a problem,
as long as I didn't mind being paid partially in
rolled change. I walked out a few minutes later with
a bread-bag full of rolled quarters, nickels, and
dimes, along with a large number of one- and
five-dollar bills, supplemented with a few twenties to
round out the total. I haven't heard from them since,
although I did recently receive notice of an overdue
parking ticket for the motorcycle!

Other than this our lives have been a hubbub of the
details of daily life. We have discovered that we may
have a chance to see the winter Olympics in Italy, and
have found a place to stay in London for our first
night. We've gotten a grand total of 6 immunizations
(we were both already pretty well immunized), a new
pair of mittens for Sarah, and a new insulated
undershirt for me. It's strange to think that we only
have four, maybe five, days of work left here in

I will try to write before we leave, but it is
possible that next time you hear from me I will be
typing from a keyboard on that other continent...

Until then,
-Dustin and Sarah Radford

New Adventures

Dear Friends and Family,

After my trip to Africa in 2002 most of my adventures
have been of a more personal and internal nature.
They wouldn't, I assume, make very interesting
reading, and so I haven't put them into writing. As
you probably know, I married my soulmate Sarah in
December of 2003, and have since been living a quiet
apartment-dwellers life in Albany, Oregon. It will
have to suffice to say that marriage has been the
biggest and most life-changing adventure of our lives,
but that there is no way it can be explained by any
amount of writing.

Thankfully, the introduction is over, and so now on to
the present! Now that we've had some time to get to
know eachother, Sarah and I have decided to go
travelling! At first we wanted to visit Nairobi on a
short-term mission trip, but our money didn't save as
quickly as hoped, and we decided that it wasn't meant
to be. Instead, we began planning for India, but once
again the cost (mostly of airline tickets) redirected
us. We've finally settled on a three-month trip to
Europe which we will embark on with or without the
funds we would like due to the fact that we have
already bought our tickets!

We are scheduled to fly out of Seattle on November
30th and return from London on March 1st. In the
meantime we are hoping to visit some friends at their
home in southern France, are considering a little time
at L'Abri, and have great hopes of staying warm
camping in the dead of winter in southern Italy and
the islands of Greece!

Aside from sharing our news, I am writing to find out
if you are interested in getting regular e-mail
updates of our adventures. If you are interested,
please reply! I am vaguely considering blogging, as
that is apparently the popular thing to do these days,
so if you have a leaning toward either e-mail or blog,
please let me know that as well. Hearing back from
you may very well inspire me to do a bit more personal
e-mailing, so please do write! I would be interested
to know what you are up to!

Yours always,
-Dustin Radford