About Me

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My name is Chad Davis. I am the creation of my Lord and Savior, I am the son of Marilyn Davis and the late Carl Davis, I am the brother of Gregory Carl Davis, I am a husband to the amazing Tara Davis, and I am a friend to many; all of which put up with me and keep me in-line. I am grateful and blessed to have such an amazing cast of characters in my life. Without them, I would have nothing to write about.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Europa Series: Interlaken

Our last city was Interlaken, Switzerland. We didn't plan on it being last because we had planned on going to Paris. This was a rookie mistake; if you ever plan to go to Interlaken, make sure it is your last stop. I'll use the receptionist of our hostel's words, "Once you get to Interlaken, you won't leave until you have to... and you never really have to leave."

It's almost pointless to describe Interlaken; you have to experience it for yourself to understand. Think of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine, multiply its awesomeness by two and you might be able to capture the ambiance of Interlaken. If God created a heaven on earth, he hid it somewhere in Switzerland.

In Interlaken, you can do whatever you want and be happier doing it there than if you did it anywhere else. If you want to sit around and do nothing, it's awesome in Interlaken. If you want to do some extreme sport, it’s awesome in Interlaken. If you want to eat some cheese, it's awesome in Interlaken. If you need to take a... you get the point.

Chadly and I did a little bit of everything. At this point in the trip we were exhausted and all we wanted to do was rest. This was the one city where we had absolutely no agenda. The chocolate and cheese were both ridiculously amazing and is a must if you are ever in Interlaken. One day we were riding bikes through the town, and we pulled over to sit on a bench for about 30 minutes just to relax and enjoy the scenery of this little town that sits in the middle of the Swiss Alps Mountains. We did do one extreme sport while we were there, and it just so happened to be the most extreme thing to do; canyoning (I’ll devote an entire blog to this later).

The whole time we were there we were hanging out with a group of seven from the University of Dayton in Ohio. They were also the ones that told us about canyoning and went with us. I could write an entire blog about how cool these people were and how much fun we had hanging out, but this is already getting super long so just know that they were awesome. We still keep in touch with a few of them on facebook as well.

We did stay longer than we planned; we skipped Paris and limited our time in Amsterdam. We extended our stay at the hostel; which the receptionist had already done for us when we checked in without our asking because apparently everyone ends up extending their stay. We stayed as long as we could without missing our flight. I feel like I would be beating a dead horse if I tried to convince you to go to Interlaken. Just go while you are still able to enjoy it.

My final thoughts and conclusion to the “Europa Series”

Whoever created the concept of retirement had it all wrong. After you get done working your way through school, you have to jump right into working your way through a job. There needs to be a way that you can have 5-10 years after school to do whatever you want (expenses paid), and it not hurt any career possibilities. If you try to do that now, employers look down on the fact that you've been "goofing-off" for the past few years. The way it's set up, you could work your whole life just to save up enough for the final few years you have left. I know this doesn't hold true to everyone, and there are a lot of people who get to retire early (before 60). But the average person can't afford to stop working before they turn 70; especially after the most recent eco-crash. On average retirement is around 15 years, but one might argue that work doesn't stop there. That's whenever you start working for your family; your kids and grand kids start consuming all of your time. Then, your final years are usually spent working to fight off diseases and bad health. There is a pretty well known superstition in the oilfield that once you stop working, you only have about 3 years left until your time on earth is up.

I make you think about all of this because I want you to realize that "work" consumes our lives. Regardless of your employment status, there is always work to be done (just ask my step-father). Make sure that you take time to see and experience all of God's wonderful creations while you are still young enough to enjoy them.

What a waste life would be if we just worked until we died.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Europa Series: Roma

Only two more cities to go! I'll run through Rome pretty quick because I have a lot to do today, and then, I've saved the best city for last (mostly because we went there last).

Rome (Roma) was amazing! You could stay a week in Rome and still not be able to see everything. However, we did hit the highlights in two days.

But before I jump into all of that, I don't think you quite appreciate how much walking we've done up to this point. My feet were literally bleeding because of how much we had traveled. It was getting hard to notice anything on our tours because every step led to excruciating pain. So my first order of business was to find new shoes with better padding. I bought a sweet pair of Zebra print shoes from a street vendor for about $6 American money. Then, I went and bought a $23 set of Dr. Scholl's inserts for my sweet, new shoes. Then, I went to a pharmacy and bought bandages and cushions for my bleeding calluses (I won't post these pictures, I promise). After all of this, it feels like I'm walking on clouds; pretty sure I almost started crying from the relief.

Our first order of business was to see the Vatican after we checked into our hostel. Since it was a Sunday, we figured there would be somewhat of a larger crowd than normal. We got to Vatican City pretty early for this reason, but had no clue what we were about to experience. Neither Chadly nor myself are practicing or familiar with the Catholic religion, so you can only imagine our shock when we arrived at the Vatican to find out that coincidentally we chose to tour the Vatican during the Pentecost Festival. I'm not talking about, "Oh, it's Easter Sunday so we should go to church." kind of crowd; I'm talking, "Holy Crap, U2 is playing a free concert!" kind of crowd. I could go on and on about the festival but regardless, we got blessed by the Pope (who is pretty much a rockstar), toured the Vatican, and saw the grave of Pope John Paul II.

On the second day, we went to see all of the buildings and monuments of Rome. This included the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Sistine Chapel. One of the smartest things we did this entire trip was make a reservation to see the Colosseum; this saved us at least 5 hours of waiting in line. We also didn't have to wait in line to see the Sistine Chapel because we arrived right before they were about to close (remember that if you visit Rome, and remember you can't tour the Sistine Chapel on a Sunday). We pretty much ran through the entire Vatican Museum just to get to the chapel before they closed. This was another "No Photo!!" monument, so naturally...

The last night we went out with some people that were in the room next to ours; I think they were from Michigan. One of the things that we wanted to do on this trip was go to a European rave. Between the both of us, we only had one glow stick to share, so we weren't very prepared. However, we ended up at a 5 story club full of fellow ravers; loads of glow sticks and techno music. I don't really know what we expected, but we can now say we've been to a European rave. It’s like they say, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do!"

I would love to go back to Rome some day when I had more time to see everything. There is so much history, monuments, and art that you really need longer than two days to appreciate everything.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Europa Series: Firenze

Ahhh I'm ready for this series to be over. I have so much other stuff to talk about BUT its almost done. Sooooo....

As soon as we got to Florence (Firenze) we found our hostel and dropped our packs off. Then we went and had a pretty interesting dinner. The restaurant was in a square that had various shops, clubs and other places to eat. We were sat at a table in between two couples. The couple on our left was in their own world; obviously used to this sort of arrangement. On our right was a young Holland couple on their honeymoon. They were not so familiar with this set up. In fact, at the beginning of the meal, the guy asked our waitress if there were any individual tables available, but luckily, there were none open. Their names were Bart and Coralie and spoke very good English. I'm not sure what the turning point of the evening was (probably when they had to order for us because the waitress didn't speak any English), but by the end of the meal we were all laughing and having a blast. Bart grabbed our waitress at the end of the meal and told her that this was a great idea for seating and that they had made life-long friends. We finished the night by having a few bottles of wine with our new "life-long" friends at a couple different places. We have actually stayed in touch with Coralie via facebook.

The next day we hit up all of the typical tourist activities which included climbing the Piazza Del Duamo; which is ranked as the number 1 thing to do in Europe by a lot of travel guides because of the view. We also saw all of the Florence art works like the Da Vinci Museum, the Birth of Venus, the Medusa shield, and we went to the museum Galleria dell'Accademia where we saw the David. You're not supposed to take pictures of the David, so naturally EVERYONE tries to take a picture and then act like they were just cleaning their camera. This gave Chadly and me an arsenal of new jokes because of the security screaming, "NO PHOTO!!" at tourists.

After we were done touring for the day, we went and found a hill that overlooked all of Florence where we enjoyed a bottle of wine and another breath-taking sunset.

Florence was kind of a blur. It seems like a lot of Italy gets blended together when I look back. All of the architecture and art was very similar through the entire country so that was probably a major contributing factor.

Bart and Coralie

Monday, January 24, 2011

Europa Series: Venezia

(MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 2011 - Been a while, hasn't it?!) Yeah, someone's behind a desk again. I know there is a lot that has happened since July, but first, I really need to finish this Europe series. Chadly has been guilting me into finishing it forever because he wants his future children to be able to read about the adventures of his younger days. I have no such longing for children, nor would I ever want them to know about my "younger" days.

About this point in the trip Chadly and I were starting to get a little temperamental with each other. This was put to test when I booked our train to Florence instead of Venice (I kept getting those two mixed up for some reason). Because of this little error, we had to jump off of the train in some random city outside of Venice and take a night bus into the city. This put us in a DESERTED Venice at 4:00 in the morning.

I don't know if you are very familiar with Venice (Venezia), but it's most commonly known for being the city with all the water canals and the maze like alleys. This was probably the most stressful part of the trip, and by far one of the most memorable. We had no map, no hostel, no clue about where we were supposed to go. We were in a foreign country, no one was on the streets (I mean NO ONE), we didn't speak or understand any of the language, and we were exhausted from having zero sleep. We had these 50 lb back packs strapped to our back, our feet were killing us, and we had just shared a train car with some very interesting nuns followed by a pretty sketchy bus ride. We were tired.

Luckily, after about an hour of doing the ole heel-toe through the mazes, we stumbled up on a bakery that was just opening. Actually, we followed the scent of his crescents from about half a mile away. BEST CRESCENTS I'VE EVER EATEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

This was the turning point for our Venice trip.

We stayed in the bakery until the sun gave us enough light to do a little self-touring. After we got a map, we made our way to the center of the city where we got to experience a sunrise at St Marks square without any tourists around; a very RARE occasion. Venice was really fun to tour because of the boat rides through the canals. While in Venice, we did all of the typical touristy things: toured the entire city, climbed the famous Campanile tower of the St Mark's Basilica, got a bottle of wine and pizza to watch a sunset over the ocean on the side of the canal, saved two girls from getting sold into sex trafficking (true story but too long to tell), then take 1 million pictures with the saved girls in St Marks square at about 3 in the morning. Yeah, it was a long day; we probably had the best sleep of the entire trip that night in the worst beds of the entire trip. I always slept on the top bunk in our hostels, and I'm pretty sure that this night the bottom of my mattress was only hovering about 5 inches over Chadly's face.

I loved Venice. The way of life there is just so different from the way we are used to living. A visit to the city-on-top-of-the-water should be on everyone’s bucket list.