Born and raised on the Olympic Peninsula, Ady Crosby is a local through and through. A 2008 Sequim High graduate, Crosby left the peninsula for Western Washington University where she studied history and social studies, earning a bachelor’s degree in 2013.
She plans to be a high school teacher in those subjects, but, “I am not in a rush to make that happen,” she says. Currently she works at Starbucks and The Oak Table, only recently returning from a trip abroad.
Instead of jumping into a career, Crosby and boyfriend Neddy Dondup, a Boise native she met at college, decided to save up for a year to go on a two-and-a-half-month trip to see the sights in Europe. The pair left Sept. 4 and saw the sights in 10 different countries before returning Nov. 17.
“Neddy and I had both wanted to travel. His mom was a travel agent, so he’d done traveling. I just kind of wanted to go and I didn’t get a chance to study abroad at school. It just never worked out.
After we graduated, we decided we’d go the next fall. We started to work our butts off and save up thousands of dollars to go spend it all in two and a half months … though the time (we’d spend there) was very open-ended. We weren’t really sure what we were doing, but we were going to go.
We bought a one-way ticket to Ireland. We had a friend living there, so that was kind of our jumping-off point — which is also a good transition, because they speak English. We knew we wanted to fly into Ireland because it’s cheapest to fly into Ireland, and it’s cheapest to fly out of Paris. So we kind of did a circle. We kind of just winged it. We bought a couple of big-ticket items ahead of time but basically we just kind of went around, met really cool people and saw lots of museums and sights.
We went to Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Greece, Spain and France.
I’m an ancient history buff and Greece has been my dream to visit. I was really excited about going to the site of Delphi in Greece. It’s about two hours to the west of Athens. It’s kind of this little hillside town and it’s really famous for the Temple of Apollo that was the political, cultural, social center of ancient Greece. It was said even Alexander the Great went there. People would get their oracle read, their futures decided. I’ve read about it so long and I’ve seen pictures. I already knew the architectural site was going to be great but the actual town of Delphi is so beautiful. I was not expecting it to be that gorgeous.
The Parthenon was also cool. I was like, ‘This is where Western Civilization stemmed from, essentially. How awesome!’
One of my highlights was Meteora, in Greece. There, the Greek Orthodox nuns and monks decided to build little monasteries on these rocks. They used to have rope ladders to get up there so no one could get up there. They just wanted to live their life in peace, do their monk thing.
There are six monasteries left, all of them built in the 13th century. The monks and nuns are still living the same lifestyle. You can hike around — they still have all the monk trails. The sunsets in Greece are stupidly pretty.
Slovenia reminded me a lot of Washington state. It has the Alps, it has the beach right there, it has forests and cities. It has this cool kind of Washington feel.
Neddy had picked out some things he wanted to do. He’s a home brewer, so he’s really into beer. He wanted to do Belgium and Germany and the Czech Republic. We went on a scavenger hunt to find this ‘Best Beer in the World’ in Belgium. It’s called Westvleteren. There’s a monastery that brews it in northeast Belgium. It’s very rare and you’re not supposed to resell it. We did finally find it. I think that was exciting for Neddy.
We went to Octoberfest in Munich. You hear about those ladies with the giant beer steins … those things are huge. You have to hold it double-handed because it’s so heavy. We didn’t really get to explore Germany itself and I wish we would have had more time to explore. Next time we’ll do more.
We went to a resistance museum in Amsterdam. That was one of my favorite museums (but) it was horrible and so upsetting. We read every single blurb or box, the stories of survivors.
Neddy’s also a very analytical person so he just soaked up all the information. I enjoyed the museums, but two-and-a-half, three hours is enough for me.
We were super fortunate with the weather, with only four days of rain.
We ended up renting bikes. I’m not a biker, so that was a little scary for me. Neddy’s a really good biker so my confidence gained as we went on.
The language barriers weren’t so bad. In Greece there was a little more confusion because their alphabet is all so different. Sometimes we had moments of panic with buses and trains not showing up when they say they’re going to.
The people in Europe were great. Irish people were the most welcoming. In France, we were kind of lost and trying to find our B-and-B, and this Parisian girl comes up and asks, ‘Can I help you?’ We never had any issues about being from the U.S.
If I had to do anything different, I’d try to go off the beaten path more. Some of my favorite things were just wandering around, just seeing the people.
It would be fun to live in Europe for an indefinite amount of time and I’m not done traveling.”
Everyone has a story and now they have a place to tell it. Verbatim is a first-person column that introduces you to your neighbors as they relate in their own words some of the difficult, humorous, moving or just plain fun moments in their lives. It’s all part of the Gazette’s commitment as your community newspaper. If you have a story for Verbatim, contact editor Michael Dashiell at email@example.com