Tuesday, June 30, 2009

the end of a road

so this is it. one final blog ( my seventy-second by the way) and i will be on my way home again to settle down and be in one place again, at least for a week or so until i get restless and must move on! i am feeling a bit rattled by the swiftly approaching finale of my adventures (well these migratory adventures at least, as i am sure there will be more adventures in the future) and have therefor been looking for ways to settle myself, no need to be too stressed on tomorrows very very long journey home, and have been doing some counting to calm myself down and put this whole thing into perspective. so here are some numbers that i have come up with:

postcards i have sent-107 (my mother alone recieved 28)

time zones i've been in (long term not just passing over)-6

airports i've been in-12

flights i've been on-11

hostels i've stayed in-19

currencies i've used-6

farms i've worked on-5

books i have read-55




countries i've been to (again only ones i've stayed in)-11

cities i've visited-36

plug adaptors i've used-4

i have met a countless number of people, some of whom i will never speak to or see again, despite being friends on facebook. however there are a good number that i know i will keep in contact with and several who i will not be suprised to have turn up to visit when they are in my neck of the woods and a few who i will be going to visit myself. i've planted trees, walked on a volcano and jumped out of a plane as well as doing a rather thorough survey of plane/train/bus/ferry services. i feel that were i to be suddenly set down in some strange place, mapless and without plan, i could find my way, meet some people and discover some fun things to do. things that used to scare me now don't bother me at all and i feel i've accomplished rather a lot over the course of six months, including the fact that i will be returning home not broke having managed to stay on budget which is sort of a miricle in this type of long term travel or so i have gathered from my fellows.

anyway, i really don't have much to say and all of that counting was in a way some form of procrastination as i have not packed one bit and am more than a little bit terrified by the pile of things which must be coerced back into the raggedy confines of my dreaded backpack (interestingly, only two items of cloathing have survived from the original pack-load. everything else has been worn out, discarded, bartered, or replaced), but over all i think that the the counting was a way to reconcile my memories with facts, draw it all together into something at least resembling a cohesive journey. to justify the money that i have spent, and the time that i have invested. and most of all to sooth my worry, not about what has already occured but what will. the unknown. a return to 'normal' (whatever that is) and how i will cope with permenence and one place and a job? alarming prospects all. but never mind that, one day at a time and all that. i will get there when i get there and in the meantime, i have so very much enjoyed this migration, here at the close of my one-hundred-and-eightyeth day of summer (with few exceptions) and looking forward to more and whatever else comes with that and after that. i am always amazed and pleased that anyone has been reading this, i hope that it has provided some amusement of some sort and not been too atrocious in the spelling department, and (until the next bout of travel seizes me) not goodbye, but see you later.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

calling from london

and the last stop has indeed arrived. though never expected to come to an end, it just seems that it must go on forever, i know that technically i have now two more days of 'travel' and one long day of travel (that is almost forty hours by the way and due to some time traveling madness all taking place in the space of one wednesday) and i will be finished with what has turned out to be quite the action packed adventure, though perhaps not the most thoroughly chronicled of adventures for which i again do apolagize. however i must say if i were writting all the time i would not have time to do anything worth writing about and therefor what would it be that i would be writing?
i digress however as this is definatly not my farewell blog, but just a few short words about the lovely frolics in charming london town which have so far taken place (and two more days so who knows what could happen still?!) with my friends, a selection of, though not all of, the epic british girls who have been previously mentioned here.
on friday morning i woke to an unfarmiliar setting, having taken the train from glasgow to london the previous evening, and arrived and been met at kings cross (where by the way there is neither a platform 9 or 10 for those who know why that is of any significance, apparently unintelligent children and or persons unknown of a number large enough to be worriesome, injured themselves running at the dividing wall). but i had fogotten all of this in the moment of waking and was temporarily alarmed until i remembered that i had once again, and for the last time at least on this trip, changed countries, cities, locations in general. i headed out to the subway or what they here call the tube/underground and will recognize by no other name, and journeyed to camden street where i met steph and sarah and we had some fun market-y times and some terribly upsetting chinese food (delicious at the time, rather close to rejected by stomachs later on) and then moved on to the protobello market and then to the main shopping area and the most enormous shops every, including the flagship topshop which has a tree downstairs (inside) and is so enormous we should have worked out meeting points in case anyone was unexpectedly seperated from the group. the markets were lovely if a bit commercial, but what i expected. some really wonderful things were being produced by hand by local artisans and i am always more than happy to support such persons (being at times one myself and believing in karma and all) and found many wonderful things amongst the silly eighties movie quote tshirts and the same reproduction hip garments in a variety of qualities and prices. there was also a rather glorious array of flea markety stuff and produce at portobella and a set of enormouse lion statues at camden which were dutifully posed with-really who could resist a big cat photo op?!
saturday i met helen at the waterloo train station (all the while humming the abba song) which was rather difficult due to the fact that one of the lines was down, a few stations closed, and the victoria or main line i was using, was determined to linger over-long and unessisarily in the tunnels while it's overcrowded occupants sweltered in the muggy heat below ground. but i got there in time and we found eachother just fine and we set out for the meeting point of the free tour of london, which she was eager to go on, due to the fact it is slightly comical to tour ones own country and that they are generally a rather good way to get a sort of general overview of a city in a whirlwind sort of way and are often suplimented by many interesting, though sort of useless facts which i always love learning. such as that the duke of wellington did in fact create the first wellington (or wellie) boot. we swung by the palace to catch a bit of the changing of the royal guard (to dancing queen of all things and aparently it was thriller the previous day in an obvious sort of tribute though interesting considering it's the queen that selects each peice) and wonder at the heavy heat of those black bearfur hats in the rather oppressive sunshine which beat down upon our group, thouroughly uncharicteristic of the country. aparently delivered by me?
we saw charles palace and passed several exclusive gentlemans clubs, and walked the length of pall mall street to trafalger square and over to big ben, parliment and the royal favorite church, where they conduct coronations, weddings and funerals. i felt an need to mutter 'remember remember the fifth of november' when walking past parliment, and was rather impressed with the sheer scale of the london eye, though daunted by the length of the line and convinced it was not worth it, by the price of a ride, and not even open air!
and todays central attraction was the wallace and gromit exhibit at the national science museum which involved lots of fun interactive games and activities and all sorts of awesome inventions and we saw a mans head get stuck in the tube doors and extricated (he should not have tried to board after the doors were closing but still) and all sorts of fun exciting dinosaur bones at the natural history museum and now i have another two days left of travel before i have to really travel and what do i fill them with?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

i'll take the high road and you take the low road

i apolagize for not writing of late, other than to fill in the end of the paris-adventures saga, but i have been focusing on keeping warm. it has been absolutly freezing here considering that it is 'summer' and most definatly the month of june. but seeing as i have today finally seen the sun agian (and it feels almost out of character here, uncomfortable and unexpected-everyone so pale they practically glow) i have sufficiantly thawed to be able to invest some energy in typing up an account of scotland so far.
and it has been very different from where i have been traveling previously. for instance they speak english as a first language here. sort of. some people are so hard to understand it's startling. but i am staying with family and that is a lovely change, and we've been on several long drives in the countryside to outlying towns with small pubs and miles of old stone walls with no cement inbetween. and everything is so green it hurts your eyes and there are skittering wolly white lamb which frolic up and down the landscape just asking to be a sweater. and every corner seems to be staked by one bagpiper or another. and we took the train up to edinborough, my cousin and i, and went to visit the castle and it was so castley it almost felt fake in it's thorough authenticity. all those parapets and stone and dungeons and winding stairs. and there was a drawbridge over a (sadly empty) moat) and a gate with menecing spikes one walked under at the entrance and it was only after we had been walking about for a bit examining canons and stone guardhouses that i realized 'dude i'm in a castle' and it was a sort of glorious realization.
however i must say that the most amazing thing that i have experienced while here in scotland was a dinner on the third night i was in the country. the whole family gathered together and met at a resteraunt called mr singhs which apparently is 'the best' according to one knowlegable source, which was an indian resteraunt. and upon arriving we were met by one of the owners sons (who are all named after heros of a scottish football league if i recall correctly) who knew everyone and showed them to a table and i saw that all of the servers were decked out in full scottish regalia, with the high socks and a kilt and the vest with the strange tie at the neck and everything, and turbans. of all things, an indian resturaunt where you are waited on by kilted, be-turbaned waiters named after footballers and served haggis pakora and brought special dishes when it is discovered you like things spicy. for the record it was all fabulously delicious. i stuffed myself silly and then added dessert to it as well (not the wisest move but they had an ice cream 'bomb' covered in chocolate and coconut) but the whole time i couldn't help being amused by the kilt/turban combo even though it might have been the best indian food ever. and in scotland of all places.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the adventures of max and kaitlin in paris- part two

and we are back with another exciting installment of the shennanigans of two american girls wandering paris.....
episode nine
in which kaitlin and max tackle the most terrifying of all paris or even possibly european tourist stops:the louvre! waking to a torrencial downpour they layer up and head out through the metro to the museum, arriving ten minutes before it opens and manage to-running up over six flights of stairs and bypassing any sort of maps or guides and only stopping to flash our tickets- be the third and fourth people to view the mona lisa, behind her protective glass and guarded and roped off in her own enormous room, in the entire day. the room was empty except for a couple who weren't even looking at m.l. and, breathing a bit heavily, we took a victory picture in which one can see a out of focus painting in the background.
we then proceeded to view the rest of the museum or as much as we could handle, being particularly interested in the sulley wing full of egyptian antiquities and napleans 'small' apartments furnished all in red velvet and the most sumptuous chandeliers i have ever seen.
episode ten
in which kaitlin and max walk all the way from the louvre to the islands and arrive at the famouse berthillion ice cream parlor looking distinctly like drowned cats, only to discover that it is closed on mondys and tuesdays. very sad, but we find a cafe across the street which sells their icecream anyway, and have a banana split and the most glorious caramel ice cream i have ever encountered. visit notre dame which is so breathtaking but marred slightly at the sight of idaho-ean tourist posing their chocolate stained tshirt wearing children in front of all the prayer candles and saying 'make a silly face' or whatever. also distracted from my enjoyment by two southern california women complaining about the lack of the usefulness of their french driver and oh communication and how difficult it is to get anything across to their spanish speaking maid and how they really shouldn't get a sports car what with the recession but hey if they do they want the extra features which is just logical.
episode eleven
in which we climb the arc de triumph at night, oh glorious spiral stairs in all your dizzy inducing clausterphobic splendor how many of you i have stepped up and how little i will miss you post europe. i am forever going to choose the lift option after this. the view was stunning and so vast, you could really pick out the other landmarks well, the eiffle all lit up in the settling dusk, the rows of cars streaching out gracefully from all the streets emerging from the base of the arc like some sort of unfurling flower. and all of this magnificence for the tomb of some unknown and un named soldier who died forever ago. it is really impressive. we made it back to the apartment late and with very cold feet but a head full of such beautiful scenery.
episode twelve
dawns our last day and a rush to the de orsay where we are again ahead of the pack in entering and enjoy our stroll throughout this once-a-train-station-now-a-museum and sort of focus on impressionism with forays into poinilism and art deco furniture(the lines were so fluid considering they were made out of wood!) and just generally appreciating the beautiful building and a cup of very satisfactory hot chocolate in the cafe from which we could peer through the gigantic station clock that graces the river facing front of the structure. after this we booked it straight to the rodin sculpture garden where we were rewarded by some well deserved end-of-week sunshine as we meandered between rows of perfectly manicured shrubbery and peered up at the thinkier and the fates and finally the gates of hell and all of their splendidly expressive suffering. k and m conclude that he really did exceptional work on both feet and hands.
episode thirteen
wait in line for what seems like eternity at the entrance to the catacombs then decend the tightest and narrowest spiral stair ever just to walk for fifty minutes. signs adorn all the walls posing the question: do you suffer from anxiety or shortness of breath? we are freaked out enough by the gaping metal-gated holes in the passageway behind which lurks such thick darkness but after what seems like forever we emerge suddenly into passages lines in five foot deep shoulder high 'piles' of bones. really they are exceptionally organized, with the sculls and long legbones used to form decorative patterns in the sides of this endless winding wall of dead people relocated from so many spread out french gravesites. there is something distincly unsettling abou the missing sculls and the shapes they leave behind, as who would steal that. and after loosing track of the group in front of us and wandering forward a bit on our own (through a section where the previous days rain has soaked through the mile of ground above to dampen the floor to a treacherous level of slipperyness) we emerge at a cathedral high ceilinged opening and the stairs up which chuck us out at some unknown and far away destination.
episode fourteen
in which k and m buy wine on the way back at the petit casino grocery store and drink an entire bottle of rose with their dinner (both massive and masterpiece as it utilzed everything left in the refrigorator in a cocophany of vegitable/cheesy/pestoy goodness) in order to shake of some remnents of goosebumps sustained from their long sojourn underground. they then stumble slightly to the metro where they journey once agian deep into the montmarte/louve areas of paris for some heavy duty wandering followed by dinner at a resteraunt with red velvet seats and gold painted chairs where they have dinner and a pitcher of wine (hey it's france) and they staff try their hardest to keep max and kaitlin in their establishment plying them with chocolates at regular intervals until the only way they can escape (not wishing to miss the eiffle tower lit up at night on their last paris evening) is to go beg for the bill from the bartender-who has been watching then all evening and been thoughroughly entertained.
episode fifteen
eiffle tower at night. lit up and with an hourly light show which turns it into the biggest sparkler in the world. not much to describe this but it is so beautiful and perfect.
episode sixteen
kaitlin and max journey to the cdg airport and discover upon arrival that they depart from the same terminal and even the same section in that terminal so they are able to remain together past security and through the long amount of time between check in and boarding. goodbyes are not easy even when the blow is softened by an enormous bag of peanut m&m's purchased at the duty free shop. even when knowing there will be further reuniting soon.
max and kaitlin part ways and fade to black, el fin, roll credits.
i would like to thank kaitlin for meeting me in paris, pushing it up past it's average awesomeness to trip highlight status. how well did we do that? we should sell our plan to fund a return trip!
and now, some scotish 'summer' aka torrencial rain and wind so strong you can lean into it and remain standing. i will miss paris and i understand how everyone raves about it. i understand what the 'big deal' is with the most visited and most expensive city in europe. i know i must go back, there is so much to see just simply walking down a twisted cobblestone street that periodically ones brain must explode with excitement. and the food...well i will most likely drool on myself even thinking about it so not going there but let me just close with saying that hot chocolate has never been experienced in this way before, it is truly life changing!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

the adventures of max & kaitlin in paris-part one

before i begin allow me to first mention that todays entry is being co-written or shall we say assisted by the lovely kaitlin, who is incedentally my partner in crime for the whole week in paris and sitting right next me right now so it's not like i'd write anything bad about her at least this time. good news is she is looking over my shoulder so there is a higher likelyhood of correct spelling, and she will force me to spell the french words with the correct accents.
episode one
in which max and kaitlin meet at the cdg airport. of course because it is the one flight of max's where there is someone waiting at the other side, everything does go wrong. but the reunite at the arrivals gate, there is hugging and most likely some squeeling but i won't say from whom, and they set out into paris together.
episode two
in which kaitlin is uber jetlagged and max attempts to keep her awake by leading her in totally the wrong direction (accident) and feeding her tons of espresso on an empty stomach. actually in truth k ordered the espresso for herself. they then walk to the cimetèrie du père lachaise and visited several important resting places including chopin, oscar wilde(covered in lipstick kisses-noted that this is not particularly hygenic), and of course jim morrison.
episode three
in which k &m feel revitalized after a light nap and lovely french supper and take a very very long walk (about four miles) all the way from their hotel on the edge of the bastille to the louvre. they admire the enormousness of the museum and how lovely everything is lit up at night, finally feeling like they are for sure in paris cause there is no way this could be faked (it's too big) and then, exhausted, metro back to the hotel and crash.
episode four
in which k & m once again navigate the trecherous french subway to their lent apartment in the spanish quarter. while the metro is very extensive, for some reason the stations involve very long walks to get from one line to another, resulting in a lot of trudging around dragging heavy luggage. after successfully locating the apartment they visit the eiffle, it is huge and so is the line, so they plan to return (very early) the following day to beat the queue.
-note-in this episode a crazy lady comes up to the girls while they are sitting at a chocolatiere and grabs one of their truffles off the plate. the staff chase her away and then replace the two complimentary chocolates with four very large ones, all the while apolagizing profusely.
episode five
in which the girls cook their first mean in the one person kitchen (rice and vegetable curry with orangina and some experimental pink champagne) and then head out in search of creme brulée and have to walk halfway across the neighborhood checking each blackboard menu in vain until they finally locate an establishment smart enough to serve this traditionally french dessert, and excitedly order two only to discover that they are gigantic. max valiently eats her entire serving and promptly feels ill, kaitlin is smarter and stops when she feels she can no longer carry on.
episode six
in which they wake very very early and make it to the eiffle tower ( 1,665 steps people) almost an hour before it even opened to discover an alarming line already forming and are somewhat worried. however within an hour of waiting (and discovering they still count as 'youth' here) they make it to the very top of the tower and have their beautiful views.
have at this point concluded that it is not in fact parisians who are rude, but the tourists in paris, who jostle so violently in lines and lifts that they cause many a bump and bruise on our innocent travelers. this type of conduct is of course completely unnessisary as it saves no time and gets you perhaps an inch further in line and just makes other people angry. don't do this please. everyone is waiting just like you, so be pacient.
episode six
in which they walk through the mouffetard food market (purchasing some miniature potatoes for dinner) and to the famous shakespear and co bookstore right across from notre dame which was once the hangout for such writers as hemingway, whitman aned joyce, and is floor to ceiling books and gloriously insane, though i might add, the staff is a bit on the snooty side. kaitlin agrees with this sentiment says 'oh very much so'
discovered a tiny hole-in-th-wall cafe (very strange-serving american and brazillian cocktails and what they thought was american food but with a irish pub atmosphere and covers of american songs sung in french) which served a very good burger (note that medium in france means slightly cooked but still extreemly bloody) and had an awesome selection of mustards for their fries or frites. walked through the jardin du luxenbourg and watched small children prod sailboads in the water with sticks.
episode seven
in which kaitlin and max spend much more time walking in circles then actually doing anything, first throughout all of montmarte (the moulin rouge is unimpressive in the morning unlit by it's charicteristic red lights) and up a disturbing number of steps to the sacré coeur which was a beautiful monument decorated in so many different gargoyles, and the veiw from the dome is argued to be one of the best in paris. from there we spent a long time lost and overheated and trying to locate the marché aux puces de st-ouen, the reputed largest market in europe with 2,500 stalls, but were disapointed to find that it was just like any market in the bay area but more of a suffocating crush of people.
episode eight
in which they stop at a rather touristy cafe along the champs-élyées only to discover that it was overpriced and didn't bring water when requested or even offer condiments with foods such as french fries! outraged at this preposterous establishment max proceeds to steal their pepper mill before departing as she and kaitlin have been wishing for pepper in the apartment.
stay tuned for qnother exciting batch of episode in the amazing adventures of these to mischeivious travellers and their parisian revels.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

oh this amazing swedish effeciency

well sweden has proved an intersting place. so very swedish it is. everything is perfectly designed, and works correctly and exclusively for it's intended purpose. the people are cold (as is their country) and seem to be very unaware of other people around them. i have never been so alarmingly bumped and joseled while moving around public spaces, it's as if no one cares about anyone else, no one smiles at the grocery store at strangers, no one seems to say what they mean. elusive and indirect these stockholm-ers. but make some really good ice cream (saffron and blackberry, the most amazing flavor/color combination i've ever experienced). but that seems to be the thing i notice most here. everything is perfectly made, works so exactly for it's purpose, the clothes are perfectly tailored and well made, and the sinks all have a little rubber scoop designed for getting all the bits of food that collect there out easier, but the people are emotionally devoid.
the laundry in and of itself was an experience. my friend beth who i am visiting here, has free laundry here (free like everything else, health care, school etc) and it is perfectly done if i do say so myself. there is a board outside the laundry room with a full month calender and every apartment has a lock that they move with their door key to the day and time slot they wish to do laundry in, that way no one is there when you planned to go. the washing machines are huge and the dryer industrial. there is also a large and very effective iron and the most amazing drying rack ever. designed sort of like a heated towel rack with all of the bars spaced alternatly so that everything you hang will not be piled on top of itself and therefor dry better, the bars swing out of what looks like a fairly normal cabinet, then once loaded up with all delicate or hang-dry clothes, is rotated back in where they dry in a clean dust free environment, hung over round rods so that they do not wrinkle either. astounding.
every subway train has a route map by every door-four actually so that multiple people can be confused and search for there stop simaltaneously, though that couldn't happen as (unsuprisingly) the underground is very well organized and logical. it seems to be that my overall impression of sweden, or stockholm as it is really supposedly different from the remainder of the country and one should not judge an entine country on just one three day stop, is that all of ones basic needs are provided for; such as housing, health, education, lots of the culture/art, any humaness is distictly unnurtured here. i have heard that people will not befriend you unless formally introduced through school, family, or work situations, that if you go out to a bar you never speak to anyone but the people you arrived with and if you were to meet and hang out and talk with someone at a party, the next day passing them on the street they would act as if you didn't exist because to them, you are not a part of their world. it is like they give you everything you need to 'survive' but only in a technical sence. in an emotional way one is left abandoned here in the frozen country, where the children though charmingly adorable it is true, seem cold and distant as well. overall i would surely be able to stay that i would not choose this place to live if i were looking at all of europe. while it is impeccibly comfortable in one sence, i think, especially when winter and all-day-darkness settled on the city like a heavy blanket, that i would find myself slowly freezing as well. even after such a brief visit i feel i will need to thaw out on arriving in paris.

Monday, June 8, 2009

in the far cold north

well i did manage to make it from amsterdam to berlin, with just a few difficulties such as missing my train entirely...! unfortunatly the woman at the station did not warn me when directing me to the small local train i had to take to get to the outlying station from which i was to catch the german train to berlin, that on this particular day i would have to transfer to an unknow other train in order to make it to the correct station. and since i didn't know this, and when they told us over the loudspeakers (in dutch, and so crackly i was never sure if they were actually saying anything over the noise of the train) i didn't hear and so when i suddenly became worried when it was getting close to when i was to arrive at my station and not seeing it anywhere, the train reached the end of the line and i confronted the conductor who informed me, near laughing, that no i was in completely the wrong direction and should have transfered and he had said so. i tried to explain that he had said this in dutch and therefor could not expect me to know it, but that did no good. in the end i was forced to throw a tanya harding style fit, look desperate and near weeping to get any practical assistance. he told me i could just cross down and go to the other side and take a train back that would go directly to the station i needed, it was just that it came in thirty minutes and therefor i would completely miss my very expensive german train. some tapping on his fancy handheld device produced the news that there was another train going the exact same route just departing two hours later than the original one i was supposed to catch, though he didn't know how that would work, as i had a reserved seat on the first train, would i have to buy a new ticket? no useful answer to that. so distressed and cold i waited the local trian back in the right direction and made it to the station a mere forty minutes before i was to catch this proposed other train, only to stand in line for an extraordinarily long time, and finaly be informed that i could take this train without purchasing a new ticket as there were like 100 available seats... and so easy as that and the train arrived less than twenty minutes after i sorted my arrangments, i boarded and settled into the very cushy interior (a bank of four seats to myself no less) and doodled and snoozed and generally occupied myself for the intertveining six hours of travel to berlin.
now a word about the berlin public transportation system. or should i say systems. as there is the subway, over fourty lines called U2 or U34 etc, the S Bahn which is like a subway but above ground, the ring bahn which is part of the S Bahn but circling the city center in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction, a series of busses and also trams. this is extraordinary, and amazingly confusing, though thank goodness i had directions from the woman i was set to stay with on exactly which trains, s bahns etc to take and transfer to, if i wanted to make it to her apartment, and it worked out just fine. i think over all, on each inter-european-city-trip i can manage to keep my exceptionally annoying transportation blunders to a one-per-trip maximum. not too bad so once i mess up once i know i am not in danger of doing it again any time soon...hopefully.
so now i am in berlin, for two days and what am i going to do with this time, which is not very long to see a whole city. well my friends i met in amsterdam had just come from berlin and gave me a city map which had the starting point of the neweurope free walking tour and so i figured, why not do that, it is a good way to see a large part of the city with limited time and a knowledgable tour guide with lots of fun facts and answers to random questions, and even a chance of meeting some other people (especially since i was not staying in a hostel i felt the need to at least try to make some friends). which i did. some aussie girls and a big group of new york/new jersey guys. the tour ended up being very informative and interesting although most of the history it was covering was a not charming stuff, all nazi book burnings and and the no mans land at the wall where all attempting crossers were shot on sight. and after the tour ended i joined up with the east coast boys to wander about the city on foot, and we stopped into a communist souvenier shop to avoid the rain and the large grey fur hats looked like they would be so cozy. and i decided to go on a pub crawl cause it was friday night and why not, and it is absolutly mad in berlin, this huge group of gap-year british and aussie kids running around like fools. but entertaining. and not even getting to the club (matrix) until after one and we didn't leave until maybe fiveish. and odd to wander through the u system at such an early hour with the sky so light and the birds singing up a storm. amazing thing. and of coure freezing cold too. and after sleeping away about half the day i spent the later afternoon time wandering around the city some more, went to the berlin wall memorial museum and the church across from it which was demolished to make way for the wall and rebuilt after. and i met up with gesa and we tooled around the shopping district discussing how germans couldn't really get away with wearing cowboy boots without looking extreemly foolish, and ate 'mexican' at a resturaunt called the frida kahlo and packed and crashed early. still tired from such a late night on friday.
and then sunday was back to the traveling. sbahn and a shuttle bus to the airport and then some wandering around the airport to find the correct terminal and then waiting for such a long time for my flight but thank goodness i had a lovely picnic lunch of strawberries and chips (actual ketchup!) and really good grapefruit soda and the flight was so easy, just a quick one hour jump to sweden, looked like we were going to land in someones backyard as the airport was situated in with all the little foresty farmhoused. and after waiting almost half an hour for my luggage to arrive i caught a bus to the train station where my friend beth was there to meet me. and that was amazing, i think i shrieked involintarily on exiting the bus i was just so excited to see someone that i already knew. and so now it is sweden, home of svelt design and modern simplicity and ikea! even more difficult to wrap my head around being in a new country when the jump was so far and so much faster my air than by land, and then leaving so soon. so i will just layer all of my tshirts at once to keep warm and enjoy the fact that it never gets dark here and then sooner than i can wrap my head around, be taking off for another country and city and another new set of adventures!