I write my final entry on this blog at an internet cafe in the paris airport, killing time before I board the first of my 2 flights that will take me home.
My last week in Europe was pretty fantastic. We hitchhiked from the french countryside to Lyon, which was definitely an adventure. All the people who picked us up were pretty nice. We came very close to being stranded in the middle of fucking nowhere in a creepy empty town where we would probably have to sleep in an abandoned hotel, but were rescued right before sundown.
We spent a few days in Lyon, which I really really loved. I want to go back there someday soon.
Then our plan was to go to Turin, because we wanted to see Italy, but still be pretty close to Paris, and a friend told us about a squat in Turin we could stay in for free. When we got there, we discovered that it was the most disgusting, creepy, dirty, nasty, terrible squat in the entire world. It was smelly and scary and just really not a good place to spend our last few days.
So we made a last minute decision to go to Venice. It was incredibly booked up, so we had to stay at a different hotel every night. On the last night, our hotel cancelled on us (yes, apparently they can do that), and we barely managed to find a place to sleep. But besides a bit of stress in that manner, it was amazing. It is a beautiful city and I am so glad I got to see it.
I had the best icecream of my entire life, and I am kind of convinced its the best icecream in the entire world. It is freshly made, all natural incredibly icecream, a chain of stores called Grom that only exist in Italy. I had strawberry, vanilla, salted caramel, hazlenut, pistachio and coconut in the course of 3 days. It was all so good, it made me want to cry.
I have been on trains for the past 24 hours in order to get back to Paris, and now I am here. In half an hour my plane will leave from Paris to Amsterdam, and then Amsterdam to Portland.
Saying goodbye to Laura was really, really hard. 2 months of travel seriously bonded us. I will miss her so much.
It has been an amazing journey, probably the 2 best months of my life. I am so grateful for it all, and so ready to be going home now.
i havent had the time to update in ages. wow. it has been an amazing week, and a lot of the best and most interesting parts of it i cant even post on tumblr because they are rather personal, but i can say this;
after a blissful, sunny, sunburned, relaxing week in san jose, I took 2 trains back to Madrid, spent a night at a hotel, and then flew back to Paris the next morning. Laura and I split up for a few days. While I was in Paris, she was in the countryside of France, at a festival that I later joined her at.
My parents were in Paris that week for a vacation, so I met up with them there. It was very surreal to see them there. I expected to not see them for 2 entire months, and there I was, 5 weeks into the trip, eating croissants and drinking coffee in a cafe in Paris with them. It was really really nice to see them. We walked around the area of Paris that has everything; the notre dom, the museums, the sein, the royal castle. After 5 weeks of being totally indepenent, financial and otherwise, which I am not used to, it was really relieving to have my parents buy me food, and help me find a hostel to stay at those 2 nights.
After those 2 nights in Paris, I said goodbye to them, and took a series of trains to a town called Limoge, which is in the middle of fucking nowhere, where Laura came and met me. We then drove around half an hour out to the middle of even fucking more nowhere.
The festival, that we stayed at for around 5 nights, was this amazing alternative skillshare week thing in the beautiful french counryside. We were surrounded by nothing but a creek, trees, and feilds. There were goats and ponys and dogs and free happy little hippie children running around everywhere. There were all sorts of really interesting teenagers and adults there. I found a few people who spoke English, and had some nice conversations with them.
I spent my days there reading in the sun, practising handstands, eating really yummy homecooked food, going on walks in the woods, and hanging out with people. For the first time during my time in Europe, I actually felt like I had friends other than Laura, and felt a sense of belonging in a small community. Me and Laura became friends with these boys, Tim and Joey, neither of which spoke much english, but they tried for me. We all hung out a lot.
There was a giant tepee that always had a campfire going in it, and this musician magician couple who were always playing the accordian and doing tarot readings for people. On our last day, there was the most amazing double rainbow I have ever seen, and then at night this wonderful french folk punk concert at which I danced for hours.
It was really a fantastic week.
Then we spent a couple nights at Lauras friend Maries house, which is close by, and even more in the middle of no where. Which I didnt think was possible. Her village only has 4 inhabited houses. She grows all her own food. We ate fresh picked salad and then watched a movie and went to sleep. The next morning we biked all the way to and back from the festival, in order to get internet access so we can keep working on plans.
We are planning on going to Italy tomorow, or the day after. I only have 12 days left in Europe, which is insane. We are going to Rome, and then on the 19th heading back to Paris so I can catch my flight.
today is our last day in San Jose. I will miss this place.
I had a really awesome day so far. We decided to hike to Playa Monsul, which is a gorgeous beach about 3 hours away by foot. We knew it would be a walk, but we were not prepared for how much of an intense hike it would be. We walked up and through incredibly steep, rocky mountains on what can barely be considered a ¨trail¨ for hours. I was wearing flip flops, which really sucked.
We stopped a few times to rest on the way. We found a beach that was covered in thousands of dead ladybugs. The entire beach was red and bumpy. It was really trippy.
A bit farther down we passed a hill that was covered in goats, including really freaking cute baby goats. I tried to go pet them but they ran away, and I stood there saying ¨NO, I LOVE YOU. LOVE ME.¨to the baby goats that I desperately wanted to cuddle. There were really loud wind chimes playing, but I had no idea where they were coming from. It was trippy.
We found the beach, and sunbathed for a while, and then hitchhiked back to San Jose with this really cool girl in a pickup truck.
Yay. =) Tomorrow I take a train to Madrid, and then fly to Paris the next morning.
I dont have a whole lot to write about right now, since my life this past week has been blissfully peaceful, and totally uneventful in the best possible way. No bags were stollen. No trains were almost missed. No hostels with cold showers were booked. No chaos or stress, at all. I have spent my time in San Jose doing one of a few possible things;
b) taking a HOT shower
c) sunbathing on the beach
d) journalling on the beach
e) having drinks and delicious food while looking at the sea
f) complaining about how sunburned I am
and that´s about it. it is truly gorgeous here. yesterday Laura and I walked about half an hour to get to a further away beach that was even more peaceful and beautiful than the one right next to our hostel, which I didnt think was possible. I have had an abundance of time to think, and reflect, and relax, which is exactly what I was needing. We are pretty sure we are going to stay here for 4 more nights and then head back to France on the 27th.
okay, spains reputation has been repaired for me. the rest of my time in madrid was nice because andy pearson, a friend from NBTSC was there. it was really really nice to see a familiar face after almost a month of only knowing one other person everywhere i went. we went to a giant market, and ate churros dipped in thick hot chocolate which is a big deal in spain, and then we met up again later on and went to a really good indian resteraunt.
unfortunately I got sick. i think it wasnt from a virus, but just my body protesting being so underfed, underhydrated, underrested and overstressed. but im feeling better now.
yesterday at 6 am we woke up to catch our train to almeria. it was a 6 hour train ride, and the scenery was seriously gorgeous. tons of trees and open feilds which was refreshing to see after being in big cities for so long - and scattered along the way were all these old, delapidated, miniscule villages. they were really really beautiful and interesting. i just looked out the window the entire time.
we got to san jose at around 7 30 pm, and oh my god its beautiful. it is TINY. you could walk across the entire town in 10 minutes, tops. the beach is beautiful. its incredbily warm and sunny. all the buildings are white. laura says it reminds her of mexico.
I spent today doing yoga on the beach, and sunbathing, and relaxing for the first time in a long time. I am so happy to be here, and have this time to rejuvenate before heading back to France to kick off the second half of my trip.
i havent even had the time to update in almost two weeks because lief has been so crazy!! i had a very interesting experience in berlin. it was cold and depressing and big, we went out a lot at night to dance and go to parties and some of the time it was fun but it also ended badly a few times. we were staying at a really beauitful squat. it was ok.
we had a lot of stress figuring out train tickets and reservations and how to get out of germany.
then we went to amsterdam, only for 2 days, but it was really really beautiful. it reminded me a lot of portland. we stayed with friends and it was great to have good food and a warm shower and a bed and familiar faces. i had a really awesome time there and i wish i could have stayed longer.
then the 3 most stressful days of my life started. we had a train to spain and then onto madrid, but our first train was delayed 2 hours due to a bomb threat so we missed our transfer. we ended up taking a bus into barcelona at 2 am and we had no where to spend the night. we were seriously concerned we would end up sleeping outside. thankfully a woman we had met earlier swooped us up and took us to stay with her at her squat.
then, the next day, it was about 10 pm and we were in a park in barcelona and i had my bag stolen. one guy came up and distracted us and his friend grabbed my bag and ran off so fast i didnt even see his face. we chased after the first guy and begged him to give it back, but he ignored us. we followed him for a little bit, and then he was running and we were chasing after him and shouting, and people were trying to stop him, but he got away. i started panicing, because that bag had my phone, all my cash, my atm card, my drivers license, my passport, my eurail pass, all my train tickets… two women helped me find the police station, and then i spent all of yesterday at police and consulate offices filling out paperwork and trying to just keep my head above water.
thank god, we are now in madrid, at a pretty ok hostel. (besides the lack of hot showers)
we are planning on seeing a friend today, doing some exploring, and on the 16th we are going to head to either the countryside of spain or a beautiful town in portugal called lagos.
this blog entry will be brief since i am so damn tired, but here are the basics
Life is great. Where to even begin.
Okay so, yesterday Laura and I went to a squat to help her friend group of political activists set up for an event. We cleaned and carried things and whatnot, and then a bunch of people came and they showed a documentary. Me and Laura and a cute french boy walked a few blocks away to go to this show that was fantastic, this punk folk french band. We danced and walked around and then headed back to the squat where everyone was dancing. I spent hours dancing with Laura and cute-french-boy, and drinking, and talking to interesting people who were kind of enough to speak in english for me. We spent the night at the squat, it was a fucking great party and I had an amazing time.
Theres something really indescribably fun about shouting smells like teen spirit and dancing with a bunch of drunk french people.
This morning I joined the ranks of the french and purcahsed a big french baguette, which I ate almost all of with cheese and apricot jam for breakfast.
Tomorrow morning (at fucking five am) we are heading to berlin!!!
my time in paris has been totally lovely so far. yesterday laura and i took the train to the center of paris so i could go get my tattoo. i saw the notre dom and the eiffel tower, and then we went to the seine which is the huge famous river that runs through paris. i took my shoes off and sat on the edge with my feet dangling over, and laura and i talked to a french boy and sunbathed, it was really nice. i didnt get my tattoo because it was too pricey, so im going to get it in berlin instead.
today i went to the park near lauras house and sunbathed and read for like 3 hours and then hung out with laura and one of her friends who i really liked.
tomorrow we are going to a political event type thing that lauras friends are organizing, and then a big party afterwards. and 2 days after that we are heading to berlin.
observation about france; when i am walking down the street, literally half the people i see are carrying baguettes with them. at all times, at least 50 percent of french people are holding bread. i shit you not.
so yesterday was my first day in France. Right now it is 8 30 in the morning of my second day. laura is still asleep. sorry in advance for the imperfect typing - the keyboards here are really different and hard to adjust to.
yesterday i arrived at 8:00 am. the flight was fine. getting through customs was easy. laura picked me up right away. we went back to her apartment, which is small and pink and blue and really cute. we hung out for a bit and then we spent a few hours sunbathing at a huge and gorgeous park near her house. on the way back i got some groceries, and then i was so tired from all the traveling that i fell asleep at 7 pm.
my thoughts about france so far;
today i am going to find a good cafe to have coffee and pastaries, get my tattoo, get my tickets for berlin (we leave on sunday), and go see a movie. (in french)