Saturday, June 26, 2010

2 days in Berlin

Berlin, berlin… how fondly I think of you. Just letting myself melt back into the feelings and emotions that I had in that city makes me all warm and tingly. Berlin was 2 days of magic, the magic that happens when you have really great people together, all on the same string of consciousness. 2 days felt like a month and 2 seconds at the same time. I wish it could have lasted forever; it was a high, a high you only get a few times in your life if you’re lucky. It was Bryn, Ivy, and I with our German friends David and Matze from exchange.  Night one started with 5 pints of local beer followed by 5 hours of conversation, next our German “tour guides” led us to a fantasyland.  The outside looked like a big dead building, the inside guts filled with art and spray paint skin. The walls were thick with color and gloss. We ascended five or 6 flights to be led into a room of red light, a room where you instantly felt that you could leave all your inhibitions at the door, in this room you had the creativity to talk about whatever you may and be whomever you liked. It was total freedom tied up in a bow and delivered to us in the form of this squatter bar. We drank, conversed, and danced to dreamlike music that only belonged in an underground scene. The sun greeted us on our return to our hostel home. Two hours of drunken sleep were soaked in.  Check out was at 10.

To my surprise, after not much sleep and in a hung over state, the day 2 was just simply perfect. Our German masterminds with matching red rain jackets took us all over the city. We went to 3 different Berlin wall memorials, an old bombed church, the fanciest mall, 2 or 3 or 4 cafes, pizza, swings, bridges, swanky neighborhoods and back alleys. We did it all, it was as if the day was written for us, the day was planned out to be the most perfect day, moments of pure joy, moments of solitude, moments of reflection and bliss. I don’t really know why I am trying to explain this day to you. There is no way to let you into my world, my memories; I just know that I will never forget Berlin.

Swinging next to the thousand layer chipped Berlin wall.
Swinging for freedom and for remembrance.
Basking in the candlelight from the café with Cherries and Waffles from heaven.
Counting countless bicycles.
Squeezing 5 people into an old school photo mat.
Trying on silly hats.
Jumping and screaming frantically at trains.
Crying from exhaustion and joy.
Being limp and free in the red light.
Sharing shots of delicious Greek liquor.
Exchanging exchange stories.
Gallivanting in 99 cent stick on mustaches.
Coffee.  And then more.

Never forget Berlin. 

Friday, June 4, 2010


Croatia. My oh my dear lord have mercy My eyes have set upon paradise.  A 6-hour followed by an 8 hour night train took us from Budapest to Zagreb to Split.  Hungary to Croatia.

Split and Hvar both are littered with old castles and fortresses. Old Old Old. Full of knowledge and grace is the stone. The cobblestone underneath your feet and the walls and houses are all made up of their original rock from who knows how long ago. It is as though the people from ages past knew intuitively that their architecture was unique and beautiful and would last. Generations x y and z have left the regal stone towns and graciously built around them with new architecture that somehow just works.

Vines, ivy, palm trees, cacti in bloom all grow in and out of the cracks. Cracks in the smooth cobblestone, cracks in the fortress walls. Poppies! Poppies grow wild in between cracks and all along the rocky coastline. Vibrant red bursts against the clear turquoise waters. The beauty of the coast is indescribable. It looks like all of those images you see for 5 star resorts in far off places where the rich and famous run off to. We were there, except it felt as though we stumbled upon a gem of a place that still was undiscovered by the masses. Granite it was slow season, but hot enough to sit out all day on the rocks with the sun beating down and eventually getting enough guts to jump into the sapphire Adriatic.

Every morning while walking to a new bathing spot the beauty of this place would overwhelm us again. Someone pinch me.

The bay was filled with Boats. Small putter boats with names like amour, Rico, Mickey, and Skipper. Large million dollar sailboats dominated.  Cruise ships and ferry liners rocked the bay and caused sneaker waves to crash the shore on top of our towels.

Crabs and lizards scurried by.
Main square held bakeries, gelato shops, and lots and lots of high end restaurants.

One night we splurged and indulged our taste buds at Macondo. That night went from one bottle of wine to 5 and ended with a strip dip in the Adriatic sea.

The stars shone bright and the moon cascaded onto the ocean making it look like silver glass.

Croatia is a gem, I hope to return someday soon. 

Buda to the Pest

My first knowledge of Hungary came through making a new friend, Dory. We met in the land of samba and sun, while cruising on a bus full of international students exploring the coast.  I was intrigued by her passion and zeal for life and always knew that someday I would get to see her country that she spoke so fondly of.  As plans for Eastern Europe unfolded it seemed we would be passing through.  A few facebook messages were sent and plans were kept to meet. Dory kindly opened her doors to us 3 traveling friends. We spent close to a week living and learning about Hungary though her and her beautiful city.

Budapest, like so many other large European cities is cut through the middle by a river. The Danube or in Hungarian Duna was her name.  Buda and Pest used to be two separate cities but eventually they became one. We wandered on both sides of the river, and even lived in between on an island. I liked to believe that we were on the island of peace, one that sat in the middle, one that took no sides.

Rain and wind threatened to ruin our trip and discovery of the city but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. Instead cheap tourist umbrellas were purchased and much goulash soup devoured. Hours were spent sitting in cafes conversing over cappuccinos.  We even met good friends in the middle of the Liberty Bridge, which felt as though it would blow away. Even though the wind and rain was a nuisance it gave a feeling of being alive, the blood flowing to your cheeks, the numb setting into the fingertips, the wind thrashing our hair every which way.  

Budapest holds magic; there is something special that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Like so many other cities on this trip I feel as though I just skimmed the top of everything. The culture, the food, the music,  the people, what makes this place tick… it would take years.