speaking of europe: i do know that i have not written up anything more about our European Vacation, and i admit that now a lot of the details are fuzzy, and maybe i won’t. in summary: Amsterdam is a dream + i <3 bicycle culture, Berlin has taken proper advantage of the years since WWII and The Wall and become a fantastic city full of art and culture and music and i hear the only real complaint is re: WINTER, Prague is a fairytale, IMHO Vienna took the years since WWII/Communism and became overzealously Westernized and boring and i suggest maybe going to the mountains of Austria instead, Buda-Pest is funky and cool with lots of great bars and nightlife; the economy (and therefore local disposition) is slightly depressed, but i could imagine living there. what more can i say? we went to a lot of insanely beautiful churches (in two of which i was moved to light prayer candles) and walked as far as our legs would take us (i think we walked for almost 10 straight hours on my birthday in prague. oh yeah, i celebrated my 33rd birthday in prague!) and made sure to get up into the highest point possible in each city. we ate at approx 60-90 cafes/restaurants across europe and only in Vienna was ordering a problem wrt language barriers. we went to at least 20 bars and 7 music venues. we rode all kinds of trains and never for a minute did we wish we had a car.
i will go back again, maybe to revisit some of these places, but more for all the places we didn’t go, but before then i would like to visit South America and Africa (gotta get to the southern hemisphere to complete!). in my wanderlust dreams for 2010 there is: Puerto Rico (w/RBM), Cuba (with jayeesha), Chile/Peru/Argentina (helen!), as well as trips to see the family in Michigan, weddings here and there, and also the pilgrimages to Las Vegas and Burning Man. can i fit all this in while keeping a job? i think maybe.
my mom posted something to Facebook about my travels and one of her friends (possibly a relative) commented something to the effect of “i don’t understand this crazy wanderlust kids these days have”. i also recently had a conversation with another friend about how “entitled” many of us feel about travel, and all i can say is that for me, it’s not about not being happy at home or wanting to flaunt my American wealth in some poorer country by taking advantage of the exchange rates and renting a yacht. i think in this the 21st century, where the things you eat and clothes you wear often come from the other side of the planet, it is not just fickle entitlement to want to travel; it is super important for the affluent who consume most of the world’s resources to see how the rest of the world is living and where their things are coming from. for the amount of money most affluent Americans spend on unnecessary consumer goods, they could travel to a different place at least once a year, and that’s a trade i’m happy to make.
Lust for comfort suffocates the soul
Relentless restlessness liberates me
I feel at home whenever the unknown surrounds me
I receive its embrace aboard my floating house
Wanderlust! relentlessly craving
Wanderlust! peel off the layers
Until we get to the core
i am in this photo. can you see me?
churches in europe are big. really big.
we are home now, back in SF CA.
most of the photos are up, but the writing might take a while.
for centuries, the Bohemians did not resist the invaders and militaries that rolled through their lands, making Praha the glorious seat of the roman empire, their pacifism protecting them from being decimated by war like so many other ancient cities, especially during WWII, when bombs tore up cities across the world, and many buildings built 700, 800, 900, 1000 years ago still stand, and there are castles everywhere.Filed in photos, travel | Tagged with czech, europe, prague, wanderlust | Comment (0)
when doing things with our friends in which we are feeling awesome, like rock stars, particularly when we have a posse roaming around in cities other than our own, we like to take that to it’s logical conclusion and form bands, giving ourselves band names and discussing the details of our latest album release and tour and how hard fame can be and maybe even going as far as trying to get special treatment at hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs. you may recall that we formed Tapestry for our tour of Las Vegas in December 08.
Europe Tour 2009:
the band: Public Option (bandmember Anita Drink not pictured)
the album (album cover above): Sportsplatz (released on Intelligent Records, 2009)
the single: China Box, #1 in Berlin September 2009
the rest of the photos can be found here.Filed in friends, photos, travel | Tagged with berlin, europe, wanderlust | Comment (0)
here it is our last day in berlin, and it’s been quite a time. this might ramble a bit because i’m exhausted, but i want to write things down before it all becomes too much of a blur….
we were unexpectedly welcomed in berlin by a posse of friends of friends, via our friend melvin, which has kept us busier and on the more local tip than if it were just the two of us sightseeing. it has been very nice meeting up with friends of friends in both in amsterdam and berlin and getting the inside scoop on everything from transit to shopping to clubs. we’ll be meeting up with justin in prague tomorrow (right justin?), but since he’s a tourist too we’ll probably be doing a lot of wandering lost together there. after prague, as far as i know it’ll just be me and jay in vienna and budapest. maybe then we’ll get some sleep!
but back to amsterdam and berlin: we’ve been lucky finding our way around – no missed or wrong trains or getting too lost as of yet, but amsterdam and berlin have both been very easy for traveling, so we’ll see how it goes when we get to more distant places that don’t have excellent public transit or speak english. as for food, i found it a little tough to eat in amsterdam, as they have kind of weird schedules for restaurants (they close earlyish) and during the day mostly eat only bread and cheese. but here in berlin it’s been just fine as it’s a huge city and there are all types of restuarants everywhere.
as noted, amsterdam was much more provincial than i thought it would be; reports are that they’ve been cracking down/weeding out the types of things that the city is famous for (besides windmills and tulips) like the red light district, hash bars, etcetera, and what remains of those things has become just touristy and from my perspective less decadent than vegas or even some of the things we have in SF. so the nightlife there was fairly uninteresting, at least what we could find, but the city itself is beautiful and fun and we spent most time just touring around in the daytime, enjoying the parks and canals and historical buildings. the last day in amsterdam (wednesday) we went to Vondelpark (like Central or Golden Gate Park) and rode around on bikes and it was a beautiful autumn day and sunny and a perfect end to our stay in AMS.
we took an early train out of AMS to Berlin on thursday 9/24, and the day after we arrived in berlin we were greeted by a facebook message from our SF friend melvin, who was also visiting, and who has friends living here, and so then instead of being total tourists we’ve been doing more local things like going out to bars and clubs and hanging out in the park, and haven’t been too much doing the historical sights thing. friday day we went up in the super tall TV tower (asparagus TV!) and took a look at the city from 300 meters and also did some shopping – best store in berlin is a shop called Born in Berlin (even though the clothes are made in Italy?), and we went back there twice during our stay.
friday night we hooked up with Melvin and went to see Modeselektor at WMF (club), which was very much like going to 1015 in SF except there was zero security and everyone was white, which was kind of strange. we were there until 5am, went to bed around 6, and slept in as late as possible. later saturday afternoon we tried to go shopping but everything closed early, and so then we went to the Berlin Wall then met up with the posse again that evening, first a bar, then a whiskey bar (Madonna Bar), then to Berghain, this crazy amazing former-powerplant-turned-disco that was insanely beautiful inside with the a minimalist interior and an open vaulted ceilings and cement pillars and pipes and knobs and iron grates and suspended platforms that you could swing on. the music however was house-y, and we were getting tired and so we didn’t dance much but were still there hanging out (i loved the atmosphere so much i could have stayed there for days, really, and some people apparently do, as once you get stamped in you can keep coming and going for like 48 hours or something like that) until 4/30 am and got to bed at around 5/30am.
then yesterday (sunday) we had to get up at 9:30 after 4 hours of sleep to check out of one hotel and into another (moving around the city gives you more of a chance to see different neighborhoods, but it does come at the expense of being a pain in the ass), but it was beautifully warm and sunny and not to be wasted on napping and so after we relocated we met up with the posse for brunch, which lasted all afternoon with us wandering through parks (Sportsplatz!) and a very awesome squatter community (Lohmuhlen – map) that was a cross between the domes at UC Davis and a trailer park and the more cyber-punk parts of burning man, punk rock blaring from the sound system in the make-shift bar and a flea market of goods for sale, and ended with us drinking on a floating raft in the river at Club Der Visionaere (map), a sort of river-front cafe and disco, where we sat on large wooden rafts drinking until it was dark. there we met a dutch man who did a burning man installation in 2008 (the American Dream year) called Dreamyourutopia that was a border-crossing checkpoint, where once people entered they might be detained for hours and hours before being allowed to exit or pass through to the other side, if successful with a passport to the land of their dreams. he said the role-playing guards sometimes detained (willing) people for up to 8 hours, interrogating them about their lives and dreams. he is going to be putting that interactive installation up here in Berlin for the 20th anniversary of the wall coming down, i think it might be a little intense. we had dinner, then promptly passed out in the hotel and slept for 10+ hours last night.
woke up this morning to a cold and gloomy day, but went to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a stark and haunting labyrinth of undulating cement monuments of various heights on rolling ground, causing you to feel disoriented and lost and once you step inside, and the Brandenburg Gate, a gate to the city built by the Prussians in 1788, the statue attop stolen by Napolean and taken to Paris in 1806 and later returned, and where Ronald Reagan stood in 1987 and famously stated:
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
it’s the 20-year anniversary of The Wall coming down this year, and so the city is preparing for many festivities and celebrations and tourist attractions. i got a fake passport page with all the various DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) border-crossing stamps from a fake checkpoint attendant on the street. it’s sort of weird though, being here now, trying to imagine what it must’ve been like. we have stayed in east berlin almost the entire time, yet it feels like anywhere else in the modern world in a city, and where the wall used to stand, where the dividing line used to be so definitive, so intense, so extreme, so present and seemingly immovable, it is now nearly disappeared underneath new buildings and shopping plazas and only the scattered memorials and tourist sights remind those of us who are too young to remember that there it once was a hugely different world here. i’m sure it must be even stranger for those of older ages, who were here during WWII, to see the city now, to see it modernized and rebuilt into a whole different place.
we’re on our last day in berlin here now, leaving for prague early tomorrow morning, and i have to admit that we’re both pretty exhausted. it’s 5:00pm here now and we’ve come back to the hotel after a 1/2 day of shopping and sight seeing because we’re just too tired to keep it up. i’m pretty sure jay’s upstairs sleeping as i sit in the hotel lobby writing this. i know there are a million more sights to see in Berlin, but the crowds are pretty big to get inside a lot of the more famous places and it’s physically and emotionally exhausting to keep doing it all. i guess that just means we’ll have to come back.
3 more weeks of this….wow. who knew doing nothing could be so exhausting?
not sure how much internet we’ll have in prague and other places, so the updates might get fewer…..i think jay will post some of our berlin photos later today, so keep checking flickr.Filed in autobiographical, travel | Tagged with amsterdam, berlin, europe, wanderlust | Comments (3)
things are going well here in amsterdam. not too exciting, really, despite the city’s reputation. or maybe it’s just that i’m getting old(er) and getting really high and going to touristy/springbreak style clubs is utterly unappealing to me now. the autumn weather is gorgeous. i love the non-car culture – so many bicycles! wow! the dutch are very chill, and we have just been poking around cafes and museums and historical sites, although we did go to a little music festival in a town about 90 minutes away right off the plane the first day we got here, and to see The Orb last night, although i think jet lag finally hit me pretty hard yesterday and i was so tired when we went to the show i only lasted 45 minutes. that and with their live drummer and MC it kinda reminded me a lot of one of those bad disco-jamband shows we used to go to in like 2000-2001, and i wasn’t really that into it.
Filed in autobiographical, travel | Tagged with amsterdam, europe, wanderlust | Comment (0)
the supposed plan is to arrive, or at least be on the way, to SFO international airport at approximately noon tomorrow, September 19th.
we will then take a flight direct from SFO to Amsterdam at 3:12PM, arriving in AMS at 10:20 AM on sunday morning, and go to our hotel, Hotel V, which i found by googling “hippest hotel in amsterdam”. yeah, just like that.
we will hang around Amsterdam and do Dutch things for 3-5 days.
we will then make the rest of our journey by train, moving next to Germany, visiting Berlin and maybe some smaller towns for 4-6 days.
then on approximately the 29th of September, we will meet up with Justin in Prague, where we have rented an apartment, and we will celebrate my and Justin’s birthdays for several days straight. i will turn 33 years old in Prague.
sometime after Justin leaves Prague on the 4th of October, we will go to Vienna, where we will stay somewhere for 4-6 days, then moving on finally to Budapest, where we will spend our last days possibly staying with friends families before flying out of Budapest at 10:10PM on Friday, October 16th, back to SFO via Amsterdam, arriving back at SFO on Saturday, October 17th at 1:05 PM PST.
those are all the plans we have. i didn’t want to schedule every stop, every day, every location, hotel and activity. i want to wander. i am looking forward to new streets/restaurants/cafes, sleeping late, being lost, staring at countryside and cityscapes through train windows, marveling at strange customs, not speaking the language, having to adjust, feeling as if in a dream, taking in museums, learning histories, and generally just wandering. i may post blogs/photos, i may not. i don’t know. i like being unplugged.
Filed in autobiographical, travel | Tagged with europe, wanderlust | Comment (0)
“We have advantages. We have a cushion to fall back on. This is abundance. A luxury of place and time. Something rare and wonderful. It’s almost historically unprecedented. We must do extraordinary things. We have to. It would be absurd not to.”
— dave eggers
we leave for our european adventure in exactly 30 days. (!!. !!!. !!!!!.)
sept 19-oct 17.
seeking tips on places to go/things to do, eat (vegetarian suggestions PLZ!!), see + who/what/where to avoid (and why) in:
we’ll be there in the off season, which should be very nice. no Prague plagued with summer tourists!
we plan to spend approx 5-7 days in each city, and wouldn’t mind getting out into the countryside or visiting smaller towns nearby, but we won’t have a car, so we’re only looking for suggestions for places fairly easily accessible by public transit. also, if you’ve done any sort of adventures similar to what we did in mexico (guided outdoor excursions of the adventurous kind) in any of these countries, i’d *love* to hear about those.
yay!Filed in travel | Tagged with europe, wanderlust | Comment (0)