Sunday, March 17, 2013

in a nutshell

I had some small posts written in my notebook about the rest of the places I have been but instead of writing about them individually I just going to make a big post. Kidding, I will try to make not too big. And since I don't have the means right now, photos will come soon.

A lot has happened since I left Estonia. I've hitchhiked a couple of thousands of kilometers. I've froze while hitchhiking. I've done some crazy shit. I've met awesome people. I've been to places that were not worth to see and I consider it to be a waste of time but at least I can say that I was right in not wanting to go. I've met with old friends.

The first stop after Heidelberg was the former capital of the Federal Republic of Germany: Bonn. I once knew a girl that lived here, I met her back in Guatemala a few years ago. Not sure where is she now or if she's still in Germany or back in Guatemala. I've lost track of a few people, even with facebook sometimes is hard to keep track of people. I guess some people have lost track of me as well.

Bonn was nice, I stayed with a two italian couchsurfers. I "survived" the cooking of one of them. I wouldn't say survived, it was a great pasta! I'm not a fan of big celebrations so Fasching (carnival) in Heidelberg was great for me. I don't think I would had liked the one in Köln. It's huge! Which brings me to another thing: I don't think I will ever go to Rio de Janeiro during the carnival. Maybe it's awesome but that kind of big celebration is just not my cup of tea. Some might say that is one of those things that you have to go at least once in your life but what's the point in going somewhere just to do what other people might like and you just don't want to go? Maybe I'm full of contradictions but I love going to Roskilde. It's a big festival and I love it! Maybe it's because it's a MUSIC festival and I get to see great bands and also get to see my friends. I'm really looking forward to this year's Roskilde. Queens of the Stone Age and Volbeat are playing. Since Dennis introduced to the latter band a few years ago, they became one of my favorites.

My dad's favorite cologne was 4711 and being in the city that gave birth to it was really touching for me. I don't know, being there made me do some crazy shit that I'm not going to comment here. Let's just leave it there.
I didn't go to Edy and Marinda's wedding last year so if I was going to the Netherlands (I have to stop calling it Holland) I had to visit them. Actually, it's because of Edy that I keep going back to Utrecht. I wouldn't conceive not meeting with Edy if I'm in NL. Too bad I didn't meet Tami this time. Maybe next time. When I met George he was working in the hostel I worked a few months before and it's funny because he even lived in the flat I lived! Talk about "what life is like in Ron's shoes" eh Tristan? "I hope they don't smell!"

I love to go back to Belgium and visit my friends Wim and Kat. This time Kat baked me a pie, yummy! Can't wait to try the Speculoos pie! Too short of a stay but when you are travelling with someone is like that. You cannot stay as long as you want. Actually this was the first time I traveled with a guy in two years. Lately I always traveled with girls, not because I looked for them to travel but just because it happened. Someone posts something in the HHers forum and I was going in that direction.

There are some countries that I just don't feel to go to. I have to feel some kind of attraction to visit a place, for me it's not just flag collecting to say I was there. I actually wouldn't mind not saying I have been to Luxembourg. It was not impressive, it was expensive and it was hard to hitch out. The only thing that made the visit to Luxembourg worth something was that I bought a jar of Speculoos pasta! I had to go everywhere in the parking area asking people if they could take us. Finally I was out of that place only to get stuck in Strasbourg which ended up being a nice experience. The CSer I stayed with turned out to be a really nice person and just confirm how the world is very small: we have at least a couple of friends in common; we tried to make a list but it was useless.

I was a bit hesitant of hitchhiking in Switzerland, specially two guys but my motive for going was heavier than my worries so I went and spent a lovely weekend with Ilona and her family. We met in Colombia last year in a small hostel in a village outside Medellin. Is hitchhiking in Switzerland slow: confirmed. Yes. It. Is. But I knew exactly what laid ahead of me: more hard hitchhiking... Italia! The first time with a girl was super slow, I was expecting the worst now HHing with a guy. I was wrong... it was horrible! But I think alone would make things different. One thing is for sure, I should've paid more attention in my italian class. I don't have anything against sleeping in petrol stations, I've done it several times and I will keep doing it. What I don't like is to do it when it's cold, I mean, sleeping outside when it's cold. Many times the employees let me stay inside. This time was not the exception, I asked in my non-existent italian if I could rest (with my eyes closed) inside and they said yes. I was going to Slovenia through Venezia but after being stuck in a petrol station for the night and only moving about 70 km in one day I took the first ride out of Italy. I was going to Innsbruck. I had never been there anyway so I thought it was going to be a nice experience. I was not wrong. Innsbruck is lovely.

While writing this I'm listening to a song from Steelheart from the Rock Star soundtrack. The name of the song is "we all die young", great song and great movie. I feel like I'm talking about the Schwa, one of the characters in the book I'm reading at the moment. He's invisible to most of the people and even if you're talking about him you end up talking about something else. Where I was, oh yeah, where I went after Italy, hmmm, Austria. I was supposed to go to Padova and then Ljubljana to visit a girl I met in Roskilde 2011 but leaving fucking petrol station seemed close to impossible so I took a ride to Innsbruck. I had never been there anyway and I have been to both Venezia and Ljubljana. The downside is that I didn't meet with Ana. I would have to wait for the festival. Innsbruck was warm and sunny and I hitchhiked alone to Salzburg. It was me and the road. I made it to town without having to blackride public transport. I hitchhiked all the way! I hitched my last ride from the outskirts to centrum.

I'm beginning to see a trend every time I visit Katrin: I only stay a couple of days in SBG (Salzburg) and then we go somewhere else. We were going to Maribor but HHing on sundays tend to be very slow (in my OWN experience) so we were getting to Graz in the evening and decided to stay there for the next couple of days. The weather was on our side, it was super fucking good weather! Graz is a cute town but it was time to leave. Next stop: Maribor and my third time in Slovenia. But this time only one night. I needed to get to Budapest from where I'm writing this. Maribor is a small town, it was mostly rainy and grey but it was still a nice. My CSer gave a complete tour of the city, it was awesome but not entirely given that I was carrying my big backpack with me all the time. Maribor is home to the oldest vine in the world: 400 years old and still produces wine. Super limited edition only for protocol purposes.

I hope I didn't bored you with my nonsense but I was not in the mood to write independent entries for every place I have been. Let's see what Budapest has for me, hope something good.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fasching in Heidelberg

It was late and we didn't have a place to stay in KA so we decided to go to Heidelberg. It's a cute small town north of KA which was on our way north anyways. In the hostel I stayed I met Ailen. We went for a walk the following day having lunch at the university mensa where we met Karl. After talking with him for a while he said that he could give us a small tour of the town, he said that he had an hour free, that hour turned into five! We went to the church tower which has magnificent views of the old town. The castle is on a nearby hill and it's amazing! There is a gate and legend has it that the guy who built it did it in one night for his beloved. The thing is that is only an arch. Nothing on either side and it's in the middle of a courtyard. I guess he meant that the gate was the gate to his heart? Yeah, I know. I'm a hopeless romantic OR a I have a bit of imagination.

It was the last day of fasching (carnival) so there was a big parade in one of the main streets. People told me that I should've gone to Koln which has a bigger carnival but in fact big celebrations are not my cup of tea so this small fasching parade was awesome! There were people screaming all kinds of things in German. I saw a group of German kids singing so I started to lalalalal. The girl sang that she wanted a photo. With me! So we posed and when she was hugging me she grabbed my ass! It was not the last time that kind of thing happened that afternoon. Later I had my ass grabbed this time by two girls, one in each side. While walking we saw some boxes so we used them as a swiss cheese costume. We danced for a girl busking and she said something like "I've been doing this for a quite a while now but I have never had two chunks of cheese dancing for me". Karl left and Ailen drew whiskers on her face. The cheese was chasing the mouse all over the streets! We sure made some people laugh.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cheaper TGV to Karlsruhe

The distance between Berlin and Karlsruhe is about 700km. A lot but it's just about a hundred more than Utrecht - Berlin BUT you have to change motorways a few times and that what makes things tricky.

To sum things up I made a mistake and we ended up in the wrong place. By the time I figured out where we are it was late and we had to spend the night inside the restaurant of the petrol station. Last time I did this was with Ania two years ago when we were going from Zurich to Utrecht.

Following morning we went into a McCrap in a small town outside Nurnberg and from there we went to the place to hitch from Nurnberg towards Stuttgart. In the afternoon, after all day hitchhiking we were on our way to Stuttgart. The driver spoke Spanish left us in front of the Hauptbahnhof. We were tired, hungry and I didn't know where to go to start HHing to Karlsruhe so we took the train. We say on the timetable that there was a train leaving in a few minutes so we got inside. It was the fucking TGV! We knew that our tickets weren't for that train... when we got controlled I showed my best smile to the woman (she said that we had to pay the difference) and told her that we just saw on the timetable "Karlsruhe" and jumped in. I guess my charms worked because she said that next time if we had doubts we should ask at the ticket office. I will, I promise. I honestly thought I was never going to ride the TGV, I did at 240 kph!!!

Finally I was in KA. I met with Dimana. Last time I saw her was in Colombia before my birthday, where the temperature was like 250C... KA was a bit colder.

The next day I met with my good friend Sandra. When I first met her in 2009 I waited a bit more than 2 years to meet again. Since that time, less than 1 year, we've met three times so far. I like it! Let's make it more often!

A lot of people told me that there is nothing to do in KA and to be honest I wouldn't know. I didn't stay that long to really have an opinion about it which gives me an excuse to go back. That and to finally see Sandra's home town of course!

Karlsruhe means something like "Karl's resting place" and I think he's even buried inside a pyramid in Marktplatz. Fun fact: that pyramid is the northernmost pyramid in the world and there is someone buried inside!

We had to leave KA because we didn't have a place to stay so we headed to Heidelberg.