Oh – hello!
Yes, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Hm, what can I say for my absence? I stopped writing to you all around the beginning of October – right around when I started my first foray in Workaway in Falkenburg, Germany. What an experience that one was: living in an abandoned train station, being charged with the movement of junk from one room to another, cooking the meals for the family (using only a sack of potatoes and powdered hollandaise sauce)… And not even including the body-weakening sickness that I caught there. Luckily, Laura had a friend in Berlin that we could stay with last minute, so we said auf weidersehen and hopped on the train (conveniently located right under our bedroom window) to Berlin. We coughed our way through Berlin – stopping at numerous apothekes and even going to see a doctor to get meds for our worsening conditions. We also stayed in THE BEST HOSTEL EVER (aka: it had a sauna) and wandered the beautiful historic streets. We walked beside the East Side Gallery and wandered about museum island.
We took a free walking tour and bought new (read: bigger) jeans from T.K. Maxx (because we are FANCY). And, while we weren’t quite done coughing yet, it was then time to move on to Krakow. Oh, Krakow. You cold, cold beauty. It was here that we necessarily bought puffy coats to insulate us against the frigidity of the city. We had our own apartment here (for the sweet price of $18 a night) and were still coughing. Our potential hostel-mates can thank us later. We loved exploring this city and its cuisine. So warming and delicious. We also went to Auschwitz and spent a day in solemn contemplation.
Nothing that I will ever see or read or hear or know can ever help me comprehend the Holocaust or how it could have happened. And I am sure that I will never be able to express my thoughts and feelings about seeing and reading and hearing and knowing those terrible things.
So after a quick stop in Krakow, we were now off to Budapest, staying in another deliciously cheap private hostel room. Right across from a cat cafe. I repeat. A cat. cafe. A cafe full of cats. Ok, I see your face paused in confused ecstasy. We are on the same page now. We also walked like fiends across the city, because we had such a short amount of time there. We walked to the Citadella, we walked to the baths, we walked to the food market, we walked to the cat cafe. We walked a lot.
We were also starting to feel a little bit better. But we still has tissues stuffed up our sleeves for emergencies. Our next stop was Milan to see the World Expo Fair. It was amazing. I only wish we had stayed there for a week so that I could have explored every tent. The food was amazing, the tents were so interesting and, guys, the American pavilion was… THE BEST. The theme of the World’s Fair was supposed to be sustainable food but the good ol’ US of A was like, “Nah, we know what you all really want – A DANCE FLOOR WITH MUSIC THAT SOUNDS LIKE A WEDDING PLAYLIST FROM THE EARLY 2000s!” And Laura and I were like, “YOU ARE SO RIGHT AMERICA!”
And we danced. And danced. And had a beer. And then danced some more. Even though I learned absolutely nothing about what we are doing about sustainable food, I had the time of my life in the American pavilion. And that’s all I can really ask of America. So that was Milan. Then we bussed over to Geneva, which was so beautiful and tranquil and lovely but so expensive. But the lake had a jet of water blasting up into the air, so I guess it was worth it? After Geneva, we flew to London, my love, my most favorite city. Where we proceeded to get held up at border patrol for our plans to engage in Workaway in Scotland without a work permit. Erm, what. So that was fun. But London – oh, London! So amazing.
We tromped around the city – walking from Tower Bridge to the Houses of Parliament, going to the museums in South Kensington, gawking at Harrods, having tea in a fancy hotel, seeing Les Miserables on the West End, perusing markets, drinking in pubs, lamenting our money seemingly flying away, crying when we had to leave (ok, so that was just me). But the crying didn’t last long, as we were on our way to Dublin. Sweet, green Dublin. We drank and drank and drank here. We sang the same songs every night in almost the same pubs every night and ordered the same beer every night. We took a free walking tour and walked during the day and drank during the night. And, oh, how fun it was. We also went to Galway where I had the best butternut squash soup of my life. To leave was a horrible thing. But onward we went, to Glasgow. And Scotland is where I find myself now. And soon I will move on again. To Amsterdam then Paris then home.
I write this both as an apology for the past month and also for the future one, as well. You see it has probably not escaped your notice that it is November (which, firstly, what?!) which means that it is National Novel Writing Month (or, NaNoWriMo) – a writing challenge that encourages its participants to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I did it last year and I absolutely loved the challenge and the feeling of winning (to reach 50,000 words is to win). So, because I’ll be writing 1,667 words (at least) each day now, I must warn you that my posts will continue to be sparse and infrequent. At least until December 1.
Till then – happy wandering, writing and wishing.
PS – If you want to follow along with me, check out my NaNoWriMo page here and, please, join in on the challenge!