Archive for the ‘ Travel Journal ’ Category

Porky Piggin’ in Paris and More Adventures

Yesterday was the first day in a while that I’d had access to the internet, so I’m kinda behind a few days. Our final days in Paris were amazing, and consisted of seeing radical art and a man “Porky Piggin’ ” it down the street in front of Megh and I as we were sitting on a ledge, eating falafels. In case you aren’t familiar with the phrase, “Porky Piggin’ ” is when a person is wearing a shirt, but no pants or underwear. So the sights that evening were less than desirable.

Earlier, we had gone to the Pompideu (probably spelt horribly wrong), the contemporary art museum. To preface this, this was the one museum I really didn’t want to go to. I like creating art sometimes, but I’m not really into looking at it – I liked the Louvre, but was pretty bored at the Orsay (where I avoided nearly destroying a priceless painting – see last entry). But I love my lady and she loves art, so I decided to suffer through it. We were going to start on the 5th floor and see some Jackson Pollack and other dudes I don’t really care about, but stopped on the fourth floor at a huge plastered wedding dress covered in babies, guns, etc… Feminist art! We decided to stay on the Women Artists floor and were not disappointed. Guerrilla Girls, Yoko Ono, shocking performance art and crazy installation pieces – everything was exciting and amazing. One artist had created a dress made entirely of meat (which could be interpreted as commentary on the meat industry, aging, roles of women, etc.), and there were pics of her wearing the raw meat dress, as well as the dried meat dress on display. It was definitely one of the Paris highlights – maybe because I was not expecting to enjoy myself, but also because it was so inspiring.

Then it was off to the German countryside. We first went to Bacharach, which no one could understand when we would pronounce it (I guess its supposed to be “Ba-ha-rah” rather than like the American singer). It was a super small tourist town that is popular with Germans, and no one really spoke English. I got to try out my one year of German, which is actually enough to get my basic needs met, but not actually hold a conversation. We stayed at a youth hostel that was overrun with a horde of children screaming and running around the castle courtyard and searched in vain for vegetarian food. A hostel employee had told us that the free hostel dinner would have vegetarian options, but we didn’t really trust it. When we were at a lost, we finally headed back up the gigantic hill to the hostel and were amazed at a tofu pasta, soup, salad, and a bunch of other veggie buffet options. YES!

The next day, we rented bikes and biked up the Rhine to St. Goad, which was about an hour away. I got a sweet cruiser with coaster breaks, and I just want to give props to anyone who rides a cruiser. They are pretty sweet because you can sit back and enjoy the sights, but they are TOUGH to ride. Definitely no road bike. We went to this giant castle (apparently I can’t remember the names of anything that happened more than one day ago) that was the best preserved castle ruins I’ve ever seen. We then took a train to Rothenberg, which was an amazing wall-fortressed city that was totally preserved. It was super touristy, and it seemed like there were a ton of different languages being spoken. In fact, many shops even had signs in Japanese because there were so many Japanese tourists. Found good food, good deserts, and the walk around the castle wall was great.

Finally, we are now in Prague. I realized here that my Vans are not really cutting it, and my feet are kinda getting trashed. We’ve pretty much been walking for over a week straight, but no wonder my legs hurt all the time… We found an information kiosk at the train station, where a lady was smelling a bottle of alcohol. When Meghan asked if there was an ATM around, she said there were none (which I’m pretty sure she was lying about) then proceeded to ignore us. All around rude.

After eating at Clear Head (a delicious vegetarian restaurant) Meghan really wanted cake, so we decided to go to the fancy Art Noveu building near the Powder Tower. Rick Steves said the service was bad, but we just wanted cake and decided to suffer through it. After standing around for a few minutes, a man walked up to the register we were standing right next to. I asked him if we could sit down or needed to be seated. He mumbled something about twenty minutes (it was 10:25pm, maybe they were closing?) and walked away. What?! We saw a man rolling around the dessert cart and I desperately wanted to run up to him and ask for the cheesecake, but this was a really ritzy place and I was trying to be polite and proper. I made eye contact with a lady server, who just walked past us without saying anything. When she came back out a few minutes later, I stopped her to ask if we could just get some cake. She said, “I think they just left” in a pondering and kind of non-committal way, then wondered off to the patio. I poked my head outside to see her organizing silverwear. WTF!?! I think at this point Meghan and I were kind of riled up and starting shit talking the people pretty loudly as we left. We just wanted some god damn cake! Is that too much to ask for!? So if in Prague, avoid the pretty building with chandeliers – the wait staff are jerks.


European Vacation: Day One & Two

My partner and I flew into Zurich because it was so cheap and tried to hop on a train to Paris, only to find out they were all booked. Instead we had to hang around the mall-ish area of Zurich for a few hours and take a weird train with two stop overs (including a bus ride). We arrived in Paris around 11pm after two days of nearly non-stop travel. Here are the highlight so far:

1. I was hoping 17 Again would be the airplane movie, but alas, it was Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Started watching it, stopped after 10 minutes b/c it was so bad, then resumed for the final 20 minutes. And I still cried a little bit at the ending. Screw you, Matthew McConnoghy!!
2. Think I heard the ultimate European remix of Kellis’ “Milkshake” on the bus, followed by Britney Spear’s “Circus”.
3. Nicest French girl ever helped us discover the the bus we were looking for actually required us to take a train to catch the bus. Too bad the train station employees couldnt tell us that…
4. Aforementioned girl who saved our vacation from ruins (named Milan) chatted us up for most of the hour long ride. She is studying Aikido in Tokyo and was super chill.
5. Milan told us Japanese people think French people either don’t speak English or pretend not to. She seemed to think this was a stupid stereotype.
6. Bottled water tastes weird.
7. Croissant and espresso for breakfast.
8. Japanese people are right – It seems as though Milan is one of the few French people who speak English.
9. Totally staying in gay town. Just saw two dudes holding hands down the street. Yes!!
10. At the Orsay, I tripped on a weird curb thing that I GUESS is supposed to prevent you from touching the paintings and broke my fall with a Cezanne. So freaking lucky it didn’t break and I didn’t get caught / kicked out.

More to come.