Crackpacker: Addicted for life

Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
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Trip End Aug 03, 2008


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Flag of Germany  , North Rhine-Westphalia,
Sunday, August 3, 2008

Another bad sleep - a fitting way to start the last day of the trip, since I've had so many of those on this trip!  Breakfast was a bit different at the hostel this year - I remember there being cold cuts and cheese, but there was none this year.  Not a bad thing, as had I seen any, I would've stuffed myself with them.  A simple breakfast of cereal, toast, and Nutella was a good way to start my last day in Europe ...

The good thing about the hostel is that it's a very convenient walk to the train station - literally, only steps away.  As I checked out, I realized that there was another, way better thing about the hostel - a table full of Spanish senoritas were eating breakfast and happily chatting away ... sigh ...  

Off to Koln - though only about 90 minutes away, the round-trip train ticket was VERY expensive - I probably wouldn't have done it if I didn't still have a day left on my rail pass.  I noticed that the final destination of the train was Amsterdam, and I briefly considered screwing it all, and skipping my flight home tonight.  Funny thing - I have that thought every time I've had to to return home from Europe, and it's never only a brief consideration ... 

Koln - it was pummeled even worse than Wurzburg was during WWII - 95% of it was destroyed, and its population was reduced from 800,000 to 40,000 by the end of the war.  The cathedral is the first thing you see as you step out of the train station, and it's an incredible sight. 

Being Sunday, there were a number of services taking place at the Cathedral, so I wasn't able to visit right away.  I wandered through the pedestrian zone, which was fairly quiet since most stores were closed today, and I ended up having an early lunch at Gaffel Haus. 

I considered ordering the grilled pork leg on the menu, but the waiter made it sound like it was a huge portion, so I opted for the pork lunch special, instead.  I can't imagine what the waiter considers a huge portion, because the special was pretty huge, too.  Overall, lunch was pretty great. 

I wandered around a bit more, browsing the souvenir shops, and grabbing a hazelnut gelato.  Yes, I was still stuffed from lunch, but it's my last day in Europe, damn it!!!  I browsed in the Museum Ludwig's cool bookstore, which was packed with funky art books.  I picked up one last nusecke for the plane ride, and hopped on a train bound for Frankfurt's airport. 

Ended up sitting with an Australian athletics coach - he was in Germany with two of his athletes, who will both be competing in the Beijing Olympics.  I can't remember which events the guy and girl were running in, but one was doing 800 m and the other 1500 m.  The coach is returning to Australia before going to the Olympics, but the athletes are going to Hong Kong until the Olympics start. 

The Frankfurt airport - the customs line was huge, and there were some really annoying people at the front.  When it was their turn to go through, they all started hugging and saying goodbye, holding up the line.  The worker was getting pretty annoyed, telling them to stand to the side if they were going to do that.  But then I realized it was a good thing - perhaps they would delay me enough that I would miss my flight home! 

The security lady must really hate her job - I went through the metal detector, and stood waiting for my day pack to come through the X-ray machine.  The lady told me to keep moving, though there was no room because there was a crow of people in front of me.  So she actually started shoving me!  That's a nice impression to leave with tourists returning home from your country!  Of course, had it been a female Spanish security guard, I would've asked that she frisk me ...

I went to my gate and nibbled on the nusecke - not so hot, but it was better than nothing.  I was in a pretty bad mood after the security incident, but calmed down once I saw the flight attendants on board.  Most of them would have been qualified to work for any Spanish airline ...

Another uneventful flight home, mostly spent watching movies - "Leatherheads" was alright, but "Nim's Island" was a kid's movie that held absolutely no appeal for adults.  The meal was crap - it was actually a frozen President's Choice entree - terrible butter chicken.  I'm never buying these things from Superstore - flavourless, and tiny portions.  The meal came with a bun, but no butter.  There wasn't much food; I was glad that I had eaten that nusecke before boarding.

Ended up sitting next to a couple of German girls from Berlin, who were en route to Vancouver, and were visiting Canada for the first time.  They're here for three weeks and are planning on spending most of their time in Vancouver and the surrounding area.  I suggested that it was a lot of time, especially since they weren't into doing any outdoor activities.  Nice girls, too bad I never caught their names.  The flight seemed incredibly short, and the next thing I knew, we were landing in Calgary :(   

So yet another journey has ended - before going on this trip, I had this strange sense of dread and really wasn't looking forward to it all that much.  Of course, I knew that would change once I got on the plane, and it did - for whatever reason, I always have reservations before every trip, but I always enjoy myself immensely.

I can't say there were too many disappointments on this trip - certain places such as Stockholm and Holland didn't quite meet my expectations, but there were places like Oslo and Hamburg that far exceeded them.  Starting in Spain is always a nice thing to do, and it's definitely one place that never disappoints.  While everyone thinks my only reason for traveling is trying to meet Spanish women, and I definitely play that fact up for laughs, that's not true - well ... not entirely true :) 

Travel is all about seeing the world and enjoying yourself - and I definitely enjoy sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Spain, watching the world (i.e. - senoritas) go by!  And yes, I've already been asked a few times about Scandinavian women - very beautiful, and I definitely see why some men are so taken with them.  But still ... Spain is far and away my favourite! 

I've always known that I could live in Spain, but it was interesting to realize that I could probably live in Oslo or Hamburg, too.  Though having never been to Oslo in the winter when there is almost no sun, I can't say for certain.  Kalmar might be a nice place to live, too, but only to see if Odeta and Eva have any single sisters :)

I'm still in awe over Germany, especially the areas along the Rhine and the Mosel - such beautiful scenery, and the towns so picturesque and charming.  It's almost enough to make me forget that it's such a quiet area that can become a bit boring, after awhile.  

For me, travel is still more of a need than a want - I can't imagine life without it.  It truly is an addiction, and I'm the first to admit that I need help - I'm a "Crackpacker", and I suffer from withdrawal pains when I'm not aimlessly wandering around, backpacking.  I know I'll never be free from this addiction, and I know that all this must one day end - but I'm determined to delay that as long as possible!

There's something so liberating about being by myself and combining that with things I love - music, reading, and writing my stupid little stories.  Everyone has something they love and they are passionate about, and travel is my one thing in life that I can't live without.  I've realized on this trip exactly how much I love meeting fellow travelers, and finding out why they do it - some do it just for fun, but many have deeper, personal reasons for doing so.  Generally, it's these travelers that I click with - we're a fraternity of traveling vagabonds, and there's nothing more fun than getting to know each other, in a process I shall call vaga-bonding.       

As always, there is a song for every trip - so which is it this time?  There are actually two - the first being "Salir Corriendo", of course.  It's how I started this journey and it's how I'll end it - I'll probably always run away on these trips to get away from it all.  It's a nice song, and hopefully my English translation is reasonably correct - it just never sounds the same in English as it does in Spanish.  

And the second song?  "23", by Jimmy Eat World.  It's actually a beautiful love song, and in a lot ways it really didn't apply to this trip, but in a few esoteric, obscure ways it represented how I felt before and during this journey.  It'll probably put most people to sleep, but it's still one of my favourites.

Travel is my life, and my life is travel.  I can't wait to do it again :)     

"Salir Corriendo" by Amaral

Nadie puede guardar toda el agua del mar (Nobody can keep all the water in the sea)
En un vaso de cristal (In a crystal glass)
¿Cuántas gotas tienes que dejar caer (How many drops do you have to let fall)
Hasta ver la marea crecer? (Until you see the tide grow?)
¿Cuántas veces te ha hecho sonreír? (How many times has it made you smile?)
Esta no es manera de vivir (This is no way to live)
¿Cuántas lágrimas puedes guardar (How many tears can you save)
En tu vaso de cristal? (In your cristal glass?)
Si tienes miedo, si estás sufriendo (If you're scared, if you're suffering)
Tienes que gritar y salir, salir corriendo (You have to scream and leave, leave running)
¿Cuántos golpes dan las olas (How many blows do the waves give)
A lo largo del día en las rocas? (Throughout the day on the rocks?)
¿Cuántos peces tienes que pescar (How many fish do you have to fish)
Para hacer un desierto del fondo del mar? (In order to make a dessert of the bottom of the sea?)
¿Cuántas veces te ha hecho callar? (How many times has it made you silent?)
¿Cuánto tiempo crees que aguantarás? (How much time do you believe you will resist?)
¿Cuántas lágrimas vas a guardar (How many tears are you going to keep)
En tu vaso de cristal? (In your crystal glass?)
Si tienes miedo, si estás sufriendo (If you're scared, if you're suffering)
Tienes que gritar y salir, salir corriendo (You have to scream and leave, leave running)


"23" by Jimmy Eat World

I felt for sure last night
That once we said goodbye
No one else will know these lonely dreams
No one else will know that part of me
I'm still driving away
And I'm sorry every day
I won't always love these selfish things
I won't always live...
Not stopping...

It was my turn to decide
I knew this was our time
No one else will have me like you do
No one else will have me, only you

You'll sit alone forever
If you wait for the right time
What are you hoping for?
I'm here I'm now I'm ready
Holding on tight
Don't give away the end
The one thing that stays mine

Amazing still it seems
I'll be 23
I won't always love what I'll never have
I won't always live in my regrets

You'll sit alone forever
If you wait for the right time
What are you hoping for?
I'm here I'm now I'm ready
Holding on tight
Don't give away the end
The one thing that stays mine

You'll sit alone forever
If you wait for the right time
What are you hoping for?
I'm here I'm now I'm ready
Holding on tight
Don't give away the end
The one thing that stays mine...
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