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Kaltenberger Ritterturnier - Knights Tournament

A JOURNEY BACK TO THE DAYS OF YORE

semi-overcast 20 °C

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First, there was the Jesters Night.
It was impressive to see so many people in costume and I wondered how amazing it would look if EVERYONE had made an effort.

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We started by wandering the stalls of handcrafts and peering into the displays of tents and observing the people camping and living here the way they would have in the days of yore. It was easy to imagine what life was like back then, well, visually anyway.

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We decided to fully appreciate where we were and get into the spirit of it we should hit the tavern and grab a König Ludwig Dunkel bier, served, naturally, in a one liter steinkrug!

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We kicked back in the bier garden and people watched for a while (the most interesting people watching I've had in a while).

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After a liter it was decided we should keep moving, as we had no idea how big this place was and getting a little too comfortable sitting drinking.

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The whole place was set up as a medieval village around Kaltenberg Castle.

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Stages were busy with amazing performances, bands, acrobatics, dances and theaters.

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A parade started to wind its way through the streets and all manner of peoples Medieval and otherwise passed by entertaining the gawping crowds.

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Food was everywhere and I had a great goulash stew served in a hard bread bowl that I then ate! All crockery should be made of edible materials. A pity my spoon wasnt as well, though I found that out the hard way.
There were also many people practicing and selling their trades and wares.

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As the light started to fade, fires were lit, torches hung and the mood started to change.

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Deep, dark shadows formed and the fires bathed their surroundings in a soft, flickering, yellow light.
We delved into the taverns where the ceilings were low, the air thick and strange types skulked in dark corners.

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We sampled some strange drinks

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and all that was left to make the scene complete was a good ol' traditional bar brawl!

Then there was the Tournament Day!

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We had time to kill before it began so took the time to wander around a bit and enjoy nature.

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This is where we changed into our custom made medieval costumes and fit in with the locals.

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We shopped around the fascinating stalls, hmm, I need a new helm,

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drank beer by the liter stein, we ate heartily and saw many fantastic performances.

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There were alot more knights around today, obviously. Some brandishing their team flags,

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some practicing, some acting as security,

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and some posing for the onlookers.

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When the tournament time came, we made our way to the arena. The crowd was thick, with na'er a seat spare.

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The royal box dominated one end of the arena, the large wooden doors underneath, swung open releasing a parade which slowly snaked its way away around the arena.

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The knights rode around the arena to the applaud of the crowd, brandishing their banners before splitting up and casting their team banners into the ground around the arena.

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Each knight faced the crowd near his banner and worked them into a cheering frenzy. It was understood that we had all been allocated our own team to root for.

But of course, it was not just knights running at each other with long poles trying to knock each other off! As our programs indicated there was an entire story like a Knights Tale drama unfolding before us. The MC was a great story teller and herald and worked the crowd up with his dramatic oratory, translated where necessary by Alisa (thanks for that).

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The victor won the fair maiden and all would have ended happily if it werent for the arrival through the crowd of the Black Knight! There were sword fights, horse stunts, music, lighting, special effects and they even had a disappearing act!

After the joust allot left but Emma and I wandered around to check out the post joust atmosphere. We saw traditional court dancing in the castle,

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watched fascinated for what seemed like a long time at some blacksmiths at their trade (the rhythmic sound of alternating hammers on metal was mesmerizing),

And got a chance to meet some of the local 'talent'.

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Then there was the come down in the aftermath of the excitement, when everyone went home and a silence descended over the castle like the plague had hit town.

Campfires were extinguished one by one, the echo of music faded and people started to disappear until only an occasional glimpse was caught. The fun was over for the night.

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For them they would do it all again next weekend, but for us, our trip back in time was over and we would have to wait another year.

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Posted by Travesty 01:02 Archived in Germany Tagged events Comments (0)

Holy Land

A PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA

sunny 30 °C

17.05.80

After a harrowing experience of security checks, suspicion, whispers in foreign tongues, questioning that bordered on interigation and re-questioning, I was finally allowed to enter Israel and meet with my friend and guide here in this most holy and highly troubled land.

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18.05.08 TEL-AVIV

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From afar, as modern looking a city as any other.
But dirty.
Cars, covered in dust and dirt, have never seen a car wash.
Gardens, dried up, overgrown and unkempt.
Buildings, in a state of decay, patched together, cheaply and hastily.

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No care for aesthetics,
no wasted pride on material possesions.
The houses are old and stations and shopping centres remind me of my childhood.
Like a movie set from the 80's.

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The market between us and the beach is busy and loud with tall piles of goods and pyramids of food.
Disappointed at the sight of a Burger King.
There seems to be lots of cats.

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The beach has sand!
The water, clean and cool and the surf small.

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Warm sun dries the salty water from my pale winter skin.
It bakes the earth and distorts the road with heat waves.
The light is intense and the glare forces a permanent squint.

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18.05.08 HAIF'A

An hour and a half by bus from Tel-Aviv to this city that boasts one of the most amazing and unique gardens in the world, the Baha'i Gardens.
Unfortunatley for us, it was closed.

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But even from the top of Mount Carmel where the shut gates of the garden tease us, the view is amazing.

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We had a good indication of the terraced gardens below,

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the city cascading down the mountainside and sprawled out over the landscape and the glistening jewel of the Mediteranian Sea disappearing to the horizon.

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It is amazing to see so many solar panels. One for every appartment on the roof of every building. So good to see a city making wise use of their reliably susuainable energy source.

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Pity more sun drenched cities in Australia dont do likewise.

19.05.08 JERUSALEM

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A city where everything from the late 70's to early 80's has been transplanted.
The cars, buildings and furnishings and architecture of the malls and stations.
Tiles, lino, mosaics.
Dirty corners,
unused,
unseen.
Retro.

Everything built from stone.
Desert coloured sandstone and travertine.
Like castles.

Everywhere military presence.
Armed forces straight from high school,
roam around with AK-47s slung casually over their shoulders.
They talk, eat their macdonalds, sleep waiting for their bus and shop with their guns like a fashion accesory.
Given no more consideration by locals than a belt or the ubiquitous ipod.

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THE OLD CITY

An M.C.Escher labyrinth come to life!

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Steps, bridges, sky, vaulted ceilings, corridors, doors, ramps, buttresses, tunnels, its goes on and on.

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Never sure what level we're on.
Where is ground?
No such thing as a ground level.

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Theres some sky,
far above.
People live here too. Their houses embedded within the walls.

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Cats live casually,
amonst the humans,
as much citizens of this city as they.
Their shops, are our markets.

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Never have I seen such a lively market with such a diverse array of goods flouted by such enthusiastic vendors!
The colours, sights, sounds and smells!

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The food is some of the best I have tasted ever!
A fellafel or homus I doubt will taste as good anywhere else in the world.

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I saw the stations of the cross.
And the devoted people that retraced the footsteps of Christ as he carried the cross to his doom.
I passed within the hallowed walls of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Where it is said, Jesus was crucified, removed from the cross, anointed and finally buried.

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The church lit darkly, wreaking of incense, echoed with prayers.
Its dark corners held ancient secrets.
Its deep tombs lit by shallow shafts of light.

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THE WAILING WALL

Somehow we found ourselves on the rooftops.

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Heading in the direction of the golden 'Dome of the Rock',

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the walls gave way,
to a balcony,
and a vista of,
one of the most sacred and holy places in the world,
the Western Wall of the Second Temple,
the Wailing Wall!

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The sound of the hundreds that have gathered here,
in the heat of the sun,
to pray
is
akin to
returning to the very first sound
at the beginning of time.

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From 19 BCE it has stood.

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I approached the wall,
slowly,
tentatively,
taking in its dimensions,
and the details.
Passing the throngs of prayers,
at first lightly scattered
then becoming thicker
the noise gets louder
the energy, stronger.
I can smell their sweaty bodies through their traditional black robes.
I reach the wall and feel a reluctance to touch it.
As though my unholy hands would profane this place and all would know.
I note the paper prayers stuffed into every nook and cranny of the wall.

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I raise my hand and with the utmost respect and all the belief I can muster, I place it upon the wall.
I lean my head in and rest my forehead next to my hand and take in a deep breath, smelling the dusty stone and the hot papers baking within the cracks.
This is something special. This is Holy. This is real.

We pause to reflect on our moving experience.

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And watch as the city transforms from from its daytime face,

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to its alter ego, which comes out at night,

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under a full moon,

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and home to our Israeli hosts we head.

20.05.08 THE DEAD SEA

First some facts...

At 420 metres below sea level its shores are the lowest point on the surface of the Earth on dry land.
It is 330 m deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world.
It is also the world's second saltiest body of water, after Lake Asal in Djibouti, with 30 percent salinity.
It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean.
This salinity makes for a harsh environment where animals cannot flourish and boats cannot sail.
It is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point.

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Another long bus trip through a desert of sweltering heat. Reminds me of home.

A whole new landscape!

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The landscape presents an entirely new palette of colours!

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Ominous mounds of desert stone loom overhead riddled with caves. Hiding places for suspicious goings on?
An oasis turns to a palm tree farm, planted in perfect symmetry.

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An the Dead Sea sprawls out in the valley. The bus stop, car park, cafe, and tourist shop are the only things around in this bleak landscape. We head down the hill to the sea and amuse ourselves for a little at the people who float like ants on the waters surface.

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Why does the lifeguard need a buoyancy device?

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Then, with great anticipation and facination, we make our way in to this highly saline water.

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I carefully enter the shallows and cross the stones whose shapes are distorted from a buildup of salt.

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The water feels no different from any other. It is warm, clear and small rippling waves lap the shore. I step over the threshold where the floor drops suddenly and a find myself floating in an way I have never felt before in my life.

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The water wasnt thick like I expected. It was as thin as any other water yet lingered on my skin a little longer. As I floated, bobbing up and down slightly I noted that I was definately higher in the water than usual. I could smell the salt quite clearly, especially where the hot sun evaporated the water off my skin. After analysing this strange new experience I started to play.

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Making myself thin like a pencil I jumped up and down in the water to see if I could touch the bottom, but I could not even get my head under the surface. I sat up in the water, rolled on my belly and attempted to swim. After exhausting myself a little I lay out flat and noted the waterline around my body at about half way, I closed my eyes and relaxed in the sun, tilting my head back to wet my hair, floating effortlessly and perfectly comfortable. It reminded me of my 'float' experience in Brisbane. I was at peace.

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My head started to get itchy from the salt left behind as the water dried from my hair and I felt a sting on my leg from some scratches I acquired earlier. I raised my head to check I had not floated out to sea and a trickle of water from my head broke past the barrier of my eyebrows passed through my eyelashed and assualted my eyes. It stung. I resisted the automatic urge to plunge my head into the water to clear my eye out (imagine how much that would sting!). With one eye squinted tightly shut, I headed to the shore and the only supply of fresh water. In my panic to reach it quickly and my awkwardness at swimming in this new medium I managed to get water on my lips and inevitably in my mouth. I spat and dribbled in an attempt to wet my dry salty lips and then a second trickle of water blinded my other eye. With both eyes squeezed tightly shut and watering profusly in a futile attempt to rid them of the salt I floundered in the direction that I remember seeing the shore in. I had only a fraction of a second every few meters to open one eye and make sure I was still on track.

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I stumbled over the rocks and tried my best to look cool as I passed the other bathers to the open air showers where I plunged my head and face under the fresh water. I rinsed my eyes, mouth, hair and body of the salt water and was enjoying it so much that I only left because of the lineup of people that had started to form in front of the only two showers.

Other people had bought Dead sea mud that they covered themselves in and baked for a while before washing off.

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We waited for what would have been at least an hour (or more) for a bus back to the city.

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On the trip home I enjoyed a local beer. The can also said it was kosher too.

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It was a long bus trip to Jerusalem, then bus to Tel Aviv, then taxi to airport. At the airport we had the usual security checks, our bags were x-rayed as we walked through the metal detectors, but that wasn't good enough for them. So we were pulled aside and had to completely unpack our bags. (Liane anticipated this and thankfully we didnt spend too much time packing them neatly the first time).

They rubbed swabs of cloth over everything and ran it through some kind of machine that I can only guess was checking for residues of bomb making material. All our clothes were unfolded, all our electrical devices ran through another x-ray machine and many questions were asked.

Our souvineers were unwrapped and we were interigated as to where and when we bought them and more importantly whom we bought them off. Did we know them? Have we received any gifts off anyone? etc etc.
Liane was taken away by female security. When she eventually returned it was my turn. I was taken away to a room and a curtain was drawn around me. "Please remove everything from your pockets" I was informed and now I was starting to get worried. I imagined him coming back with a latex glove on or something.

He ran this paddle thing over every part of me. It had something like 'weapon detector 2000' written on it. I got the all clear and was sent back to my bags which by now their contents were strewn out over 3m of bench with lots of souvineers and suspicious things in little baskets. We hastily repacked and raced to catch our flight. Luckily the security used their passes to help us get through all other checks and lines.

It was a painful process but I did feel safer on the plane knowing that the checks were thorough.
My compliments to the security of Tel Aviv airport.

And I guess you can keep the ipod earplugs that I never got back. Enjoy.

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Posted by Travesty 08:00 Archived in Israel Tagged postcards Comments (0)

Road trip to Monaco!

SEVEN COUNTRIES IN FOUR DAYS!!!

all seasons in one day 17 °C

Yay, a good ol' fashioned road trip! Euro style!

FREITAG 21.03.2008 - GERMANY

We were up aat 7:30 and all packed and ready to go by 8:30 though we didnt actually leave until just past 9:00. München was 3° and a mix of rain and snow fell from the grey, sombre sky. Rugged up in scarves and coats, we eagerly awaited the pridicted 15° on the Cöte D'Azur in France.

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We left München behind and with it our jobs, our baggage and our homes. We headed straight down the Autobahn towards the huge, looming wall of the Alps that forms a natural border between Germany and Austria. Ive always felt that there is something myterious and magical abliut the Alps. I can sense that something is there, secrets are hidden and the closer I am to their beauty and majesty, the more I can feel it.

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Driving into Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where it started snowing, we saw the ski jumps left from the winter olympics of 1936. As we ascended elevation, the snow got heavier and we were engulfed by the massive, sheer cliffs of the Alps. Our little car disapeared into a tunnel that cut through the very heart of the mountain, emerging on the other side into even thicker snow. By the time we reached the Austrian border, it was blowing sideways!

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We pulled up at a servo for a quick pit stop and ejoyed an impromtu snowball fight! We took some photos standing on the actual border where the, now unused, gate stood and we built a mini snowman.

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- AUSTRIA

Driving into Austria the scenery completly changed. The landscape now snow covered, the Alps sheer, rising up abruptly from the ground and disappearing into the white of the mist and snow to an unknown height. As we snaked down the side of another mountain and into a new valley an amazing vista opened before us. The valley was lush and green with powdered snow like a dusting of iceing sugar sprinkled across the land. A thick bank of cloud formed a low sky over the city of Innsbruck and above the thick, white line of cloud rose the mountains whose edges were outlined harshly against the white, unpainted backdrop. It was like two, distinct and unrelated landscapes with a white line painted between them.

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We wound our way through evermore beautiful valleys like the secret inner rooms of the Alps, when suddenly we past an inconspicuous sign and Toby announced, "We're in Italy!"

- ITALY

Again, the vista changed and we all agreed that the Italian Alps were far different to the Austrian and German Alps. The colours had changed, the shape, the texture and the light itself. The winter landscape was behind us and we literally drove into spring!

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Around 14:30 we had our first stop at an Autogrill. A toilet break, pizza slice and grande cappacino, then on the road again.
Before I knew it, we were winding over the hills that line the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The roads near the coast were amazing. As the mountains and hills were so steep and so many, the Autostrade was forced to cut its way throug the heart of one then pass over a gaping chasm via a tall, narrow bridge, from which we could see houses precariously pearched on the sides, surounded by vinyards out of season on terraced gardens, only to be abruptly plunged into the next tunnel.
I marveled at the sheer magnitude of the road building process here, thought about how isolated these places would have been beforehand and wondered at the cost of building such a highway. However, the answer to the latter came as we passed through one toll gate after another, ranging from €2.00 to €14.80!

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We stayed with an Irish guy named Stuart, a fellow couchsurfer and we were his first guests. Although he wasnt expecting five of us, he was more than happy to make provisions to accomodate us all. We chatted over tea then Tobi had a nap while the rest of us ventured out into Arenzano, a beachside town near Genova. We walked the beach and the esplanade, then pulled into a bar that Stu recommended for their cocktails and buffet.

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(great chairs)

I think the drink was called negria (or something like that) and was a gin bassed drink, but we all found it incredibly hard to drink as it was so bitter/sour. Our waiter spoke no english but we managed to ask for food through the art of mime.

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Later that evening Stu took us out for a night on the town in Genova, about 10mins drive. The guys had an early night so it was just Emma, Stu and I that ventured out. We weaved through the maze of dimmly lit allys filled with revellers and party goers who escaped the clubs for either fresh air or a smoke.

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Stu managed to sneak us into a club without having to pay the cover charge (thanks for that dude). It was a small, underground club and we had a drink and danced on the hot, overcrowded floor with drunken and sweaty locals. When we left the place was still pumping.

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I dont know how we managed to make it back to Arenzano safely but Stu managed to get us there. We walked to the beach and in an act of drunken spontenaity we plunged into the surf for a 1am swim!
Feeling decidedly more sober, we drove to the top of the hill to the lookout and marvelled at the moon over the coast.

SAMSTAG 22.03.08

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Next morning we all explored the town, the guys had lunch on the esplanade and Emma and I bought some fresh cheese and bread from the market and ate on the beach.

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After lunch we headed into Genova to explore by day. The city, built precariously squeezed between the steep mountain and the coast was like a maze from an M.C.Escher print.

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We found our way to the central fountain and to another marketplace, where the lure of many free samples of pestos, cheeses, breads and chocolate filled our bellies.

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Exploring without a map, we still managed to stumble on amazing things, like a huge church, striped like a candy bar.

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We ended up down at the harbor and I was excited about visiting the tall ship that we drove past in the dark the night before.

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After some long winded and ultimately pointless disagreements by the guys, they went in to the famous aquarium. Having seen the huge aquarium in Osaka, Japan, I didnt feel the need or interest in exploring this one. Especially not with the ship one dock down!

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Emma went off on her own and I climbed abord this full size recreation!

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I was shaking with anticipation as I approached and the tall masts towered over the hull making the sheer size known.

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I was so excited and wanted to run around the ship and scream with glee like the children but took it slowly and explored thoroughly.

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I examined every detail and took many photos, as I only had an hour until we were due to meet back I didnt do any sketching onboard.

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I covered every deck, looked out every port, veiwed it from every angle, and of corse imagined myself as the captain as I sailed it over the open sea.

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Times up, must meet the others. That was sooooo cool!

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We hook up and make our way back to the car. It took what seemed like hours as we navigated the maze, mapless and hungry, night eventually fell upon us. We walked steps and ramps, followed alleys and eventually found a hidden, non touristy restaurant to stop for dinner.

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Again, with no Italian (Tobi spoke the most and made a daring and admirable effort) we managed to order something. Emma played it safe (as a vegitarian) and ordered a simple cheese pasta which turned out to be a cheese platter! Bear in mind we had cheese for lunch, cheese at the market and by now were well and truely over it.
Not knowing exactly where our car was parked, we continued to walk up, knowing at least that we went downhill to the harbor so we should run in to it eventually. I was still excited and energised and was happy to wander these amazing streets all night but soon fatigue took its toll and some wanted to pitch in for a cab. But as we couldnt give the cabbie a street name of where we parked it seemed futile.
Eventually we found a familiar street and realized that we had acutally overshot the car so downhill we went, home we drove and well we slept.

SONTAG 23.03.08 MONACO, FRANCE

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Off to Monaco!
Actually we just drove through and pulled up in Nice, France.
The guys wanted to gamble, Emma and I didnt. So they dumped us at "central station" and drove to their couchsurfers place to meet, greet and unload before heading to Monaco for an evening of gambling.

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Emma and I walked to the coast, which was simply a huge marina with moored boats and a massive dock for cruise ships. We went and lay on the rocks that lined the coast. The weather was fine and the sun beautifully warm.
Walking around the headland we discovered the real city as a beautiful beach stretched out before us.

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We wandered into the city centre, found a nice little cafe and had a coffee.

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We wandered around looking for accomodation but most places were booked and there were only more expensive rooms available.

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After we settled on a room we explored the old city by night. Buying a bottle of wine and drinking it as we went, then another, then another. Got back to our room and slept.

MONTAG 24.03.08

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Next day we went to the beach. It was a stone beach and the water was very cold. We lay in the sun, played in the shallows, I collected interesting pebbles while Emma chased the waves.

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I had a craving for fish and chips. Perhaps it was the sun, surf and sand and the salty air on my lips. We went to find lunch. And stumbled upon a market.

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Finding a nice beachside restaurant we sat outside and people watched as the market came to life before us.
Being in France, I wanted to try something different. Escargot, aka snails. It was an interesting experience.

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They were baked in their shells and filled with an oily, pesto sauce. Armed with a special pair of snailshell tongs and a skewer I set about at figuring out how to eat these things. It seemed a simple enough technique, pick up shell with tongs, skewer meat, pull out of shell and eat, but I was finding it very tough going and must have been very amusing to the staff and other locals.

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The wine complimented it excellently. Then came mains.

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The dish I ordered was an amazing fish dish with jacket potato and salad covered in a sauce and by the end I was having trouble eating it all.
When our plates were cleaned our wine bottle empty and our appetite sated. We meandered into the markets. More like an antique market than a trash and treasure. Nothing was cheap.
We received the dreaded call from the others to say it was time to meet and head home.

We drove straight from France, back through Manaco, and into Italy, where there was a mass of people heading home from their long Easter weekend, we debated about the best route.

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Driving north through Italy it was dark by the time we crossed over into Switzerland where we stopped for fuel. It was late, we were tired and it was cold and snowing outside. It was well after midnight when we passed through Lichtenstein, then Austria and finally back into good old Germany, and home.

The road trip gang. Stefan, Jörg, Tobi, Emma. Thanks for a great Easter!

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Posted by Travesty 10:25 Archived in France Tagged automotive Comments (0)

Dont get pissed on the piste!

MY FIRST SKI

sunny 1 °C

We drove to an area called Spitzingsee in the Bavarian Alps!

Hardly containing my excitement, we booted up and hit the slopes!

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My first tentative movements were like the scene from Bambi on the ice.
But I had been waiting so long for this that rather than get the feel of moving around I decided to head up the slope and plunge into it.

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Starting on the kiddies slope....

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I was on the ground often and watched as the children would glide gracefully past me. After a couple of rounds of sliding (not skiing) down the hill, I decided to think about what I was doing.

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I watched other people as they came down the large slope, analyzing their moves, experimenting, coming to an understanding of the physics behind it. Trying to see if techniques from waterskiing were applicable.
"Ok, I tilt the skis like this to slow down, bend my knees etc. I get it!"

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Then, a lift pass and up the mountainside to the real slopes.
The ride was slow and scenic and much longer/higher than I had thought.

We went as high as we could go then down we went.

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The slope seemed to go on for ever and once I got off the red (intermediate level) piste and on to a blue (beginner level) one it was all smooth sailing. I enjoyed the beautiful alpine scenery as I zig zaged gracefully down the slope, the warm sunshine counteracting the cool, fresh air.

I got comfortable with it all very quick and before I knew it was taking photos and videos of my decent, going over (little) jumps and getting a bit too cocky with my speed. I did some very audacious (most likly amusing to other skiers) stacks which where mostly harmless. I got away with only some minor bruises and not the cliche broken arm or leg (thankyou guardian angels).

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When we ran low on energy and needed a break, of course there was a beer garden cum restaurant waiting in a valley at the end of a number of pistes.

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Then, refreshed, but not drunk (I wisely limited myself to one beer) we hit the slopes again. I must confess that I loved being able to say, in context, "Lets hit the slopes!".

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The sun slowly dipped lower casting the slopes in shadow although it was still quite early in the afternoon. Unfortunately, most of the blue pistes were on the north side of the mountain and without the sun they became quite hard to navigate.

What I mean is, as the ground is a blanket of white, the only way to make out the shape of the ground is the shadows behind the dips and bumps. When the entire landscape is in shadow I couldnt tell when the ground rose in a gentle hill or gave way to a steep decent.

So we made our way down the long cross country style trail to the foot of the mountain. It was amazing to ski this track that weaved through the snow covered pines, the afternoon sun making jakobs ladders through the tree canopy. However everyone else took off at their own speed and I meandered along and eventually took the wrong way and ended up in the wrong valley. I was so far off course that I had to take a bus back to where the car was waiting for me! oops. oh well...

What a great day!

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Another first and another experience to check off my list.

Posted by Travesty 03:35 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Snow, glüwein and xmas cheer, Bavarian style.

'ALMOST' A WHITE CHRISTMAS

semi-overcast 0 °C

ho ho ho

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Here are some photos from my Christmas. It wasnt quite the white xmas I had in mind. But I made the most of it.
I spent one night in Marienplatz.

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I hung out with friends at one of the many little standing tables in the square. The air was cold, my nose and ears were being nibbled by old man frost himself, but the rest of me was warm. My hands being heated from the mug of warm glüwein whose steam rose into my face and melted my breath before it froze on my beard and mostache.

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The square was busy from the markets, many makeshift wooden stalls selling christmas themed handicrafts and warm food and drinks.

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The sound of carols filled the air and I was taken by the clarity of the sound reverberating off the buildings. As I looked up to the buildings for the speakers I noticed on the balcony was a choir giving a live performance! If it started to snow at this moment it would have been perfect.
But alas, it didnt.

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The markets sell traditional food and drink including the classic glühwein, a sort of mulled wine served warm and often in different flavours. The Marienplatz ones are the most famous in München and very touristy. So one night I took my bike and did a tour of all the markets I could reach.

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On Wittelsbacherplatz the was the Mittelaltermarkt. Once you passed through the giant bundled stick fence, everything on the inside was designed to look as close as possible to a market from the Middleages. You could buy food and drink served in ceramic crockery,also armor, weapons, clothes, games etc. all from this period.

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The Chinese Tower Markets in the English gardens had a live band and horse and cart rides and lots of cool handicrafts like pupets and marionettes.

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The Schwabingermarkts were the best as far as art and craft were concerned as this is the bohemian suburb of München and where I happen to live. The quality of the art was amazing, it was true 'fine art' as compared to the craft at most of the other places. I gained more than a few interesting ideas from roaming around here.

I also visited the famous markets at Nuremberg which were way too overcrowded and the non touristy but beautiful markets in Bad Tölz.

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I travelled from Bad Tölz to a small villiage called Benediktbauern to see the snow and be shown around my friends hometown. If the snow wasnt going to come to see me in München then I would go and visit it. I also had the chance to experience a traditional, German family xmas.

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Everything was covered in white but there was no snowfall while I was there.

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The snow on the ground, though it looks magical, is around two weeks old and as such more like ice, slippery, wet and sharp. I wasnt even able to make snowballs out of it. Boo hoo. But I did some sledding,

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and watched the sun set over a snowy landscape...

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Merry Xmas to all, and to all a good night.

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Posted by Travesty 07:21 Archived in Germany Tagged events Comments (0)

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