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Old 05-24-2003, 04:23 AM   #16
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You want a story. Well, I will give you my story... this has happened a long long time ago; it is a true story, of one of my first independent holidays.

I was 19 years old. Actually I had just moved into my own flat some months before. One week before I wanted to go for a summer travel, I was out in a club. Met a sixteen year old girl who said her father had kicked her out of the flat and she didnīt know where to sleep. So I took her home. I had a wonderful time with her, but I planned to go away.

It was a hot summer and I wanted to travel. Asked her if she wanted to come with me. But she didnīt have any money, and I was neither thinking about paying for a girl, I ~barely~ knew her after all.

So, I planned to go to Nice, to the Cote dīAzur, in South France. I was already pretty independent and didnīt mind to go alone back then... always met so many people when I was travelling.

So, the morning I was going away, this girl asked me whether I would be true to her. I asked her to tell me first, and she said "not necessarily". So I said the same. Years later I realized I had hurt her, but back then...

I was not into fashion at that time. So I put on red jeans, a yellow shirt, and a black belt. Actually, I kinda looked like the German flag.

This girl brought me to the station. Since I was crazy for girls and planned to have fun, I looked for nice company in the train. And well, I entered a cabin with four beautiful italian girls inside. Little did I know that one of them would be very important for me.

I stepped inside. I drank some milk - it is still one of my fav drinks, talked to the girls, flirted a little. And since I was already a musician back then, I took my first DAT walkman with me, and I also had a saxophone. Well... I was 19 and the girl sitting beside me was 23. But I didnīt talk to her, I talked to the others. Anyway, she was the most beautiful girl.

In the night, everyone sleeping... it was a night train... you see, I was crazy back then... I just started to caress her hand and her hair... of a girl with who I hadnīt spoken a word, who was sleeping beside me. She woke up. We went out of the cabin and kissed. Thatīs how I got to know her.

The next day was wonderful... I wasnīt bound to any schedule, and so I decided to stop at Milan for one day and spend this day with her. I will always remember the sun shining, fooling around, having a great time, laughing a lot. Actually, I fell in love.

But in the evening, I had to go. After all, I wanted to go to the Cote dīAzur. Little did I know that this girl was meant to be the most important love ever had. Anyway, those times are long gone, and we have spend some beautiful years together.

So... she had to go to her family. We kissed goodbye, it was very romantic. I took the train to the french border. At the border, I had to change, and to wait for an hour or so, which I used to write a love letter to her whilst drinking a beer around midnight.

I arrived in Nice and found a small hotel near to the beach. In the day, I was enjoying the sun, bathing... you know, the usual things. Met some people and went to the beach with them in the night.

Anyway, the hotel was not cheap enough, I figured out I should find one which suited my wallet. Um. Yes. So I went to the station to put my rucksack and my bag in a locker while I wanted to look for another hotel. But, idiot that I was, I left my bag for half a minute while I was carrying the rucksack to the locker. Well, I was unlucky. 30 seconds were enough to steal it. When I was back, the bag was gone.

With everything inside. A DAT recorder and tapes, worth around 700 $, passport, train ticket, everything except for the clothes (even the weed was away. But not the saxophone...).

I was shocked. Went to the police, but they couldnīt help shit. Went to the embassy, to get a new passport. Well, the only thing I had left was 500 Francs, in the pocket of my jeans.

First of all, I bought the (second) train ticket back home, which costed me 485 Francs. I had 15 left (around 5 $).

But I decided to not go home immediately. I was very angry and shocked, but I didnīt want to break off my holidays. So I went to the beach. With the rest of my luggage.

I sat at the beach in the evening. Nearby, there were some globetrotters. The real ones, you know. They had some wine.

They invited me to drink with them. I did and told them my story. They said "no problem man, you can stay her with us".

So I did. I slept on the beach. Or, well, we didnīt sleep a lot, to say the truth. In the daytime, they were going to play guitar in a shopping mall for a few hours. With the little money they made, they bought bread, cheese and something to drink. For the rest, they bought weed. Starry, clear nights at the beach... guitar playing, bathing, laughing, talking, smoking... it was wonderful. Free.

Every morning at around 5 a.m., the police passed by to kick the "clochards", us... when we had maybe slept for two or three hours. They always wanted us to go away, but we just stayed on the beach. After 20 minutes of shouting and kicking around, they usually left the beach again. We went back to sleep and normally awoke around noon, when the beach was full of tourists. It was fun.

Nice girls were around as well, but I didnīt want anything (being in love with the italian girl).

Anyway, 15 francs arenīt much. When I was at the beach for two days, I also began to miss good food.

Thing is, I also missed my piano. But just 50 metres away, there was a grand piano. It was in one of those beach clubs for rich people. Five stars and everything.

I went there one evening to ask if I could play. the manager just looked at me, in my dirty jeans, and said, forget it. Unless you donīt have the right clothes... I went back to my freinds, disappointed. But a thought shot through my head... I also had a suit with me. In the rucksack, which wasnīt stolen. Originally, I had wanted to go to spend one evening in the famous Casino of Nice (but with 15 francs you neither got a drink there).

First, I didnīt want to go back to the beach club. But my friends encouraged me. They said, yeah, yeah, go to play piano. I changed. Can you imagine the fun they had, seeing me in the suit.

Anyway, I entered the club, went directly to the manager and said "And so? What now?" He looked at me from head to toe. Then he said "Ok, I like that. I will give you a chance" I sat at the piano and played a Boogie Woogie (that was in my blues phase, musically).

And yeah, the people loved it. Those rich people, they got up from their Beach Grill Dinner and started to dance. The manager was bringing me my first cocktail. He told me that he couldnīt pay me, though. I said I didnīt care, I just wanted to eat from the grill. So I had a steak and everything. hen I played again for 20 minutes. And got another cocktail.

Late in the night, I went back to the beach to have a smoke with my friends and to sleep there.

I continued to live that way for a couple of days, without spending a cent... I learned many things from my friends. They were good people, living this kind of life for years, just going around the world and living their life to the fullest... poor, but what a beautiful life. They were so free.

Even more free than me. After a week or so, I decided I had to go home. With the last dollar, I called the italian girl. On the way back, we went to Verona, to Romeo and Julietīs house (she had to borrow me money though, which I gave her back the next time). We fell madly in love.

Then I took the train back...

this was one of my most beautiful travels. I was still angry for being stolen, but on the other hand, I had a great time.

When I look back, I wonder how I could be so... free... I could do a travel like that again, just sleep at the beach, but I know it would not turn out like that.

Thatīs how backpacking can be when you are young.

If you ever want to pass Vienna and need a place to stay, you are welcome.

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Old 05-24-2003, 05:12 AM   #17
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I've been a few times. Places I've gone backpacking: The Uintah's (huge mountan range in Wyoming), right outside of Yellowstone Park (in Idaho), and a few boring places in Utah.

Hiking/camping is the best. The outdoors rule

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Old 05-24-2003, 06:12 AM   #18
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I went backpacking last year. I had decided I hated my job so I just quit, bought a backpack and went. It was fab - I spent a month in the USA from LA all the way up the coast to Seattle, including Yosemite on the way, then all the way down back to LA again inland taking in Yellowstone, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas all that kind of thing. That month I spent mainly camping and hiking apart from in the cities. Then I went to New Zealand for 2 weeks staying in hostels, followed by 5 weeks in Australia going up the East Coast from Melbourne up to Cairns. I finished it all off with a week in Raratonga (Cook Islands in the South Pacific). Practically bankrupted myself but it was worth it.
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Old 05-24-2003, 06:17 AM   #19
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That sounds like a great travel bammo.

Iīll do the Aus/NewZealand/Pacific tour in a few years.

Tell me some more about the way up to Cairns and the Cook Islands, if you can. Just like, what happened to you, what kind of people did you meet. Have you been to Byron Bay?
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Old 05-24-2003, 06:31 AM   #20
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Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
That sounds like a great travel bammo.

Iīll do the Aus/NewZealand/Pacific tour in a few years.

Tell me some more about the way up to Cairns and the Cook Islands, if you can. Just like, what happened to you, what kind of people did you meet. Have you been to Byron Bay?
When I was in Australia I used the Oz Experience bus, which was OK I guess. The problem I had with it was that it seemed very centred around drinking and partying and things, and not so much about actually seeing and experiencing the country. Or maybe it was just the people I shared the bus with. Having said that, I did meet some fantastic people and have a great time. I did go to Byron Bay. I borrowed a bike from the hostel there and rode it up to the lighthouse from where I could see whales migrating up the coast, and dolphins playing. It was fab.

When I was in the Cook Islands I didn't do much. It was a very small island and I was on my own - I just finished off my trip by chilling out - sunbathing, reading, listening to music, taking walks - that kind of thing. My hostel was a bit crap there though - and I remember going into a toilet cubicle only to turn round and be faced with a spider the size of my hand Its a beautiful place though with very friendly people.

I'd recommend anyone doing what I did. It was a great trip. I have to say though, the best part was the USA. I did it with a company called Trek America, who supply all the tents and camping equipment like stoves etc. You just turn up with your backpack and sleeping bag and hiking boots and you're good to go. Time of my life!
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Old 05-24-2003, 09:11 AM   #21
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I'd rather die out of boredom behind my computer than having to backpack
and that wish just might come true
“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.”
~Frank Zappa
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Old 05-24-2003, 09:39 AM   #22
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ok, I went back and raided the email/travelogues that I sent out on my last trip and pulled a few selections here with pictures to match the stories when I had them. Hope it's the kind of stuff you're looking for.

August 14, 2002

Arrived here in London around 1ish and was in town and had my bags dropped off at the hostel by 3. A later start than I had hoped, but I have managed to make good work of the day. (did you doubt me? ;-) ) Although I hadn't eaten a thing since the little date cake masquerading as "continental breakfast" on the plane, I managed to hoof it through a good part of the downtown. Went to the British Library and saw important stuff like the Gutenburg Bible, Leonardo Da Vinci's diaries, Shakespeare's first folio, original copies of stuff by Austen, Chaucer, et al and oh yeah...a little document called the Magna Carta. Then it was off to Leicester Square to try to find the way to the National Portrait Gallery. I spent a nice half hour communing with kings, queens, heads of state, and other people important enough to have their proverbial photograph or painting taken. Queen Elizabeth I had 3 pictures at different ages...oddly enough she still sports the same ugly hairdo and atrocious white makeup in all of them. hmmm.

After this, beginning to feel a bit faint from lack of food and water and all the walking, I did a sensible thing and...kept going. haha. Wandered over to Trafalgar Square and mingled with the summer crowds...some Indian band was playing, children splashing and swimming in the fountains, doves perched on the heads of stern-looking statues, red double-decker buses careening around the corners. Catching site of Big Ben down the road and through the trees, I decided what the hell, might as well totally kill my poor virgin-to-travel feet and walk some more. So I strolled down Whitehall and took a few pics of the Parliament and the clock and all. Hopped a bus and sat on the upper deck for the way home and I am still proud of myself for figuring out which bus went where and getting one that went straight to my hostel.

One falafel later, I am feeling a bit better and may go back to face my hostel room. I dropped by earlier to change bags and found that I have a few guys in my room that are playing their stereo...and quite frankly their music tastes suck bigtime. So this may conflict with my need for an early bedtime. :/ We shall see. I'm tired enough that I may sleep through it.

August 20, 2002

So we will fast forward to yesterday evening when I arrived at Stansted Airport to catch my very cheap Ryanair flight to Oslo, Norway.

The plane was delayed, but of course no one saw fit to announce that until it was past the time it was scheduled to depart. An anxious crowd of Norwegians stood by, clutching their duty-free purchases (everything is so expensive there, they usually bring in stuff like cigarettes and alcohol) and wondering when the information would come to us. The airline reps finally showed up and announced that everyone should take a seat because the plane would not be going for a while yet and the sullen looks and murmered Norske grumblings brought a "do you understand?" from the rep. To which I had to laugh and mutter, "gee, no I don't speak a word of English" in turn making the guy beside me chuckle and from there we struck up a conversation. He was from the Oslo area, in town visiting his girlfriend, and we chatted about this and that and when we got on the plane (this being the budget airline) we chose to sit together and talked throughout the entire flight. Everything from the EU to American politics and the part we play in the international community to Norwegian history, the Vikings, soccer, the time he spent in Africa, and how hard it is to learn Swahili, etc. As it turns out, the airport we were scheduled to arrive in is the one way way way outside Oslo....a good hour and a half drive in fact and we landed right around 11pm. He had a car and offered me a ride into town, so of course I took it.

My first impressions of Norway were mostly dark highway roads, lots of tunnels, and learning a bit of Norwegian grammar from my companion. Side note, he reminded me of Crocodile Dundee. haha. Just a different accent. Annnnyways, nice man that he was, he also let me use his cell phone to call my friend in Oslo where I would be staying with and he dropped me off right in front of the apartment. Ah the kindness of strangers. And come to think of it, we never even exchanged names.

It was wonderful to see my friend Odd (yes, that's his name and it's quite normal-sounding in Norwegian) whom I hadn't seen since we worked together on student newspaper in college. We sat up and talked till about 3 in the morning, again lots of politics and whatnot as he actually works in the majority political party in Norway. Great stuff.

Woke up around 9ish this morning with the intent to catch the 11:11 train to Stavanger where I am supposed to stay with some more college friends (being friends with the Norwegian gang in college does pay off when you travel). Odd and I had breakfast, some incredible bread with some sort of spread and ham to top it off...I was informed that this was more typical for Norwegians although if I wanted I could have cereal like an American. Of course I wasn't about to. When in Rome and all that.

We walked around a little of Oslo, Odd showing me the sites and then he left me on the main street as he had to go to work and I had to catch my train. And then I think the time gods decided to make the clock run faster than usual and I ended up running through the train station, needing to get my railpass stamped before I could get on. Of course, there was a line and by the time I got to the counter and got things squared away and went tearing out, the train had pulled away. doh! Which wouldn't be too bad if I was in some place like Geneva or Paris, where trains run every few minutes, but this route only goes a few times a day. So I get to kill another four hours until the next train which will put me in Stavanger at the lovely time of 11pm. ugh.

At first I was pretty frustrated and upset as this does wreck my plans for the day, but my philosophy is to treat life and especially travel as an adventure. Today my adventure will be exploring Oslo on my own for the next few hours and seeing how to navigate Stavanger at the late hours of the night.

Oct. 16, 2002

What a difference 24 hours makes. Yesterday evening I was having a nice dinner with Leon (one of the nice Dutch guys I met last week, Vorsprung on the U2 forum) and tonite I am in Prague. And tomorrow it's Vienna. Talk about whirlwind.

Last night was good fun. Leon and I only had two hours to spend, but we managed to find some good food and I got to see the bustling metropolis of Hengelo. ummm, well it was pretty quiet, but it has all these ugly new buildings...which Leon informed me was my fault. See, apparently we bombed that city by mistake in WWII. After liberating it. Ooooops. Well, I apologized.

I had the good fortune, upon getting on my night train to Berlin, to have a conductor who decided to put me in my very own compartment. Normally, I would have had to share with five other people (couchettes...tiny bunk beds stacked pretty much on top of each other) but there was space, so I had all the privacy you can in a train. woohoo! So, I actually did get some rest. I woke around 6am and got off in Berlin at the station commonly known as Zoo Station.

Actually, the only reason I got off there, instead of waiting till the other big station in the city was because that little old band of mine (you know who by now) recorded a song with that name, related to that station, so I simply had to stop in and check it out for posterity's sake. After grabbing some breakfast, I hopped on the train to Prague.

As we were pulling out of the station, I got a stunning view down one of the major boulevards...one that has a pillar in the centre with a statue of an angel on top (u2 fans who've
seen the video for Stay will know what I am talking about). Anyways, the early morning sky shone pink behind it, the water on the street glistened, and even though it was only a few seconds, I think that is going to be the image of Berlin that I take away with me. Beautiful.

The train ride was long and pretty boring. Above five hours of sitting. The border guard that checked my passport was nice and hey, I even got a stamp!! Been a while since that has happened. He told me quite cheerfully and in a strong accent to "have a nice day in Czech Republic!" So I have tried to do so.

Actually, upon arriving at the station, I had a pretty crap first few hours in Prague. The station itself is old and ugly...I think it must be a holdover from the Soviet era. The tram I was supposed to take to my hostel was discontinued but I couldn't read any of the signs to find where to take the next one. When I figured out where to take the tram, I got on the one going the wrong direction. Yep, twasn't a red-letter day for me. But at last I made it here and dropped my stuff quickly to rush back into the downtown to "see" Prague in the few hours of daylight left.

And wow, is there ever a lot to see. This city has the most consistently beauuuutiful architecture I have ever seen, I think. The river is still high from the flooding (in fact, my hostel is right at the river's edge) but one can get around everywhere. Old spires on castles and churches, baroque styling on most of the old town houses, this place could easily suck up weeks of time. I know I will put it on my "to come back to" list.
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

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Old 05-24-2003, 09:48 AM   #23
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August 1989. A buddy and I backpacked for six weeks after taking the Bar exam. We hit England, Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, Austria, Germany Denmark, Sweden (for two minutes), the Netherlands and Belgium. A priceless experience.

We traveled by car in the UK and by train on the continent.

The Let's Go series was our guide.
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Old 05-24-2003, 10:10 AM   #24
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i went hiking and camping in Yosemite last summer. what a event from heaven and hell. i hiked to half dome. i am glad i did it and i would do it again in a heartbeat, but talk about a trip to test your phyiscal and mental strength.
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Old 05-24-2003, 10:24 AM   #25
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I had wanted to go to spend one evening in the famous Casino of Nice
I won 1000 francs in that casino
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Old 05-25-2003, 10:28 AM   #26
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Originally posted by Chizip

I won 1000 francs in that casino
kewl cujo hee hee
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Old 05-26-2003, 02:40 AM   #27
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I just got done with six motnhs of back packing in Europe last year. Yes, you can live out of a back pack for six months, no joke. I hit The Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Hungary, The Czech Republic and Slovakia. Well actually that's kinda misleadign because I was living in Zlata Praha for four of those months and did a month in Moravia (southern Czech Rebuplic.) I went to Charles Univeristy there. Yeah my family is that Czech. Mad ups to Czesky Krumlov man. I also can converse pretty damn well in Czech at this point. Just don't ask me to talk about your car engine or some shit. The point is if you wnat to go to Europe, just do it. Save up and go. I did, and I'm constantly broke. Doesn't mean I didn't have a petitie bugouisie flat in Prague. Bwahahahahahahaha. When can I move back???
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Old 05-27-2003, 02:55 AM   #28
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Re: Ever been backpacking?

Originally posted by The_Sweetest_Thing
Well, have you?

I've always wanted to go...Europe, Australia, anywhere, really. All I need now is the time and a buddy...

You don't need a buddy, I've been backpacking on my own last year, and it was really an amazing experience, if you go to Europe make sure you go to Spain, especially Andalucia, I really liked it, if you want to get more info on backpacking make sure you check www.lonelyplanet.com or www.travelpunk.com, there you can find anything on backpacking and a good advice from experienced backpackers

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