So I meant to start scuba diving at 9 oclock this morning…got up around 7, actually got up around 8, went down to check out…but oh wait. I actually have to meet at the dock and cant get there in 5 minutes haha. All was fine, now that I was functional at 8:30, I had a nice breakfast, got ready for my new room, and met some cool Scottish girls on the train. I decided that tanning on a beach, to the sea, was much better then walking around alone. So tanning was fairly awesome though. MY FIRST ACTUAL BEACH, WITH BLUE WATER, AWESOME CITY VIEW, SALT, TANNING!!! The water wasn’t bad either, except I always forget about the salt part. After finally convincing the girls to go in the water, we had some fun with my underwater camera and decided to swim to a far off buoy. It took like 20 minutes to swim there…where the water got gradually more transparent, and we continually scared ourselves at what was under us, and sharks. By the time we actually reached the buoy, we smacked it, turned around and swam straight for shore. The return trip barely took 10 minutes. The girls continued to tan, and I had to get to scuba. Unfortunately, due to a large intake of salt water, and not much else in my stomach, I need both food and a WC. I finally found a restaurant, and ordered a pizza and coke in 20 minutes and rushed to the school (saving the pizza). SCUBA: I ran into 3 icelandic girls on the way when I recognized the same map in their hands. We signed up, picked up tanks, and got on the boat in and started our ride to the dive site. The dive was amazing, even though I was freaked to go first. The french guy in the water basically put everything on me, and gave me the mouth piece and pulled me through the dive. Underwater is just stunning, rocks, fish, schools of them everywhere (and me taking pictures). The best part was the grass that moved as one piece. If you focused on the grass, the ground was moving. If you focused on the ground, the grass moved. Again…scuba diving…breath taking….no pun intended. The way back was great again. An incredible view of the whole of Nice from the water. After which I found my pizza (soaked and not to be saved), and I stayed with the girls to get some needed food. Unfortunately, food was closed for another hour and a half. So we stopped for supermarche food before we could get wok, and swapped stories. FINALLY getting back to the hostel, I got my new room, and showered. NEEDED. I could finally get my layer of salt of my body, and out of my hair. Met another canadian, and an aussie that I will join tomorrow to see Grasse for perfume making, before I go to Barcelona. WHICH I currently have not roof for. I have a place on Wednesday night, leaving Tuesday and Thursday open. Here’s to finding swing dancing hosts. Drinking and card games was the night time fun with everyone at the hostel in the huge public area. There was an idea for some late night swimming or skinny dipping in the sea, but the bulk of the group vanished…come to think of it, I hope they didn’t just go on their own. Alas, a new day ends, and I must journey much more tomorrow. Bonne soir mes amies (tired, shut up)
So I woke up today in Zurich, Switzerland, and now I am in Nice, France - go figure. After having to get up at like 5 oclock, which turned into closer to 6, I was able to set out and actually see some of the city that I hadn’t the day before. It was quiet of course…freaking Euro-Sundays. But I got to see the crazy, castle-looking museum, some of the Altstadt streets, the cool churches, and of course the big, blue, wet thing - Lake Zurich. That’s right Chicago, I’m actually back in Lake Zurich…oh inside suburb humour. I thought of jumping in, but no one else was in the water, only in boats, and I only had an hour to walk around. Then came more crazy, up-and-down streets (carrying my bags), so that by the time I reached my first train station, I was already sweating. But I managed to get my swiss patch, shot glass, and some brotchen before heading off to Milan. which was a boring 4+ hour train ride. Slept some, read some Game of Thrones bk2. IN MILAN I actually had 2 or so hours to kill, so I walked around the station and actually found a italian restaurant with a 3 course meal for 10 euro….so…holy crap. After Switzerland, that was a pretty big deal. Plus, spaghetti, seasoned pork, potatoes, italian coffee = good backpacking times. Up next was the 5ish hour train to…one italian town where I had to transfer to Monaco. The train wasn’t bad. Some cool views of the mountains, but it started to rain, so it wasnt as epic as I assume it could have been. Aside from being the cabins strong man, and helping everyone lift and reclaim their luggage, it was more GOT, and I got some good designs in for a CERTAIN HOUSE THAT I AM DESIGNING. I think it was a fun show for some people in the cabin, because they were very obviously watching me designing the floors haha. Oh, and I met a girl who is an actual dancer with an international dance troupe. I made the quick decision to still stop in Monaco before going to Nice…which was fun…since it was raining and I had removed my rain coat from my luggage before leaving on this journey FAIL. But since I was sweaty enough as it was, I just put the cover over my backpack, and my weatherproof jacket over my school bag. The city was cool, a crap ton of buildings on the hills, and the station is a complicated tunnel to get to. I managed to order some crepes with…the liquor sauce and some wine - mom was impressed with the french ordering. Then I walked up some hills to see the town…good view, but getting dark, so I just took some pictures in front of hotels that I would have to pay to breath in. The thought of super sweaty me, messed up hair, drenched shirt, backpack on back, school bag on front, walking in made me chuckle. Luckily I made it back to the station right in time for my train to Nice - and gradually made it to my hostel. Hopefully I can manage staying the extra night. But tomorrow should be including Scuba diving, and beach times. Yes. Michael needs a good beach. I should actually get to sleep. The hostel bar is closing, and hopefully the american room mates are still doing something, but no worries if they’re not….sleep is needed.
So zurich was awesome, and now to wake up in 4 hours to actually see it. I got to find a swing dancing event, and meet a bunch of great people! And apparently someone in Chicago who I’ve never met before…go figure. After staying with a swing dancer, I was able to sleep for…a long enough time. It felt nice. Then off for a nice cheap European cafe-like lunch…oh wait…it’s Switzerland…everything is SUPER EXPENSIVE. So lunch turned into finding a nice place with some good looking french fries and random meat thing, so I asked the people for an order of (name over french fries) and (name over meat things) - in German. Except that the name over the meat thing, was for the PEAS AND CARROTS UNDER THE MEAT THING. FAIL. My next goal was the HBF for some quick train reservations. FAIL. I had to wait for 40 numbers in the line, and my one reservation turned into 10. Oh well, I’m really glad the woman helped me make train reservations all through Madrid, which means I have a lot less to worry about on the rails. Then off to a sweet hiking trail that my Lonely Planet book gave me - the Planetenweg. A trail through the hills around Zurich which had a scale model of the universe. Meaning: a large yellow sphere was at the beginning of the trail, and the rest of the planets where found along the trail with a relative size and distance from the moon point. The trail itself was awesome, it brought me to the top point of Zurich, with a radio tower-like tower to climb and see over the whole city and the surround mountains EXCEPT that it was hazy and I couldn’t see the epic snow-capped mountains. After missing Earth…stupid ambiguous rocks on the side of the trail that hold the planets…the rest of the trail was forest, farmland with cows, ups, downs, fucked up expensive hiking restaurants (5 francs for 1/3 L coke, no). Somehow I missed the main Pluto rock, but found the other 2 - they had a rock for the winter position inside Neptune, the farthest summer position, and the average position. I was able to then take a gondola down the mountain, and train my way back home for a lovely dinner of swing dancing talk. I missed out on the second night of swing, but figured sending out couch requests and finding out how to swing in Barcelona was kinda important. Well time to sleep, and hopefully see some of the city before my trains to Milan, Monaco and Nice…fun day. Ciao
So I will hopefully get back to actually writing about Germany tomorrow…I’m almost a month behind and haven’t even written about Carnival 1, Carnival 2, ice skating, dieburg, class, tests, swing class, Heidelberg, my apartment, Frankfurt, I’ll stop….But anyways, tonight I went swing dancing in Mainz.
After a fairly awesome day of just…not…going to class and using the time to shower, watch important life documentaries such as Archer, and sending emails I first had to gather up nearly all of my clothing for a laundry day. Somehow most of it (save the large amounts of dress shirts and hats) still fits in my travel backpack. Of course this excursion was hot and physical and sacrificed whatever I was wearing to do laundry to sweat. After lunch with Linux and his new Aussie room-mate Kai (sp?) and some money obtainment, we took a screaming-kid-filled bus where I got off to get the clothes started. I spent the wait watching AVPR with some strawberries, coke, and yogurt filled chocolate (I JUST REMEMBERED I HAVE SOME LEFT AND WILL NOW EAT IT). Because AVPR was almost over, I waited a bit long to empty my stuff from the dryer…..and found out that you should never do this, since the dryer somehow stopped mid-cycle. Therefore, because I waited longer then I should have, I didn’t notice, and had to turn it back on…waiting even longer. After backpacking my clothes back home, and wasting some stupid time, I finally headed to the train station to head to Mainz.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t see some new Mainz-located friends, but I had the address of the ‘place’ to swing at so it shouldn’t be too hard to find it. Of course, I missed a train by 5 minutes and had to wait another 40 (a problem solved with a McNuggets meal), Google Maps on my phone doesn’t have German transit, and the hard-to-find city maps don’t exactly show which stop I should get off at. One thing led to another, and I got there. It’s always easy to find a swing location when there are huge windows showing all of the dancing people :)
The Swing party itself was fairly epic. Since I had to leave early to catch the last train back to Darmstadt, I got about 2.5 fun hours in. Of course since I didn’t know anybody, German, or perfect lindy, I spent some time on the side watching people dance. Which is of course, always fun, and ways to learn how people dance here and some new moves. I talked with some people that showed up from my Darmstadt swing class….luckily in English. After meandering outside and looking at some messy art, an older woman approached me talking in German (well duh). Luckily we started talking in English and had a huge conversation about East Coast, West Coast, and Boogie-Woogie….awesome. Oh, and did I mention her name was Lindy - true story. Going back inside I was introduced to a dancer who knew EC/BW and we had a good dance, which became the first of many. It got difficult because everyone had good Lindy/Charleston, two forms I am not too well versed in. But I started dancing with new people, people from class, asked people in German, got asked in German. After the up and down dancing, I saw some girls that didn’t seem to be dancing. I introduced myself to….whoah…nevermind…I don’t think we did names…ANYWAYS….we started talking about German and what brought us to the dance. Her and her friends didn’t really know swing, but one did, who was waiting for a gentleman to ask her to dance. Well that just led me to flip my hat on and asked her to dance. Followed by one of her friends. They were really fun dances, I should have added more style to bring in my Canada-known dancing. Unfortunately, by this time I literally had to run to make the bus to make the train, so I quickly told them about my teaching EC/BW at TUD in case they were interested, which they were. So hopefully I shall see them all again and give them a base to dance from.
After regretfully leaving swing, and seeing people I should have danced with, I found my bus stop, dancing in a cool lights/mirrors/glass place that I want to bring people to dance with and take pictures, got to my train, had a random German guy compliment my “cool cap” at McDonalds where I got a SMARTIES MCFLURRY (I love smarties but twas not worth it, designed some stairs for the mansion, one long boring ride led to another and it’s time to sleep. Swing in Stuttgart tomorrow :)
Oh and other side notes include swing dancing to “Banana Phone,” a swing version of “I Will Survive,” doing the Shim-Sham AND SEEING SOMEONE WHERE A SWING IN T-SHIRT!!!
|—||Stewie (I’m agreeing with him in a different context)|
|—||Hypothetical German Child Walking Under Our Window as Hot Grounds are Thrown Out|