31 Oct 2007

Today is the greatest day I've ever known...

I figured when I returned from Switzerland I'd discover life is the same. No changes. No wins. No losses. I figured I'd stop writing in this blog because I don't need to. No one cares what I am doing back in America. "Been there, done that, bud. Now Europe, that's excitement." Well, you're right. You don't care what I'm doing here. I haven't taken a picture since August. Maybe before. I haven't ventured anywhere worth mentioning. And I sure haven't done a damned thing that's been exciting.

But I'm here. And I've written a few posts. Why did I pick this back up? Well, I've come close to running out of room in my journal, for starters (go ahead, poke and prod--I keep a journal). I've lived more now than I did in all my time abroad. I know there were so many experiences over there that I will never forget--and I never want to. I wont forget those people (I do, however, wish I could forget some of them ::ahem, ahem::), those places, or those events. But I've learned so much more about life. What happens when dreams disappear and reality slaps you in the face, be it positive or negative? What happens when you realize that you don't actually know everything? Or when people get sick of hearing what you have to say about gay Paris?

So I come here and write. I write what I want, when I want to. I think of something that makes my day seem better and remember that people only care about misery. So I don't write that down. On the other hand, say, if something were to be a bummer, you'd love it. But you don't have to read it. In fact, I'm not asking you to. But people have been checking up on me, nonetheless. How do I know? Because I have this nifty little gadget that is coded into my blog that tells me who is reading my blog. State. County. House. Ok, not house. But close enough that I can figure it out if I really care (which I don't, lucky for you). I even know your internet service provider (ISP for short).

So I will impart this wisdom upon thee. For free, mind you. So if you don't like it, I don't want to hear it. If you do, I suppose I wouldn't reject a donation (or a headrub [males need not apply]). Oh, and I'm sorry for all of you _____ (insert your book of faith there) thumpers out there who disagree with me. I don't care.

Here goes nothing--or everything.

You live your life because you want to. If you didn't want to, you'd end it. You make every decision conscious of the two possible outcomes: failure and success. You know the ramifications of that decision and the possible outcomes before you do it. But you make those decisions anyway. You will fail. I once had a teacher that told me two things in life are inevitable: failure and death. He also said you need to make sure that you don't look at your life as the former while doing the latter.

But you will fail. And that's ok. You will survive and look back on it as a 'learning experience'. The pain will never really go away, though. It just subdues itself naturally until some memory rehashes it. And it's not about the failure. It's about the success you achieve after overcoming the failure. After you pick yourself back up, you brush yourself off, and laugh at those who scoffed you for trying in the first place. Yes, they were right this time--but there's always the next.

On the sweeter side sits the worse of the two outcomes. Success. Yes, we all wish and hope that we will be successful; hopefully, some of us actually are. But what if every decision you made was the right one? You'd be on top of the world--with nothing to live for. But success in small doses is an amazing thing. Amazingly scary, but amazing.

And so with each decision we make we plug our nose and leap from the bridge knowing we will either sink or swim (or hold our breath for a long damned time). We pray to find our way to the surface, yet secretly wish to sink like a brick knowing that it will be easier to fail than to succeed. We hope to find our way with the least resistance as possible; search blindly for the hand to grab in the darkness. Yet we do not realize that the hand is not there. The resistance is self-induced. And we, we my friends, must do it ourselves.

8 May 2007

You gave me a reason to keep my face in the fire

Hello again, and perchance for the last time. As I sit here at Katie’s house watching the Bachelor (wonder why I’m writing it now, no?), life seems to be back to normal. I have spent the last two days relaxing around the L-ville, playing a bit of guitar, and overall doing nothing.

Side note: I’m watching this show sporadically, so if I seem to jump subjects (as I’m about to do), please forgive me. But this show, this Lt. Suave guy, he’s kissing all these different women. Why would a woman want to sign up to fall for Lt. Suave and watch him, even if he does fall reciprocally for said woman, kiss all these other women? I wouldn’t stand for it—I don’t stand for it.

So there it was. And interesting enough, this accurately represents what I think about this whole return. I have done absolutely zero tv watching while in Geneva (minus about one hour of Virginia Tech coverage), and now, back at home, here I am watching the Bachelor. Many other idiosyncrasies have also shown their face since I’ve arrived. I will never be able to recount them all, so I shall not even attempt it.

As I departed the Knox Centre in Geneva, Suisse, I felt a mixture of sadness and joy—mostly sadness. I was sad to leave my friends, my new home, my favorite city in Europe. I was excited to leave the damned Knox Centre, but other than that, not much was dragging me homeward.

In the airport I said my goodbyes to Kate who, luckily, was staying for a few more weeks to travel. It was the most difficult one (sans un) to say because I have no doubt that she is a new found best friend, yet she goes to school in Texas and her parents live in Jakarta (who lives there? I mean, seriously). It was difficult, but my lovely Kate gave me a goodbye chocolate bar—for that I will always love her.

I ditched out and soon boarded my last European plane. Bound for Newark, I sat idly by and watched Europe disappear. As I said, I was quite saddened by my imminent departure from my lifelong experiences. I was also saddened to leave a few certain people. The flight was long, boring, and, until Gin offered me her shoulder, quite restless.

After arriving in Newark and being welcomed “home”, I walked through the final customs check and allowed myself one last feeling of nostalgia (okay, maybe one last for those few minutes). The shock of arriving in America was not left at the wayside. The first commercial enterprise I ran across after walking onto American soil was a Starbucks. Welcome home, Kevin.

After saying goodbye to Virginia Bain and countless others (actually, I could probably count them on one hand), I quickly left to check my bags for my next flight. I hung out with Amy and Abby and Molly for a while, and then the order narrowed down further to just Amy and I. We sat a bit, talked a bit, and ate a bit. I said goodbye to her, and headed through security.

Homeward bound—home home, you know? Well, push it back a few more hours—my flight was delayed about 90 minutes. Oh well. A little more reading, and I was home. Not much changed.

I wont lie, I’m feeling nostalgic as I write this. But I’ve also realized a lot of things that I missed. First, let me tell you what I miss from yonder, over the pond. I miss the language. I miss the foreignness yet closeness of Geneva. I miss people. Y’all know who you are, and if you don’t, you probably shouldn’t. I miss the traveling, the laziness, and the overall excitement of doing nothing yet being so damned content.

And now that I’ve spoken on the various things that I long for that I’ve left behind, I am not quite sure what it was that I felt urged to divulge about America. And now that I’ve been trapped into a conversation about greater things than Geneva with a friend online, I’ve fallen off the track of where to go with this. So I suppose here is as proper of a place to end as any. I am glad to be home, but at the same time I’d give just about anything to be back there with those people. In closing, it’s nice to be back, but I’m leaving again in 2 weeks, so see me now if the time is appropriate.

A Bientôt

-Kevin Joseph Creighton

22 Apr 2007

I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't even manage to work out a smile

I'm not really sure where to start, and I suppose the beginning is looking more promising than ever, so I'll give her a shot. This has been a long time planning (about 2 weeks now) and it turned out better than I'd ever expect.

Since I came to Europe, my main goal has been to see northern France--specifically Omaha Beach and the like (D-day). This last weekend I have accomplished this goal and done more than ever thought. In anticipation, I found two willing travel companions and a cheap(er) rental car.

I picked up the car early Friday morning with my Hungarian counterpart Tomas--it was a black VW Polo. We both were able to drive manual cars and this paid off. Who would think it's a long drive from Geneva to Normandy? Only 8.5 hours (or so they say). At any rate, we picked up Virginia Bain and within about...oh....a day we made it to Bayeux. This was to be our home base for the weekend.

We ventured immediately to Omaha beach. We had very poor directions, so I took back roads and asked people walking on the street which way to the beach. For once, the French weren't bad. It must be the Scandinavian influence from the 11th century left over. Within about an hour, we were standing on Nazi bunkers, gun emplacements, and, most likely, shells. It was an incredible experience and I was glad to share it with my amis. We soon found the American Cemetery. I have never seen a more immaculately kept place in my life. It is honestly my firm belief that the White House garden is not kept up as avidly as this place. We also saw the American monument erected in honor of "The Big Red".

It is, in my opinion, impossible to reflect in words the feelings one experiences while at Omaha beach. The beach itself is very serene and beautiful. If not for my former knowledge of the massacres that occurred there, I would find it a lovely place to spend a Sunday afternoon laying out. Yet at the same time, the serenity is eerie. Why would such a beautiful place not be more populous? I think you might understand where I'm heading with this.

The next day (that would be Saturday), we headed to Mont St. Michel. It's an old abbey on an island just off the coast of France. It is pretty spectacular, but we didn't feel the urge to enter the abbey, just simply see the town and the castle from afar. Instead of seeing the abbey, we chose to drive to two local towns that came highly recommended from a teacher and a set of parents. The first--Cancale--was very small and quaint. We put on swim suits and spent the next 3 hours laying out on rocky beaches. I have been informed that I have a permanent white T-Shirt.

The second town--which unfortunately had nicer beaches than the first--was St. Malo. It was a larger town with a full casino located there, but all we did was walk the beach and then head out of town. With a quick dinner, we headed back to our hotel room.

Oh! The hotel! It really was a highlight. I was fortunate enough to end up with the middle spot on a double bed. That's right. The middle spot. Most people would assume a double bed would be for a single person (I know, counterintuitive, but true). We, however, are cheap college students and piled 2 half naked guys and one uncomfortable girl into one bed. Before you go saying "poor girl", just remember I was stuck in the middle!

This morning was a lovely morning downtown Bayeux. It's a larger town in the area, and if there's two things the French do well, they are pastries and cathedrals. This held true. We also saw a very long, unfortunately artistic tapestry. We had to appease each person in their own way. This one was for my Hungarian pal.

The drive home was long. I enjoyed it though, for I drove most of the 10 hour drive through winding hills and curvy roads. At any rate, I haven't eaten in a good 12-14 hour span and I have a presentation tomorrow morning that I have yet to work on. (It's 1:30 AM here). So for now I bid adieu.

A Bientôt.

14 Apr 2007

And when you wake up, I'll be by your side

It's been a long week, that's for sure. For starters, I left last Friday morning and did not arrive home until just today, spending time in four countries and at least five cities. It's been fun, but exhausting, exasperating, and even a bit obnoxious at times.

In an effort to conserve my energies--and my stories--I will not depict everything I have done in the past week, for if I were to attempt that, it might take my entire night and the following day. So I beg forgiveness in a brief summary of the week (with certain moments dissected for your enlightenment).

Friday was spent traveling from Geneva to Brussels. It was a long ride since we were unable to secure seats on the high speed train running through Paris. Instead, we took my roundabout way and in a short 10 hours found ourself in Brussels. I will leave the city by saying that Brussels is a city for three things. First and foremost, Beer. Secondly, fries. Thirdly, mussels. To officially close the short description, I will end with a quote--after all, my english teachers always told me to open and close with a hook (usually a quote). "First God invented Brussels...then beer."

From there, we took an overnight train to Hamburg, DE. The train was hot and uncomfortable. I slept almost naked, with no covers, on a bed that was maybe large enough for my five year old brother. And when I said slept, I meant to say tossed restlessly all night. But that is not the point. The point is I ended up in Hamburg, hopping on the next train to Copenhagen. I will not delve into the details about Scandinavia. Leave it to knowing that the women really are blond, and the cities are picturesque...similar to the rest of Europe.

The part of this journey that I find most attractive or appealing is not the what, but the why. As we sat around planning the weekend--anticipating a full 3 days in Brussels--Ginn came around and said, and I quote, "Do ya'll wanna stop by Copenhagen? It's only like a 2 hour train ride from Brussels." As all her ducks lined up, she made the final kill-shot with a "Please..." and a southern accent. How could anyone resist? We were in.

As we rested our dogs after a long day in Copenhagen, we pondered how to spend our evening. It was predetermined that we would throw a fete in our hotel room, but that was for later. Once again, Ginnie pulled through for us. "Ya'll wanna head to Sweden for the night? It's only a 5 minute boat ride or so." (Again, I vow to tell my stories as my mind remembers them, for my keys are incapable of creating such falsifications.) Again, we all lined up and she delivered a perfect shot.

The next few days were spent in Berlin doing the things that normal jelly donuts do--you know, memorials for WWI, WWII, GDR, what-have-you. We saw prisons, torture chambers, concentration camps, and all sorts of exciting sites in Berlin. East Berlin is definitely the more beautiful side of the two--who would've thought? But in all honesty, it amazes me that one single solitary country (well, for a while, two) could commit so many atrocities in such short time. I am no historian, so I will not attempt to depict them to you, but suffice it to say they did. Besides the multiple nights of hanging in the hostel playing card games, I will highlight a few minor points of the trip.

First off, we visited the check point Charlie museum. This was the major check point between East and West Berlin. My tour guide happened to be a West Berliner that risked life and limb over 120 times to evacuate Easterners. Eventually he was captured and jailed in a Secret jail for 9 years. Quite a compelling story.

Secondly, I find it ironic that for the 4 days I spent in Berlin, I was able to pass freely through the Brandenburg gate at will. Each morning I would run through it (my hostel was in East Berlin) with my arm raised celebrating the downfall of communism and the victory of western democracy.

Thirdly, I spent about an hour trouncing through the holocaust memorial downtown. At first glance, it looks to be a large park in the middle of Berlin. It is a full block square with hundreds, if not thousands, of coffin sized blocks raising from the ground at varying heights in very straight lines. The ground was more disorienting than the varying size of the blocks; the ground twisted and turned with each step--at some points it would drop 4 feet in about two steps. As I walked through it I could not help but to think to myself that the ultimate movie ending to a cold war thriller would be a cat and mouse espionage game through this memorial. That notwithstanding, the most interesting thing about the memorial is that the architect does not discourage people from playing on the memorial since in all honesty, it does seem to be more a park than a memorial. Out of respect, however, I abstained and we ventured off.

Dresden, for a brief history, was a city fire-bombed by the Allied Air Forces at the end of WWII. There is a lot of heavy criticism for the bombings--they killed nearly 40,000 civilians. Many say that it was vindication for the Battle of Britain, or even D-Day. At any rate, a majority of the cultural sites were hit, many of which are still damaged today. As I sat across from the city on the bank of the Elbe while my lady friends sunned themselves in the 70 degree weather, I took in the irony that the old city across from me was actually more recent than the new city directly behind me. And off to my left was a 40 year old german man--and when I say german I mean it--in a Sean Connery-esque square cut speedo copying my friends. The city was beautiful and fun. It was nice to have good weather for a change--even if it did mean Molly fried out in the sun.

We chose to skip out on this weekend in Prague. I'm not sure why, but I was not up for more traveling. So in its stead, we hopped on a train for home and 10 hours later, we arrived. Overall, it was an excellent, contemplative week.

A Bientôt

Post Script: I have added two new albums of photos to the left hand side. They are labeled Amsterdam and Lisbon. I will add the ones from this last week sometime soon.

2 Apr 2007

Your thoughts are like the ocean

Goede Morgen, or so they say.

Barcelona here I come. ALAS—the trains aren’t working? What will I ever do? I suppose the beaches in the Netherlands could take the stead of the beach in Barcelona, no? Well, Ginnie and Kate were able to convince me of that, at any rate, so I packed my bag (no swim suit, just clothes for warm weather) and caught the next train out to Strasbourg. The winding path we chose was actually an interesting one, starting in Strasbourg, continuing on to Luxembourg City—just two hours, thanks to Ginnie’s lovely idea—and ending up in Den Haag with two day trips to Amsterdam.

Strasbourg was a charming little city full of life and college students. The city center is a bit reminiscent of every other French/Swiss/Austrian city that I’ve seen, only this one claims France’s tallest Church Tower. Whew, what a site. Anyway, we never really developed a Plan of Action for the city besides a few notes I had previously prepared, so the day was mostly spent wandering. Did you know the Council of Europe is headquartered in Strasbourg? Now Ginnie does. At any rate, we worked our way through the city center—which is situated on an island on the Danube—multiple times and even ventured to the outskirts of town to see the International buildings. Dinner was a cinch with the obvious tarte flambée, and dessert is implicit.

The hotel we stayed in was a cozy little Best Western—so cozy, in fact, that we only managed to finagle one queen bed for the three of us. Either way, sleep is sleep and the next day was another adventure in the waiting.

Early mornings are the norm here, at least for me. I woke and showered, followed snail-like by the other two. We managed to get some croissants and coffee before our train departed, and then it was off to Luxembourg. I suppose you might ask yourself—if not versed in the geography of Europe—where exactly is Luxembourg. And say, perchance, you are schooled in that subject, why Luxembourg? Well I suppose that due to my recent time spent in Europe, I fall into the second category; why would I spend a day there? I suppose it is because I am a sucker for sweet-talking, and that is one thing these girls do well. So off to Luxembourg.

The city itself, at first sight, is not a sight to behold. It’s like any other city, just less impressive. But in short time, we found signs towards the city center—low and behold, the city is a real city, old town and all. In fact, they even have a park-esque area that they used in the Middle Ages as a defensive barrier from accessing the old town. We walked about a bit, indulged in pizza and gelato, and caught the next train two hours after arrival.

I am always one to say that to experience a city, you need more than a day. Really, I believe at least two are necessary, but it was a pleasant stop. On to Den Haag (the Hague).

We made quick time on the train—and everything else is not important enough, in my opinion, to be noted; but Den Haag, after arriving at our hostel, is where the fun began. Ginnie was in search of a 24-hour store, so we took a right, a left, and another left. Much to our surprise, we note a reddish hue coming from around the next corner. Well ladies and gents, I feel privileged to tell you that Amsterdam is not the only city in the Netherlands where a red light district prevails. We made good time out of there, but due to mans innate curiosity, we found ourselves venturing back through it yet again on the way to the bar—the bar at which we would drink away our shock.

Amsterdam was more shocking than previously thought, but that is most likely due to us renting bikes and making our first experience there (unbeknownst to us) in the Red Light district as well. Whew. At least I’ve seen it now. We rode away at an accelerated pace, stopping and swerving between cars as if it were our job—at least Kate and I could be responsibly employed in such a fashion, Ginnie, on the other hand, nearly hit everything from signs to people to cars. The Anne Frank house was an interesting stop—it’s actually much bigger than one would assume after reading the book. There’s also some other interesting things to do in that ‘museum’, but as I politely reminded the girls, there’s more to do in Amsterdam than sit inside Anne Frank’s house.

We rode on for two more hours and, as if she were a toddler asking for a candy, Ginnie constantly requested a break from the bustling streets for a substitution with the Dutch countryside. Unfortunately for her, we did not succumb to her unabated requests, but instead replaced the countryside with a large park and some riding along the harbor. We soon retired the bikes and ventured off on foot—it was actually welcomed since it is hard to grasp a intimate picture of one’s surroundings when that person is constantly aware of all other things (usually deadly) going on about them.

After all was said and done, we ended up in a large park with a sign that says “I Amsterdam” and I, in my infinite wisdom, decided it would be a splendid idea to place myself atop each letter in of the sign and get a photograph. With a bit of acrobatic work, I finagled myself on each one and in no time had the whole progression completed. In succession, the girls opted to repeat my success—yet to no avail. After minutes of painful looking body contortion and manipulation, neither of them were able to mount the ‘I’, and Ginnie even ended up on her rear end ten-to-twelve feet below where she had her hands on. Maybe another time.

I must also add, of course, that I was the absolute gentleman and offered my help occasion upon occasion. But Ginnie and Kate are a bit ‘bullheaded’ and could not be convinced to accept my kind gestures. Serves them right.

We ate some pancakes, since that is the thing to do in Amsterdam (besides smoking weed). And that brings me to my most interesting story of all. Pancakes, cappuccinos, and sidewalk cafes sounded great to me. “I’ll have the number 10 (pancake with Bacon and Cheddar) and a large cappuccino, please.” Seems like a normal order, no? I thought so.

Within a few minutes, the gentleman server brought us our orders and placed our pancakes in the proper place. “A cappuccino for the lady, and a special cappuccino for you (me).” Hmm. I don’t do drugs. I didn’t order drugs. And I definitely cannot have drugs in my system come this summer. What to do? I smelled it a bit, and even poked around to see if it was ‘special’, but eventually decided that it was not worth wasting 3 euros on perfectly good cappuccino, so I gulped it down quickly. An hour later, I felt just fine. What an asshole of a waiter.

We soon retired to our ‘stayeasy hostel’ and caught a few hours of rest before we took off Sunday. We wandered a while through Den Haag, seeing nothing but run down buildings and poop on the paths. As it turns out, a young British fellow offered us a bit of assistance in finding our way to the International Criminal Tribunals and even the beach! Who would know that Den Haag would have a beach, let alone one worth visiting? To make a long story short, we caught the next tram straight to the seashore.

The sea was a beautiful, lovely, brown, with the rocky bottom visible for at least a full 2 feet. In all honesty, it was great. The sand was lovely, though a bit shell infested—apparently the ‘thing to do’ when along a beach is to collect a few shells here and there—and overall it made for an impressive sight, considering I expected no beaches to begin with. We drank more cappuccinos; these were credibly not laced, and lounged around in general for about three hours. Eventually we wore out our welcome and traveled onwards back towards the International Criminal Tribunals, or Peace Palace. The building was large and overdone, but it made for a spectacle.

Once back in Amsterdam, planless and hungry, we found some quick food and, of course, more ice cream. I suppose that is why traveling with Ginnie is so fun, she doesn’t criticize my constant indulgence in ice cream. With nothing better to do than sit around a park—or maybe just no motivation to tour—we played truth or dare and in general bonded.

I must diverge and tell another entertaining story now, for we found ourselves back in the “I Amsterdam park” and the ladies, again, with stout resolution to conquer the ‘I’, found themselves stacked one on top of the other. With a bit of luck, a deal of strength, and a healthy dose of will power, Ginnie found herself atop the ‘I’. We were all beaming with laughter, even though I had voiced my opinion that it was a futile effort. Congrats to the ladies.

The ride back is worth little of note, and, beyond a restless neighbor who found every possible excuse to wake me up, I slept quite well all the way home.

See you in one month—give or take a few days.

A Bientôt

27 Mar 2007

Last Chance, you're never gonna get away

Alas, I have been, as you frequenters well know, a bit behind in updating my blog with my latest exploits. I realize this and do sincerely apologize. Business has been as usual here. At least for the most part. It is a rare occasion that I fall sick, but I must say, as is the norm with me, I fell hard. These past two days have been miserable. Anyways, I recognize that my writing on here has been of poor quality and therefore feel compelled to share with you my most personal and intimate thoughts that I have diligently recorded in my journal--with a few removals. This is the closest you'll ever come to delving into my personal thoughts, so enjoy this glimmer while you can. (Side note, please excuse the errors in tense and days, for this was written on my way home from Lisbon.)

In short order, I will return to the Knox from a delightfun weekend spent in Lisboa, PT. Unfortunately, that requires a return to 'reality'--at least my current reality as I have known it for the past 9 weeks. In reading Twain's The Innocents Abroad, I have come to appreciate those often overlooked ways of modern travel.

I do love water. And boats as well. But I do believe that 11 days on a boat to cross the pond would grow tedious to even the most ardent sailor. I have become accustomed to quick, painless, efficient and even enjoyable train rides. When he took on the 'polite' french (quite a reversal of roles), it took 12 hours by train from Marseilles to Paris. It now takes just more than 4.

I will also attest that my recent affinity to indulge in writing of more than just day to day actions has also stemmed from Twain's immaculate journal and his claim that it would be worth $1,000 (his era, which I would roughly translate to circa six zeros). So please, immerse yourself with me.

Portugal is a pleasantly picturesque country. I will remark that I have only experienced two cities, but I would place the country as silver winner, as of yet. The large, green, palm tree scattered parks adorn the city and truly maintain the Mediterranean climate, even though the city is situated upon the Atlantic.

Surprisingly, and contrary to popular notion, the city is immaculately maintained. The language was unique, and in similar gait with Spanish, even though it was not of much help. But to a certain extent, I find a uniqueness and a bit of enjoyment in the unknown.

Back now to my ill-attempt to paint a portrait that will never be finished, I must comment on the food. First off, regardless of locale, the country smells of fantastic food. I honestly believe that they make a valid attempt to crop-dust the country with food scented perfumes. I will attest to this fact b y saying that yesterday, while wandering aimlessly through Eden on Earth (Sintra), I could, in fact, smell fresh food being prepared--in a garden.

Last night we ate a spectacularly cheap meal of 9 euros per person. I had trout, cooked and served whole. I must say, if deemed proper, that I did quite an excellent job fileting the damned thing, for not having done that dirty job in multiple years. After dinner, we travelled a few blocks to a renowned Fado house. At least the man standing outside inviting us in claimed it was. At any rate, it was an enjoyable ending to an equally enjoyable trip. The fado music, consisting of guitar (nylon stringer), mandolin, and an upright bass, was exactly what I needed. At first, it was wailing and melancholy and, accompanied by a large woman with a large voice, made for a perfect setting. However, after another round of rusty nails by a not so prompt server, the music picked up in liveliness with quicker mandolin riffs and a booming male bass. We all enjoyed ourselves and our mandatory 16 euro drink minimum. We then left and visited Ben and Jerry's so Ashley could indulge.

With a quick breakfast, I caught the first cab to the airport and, alas, here I am.

So there you have it. It actually included no real thoughts, and therefore was deemed appropriate to share. I just simply know that I could not write that whole thing again in a different way, so why not copy it? I hope you are all doing well.

A Bientôt.

Post Script: I have included links to my photo albums on the left hand side of this blog for those of you not enrolled in facebook.

22 Mar 2007

Today for me, tomorrow for you

So where did I leave off? I actually do need to check...ah, Gruyeres.

So the last fortnight went quickly. I spent the week doing what I've always done. A little bit of wandering, a little bit of climbing, some guitar--you know the routine. Friday morning, Amy, Zach and I woke early to catch a train to Padova, Italy. Where? Well, for you literary folks, someone important happened to be sent there for a short period of time. For the rest of you, my good friend Bart from home is studying there. It's a lovely little city with some lovely people. The general population is younger, considering it's a university town.

We spent Friday evening wandering the streets with Bart and two lovely ladies. The food was great, and the 'spritz' (the drink of choice there) was on par with the Shark. Saturday morning we rose early to catch another train--this time to Venice. With Bart in tow as our tour guide, we rowed through the city with little effort and saw the sights. It was quite a blast. With a simple hop, skip, and a jump, we landed in Murano. It's a world-renowned glass-blowing island. Stellar. We later returned to Padova and spent another crazy night with crazy students. The next morning was a quick stroll through the city with one last stop at a gelato place called "Grom". Best. Gelato. Ever.

Back home now. For 8 more hours. Then it's off to Lisbon, Portugal for me. I hear the fish is decent alli.

OH. BIG NEWS. This last Wednesday, I spent the day with Ginnie, my lovely Southern girl, and Eric, my New Yohka skiing Chamonix, in France. The skiing was amazing, the powder was fresh, and all was well. Until I fell off a small cliff and half-broke my iPod and my back. But all is well now. No worries.

Sorry this is short, but I must still prepare for my weekend adventure. By the way, I will post links on here to my facebook.com photo albums. Apparently someone wised up and made them available to non-users--non crack users, that is.

A Beintôt.