Do you need some background music? try this one!
The train was delayed by more than twenty minutes, and pulled into Stuttgart Huptabanhof (central station) just 2 minutes earlier than my connecting train was scheduled to depart. I never actually thought I would be on a German train that was significantly delayed, but there is an exception to everything I guess, like that one time I could not finish 2 pizzas in a sitting (shocker). I ran as fast as I could, and hopped onto my train heading for Balingen, a small town in the south of Swabia region. The train departed almost immediately, and I was hauled my way towards the south! The sky had slowly tuned down in light, and the night was nigh. Before too long, almost all other passengers got off, and the carriage arrived at Tubingen station, a small town in middle of nowhere. What I did not know, however, was that this train was a local train, and they do some pretty weird stuffs. I did not know that the carriage I was on detached from the other one, and the other one was the train going for Balingen! I noticed something wrong when somebody got off the front carriage and came to the back, and I proceeded to ask the conductor.
“Oh ho ho, my son, this is not the train to Balingen!” He said.
Okay I am joking, Santa Claus does not conduct trains, and the conductor did not say that; actually, he couldn’t speak English at all! I got off the train and asked the station manager. She told me I had to board the front carriage, as the other carriage I was on would go to Reutlingen, another town in the middle of nowhere, and I would be stuck there for the day. Before she could finish, with a loud “BANG!!”, the front carriage detached and took off from the station, heading towards Balingen.
“Well…fuck.” She and I said simultaneously.
What I did not know, was that my tragic adventure was just about to begin…
(warning: long, crazy story ahead)
I could barely manage to take my bags off the train carriage that was about to depart for Reutlingen, but my situation was not ameliorated at all. I sat down in the manager’s little office, and I was at the brink of giving up. It was 8:30 p.m., and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere (sorry Tubingen folks), so far away from major cities that nobody spoke English except the station manager, and I was supposed to meet with Alina, who I luckily met in my Panambia 2016 trip. There was supposed to be a wedding, and she would pick me up, and we were supposed to dress nicely and show up… Now, there was nothing but coldness and the pouring rain… It was supposed to be a beautiful night full of fun and food (which usually go hand in hand), and now it was all ruined by my incompetence…
“Oh, there is another train departing in 36 minutes,” the manager said, “I don’t know if you can make it to the wedding, but that is better than nothing.” OH MY GOD. It was fantastic news! That must be my birthday! I immediately tried to inform Alina, and it turned out she could not pick me up if I arrived that late. I eagerly waited for the train to arrive, and hopped onto this single-carriage “bus” train the moment the door opened. I anxiously pondered how could I get to the site of wedding with no German experience, no money, and no help.
“You can do it!” Seeing me distressed, the station manager smiled at me, “good luck!”
the local HZL coded train
This HZL train I got on was extremely bizarre. I knew my fair share of trains back when I was younger, and I had heard of ICE, TGV, etc, but never this kind of super-local trains. They only have one carriage, and the conductor sits in the driving compartment, not in a separate carriage. When anyone needs to get off, they would push a button, and a “STOPP” light would light up, informing the conductor to stop, like a local bus!
The little carriage pulled into Balingen station well past 10 p.m., and I stepped off the stairs onto the platform. The doors slowly closed, and the train took off, bringing up a gust that rubbed against my jacket. After the dust settled, I found myself completely isolated. The station only had this platform, and all lights were off. Nobody was in the station, and no lights anywhere I looked. Rain had stopped, and the large, round moon was peeking through the clouds, casting a shadow of me on the wet platform. I shivered, either from the wind or from the fact that I was stuck again. The only shop in the station had closed, and the owner was just walking out.
“HEY!! HEYYY!!!” I shouted, “Please help me! Please! Bitte! Bitte!!!” I could hear my voice trembling.
Unfortunately, he could not speak much English, so I used sign language and asked if I could use his phone to call Alina, who would be able to get a taxi for me. I had no money, no wifi, or a phone number, so that was my only hope. He looked at me, and perhaps from the fact that I looked shady from all the months of traveling, he refused. He shook his head slightly, mumbling something inaudible, and was gone within seconds. Now I was doomed. I sat by the curb of the road, looked into the town in the distance. I took off my bag, anguishedly throwing it aside, letting it get wet on the ground: I did not care any more. Why do I force myself into doing this? I was never supposed to be a backpacker, and why did I convince myself that I could do it? Now that I could not even get on the right fucking train, how could I be of any use to the world that I always dreamed to improve? I felt useless, no, even worse: I felt worthless. While other people were working hard in their internships, or finding the love of their lives, or getting accepted into the best post-graduates, I was there, sitting by the side of a road in a German town with a pair of broken shoes late at night, clueless for what to do next. Hell, while others had their next 10 years figured out, I could not even decide what to do for the next day! If this was any other person, they would have asked well in advance which exact carriage to take, and would be in the wedding right now dancing and swinging, dancing and swinging… I never hated myself this much, and I had never felt so defeated.
I saw a cab coming through, and suddenly felt a ray of hope. I knew the place where the wedding was taking place, and I would just use google maps to guide the taxi driver! Yes, yes yes yes YES!!!
“You? going to Rottweil???” the driver questioned me in the poorest form of English, and he started laughing, “that is a place to party, and you are not going to do that!” He pointed to my outfit, and my giant, dirty backpack. Goddamn, he was not subtle with his insults, but he was right, I was in all packpacker gear, coupled with my ugly face, I would not only be a laughing stock for all the girls, but also a danger to humanity.
“Guess what, smarty,” I could feel sweat and water dripping from my face, “I am actually going to a wedding. Now let’s go, shall we?”
I first told the driver that we could take a stop at the ATM so I could get some money.
“Wait,” he hit the break so hard that I gave my first kiss to the dashboard, “YOU HAVE NO MONEY!?”
I told him I would get some soon, and asked how much would this ride need. I was thinking about 20 euros, as it did not look far on the map. I was so wrong. He estimated 60 Euros, so I went to a bank to get my 60 fucking Euros… except the machine did not spit out the money. I tried three others, and none of them did. The driver was getting increasingly impatient, and I was driven to another bank, and thank god my card pulled through. Now we got our money, it was just about 20 minutes ride to Rottweil, and I had my google map up, so it shouldn’t be that much of a problem, right?
Oh boy you have no idea.
First, the driver could not speak too much English, and I had particular troubles with him because he rarely listened to me. He also did not know the very fucking town he lived in! He did not know this particularly popular area for partying, which bewildered me to no end. He also was not familiar with the goddamn streets: holy Arceus did he just become taxi driver yesterday? We missed the first road to access the place where the wedding was taking place, and google showed another road accessible, so I directed him towards that small road. After some turns and twists, there were no more lights, and the tarmac turned into rubble. He stopped the car, saying that this was not the road. “I do not give a fuck about the map!” he yelled at me. While we were arguing, the meter slowly climbed to 60. He knew I only had 60 euros, and promptly kicked me off. I watched the taxi ‘s light disappear behind the trees, and I was left alone in the middle of a road in the forest with no lights, no cellphone and no help.
I picked up my backpack tossed aside by the driver. This was it. This was the end. I had been through so much in this world. I was mauled by a quokka in Australia; I was scammed in Mexico; I was thrown off a bus in Nepal; I fell under cliffs on Kilimanjaro, but I could not pass this test my life had put forth for me. I was looking into the face of oblivion, and it did not look welcoming. However, even a trapped beast would make one last fight, and if I have to die single and lonely, I might as well go as a fighter than a coward. I turned on my flashlight: I guess I had to walk the rest 2 km. It sounds easy, but it could not be further from the truth.
It was a dark night, as the moon was playing hide and seek with the clouds. Fresh rain made everything so damp and soggy. My phone died, and I only had the basic idea of reaching my destination: follow the road until the riverbank, and turn left. The road, however, got narrower and narrower as I went, and before too long, it disappeared completely. GOD DAMN YOU GOOGLE MAPS! I continued walking north in the dense forest, and feared for my life. I could see light from far away, but I still had no idea where the next big mud puddle would be, or I was still walking in the right direction. Winds would blow down rain water from the trees, completely soaking me; the jagged terrain made hiking in the dark with a 15kg backpack even more difficult. I tripped over logs; I fell over rocks; I got stuck in mud… It was one of the most terrible hikes in my life. I would love to do Kilimanjaro again than this. Thankfully, before my flashlight died, I reached the riverbank, and found the road that we were supposed to come in with, and crawled my way towards the wedding venue.
I reached the beautifully decorated mansion that was housing the wedding. I stumbled inside, and opened the door whose knobs were covered with flowers. Everyone was chatting and eating, and I slammed the door open.
Suddenly, the entire room turned very, very quiet.
People stopped eating, talking, or even walking, and gaped at me. 90 well dressed south German men and women staring at an ugly Asian dude with hiking boots and mountaineering gear dripping mud from the face bursting into the door, now that must be a sight to behold.
I froze. I could not think of anything. Embarrassment, shame, guilt, awkwardness, none of that. My mind was just blank, as if I was in a trance. I felt like I just turned into Buddha himself. After a few seconds, the groom approached me, and asked me something in German. I finally remembered to blush, and asked him if Alina was there.
“Oh yeah she is right there!” he pointed towards the corner, and everyone’s head turned towards the place where Alina was trying to hide herself under the table. I would not want anyone to embarrass me like this, either… and folks that is it, my grand adventure of missing a strange train and being kicked off a taxi in the black fucking forest so that I could walk 2 km to embarrass myself and Alina in a German wedding. Neat, isn’t it?
a strange ceremony at the wedding
After settling down in the corner with Alina, I silently watched the wedding progress after the brief hiatus caused by my sudden appearance. There was this game about the bride being kidnapped by a bunch of people dressed in primitive tribal clothing and the groom had to guess a lot of riddles in order to save her. I have no idea if this is a Swabian or German tradition, or it is just something the couple always wanted to do. I felt a little bit dizzy after chugging a full bottle of wine after the fiasco, so I silently went out. I sat by the staircase, looking into the bonfire, rain water still dripping from my ears, and tried to make sense of what had just happened on this day. There were just too much thoughts going on, and I had absolutely no idea what this strange blend of guilt, shame, awkwardness, sadness, and self-loathing was. It did not feel all that great after some alcohol, I promise you.
Alina joined me in the back of this mansion. We could hear the firewood cracking, covering the sound inside of people laughing, cups clinking, and music playing. It was a silent, slightly wet night in the depths of south Germany. The moon finally got rid of the clouds, shining weakly onto the grassy terrain. I was introduced to some other attendees in the wedding, and went back into the house, finally functioning a bit more normally. However, my heart was still trembling from the “adventure” I had, and I could not help but lift my right hand getting more glasses to drink. Everything after that last glass of rose wine, was a blur…
I woke up in Alina’s house, with a slight headache. Alina showed me around her town, and I had the opportunity to see a real rural German village. The place was easily walkable in all directions, and on this Sunday nothing was happening at all at 10 a.m.
Rosenfeld, Alina’s hometown
It was a ridiculously beautiful day. The sun was shining bright, but the clouds and wind moved in just in time to maintain a good temperature perfectly comfortable for our walk. I took the liberty of visiting Alina’s grandparents, a pair of nice old couple who had incredible experiences. Alina’s grandpa used to work for a truck transportation company, and had driven trucks across many countries, especially in the Middle East. He was so happy that we could come, and showed us his old passports filled with stamps from countries that may be considered hostile, or some that not longer exist!
a stamp from Saudi Arabia requires Religion to be filled
He sat us down in the couch while grandma prepared lunch. He told us about his adventures in the Middle East driving trucks from one country to another, meeting new, unexpected friends on the road, eating strange things, getting stopped by border patrols… just like our backpacking travel stories, except these were much, much more hardcore. Instead of a 15 kg backpack, he had a 40 ton truck! We enjoyed talking so much that grandma had to hurry us thrice to get to the dining table.
stamps from DDR, aka, East Germany
The lunch was a very typical Swabian meal, adjusted slightly to Alina’s vegetarian diet. The soup was simply tasty, having nothing much more than just German dumplings made from flour, a broth and some leek. It felt more like a playful dessert than a soup.
The main course was a type of dumpling with potato wedges and beef. The only thing I could feel about this different type of dumpling was that it was bigger, MUCH bigger. One was enough to feed a family of four, I reckon.
beef, dumplings and potato, I never knew this was a possibility
After a hearty meal, I was sitting by the table rubbing my round belly, comforting my single ab. However, the trip to the stars was apparently not finished yet, and right on time that everyone was done, grandma (I love Alina’s grandma so much that I did not know when I started calling her just grandma) opened the oven, and the portal to gastronomy heaven and calorie hell opened up. A freshly baked apple pie made from apple right from the fields around Rosenfeld appeared in front of my glowing eyes, that is what being fortunate sounds like.
Maybe I am writing too much about food and not about my travels? But traveling is mostly about food, right? right? right~? We left grandma’s dining room at least 5 pounds heavier, dragging our bodies through the front door. I never thought original German food could be this satisfying. Most of my expectations revolve around pretzels and wursts, and this meal had none of that, yet still managed to impress my tricky taste buds. Alina and I took a stroll around the countryside, and she told me where she would have barbeque with her friends, where they would hide away and just talk for hours, and where she would play games as far away from home as possible.
It was a beautiful day in this small southern Germany village. Bright sun illuminated the fields with crops that I do not even recognize, slowly heating up the pebble road on this slightly warm summer afternoon. Winds blew big, puffy clouds across the sky, tattooing the ground with different shades of grey. The wild apple trees lining the road were starting to have little, unevenly-colored fruits, and I do testify they taste sour, very sour. We wandered for god-knows how long, and we returned to home, sweet home. The birds were not chirping as much as we stepped into the house, probably already starting their afternoon siesta. We sat in the backyard lined with flowers, and talked into the night. Alina even brought out her photo album from her Seattle exchange studies a while back. She exchanged for ten months and lived in a local household, making her probably the most skilled English speaker in this entire region! However, one of the pictures stood out particularly. Among the pictures of her celebrating festivals, taking classes, enjoying sports, there was one picture of… wait for it… A WATER FOUNTAIN! I had to take a picture of it.
hahahahahaHAHAHAHAHA A WATER FOUNTAIN???
While I was slightly confused while laughing my ass off, Alina was trying really hard to explain that there was no water fountain in schools here and she had always wanted to touch one ever since watching American movies. I stopped for a second, and bursted into even louder laughter, making her mom, who joined our conversation a while ago, to start laughing as well. Seeing the other two human beings in the room practically immobilized laughing on the floor by her “excellent” choice of photography subjects, Alina blushed so red that she looked like she was going to explode. Imagine a girl obsessed with a bloody water fountain in school, gentling touching one of them and taking a picture hahahahahahahahaha… (maybe I should stop before I laugh myself to death)
I woke up the next day to an empty house. Everyone had gone for work, except Young the parasitic imbecile who had contributed exactly none to human society. Breakfast was already ready and loaded on the table. I could not have appreciated that more than anything in my life.
of course there needs to be a pretzel
I sat down into a chair in the backyard with my pretzel and tea. While I was working/procrastinating on my phone, a tiny bird flapped onto the table and started picking apart my pretzel. I was not mad; instead, I kind of enjoyed it. It was just a tiny bird looking for some food, and why should I be so cruel? We two finished the pretzel within minutes, and the birdie did not forget to sing a bit before parting its way, as if it was saying goodbye to me. Again, the lunch took place in grandma’s house, and everyone took a lunch break from work, and congregated in the small house. Alina’s father, mother, brother and of course, herself all showed up right on time ready to devour some great food before getting back to the daily routine. First thing that came was strangely good. It was a kind of pancake cut into strips and dunked into a bowl of clear soup. As a Canadian, I 100% disapprove this method of eating pancake, but I know deep down I still lowkey liked it…
The meal was simple, but I was really happy inside. It felt like a Christmas Eve dinner for me, as I never had so many family members on the table before. With the exception of a few Chinese New Year dinners, I could barely remember another of my birthday, or Christmas, or New Year’s that my family had come together and eat, talk, laugh… Everyone was so busy at the time, and I, still very young, had to resort to unconventional ways to celebrate. I watched firework alone on the rooftop for New Year’s Eves; I learned how to cook egg dumplings just because that would make my mom stay longer at the dinner table on Chinese New Years; I drew myself a birthday cake and sang the Happy Birthday song to myself in my bed at night in the boarding school every year. All family members, crammed onto a small table, with simple food and some laughter, was all what I wanted when I was little, and Alina got to have this luxury every day. The more I travel, the more I wish for a family that can get together often…
salad with Swabian noodles, lentil and wurst
After the lunch, I had to depart for my train. I kissed grandma and grandpa goodbye, and hugged Alina one last time (hopefully just for this year!) and rode with her father to Balingen train station. I shook his hand, trying hard not to reveal my choking voice from already missing this little, warm household.
“Thank you so much,” I looked away, trying to suck back the salty water that was about to come out of my eyes for no reason, “it is my honor to be part of your family.”
I watched him driving away, and kept looking into the horizon long after the car had disappeared. After tightening my backpack, I told myself to be strong: I still have half of the world to cover. As the train started moving out, I could not help but wonder what a magical world we live in. I met Alina in March half a world across in Panama, and now I had just eaten a Monday lunch with her, and that was merely five months later! The world truly felt small, but I also started realizing it is much bigger than I thought. If I chose a different hostel, or was allocated to another room, or decided to sleep early, I would never meet her, not to mention visiting her! Even the tiniest departure in my life could result in completely polar consequences, making every day of my travel life an adventure. To me, it is always more about who I discover during my travels, and I am so damn glad I found Alina.
Luckily, I took the right train this time around, and arrived in Stuttgart for a three hour wait until my connecting train. I deposited my bag and took a look around. The station was under heavy modification, and there was a tower with a huge Benz sign on top of it acting as a temporary museum of some sorts. Inside it detailed the conflicts that arose due to this refurbishing of the huptabanhof. It was interesting that a renewal of the station could cause so much trouble here while nobody bats an eye when complete blocks are being torn down in China for a new mall. The view on top of the tower, though, was what I was going for.
I then took a quick walk around the main shopping streets extending from huptabanhof. The most prominent of the bunch was Königstraß, where a lot of shops came together into this giant walking road, with musicians performing in the middle. It was a quaint experience, though I could not afford any of those things offered.
The road led to a gigantic plaza called Schlossplatz, where people rested against rock statues, and lots of music floated through the tranquil air. I took a rest here from all the chaos, and people-watched for a while.
The walk then took me to Oberer Schlossgarten, a park right behind the plaza. Beautiful flowers and fountains populated the area, except there were not too many people appreciating the place, as the scores of crowds were there simply to catch some rare pokemon, evidenced by hundreds of people on their phones swiping up.
I got back to the station just in time to board my TGV train to Paris Gare de l’est. If you do not know, TGV is the super high speed train service for France, and it surely was flying on the ground at speeds above 250 km/h. The incredible experience came to me as a bargain as I was able to grab a ticket way ahead in advance for less than 40 euros, thanks to Alina’s help. The train did not have much in terms of food, so I prepared myself by buying some Chinese on the go.
TGV to Paris
The train arrived on time into Gare de l’est, after speeding through the beautiful east French countryside. If you have read my EuroHop article, you would know that my local contact in Paris is my bestie Frenchie: Sophie~! I had been to Paris too many times to know what I needed to do. I took a short walk from Gare de l’est to Gare de Nord, despite that their names of “East” and “North” sound like they would be quite far away. Sophie met up with me, and I settled down in my Parisian home once again in 2016.
Chipie, no matter when I come back, her assholery is eternal
I woke up for a late morning as I always do in Paris. As the other cat in the household, I snagged myself a large cup of tea. Leaning onto the handrail of the balcony, I savored every drop of this beautiful morning. Around noon time, I finally departed for a sight that I had never been to despite this was my, uh, I seriously lost count, maybe 5th or 6th time in Paris. It is called Cimetière du Père Lachaise/Père Lachaise Cemetery. It is an iconic place full of catacombs and tombstones built in order to show the wealth of the family. However, before going in, I needed to refuel myself with a good lunch in a Parisian cafe by the street.
I got myself a menu du jour/lunch of the day from a small cafe right by the cemetery, sitting on the streets as every local would choose on this sunny Tuesday. I was certainly not disappointed for what I got after spending so much time in Norway, considering the meal only set me back 10 euros. After stuffing myself with chicken, I walked into the cemetery, leaving everything alive behind.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
My eyes were quickly fixated to the statues on those 1-story tall tombstones, likely made of limestone as the rain had forced its way into many of them. Some of these statues depict angels and light, while others illustrate death and termination.
worse for wear
The entire place was enormous, covering about 5 blocks on each side, making this place a pain in the ass to traverse. The hilly nature of the land was not helping either, because I wanted to see everything, so I had to walk up and down, again and again.
a tower of some sorts?
The place was also a bloody maze: the streets were irregularly curved; the alleyways twist and turn like those Windows 95 idle screens; the mountainous terrain also tricks your eyes on a flat map. I got so lost after a few turns that I simply gave up, reckon that if I kept going in one direction I would eventually reach one of the sides.
a small alleyway
Of course, for it being a cemetery, people were buried there. Among the thousands of people who were laid to rest, there had to be a famous person. I happened to stumble across a graveyard that was fenced off. I took a closer look at it, and of course it was the legend himself, the frontman of rock and roll: Jim Morrison.
“True to Himself”
After paying respect to the rocking legend, I kept wandering in the cemetery. Cemeteries are places for some sad, sad stories, and I recognized one immediately. A large glass plaque with words “AF447” carved on it instantaneously reminded me of that tragic incident 7 years ago. The A330 from Rio crashed in middle of nowhere without warning. It turned out that the obstruction of some airspeed measurements and pilots’ incorrect actions caused the aircraft to stall, and 228 lives perished. Rest in peace, the unfortunate travelers…
AF447, deadliest incident in Air France and A330’s history
What broke my heart even more was the tomb of this young girl. In the pictures on her grave, she appeared to me as an energetic and bright girl, and she was just 21 when the shooter in Bataclan raised his machine gun. I am 21 too, and that sends chill straight down my spine. What a shame that this girl with endless possibilities in front of her was cold-bloodedly murdered, like a fresh morning flower bud brutally yanked away…
there is no terrorism in heaven, my dear…
I could not feel anything afterwards, as my mind was clouded by thoughts. The meaning of life and death, the debate about European immigration, the frailness of life, all clogged my head and swirled round and round. I could not shake off the dreaded feeling after witnessing these tragedies unfold in my head. I could hear the victims in Bataclan scream; I could feel the weightlessness and hopelessness of those who were in that airplane during free fall; I could smell the fear reeking all over the place…
leaving the cemetery
I felt numb when I got back home, and took a short nap to reboot my brain. I felt hatred, sadness, and helplessness all at the same time, and I was not willing to deal with that. For dinner, Sophie took me to the canal district for a beer. We had such a great time, because it was a clear night in Paris in the summer, and nothing can ever go wrong with that kind of night! We enjoyed a brilliant steak tartare, though it may appear not so appetizing to some. Thus, I issue a strange food warning!
For the next day, I simply caught up on my work, and for the afternoon Sophie and I took a stroll at the canal area again. It was even a better day than the last, with no clouds whatsoever in the crystalline sky. Now this, is the real Paris life, not the Eiffel Tower, not the Louvre, not lining up in front of Notre Dame. A casual walk by the canals licking ice cream, watching children play in the water fountains, slowly waiting for a boat to roll by, these, are what living in Paris truly means.
We met up with a friend of Sophie’s, and had a great bistro dinner by the side of the canal. Unaware of the time as we talked and talked, sky quickly turned into a sublime gradient of blue, orange and red, like a large glass of cocktail. The food was phenomenal, and the Parisian life I was living surely could not get any better…
one more thing to love in Paris
For the last morning, I had a slow start as usual, and decided to take Sophie to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. It was great by my Chinese standards, and Sophie loved it as well. We hugged goodbye as I headed to Gare de Nord for my Thalys train to Brussels. It was such a relaxing three days in Paris, and I can confirm I fell in love with this city forever, for its summer being so tranquil and beautiful… I have to be cheesy and unoriginal here, but there is no better way to express my felling: je t’aime, Paris. ❤
I also went to Brussels in my EuroHop trip, and I was there this time mainly to meet up with my dear friend Pinar. She was also a great, great friend I had the honor to know back in Costa Rica, and I also visited her a few months back. (that Darth Vader selfie tho!) The train took me to the central station around 6 p.m., and I got to Pinar’s home at night using the metro card I got last time. I simply needed a place to stay for the night, as I would be leaving for a long flight the next day. We talked for almost forever, even though we both had a lot of work to do. Pinar was the sweetest and most passionate person I had ever seen, and I had already exhausted my words in my last article about her and Brussels, so I would not waste too much space here. Thank you Pinar! You are the best!!!
Pinar with peanuts
We hugged goodbye after a great dinner the next day, and I had to continue with my journey. What an adventure these days were! I had the sheer “luck” to miss the world’s most confusing train, got lost in a rural German town, argue with the most incompetent yet impatient taxi driver ever, and then fought my way though dark forest, just to get to a wedding whose bride and groom I did not even know. I stuffed myself with authentic, aka strange, south German food that I did not even thought was edible. I refueled my heart with happiness with Alina in a few days of Swabian countryside life. I laughed with her mother about Alina’s extraordinary photo subject. I walked in the city of the dead in the city of love, and felt the summer breeze touching my face and kissing bonjour. I finally got to talk and laugh with Pinar again, something that cannot be replicated with anyone else in the world. These, are the nights that never die. I sure am the luckiest traveler in this whole world, for I was able to know these people, and because of this, I had to continue, and be the very best I can ever be, for that I could not fail these people who are the most important to me…
passing Notre Dame, Paris
I boarded Etihad’s A330 towards Abu Dhabi, and after a short transfer, I should be on a plane towards the paradise on Earth: Seychelles. It is gonna be another big turn of scenery, so sit tight and hold on to whatever table or chair you have got. What lies ahead, is a part of my travels full of turquoise blue waters, stunning white beaches, and burning red sunsets. My body was ready, yet it was still thousands of miles away from that tropical heaven; however, my heart was already floating on a small wooden boat, bobbing up and down under the Indian Ocean sunshine.
here: Abu Dhabi, destination: Seychelles!