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admin 26.12.2013

I think the most interesting part of Rome was the group with which I performed my usual shenanigans around the city.
That evening, back at the hostel, we added two more travelers to our gang: a woman from Sweden, and a woman from Belgium. With good memories, I left Rome and made my way to Naples to stay with Andrea and catch the music festival. On my way to Venice from Zagreb, on what was supposed to be an 8 hour train ride, I was shaken awake from a deep sleep by an angry train worker. After talking with a lady at the ticket counter I was faced with the harsh news that I would have to spend 7 hours in Villach, a tiny city with nothing, until the next train to Venice.
Today was my only day to see Venice because I wasn’t about to pay for another night in that dungeon of a room.
I just realized that in my last post I skipped Vienna (between Prague and Budapest), and I realized it was because Vienna was probably the least exciting part of my trip and isn’t worth my time to write it down. I never intended on going to Croatia, in fact I didn’t know a thing about the country until one night when I was messaging Jessica (the girl I met in Toulouse) and she told me to visit the Plitvice Lakes. I knew Czech Republic was going to be great only one hour into my train ride with John (Quebec) and Dillon (Calgary).
I think the weirdest thing about Prague for me is that you can smoke literally anywhere; there are ashtrays on tables in the malls and even Laundromats. After many shenanigans, including visiting the torture museum and wandering the whole town, it is time for us to part, and for me to move on to Budapest. At first, Hungarian Forints look rather intimidating, but once you understand the conversion you come to realize that everything is breathtakingly inexpensive.
After a long search and asking many pedestrians for directions, I arrive at the address of my hostel.
Earlier, at the end of the tour, the guide had given all of us a pamphlet with tricks on how to save money in Budapest and some highlights of the city, including destinations not frequented by tourists. On my way to Denmark I was given the choice to arrive in Copenhagen at 2am, or stay a night in Hamburg before moving on, so I chose the latter. First off, I need to mention that our train to Copenhagen was driven onto a ferry, taken across a large body of water, and connected to a track on the other side. The rest of Copenhagen is interesting, but didn’t strike me nearly as much as the island.
On my last day in Munich, some friends and I took a day trip to Füssen to go see Castle Neuschwanstein (the one the Disney castle was designed after).
After sleeping in the hostel my first night, I go out for my first real day to experience the city. JavaScript appears to be disabled - most features on Can Stock Photo will not function correctly.Not a member yet? Search Can Stock Photo for royalty free illustration, royalty free clipart, digital artwork, EPS vector clip art, stock illustrations, stock images, logo icon graphics, and cheap EPS format line art drawings. For local railway fans, Tumpat is as famous asĀ  the big KTM stations at Singapore Tanjung Pagar, Kuala Lumpur and Gemas.
Enter the platform and one sees the end of the East Coast Line, literally, a fair distance away. The longish platform accommodates intercity trains heading for Kuala Lumpur Sentral and Singapore Tg Pagar.
A path made of neatly arranged disused wooden sleepers finds its way past the buffer stops marking the end of the East Coast Line. Next to a lone rusty boxcar, a train is being prepared for the 6.30pm departure to Kuala Lumpur, a 13-hr journey.
At the end of the platform, down the steps, Aina and I gingerly walk past the buffer stops. Under a tree in the hot tropical sun, a lonesome rusty boxcar reminisces the good old days. One of several brick maintenance buildings in the yard reminds me of my own train trips decades ago.
Back at the main platform, the 6.30pm train to KL slowly reverses to park for passengers to board. As the sun sets, we end our Tumpat outing at the beach, where hardcore fishos try their luck at the South China Sea. I just realised I have some pics of another well-known train station, just 10km down the line from Tumpat.
Back then train passengers checked in in Kota Bharu, at the Kelantan river bank, before boarding a special boat to cross the 800m-wide river to Palekbang. Anyway the ruin is still government property, but what a pity, another historic station just vanished! I do remember the boat trip from Kg Cina area in KB to Kg Laut, where you’d be mobbed by becak drivers wanting to give you a ride.
My mom told me last weekend, she actually took me on the KB-Palekbang boat ride to send her uncle off on a hajj pilgrimage.
In our little circle of travelers there was one person each from Spain, Peru, Chile, Belgium, Wales, and the States.
I e-mail Andrea to let him know, and he replies telling me that he isn’t even in Sweden because his band will be playing in one of the biggest festivals in Italy on the 19th. Stupidly I was wearing a two shirts and sweatshirt, and with my backpack already strapped around me I did not feel like stripping down until I was at the hostel.
I had seen so many big cities, and realized I was a bit bored of them, so I decided to it was time to see some natural beauty. I talk to the woman at reception about how best to visit the Plitvice Lakes, and she tells me I can easily take a 2 hour bus that will pick me up from the hostel and take me back. 5 minutes down the path we are stopped in our tracks by one of the most beautiful sights of my life.
The snack cart rolls over to us and a friendly man shows us an array of snacks and alcoholic beverages. This walking tour was particularly memorable, partly because it was guided by a very enthusiastic local who had much more than just a history lesson to share with us. We connect on a strong level, being from very similar cultures, and after the tour we decide to spend the day together. I see that Budapest is known for second-hand stores, particularly military surplus, and being a thrift-store fanatic it became my quest to visit as many as possible. The train pulls into the city on a track level with most of the buildings and I instantly notice a few similarities between Hamburg and Seattle; lots of brick, a large industrial district, and a very large port.
Basically for 2 or 3 hours they take you around the city to all the best sights and give you a history lesson at each one. The moment I exit the train station I see a vague advert on the side of a bus showing one line of Danish text and a pair of supple breasts. Christiana follows its own set of laws and values, almost acting as a sovereign state within Denmark. The architecture is unique, and everything seems to be planned and implemented fairly logically.


I didn’t have the typical Berlin experience because the couple I was with only wanted to stay for a few days and spend them with their friend. Instead of a building, the hostel is just one giant tent with 150 beds and some floor space.
It took about two hours by train, and upon arriving we decided to take a dip in the nearby crystal-clear lake nestled in a valley surrounded by the German alps.
So with everything closed and not much to do, we did what most people do in these situations: get drunk.
The second I step out of the train station I am hit with the energy and vibrancy this city exudes. I was warned that I would spend a lot of money in Amsterdam, but I wasn’t prepared for the reality of this extreme.
Well after so many people asking me to add them on the Facebookz, I was kind of sad that I wouldn’t be able to connect with them in that capacity. 6,641 Train track royalty free illustrations, drawings and graphics available to search from thousands of vector EPS clipart producers. Can Stock Photo has the royalty free illustration, line art drawing, EPS vector graphic, or stock clipart icon that you need. Apparently KTM managed this lighthouse which guided vessels plying the treacherous sea just 150m away beyond the station perimeter and the village houses. Come to think of it, in the heydays this is *the* station for Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan. Of course, we usually caught the train at Pasir Mas (good food to eat and pretty girls to watch before boarding the train), so I never got off the train beyond Wakaf Bharu. I was mentally going over how I got to Palekbang and Kg Laut in those days on my Suzuki 100cc JPT motorbike. It spawned the challenging dynamic of creating a unanimous game plan, dealing with language barriers, enduring utter confusion, and poking at each other’s differences. Because the hostel had no common room, I didn’t make any friends in this city and I spent the day alone. He explains that in Chinese you can say three separate words with one written word just by changing how you say it.
Across a giant ravine full of crystal-clear lakes and wooden bridges is an enormous waterfall in all its glory. I ask for two large beers and a sandwich, and to my surprise the total comes to an equivalent of 4 euros in Czech Kroner.
Half-way through we take a seat on the grass in front of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and this is where we learn some of the most interesting facts about Hungary.
Also attributed to Budapest are the many Turkish baths, and considering the extreme heat we were experiencing, it seemed like the perfect way to spend each afternoon. It’s not only a great way to understand the local culture, but a way to meet other people.
That night as we’re out on the town I find out that the Californians are going to Denmark the next day. Christiania’s independence survives solely on the blind eye the police force turns to its free-spirited, drug-using inhabitants. Though, despite Copenhagen being an interesting city, and having a blast with the Hamburg Five, this country was a little too expensive for me.
We had a great time, and did a free walking tour, but I feel like I didn’t see much of Berlin.
After a 40 minute hike we reached the castle, but the view from next to it was nothing compared to the view we saw next. It was all fun and games until after arriving back in Munich the group wanted to go out on the town, but I was more in the mood to relax back at the tent. 10 euro for a cheese burger, 3 euro for bottled water, 2 euro for tap water at a sit-down restaurant, 2.50 euro for a tram ride, etc. It seems the city is more about shoving in your face the fact that weed and prostitution is legal than having its own independent culture. So early on in my trip I decided to create a separate account just for the people I meet along my journey, and I’m really glad I did.
Our designers and illustrators provide royalty free stock images, clip art, clipart graphics, and pictures for as little as 1 dollar. Even the man from Wales (who spoke the exact same language as me) I had trouble understanding with his thick accent and low mumble of a voice. As I look back I see my section split from the rest and drive off in the opposite direction.
One is the way his name is pronounced, another sounds almost matter-of-factly, and the last is singing it on pitch. We spend the next 5 hours exploring caves, trekking across bodies of water full of fish and frogs and dragonflies, and eating lunch on the shore as we stare out at the beauty surrounding us. The scenery I see passing by through the window is a sharp contrast to the rest of Western Europe. The three of us go on a pub crawl, and at the first bar we are allowed unlimited drinks for the first two hours. We walk around and eat some nice strudels, feeling just dandy in this incredible city, when at a crosswalk a double-decker bus pulls to a stop in front of us.
The next day we visit a few thrift stores with a few interesting articles of clothing, but nothing very special.
They’re usually funny and well versed in history and fun things to do around the city.
The five of us (or The Hamburg Five as we called ourselves) march through the heat to find Generator Hostel, which is one of 6 in a line of inexpensive but very nice Hostels throughout Europe. Upon entering the island there are large signs posted indicating that no cameras are to be used on the island; understandable. After saying goodbye to the Californians, the Irish couple and I made our way back on the train that goes on a boat back to Hamburg, and then eventually to Berlin. We hiked 20 more minutes to find a bridge crossing high above a gaping ravine in which the castle sat. Even outside of tourist season it’s hard to bike through the streets without ringing your bell every 30 seconds to warn a pedestrian.
I also didn’t meet a single Dutch person while I was there, besides one or two employees. When I was in Barcelona I met two girls named Christina and Rocio during a Pub Crawl who had some of the nicest and brightest personalities. I feel good when u said there is a lot of food stalls and good food there (hope to see good looking guys there..
On our way through a large square, with a rose in my hand (from whom or where I procured it, I still have no idea), I fell to one knee and proposed to Frida.
Food was so expensive so I bought dirt-cheap, shitty fast-food pizza and beer throughout the day to tide me over. I ask him if someone was to record three separate people saying said word the last way, would the pitches match?


I end up ordering 3 shots of Absinth, assuming they are just like any other shots, but suddenly all of them start to hit me and the next thing I remember is waking up at my hostel the next morning. Now usually these are the types of Americans I dread meeting (the tight-knit, giddy, rambunctious school groups), but they were all pretty cool.
She then explains to us just how important the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has been for not only Hungary, but the entire world. We’re just standing there, waiting for it to move on, when I realize a man is shouting at me and flipping us off through the window. After deciding this, we convince the Irish couple to come with us instead of heading straight to Berlin. By day, Christiania is just a peaceful island full of lush foliage and ornate dwellings built of old junk and spare parts which are homes to folk who spend the day relaxing on the shores with a joint or a guitar. We loved the tent so much that we stayed there 5 days, and only went out to see Munich 2 of those days. From there we could see a perfect view of the castle and the beautiful countryside behind it. I ended up in the outskirts of Munich where I learned the harsh truth that the tram I had just taken was the last one of the night. Bike, car, tram, bus; this is the order of the layers of traffic in which one must be constantly aware of before considering a trek to the other side any street if you wish to remain alive.
They told me they were living in Amsterdam as part of an exchange program and would love it if I would visit them. If I remember correctly, maybe 2 out 3 jokes told that day were directed at me and my Yankee Doodle self.
In the middle of my heartfelt proposal, a group of four young girls walking passed almost died because of their melting hearts as they watched us profess our newfound love, and we almost died from laughter. I approach a man in a nice suit and ask him to point me in the direction of Basilica di Santa-Maria, but unfortunately he tells me that there are many of them throughout the whole city. I spent most of the day taking stills and video and peaking inside the many shops full of beautiful trinkets, most of which were out of my price range. Its alumni and students combined invented the Rubik’s cube, the ballpoint pen, the wooden match, and many more inventions which have had a strong impact on society.
They aren’t a fan of tourists visiting where they live, but they are considerably courteous and tolerant.
Not only was I drunk and lost, but my feet were covered in blisters from hiking in my Five Fingers with no socks (never again). The architecture is some of my favorite in Europe, there’s something fun to do everywhere, and I met some interesting and fun travelers as well. If not for Facebook it would have been much more difficult to organize a place and time to meet, so I’m glad I still use it. After an hour and a half of walking down random streets and across numerous bridges, and finding myself at way too many dead-ends, I finally reach my hostel; it costs 40 euros a night and is a complete piece of shit. He also explains to me that every man in Singapore is required to spend the two years after school (high school equivalent) in the military.
We fly past old abandoned factories and half-demolished buildings that had been there for ages because the cost to finish the job was too high. Unlike most pub crawls that take you to every popular tourist bar in town, this one is run by a local who takes us to his favorite places to drink. I look back at Adam, who is oblivious to it at this point, and I notice he is wearing bright (maybe slightly effeminate) clothing, and standing really close to me.
We’re incredibly thirsty by the time we walk there and I see that there is a lady selling very inexpensive mugs of seemingly cold water. With no choice, I painfully walked 2 hours back to where I had first taken the tram, and fortunately it was still running because it was at the main train station. I feel I more often have right of way as a cyclist than a pedestrian, and can get everywhere much faster than walking. Together we visited everywhere from the highest point of the Vatican to the Coliseum, filling up our water bottles at every hand-crafted fountain spouting ice-cold, clean H2O.
While the city is incredibly beautiful in every nook and cranny, it’s really just one giant museum and unfortunately has no authentic life to it anymore.
Every bar is unique and lively and most have live music by independent bands from around the world. They brandish matching banners and flags and repeat in unison what one man on a podium shouts out in a military-like fashion. My guess is that they assume we are a gay couple, and to test that theory I embrace him and look back at the disapproving audience.
I ate a pancake bigger than my torso covered in bacon and cheese, and enjoyed the sun and interesting layers of clouds in Vondel Park next to all the friendly ducks and Moorhens with funky feet.
After the sun went down I hung outside the train station with a few other travelers and talked about travelling until it was time to board my train to Rome. Our guide explains to us that it’s a protest against the Gay Pride Parade that will be starting in only a few hours.
Kind of off-putting, but I ask an English-speaking frequenter about it and she tells me it’s the same mineral water we will be bathing in, only fresh. It’s at this point that the bus drives away to reveal a parked convoy of 15 or so police vehicles, and a squad of armored officers in a hurry down the street.
After a day of cycling with Christina, Rocio and their Latvian friend, I left for Hamburg with a good taste in my mouth. We now realize that the situation here is a bit more serious than we imagined, so we quit our little game and quickly remove ourselves from the vicinity. The first pool is fairly cold, and has current flowing around a ring of underwater benches.
Despite witnessing such negativity, I’m consistently impressed by the landscape, architecture, and history of Budapest. The water itself is surprisingly fresh; you can even open your eyes while submerged with little to no irritation. I’ve never been in such a city that made me feel so strongly in so many positive ways. Before going to bed, Dillon and john invited me to come with them to Prague the next morning. Just when we are about to give up I come across a tiny hole-in-the-wall shop full of all sorts of antique goodies.
It’s then that Adam has to leave, so we say our goodbyes and I return to the hostel for a night of doing absolutely nothing.



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