30 June 2010
So I'm pre empting the blog post... But I saw freakin' BEARS in Brasov... it was awesome...
Admittedly they were just mooching rubbish on the outskirts of town, but still... BEARS
Diana Bolea (the most awesome of hostel chicks) let me take some of the pics she had already (because mine are crappy and stuck on my camera). So much love and thanks to her...
Love, Hugs and Vampire Kisses
28 June 2010
Because Brasov was pretty well booked out when I arrived I slept on a couch till 3am before I got a room in the hostel and I had a nice (if bland) dinner at a traditional restaurant. My biggest complaint about Transylvania is that Romanian food is not amazing... it's a little boring (My "asian chicken with chilli" in Bucharest was a little dull too... and the only thing asian about it was if had rice).
Sylvia at the hostel is amazingly hectic... like she's on speed hectic and it's hilarious to watch. "I'm shooting... well not really, we have a word in Romanian that is like shooting but not and sounds different and that's how I feel... it is a saying I can't explain", is an example of how she was carrying on trying to find everyone who owes money for the rooms. She treats us all great though and has made the stay at this hostel (The Rolling Stone) pretty awesome. Hence why I've staying the extra night tonight rather than staying in Sighasora.
I did watch a stupid HBO Spartacus tv show the first night though... really bad. Cross Oz with Gladiator and 300 and you've got the right idea... all tits and dicks and stupid violence pretending to be real.
Anyway Brasov looks WAY better than Bucharest (I love the town sign on the hill). After a sleep in I went for a breakfast pizza and wandered around the town a lot. I then got the cable car up to the top of the hill to the sign and decided to walk down... so of course it started to pour with rain and I got a little soaked (I did have my jager poncho though). I guess getting rained on is my tribute to Jonathan Harker.
The bear watching was canceled last night so I spent the evening drinking with Eonie a Scottish/English girl (she was from the border) and today I did my castle tours of Bran and Peles. Peles was the most insanely over the top ornate palace I've been in... It appears when they go nuts for decoration the Romanians REALLY go nuts (see the palace of parliament too). Bran castle touts itself as "Dracula's castle" even though it isn't... Still very scenic though.
Anyway time for dinner before bear watching...
Love, Hugs and Kisses
Bucharest is a really fucking weird city though... I couldn't quite work it out. It had a lot of WTF moments... I had massive trouble finding my hostel (not the least because it had two addresses) and I found what seemed like whole blocks that are just empty/abandoned. It's like whole blocks went broke (including the strip clubs... which are EVERYWHERE).
There was also a metalica/motorhead/slayer concert (or something like that) in Bucharest that day so of course I ended up at a metal club after going to dinner. It was a refreshing change after a week of Turkish pop. Vaguely related to that, metalheads worldwide all dress the same... And on that note have you ever noticed the only difference between a fat metal chick and a fat metal guy with long hair is the beard (and vajay jay obviously). So there was a lot of windmilling on display and a couple of dudes dancing in a rather amusing way (or having a fit I can't tell)... Very cool. The "half dan" salute also lives on in Romania now.
Traveling alone means I get way less opportunity to cut way loose like I would at home, but if you were traveling in a pair would you be that happy if your "other half" kept going nuts all the time? And in a larger group you're risking the development of a "man of shame". Smoking is also not banned in Romania and it was so smokey in this basement you could barely see by the end. I planned on leaving early but ended up having to much fun so once again I was out till 2am. I also nearly wandered into the Shisha bar I walked past too...
Anyway for my day in Bucharest I went to the Palace of Parliment (after observing that Romanians appear to love to rollerblade). The palace of parliment is apparently the second largest admin building in the world (after the pentagon) but it's still not entirely completed. It was so insanely over the top though (especially given it is barely used). Very pointlessly/dictatorially opulent but just kinda depressing at the same time as it's just a waste. On that tour I saw a "Billabong New York" tshirt... Wtf?
I also bought my train tickets to Brasov and Prague. Now Lex may mock the Germans customer service abilities, but the Romanians were mindblowing... Admittedly I was buying a train ticket from a city I wasn't in to another country... but it shouldn't be that hard.
And of course some old guy assumed I was Romanian.
I also nearly missed my train to Brasov, and when I got on it my cabin was padlocked...
I'd like to say I arrived in Transylvania on a dark and stormy night... but I didn't... it was just a rainy late afternoon. And the chick running this hostel is pretty hilarious
Love, Hugs and Kisses
25 June 2010
20 June 2010
I then hopped a train for Charles De Gaul and I almost instantly understood why that airport is so hated. I was over an hour early but I still nearly missed my point due to incompetant security staff and southern europeans inability to line up. I then slept the whole flight which was pretty kick ass, but I did miss dinner.
Landing in Athens to a transport strike however meant that I couldn't get a train into the city and had to hop a bus, which dropped me on the other side of the city from where I wanted to be (the central station). I thought about walking across the city but in the end hopped a taxi for 6 euro (bargain!) to where I needed to be. I then got into the hostel to find Rosie had cooked a dinner... I <3 Rosie. We spent the night telling travel stories and catching up and it was lovely.
Friday we slept in and then we did the wander around Athens. We went to the Parthenon and Acropoplis etc... Very good to see but much as you imagined... There are lots of fallen down buildings in Athens.
We also had a delightful time watching the pigeons run around with their "I'm a sexy pigeon" puff up as the females ignore them... A trip to the Athens flea market was a tiny little bit more organised than I thought. Until we went off a side lane and it became exactly what you imagined it would be. Some very cool shops and some tourist traps rubbed shoulders but I was loving the chaotic antique stores.
Rosie and I also made friends with a hilarious greek man. He stopped me walking past asking me where I got my (Mac uni games frisbee) shirt and then dragged us into his store... He showed us all his foreign money and then his first dollar he earnt (back when he lived in melb) and then promised us that he would make us look like a proper greek boy/lady. He gave us some "lucky pennies" and then told me how handsome a greek boy I am and that if he was a greek lady he would be in love with me (!). He then started with Rosie, who while clearly not looking like a greek is also amazingly beautiful and needs to have both cheeks kissed and her nose rubbed and then a bit of a neck nuzzle... it was very very very funny...
A reasonably long overnight train (leaving at 11.59) got us to Xanthi the next day where we had a lovely day wandering around and hanging out with Karen. We got to watch the Australian team not lose in the soccer (maybe we should just start training and practising one man down?) and then Matthew got home and we went out to a really cool dinner and drinks...
Today we jumped in the car (for the first time in a while) and went out to a Greek Orthodox monastery in the middle of a lake... And then we had another MASSIVE (yet awesome) lunch in the village Matt is from... Then we got to watch NZ not lose to Italy... yay
Xanthi was lots of fun and very "Greek"... Just what I wanted to see.
Off to Istanbul tonight and I think I've even got some accomodation booked! Way to work ahead Anthony
Lθvε, HugΣ αnδ Kιssεs
17 June 2010
Anyway I'm in Paris right this moment, trying to write this on the most confusing keyboards I've used this trip (seriously... azerty? and who needs to hit shift for a full stop?). Paris has not wowed me nearly as much as Berlin did... Now I'm not the biggest Francophile out there (except when it comes to Yoann... I love that kid) and I don't quite get the Paris hype. I guess I'm not the biggest romantic out there, so Paris had an uphill battle to impress me more than ''alternative'' Berlin... Paris is just a little to stylish and impressed with itself for me. It does look very nice and old though.
I hopped a train from Nantes yesterday after staying with Cam (thanks again Cam!) and got to Paris about middayish... One thing I noticed very quickly is the metro system here... It is awesome, I wish we could have something like that in Sydney, but we just don't have the population density =( not having to wait more than 4 mins for a train rocks almost as much as train stations every couple of hundred meters...
Once again I had hostel issues, but this time the lovely French chick at the counter of the first one I went to called around until she found a super dodgy hostel on the other side of town (called Bed and Breakfast) that had space for me. There are some cool guys in my room though, including two mexicans a german and an Irish guy. Words can't really describe how dodgy this place is (the shower costs extra! and they moved a new bed into my room taking away all the floor space) but the bed is clean (I think) and it's very cheap for the locaion.
After check in I decided to spin across town to go to the catacombs, but they were to full and it was to late, so I decided to do the touristy thing and went to see the Eiffel tower, then the Arc de Triumph (which I climbed... not worth the money they charged) and finally Notre Damme... All big and old and kinda sceni... but not mind blowing.
Today was different though, I skipped off to the catacombs early and went in at opening... VERY cool. Basically after a 20m descent below the street you hit these old mining tunnels that they relocated a few graveyards into a couple of hundred years ago. So you have between 1-2km of dark underground tunnel lined with human remains in decorative piles... Macabre and AWESOME... But hard to photograph and capture the atmosphere (I was wandering through listening to the Danse Macabre on repeqt). I was in line with a girl I thought was French (given she was speaking french) and she was in front of me as we wandered the tunnels. She walked into the ossuary a few seconds before I did and came running out because she wasn't expecting to be confronted by piles of skulls... So Holly (I found out her nqme later) ran up to me babbling in French and all I could say was ''deep breaths sweetheart'' ''Oh, you're english, I thought you were French...'' so it turns out I could pass as French OR German now... provided I don't open my mouth. Not sure how I fell about that... Germans are cool, but I don't think I'm chiche enough to be French.
Anyway, morale of the story is 67 million people's skeletons stacked on top of each other looks pretty cool... but the dulcet tone of the American accent yelling ''WOW hunney! We don't have THOSE at home!'' ruins it like everything else in life.
After that I nipped off to the Lourve... and spent 6 hours there... Very cool. I think I took over 100 photos today of bones and paintings/sculptures (often of bones). I saw lots of cool old and very old things, but there were heaps of big tour groups around. Watching these busloads of people walk in a big group taking the same photos of the same thing they are told to (''this is art, appreciate it now'') kinda fills me with equal amounts of anger and pity though.
I think I prefer sculpture to paintings though... Maybe the 3d nature appeals to my borderline add attention span, or perhaps it's just less wanky (or more morbid). It's also easier to skip the boring busts and look at the cool grisley ones... On that note the romans may have kicked the known worlds ass, but they really sucked on the weird/cool sculpture front).
As for the cliche Lourve things... Venus de Milo has the best sculpted abs in the museum and the Mona Lisa is bigger than I thought. Everyone told me it was smaller than you'd think... So I expected tiny, but it's a reasonable size... And seeing those two gave me half a ninja turtle adventure.
So today was good, but I still prefer Berlin
the Lourve and catacombs make Paris cool, not vice versa like mqny people assume
Lové hugs and kissès
14 June 2010
So the insanity tour of Europe continues... Did someone see my shit? I swear I had some shit before I got here...
I was asked why would I bother getting the train when I could fly... Well yes they can take a little longer and can cost a little more (if you fly bargain airlines) but they do have some bonuses.
- No dicking about with check in hours before you get on
- No need to repack your luggage and carry on so they don't confiscate your toothpaste etc
- They are more comfortable
- You can move about
- You can actually see stuff out the window
So yeah I like trains much more than planes in Europe atm
From the window of the train Denmark looked a bit like it belonged in a fairy tale and while at Copenhagen central station I saw the Copenhagen rollerderby team. I was reading my comics on the train to and the Eastern European ones are just getting weirder and weirder... From Copenhagen it was a train and a bus to Billund to meet Cam at the hotel... leading to one of the most awesome weekends ever...
Just quietly... Legoland was amazing. I foolishly didn't charge my camera, but I only had like 70 pics left so I flew through them in no time. Most of the trip was exhaustively documented by Cam though (thanks Cam!). My weather luck continued unabated however... It was raining in Billund until the moment we stepped outside and then started again once we got back in.
Cam and I did virtually no rides in the park... all we did was the atlantis ride to look at the aquarium after it and the power builders one where you get to program your own ride. Both were very cool, but couldn't hold a candle to miniland. For those of you not in the know, miniland is the main attraction at all the legolands and is basically a collection of scenes and monuments and famous buildings etc made in a small scale from lego. It sounds a little bit lame, and the pictures I've seen in books and the net etc seem a little lame too... but actually seeing it really does blow your mind with the scale and attention to detail. If you remember legoland at Birkenhead point, or the displays they had at centrepoint after birkenhead closed down think to the big models and stuff that they had... The animals and stuff... Those were all cool but have NOTHING on the entire cityscapes they made in miniland... Cam and I spent over and hour running around saying "look at this look at this" "Oh my god look at that" etc. We then finished the day with a trip to the lego store. No if legoland is the biggest theme park in Europe (as I was told) then the lego store is the biggest tantrum location in Europe... "I want it..." "NEIN" "Bitte" etc... Now the phrase kids in a candy store comes to mind, but this isn't very accurate as eventually you eat so much candy you feel sick and can't eat anymore... I don't think you ever could get sick of lego and the lego shop. Cam and I spent a bit of money on lego (I only spent like $75 there) and then went back to our hotel room to play.
The next day we went off to the Lalandia aquadome, a water park type thing basically next door to legoland. It was lots of fun too, a pissy little wave pool and kiddy stuff and then some pretty cool waterslides. Particularly the big one, the tornado...
We then hopped a couple of planes and came back to Nantes (where Cam lives atm). Tomorrow I'm hoping to skip off to paris for two days, then off to Greece to meet Rosie and Karen
Love, Hugs and Kisses
11 June 2010
With that in mind museum island drew me like a moth to a flame... I started off at the Pergamon museum which is full of old roman, greek, and assyrian/babylonian type things (including an entire temple front...) Dad would seriously have lost it there... It was pretty cool and I took lots of pics which killed my camera battery... leaving me spending the rest of the day pulling the battery out, and only putting it in to take a photo before removing it again...
Following the Pergamon museum I nipped over to the Bode Museum (rather than wait forever to get into the ancient one with egyptian stuff). Now this one was a surprise package... I went because it had the magic word ''Byzantine'' in the list of things that they had there. Now 90% of the museum wasn't Byzantine, but it was packed with mainly sculptures from all over Europe from the medieval period through the renaissance and baroque and gothic periods etc... Some of these were really crap but some were really cool... Lots of pics again, and I think I found evidence of the worlds first heavy metal promo art... a winged figure in robes playing a guitar in a fairly ''extreme'' pose... Ok it may have been the archangel gabriel playing a lute but still would look the part on a metal album cover.
Both of these museums were pretty cool, but ''oh so serious''... I think if you showed any sign you were enjoying yourself the fun police (gestapo? or is that to unPC?) would descend from their little security room to escort you off the premises... Maybe if the ''plebs'' start to enjoy it and make noise it will cease to be art or something?
Maybe it is linked to my env ed background but I'm all for people actually liking stuff... because if they like it they will learn more, be more interested in it and want to conserve it more... I can accept art is fairly subjective (but if you like different shit to me you're just a retard) but if you have to work really hard to ''enjoy'' it is it actually good art? I'd like to think the number one requirement of good art is for the viewer to go ''COOL!'' or at least ''Wow'' and the holy grail being ''Hey (someone else) look at this! I like this one!... But I think if any of that happened in a gallery or museum the fun nazis would be waterboarding you out the back in 34 seconds... I can accept noise and reaction is just a small step from wanting to touch it (and my first reations to art I like is wanting to touch it) and wanting to touch it (shut up suj) is a step from touching it and touching is just a hop and skip from breaking... but seriously... lighten up...
Anyway that evening I went to dinner with Luca the Italian guy from my room and then we met a couple of full blown "straylans" at the hostel, a couple of Americans and a Canadian. Carla, Steve and Brad were from a contiki tour and to be perfectly honest it was obvious to me... Not quite the approach I take to travelling... There is more to it than getting wasted as cheaply as possible in far away places. After dinner and a couple of drinks I dragged everyone to White Trash Fast Food. Now not to exaggerate at all... but that place is one of the coolest places on the face of the earth... I am now officially one of those wankers that has a favorite restaurant that is on the other side of the globe... But how can you not love a restaurant that takes the tackiest elements of a cheap bar, a chinese food store, punk and then adds a tattoo parlor downstairs... Pity it was a Tuesday night and therefore dead inside... but even then... amazing. And then we spent the last part of the night chilling in the shisha lounge next door. I had dinner here the next night before my pub crawl and walked out with my new syringe pen in my mouth (I'd been writing inside) and got some HORRIFIED looks from some "older" patrons outside trying to decide if they were game enough to go inside... Costing them business much?
The next day I decided to go a bit more "alternative" in my travelling and did the Alternate Walking tour and Alternate anti pub crawl... Both were seriously cool. If you're in Berlin do their stuff... But before I hit up the walking tour I did nip by the Ramones Museum. Now to call this a museum is a bit of an exageration, it's more of a cafe with a shitload of Ramones stuff out the back, and that was good enough for me.
The walking tour got off to a bad start with 2 guys trying to out alpha cool each other. One was just a try hard seppo in Berlin to go clubbing and the other was the apparently "super famous in Canada" graffiti artist "spud" (wankers!). I took a shitload of photos of the street art though and the squats etc.
We also went to Yaam the reggae themed artificial beach on the river, the old railway complex that is now a skate park, climbing complex and half a dozen nightclubsm the East side gallery and the artist squats on "orangeburger" street. All very very cool. One not cool thing, that turned out to be hilarious was an incredibly rascist American on the train. The guys on the tour group were talking about the Oil spill in the states and whether or not it was the worst env disaster in the world and all of a sudden he weighs in with "I think you'll find the worst env disaster in the world is all the chinese and their half a million kids being born every day... awkward turtle time...
I then did the alternative anti pub anti crawl or whatever they called it. That was pretty cool too but had a few to many Americans and Canadians looking to "get wasted" and have a bit of a gawk at the freaks. Starting at the Yesterday bar (which was kinda a cool little neo hippy place) we then moved onto the AMAZING Last Cathedral goth horror rock bar which was soooo awesome. A little dead but awesome. I wish we'd gone in the night before when they asked us (it is next to White Trash). We then caught a band playing (white rabbit dynamite... I've seen better) at a bar entirely illuminated in UV lights... very atmospheric. I did find myself having to resist yelling "Play your old shit!" from the moment they started though. From there we went to Dr Pongs Ping Pong bar... Also very very cool. An absinthe bar followed, this was a little over hyped for my tastes. But everyone just wanted to get wasted (hmmm... losers) and that leads to the never ending is absinthe legal/real and where debate that just bores me to tears... I don't care and can name a lot of drinks that are much nicer. It just has that hyped up reputation. And finally we finished at a hip hop club in the railway complex... awesome venue but not really my scene so I bailed pretty quickly.
I'd also started getting the Berlin PT system down by now... coupled with the fact half the time until I opened my mouth people assumed I was german I'd started to feel quite at home in Berlin. My german did improve a little though.
The next day I went a bit nuts... The Berlin Natural History Museum... AMAZEBALLS. You walk into the foyer with a massive brachiosaurus and a few other dinosaurs and right in front of you is the Berlin Archaeopteryx... my most favouritist fossil ever... Add in a whole bunch of other awesome natural history things, solar system formation videos and a tank of lungfish I was watching swim to the surface to breath and I was pretty pumped by the whole place.
I then went to the Story of Berlin museum (after a slight detour off to lostville)... This place was kinda cool, a little dry in some places but well done. Kinda london dungeon ish in how it was pushing to be interesting (but obviously a less psycho topic most of the time). There was a serious effort to talk about the Nazis though which is a little unusual. The highlight here had to be the trip into a working west german nuclear bomb shelter. Well I say working in that it would work as planned still... but the plans were a little screwed. It could take a couple of thousand people, all of whom would have to spend the whole time in their beds (not a problem and the air quality would be so poor you wouldn't be that able to move). It also took two weeks to set up (good for an emergency then) and would only work for 2 weeks in total... But it looked awesome... very vault tech. They also showed West German army training videos for nuclear defence from the 60s and 70s... very funny.
So after these two quite cool places my third stop at checkpoint charlie seemed almost like a bit of a let down. Kinda lame, over priced and could be done WAY better. They have a heap of potentially awesome stuff they could do there but it's so friggin' dry.
Following all that I had dinner and a relatively early night due to the fact I had a train to catch at stupid o'clock the next day. Eating pizza with a knife and fork is a little weird... and I was also getting tired of soft drink costing the same or more than a beer. An american college boy was wearing a ramones shirt at the bar and I nearly asked if he was going to the museum or had even heard of them... but decided against it because when he said no I'd have to start yelling.
I also started reading my weird eastern european and baltic comics... weird doesn't BEGIN to describe them.
Then next morning I got up at like 6am for my trip to Billund to see Cam and legoland. I managed to get one of those little train booths to myself on the trip to Hamburg (cool), fall asleep and miss my stop at Hamburg (not cool), backtrack through hamburg suburbs to where I should be (kinda meh) and running late for my train by a couple of minutes (not cool) only to find that it was delayed 30mins (cool). So then I hopped onto the train at Hamburg for Copenhagen where they put the train on a ferry to make it there... Yes they put my train on a FERRY... (cool)
Fare thee well Berlin, you were kick ass... but I think you'd be more awesome to live in than just visit...
Love Hugs and Kisses
8 June 2010
Zee Germans do not Fuck Around... or ''the descent and devolution of man into an anarchic primordial ooze''... or simply ROCK AM RING!!! \m/
We get off our bus, walk and walk and walk and walk... eventually hearing that campsight B5 has a bit of space... As we go down the hill we see flying high and proud the southern cross, union jack and commonwealth star on a blue background... Yes we thought we'd found some other Australians... But it was not to be, they were just Germans with an Australian flag because they liked Australia. Mikhail and friends (code named Bananna-Man, Spiderman, Sportsbag, hot shoulder tattoo girl, guy with glasses and man of dignity as we're terrible with names) insisted we camp next to them and impose on their hospitality... and impose we did... They were absolutely great guys and girls and they really made our experience even better... Spiderman even had a jar of vegemite... it was AWESOME and those kids were HILARIOUS.
Very quickly we developed our own little games gently poking fun at the Germans around us... particularly those in a position of help/service/authority who had to deal with our questions. Game one, Lex would see two Germans wave to each other and wave back... confusion would follow as they feel the need to explain that they weren't waving to him. Game two was picking on the literalness of the poor people here... ''See you later!'' says Lex, ''No, ve probablz von't'' comes the reply. Or perhaps Vou's ''Gimme your coldest beer!'' ''Zey are all zee same temperature'' replies the little man in the beer tent. I can only imagine the reaction to being told to turn the volume to 11... ''Vee can't do zat... zee speakers only go to 10 and zat is very loud'' (which is true, I swear that#s the loudest festival I've ever been to... thank god for my earplugs).
Now with the knowledge that this is a public forum (not to mention the fact family read this) some details are being deliberately obscured to protect the innocent/guilty and illusion of such... But not as many as you may think... Some just aren't remembered clearly (not for chemical reasons... just due to the size of the four days... there was more experiences in those 4 nights than I thought possible. Very quickly we determined that the whole festival is insanely nuts and that the germans do not fuck around when it comes to Rock and Camping. We had my small 2 man hiking tent and a slightly larger, yet still small, 2man tent... The guys next to us (and next to them and across the road and next to them etc) had a tent each, plus a big public kitchen area, chairs and speakers the size of my bed BLARING nearly 24/7...
I have very little recollection of the specifics of seeing Kiss... other than it was very Oh my God!... Dare I say it, it was perhaps literally ZOMG!111... There were about 80,000 people at the festival so if you can imagine 2 Big Day Outs watching Kiss simultaneously you get the idea... We then went silly at the afterparty were I went ass over tit like 3 times in the spilt drinks and generally pushy ness of it... lots of fun and wow my knees hurt in the morning... 2 fails in one night also started my run at the festival hard...
We then woke up to our first full day of the festival to blaring German ska... Needless to say I was pretty happy about that. Interestingly the ''alternative'' stage at the festival was the softest and most chilled out (opposite to home).
Day 2 saw us finishing the night watching RATM and Ben Stiller and His Sporty Friends (or something like that). These guys played a song that was effective chorused ''1954, 1974, 1990 and 2010 we are the masters of football''. On that note Vou was wandering around in a socceroos jersey and we got some great reactions there (given we're in the same World cup group)... The look you get when you assure them that australia will ''go easy on them to make a game of it'' is priceless... But when a guy looked at Vou and just said ''Australia? I feel sorry for you...''
On the way out we caught ''the broilers'' who seemed like a cool ska band I need to find out more about. And Lex also retired early to get some snacks...
The next day saw a set by Dizzee (whom with Bonkers and Dirty Disco sounds pretty gay... but fun) and an AWESOME set by Gogol Bordello (Break the Spell... or as we were yelling ''make the smell'' and ''wear the colour purple for me''). It also saw some EPIC levels of sunburn already on display... I don't think the Germans have the same ''no hat no play'' approach to sun safety as Australia... This is despite us finding and using SPF 50+ sunscreen. The tshirts are also good... ''Someone always has got to be a dick'', ''if assholes could fly this place would be an airport'' and ''crazy, drunk and goth'' (on a guy who wasn't goth) being favourites.
As I lay dying (whom we weren't super familar with) was greeted by Vou's funniest line of the festival. ''We're going to play you a new song now it's...'' ''PLAY YOUR OLD SHIT!!!!!!'' Vou screams (without knowing ANY of their songs at all). Muse also played suitably epically... best set of theirs I have seen. In fact the only complaint of the day was my ''pasta mario'' experience... it was a cheap pasta food booth thing, and while tasting alright it made ''pizza mario'' seem amazing... and Pizza Mario was just disgusting reheated pizza... if you can screw up pasta with tomato sauce enough to make it worse than the pizza something is up... Not that it really tasted bad (just spicy) the problem more lay in the noises and smells created for the evening later... soz about that Robbo...
There is also almost zero police presence here... which seems alien when compared to what you get at Australian festivals... think about all the cops at Soundwave. But there are also a lot less noticiably drug fucked people and angry drunks etc... I didn't see one person in a fight, being escorted out or even in trouble the whole time... I didn't even see anyone throw up or evidence of it... It was pretty well a casualty free event... although I did see a few crutches etc so I think some knees and ankles may feel a bit abused.
There were also a lot of kilts and Australian ''pretenders''... which was a bit odd. The ''emu'' signal did live on and flourish at Rock am Ring though.
By Sunday the camp site is definitely starting to feel very dark ages... I was beginning to expect a feudal lord to show up... I imagine this would only get worse if we were at a campsite with a castle in the background. My morning stretches (given how tight/sore I was feeling) were greeted with great bewilderment and puzzled looks by our german friends with their morning beers... Vou apparently got a lot of ''what is he doing?'' as I pulled out every stretch I knew in a desperate attempt to feel limber for the day. ''I think I bruised my soul'' had already been uttered by this point. With rain beating down on and off from the Cancer Bats I was a little concerned about the waterproofness of my tent... But she preformed admirably with everything staying dry and only a few bends and one tent peg missing at the end... I'm very proud of her.
The sounds seemed like a cool band, need to look them up more when I get home and the Crystal Castles show was AWESOME. That chick did seem remarkably ''chemically enhanced'' though. Lex's big funny came early today with '' No Vousden, seriously your mum is way rougher than mine''. Watching Bad Religion and Rise Against was awesome too... Bad Religion did an awesome show... And thankfully the festival scourge of ''once a year moshers'' isn't just limited to australia.
We also met Lou the 16 year old German girl who goes to the festival with her dad... who was so drunk he couldn't make it out of the campsite Sunday... Clearly there is a slightly different vibe to is here than at home... Not to mention that wasn't the first parent/child pair I'd met... Seems like a weird idea to me, but whatever works for them I guess.
The final act Sunday was Ramstein, and I can't express in words how awesome that show was. It was the most perfect way to finish our german festival... Ramstein on home turf in front of about 80,000 people. The set was incredible... no wonder they took an hour to set up. I'm (clearly) not the worlds biggest Ramstein/metal fan... but seriously.... wow... just wow... Fire breathing masks, hovering platforms, costume changes, sparkly suits, crowd surfing in a rubber dingy and a the keyboardist spending 45mins on a treadmill playing kinda gives you an idea of how good it was... But now multiply that by eleventy-twelve to get how good it REALLY was...
Monday morning saw four shattered, shrivelled and empty husks of men pack up their tents and walk up the hill in search of dignity, their souls, a bathroom and something to stop the chaffing (in no particular order). But we made it without a single casulty (only minor ''snacking'') and a distinct lack of major hangovers... But by now we'd already begun to forget we'd even seen kiss... it was a very large few days. We abused facilities at a variety of hotels, welcome centres and reestaurants over the days, smuggled in litres of whiskey and coke down our pants (given coke was as expensive as beer inside) and due to the relatively lax security (no dogs and only minor frisking) only Lex managed to get himself caught... where they let you keep it, just not come in with it... The refund for the plastic cups is a great idea too... but I doubt it would work in Aus.
So that was Rock am Ring... to quote Vou it was AMAZEBALLS
Löve, Hügs änd Kißes
So after a slighty pointless trek to the applewine bar area of Frankfurt (We crossed purposes with a bunch of seppo frat boys in the hostel who just wanted to get wasted... so the idea of a 20-30min walk to have a single drink or two when there was a cheap bar at the hostel seemed alien to them) I arose on the 3rd and made plans with Katrina, Tim and Avis to go Museum viewing before I met the boys at Frankfurt station.
Now Frankfurt is known for having a stupidly high number of museums, but given the 3rd was some sort of religious holiday our choices were slightly limited. I was all for Natural History (surprise!), but other front runners were modern art, and the SECOND largest collection of hammers in Germany... Yep you read that correct, the SECOND... Now this means one of two things; either there is more than one Hammer Museum in Germany (and I'll believe that if any country was going to have more than one hammer museum it would be Deutschland) or there is a private collector of hammers out there with more hammers than a museum... which I would also believe is possible in Germany...
Due to the Nat History and Archaeology museums being closed we ended up at the Modern Art Museum (Not hammers... NOoooo). I'm not an ''artiste'' but I do like art... but modern art really shits me at times... Most of the first floor was pretentious elitest try hard crap... If sending postcards is art Suj better not profit from me without my knowledge...
Some of the Andy Warhol stuff they had wasn't bad though (although there was a lot of man-wang drawn there) and the ''twilight arch'' by James Turrell was cool... a big blacked out room with a UV light at one end.
I think the way I roll with Modern Art is you have 15 seconds to attract my attention and 15 seconds to interest me... if not I'm gone... I much prefer pop art to modern art, there is much less obscure wankery. Modern art seems to be deliberately trying to be obscure and difficult to get to be elitest... especially considering how simple it really is... I mean sending a postcard once a week with the time you woke up written on the back? who can't do that?
Colouring in squares of grid paper really doesn't deserve to be in an art gallery... either that or my old maths books from high school (not to mention my uni notes) are fucking masterworks...
We also saw gokarts driving on the road in Frankfurt from the window!
Other observations from Germany include a slightly unPC one... I feel kinda sorry for the jews in Germany... Not only did what go down went down (we all know about that) but pork is seriously like the national dish... That's tough... I've been eating a lot more pork here than anywhere else...
I also like Germans... but don't think I will ever ''get'' them...
Last night I hopped a train from Frankfurt to Berlin, checked in to Wombat hostel and did my laundry till 1am... PARTY ON! Got to bounce to another hostel tonight though... pain in the ass. I must've looked a treat wandering around the hostel with sports shorts, a long sleeve shirt and big doc martens with no socks on...
Not amazed at the hostel though, it's full of far to many seppos trying way to hard... and the hostel is trying a little to hard too. Americans are annoying, especially drunken loser frat boys who get way to drunk in their hostel and end up spewing in the hallway at midnight and not cleaning it up... I mean seriously... have some dignity and human ness... 80000 people at rock am ring all drinking for 4 days and I didn't see one person hurl... These clowns can't even handle a couple of small beers at a bar...
More to come later
Löve, Hügs änd kißes
3 June 2010
So I flew from Oslo-Torp (an airport forever away from Oslo... relatively) to Frankfurt-Hahn (an airport even FURTHER away from Frankfurt) thanks to Ryanair's policy of not actually flying anywhere people actually want to go. Now I'm not going to jump on the anti-Ryanair band wagon, the flight was very cheap given I booked it the night before I left and it did everything I needed (ie get me to Germany). Hell for the first time ever I actually arrived at an airport EARLY. That is unheard of... I still landed at 11pm though. My only issue with Ryanair and why I don't think I will use them again is because of the dicking about you've got to do to get to the REAL location you want to be... I think when you factor in the cost and time of getting to and from these 'discount airports' you're not saving any money. I also lost my sunglasses either on the bus to Torp or at Torp airport =(
So I woke in my hotel in/around Hahn on the first to be greeted by my first German infomercial... for a home beer tap pouring keg thing... Deutchland uber als! After a MASSIVE breakfast (free of course) I hopped the 2 hour bus to Frankfurt. Now on this bus was a Korean family of mother, son and daughter. I know they were Korean due to the fact the 6-7 year old daughter didn't stop whinging in two languages the WHOLE trip... and when not whinging in english she'd say things like ''ho gu'' which I recognised from my Greenspeak Korean lesson.
The imaginatively named Frankfurt Hostel I'm staying at is ok... much like any other hostel. It's pretty well in the middle of the red light district and it had a big food market out the front yesterday. So I could get a big pork steak and chips for €5 which was pretty sweet. At the hostel 'bar' it's also €1 for a tea €2 for a coke and onlz €2 for a beer! So the €200 I withdrew (not an unreasonable amount) actually equals 100 beers... interesting thought.
So day one in Frankfurt (Tuesday) I went to the Stadelsches Kunstintitut (Stadel Museum) intending to get me a bit of 'kulcha' given how much of a failure that was for me in Oslo. So of COURSE the main museum and gallery was closed for rennovations. But they did have a big side gallery with a retrospective on a guy named Kirchner. Now some of his stuff was really cool. Some was really crap. The more abstract stuff and his ''Berlin Period'' wasn't to bad and his woodcuts were really cool...
He was a really fucked up dude though... He exploded into a heap at the concept of fighting in the trenches in WW1 and after he got sent to an institute to recover started to starve himself so he was never sent back to the army. He was also trying WAY to hard to be a tortured misunderstood artist hating on the bourgeois (of which he pretty well was born into). He also used to falsify the dates of his paintings when someone was claimed to have influenced him... That and his artist group seemed to enjoy getting naked women to just walk around the studio to paint... and these women could be as young as 12-14... so he/they were a little bit pedo too... So all up, a decent artist but a much more massive wanker...
I then went to the Communication museum where I ironically couldn't understand most of it because it was all in German. On that note apparently I don't look or sound Australian enough for the Germans and at first glance they assume I speak German... So they something to me in German, I look at them blankly and eventually they then say ''sprechen sie Deutsch?'' and I answer ''nein'' ... then they look at me blankly...
Anyway, the communication museum had heaps of hilarious old computers, phones, faxes and post office stuff. Their was also a special exhibit on money upstairs which was partially in english so I could understand a lot of that! YAY
Now in all my exhaustive travelling (yeah not really) I've always found that I've met a lot of Germans... and never any ''locals'' (relatively speaking), so I wondered who I was going to meet in germany... The answer... fucking Australians... Of course (and some Seppos... but mainly Aussies... Including a friend of Maple's).
I spent Tuesday night chatting/drinking/playing cards in the hostel lounge with some pretty cool kids till like 2am (my how time can fly) including an Australian, some Seppos and an American soldier on holidays from Afganistan. But there was a table of annoying seppo frat boys nearby that just embodied everything you would, could and do hate about them. They were such dumbasses and all they could loudly talk about was fights they have seen while travelling, were the biggest brewery you could visit was , the alcohol % of the beers they were drinking (Becks of course, not a local/good one) and how much Amsterdam ''will rock''. I'm honestly surprised the conversation wasn't about ''chicks they've banged'' but than again with that level of charm their table was surprisingly bare of lady folk.
I woke this morning (Wednesday) to a rather detailed dream about reading a comic book version of the Quran (Koran) which was pretty weird... and if you think about it probably would have enough graven images of the profit to get a whole country fatwahed out of existance... But the comic was kinda cool.
I then did a walking tour of Frankfurt (after a massive free breakfast of course) with Ellisa and Katrina. This was pretty cool and I feel like I've seen a bit of the town now. It was run by an American guy who was quite crass and un PC... Which was pretty interesting, he could and would say things no German would ever consider saying. He was an ex soldier and told some interesting stories about the town and after about 4 hours of this 3 hour tour we finished up. We had lunch at yet another on street market thing and then I wandered off alone to the Comics and Caricature museum.
Now the Germans aren't world reknown for their cutting edge senses of humour but this was without a doubt the most serious Comics museum on earth. Worse than even hording plastic covered comics weenies. Everyone was super serious and viewing the place like it was a 16th century art exhibit and when one person laughed a little aloud there were stares... Obviously not speaking german I missed the vast majority of the jokes (and indeed was warned away buy the chick at the front desk) but just seeing all the pics was cool enough for me (and it was only €2.50 to get in). The main floor exhibit was on some female German comic/cartoon lady who seemed to be some sort of cross between Leunig (in style) and Cathy (topic...) except with more nudity... alot of it seemed to be about the trails of being a housewife, finding a man, waxing etc... So I don't think I would've laughed even if I COULD read them... But still it was nice to see so many comics being treated like a real art thing...
So tonight Katrina, Ellissa and I are going to make the trek over the river to go to one of the tiny little Apple wine bars and then tomorrow I meet Lex, Vou and Robbo I'm guessing at about 2pm ish. Then on to KISS!
Löve, hügs and kißes
Horns up! \m/