Saturday, March 22, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I walk to the train station in Athens to take the train to Patras so I can take the ferry back to Italy. There a woman whom speaks neither greek or english keeps repeating Patras at me. She was Romanian decided to be my companion for the five hour train trip. She seemed really sad, and at two points started crying after telling me about her 3 year old daughter. I kept handing her little snacks, cheese, peanuts, and oranges. At the train switch in Kiato i handed her my knitting. of course she knew how to knit, she is romanian. I whip out a set of needles and some yarn and set her to work. We sat on the platform surrounded in a landscape of orange trees and knit together. At the station in Patras she disappeared. Patras had had a huge storm the night before and the electricity was still out in parts of the town. This included the grocery store i went to for dinner. There was most definatly a odor coming from the cheese case. The buisness class on the ferry, that is were the deck only passengers sleep, is on the 8th level and far from the real paying customers. I was one of three or four people in this giant room of airline seats. I picked out the best spot, behind the last row of seats where i couldnt be seen readily and went to sleep.
The train from Anacona to Bologna provided me with not only an outlet, but a conversation. The guy whose job it is to let the conductor know when it is safe to go, spoke great english. I told him about how my great aunts kid crashed a train. He told me his grandmother is 84 and owns a farm where there are no longer livestock, but that she is a woman that is a lot of power in a little package. He said i was the same.
In the train station in Bologna while waiting for the night train to Zurich i see a man embrodering. He doesnt seem able to tread the needle so i take it from him and tread it. I dont say please, he doesnt say thank you. There is no need.
Zurich was fantastic. A clean pretty city. I dropped in on a Stitch and Bitch this morning in a Starbucks. Both members that were there were ex-pats and talked about the language issue since german in this area has a spoken dialect and a written form that is different. I spent the day looking at churches. I seem to spend a lot of time in big fancy churches these days. Funny since i was raised in a belief system against this unnessisary fancyness.
Zurich, then a train ride to Munchen to my hostel. Munchen was a nice little city, full of hot dogs and bread rolls. I like both these things so no problem. I bought sock yarn. I am a sinner. The lord is my shepard i shall not want, until reinforcing yarn dyed in the matching jackard of the sock yarn gets involved. I dont need any more yarn. What really boogles the mind is the fact that i will spend nothing on food, i have been carrying around a tub of off brand Nutella and loaf of bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week now total cost 2 euro, but i can spend every crown i changed in prague and then go back to the atm and spend more on that last skein of yarn. I have a yarn problem. But this yarn was hand created at just this one store in Prague and nowhere else in the world. That makes it ok right.
Hellena was gone far out of her was to take the best care of me while staying with her in Prague. I could not ask for a better hostess. I want to bake her a chicken.
A man on the train gave me a postcard of a knitted condom.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I know, I know. It has been a hot min. Lets catch up. Came back from Romania, spent last week with Julie in Budapest. Had session with Hungarian knitting group. Ate dinner at Heather's. Saw "there will be blood" with Hungarian subtitles. Packed up my sleeping bag and left.
This brings us to Sat, when while some of you were still at the "Remember when we had parties" party, I was boarding a train to Vienna. And it turns out I took spring with me, but not to Vienna. Vienna had a big wind storm that blew me across streets like a sail boat with my huge pack.
Man this blogging stuff is hard.
Vienna, so wind storm. I couldn't find the imperial crypts, which is want i wanted to see, so i was cold and found the train station i was going out on. Then i sat in a boxing themed bar and read 'White Teeth' and ate hot dogs. Julie you were right about this book, i read it in three days and it was 500+ pages. My train to Bologna was late by two hours and full of italian teenage students going on a class trip. Understandably I didn't get much sleep.
Bologna in the morning was great. instead of getting off the train at 4:30 in the am, the late train put me in at about 7. I abandoned my pack and walked to the center of town and sat. i watched the balloon animal lady set up for the day, and watched old men debate about stuff i could'nt understand. You know Bologna is famous for the three t's, so the postcard i sent my parents said, "the two towers, tortilini, and tits" I only saw one of the three.
*Excerpt from Journal*
For two days i have hunted for oranges; through the closed streets of Bologna on Sunday, and after 5:30 in Patra. so after a dinner of crossant filled with cherry goo and cashews(i bought these at a drink stand with the last 2.50 euros in my pocket) i board the train for athens to see the whole way (while there is still light to see with) oranges on trees. And lemons. big fat lemons bending down limbs and petit bright orange oranges. why has no on picked all this fruit? i wanted to write on the ship but i could not. even in it's huge cruiseshipness it could never haven been big enough. not with 22 hours to kill (24 is what it took in reality, I believe there was a lateness factor) i just hope for the way back i'm on a ship with a better thought out name then "Ikarus Palace". it didn't make me feel great about the wear-with-all of the equipment. i wanted to write about the water color and how the ocean at home is not blue in color, not even as the base. Mid-Atlantic ocean water is green, green-black. as soon as i steeped off the train in Anacona, i was aware of the salt smell. not that it was really noticable but as an Aficionado of salt air smells, i was aware of it. a little fragment of home; the familiar feeling of salt air drying the sweat off my back.
So the print on my pack is called "Invisible", thus being green camo with the word 'invisible' printed in black periodically on it. Wearing it i am anything but invisible. How could you miss a tiny, hugely busted, lone girl with silver in her face being eclipsed by a 4 foot tall peice of invisible luggage. The ederly have offered me their seats on the bus. I figure the reason all the joints of my lower extremities hurt is because of this monstrasity. Yet, the more i think of it, i am glad for it's weight. it seems less likely to be stolen. There are no quick get-aways with an invisible 60 pounder.
Athens is a nice city, i went to the Acropolis up a hidden stairwell a old man pointed out to me in the hill side. i didn't go in the acropolis through, youve seen one pile of historical rocks, youve seen them all. I'm sure not the best attitude. I went to the market where people/tourists get robbed and ate ice cream. while in budapest i developed a coffee addiction, the cafe culture influanced me to drink more coffee than i had since seattle. But now my coffee addiction is being replaced with a ice cream addiction. It's the most calories i get in a day. Day two i went to the port to see the fish market and got stuck there because the metro workers went on strike for the afternoon. so i atempted to decifer the bus system, not so easy with you don't understand the alphabet. We learn roman numerals but not the greek letters. Day three i went to the beach, which took all morning to get to. long walk. lots of dogs everywhere. Tomorrow i go back to patras and get on a ferry back to italy, then up to zurich. There is a knitting group meeting, it just so happens, on sunday when i get there not to far from the train station. I hope to woo them with my knitted sock skills.
PS. on the ferry to greece this waiter in the bar asked me to drink wine with him in his cabin and brought me a free bottle of wine and snacks to my table. I drank it then sneaked back to the deck to sleep on the floor with the truckers. it was the better option mind you me.
When did i start saying things like mind you me?
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The hostel was nice, not real strict about checkin times, a little dog lived there, they had american television that was subtitled in Romanian, and it was super cheap about $17 us. So i found the hostel, dropped off my stuff, and went to explore the town of Brasov. It had snowed the whole night onthe train and during that day it snowed gently, and it was lovely. Not to cold, but much colder than Budapest. It also took me two hours in a bank to change travelers checks. In the evening, i went back to the hostel, made some pasta and knit a whole fingerless glove. The next day i got up early, took a bus to the Autogarta 2 (Big bus station) and then a bus to Bran. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bran_Castle Bran is the town that Bran Castle is in and is the castle the communists told everyone was Dracula's castle. Do you know what this means kids? Lots of stupid junk with dracula on it. I am now to t-shirts richer. Also the money in Romania is not worth much in compairison to the US dollar, so i had so much money i seemed to have trouble getting rid of it all. At the bottom of the hill that Bran Castle is on there is a little village market full of locals selling the dumb dracula stuff. But also they are selling their handknits. There were knitters everywhere. All over women were stitching. Also the first thing i bought there was sheep cheese. Nice. After all this i took the bus back to Brasov and then took the train overnight (another 10 hours) back to budapest and Julie. I awoke her with cake as a celeabatory gift. The next two days were walked all through Budapest, the jewish district and yesterday all around the castle. You should see the pictures on Facebook. Also yesterday was Big trash day that ment that people save up their bag trash like furnature and stuff for these two days of the month, and of course everyone goes through these huge piles of junk on the street. Old junk. Pre soviet junk. Junk. We also went out last night after dinner at Heather's. This included lots of talking about the importance of Pherimones and trying to convince someone that they do exsist. Did i mention earlyer that day i met with two hungarian knitters and we all knit in public, which they don't do here. We are meeting next week before i leave for Vienna. Anyway. I need a call for addresses. Send them to me.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Sunday Feb 10th:
Julie has some school work to do so I went to Buda. For those of you that don't know Budapest was two citys seperated by the Danube. Buda was the town for nobals and what not, Pest was for the working man. Obuda (old Buda) is somewhere behind Buda and has sort of been tacked on to it. For the longest time, you had to take a boat to get to the other city. How about a little history:
Széchenyi lánchíd or Széchenyi Chain Bridge is a suspension bridge that spans River Danube between Buda and Pest, the west and east side of Budapest. The first bridge across the Danube in Budapest, it was designed by the English engineer William Tierney Clark in 1839, after Count István Széchenyi's initiative in the same year, with construction supervised locally by Scottish engineer Adam Clark (no relation). It opened in 1849, thus became the first bridge in the Hungarian capital. At the time, its center span of 202 m was one of the largest in the world. The pairs of lions at each of the abutments were added in 1852. It is popular culture in Hungary to point out that the lions in fact have no tongues.
And julie has pointed it out to me about the toungues, and about how the guy who made the lions was so pissed because he thought they were perfect that when someone mentioned this no tongue thing to him he threw himself from the bridge.
Anyway, Buda is much better to look at than Pest so i went over their and just walked in the winding hilly streets and took pictures of stuff. After a while i went back over to where Julie's school is, sat by the Danube and ate an orange. I watched some trick bicycle guys land on things on just their back tire. When Julie was finished working we went shopping for food. This was the most difficult thing i have done since my arrival. I figured it couldn't be that hard, you know what food looks like you don't need to speak the language. No wrong. Way to many people and way to much food that didn't look quite right. Not the best time, but it was a learning experience. I love this mayo in a tube thing.
Monday Feb 11th:
Julie was in class and working most of this week, like you do when your getting your masters. So i went to a big ass cemetery. The Kerepesi Temeto (the kereps cemetery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerepes_cemetery Read up on it if your into it. Whatever. There are huge tombs here, and a Monument that says in Hungarian "I Died for Communisum" Um ya. Some of the first tomb were higher off the ground than the later stuff so the graves along the walls are at the most five feet off the ground. Very strange. And the grave yard is behind the largest shopping mall i have ever seen, Although Julie and I discussed it and she has seen Bigger. Then we watched this great film called "The lives of others" I slept through part of it (not because it wasn't good but because i just fall asleep all time), but what i saw of it was fanastic.
Tuesday Feb 12th:
I went to the Magyar Fotografusok Haza KHT ( the hungarian photographer museum) today. It was in this fanastic building. Not well organised through, since the plate under the photographs didn't have the name of the photographer on them. So i really don't know what i was looking at. http://www.maimano.hu/index_en.html I also went to the Arkad to hunt for yarn, and found a very little. Bad acrylic yarn. At this rate my yarn standards will drop fast. I met Julie and Heather for a drink and then Julie and I come home and ate in the cafe in the dorm. Dorm food it was been too long. Julie got some weird dessert that we really never figured out just what it was.
Wednesday Feb 13th:
I went on the great yarn hunt today. I ended up in three fabric stores with little selections of yarn. The last one had this fantastic woman who spoke great english and told me where a could find a knitting group.
Thursday Feb 14th:
Snow really? Suckers!
I finally went to the art museum. Nice museum full of Italian, Flemish, and Spanish masters, but no Hungarian Masters. That's because their isn't any. http://www.hung-art.hu/index-en.html Here is some hungarian art history. Eat it up. I am interested in what the Hungarians were doing in terms of art in their repressed setting. I am a dork. I know. We also ate mexican food. Well i had a burger. How weird is that, eating at a mexian resterant in hungary. They don't even have mexicans here. They don't know what mexican is.
Friday Feb 15th:
I had a yarn date with an american student from, get this, washington state. She is going to school in the states about two hours from the farm in leavenworth. Strange. So we went to a communist themed pizza place in Buda. I'm saying communist theme, too soon right. I guess not. Good pizza. Oh they serve the sauce on the side and chilled instead of on the pie. So this girl was a physics major and i knitter so we talked about physics, knitting, and washington. It was nice. Her hungarian was fantastic, i'm not sure how, so she could read me the menu and talk to the waiter. Then i popped in on Julie at the archive and tried to take a nap on a table like i was in high school again. I have been tired all the time, i think i'm not getting some important stay awake nutrient. I bet that nutrient is bacon. Um bacon. Sorry i'm hungary. So we went to the market, and then Heather's to make dinner for everyone. Really Julie cooked and I knitted and talked about sheep and cheese and how cool it is. Julie gets in zen when she chops veggies so she wasn't listening anyway. We all had dinner, and then went and saw the drag show. This was unlike any drag show you have ever seen. The American owner of the bar is a hermafidite (i spelled that wrong), so looks like a woman, sings like MeatLoaf, adn i do mean the overweight singer from the 90's. And i won't do that. But she would and she did, in fact she prerecored all this low-toned singing and then lipsyned to herself singing, in women's underwear. At first i thought it was she wasn't serious, it was like a farce. No mamn. Serious. Oh with a dancer in the back ground who was doing some type of intertive dance. If you remeber (or where around) for the crazy woman in Chapel Hill with the breathing noises and trip home full of bird calls, your getting close. I would rank that up there with that.
Satuday Feb 16th:
I have been doing this crap all day. And now the day is almost over, at least the sun is moving on the way down. I finished knitting the biggest floppy beret yesterday. Lord have mercy on my soul. Hot dogs it is.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
and had some birds living in a cage their. Their chirping added to the ambiance of the building. Then we went to the Szent Istvan Bazilika and saw his shriveled, severed hand. Fun. http://www.basilica.hu/ Check it out. Severed hand of a saint. nice. Here is a whole history of Saint Stephen of Hungary if you are interested. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_I_of_Hungary Then we went to the Nagycsarnok, which is a big open market in a Turkeh style building. We bought lots of fruit and Vifon which is like oddles of noodles. I stood next to a gutted and possibly salted suckling pig. Then we went to heather's flat (julie's friend heather, and now my friend heather) and made dinner. I brought cheese which was complicated to buy since i know all this stuff about cheese but can not read the labels. There seems to be some local sheep cheese very simalir to the fresh cheese i made in washington. i'm not too sure yet but i am investigating. Dinner was nice and i met lots of people from Croatia. We took the night train home and someone was checking tickets on the commuter train which they seem to never do. When we got back to the dorm my luggage had arrived. Super, except for the fact that things are missing from my bag. Important things. The chargers to my camera and portable hard drive. What the fuck. So angry about this. I yelled a little bit. So i filled a complant. Oh and my pentax got beat on a little so the lens cap is fused to the lens. Great. I also remembering other stuff that was in the bag but now is not. Like my pack of Qtips, and a couple of pounds in change. Are they that desperate for Qtips here, really! So i ordered new ones so they will get here before i leave. I hope. Julie and i have a game, mainly it's my game and i force julie to play. I see a woman on the street that in america you could peg as a gay woman, and i say look she was a gay, and then julie shoots me down. But yesterday i did see one we both agreed as a gay. And i saw one black man.
Today i felt awful and slept most of the day. Then in the afternoon we tried to go to the geocery store but it was closed. I saw a duck sleeping on a shopping cart that is stuck in the water in this litte river right next to a camp of Roma's (which are gypsys that hungarians don't seem to like). Now i'm just trying to find a yarn store here which does not seem to exist. But i will find it it is my quest.