|My Email Diary from Europe 2001 Trip|
|JES #1||July 1- July 21||Montreal, Vermont, London, Sweden|
|JES #2||July 21 - Aug 4||Herrang Dance Camp, Sweden|
|JES #3||Aug 4 - Aug 10||Stockholm, Island of Faro|
|JES #4||Aug 11 - Aug 25||Copenhagen, Munich, Luzern, Interlaken|
|JES #5||Aug 25 - Oct 11||South of France, Italy, Dubrovnik, Budapest, Prague, London|
100 Highlight pics from my 4 months in Europe!
|JES #1 - Montreal, Vermont, London, Sweden|
|JES Update #1 July 21st. 3 weeks travelling so far.
MONTREAL <<Swing Dance Camp & Jazz Fest>>
Best performance I caught at Jazzfest: Kristi Johnson, local blues act
Hour you need to dance to for the sun to be up when you come out: 5 am
Favorite new teachers: Bill Borgida & Sarah Baldwin
Streets most densely populated w collegiate partying coeds at 3:30am: St. Denis, and Rue St. Catherine
Dominant form at the fantastic museum exhibit, "Picasso Erotique": Line drawings
Alma Mater I was able to revisit after over a decade since my semester there during under grad: McGill University
Item that I bought taking advantage of the brutally strong US Dollar in Canada: RIO portable MP3/CD player
VERMONT <<Road trip from Montreal to visit childhood best friend John Capen in Middlebury>>
Age of Johnnie's incredibly beautiful and playful daughter Ella Bella: 1 1/2
Ella's favorite thing to say in french: La Petite Souris
Reason why John is in Middlebury this summer: Bredloaf Language Program for Masters in English
My major in Undergrad: English
% of John's classes I sat in on: 100 (he only had one)
Hours after landing in SF that I bought the text from that class, "Aristophanes" (greek comedy), to read in Europe: 4
Factory we toured in Waterbury VT: Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
# of flavors in Ben & Jerry's "Flavor Graveyard": over 200
Flavor I wish they would bring back to life: CoffeeCoffeeBuzzBuzzBuzz
BJ's current best selling flavor worldwide: Cherry Garcia
LONDON <<Visit Jen Mullin, Layover before Sweden>>
* Next Up: 1-2 more weeks dancing, then possibly Swedish Island Gottland, the Fjords in Norway, Copenhagen, and Prague *
|JES #2 - Herrang Dance Camp, Sweden|
|JES Update #2 - Saturday August 4
<<Herräng Dance Camp has just ended. After 3 weeks of dancing around the clock, am taking a day to recover>>
Meal I miss most from America: Breakfast
What Sweden and most of Europe, pass for Breakfast: A bunch of bread, cold cuts, a block of spam, jelly, Cold Cereal, and salty swedish porridge/rice pudding.
Most Glaring Omission from European Breakfast: Eggs, homefries, pankcakes, or anything hot.
# times swimming in the Baltic Sea: 4
Book I'm Reading and loving right now: Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
# of batteries I've gone through with my portable MP3 CD player: 8
Most memorable dance in Herräng: Dawn Hampton
New favorite Song: Bli Blip, by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
New countries represented by partners I've danced with this week: Hungary, Greece, Finland, New Zealand, Alaska, Estonia, Spain!
Age range of dance partners in classes so far: 15 - 60
Name of the Swedish Dance Troop that many of the teachers here perform with: Rhythm Hot Shots
Most Elusive so far to me: A Haircut.
Time of day when many (most) barbers and hair salons close on Saturday: 15:00. (3pm)
Number of hours they are open on Sundays: 0
Finnish for Hello / Goodbye: Moy / Gaytörs
Swedish for Shit, as an exclamation, for example if you stub your toe: Fa-an! Or, even better; Fan Ochsa!
Likelihood of buying the WRONG type of milk in a grocery mart: Extremely High.
<brief explanation> Say you're thirsty for a glass of milk to drink. You find the dairy section in the store, and are faced with a row of 6 differently colored cartons, each with a picture of a cow, and some variation of the word Milk in the title you must choose between . 1). " Vispgradde Mjölk 40%"(Cream) - which doesn't even pour, but seems to hang in the air, 2). "Filmjölk 3%" (sour milk) - which doesn't really poor either, but rather oozes, and is truly quite sour), 3). "Mjölk 3%" (heavy milk) - which they claim is milk, but seems more like half and half, and pours very slowly 4). "Mellanmjölk 1.5%" (regular milk) - but by now you are quite confused, 5). "Lattmjölk .5%" (skim milk) - The best choice in my opinion, but requires some luck to pick this one, and 6). "Minimjölk .1%" (non-fat milk) which is basically water with white coloring:
Likelihood of buying fruit SAUCE, that you EAT with a spoon, instead of fruit JUICE, that you can DRINK: Very High.
<explanation> You are faced with a row of a half a dozen fruit flavors with beautiful packaging featuring vibrant pictures of various delicious fruits, versus the only two flavors of actual fruit juice (apple and orange)
Strangest topping they offer on pizza here: Banana
Week 2's Big Final Party theme and funniest costumes: Health club / someone dressed up as a carrot, someone dressed up as a red pepper.
Week 3's Big Final Party theme and funniest costumes: Love, Love, Love / "blinded by love" blindfold, prisoner of love jail outfit
Week 4's Big Final Party theme: Olympics / someone dressed up as a greek salad (with olive and feta necklace for real, and bell peppers and onions etc. safety pinned all over), A guy with bright red hair dressed as the olympic torch, being his head.
Funnest new dance that I expect Paul & Sharon to be bringing back to Bay Area: Lindy Rueda
Names of some of the moves that get called out in this: Coca Cola Dame (pronounced Dom-ay), Amoeba, Sushi Roll, Dame Dos, Stop Texas, Boing Boing
Most interesting jewelry / piercing I've seen: Tooth earring of tiny Gold tear drop w/ miniscule diamond in it, prominently visible on the tooth adjacent to the front two uppers by the way.
Nightly snack food in cottage with 11 Norweigans next door: Homemade Belgian waffles, w Jelly or chocolate or cheese.
Number you dial to get information in Sweden: 118118
Beats per minute during the Lindy hop dance sequence from the movie Hellzapoppin: 312
Beats per minute at which we practiced part of this routine (minus the aerial) in class: 308
How I would describe that speed: damn fast
Frankie Manning's dance partner in that scene, and in general in Whitey Johnson's Lindy Hoppers group: Ann Johnson.
According to Janice (incredibly bad-ass lindy teacher from Harlem), the percentage of leaders that Frankie Manning at age 87 today is still stronger than when he dances: 85%
Day of the week that is always Blues night in Herrang: Wednesday
Likelihood of me returing to Herräng next year: Very High
Degree of effort I will expend to convince friends and siblings to join me: Very High
Next stops for me on my tour: Stockholm, Norway (Oslo, Bergen, fjords, Stavangen, Prekistolen), Copenhagen and cycling in Italy!
|JES #3 - Stockholm, Island of Faro|
|JES Update #3 August 10 - The Ballad of
<<Just arrived in Copenhagen, after 5 days in Stockholm/Sweden>>
STOCKHOLM, Island of FÅRÖ
|JES #4 - Copenhagen, Munich, Luzern, Interlaken|
|JES update #4 August 25th. (kind of long)
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK <<3 days>>
# of islands that make up the country Denmark: +400
# years since last time I saw my college and ski team friend Mikkel who lives in Copenhagen: 12
Amount he has changed: 0, (except for getting married and having 2 daughters)
Authentic Danish meal he took me out for: Red Pecker Fish, complete w skeleton, potatoes.
Rank of the Foosball team from Mikkel's Advertising Agency (Publicis), among all Ad agencies in Copenhagen: 1
Favorite indoor exhibits at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen: Giocametti sculptures, Warhol paintings.
Favorite outdoor exhibit at the Louisiana: Calder sculptures in their cafe garden, basking in sunshine.
Most unusual vantage point of a Calder sculpture: Lying directly underneath it on the grass (see picture)
Name of 16th Century Castle built for the Prince of Denmark in town of Helsingor: Kronborg
Name of Shakespeare play featuring said Castle and character: Hamlet
Name of the Theater group performing Hamlet in the Castle Courtyard, on the night that I happened to visit the castle: Birmingham Repetory Theater Co., from England.
Despite being sold out (opening night), seat I was able to procure and see the play: B 36 (quite good)
Person I met who made it possible for me to get this seat, normally reserved for Press, and who I hung out with until the play started: Rasmus, the backstage manager of the show.
Rank of Carlsberg among Danish Beers: Oldest and most popular
Worldwide rank of Carlsberg Group among beer and beverage distributors: 4
Notable figure who was one of the 5 residents of the Carlsberg institute for research and cultural contribution: Neils Bohr
# of free beers allocated per person upon completing the free tour of the Carlsberg Brewery: 2
Favorite exhibit at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Museum): Degas sculptures & paintings of balerinas
Best Art / Photography I have seen so far, out of Every Museum: "Earth from Sky" photography exhibit
Name of Alternative Living community founded in 1971 by Danish youth with a "critical attitude" towards society, and tired of paying taxes, in an abondoned military barracks on river in Copenhagen: "Christiania"
# times police and politicians have succeeded in shutting it down since then: 0
Products sold on "Pusher Street" in Christiania, in open market place at dozens of adjacent stands, displaying their produce in neatly organized little bins, complete with signs depicting cost, origin, and qualitative description: Marijuana, Hash, and Mushrooms.
Quality of said products based on my lifetime exposure: Best.
The only item I purchased while in Christiania: home-burned music CD of Cuban Hip Hop Group "Orishas", album called "A los Cubanos", from a skate-boarder dude playing it in the grafitti-covered indoor skateboard rink warehouse.
Amount he asked for it: 1 US dollar.
Places Christiania remind me of: Berkeley, Amsterdam
Amount it costs to use a "city bike" in Copenhagen: 0. (You deposit a 20 kr coin, and get it back when you return the bike)
# of Sidewalks alongside every major street in Copenhagen: 2. (one for walking, one for bikes. Do NOT get them confused).
Days since my last jar of Nutella: 6
Average number of "Rita Sport" chocolate bars consumed per day: 2
# Times I have had fast food so far: 0
Number of mintues it took me online to lookup, find, and book reservations at Interlaken Hostel: 3
Number of minutes I had before needing to catch the train: 4
Duration of train from Kopenhavn to Munchen: 14 hours.
MUNICH, GERMANY <<1 day>>
Days spent in Munich Germany: 1, en route to Switzerland
Single place I visited all day: Dachau Concentration Camp and Memorial Museum
Ability for me to put into words the emotion from that experience: zero
LUZERN, SWITZERLAND <<2 days>>
What I did on my 34th Birthday: Went Cycling all day in Luzern with 2 friends Eva & Renata, saw fireworks in the city at Night!
Name of the caves we explored during our bike ride in Swiss Mountains: Hurti Grotten. (Stalactites & Stalagmites galore)
Name of lake we swam in during our bike ride : Hugirisee
Favorite items in the pastry shop we stopped at for snack: Cow Meringues, Teddy Bear cookies
Width of trail through forest we cycled on: California Single Track!
Part of my bike that a cow fully wrapped its whole tongue around while I leaned it against his fence to take a picture: Handle bar bar-end
Name of gorgeous town and lake that we descended to at end of our bike ride: Zug. (Recommended for visiting!)
Site in Zug overlooking the lake where we had birthday drinks: Schiff Cafe
Music that Eva and I had a few swing dances to before eating home cooked fresh pasta dinner: Natalie Cole
Additional car insurance policy that is normal in Luzern: Hail protection
Amount of damage to car left outside possible from average to bad hail storm: Total
Name of club famous for prostitutes in downtown Luzern: Cafe Niza
Number of times I had my sideburns trimmed for free at hair salon in Luzern: 1
Height of Mount Pilatus that I took the world's steepest cog-wheel train up to: 7000 ft.
Visible from Pilatus Summit: Swiss Alps (Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau) Luzern lake & town, rest of Swiss countryside, bird silhouettes.
Audible from Pilatus Sumit: Cow bells below
Best 4 US dollars I spent between Gondolas on the way down from Pilatus: Alpine Slide
Desire to return with Mountain bike and ride all the way up Pilatus: High
# of homemade chocolate croissants consumed on top of Pilatus: 2
% of fat in the milk they also offered: 3.8
Amount of said milk I consumed. One-half mouthful
Average number of pictures taken per day in Luzern: 150
Number of pictures my 96mb and 256mb RAM cards hold respectively: 112, 400+
INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND <<7 days>>
JES #5 - South of France, Italy, Dubrovnik, Budapest, Prague, London
|JES Update #5 October 11th - The Final
Chapter & Summary.
SUMMARY - Where I spent the days of my last month and a half:
South of France - 6
Italia - 1 month
Bologna, Rimini, Firenze - 4
Toscana, Elba, Cinqua Terre - 12
Firenze - 3
Roma - 6
Pompeii - 1
Positano & Capri - 3
Leuca - 4
Dubrovnik, Croatia - 2
Budapest - 2
Praha - 4
London - 1
$12: Cost per night to stay at the Cap D'Ail Hostel located on the beach (between Nice and Monaco)
Mosquito's: Daily alarm clock between 6:30 and 7:30am built in to the whole French Riviera coast
25 mintues: Time to run to from Cap D'Ail to Monaco and back on coastal trail
25 minutes: Time to stop along the way to take pictures of sunrise and surroundings
427 meters: Altitude gain during the 2 hr hike from Eze Sur Mer (train stop) to Eze Le Village, 14th century castle village
Sentier Friederich Nietzsche: Name of this hiking trail
Thus Spake Zarathustra: The book that Neitzsche spent much time contemplating and finishing while on this trail
Cactus Garden: Contents of the "Jardin Exotique" - at the very top of Eze Le Village Castle
It was still technically part of Italy: Reason Louis XIV ordered the castle and summit demolished in 1706
Mid-60's: Age of the three french women who shared their chicken drumsticks and tabouli with me on top of Eze
Total disaster/quasi-mohawk: Outcome of the haircut I got in Nice due to communication breakdown
It's their own country, so they can: Reason why police randomly stopped me to check my I.D. in Monaco while hitch-hiking to Cap D'Ail.
The same police: Source of my eventual ride almost all the way home to Cap D'Ail
"Who's my favorite Music Dog?": Funniest language misunderstanding Musician -> Music Chien -> Music Dog
1 degree of separation from fame: Playing soccer on boardwalk in Nice with the older brother of Ronaldo, Brazillian National soccer star
Beach sites in Nice: Topless women and men in god-awful tighty-whitey grape-smuggling bikini-brief bathing suits
Sequence: Bologna, Rimini, Firenze, Toscana, Elba, Cinqua Terre, Firenze, Roma, Pompeii, Positano, Capri, Leuca, Bari
Trouble: What I'd be in if I used any of the Italian that my first host, Marco Bini taught me!
Train conductors, waitresses, shopkeepers, friendly strangers everywhere: My other language professors
Infinitely nicer than the French: Reaction of every italian when I made sincere attempts to speak their language
Hotel Medici: Great place to stay in Florence, adjacent to the Duomo (ask for Gabrielle. 325-284818)
Florence By Bike: Great place ro rent bikes in Florence (055-488992 www.florencebybike.it)
Connecting with Gloria Beck (close friend from SF): The best thing about arriving in Florence, after 2 months of solo travel
1 week: Duration Gloria and I cycled through Tuscany
Impruneta, Greve, Radda, San Gimignano, Siena, Piombino: The towns we covered
Favorite closeup: Face to face with grapes on the vine in a tuscan vineyard
Favorite panorama: hilltop castle surrounded by vineyards in tuscan countryside
Where to see this: Every place you look
1 bottle minimum: Quantity of chianti consumed every day in Tuscany
A lot: Quantity of pasta consumed every day in Tuscany
Lasagna: my favorite thing to order for dessert
Our typical picnic: Baguette, proscuitto, mozzerella, basil, tomatoes, olive oil, olives, chianti, chocolate, and sometimes gatorade
"Squisito" (delicious), "Bellisima" (beautiful): Words I almost wore out
All of San Gimignano and staying in a Castle Bed & Breakfast in Radda: Highlights from Tuscany
Vecchi de Mure & Chiliberi: Amazing restaurants in San Gimignano
Acqua al Due: Favorite restaurant in Florence (055-284170)
Mid-email at an internet café on island of Elba, off Tuscany, waiting for the Ferry: my location on September 11
Watching Italian news coverage of WTC on big screen in Ferry bar juxtaposed with the sounds of laughter and merriment from the on-ferry children's indoor playground right behind us: Most surreal audio/visual experience about Sept. 11
4 hours: Duration to cycle from 1st to 5th town of Cinque Terra
La Grotto: Favorite restaurant in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terra
North end of Monterosso: Favorite Beach in Cinque Terre
1) Ancient Rome 2) Trastevere (Jewish Ghetto) 3) Vatican Museum: The three walking tours I took in Rome
"Enjoy Rome": Recommended walking tour company (06-445-1843 Via Magera 88, 3 blocks N.E. of Stazione)
Sheer size: What I still can't get over about the David sculpture
School of Athens: Favorite Raphael Fresco in the Vatican
Hallway of Maps: Favorite part of the Vatican museum, after the Sistene chapel, sculptures, and Raphael Frescos
300: Number of stairs to top of the Cupoloa of St. Peters, worth climbing for panoramic views of Rome
Less biased coverage, Dave Barry, Calvin & Hobbes: Why I love the Herald International Tribune
Campo di Fiori: Awesome farmer's market and great part of Rome to stay in
Roman Sports Center, Spagna metro stop: Site of the only swimming pool I could find in Rome
21: Number of grotto's along the perimeter of the island of Capri
2 out of 3: Number of days on Capri that high/rough waters prohibit entry to the Blue Grotto
"Pizzaman, Pizzaman": Self-proclaimed name of our rolly-polly illegal boat guide that stealthily took us in to the Blue Grotto
Stretched white t-shirt over massive belly with name "Pizzaman" on it, and him singing "pizzaman, pizzaman" like a jingle: How you know this is his name
Michelle Piretti: My friend that I owe a million thanks to for hooking me up with friends all over Italy
Old World: Description of the family that I stayed with in Leuca, southern tip of Italy
Orichietti & Cavatelli: Pasta that "mama italiana" (my adopted italian mom) was making by hand at 6am
Zero: Number of pasta dishes that I have ever tasted in my whole life that were better than this
Rappa: Name of delicious italian vegetable that only grows in and near Leuca, similar to brocolli rabe
Vittner: What Cosimo, the father of this family, has been for 30 years.
Potent: Cosimo's home-made wine (which he also sells to restaurants and wine shops)
"Mangia, mangia . piano, piano . ": How Cosimo would coax me into eating to oblivion (translation: Eat, eat, . slowly, slowly)
Waking up in Yugoslavia: Most bizarre travel experience on trip, overnight ferry from Italy
Desolation Wilderness, California: Closest thing to the mammoth, barren, taupe-colored Yugoslav mountains
1: Number of cities or towns where I didn't feel safe during my whole trip - the port town of Bar, Yugoslavia
$90: Cost of 5 hr taxi cab ride thru Yugoslavia, to major city Podgorica, then to border to cross into Croatia
Shady characters who didn't speak any english: Reasons why I didn't feel safe in Yugoslavia
Dubrovnik, Croatia: Single most beautiful town on my whole trip
1.5 hours: Time it takes to walk the whole perimeter of the old city of Dubrovnik _on top_ of the ancient city walls
Far more difficult than Italian: Trying to converse in native languages in Eastern Europe
Mishi: Name of highly accomplished Russian professor, businessman & diplomat that I partied with in Dubrovnik
What I wish I had in Dubrovnik: More time
1.2 million: Population of Budapest
2.5 months: Time between last swing dance at camp in Herrang sweden, and swing dancing in a Budapest Bar
Twilight: Time of day when my friend gave me a comprehensive sight seeing tour
Not Many: Number of Hungarians I could find who spoke italian
6: Number of major bridges that connect Buda to Pest over the Danube River
No less than 8: Number of times my passport was checked on overnight train from Budapest to Prague
One for One: Ratio of Chocolate baclava traded for German Beer on train with cabin neighbor
5 seconds: How close I was to foiling a train robbery in progress
100 feet: Distance from the Charles bridge to my Hotel in Prague's Old Town Square
4: Number of walking tours I did in Prague
Prague Castle, Mysterious Prague legends, Jewish Ghetto, and Velvet Revolution: Titles of walking tours in order
3: Number of armored people carriers (tanks) positioned outside of Radio Free Europe building, Wenceslas Square.
Broadcasting to Iran and Iraq: Reason that Radio Free Europe building in Prague is considered a terrorist target
Jo's Bar, and the Globe Café: Two spots in Prague where you're guaranteed to meet americans
Buns and cheese only: What I received from newbie waiter at Jo's Café after ordering a "cheeseburger"
James Joyce Pub: my location in Prague the night U.S. started bombing Afghanistan
USA world cup qualifying soccer game vs. Jamaica: Reason I choses a sports Bar over the CNN pub
Landon Donovan: My favorite player on the U.S. national soccer team
Saving the Best for Last: How I feel about ending my 3.5 month trip in Prague
Canon PowerShot s100 Digital Elph, 2.1 megapixels: My Camera
96, 256: Amount (mb) of memory cards I started with
Interlaken & San Gimignano: Sites where I was given & purchased additinoal 128mb memory cards
960: Total number of pictures I could take to fill up all my memory cards
3: Number of times I had all my pictures burnt onto CD so I could clear and reuse the memory cards
$10: Avg cost for getting duplicate CDs burnt so I could send one set home
Near heart attack: How I felt when photo service center told me one of my memory cards was corrupt and that the 450 pictures on it were garbage
Stubborn: Quality of Swiss store owner who initially claimed it could not possibly be the fault of his employees
A free 128mb replacement memory card, and free CD burning: Our settlement
$300: Cost of recovering the pictures from that card at DriveSavers, in Novato California!
Ecstatic: My reaction to this successful recovery
2,500: Total number of pictures taken on whole trip
Not done yet: How long it has taken me to select pics and create the complete slide show
1 month: How long it took me to write and send this final trip email
Topline Summary - my very favorites:
· Swing dancing in Herrang, Sweden, around the clock in 21 hours of sunlight
· Natural rock wonders on the beach in Faro, Island off Stockholm
· Calder Sculpture Garden at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
· "The Earth from the Air" Photo Exhibit, Copenhagen
· Unspeakable emotion at Dachau Concentration Camp, Munich
· Morning runs at sunrise along the coast from Cap D'Ail to Monaco
· Hiking to Eze, Le Village, south of France
· Summitting Monch, Swiss Alp
· Every mouthful of savory local pasta in Tuscany
· Chianti that cost less than water in Italy
· Being in crowded toursist spots and not hearing any english
· Completely forgetting that I ever had a cell phone
· Writing in my journal every night
· Swimming at the base of the old city walls, Dubrovnik, Croatia
· Karlstejn Castle in the Fog, outside of Prague
· Reading Milan Kundera at a Prague café
· Charles Bridge at sunset, Prague
· London Eye at sunset
· Seeing my brother and sister at SFO after 4 months