Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Stats!

It's been a while since I've updated you on my stats and, well I'm interested to compare the last ones to this weeks.

I have had more page views today (12) than the last time I posted stats (5) but in the last month I have had 979 page views and the previous post I had 1291 page views in the past month.

Stuttgart for the Long Weekend took the top spot with 28 views over Long Time Gone with 26 views. I'm not sure how this stats section works though because My recent post about Nuremberg has less views than some others. Maybe it only shows the more recent ones along with the single with the most views.

Referring URLs are from Google for the most part and that hasn't changed. Less views from CouchSurfing are seen than in the past (I have a link on my CS profile to reach my blog.) Stuttgart is still the main keyword used in locating my blog (to reach images presumably.)

My views in IE and Firefox both went down in % while the views in Chrome and Safari both went up in %, I blame this on classes being in session and more friends of mine readin up on campus. Many people in the HDMZ use Safari while on the Mac's. Though now that I look closer, the users on Mac's has gone down in % as well, so I'm not sure.

The US and Germany are still holding strong in pageviews but the other countries have changed completely from Sweden, Spain, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Poland, India, Italy, and Austria to Indonesia, Sewwden, Spain, The UK, Canada, India, Croatia, and Latvia.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen

Schlenkerla Smokebeer Wheat is an ale with light smoky aroma. As Bavarian wheat beers, it is being brewed with a mixture of both barley malt and wheat malt. The portion of barley malt is hereby a classic Schlenkerla smokemalt, while the wheat malt remains unsmoked. Served unfiltered with its natural haziness, Schlenkerla Wheat reaches its full aroma through bottle fermentation with fine top fermenting yeast.

Original gravity: 13.2%
Alcohol: 5.2%
Bitterness: 20 

Beer: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen

Color: Pours a dark burgundy color with great translucence in spite of its shade. The head is about an inch thick and a light mocha color with lowish retention, but a nice texture. Spotty patches of lacing left on the glass.

Sent: Holy crap, this is smoky. Admittedly, I'm a huge fan of bacon and this definitely has a bacon vibe to it. Tons of wood, saltiness, and of course smoke come across strongly on the aroma. Wonderfully augmented by its subtle sweetness from the malt. Lager breadiness still manages to be noticeable underneath such powerful smokiness, along with slight fruit tones – it’s like toast with strawberry jam. Toffee malts, toasted bread crust, and grain husk back up the big smoke.

Taste: These grains are deliciously roasted to the point of smoke satisfaction, but never overbearing; if German brewers can do anything, it’s make a beer of balance. Wood is much bigger here than in the nose, making the beginning flavors a strong campfire taste of burnt wood chips. Some hops give a touch of fruits to a dark palate, with lemon rind, apple skin, and grape jam – not a bad addition. Salted ham, chicory, peat, Brazil nut, and a bit of tea tastes develop when you dig deeper into the grains; it’s complex roastiness with a good bit of caramel Märzen backbone. Finishes with lingering smoke on the tongue.
Mouthfeel: Well textured (not too thick or too thin), with a light bittersweet dryness. Carbonation is near perfect.

Overall: My first venture into rauchbiers was truly unforgettable; what an outstanding beer. I’m not sure how wide the interpretations of this style go, but anything that can beat this in complexity, aroma, and drinkability would be nothing short of superb.  It's one of those beers that works better the more you drink it, allowing me to see it for the incredible beer that it is.

Serving Type: Bottle



I was honestly a bit worried that when I arrived in Leipzig I wouldn't find my host, Mina, at the train station. While she told me directions on where to go and to look for her yellow bike, I was worried that I would be lost and stuck in this city alone. This probably began because of the fact that I had a host lined up and at the last minute he canceled so Mina was a last minute kind of thing. Though, I'm happy I stayed with her instead!

 Of course, I had no issues, as soon as I got off the train, I followed her "complex" directions to turn left and went outside. Relief literally washed over me when I saw her standing with her yellow bike and she hugged me hello. Whew!

We decided to walk back to her apartment and she showed me the room I could stay in and let me settle a bit. She was hungry so we made some lunch and it was nice to talk with her about almost anything. She's a vegetarian so no meat was used but we made couscous, zucchini, onions, chick peas, and red sauce. I even got to help cook! We sat together at the table to enjoy our meal and just talked a bit.

When we were done with lunch, Mina gave me a key to her place as well as a few maps and guide books to help me tour the city. She had a big exam coming up on Tuesday so she couldn't show me the city, but that's fine. I never really expect a host to show me the city and I at least know of a few things to see and do in the city if I'm stuck wandering alone.

I decided on walking everywhere rather than paying for the trams and buses, plus, knowing me, I'd get really lost if I did that. Somehow I can navigate a subway without a single issue but when it comes to a bus or an above ground train, I'm useless.

When I got into the city, rather than looking the part of a tourist and using the map, I just wandered and wandered and, oh yeah, wandered some more. I found a ton of statues of / for famous composers and I even found the church where many of Bach's works were first performed. This particular church required an entrance fee first though and, get this, not only were they asking for 9 Euros each, they were sold out until the next Friday! (I later discovered that this was for an evening of organ music, but still!)
Leipzig, with more than 530.000 inhabitants, is one of the two largest cities in the Saxony, Germany. It is is situated about 200 km south of Berlin at the meeting point of the Weisse Elster, Pleisse, and Parthe rivers at the southerly end of the North German Plain.

Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing. After World War II, Leipzig became a major urban centre within the Communist German Democratic Republic but its cultural and economic importance declined.

Leipzig later played a significant role in instigating the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, through events which took place in and around St. Nicholas Church. Since the reunification of Germany, Leipzig has undergone significant change with the restoration of some historical buildings, the demolition of others, and the development of a modern transport infrastructure.

The Leipzig region was the arena of the 1813 Battle of Leipzig between Napoleonic France and an allied coalition of Prussia, Russia, Austria and Sweden. It was the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I and ended Napoleon's presence in Germany and would ultimately lead to his first exile on Elba.

The city was also heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II. Unlike its neighbouring city of Dresden this was largely conventional bombing, with high explosives rather than incendiaries. The resultant pattern of loss was a patchwork, rather than wholesale loss of its centre, but was nevertheless very extensive.

In October 1989, after prayers for peace at St. Nicholas Church, established in 1983 as part of the peace movement, the Monday demonstrations started as the most prominent mass protest against the East German regime.
The main sights I saw were:
  • St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche): Most famous as the place where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as a cantor and home to the renowned boys choir Thomanerchor
  • Monument to Felix Mendelssohn in front of this church. Destroyed by the Nazis in 1936, it was rebuilt on 18 October 2008.
  • St. Nicholas Church (Nikolaikirche), for which Bach was also responsible. The weekly Montagsgebet (Monday prayer) held here became in the 1980s the starting point of peaceful Monday demonstrations against the DDR regime.
  • Old Town Hall: the old town hall was built in 1556 and houses a museum of the city's history
  • New Town Hall: the new town hall was built upon the remains of the Pleißenburg, a castle that was the site of the 1519 debate between Johann Eck and Martin Luther.
  • City-Hochhaus Leipzig: built in 1972, it was once part of the university and is the city's tallest building
  • Bundesverwaltungsgericht: Germany's federal administrative court was the site of the Reichsgericht, the highest state court between 1888 and 1945
After wandering the city, I headed back to Mina's house because I was exhausted! I got back and laid in bed for a few minutes but Mina soon came in and invited me to help her and a friend make dinner. We had wine and beer and cooked some pumpkin and veggies to go in a salad. We even baked an apple cake for desert. 

It was great to meet these girls and all share our experiences with couch surfing. Though, I think I'm the only one who had such awkward experiences through the site. Maybe it's me?


I woke up early like every other day, and left the apartment around 7 AM. I walked into the city and explored but since it was Sunday, nearly nothing was open. Obviously. I wound up literally walking in circles for two hours and finally ending up at the St. Thomas Church where I had free entry during mass, heck yes! The famous boys choir sung during mass too, unreal.

After mass, nothing was open yet so I stopped for breakfast in a coffee shop. I then went back into the city and found the information shop which I had searched for before but couldn't find and didn't really find any useful information other than some city maps which I took to give to Mina for future guests to use.

 The art museum beside the information booth was open for for 3,50 Euros I went inside. I didn't see any signs saying I couldn't take pictures (like there were in the St. Thomas Church) so I took a ton! As you can probably see...

After that, I didn't do much else in the city but wander and look in shop windows and decided to head back to Mina's apartment to grab my things to leave.

On the way back, it wasn't just a nice, normal, soothing walk. I was being followed! Yeah, yeah, tell me I"m paranoid..... OK, go it out of your system yet?

Seriously. This guy, yes I took a photo, I needed it for this post, was following me. Why? Who the hell knows but he kept looking at me and it creeped me out so I decided to let him walk ahead and I just slowed down to look into some shop windows. When I looked up though, he was waiting for me, looking right at me on the other side of the street.

So I kept walking, took a few wrong turns and sure enough, he was following me. Finally when I got to Mina's street, I crossed and he stayed on the other side and I walked right past her place and when I thought the coast was clear, I turned around and went to go into her place but he was on the street in front of me looking at me!

I ran inside as fast as possible and sprinted upstairs. Dear lord I was worried he'd follow me!

Once inside and safe, I relaxed a bit and said my goodbyes to Mina and roommates and was about to leave when Mina offered me some food for the trip home. I packed a sandwich and headed out, hopeful that my stalker would be gone.

Thankfully, he was gone and I walked in peace to the train station. I was a bit early so I read some of my book then boarded the train and without and mishaps, I was in Paderborn at 8 PM, took the bus to my apartment, and Skyped with my family.

Shortly after that I was down for the count and sleeping quite soundly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012



Since my bike is gone, I walked to work in the morning. Again, I don't have too much work to do so I worked a bit and was asked to translate some texts into English but then I left. I went to the train station at 1 PM (13:00) and waited a bit to get on my train to Nuremberg. I had a few changes but the trip was seamless!

When I was at the Nuremberg Hbf, I wandered a bit since I had to wait for my host to finish with a phone interview and suddenly, he called me. We agreed to meet up at the train station and after some miscommunication as to my location, Till, my host met me there.

We walked into the city and went to his apartment, nearly directly in the center of the city, and I dropped my bag there and changed my jacket because I was too warm. He had some things to do so we walked into the city and while he was sorting things out with his phone, I wandered in and out of shops. When he was finished, he showed me around the city a bit and we bought some food to eat back at his place.

He showed me the "lucky fountain" and how to turn the ring to get luck but I couldn't reach it so he turned it for me.

He was hungry and tired so we headed back and ate some dinner. A true German dinner. Bread, meats, and cheese, all cold. He had work in the morning though so we turned on the TV and watched a Lord of the Rings film until we both fell asleep, me on the couch and him in his bed.


I woke up at 6:30 AM when Till was getting up for work but went back to sleep till 7:30 AM, it's nice not having a schedule to stick to and kind of sleeping in. I showered and got ready for the day and eventually left the apartment. Till gave me a key so I could come back when I wanted to.

I began by wandering the city, stopped in a Starbucks for a coffee and a piece of cake for breakfast, but nearly nothing else was open yet so I just window shopped for a bit.

I found the information house near the train station and grabbed some info on the museums and things in town and went off in search of buildings I had heard of and museums I wanted to see.

My first real stop was the Germanisches Nationalmuseum where I found some interesting things about the country. There was nothing on the war and it only focused on Germany's "real" history which was a bit refreshing after such a heavy curriculum in my German courses dealing with WWII.

The Germanische Nationalmuseum (GNM) has existed since 1852. It was founded by Hans Freiherr von und zu Aufseß who intended to collect and display exhibits relating to German culture and history. Today, the museum's collection comprises over 1.2 million objects, making it Germany's largest museum of cultural history, as well as the National Museum of the Federal Republic. 

Again, I set out into the city and did a lot of walking, even bought my mom's Christmas presents, then dropped them off at Till's apartment. I stopped in some churches, wandered the city more and when I was back at the "lucky fountain", Till sent me a text to ask where I was and we met up.

We walked back to his place and relaxed for a bit, I got a call from mom even, then we went back into the city and had dinner at Vapiano. We had decided to eat sushi, but in the end, settled on something else, pasta.

When we finished dinner, we required a walk and we went to the castle and saw the gardens and a view of the city from above. We walked back down and stopped in the market that was in the main square for the Alt Stadt Fest (Old City Festival.)

Nuremberg Castle is a historical building on a sandstone rock in the north of the historical city of Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany. It comprises three sections: the imperial castle "Kaiserburg", some buildings of the Burgraves of Nuremberg "Burggrafenburg", and the municipal buildings of the Imperial City at the eastern site "Reichsstädtische Bauten".

The night wasn't over yet though! We then took the  U-Bahn then tram to the "Nazi place" now called Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände.

In 1933, the National Socialists decided that Nuremberg was to be the "City of the Party Rallies". They created a link between the Nazi movement and Nuremberg's glorious past as Free City of the Empire and venue for the imperial diets in the middle ages. This is why they staged the annual NSDAP party rallies here ever year in September, up until 1938. Designed by Albert Speer, in the city's southern districts, the "Party Rally Grounds" were erected as a huge parade ground on an area of 24.5 hectares.

After walking around the building and seeing the marching grounds on the back side, we took the tram back to the Hbf then walked back toward Till's place but stopped at a supermarket for beer and such. We then went back to Till's apartment and watched the soccer game (Nuremberg v Frankfurt), had a beer, watched a horror movie (a very bad one at that.)

I mean, I know I'm gorgeous, but the guy honestly tried to sleep with me! I mean, he didn't ask or anything, it was just like, I want this.. Of course, I said no, and that was the end of it, but... Oh boy. We went to bed after that. Again, in separate beds.


I woke up at 6:30 AM without an alarm and began repacking my bag to leave for Leipzig. I didn't realize I had so much more now but my bag was full and it wasn't before, when I arrived. Once my things were in order, I woke Till to say goodbye and he told me he wanted me to stay longer. Um. He hugged me goodbye and I was on my way.

I went to train station and bought a "butter bretzlen" and a coffee then proceeded to wait for my train to Leipzig. Once I boarded and found an empty seat, surprisingly without a reservation, I was on my way to Leipzig and arrived at noon.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The "Hotel Train"

Sorry to leave you hanging like that, but... Well, OK, I'm not all that sorry.


I boarded the Hotel Train first and got into my car. Soon enough there were two more women who arrived in the car and I was quite relieved that they both spoke English! I was really worried that no one would speak English and I would be alone the whole trip but we had fun talking about our horrible conditions.

As the train began to move, a conductor stopped by to see our tickets and he took our passports telling us we would get them back in the morning. I wasn't expecting that and I didn't know how to feel that he took it but what could I do?

A bit later, another man stopped by to offer reservations for dinner, which of course we had to pay for and a plain omelet cost 7 Euros. The restaurant only had openings at 10 PM and 10:30 PM, he told us that the beds couldn't be put down before 9:30 PM and the whole time he had an annoyingly sinister smile plastered to his face. I think he got enjoyment from our pain and thought that anyone stupid enough to take this train was, well, just that, stupid! We all decided against dinner and sat in our chairs for a while.

The British woman found another worker in the train and had him take our beds down early so we could lay down at 8 PM. We all laid down on our suspended prison cots to "relax" and the slight rocking of the train slowly lulled us to sleep.

Of course, the bliss of sleep can only last so long when traveling and at 10:30 PM, there was someone trying to break into our... OK, so I found out soon enough that they were supposed to be in our room too but jeez, can't you knock?

This was only the beginning of this rude awakening.

I was yelled at that I was in her bed by her and the conductor but they both (acted like) they didn't understand  me and only spoke French even though this was the same conductor that took our passports and he spoke English earlier.

Let me tell you. Being woken up in the middle of the night by someone screaming at you in a language you don't know is not really an experience for the bucket list. I was half awake and honestly scared. Of course, I can't sleep with full clothing on and even on this train, with a locking door and all, I had stripped down quitee a bit. Stop judging me!

I told the woman I would move to the other bed, even though this was my bed in the first place, but asked her to close the door since there was people in the hallway and I wasn't exactly fully clothed. The woman, the conductor, and who I can only assume was the woman's husband all screamed at me when I reached for the door. It's like they thought I was going to do something unthinkable withthe door shut. What did they think we were going to do when we shut the door? Beat her up? OK so I didn't honestly consider it... I swear...

Finally I just had to pull off the covers and show her that I was indicent before she would shut the door and even then the men were still yelling. She had to open the door and tell them I was indecent then she shut it again. Even after I got into the other bed, she was quite rude. She kept the light on, moved my bag and handed it up to me in bed... What was I supposed to do with it up there? Then stripped down and got in bed. And to think, people are always asking me why I so dislike the Persians.

After than and my fear of bunkbeds after my knee incident, I had a hard time falling back asleep so I read some and finally fell asleep again.


I woke up on the train, not quite so rudely this time, and just laid in my bed. The train would arrive in Paris around 10:30 AM and it  was nearly 9 AM already. Everyone was already awake but at 9:30 AM a loud beeping noise happened in the room and I'm assuming it was the very rude way of waking up all the passengers. Jeez, this train sucks!

Once everyone in the room was awake, the conductor returned our tickets and passports and we put up one of the beds so we could sit on one bed while the French woman laid across a whole bed herself looking quite smug. We just sat in silence for the rest of the trip except when the woman left the room and then we could all fume over her stupidity and rudeness.

I got off the train and went toward the Metro station inside the greater train station where I had to get to Gare du Nord for my next train. Quite suprisingly, the transfer was seamless and I got on the train to Köln without issues.

I was sitting in my seat when a boy dropped his things in the seat next to me and said something in English and I swore he was American with his accent but when I asked, he's actually German, speaks fluent French, and speaks English with an Ameican accent. Crazy! He's studying law in Hamburg and invited me to visit him if I'd like. I have no idea when I would find the time for that but we exchanged numbers anyways.

From Köln, I got onto a train to Hamm (Westf) where I would change to a train to Paderborn but looking at the train schedule, I found that I could take a direct train which only added a few extra minutes on from across the platform only a minute later. I hopped on the other train and sat down. I even asked a conductor if it went to Paderborn and he said yes.

Long story short, I wound up in Papenburg, no idea how or where that is even, but I digress. I had to catch the next train back to Münster then got a train to Paderborn. I arrived in Paderborn at 11 PM. Hey, I saw the countryside but added an extra 5+ hours to my trip.

I looked for my bike at the train station but it wasn't there. I figured it was just dark so I didn't see it and went to catch a bus. The last bus to my apartment was already gone so I took another bus that only took me half way there and then walked the rest of the way.

As if things couldn't get worse, I tried taking a shower and only had cold water. Great. I washed my hair but kept my body out of the cold water and went to pass out in bed.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Madrid in Only a Day and a Half


Once I was in Madrid, finding the Metro was the next step. While it wasn't hard, buying my ticket was dificult. I wanted a two day pass and had to ask how to get to Maria Tudor station but finally I was on my way. Of course, my cell phone still wasn't working in Spain so I asked a girl in the station if I could use hers but I don't know if she didn't understand me or if she didn't want me to use the phone and she just pointed away from the station as if I was supposed to walk to find a pay phone. Of course I considered that but when I was on street level, there was nothing. Nothing at all.

I walked away from the station and finally found some girls who spoke a bit of English and they let me use their phone to call Roberto. He told me to wait at the station and that he would meet me there so I thanked the girls, turned around and headed back to the Metro station.

Just as he said, Roberto showed up and he walked me back to his family's apartment. I got to meet his wife and doughters but the family needed to leave to go to a party at the Mexican embassy in Madrid. Before they left, they showed me some things to do in the city for the afternoon and then they were on their way.

I showered and made a sandwich since he kept saying to "help myself to the fridge" and I was on my way into the city. I hopped onto the Metro and headed toward Puerto del Sol. 

When I got out of the station, I saw this building but when I turned around, there were shops beyond shops. I'm not a big shopper but I am a bargin hunter so I went into a few shops and even wound up with a few new tops!

The Spanish arcatecture as amazingly beautiful and everywhere I went, I was reminded of this fact. I even found a small "renisance" market. I bought a few small things like christmas presents for friends but I just couldn't stay still, I wanted to explore everything in the city.

I went into a few more shops and even stopped for some Tapas and drinks, but it's not the same when you're alone actually, drinking alone is always a bit sad.

Finally after a bunch more wandering, I too the Metro back towards Roberto's house and decided to stop a few times on the way. I got on at Banco de Espana to Sol then from Sol to Plaza de Castilla. I got off there and walked around but there really wasn't anything to see at night.

I got back on the Metro and went to Tres Olivos and had to switch to another train to get back to Las Tables. One more change and a short walk and I was back at the apartment. Since Roberto gave me a key, it didn't matter that him and his famil was not home, I could just go in. (This is very common for CouchSurfing when the host cannot show you the city themselves they tell you what to see and send you out with keys in case they're not there when you get back. Or for me, since my phone didn't work, it was 100% necessary.)

I decided to relax and watch some TV in Spainish, a language I don't know at all, and I setteled on childrens programing. Maybe my subconcious learned a few words... Right? I fell asleep at some point but I woke up when two Austrian girls showed up. They were also CouchSurfing, so we got to chat a bit (in broken German on all parts) in Austria, they speak "German" but it's not Hoch Deutsch which is propper German. Finally, I decided to go to bed.

As soon as I got into bed, the family came home and I got up to say hello. They were all quite drunk but that's the nice part about having such good public transportation, no need for a DD, just take the Metro.

We wound up staying up until about 3 AM talking and drinking and I finally went to bed.


When I woke up at 9:30 AM, the Austrian girls were already gone which surprised me but they had said last night that they were getting up at 7 AM (I at least understood that in German.) I quickly got ready and left the apartment to go to the Metro.

I went back to Plaza de Castilla and took a few photos but even in the day it wasn't anything special so I got back on the Metro to Ibiza so I could find Parque del Retiro. 

I wandered the park and found some beautiful views, there was even a small pond / lake thingy where you could rent row boats and go out on the water.

I kept walking through the park and finally came out on the other side. I had no idea where I would find the Prado Museum when, BAM!, I look up and there it is! It took some serious searching but finally I found the ticketing office, but first I found this church and checked it out. It was breathtakingly beautiful from the outside -- with it's sand colored and white stones and the high peaks -- but the inside wasn't really anything special.

The entrance fee for the museum was 12 Euros for general admission and 6 Euros for students but I left my student ID in my backpack so I paid full price. The museum was fabulous!

The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in Madrid. The museum features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, and it is based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. The collection is seen unquestionably as the best single collection of Spanish art in the world.

When I was finished in the museum, I walked some more and found a museum with free entrance and looked inside. All the art was from the Tate museum in London. Also, when I left this free museum, I found this awesome wall covered in greenery, how cool!

I then walked back through the park to find the botanical gardens but there was a really long line to get in so I decided against it. I needed to get back to the house sometime soon to grab my things and make my train home. I continued to wander through the park then caught the Metro back but again, I stopped and wandered between stops.

I got back to the house and Roberto and family were there and we talked a bit and they made me some food then I grabbed my things and went to the train station so I didn't miss my train. After a long wait, they finally announced the platform I would be leaving from and I went to board the train. 

This was a night train, a "hotel train" with beds. Never again. Never. I will never travel with a train like this if at all possible in the rest of my living, breathing life. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Trip Down and Time in Barcelona


On Wednesday I woke up at went to work like a normal day but I left early like it was a Friday. I biked home and showered, grabbed my bag for the trip then biked to the train station where I locked up my bike outside and hopped onto a train to Koln. My next train was 15 minutes later than planned  but while I was waiting, I met some cool British girls and we discussed the differences between Germany and the English speaking world. They were in Germany for 10 days visiting family and were on their way back to England.

Finally the next train arrived and we boarded to go to Bruxelles Midi (the middle central station in Brussels) this train wound up 40 minutes late though so as we arrived, my next train to Paris was leaving. Great. I asked a conductor and he told me that they would put me in a hotel for the night in Paris since I wouldn't make my night train to Barcelona ans he was really helpful the whole time. I went to the help desk and they put me on the next train out which was about 30 minutes later. I got to meet an American man on this train, so that was cool at least. He was from Pennsylvania and he owns his own chocolate company, awesome, no? I also talked to a girl from South Korea named "Liz", that's probably the best part about trains, you meet all kinds of people.

By the time I got to Paris Nord and made the switch to Paris Austerlitz, the night train to Barcelona was gone so I had to pay another 9,50 Euros to make a reservation for the morning. They, of course, would not pay for a hotel since it was "Germany's fault" that I was late, not them but they told me I could get a hotel for 200 Euros. Right.

I wandered the area around the train station but then just walked to Gare du Lyon which is where the next train would leave from but once I was there, there was nothing to do but sit and read. Oh, and tons of French men were approaching me and telling me I was beautiful, probably in the hopes that I was going to sleep with them... But no.


Of course, the train station would close for the night at 2 AM so I was pushed to the streets to begin my life as a street walker. I didn't even have the opportunity to walk around though because it rained the whole night. While outside, I talked to a bunch of French guys who, again, probably wanted me to sleep with them but, hell, they were creepy. I also had a very drunk bum hitting on me and he even touched me once. It took all the restraint I had to not punch him in the face. I walked out into the rain and found a bus stop where I could sit for a while and read. While at the bus stop, I met a French guy who spoke English decently. The French don't speak English. He rolled us a splif and we talked for a while and finally at 4:30 AM, the train station opened again though so I could sit inside, out of the rain.

I went in and the French splif guy bought me a coffee and told me he'd stay until my train left (2 hours after his did) but I insisted that he go. Probably wanted to sleep with me. Once he left, I met an Indian guy, a French guy, and an Arabic guy who spoke English and we talked until my train left. The Indian guy even asked to take a photo of us together... Why, I don't know. Now that I think about it, I don't think I want to know.

Finally at 7:15 AM I boarded on track 7, hall 2 and was finally off on my way to Barcelona. Finally in a safe, somewhat warm place, I fell asleep.When I woke up there was an Asian guy sitting next to me and he really reminded me of the Asian guy from The Hangover movies even if he was reading the bible. The two guys across from me were both very attractive but it took me a while to guess if they are gay or not (one had a wedding band on) the one directly opposite me looked exactly how I see Sam Scott in ten years time.

We arrived in Barcelona and I got off the train but I had the hardest time figuring out how to leave the station. There were gates up that you could only exit through with scan-able tickets (like the metro ones) but finally I found a guy with an open gate, showed him my ticket and left.

I got out and went to find the metro, following the directions that Bobby had sent me earlier, I found where I needed to go but when I tried to call him, my phone didn't work. I guess I figured he'd just show up and I waited. After a while, I decided to wander the area and I found some cute stuff like a church and a market.

This was Bobby's picture on CouchSurfing
Bobby in Real Life
Finally I went back to Burger King and bought some food and waited more. Jeez, this is complicated. I finally found some girls who at least understood English and they let me borrow their phone to call Bobby. He was at work but he sent his brother to pick me up.

His brother bought me a beer and we sat in a bar for a bit but he rushed me to drink faster since he was "already late." We walked in the direction of the apartment (I assumed) but he stopped in a store and told me to wait outside. I honestly couldn't decide if he was making plan to sell me into the sex trade, buying drugs, or trying to avoid selling me into the sex trade but when we left the store, the man inside looked at me strangely and Bobby's brother had a baguette.

When I arrived in the apartment, there was another Indian guy there and then Bobby's brother (though I didn't know it was his brother then.) Judging by Bobby's pictures, he's not Indian, but then again, people lie all the time, right?

Admittedly I was quite tired from no sleep in Paris and very little on the train but I was slightly offended when I was rushed out of the kitchen into a bedroom by Bobby's brother and told to rest and that it "was nothing personal." Bobby wasn't even home yet and I don't speak a word of Spanish so I don't know why I was rushed out I wouldn't have understood what they discussed. I was woken up by Bobby when he got him and he brought dinner, not that I even remotely hungry but I thought it would be rude to say no, so I went to the kitchen anyways. Bobby and I talked a bit and I picked at my food but then it was time for bed.

I went to the room where I was before and Bobby followed me and began undressing. I was confused but then he told me that we could share the bed or he could sleep on the floor. He just kept talking and telling me all about another girl he hosted and why she left early, not really what I wanted to hear though.

Finally I went to sleep and it felt good!


The room was small and quite dark, the only light coming from a small window that looked into the small courtyard in the middle of the building that was only lit by skylight. Because there was very little natural light, I didn't get out of bed until 8:45 AM and I woke Bobby. I went to take a shower but, hmm, what's this? Only freezing cold water!

Once he was awake, he started boiling potatoes and went to buy coffee. He brought it back and I made coffee on the stove, just boiled water with the grounds in it and then poured it into a cup. The only cup in the house mind you.

"Breakfast", if you can call it that when we didn't eat until 11 AM, was something like stuffed tortillas with plain yogurt. It was an interesting process to watch but not really my cup of tea. I mean, it was food, but it wasn't too tasty. We then had tea and it was far too sweet (I think that Europeans, when you buy tea in a shop or something, is always too sweet) but I said thanks and drank anyways. Finally around noon, we left to explore the city. 

Bobby didn't know where anything was but then again, neither did I and we found some cool stuff! We started at the Sagrada Familia but it cost 17 Euros to go inside and we decided to only look from outside.

 But there was a nice lake on the back side so I got some cool Pictures at least.

Our next destination was supposed to be Guell Park but we actually wound up at Arc de Triomf and then we walked to La Rambla.

We walked down the street with some booths set up on the sides of the street but it wasn't really a market. We wandered through a park on our way there too and found all kinds of strange but cool things. At the end of the road, we found the port and the monument dedicated to the place where Columbus met with the King and Queen of Spain when he returned from "the new world." Oh, and there were sail boats beyond sail boats too. Made me miss home.

On the bright side, since I wasn't traveling alone, I had someone to take my picture everywhere! Score!

Finally after wandering the port for a while, we kept walking and finally found the park we were looking for! We walked all the way to the top of the city and got the perfect view over the town.

From above, the whole city looked so small, like there wasn't a worry in the world, it was crazy for such a large city.

We took a bus to a near by metro station and actually found some of the Goya buildings I mentioned before, but it wasn't even planned! How cool!

We went to see a water show at a fountain, one of the first fountain shows in the world 1910 or so I hear. We stayed through two shows then went back by metro to find the carnival but he didn't know where I was so we walked in circles.

We got on the metro and went back to Bobby's neighborhood because he said there was a carnival going on but he didn't know where it was so we walked in circles. I hadn't eaten anything since "breakfast" and it was already 10 PM so I was getting moody and I just wanted to sleep.

We went back to Bobby's and I "showered" in the freezing cold water then went to bed. Bobby was upset that I wanted to sleep and wouldn't drop it either. He turned on the light and just kept talking. Finally I assured him that I only wanted to sleep and he went away.


I woke up at 7 AM, with the help of my alarm and grabbed my things and was about to leave without a word but I woke Bobby to say goodbye. Of course, he offered to walk me to the station but I said no. I should have said yes though because I only had a 50 Euro bill and no one could make change for it. Great.

I walked for nearly an hour and a half trying to get change but couldn't do it. Luckily, I found a bar that could give me change and I bought a metro pass and went to the train station. When I was there though, they wouldn't accept my ticket because it was from Germany and I had to buy another reservation for 10 Euros. No big deal really.
I got on the train to Madrid at 11 AM and began reading my book but when I was finished with the book... I had nothing to do so I just looked out the window.