Friday, August 10, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 68

Day 68:

Wake up 6:15. Check out 6:35, woke hostel owner, he said he'd be up last night.
- Photo of early morning Bario Alto alleyway.
- Crazy man. Woman chanting seen earlier.
- Bus to airport.
- Security: check before check in, questions, security, quick question at gate.
- Accidentally brought water and swiss army knife through.
- Returned to dump water and sent through security again with no problems.
- Realize flew with pocket knife from Romania.
- Arrive 2.5hrs before flight.
- See Atlantic and Lisboa at takeoff.
- Sudden turbulence "no problem with plane" woke me from light nap.
- "Nice to be back in an English speaking country."
- Looked at art in Philly. Disappointed fitting machine removed.
- Sea of clouds back. larger cumulus clouds.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 67

Day 67:

- Take metro and train to Sintra. Love the metro. Nice bell sound, looks modern.
- Good train system.
- From train looks like suburbs, was dissappointing.
- Tourist info full. Follow sign to Palace. Nice art, see the Sintra palace.
- See Moorish castle.
- Long hike to Sintra.
- Ice cream "mini milk" remind me Chinese.
- Very cool palace. Many nooks and crannies. Exposed eroded rocks.
- Every piece of decoration worth viewing. Too much.
- Turkish holding lamps, Glass tree chandelier, other pieces.
- Courtyard (cloister) single fern tree nice.
- Strict on photos. Radioed ahead about me?
- Coral themed port.
- Gardens "like Secret Garden"
- Fern valley, fountains, streams, large trees, ivy covered paths.
- Eroded stones and wells and statues.
- Queen's throne. Reclining carved stone bench. Great view of palace.
- Moorish castle has towers in the forest. Hike to it.
- Remind me Great Wall.
- Fun towers to climb up. No railings.
- Cistern.
- See bridge in Lisboa, the pinching peninsula and ocean.
- Think about viewing invading navy/army. Flight over Atlantic.
- Hike alone in dense forest. Some, but few, people.
- Walk by very full pastry shop.
- Ask: one not know, one no English, one French lady told me (part in French).
- Had travesseiro, queijada and a fofo.
- Good fofo tasted like crap afte rthe other delicious ones.
- Had to wait for travesseiro, hot, burned my tongue.
- Met from San Jose. First time backpack after study in England.
- First stop for him, happy to meet someone doing a trip "more hardcore than him as he was worried about his 6 wk trip.
- Grilled sardines. Delicious potatoes.
- Not sure what to do with bones.
- Delicious flavour of sardines. Grilled with scales, just dark crisp skin.
- Shower, Serbian coins. Sleep early after check flight.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 66

Day 66:

- Cereal and mild for breakfast. Walk with Italian and American.
- American very frank and communal. Loved street art. Couchsurfer.
- Culture shock of Western Europe. Plane vs. Train.
- See arch, main streets, plaza and fountains, statue with elephant.
- See "golden gate" and "Rio Jesus statue"
- Tram up curvy hills. New driver, 1896 wheel, levers. Driving lever with small indicator needle.
- Lisbon view. Red roofs, bridge, river, trees.
- Have bacalau, get very salty at end. Kid bite glass incident.
- Walk around castle. Moorish like. Bought her admission. Afraid after incident she told me about last night.
- Cool courtyard with arrow slots. Walk around wall and up turrets.
- See destroyed cathedral.
- Walk back. Very old black cathedral. Beautifully painted inside. Columned walkway.
- Great view of old buildings, trams, old style lanterns in cobbled streets.
- Exchange and return to hostel through metro.
- Hostel had exposed rock wall.
- Dinner of bifteque with hostel owner. Bought him dinner and melons.
- Sit on kitchen floor (carpet and cushions and small tables). Great melon. Old rusty lanterns.
- Tired, shower. Woke up a bit. Brief talk and go to sleep.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 65

Day 65:

- Breakfast with yoghurt, homemade Korean jam, honey and biscuits.
- Drop luggage at Gara. Very leakey. Drove to palace.
- Line with tour groups always going ahead.
- Tail of English tour.
- Actually like a palace, great metalwork on skylights. Marble and chandeliers.
- 17 tonne carpet and drapes weighing couple of tonnes.
- The 6 times built staircase.
- top floors "just (boring) offices"
- Walk in rain to Piat,a Unirii. Nice tree-lined boulevard.
- Commie blocks remind me of China. Advertising everywhere. Alexandru liked it.
- A district remind me of Xi Dan and umbrella selling
- Look at map in subway.
- Salami survey, 27, no foreigners.
- Piat,a Victorii and Peasant museum.
- Peasant museum very eclectic. "You are in a very special museum, out goal is to make you happy"
- Strangely worded handwritten boards, wall writings, pieces placed everywhere, painted walls, feels like a home rather than a museum.
- Walk to gara. Ask way.
- Metro to Victorii, miss walking tour of Universit,ats... should have planned better.
- Met Romanian from Constant,a going to Hungary. "Trojan horse." -> have you heard of?" "keep in mind"
- See Baneasa, like in photos. Cute, want to fly out from there.
- Otopeni has old flip type board.
- Meal in restaurant.
- Check in open 2 hrs before. Long line. 30 min before checking in.
- Security line, 10 min. Walk around corner, see long customs line.
- Jewish very animated. Portugese not so friendly.
- Met Michelle first tie flyer.
- People cut in line and run ahead.
- Fed up and stopped a woman cutting in line.
- Run to gate-> Athens. Find flight moved since passengers not there.
- Just sit down, announcement. Crown "ooh" reaction and all move.
- Wait board, just sit down and start.
- 9 lei water. "Thieves".
- Didn't believe price, ask again, etc.
- cockpit door not locked, flies open during flight.
- Met 2nd first flier. They talk lots in Romanian.
- Arrive Lisbon. They worry someone steal luggage.
- Pick up by hostel owner. On phone. Bario Alto special driving permit. Tin roads with many people.
- Small cosy hostel, still in works, everyone almost like family.

Monday, August 6, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 64

- Walk around. Passed the Hagia Sofia replica. In church. Guilty for 1 lei and post card ticket.
- Up tower. 1st small stone and brick side tower. Creepy hallway.
- Large central tower. Cracking/uneven/shaking wood steps on metal scaffolding.
- Church bells and motors. Afraid they would ring.
- Pay at top. 4 turrets with windows. Middle tall roof. Turrets small rooms.
- Can see distant hills.
- Bought ticket and return hostel.
[cafe in Lisbon]
- Walk to train. Buy ice cream, the one I wanted to try and chips.
- chips tasted very much like roast chicken as advertised.
- Gypsy chips situation. They sell ring. I thought was begging.
(travesseiro, queijada, fofo)
- Meet Alexandru 2nd half. Talk to him and girl who was there before.
- Alexandru offer place to stay. Learn of couchsurfing in Romanian media.
- Give ride for girl. Talk about Bucharest. Not as bad as expected.
- Dinner at the caru cu bere place. La Mama full.
- Korean and very modern apartment. Chinese drawings. North Korean money.
- Fall asleep later due to birds in park.
- Driving tour. North Korean embassy.
- "these are for rich people" apartment buildings. Remind me Toronto due to highrises.
- Communist buildings (news building). Arch de Triumph. Park with lake and reflection of lights. Horrible roads in rich neighbourhood.
[Lisbon airport, 830 in morning]
- Give coins.
- Old commie block building.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 63

Day 63:

- Breakfast. Drizzle but brighter. More liveley, German band. Cheap 3 lei omlett and 3 lei coffee.
- Meet at tourist info (me and Swiss with Romanians). Horrible train times. Bump into the 2 Austrians.
- Drove to Village museum. 15 lei vs. 4 for students. Very large. Buildings mostly open.
- Explored windmills. Traditional food. Gypsy musicians.
- Friendly "authentic" guides.
- Hay roofs, twig roof, oil press, water wheeles, turbines, whirlpools.
- Fold dresses, crafts, horse cart. See the dancing. Line of peeing gypsy musicians.
- Realize gypsy has bad rep in Europe.
- 3 hr dinner at Gallery. Say meet next day in Bucharest (Christina and Radu).
- Walk around Sibiu. Swiss nap and I journal and see money.
- Eyelid windows.
- At 8 pm goto main square to meet the Germans. Realized NE not NW, easier to meet.
- Walk around to look for them. The tall woman situation.
- See in distance walking to NE of all squares. Caught up and found it really was them. Excited to have successful meeting after Mihai.
- Beer, papanasi.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 62

Day 62:

- Felt sick. Get Polish money.
- Get to bus station, grab snacks and water.
- Bus very full. Half crouching/standing on luggage. Crazy driving. Feel very sick. Met from NY.
- Pick up one more. Then sit, but feel like trowing up.
- See fortified churches.
- Medias, industrial, still like communist. Banners, but for commercials.
- Copsu Mica: grey, black. Black decaying large factory shells. Smoke from active factories.
- Couple of abandoned buildings. Throughout trip see people working with shovels, horses.
- Got off near Gara, but was confusing and no landmarks.
- Walk to town with 2 Austrians, booked hostel from tourist info.
- Unsigned building. Goto wrong one first, 2 old people.
- Met Romanians. Think of Hostel movie.
Cu drag, Michelle :-) (not real happy face, exactly like this)

- Up town hall tower/museum. Side tower then main.
- Entire room of couples, many get touchy-feeley.
- Go for walk. Heavy rain, empty.
- Dinner at LP mentioned restaurant across street. Round brick ceiling and costumes, very cool. and music.
- Expensive but best food I've had on trip in Romania.
- Met Croatian and Swiss.
- Goto Gallery bar with Romanians and pair. Slow service and relatively expensive but good.

Friday, August 3, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 61

Day 61:

- Wake up, grab some snack to bring.
- German music
- Walk around center.
- No see until 1:45.
- See Mihail and restaurant, "half hour", not show up.
- Misunderstanding?
- Street kids (smelly) ask for money.
- Draw scribble in notes with pen.
- See the English activist again. Going for bike ride. Decide wait for Mihail.
- Sit for pie in square.
- Hostel full so move to guesthouse. 40->35 lei.
- Met Polish then Aus.
- Goto concert with Aus. Romanian chant, choior, violin, trumpet, organ.
- See the (graduated priest?) woman and husband (?) on street, crowd and German band later.
- Went to dinner by self. Nice basic meal, potatoes, sausauge and steamed cabbage.
- Meet French who were leaving. The 3 Romanians and rakiu shot.
- Drink beer.
- Palinka with Aus, French, Polish.
- Rakiu with Romanians, Polish. Very drunk. Also gave us beer. Polish in bathroom and sleep.
- Drink under grape vines and light, beside fruit trees. Cats.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 60

Day 60:

- On bus met Hong Kong (Dudley) who was in my room.
- Goto Sighis,oara together. Left at station.
- Red Army cemetary, gypsey, up hill through tailor's gate tower.
- Stay at Burg Hostel. Empty, private feeling room. Washed.
- Quick walk around.
- Not find breakfast but stomach ache so lied down for a while.
- Bought cookies.
- Went up history museum/tower. Nice view, direction signs.
- Meeting with Laura and friend.
- Medieval Room first closed. Nice small collection.
- Vlad wall, blood red script for Vlad and "Vlad T,epes, - Dracula"
- Torture Room museum with 1 single room, some drawings and about 5-6 items.
- The English activist call out name walk by square.
- Story of walk, ice cream, football, waterfight, church tower.
- Decide horse card hitchhike next day.
- Story of him looking for Australian girl. Bump into the yr travelling Australian.
- Walk around cemetary (quick).
- "Same people travel Romania, keep bump into"
- Wait for French from Bras,ov.
- Eng. story of men in suits taking photos.
- Aus. girl and I met 2 Americans. (Boston)
- Up to cemetary. Closed now Aus. leave after dinner.
- Americans ask restaurant, meet Mihail who went to Brock and live in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
- Had ciorba with sour cream and hot pepper. See his pub.
[plane to Lisbon]
- Meet French, bring to hostel. Fuller at night, group not show up.
- Americans go sleep at his place. We say meet at 1 next day, possibly for drive.
- Take night photos. German tourist.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

2007 - Post-Graduation Mediterranean - Day 59

Day 59:

- Moved rooms.
- Barely caught 9:50 train to Sinaia. Expensive. 2 older and 1 middle age local.
- "Japan? Korea?" ... talk about me.
- Try talk, but no common language.
- Bought me 1 lei berries from kid with basket. Count to 20, etc.
- See foggy forest. (scribble here by street kid)
on mountains. Nice train station near Sinaia. Scenic outside.
- Can't find tourist info. Eventually found way to Peles, after being misdirected by lost Frence and then locals lead to Peles,.
- Tour Peles,. Amazing details. Cool mix of styles, different styles per room. Turkish smoking room.
- Like seeing the castles in different countries while new.
- Goto Peles,or. No English. Just a sheet. Follow Romanian tour around.
- Nice, but nothing compared to Peles,.
- Gold room and 2 floored bedrooms cool.
[Before meet Germans]
- Walked into monastery. People standing and chanting and cross gesture, did not want to interrupt.
- Incense burning ovens outside in rain and mist.
- Didn't find bus so train back. Drank my beers while tracking down laundary.