Germany- Rhine River, Tubingnen, Rothenburg

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July 1st 2007
Published: January 4th 2008
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Germany - Rhine River, Tubingen, Rothenburg

Tubingen is not a tourist place.Tubingen is not a tourist place.Tubingen is not a tourist place.

It amazed me a beautiful place like this is not a tourist place at all.
I got up around 6:30 got my stuff together and was out the door around 7. At the bus station I paid the 3.60 franc for my ticket, thankfully for the last time. It seems a little expensive to me. Within a few minutes I was at the train station. I remember the night before deciding against any train options with more than 5 changes as that would be just too hectic. I was just going to start getting on trains and see where I ended up at the end of the day. I hoped to end up in either Brussels or Amsterdam. I had emailed the person I know in Brussels but had not heard from her so I was just planning on heading to Amsterdam.

I found a train that was going in a direction towards Basel where I knew there were lots of trains going to destinations all over Europe. The train stopped at a location not far from Solothurn and I got off and jumped on the next train going to Basel which arrived in just a few minutes. Soon we were pulling into Basel and I looked at my train schedule book and knew
Holy Crap Where's My Passport?Holy Crap Where's My Passport?Holy Crap Where's My Passport?

This is the Chec Republic Passport Dude. They jump on the trains and make sure you have the proper paperwork. It is always a little unnerving when they come aboard but I never had any problems.
there was a train going to Frankfurt. That was in the general direction I was needing to go so I jumped on the next train to Frankfurt after waiting about 20 minutes. Everything was going great and I was making great time. I couldn't believe how smoothly this was all going. I looked at my train schedule book and realized I could be Amsterdam by a little after 5:00 and in Brussels a little after 4:00. The website we were looking at last night did not give this option or was it an option we had thrown out because of all the stops. After pulling in Frankfurt I had about a half hour before the next train would leave for Brussels so I went downstairs to the internet café as I had been here before and knew exactly where it was located. I walked in and hurriedly told the person "internet." The person said not possible. The computers were shut down. Damn not sure why either, he just said not possible. I walked away and though no reason to get in a rush now just need to head upstairs and wait for my train. As I walked towards the train platform I saw a telephone podium looking box that could be used for internet access. All I need to check is to see if the person from Brussels had emailed me. The cost was 1€ for 10 minutes so I went for it. It was cumbersome using the wheel and keys on this device, no dissertations were going to be typed that is for sure but to check email sure it can be used for that.

After about 2 minutes of fumbling around with the keys I was too my email page and sure enough she said come over. I wrote down the information and went to my platform ready to board and still had a couple minutes to kill.

I was now on my train headed for Brussels. I really liked the City there and looked forward to drinking some beer in the downtown area maybe even going back to the Delirium Cafe. Hopefully the Beer Nazis were not there this night.

After talking to the people near me they offered their phone for me to use to call so I could finalize the directions. I had forgotten that she did not live in Brussels, but
180 MPH!180 MPH!180 MPH!

in Antwerp. I should have went on to Amsterdam as this was going to take longer now. Oh well I thought it will be cool to get out into the Belgium countryside. After getting directions I got off the train in Brussels and was on my way to Antwerp. Now this is an exercise in riding trains if there ever was one. So far I was doing well.

The people that loaned me their phone said something about having to get off at a stop prior to Antwerp, but I was not sure about needing to do that, so I rode the train all the way into Antwerp. This was a very confusing station and after asking some questions I realized I needed to go back to that other train station.

I had to wait a few minutes and then got on the train to the stop I was just at. When going back the train for some reason drove past the station and the doors did not open. No one knew what was going on. After about 5 minutes the train backed up to the station where I could get off. This was really weird, but may
Russian Flag in German yRussian Flag in German yRussian Flag in German y

Man Germany has changed. In WWII the Germans and their allies killed 23 million Russians and now you have a guy walking down a street in Leipzig, Germany carrying a Russian Flag.
they had something to do with the surrounding construction. I then learned that the normal platform was not being used that took me to this small town where I needed to go. A different platform was being used as stated by a local cleaning guy. What started out to be a great train riding day had all of sudden gotten confusing. Finally after about 30 minutes of messing around there I was on the final leg of this tour. Lets see we are up to 7 train changes. It really was not that hectic for the first 4, but it had gotten a little hairy with the last couple.

Anyway the countryside here was pretty, but it did not appear to be unique to me in any manner. It was a lot like the Netherlands at the train station. I called my friend and she came to pick me up. She grew up in this small town and was hanging out with a friend and their two boys were playing. There was a carnival in town with lots of rides and unhealthy food. They were eating already so I went on my own for some food. We talked for
German FastfoodGerman FastfoodGerman Fastfood

Weiner Feinbacker is a fast food restaurant you commonly see in Germany. Of course there are lots of sausage and hotdog things sold there.
awhile and then headed out. We drove to another town to Isabelle's apartment. Lucas went to bed and a friend of Isabella's stopped by as he was on his way to work. I was getting tired and was having a hard time staying awake. Around 11 her friend left and my sleeping spot on the couch, was evacuated and I went to sleep. I was tired and it felt good to look at the world through the backs of my eyelids for awhile.

I got up around 7 and it felt good to get going. Amsterdam has become my home away from home and it is always nice to go home. I was going home this day.

I said goodbye to Isabelle and left. Lucas was already sleeping. Her directions were very good and I headed across the parking lot through the park and down the tracks to the station.

The train came and I was back on a train. The train went to Antwerp Central where I got on the next train to Amsterdam. It so happened that a lot of other people were going to Amsterdam as well. Amsterdam’s tourist seen is a live
Fast FoodFast FoodFast Food

This food is moving 180 mph. That is what I call fast food!
and well. Why? Because of the coffee shops and the sex scene. I believe mainly the coffee shops as I have seen the sex shops and prostitution in other places in Europe. The pot smoking is unique to Amsterdam. As I have said before I do not smoke it, but I generally do not think it is that bad of drug either if used in moderation. I think alcohol is just as bad. Is it stepping stone drug? I don’t think so at least not anymore than alcohol is to becoming an alcoholic.

Ok this train was packed. Lots of people going to Amsterdam and no reservations required so imagine the chaos. There were people all over the place. People wearing business suits and dresses, college age kids of all shapes sizes and nationalities were headed to Sin City or more commonly referred to as Amsterdam.

I arrived in Sin City around 12:00. I thought his should be great timing as I can harass Jackie as she is eating in the hospital. I was a little concerned that she was even alive as the last email she sent me was that she had a blood infection and she
Route 66 is RepresentedRoute 66 is RepresentedRoute 66 is Represented

Route 66 is all over Europe!
was getting sick of being in the hospital. If she was alive I was going to kill her, when I saw her for not sending me an email after that last one.

I jumped on the ole number 9 tram to the drop off point at Oosterpark that I was beginning to recognize all so well. I walked from there to the hospital and up to the 6th floor. I was the only one wearing a backpack, yet no one seemed to even notice. This is Amsterdam, live and let live.

I made it up to her floor and asked for Jackie Oockers. They seemed a little unsure if the person with that name was there and then she must have recognized the last name and said follow me. As we walked to the room I realized why the confusion, because Jackie said her real first name is Marie.

As I walked in the room Jackie was sitting on the edge of her bed and seemed a little confused at first or maybe a little unnerved, totally out of character of this lady who has plenty of confidence. Not sure what it was and then she said,
This Traveling is Wearing Me Out!This Traveling is Wearing Me Out!This Traveling is Wearing Me Out!

Actaully I was visiting my friend from Amsterdam who was a little under the weather. I made her get out of her bed so I could rest for awhile. What are friends for?
"Oh, Hi Dave".

She said she might get out today and I said damn I was wanting to have her apartment to myself tonight so I could work on my blog. I ask her why she had not emailed me after telling me she had a blood infection. She said she sent that email on a Friday and they do not have internet access on the weekends. I told her I did not think I sent my last email on Friday, but it was more like last Wednesday or Thursday. I told her of course I was not worried about her, as I have just came to work on my blog and thought I could use her computer, while she was in the hospital. I told her jokingly I hoped she did not get out.

A lady there gave me some tea and we sat there for awhile. There were two older ladies there in the room as well that looked quite feeble. Jackie said the one lady was pretty sick, and a very funny lady that Jackie liked to talk to.

We decided to head downstairs to the cafeteria and get some lunch. We got a
Rhine River Castle CountryRhine River Castle CountryRhine River Castle Country

Let the Rhine Castle photo's begin!
frikodel, which is some kind of weird hotdog like thing that no one seems to want to tell me what is in this thing. If anyone knows let me know. Everybody just says it is gross. What can be that gross I have eaten pig tongue mind you? Thankfully the cost was not 23 francs like in Switzerland. We also used the internet for awhile which was free. Jackie had to get back to the room as she did not want to miss the doctor as that was going to be her ticket out of the hospital. I suspect being in the hospital that long would wear on a person. We went back to the room and waited a little longer. Jackie is quite the social person and was talking to everyone, but I couldn't understand the conversations as it was all in Dutch. Based on the laughter and smiles, a lot of it must have been funny or maybe just everyone is smoking pot, as this is Amsterdam.

Well the doctor came and indeed she got to go home. All the stuff that she had accumulated in the hospital was ready to be moved out and guess who
Castle HostelCastle HostelCastle Hostel

This is a hostel and I spent 1 night there. I had to fend off a couple dragons but other than that I had a great night!
just showed up. I was happy to help her move, but I of course harassed her the whole time about me showing up and her putting me to work right away. Well I carried my 80 lbs of stuff which actually was quite of bit of her stuff as well and she carried her 5lbs of stuff back to the apartment. Jackie was so excited. She wanted to go to the grocery store and go pick up a movie. She wanted to do all the mundane things that all of us take for granted. I told her she better not over do it. She had obviously lost some weight and looked a little frail.

We did go and do those things and went for a walk in the nearby park as expected Jackie got tired quicker than normal. We had supper and called it a night.

Jackie said she knows there are ways to buy calling cards that allow you to call home. I have not done that yet on this trip so we went to look for a card. We found one near her house and did the math trying to figure out when I could
My Room in the Castle HostelMy Room in the Castle HostelMy Room in the Castle Hostel

Doesn't even look like a castle on the inside.
call. I decided to just wait until tomorrow which is July 4th as I figured mom and dad both would be home at least in the morning.

Most of this day was spent taking a trip from the trip. I needed a day off. I did spend about 4 hours working on the blog. Didn't really do much more than that. Is doing nothing doing something? I think so.

It felt weird not going to a barbecue on the 4th of July. Over here it is just another day. Nothing special. Jackie asked me who we were celebrating our independence from. I told her England. She said Oh?

I was going to spend most of this day working on the blog. Jackie had to go to the hospital today and have more test ran. I started her computer up and the internet connection would not connect. I asked her about it and it was a complicated matter, but she had worked a deal with a friend and she said he must have not paid the bill for this month. She called her friend to get the matter taken care of, but the long and short of the matter is there would be no internet anytime soon. This was a little disappointing as I was going to work my butt off as this might be my last chance to get the blog updated. Oh well that is water under the bridge now. I might as well just kick back and watch a movie or two.

I walked Jackie to the hospital around noon and spent some time there. I had lunch there. Around 1:30 I left, as Jackie had a friend who was going to be with her during the procedure and her friend Mikolette was going to stop by later in the day.

I went and rented a couple movies one being Saving Private Ryan and the other Jackie Brown. Saving Private Ryan, because I recently was in Normandy, and the movie was about the D-Day invasion. I figured I would recognize some City names and Jackie Brown because I like a lot of Quentin Taratino movies and Samuel L. Jackson is in the movie which is one of Jackie's favorite actors too. I thought she might enjoy it. It was interesting to see the pornographic movies, some of which were right in the mix with the others, for all people to see had a rating of over 16. A violent movie like Pulp Fiction would have an over 16 rating just like the pornography. Movies with just bare breast is no big deal as you can see that in every grocery store on the magazine shelf and on a lot of the DVD covers. Europe views that as being no big deal. In most of Europe 16 is the age when you become an adult it appears to me, as that is the age where you can begin drinking in most places. In America your old enough to go and die for your country but you can not have a beer. I am not sure what I think the drinking age should be.

When I got home from the hospital I decided to call the family. It turned out mom was working when I called. I guess the people at the nursing home need care every day. Who would have thought?

The phone call lasted about 1.5 hours and only used about a 1.5 euro of the value of the card. Wow I could talk for hours with this card. Jackie and I were both unclear, whether it can be used in other countries. If so I will be calling home much more frequently.

After the phone call I watched the movie Saving Private Ryan. Towards the end of it Jackie and Mikelotte came in and Jackie was happy. She did not have to stay at the hospital, which she thought she might. She was obviously in a celebratory mood so we decided to head out to eat. We went just down the street and ate at a pub. Jackie decided to pay for the meal saying she was rich. She recently learned there was more money in her back account than expected because she has been sick and not doing anything. The Country pays for her health care so that is no expense to her and she still gets paid at work. This sounds like a pretty cool way to do things as long as there are checks and balances so people do not abuse the system.

After supper we walked Mikelotte to her car and we headed back to watch Jackie Brown. Jackie had seen the movie before and said it was very good. I was
Rhine RiverRhine RiverRhine River

This is Castle and Grape Country. They are known for there Reisling Wines!
leaving the next day already. It is amazing how quickly time flies when I am comfortable and relaxed in a location. Time waits for no one, as the saying goes.

Jackie and I said our goodbyes and I was off again. I had my eye on a train to Köln and I planned to stay there for the night. I was not feeling 100% and was afraid I might be getting a cold. Well that would be 3 for 3 if I was. Every time I go to Amsterdam I get a cold. As I have said before catching a cold is better than catching something else in Amsterdam, and I knew I had nothing to worry about with regards to catching something else.

I had read while on the train, of a castle hostel in Bacharach. I decided to just go there instead of Köln. A lot of my decisions are made at train stations these days with this one being made at the Köln train station. I got on the train that stopped in Bacharach.

The train took me along the Rhine River and I was enjoying seeing all the castles. I am not
Not Correct location for your Money BeltNot Correct location for your Money BeltNot Correct location for your Money Belt

Those money belts are supposed to be worn on the inside.
sure if it was just because I was wearing down, or if it was because of the cold I seemed to be getting or maybe these castles are not that great, but for some reason I was not as awe struck to see them as I have been other things on this trip. I know the first thing I saw in Ireland was not as impressive for me as other things such as London, Eiffel tower, the people in southern Italy, Lisbon etc. I would like to think I am not just wore out. I do feel however that 3 months is the ideal trip for someone with my stamina. I was going strong for 3 months and felt like I was pretty invincible for those months, but now at times I feel a little vulnerable in a sense. I think it is more that I feel like I am being lazy at times and asking questions of people instead of trying to figure things out on my own. Maybe I was just pushing too hard through Seville and Barcelona. Those were some extremely physical days and none of the days did I sit around and do nothing. I remember in Lisbon when Salete wanted to get a cab the night we had went out on the town instead of taking the train. I was thinking, man I have not taken a cab this whole trip, because of the cost but knowing that would have made things so easy at times. I can think of countless times when a cab would have been heaven sent but expensive. But instead I just kept walking. Often in the pounding heat, with my backpack on and miles to walk. Ok maybe I am a little crazy and some would say tight. I really do not see myself as being tight. If you only knew how much I am spending on this trip you would agree I am not tight. I also feel like I am getting more from this trip by typing about the cultures and my thoughts on miscellaneous stuff more than the stuff I am seeing. Maybe I will decrease the emphasis on the structures and what I am seeing. I am the type however that wants things perfect and a perfect blog requires every detail to be included. I tell you this blog is a lot of work.

We made it to Bacharach. I must say this is the easiest hostel to find that I have ever been to, but not necessarily the easiest to get to. The City is a really cute tourist City with lots of shops selling things that I could not care less about. There is a sign in the middle of town that gives the direction to the Hostel. I went in that direction and it takes you on a path up the hill. I forgot that this was wine Country but all along the Rhine hillsides are grapes. This region is famous for the Riesling Grape. I was looking forward to drinking beer in Germany and my first day I have to drink wine. Bad planning. I really didn't feel like drinking anything, but I did manage to have a glass of wine. I must say the wine was a great combination dryness and sweetness. I enjoyed it very much.

The castle was pretty awesome from the outside, but once your on the inside it really isn't much different from any other building. I suspect some people might not like the fact that you were on a very steep slope and if anything happened to the rock holding up the castle you would fall to a bloody death. For some reason that did not enter my mind. There was groups of German kids and British kids, for my money the British kids are the foulest mouthed kids in the world. I know I have not met all the different kids in the world, but I can not imagine any of them being any worse.

I sat outside for awhile, but decided to call it a night around 10. I think this cold was about ready to rear it's ugly head with a vengeance. I was just uncertain as to the ugliness of the cold. I know I normally do not get tired at this hour of night so that was a bad sign. There were 7 other people in the room. Lets hope no snorers, but there is a lady way over weight in the room. If the Chinese kid from Boston was right, it might be a long night of snoring. Ok good night, I have my ear plus on the ready

Well I spent the night in the Castle and was not attacked by any dragons or pirates or enraged dogs etc. I didn't sleep too bad, but it was not the best night either. At about 12:30 there were two kids in the bed beside me who came in and they were not too noisy, but then the one kid decided to fart as loud as he could and they both erupted in laughter. I am not sure what force kept me in bed at that moment, but something did as I was ready to ring his neck. I suspect the punk was about 19. Why is that funny? I do not ever remember that being funny to me. I guess when I was a little younger I might have laughed at that a little, but not to that level, and of course they were both intoxicated and went to sleep right away with deep breathing bordering on snoring I suspect due to the intoxication. After that though I fell asleep and maybe got 4 hours of sleep definitely not more than 5 hours.

After showering I quickly went downstairs for some breakfast. It still amazes me the resiliency of these kids. They were up late, but here it is 8:00 in the morning and they are up getting ready for the day. I think most of these kids are probably only on vacation for a week or so and not several months like me. That makes a big difference.

I headed down the hillside from the castle and headed to the train station. I was wanting to get a haircut, but knew this town was really touristy and figured the haircut would be quite expensive. I found a tourist information office and they gave me information about the boats on the Rhine river and told me where in Bingen to get off the train so it would be easy access to get on the boat. I headed to the train station and was confused by a train not arriving when I thought it should and then asked the person working there and he said that the schedule I read was on weekends only. I had made this mistake at least one other time on this trip. Maybe more.

The train came, I got on and was waiting at the KD Boat line's loading dock in about 40 minutes. The next cruise was in about 10 minutes. There was a really dork guy
Rhine RiverRhine RiverRhine River

The Rhine River has lots of current and lots of boat traffic. Not much freeboard on this boat.
walking around the area taking more pictures than the Japanese. He had his money belt on the outside of his shirt and in general looked really goofy. I wondered if maybe he was an engineer. I didn't really care as I was just turned off a little by him and his need to take all these pictures. I didn't see how he could be enjoying the day with all that picture taking. The lady traveling with him had a camera too, but was taking a lot less pictures. They were a couple in their late 50’s I presume. I assumed that was his wife, but he kept asking her, if she wanted him to take a picture with her camera. Can’t they share the photos. It was a weird dynamic.

We boarded the boat and I could feel the cold coming on more and more. It was like the weather channel tracking a hurricane talking about when and where the eye would hit. When was this cold going to hit. It was already starting to rain in my body, but the tidal surge has not hit shore yet.

It was extremely windy on this day and chairs were
Rhine River CastlesRhine River CastlesRhine River Castles

There's lots of these castles along the River. Man I bet there were lots of feuds between all these castle owners. I am sure they all had big egos!
blowing all over the deck. One bar like table blew over and broke. Not a relaxing day at all even though this should be a really relaxing day just riding around on the boat. The crazy guy and his wife that I described earlier, were sitting near me and were talking to another man from Germany. They talked for about 10 minutes and then the German guy walked away. The money belt guy who also had a goofy hat to go with it would scamper over to the side of the boat when a castle came into view and normally his wife would stay put. I actually saw a Japanese couple who were staying relatively calm during the trip, which is extremely unusual for the Japanese. I had a paper blow off my table and the crazy guy picked it up and handed it to me and I said thanks and he said no harm done. I thought that was nice of him to say. I talked to him for awhile and he told me about their trip and I told them about mine. He said they were from Australia, which surprised me a little, as I thought they were
A castle in the middle of the Rhine?A castle in the middle of the Rhine?A castle in the middle of the Rhine?

I couldn't believe it either.
from the States, but after they said Australia that made more since as he had one of those crazy Australian hats. I told them about couchsurfing and they said they actually do that in Australia. They are in their late 50's I guess and are school teachers. Their actions seemed to make more since to me now. They gave me their address and said when I get to Australia and if I travel to I think they said Brisbee I could stay with them. They gave me their home and email addresses. Really they seemed pretty nice just a little to aggressive for me with the camera and his quest for the perfect picture. It is not like he is doing this for a living. Anyway the cold was getting worse and I did not feel like socializing at all. It seemed the back of my neck was getting really stiff. I could turn my head to my left, but could not turn it all the way to the right. Man this was making me think about the college days and the meningitis scares. Man I do not want to go to the doctor here as the health insurance paperwork would be a nightmare. Well it is going to have to get worse than this before I was going to the doctor. It was a Class 3 hurricane at this point.

The boat stops at many locations where you can get on and off and I decided to get off the boat at Boppard and take the train back south to Mainz as that is close to where my couchsurfing host lives.

Oh the boat ride scenery was pretty cool, but I think on this day you could have the Taj Mahal on these hillsides and I would have described them as being somewhat nice. I just did not feel good and thought this cold was probably only going to get worse. I see gale force winds on the horizon. For me the castles on the Rhein were indeed cool and unique, but it was just ok for me. I had never seen anything like this before and thought back in the day this must have been an interesting area with all these wealthy kings living so close together. I suspect there was a lot of fighting between these families. Why else do you build these big fortified castles? The grapes along the steep embankments were very cool and that impressed me more than anything. If you couple the vineyards with the castles then to me it is a lot cooler place. For me I need to think of the place as wine country with these cool castles on the banks of the Rhein. That is more impressive than castle country with grapes.

The river impressed me a whole bunch, I could not believe all the current on the river and all the barge traffic. This was not a river for pleasure as this river meant business. The guy driving our boat amazed me when he went into the docks with the current. I had seen another driver of another ferry line swing upstream to land, but not our guy he would hit it with the current and maneuver the boat in reverse until he could safely hit the dock. Sometimes however this method resulted in him hitting the dock quite hard, which tested the wear-with-all of the bumpers on the side of the boat.

On the train to Mainz I text messaged Inga asking for directions. She text back saying she actually lives in Wiesbaden (the W is pronounced with a V) which is a word I like to say. Does everybody have words that just seem to roll off your tongue better than others? Well this is one of those words that did that for me and I tried to use it whenever possible.

I got to Wiesbaden about 40 minutes before Inga would be there, so I set out on two task, one to find batteries for my keyboard, which I thought would take special batteries and was looking for an electronics store and the other thing was to get a quick haircut if I could get just one of those things accomplished I would be a happy boy.

I am finding that Germany is pretty English friendly, but do not always find English speaking people. I really thought there would be even more English. Everybody says as you go north there will be more English and that is probably generally true, but not as prevalent as I expected although I am still pretty south.

I really needed the batteries more than the haircut so that was the focus. I finally found a guy who could speak a little English
Barge TrafficBarge TrafficBarge Traffic

I was amazed by all the Barge Traffic along the Rhine
and he said at the Saturn store they would have the batteries and he told me how to get there. I ask him if it was by the train station and he said yes by the train station. I had just walked about a 1/2 mile to learn, where I was just at is where the batteries might be. I thought to myself well now I know.

I walked back to where he described and could not find this store called Saturn. I found a lot of other stores. Germany is a lot like the US in it's stores. Italy is very unique in it's ma and pa stores as opposed to it's big chain stores. I like Italy's system better.

With about 5 minutes left before I needed to meet Inga I found the store. I showed them the keyboard and told them I do not know the battery size, but I assume you have to take the back off and get one of those coin shaped batteries. I then saw two levers that looked like you might be able to access a battery. I tried it and I 'll be damn two triple AAA batteries were
Touristic RothenburgTouristic RothenburgTouristic Rothenburg

Most Germans do not live in towns like these but that's what the tourist want to see. Actually the US was set to bomb this town to Smithereens in WWII but the mom of the US general told her son she really liked this town so he told the Germans to leave the town and they would not bomb it and they complied.
inside. I was going to all this effort and come to find out all I needed was two triple AAA batteries. It is amazing how once you are put under a little stress how you see things differently often more clearly. I remember thinking about things at work and then when I would ask my boss about it I would know the answer and wish I would have never asked him. Well I just had one of those moments. I was happy to have that done as I have spent the last 3 days without my keyboard and my journaling had stopped.

I walked down to where I was to meet Inga. I saw a person that I thought might be her, but was not sure. I stood there for awhile fiddling with my keyboard and then ask her if she was Inga even though she did not appear to be looking for anyone. Sure enough it was her. We said hello and started walking to her place. She had just moved to her apartment and was a little unclear of the town and how to get around. I told her I did not mind walking if it was not too far. She suggested walking past the tourist information office to get some hiking maps as she did not know the area and I had mentioned wanting to hike here. After getting those we walked to her apartment and chilled for awhile. She did have boxes all over the place. She was not kidding about just moving there. Her bed consisted of a mattress laying on the floor. I thought that was pretty cool actually. We headed out to eat and I had some German food. Essentially it was a plate with pork, beef and chicken along with potatoes. It was pretty good, but not awesome. I also had a hefeweizen a beer I drink quite often in the states. This was my first beer in Germany excluding the cheap beer I drank with Jackie just inside the German border from the Netherlands. It was ok, but not that great. I still was not feeling well.

We went back to her place and called it a night. My bed consisted of a mattress on the floor which worked well for me. It felt great. I was starting to cough though. The storm was brewing, I just did not
Kathe WohlfahrtKathe WohlfahrtKathe Wohlfahrt

It is always Crhistma in Rothenburg!
know where this storm was going to hit and how much damage to Me and my schedule it was going to cause. Ok where are the lozenges? Lets get them close to the bed so they are easy to grab. Good night from Weisbaden pronounced Viesbaden. Doesn’t that just roll of your tongue.

Wow this is some crazy stuff as I type this I just crossed the border from Germany to the Chec Republic and like Mexico just when you cross the border there is lots of people selling stuff. The Chec Republic is a lot poorer than Germany. Germany has come a long way since WWII, when their currency was worthless. The train conductor just announced over the intercom that we are crossing the border and that a new crew would be taking over the train. He stated this in German, English, and Russian. Pretty wild stuff. It is beautiful here as the train route is along the Elbe River with high mountains on each side. Very pretty. I was complaining to the German security guard who checks passports that I only have a couple stamps in my passport even though I have been all over Europe. He said in addition to his I would be getting another one from the Chec. Republic security guards. I said good.

I think I will like the people of the Chec Republic as my tract record is of liking the poorer areas such as southern Italy and Portugal the best. Although the Germans are quite nice as well.

Well the night's sleep at Inga's was not the most restful. This cold threw a lot of punches at me last night. I suspect I am not far from the eye of this storm. I awoke with a headache that seemed to put constant pressure around my entire skull. The back of my neck was stiff again. I felt like I had fever. I was sweating profusely though I couldn't decide if I wanted the covers on or off. I coughed trying to remove the unending stream of mucous that was accumulating in the back of my throat. Quite frankly I felt miserable. I am amazed at the human body and how it works. Even though I felt horrible I was fascinated by my bodies reactions to all this. The storm has increased to a level 4 hurricane though. Batten down the hatches we are in for a doozey. Another word that should be used more. I think that word alone could make the world a better place.

I told Inga that I did not think hiking was a good idea. I told her it might be a good idea if I just rested for awhile and ask her if it was ok if I would stay another night. She was ok with all this and she spent most of the day unpacking. I slept as much as possible, but you know how that goes. It is hard to sleep all the time. It would be nice if they could give you a drug that would force you to sleep for like 24 hour increments so your body can just do it's thing and go to battle with those bad bugs. Like Sherman said the enemy is on the right and the left in front of us and behind us therefore they can not get away this time. I had the enemy all around me at this point.

Inga mentioned if I needed to go to pharmacy I had better do it now as the pharmacy is not open on Sundays which was tomorrow and they sometimes close at 2 on Saturdays. I told the lady my symptoms and she said what I described could be caused by many things. I finally decided to just get some anti allergen to make the symptoms feel better and some cough drops.

We went back to her apartment and I tried to take a nap. I didn't feel horrible like last night at this point, but I didn't feel like a million damn dollars either as Letterman says.

Man it is wild the change you see in the people and their homes just by crossing a border. The landscape here in the Chec Republic, where I am traveling and typing this, is absolutely beautiful. Tall, steep mountains with lots of trees. I love the landscape. The Elbe river at the bottom of these mountains is about as wide as the Rhein, but less current and less boat traffic. I just saw a wooden sailboat as well that appears to be about 20 ft. Long. The river however does not appear to be big enough to really sail though. I read in Rick Steves book that factory jobs are being
Elevated Walkway arond the City. Elevated Walkway arond the City. Elevated Walkway arond the City.

This was an amazing barrier to opposing groups and kept the City safe for a long long time.
sent here from the more wealthy European nations like what happens in America where we send work overseas. I suspect there really is not that much difference from the European people than from those living in the US. I suspect if roles were reversed they would live very similar to the way we do even though the Europeans would deny that to their death. They insist on difference, but I don't think there really is.

Around 6 we decided to go out for supper. I suggested Italian and Inga having just moved here really did not know where to go. We walked around for awhile and ran into an Italian area with about 3 or 4 places to choose from.

After supper we headed back and I decided to watch Pirates of the Caribbean on her computer as her TV and DVD player were not yet hooked up. I had forgotten how long this movie was as I had seen it before, but wanted to watch it again.

Inga is a very nice lady and very intelligent. We spent a lot of time talking about all kinds of things. She gave me some great information about German History and Nazism. She is a wealth of Information. Probably the most striking thing about Inga is her age and how old she looks. She looked like she could have been 19, but she is actually 30. She said it is a problem sometimes at work when trying to be taken seriously. She said she never where's the color pink. Another thing we talked about it is the Spas which she goes to. She said you go there naked with guys and gals in the Spas. She said she does it with a friend every year around Christmas time. She says it is not a big deal for them as they have been doing it their whole life. It is interesting what a person gets used to and what is considered taboo in a society. So many different ideas and everybody thinks their way is right. Do you think maybe one of these groups has it right and all the others have it wrong? Do you think those that have it right will all go to heaven straight away and those that don't are destined to hell. Or maybe the others will just spend more time in purgatory. Do you think maybe the higher power just looks at how you treat your fellow man and if you lived the Golden Rule as being the most important thing. Maybe this higher power does not have all these complex rules that man has created. I do not know. They call it Faith for a reason I do know that.

Ok lets see what the night brings. I rested all day maybe that did me some good. Tomorrow I leave Wiesbaden headed for Rothenburg a very touristy town.

I had a rough night. Woke up sweating and my head killing me. It was pretty wild how these viruses work and how my body responds to it, but then again I was miserable. Anyway the bottom line is I am definitely not 100 %, but I must move on healthy or not. Inga was going to Frankfurt to rock climb on a wall with some friends so we got on the train together and headed to Frankfurt. I am always in a rush mode, but Inga seamed really relaxed in leaving her apartment for the train station. Her extreme relaxation made me nervous actually. She has been doing this her entire life though so I need to just go with the flow a little more. She is obviously a bright intelligent lady. I actually was a little blown away by her grey matter. This is an extremely knowledgeable lady. We jumped on the bus and it was pretty much on time. I was surprised by this as buses seemed to be all over the place with their time schedules. We are in Germany everything is on time here. We got to the train station about 15 minutes early and shopped until about 3 minutes before the train left and then got on.

In Frankfurt we said goodbye and from there we went our separate ways. I got on a train to Steinach and then transferred to a train to Rothenburg. Everything went pretty smoothly, but as the day wore on I could tell I was really wearing down. I feel like a tractor pulling the sled. In the mornings I am feeling pretty good and moving well just like a tractor pulls the sled fast at the beginning only for the weight to slide up the sled and bog you down. At the end the pull is the hardest. I was going to have a hard time making a full pull on this day. I am such a hick aren’t I?

In Rothenburg I talked to some Canadians and they said the old town center is just down the road about a 10 minute walk. When your traveling and more importantly walking, all distances are measured by the time, which in engineering is not a standard unit of measure for distances. Time is quite variable.

I really needed to get this backpack off and on the ground somewhere. My walking was slow and deliberate using every last source of energy to move my foot forward. Ok so maybe I exaggerate a little, but I was very tired and wore out due to the sickness.

I had a hard time finding the hostel. There seemed to be two series of walls near the hostel that confused. I finally found it and thank god they had space. The zimmers in town were 40€ and I sure did not want to spend that much on a room. The hostel here was 23€ which in itself was more than I wanted to pay, but this obviously was a very touristy area so prices are more. I have not been able to get in the countryside much do in large part to my frantic pace. It takes time to get out in the Country.

I put my bag down and saw where about 4 other people were calling this room home for the night as well. Not sure why the hostels always jam as many people as possible into a room when there are other rooms available. I suspect there are less rooms to clean, but I can't believe cleaning a room is that much work after looking at their appearance. I don't get it. I think the people in the hostels have such a forgiving perspective on the conditions that they never voice there concerns just say well that is Hostel living. I find myself doing this as well.

After laying down for a few minutes I went for a walk around 7:00. I saw where the night watchmen tour started around 8 and I decided I would tag a long for that. I went and had a sneeball, which supposedly Rothenburg is famous for. Rick Steves said they were not that great in his book and again he was right on. They are not very good. I went back to the nightwatchmen area, but never saw anyone gathering. I reread the sign and waited until 10 minutes after the meeting point time and decided to move on.

I walked to the castle wall and climbed the steps and walked along the top of the wall for awhile. I had to hunch over to prevent getting hit by the roof joist as they were very low. That's all I needed to get slammed by a roof joist with a throbbing headache. Who knows maybe it would help, as nothing else seemed to be helping?

I then walked back to the square area where the night watchmen tour was starting. There was a group that I estimate at 60 around him walking the streets of Rothenburg. The Watchman would walk a ways and then stop and talk. He was pretty entertaining and I jumped in the group. I am not sure how payment worked and thought someone would follow with him requesting payment from people like me that just jumped into the fray. I assumed everyone else paid at the start of the tour, but found out later payment is made at the end of the tour. Essentially the money is just placed in a hat. There are no receipts given and the cost is 6€ for the tour. All I had was a hundred and a 2€ coin so I just snuck the 2 € into the hat without him seeing that I shortchanged him. Hey I missed the beginning and that was probably the 4€ phase of the trip anyway?  The tour overall was very good and I definitely recommend it. The guy makes pretty good money as if you figure there were around 60 people there paying 6 € each and then he sold DVD's and booklets as well he did all right.

I went and found a place to eat. There is no way to find a nontouristy place in Rothenburg. I had a pizza and then when some people sat down next to me started smoking I knew I had to leave as I seem to be super sensitive to smoke with this cold and would just cough all the time. The only way to overcome this is get in a really smoky area and the smoke seems to dull the senses and the mucous forming areas of my body and the cough reaction seems lessened. That is just how it seems to me. The waitress did find me a nonsmoking area. Man do the Europeans enjoy smoking and man do they hate Bush. On the dance floor last night in a bar in Prague I was talking to this guy as I danced and told him I was from the USA. The first thing he said to me is "I hate Bush." I told him I am not a big fan of his either. I noticed a headline today that said 2 Republican politicians are forming their own Iraq policy. Politicians are such weasels. They supported Bush and his Iraq war crap the whole time and now that it is close to the election and the mass majority hate Bush they are trying to distance their self from this guy that they supported for such a long time.

After eating it was starting to rain and I thought the castle wall would be a good place to be during the rain as it was covered so I climbed it again. I walked it to the point where I needed to get down to head for the hostel. I was actually surprised I found the hostel so easy when I got down as I was a little confused where it was. I was a good thing I found it as fast as I did as it was starting to rain pretty hard.

In my room there was one guy and stuff in their indicating their would ultimately be 5 people in this room of a possible 6. I noticed about 3 of the rooms just down the hall were empty. I was tempted to just go down there and grab one of those rooms, but I didn't . I tried to sleep, but knew it was going to hard as there were three more people yet to come in. I closed my eyes at 11:30. It was a long hard day with the cold.

Another bad night of sleeping. I am starting to string these nights together. I was coughing and I am quite sure I was waking at least the guy below me up as well. I got up and then got a drink thinking that might help and eyed those empty rooms as well again. I was tempted to switch right then. I went back to the room and one of the two guys that got in the latest (probably drank the most) started snoring. It was 4 in the morning and I was going to switch rooms. I got all my stuff gathered and made the switch. I made a little noise while doing it, but not too bad.

In the other room I still did not sleep that well, but I did finally get to sleep for a couple hours. In the morning I grabbed some breakfast and made my way to the train station. There were several other groups of Americans as well as a few Japanese. In real touristy areas you always have the Japanese. How many of them are there anyway?

I talked to a group from Ohio on the train and then upon arriving at Steinach got on the first train to Nurnberg, I remember of the infamous Nurnberg trials. There really wasn't a whole lot to see in Nurnberg so I continued on to Stuttgart. When you tell someone your going to Stuttgart they say why? If the person is from Calhoun they would say great
Uli and IUli and IUli and I

This is Uli my German friend who I met in a Florida Hostel. He rented a Harley to drive around in Southern Florida. The hostel I stayed in is just behind us.
I hope you get some ducks in reference to Stuttgart but that Stuttgart is in Arkansas. If the person is from Germany they would say are you a car enthusiast as Mercedes and a few other car makers are there. Anyway Stuttgart, Germany is about fast and well built cars.

The days train rides seemed to be going a little slow. Partially due to the fact that I was not feeling well and partially because these trains were a little slow. I finally made it to Stuttgart and changed trains to get one going to Tubinen where Uli works. The train tide to Tubinen is about an hour in length and on this day was even longer.

Finally around 4:00 in the afternoon my journey was over. I was at the Tubinen train station. I walked outside and ask a couple people if they spoke English and if they knew where the hostel was in town as Uli said there was one. Uli lives in a very small flat outside of Tubinen and there was no room for me to stay in the same room as him. He did offer me a place to stay at his boss’s house who rents this house out to college kids. I had already booked my hostel and with the cold thought the hostel might be the best thing to do in this instance.

I found a kid at the bus station who knew exactly how to get to the hostel and it was a short walk there from the train station. I was a little disappointed to learn that the hostel was 23.60€ but then after realizing there is only 2 beds in the room I understood why. The room was very nice and had it's own shower and toilet. Pretty nice hostel and as it stood I was the only one in there. I text messaged Uli and he called me back asking if I was really in Tubinin. I said yep. He seemed a little surprised I was actually there. I was there a day early, but I had warned him about that yesterday. He said he would swing by around 7:00 and we would go out for supper and beer. Sounded good to me as I like both supper and beer!

I took a nap and did some clothes in the bottom of the shower basin
Time to PackTime to PackTime to Pack

Inside my Tubingnen Hostel!
as I was running low on clothes. I also decided to take a nap at least try to. By the time I was ready to take the nap after doing the clothes I had really only 20 minutes to nap before Uli showed.

I went up to meet Uli and ask the front desk if there was much of a chance of another person being in my room and they said yes, they had just sent an Italian guy down there. I didn't like the fact that there was going to be another person in the room, but glad the person was Italian. I hurriedly went back downstairs to rearrange things as I had my clothes drying everywhere.

The Italian guy was already there and I apologized for my stuff being there. This guy is a college professor in Milan and seemed to be very nice. I talked to him for a few minutes and then said Arrividerchi and left. Just as I got to the top of the step my phone was ringing again. It was Uli as I saw him outside. I didn't answer the phone and went out to greet Uli. The last time I had seen Uli was in Florida in January, 6 months ago. In Florida he was helping me throw things into the back of my truck. Man this train traveling is a lot different than truck traveling. They both have pros and cons.

Uli has an older model BMW. Unlike the US BMW it is not really a rich man's car in Europe since it is made here and can be purchased more cheaply.

We headed out to find a bar and ended up selecting one that was indoors and where smoking was permitted. Uli smokes as well. Sometimes the smoke kind of dulls my senses and I seem to cough less. I thought maybe this would actually help. We ordered some food and had a couple beers. Uli was drinking the beer like it was water on a hot summer day. He stopped abruptly though after 3 beers. He knew his limit and that he had to drive home. That was cool. He said it is a real problem with kids binge drinking over here. It was nice to hear a European say they have problems as most of them really accentuate the positives when talking to Yanks.

Around 10 I told Uli I better head back and get some sleep and we agreed to meet again tomorrow night just a little earlier. That sounded cool. Uli paid for everything and I told him I needed to buy tomorrow night then. I assured myself I would. Uli dropped me off at the hostel and we headed our separate ways.

I warned the Italian guy I might cough a lot he said not to worry as it wouldn't bother him. We turned off the light. What would tonight bring? I was coughing already so I was not confident this would be a good night. My neck had started getting sniff half way through the meal, which was a very bad sign. Lets see what happens to my cold and how the body reacts to it. Good Night.

I got up around 8 after a very bad night. I woke up around 3:30 in the morning sopping wet with a headache. I was coughing a lot as well and my neck was sore. My coughs I would try to muffle so as not to make much noise. The whole time I was thinking I should not
Fun HouseFun HouseFun House

A house in Tubingnen where I guess the owners like to express theirself.
have went into that smoke filled bar and drank 2 beers as I had done last night. My neck was not stiff this morning and I was not sweating anymore. I am not sure what my body was doing with all that craziness. Maybe it was just reprimanding me a little. It might have been saying now listen here buddy, I can get you better, but you have to meet me half way. I said ok body I will not do that again.

I waited for the Italian guy to get his stuff together before getting up. There was no reason for both of us to be stumbling on top of each other. I put some pants on and a new shirt and went up for breakfast. The Italian guy was at breakfast so I ate with him. And several other people as the room was full. These hostels in Europe are amazing and seem to be always full. A lot of the people here are just kids off from school. It is very common for them to be full of kids of all ages and there are always a few families here as well. Unlike me, they are just often traveling for a couple days whereas I am traveling for a long time.

After breakfast the Italian got his stuff from the room and headed out. He was nice to talk to and a very interesting man. He said he slept fine with me coughing saying it would kind of wake him up, but he would just turn over and he would go right back to sleep.

I decided to go back to bed and did manage to sleep about another hour. Around 11:00 I got up and went up town to use the internet as it was way to expensive to use it there and no one did. I tried to call Uli, but his secretary did not know English and I ended up just hanging up. Uli called back a few minutes later as I guess he had told her about me and she put two and two together. I told Uli that I was just going to spend another night at the hostel as my clothes were not yet dry that I had hanging throughout the room and I wanted to nap during the day. He had figured out a place for me
German CountrysideGerman CountrysideGerman Countryside

Why because people ask me what the German Countryside looks like. Now they can see for their self.
to stay, but it was going to be like camping and I thought with this cold that is the last thing I needed. I just did not want him to continue to work towards the end of getting me accommodations when I would not be using them.

I worked on figuring out air fare options home and was happy with what I had got done. Around 3 I went back to the hostel and grabbed a bite to eat on the way there. I laid down for awhile as I was tired and thought a nap would be good for the cold.

Around 6 Uli called and said he would be there in 10 minutes. I ask him if it would be possible to take a short spin on the Autobahn and how far away it is. He said it is about 40 minutes to get there, but there is a closer unlimited speed limit highway that we could go on. I said cool and we did it. Unfortunately, there was no really fast progressive drivers that we encountered so we got back off and headed back to Tubingen.

On the way back Uli said there is a place in town that will find cheap flights for you so we went there and surprisingly to me they were still open. The lady did some searches but I had actually found better deals myself than she had. Not sure if her prices included commission, but I know my prices were better.

I wanted to get a picture of Uli and I and I thought a good spot would be across the river from the hostel as that would take care of another picture I wanted and that was of the hostel. We took the picture and then decided on a Mexican place for dinner.

This place was very busy and the service was not bad, but not too great either. We selected some tortilla chips with a very hot salsa and some Jalapenos for an appetizer and of course Uli had a beer. I decide to not drink any beer and Uli did not smoke, but there were a few people smoking in the room which I was still really sensitive too.

The appetizer was a lot hotter than I expected and at times I would cough a lot. Maybe I should not have ate that. I also got a tortilla with cheese beans and spinach along with some rice. Uli had gotten a similar item and drank a couple beers. He might be the fastest drinker that I have ever seen, but always quit after a couple.

The meal was really getting to me and I was thinking maybe this hot spicy food was not the best option either and after being there about an hour and a half, I thought we had better call it a night as it was around 10 already. Uli indicated that he might come to the US sometime soon to visit and for some reason I actually believe that he might. Most people say stuff like that with no intentions of ever doing it, but I think Uli might. I insisted on paying for the meal, but he insisted that he pay even more saying I was his guest and that I can pay in the US. I told him I would take him to McDonalds when he comes. I finally let him pay and we headed out. I just walked to the hostel and he drove off as the hostel was very close. It was good to see Uli and I think he was happy to see me as well.

At the hostel I discovered I had the room to myself so that was nice. I hit the hay just wondering what the night might bring. During the days I am a lot better. Nights are sometimes very rough. I explained my symptoms to a pharmacist earlier in the day and she said what I described was going around so it was comforting to know that my symptoms were not unusual.

The nights were getting to be like the book Salem's Lot where at night is when everything happened and everybody dreaded the darkness. I was beginning to feel a similar way myself about the night as that is when I really had my problems. Well here we go again. Good NIGHT or would it be?

Like the old and good Bob Seegar song says the "Night Moves." I had maybe my worse night yet. About 12:00 I was coughing uncontrollably. So I took one of the allergy medicines and then realized I was supposed to eat that on a full stomach so I went up to the vending machine and bought a bar of chocolate. I felt horrible and coughed up there as well. I just thought I might be better to sit for awhile so I sat there . The guy working the front desk did not speak much English so I could not have a conversation with him. I just sat there, ate my chocolate, coughed and pretended to be interested in the German Newspaper by me. I really was not feeling much better, but decided to try and get some sleep. I was still in and out of sleep, coughing a lot, sweating, had a hard time controlling my body temperature. Just having a grand old time, but not assimilating with the Grand Old Party.

I made it to the train station around 9 and their was an accident there, where a man apparently had wrecked his bike and there was an ambulance with gawking crowds. I always hate it when people do that. It seems like they are being nosey to me.

Tunbinin is a very neat town and very pretty. I get the impression that pretty much every German town you go to you will have nice buildings, nice town squares, nice churches etc. They always seem very clean, the people are nice as well probably some of the nicest in Europe. The Germans do not seem to have the hatred towards America like the other countries, but everyone in Europe hates Bush that is for sure. Everybody hates Bush all around the world. I write this having spent the last two days in Berlin. The Germans generally are able to see the bigger picture and see the difference between Bush and the people. I really like their trains as well as you can pretty much set your watch to them. I like the Germans!

Well I have made an executive decision. Because of this cold I am going to skip Munich now as I want to be there to drink beer as that is beer drinking country and with the current state of things I would kill myself trying to drink with this cold. I am going to head to Prague, Krakow, Berlin next while flying back to Vienna, Salzburg and Munich from which I fly home. I obviously have not seen all of Europe, but I have seen a lot of Europe. I experienced a lot less of it than I have seen. For experience something is much more time consuming than seeing it. It is hard to experience it fully when there is the language barrier and when moving fast like I am. I will be back. This trip I guess is becoming more about seeing things at this point whereas in the beginning it was more about experiencing things. This trip has been an eye opener on many levels.

I got on the first train to Stuttgart and then on the first train to Nurnberg and then on the first train to Prague. Lots of firsts on this trip. Everything went very smoothly and around 3:00 I was in Prague. I had heard of so many positive things about this town that I exercised caution on what to expect as I did not want to get my expectations too high. I was couchsurfing with a lady from the Czech Republic and I was as excited about that at much as anything.

Because I didn't get much sleep last night I decided to grab a soda so I can get a little more typing done on this train. I walked through a smoking section of the train to get to the restaurant. It was ghastly. It looked liked a Cumulus Nimbus Cloud had lowered itself into that car. Man do I think smoking makes a person less attractive although I must say I have been attracted to a couple smokers in recent months. I would be even more attracted however if they didn't smoke. The Europeans however really like their cigs. They can have them.

I went to the tourist office and sent a text message to Ludmilla to let her know I was in town. She text me back and we set up a time to meet her at her place. The tourist office folks were very friendly which you might say, would be a no brainer, but I don't always find them that friendly. The person their said I could leave my bag at the tourist office which I did.

After using the internet I walked around the square area with the Clock Tower and several other big buildings. It was very nice. I walked to the Charles Bridge which Rick really bragged up and it was very nice no doubt about it. I walked up to the Castle which too was very nice and a nice church. Their is no doubt about it Prague is a cool town.

It was getting to be about 6 and I went back to get my bag and started to make my way to Ludmilla's. I always really look forward to meeting the couchsurfing host. They all have been tremendous people, very intelligent, typically pretty liberal, various wealth levels, always extremely nice with maybe one exception and I think that person is just mad at the whole world. Not sure what is going on with her. But I must say I have always felt safe and welcome with all the people and would recommend couchsurfing to all people. I have mostly stayed with women however as I am not sure I would feel the same degree of safety with all the guys. Actually I was told not to surf with a guy in the Dingle Peninsula area as I was told the one guy is anti-American. Who isn't these days, but I was told this guy is a little radical. I actually look forward to hosting in St. Louis. It will be like I am kind of traveling, through these people. I will know what information to provide them as well. Train and bus schedules, cell phone, food etc. Of course all that kind of assumes I find a job as if I have no income then this all changes.

I had a little difficulty finding Ludmilla's place after getting off the tram, but other than that things went pretty well. I talked to Ludmilla for a few minutes and then we decided to grab a beer. I had read that Rick Steves says this is the best beer in Europe and you would not get any argument from me. I didn't read that however until I was already on the final leg of the trip to Prague or maybe I would have came back to Prague after the cold. Ludmilla works a lot of hours and was very eager to wind down with a beer. She is working with two Canadian's in hopes of bringing a movie to Prague. She talked about these Canadian's a lot and really enjoyed their company. The one guy is an actor and the other is a producer. I tend to be very careful with these type of people as they are just that, actors. So they can act which is not always a good thing during human interactions. To act is their job and that concerns me. Actually it is not really about dealing with actors with regards to the profession, but more about dealing with smooth talkers, which actors are included. Actually actors are the most proficient in the smooth talkers club. Lawyers are right up there as well.

Ludmilla and I went down below her apartment for a drink. There is a bar just outside her apartment, which is ideal for grabbing drinks. I also had a hamburger, fries and a bowl of soup which Ludmilla recommended. On any other day this would have been fantastic, but on this day it wasn't appropriate, as it was spicy and made me cough. At times I was coughing more or less uncontrollably. I decided to put the soup aside and maybe come back to it later. I really hated to waste food especially food this good.

The lady behind Ludmilla was breast feeding. They are not too bashful about breast feeding in public around here. Ludmilla I think recognized this and scooted over to block my view a little as I think she was embarrassed by this lady doing that. Not sure, but it appeared that she moved right after she noticed that the lady was breast feeding. It didn't bother me any and by no means was it attractive or arousing in anyway to me.

After drinking a beer Ludmilla wanted to show me another hang out of hers so we walked over to it. Before going to the outdoor bar that she likes, we walked to the old location of the Stalin statue. It would have been great to see this statue now, but I guess in the day when Stalin was found of doing some atrocities, the locals were not thinking of future tourism they were hell bent on removing this statue. I guess the people of Prague or Praha as it is called locally, just did not have the foresight that the statue would be a great draw. It appears Prague is doing quite well without the statue so maybe the locals did know what they were doing when they decided to topple it. Right now the area is a skateboarding location for kids. I wonder what Stalin thinks now of this area where his statue use to stand, being used as skateboarding central. Actually I heard during the day Stalin was a proficient skateboarder himself and was known to rip it like a Big Dog! My apologies to any skateboarders who might be reading this blog as I do not know the lingo and just made something up that us nonskateboarders might construe as being actual skateboarding vernacular. Ok I am going to rip 10 right out of this paragraphical corner I have typed myself into?

We walked back to the outdoor bar and had a quick drink. The air was rather chilled on this night as it had sprinkled off and on throughout the day.

Back at her place after trying to convince her into letting me sleep on the mattress out in her hallway as I knew I might cough a lot she said no it was fine for me to sleep in her room on the mattress. Ludmilla was going on a trip to Naples the following week and I really did not want to get her sick for that, which I expressed my concern about. She said she would not tell me if she got sick. That was a very nice thing for her to say and that comment told me a lot about her. All good stuff.

We called it a night. I wondered if again tonight I would have more "Night Moves?"


26th September 2009

The beautiful Rhine am Deutschen Eck
Please show more of the Rhine - das Deutsche Eck is einzig - I would like to see it again. Thank you.
31st October 2009

How jealous I was to read of your adventure. At 15 yoa I aspire to one day move to Germany and live there. Reading your travel to Tubingen and Rothenberg only made me love the German countryside all the more. I am very jealous of your travel there but an beaming with glee that one day I may visit Germany for myself in person.

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