Friday, June 19, 2009

Antwerp

- Get into town in the late evening
- oh yeah this is the place with all the Diamonds
- wow, there are a lot of Hasidic Jews here
- my host here is JP a Canadian with an internship in town
- nice big apartment with a sweet view
- we get tasty Belgian Fries, cook a chicken, and talk about music theory
- play a bit of my mandolin routine for him and French friends/coworkers
- we go out to a local bar for a couchsurfing get together
- mix of really good Belgian beer and meeting people from all over made for an enjoyable time
- next day let's go visit Gent
- but first lets go to the market and get cheap tasty cherries
- horaah for haggeling
- and tasty Morocan pancakes
- It's like a really thick crape with olives, peppers, cheese, and... honey
- sounds really weird, but tastes so good
- oh boy, didnàt watch our time
- now we have to literally run to catch the train
- baaarely made it
- huh, apparently the Belgian trains tend to have issues
- this one certainly does.
- Very nice town
- Amazing old towers and a castle
- Very Belgian looking
- fun day exploring with JP and Dragana (his friend and coworker from Serbia)
- even got to teach JP some photography things
- back in Antwerp JP takes us to a sweet jazz bar, really chill and cool place!
- next day explore the city on my own
- some really nice squares and streets here
- and lots of people
- I meet a juggler who also plays mandolin
- turns out he lives in the area and runs a living room music store
- lets just say he was an interesting fellow...
- I play outside a chocolate shop
- some guy comes out and starts dancing next to me
- ooookay...
- he tells me he is doing it for free chocolate
- hahahah
- I go in after the show and they give me some as well :)
- realllly tasty!!
- oooh Italian pizza place right next to the cathedral gives 20% discounts to students
- and a regular priced pizza is 4 eruo
- this means tasty meal for really cheap!
- Never end up finding a place in Brugge
- so JP lets me stay another night and take a day trip - Thanks!!
- Brugge is a really pretty town
- that also means lots of tourists
- which means good money for me!
- €16 for a half hour of playing
- I'll take that :)
- hang out that night with another couchsurfer from the states
- good times
- off to Brussels...

Nights Stayed: 4
Amount earned: € 42
Things that Made it:

Playing for Chocolate

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Delft

- heh, train ride with very orange Dutch football fans
- hmm really don't want ot explore the city in the rain with my pack
- hoorah for a warm cafe with a view
- find the house
- turns out it's a squatted house
- apparently if a building goes unused for one year then anyone can move in and claim it to live in
- it is still technically owned by someone else
- but if he breaks in then it is technically breaking and entering
- unless he has an official plan to do something with the building
- it's interesting
- the house is in pretty good condition
- for a squat
- just little things like not having hot water in the kitchen and not every room haveing electricity...
- definitely was abandoned for a while
- Judeth (a photographer) and I have a great discussion about the qualities of space
- She has some really coool books full of abandoned building photography
- Jason (American PHD student working on bikes) is really excited to go to an American beer tasting night
- What! they changed the date to next week,
- bummer
- A morning of visiting the university campus
- it's really kinda surreal to be standing in teh library
- looks just like all those pictures I'd studied
- overall it's a kinda cool building
- definitely has some flaws though in my mind...
- afternoon of exploring the city
- rain scares everyone inside, so not much mandolin money
- grrr and it didn't help that some guy ran by and stole at least 2 euro out of my case
- you know what, I feel like painting
- been hauling around all this stuff I might as well use it
- turns out well
- I even get compliments from a police officer
- great dinner and conversation with Jason and Bonner (artist dealing with light and sound)
- vegetarian curry can be really tasty
- we go to this free concert at this tiny underground venue
- two people had set up a table covered with keyboards, mixers, drum machine, and various distortion pedals
- then they started playing and going crazy mixing live hardcore electronic screamo
- the other band was just as crazy
- next day lots of coffee and good conversation with Bonner
- cool girl with very different ideas about things then I am used to
- we also built a door to help contain people during the big art expo that they are putting on
- it worked the first time
- off to Antwerp...

Nights Stayed: 2
Amount Earned: € 5 (plus whatever that guy stole...)
Things that made it all worth it:

I think I learned so much here! I don't think I can ever look at old or rundown buildings the same again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Utrecht

- hrmm trains to expensive and not direct
- buses only go on Saturday
- guess I'll try hitchhiking for this one :)
- get a ride from Frank back to Cologne, and then to Belgium
- he's cool guy, has all sorts of degrees and is planning to be a genetic scientist
- sees me studying my Bible and asks me about it
- we end up talking for the next several hours about God and religions
- he is a rather anti-religious atheist who only believes in chance and physics
- but he really wanted to talk about things
- a few key things I recall
- he talked a lot about the "miracle of birth" so much has to happen just right
- "humans are the only animal with pity"
- but he doesn't see anything good from religion
- talked a lot about the history of Europe and what influenced it
- I need to get better at my history...
- ethics are they important, or even valid?
- pray for him if you would
- drops me off in Belgium
- hard to find someone going where I want to go...
- meet some nice people from the Dutch military
- they'd take me but it's not allowed
- eventually I just end up taking a ride into Brussels
- hmmm wrong part of town to get a ride going north...
- I guess it's train from here
- grrr the machine only takes cards
- thanks the friendly guy that helped me out with my ticket!
- hehe the ticket guy on the train looks just like Harry Zidler...
- Antwerp has a realllly cool central train station!
- Great mix of the old and new
- Train to Utrecht
- Meet a professional Jazz sax player on the train, Really cool!!
- Arrive in town
- huh, can't find a tourist info center to get a map from
- can't find Internet either
- eventually pay to much to use the library's
- sweet, now I have my couchsurfing host's info
- give him a call
- no answer
- wander around town
- really pretty city with canals, trees, and old buildings
- tis nice
- find a spot to sit and change my mandolin strings
- a sorry looking and very stoned guy stumbles by
- searching for the dropped stubs of joints between the cobblestones and smoking them...
- sad
- I finish retuning and play for a bit, not performing just playing
- a guy comes up and sits on a nearby bench
- probably 15-16 years old
- first talk about normal surface things, travel, music
- somehow God comes up
- he comes from what sounds like a very Godly family
- especially his mother
- he seems to understand the gospel
- that it is Jesus alone that can save us from our sins
- and that we are to live lives following and worshiping him
- but...
- he feels stuck
- really hard to get a job as an Armenian immigrant
- family doesn't have much money
- so... he is dealing cocaine to give money to his sister (that's why he was waiting there)
- that way she can go to university and have a chance at a good life
- he sees this as sacrificing himself for his sister
- I doubt his family knows about all this
- but I could see God working on him, Jesus can save him!
- Please pray for him!!
- I go wander some more
- find a spot to sit down and eat something
- a guy is busking with a djimbe down the way
- comes over and talks with a friend who is next to me
- we start up a conversation and he lets me play his drum
- we end up jamming for the next... 3 hrs :)
- mandolin + sweet percussion = awesome
- give Henk another call and come over
- Henk is a musician = guitars, hand drums and all sorts of cool music stuff
- turns out he lives next door with his family
- I'll be staying with 3 other guests
- Philippe, a French guy in town to apply for the music conservatory as a piano player
- Titus, a Polish guy doing an internship
- Robbie, an American traveling as a singing, guitar playing, robot on the streets.
- fun group
- Philippe and I have a sweet jam session with guitar and melodica - yes!
- Yay plane tickets finally all totally figured out and paid for!!
- Thanks for the help Mom!
- visit the Rietveld-Schroeder house
- this would have looked realllllly crazy in 1925
- the moving walls are pretty darn sweet though!
- the Utrecht university has some really crazy buildings
- loooots of colours
- I think the library might be my new favourite building
- such cool layers, sections, the entry and the atrium spaces are sweet!
- huh, Koolhaus building
- am I in a piece of famous architecture?
- or in a converted warehouse with classrooms and a home-made skate park
- day trip into Amsterdam
- take along a borrowed folding bike
- nice old town, definitely seems more industrialized then Utrecht though
- some really really cool new buildings
- not so sure about the new library
- but the music conservatory next door is really coool!
- I'll just pretend I'm a student that happens to have a camera so that I can explore the whole place :)
- the new housing developments on the old harbour fronts are really sweet
- fun to ride through them all especially since we talked so much about them in classes
- bike riding feels different here much more laid back then in Denmark
- Henk was sick the first few days so didn't see much of him
- but as he got better we got to jam a little bit, he's a great song writer
- to bad every day seems to have an afternoon downpour
- means no mandolin playing...
- horray for a washing machine!
- off to Delft...

Nights stayed: 4
Amount earned: € 12 (didn't play much cause there was to much to see :)
Things that made it all worth it:

That Jam session on the street with random people and instruments

Riding on a tiny bike while taking pictures

Hanging out in the kitchen talking with such different people with all sorts of experiance

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bonn

- short train ride = cheap :)
- feels like a smaller town, nice atmosphere though
- now... where can I camp
- oh, just over in a close village, ok, sounds good
- hmmm... why didn't the train stop at the right place
- it said that it would
- well just get off at the next station and ask the attendant
- says take the next train back and it will stop, ok
- Really!! skipped again!
- this time I'll ask the driver!
- Success!!
- now just to walk to the campground, a kilometer... or two
- yay! it's cheap
- bread, sausage, Rhein River, castles in the hills, good beer, and the Bible = nice evening
- lovely walk along the Rhein to the next village up
- getting directions to the train station... in German
- hoorah for hand motions
- plane ticket home bought and paid for... I hope so, hard to tell
- I really like the feel of this city
- not to big and not to small
- some good streets to play on!
- I meet a guy from the Denver area
- he said he had a dream he was flying into Cologne... so he did it
- friendly guy but seems a bit odd
- meet up with Julian
- good pizza and great conversation!
- mostly talking about memories, changes, and God's faithfulness
- busy guy these days
- twas good hanging out!
- Bad Godesberg is nice as well.
- First set goes really well... others not so much
- one little girl gives me a roll, aw
- botanical gardens are amazing this time of year, everything is blooming!
- and they have massive lilly pads - sweet
- Paul finds me again (that guy from Denver)
- where is a good spot to cook fish?
- I dunno
- fire down by the river?
- yeah, that would probably work
- hmm you don't know how to cook over a fire...
- just seems like he needs a friend so I go with him
- turns out when he's in the states he lives in a small Christian community almost like the Amish
- we talk all about what does it mean to be a church or denomination ect.
- this is his 8th time traveling as a bum in Europe, huh
- yep, he really doesn't know much about fires
- I get one going and show him how to make good coals and then cook over them
- we share the meal and it tasted really good
- say our farewells and each of us goes back to his tents (his apparently out somewhere in the woods)
- up in the morning and time to say Auf Wiedersehen to Germany
- off to the Netherlands and Utrecht...

Nights stayed: 3
Amount earned: € 35
Things that made it all worth it:

That sweet little old lady who came up to me and told me Amazing Grace is her favorite song

Seeing what God has done in two different lives over the past 3 years

Teaching a semi-amish bum from Denver how to cook fish over an open fire along the banks of the Rhein

Köln

- car ride with french people going to a huge Cambodian festival
- definitely Brooke 190 km/hr on the autobahn
- huh, the huge and famous cathedral is right outside the houptbahnhof
- massive building
- really amazing
- waiting for Dave my couchsurfing host
- Friendly man comes up
- Jehovah's Witness...
- get out my Bible and have a long conversation
- he really seems to want to know God and understand Jesus but has been led astray
- pray for him
- walk to different station and meet Dave
- works as nurse
- lives and works with the same people... and right next to the hospital
- really friendly!
- goes out of his way to make me feel at home
- his room has awesome turtles!
- hanging out in the apartment making cocktails with friends, fun
- Dave and Atnje give me a full tour of the city!
- lots of cool new buildings and (a few) maybe not so cool new ones
- all new harbor front development on the Rhein
- I think I really like this city
- Hoorah for not having to use an Internet cafe!!
- Figured out how I'm going to end these foreign travels
- I'll end it in Mexico!
- bet you didn't guess that one comin did ya ;)
- Back into town to watch the sun set over the Rhein behind the Cathedral
- Amazing!!
- mmm Döner Kebab for dinner
- plan for new day = mandolin playing = money?
- lots of great spots and lots of people... but,
- also loooots of other musicians
- A cathedral is a fantastic place to work on Bible lessons for Poland
- how bout playing down on the river walk
- just put my things behind me (notebook and waterbottle)
- thirsty
- Hey!
- seriously, who steals a water bottle from a street musician!?!
- chat with a couple other street performers
- no one else is doing very well today either
- tis strange
- dinner with friends and we'll call that a day
- track down an outdoors store (I need a waterbottle)
- Wow! this store is huge
- it even has an indoor pool for kayak testing
- leave keys and a note in Dave's apartment
- off to Bonn...

Nights stayed: 3
Amount earned: € 7
Things that made it all worth it:

That sunset over the Dom was pretty darn cool!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Frankfurt

- step off the train and immediately it feels like a bigger city
- so many people moving quickly to where they want to go
- this will be my first day of couchsurfing
- to bad my phone is dead... where is a call shop?
- lotsss of tall towers
- the Commerzbank tower looks as cool as I hoped!
- hard to find a spot to play, to much noise and no one is really milling about.
- lots of walking
- find my couchsurfing host house
- really cool street people, shops, trees,
- so much happening here
- mmm tasty dinner
- hanging out in the apartment, good times
- mmm Hessen apple cider and good conversation
- well rested and ready for exploring
- glad to have a charged camera :)
- take a break at Goethe-Platz
- meet 2 people working a video
- oh, sweet!! theyér working with a church plant in the area
- and are associated with Redeemer Pres in New York = very cool!!
- find the house Goethe grew up in!
- a walk on the Main river gives some sweet veiws of the skyline
- hrmm architecturally funky shopping center, not sure if I like it
- lots of other cool buildings though!
- find a park with baby swans!
- I still like that Commerzbank tower
- another tasty dinner!
- Eating outside in the back garden = very nice
- hanging out with neighbor who works at an arch and design firm
- take the train out of town and hang out at a birthday dinner?
- sure sounds like fun
- Yaay! Meltem helps me find a car ride out of town so I don´t have to pay for the train
- Off to Köln...

Nights stayed: 2
Amount earned: € 9? (I didn´t play much)
Things that made it all worth it:

Teaching a British Indian how to play a mandolin while hanging out in German Apartment.

Mannheim

- Sweet ICE train to get here
- 280 km/hr nice :)
- hrmm no subway in this town only city trams... smaller town?
- camping doesn´t look tooo far
- walk or tram, walk or tram... how bout the tram
- ah, longer ride then I thought it would be...
- end of line guess I have to walk the rest of the way
- glad I´ve gotten used to this pack!
- Man! its a long way out here! I´m out in the woods now...
- humm, camping in a trailer park, at least it´s next to the Rhein
- only traffic I can here is ocasional boats. YESSS!
- Friendly Swiss motercyclist for tent neighbor
- baaaack into town
- Don´t see many other street muscicians, lots of beggers though
- hard to find a spot to play. Either loud city trams or not enough people...
- quite the trek back "home"
- glad I didn´t try to walk...
- sure happy that it only decided to pour rain at night
- good thing I bought those extra tent stakes for the rain fly
- where to play...
- ask inside bakery if I can play out front, They seem to like it
- some cool buildings in this town
- yay for finding cheep chocolate!
- those trams make it hard to play
- heh, no one seems to know what a mandolin is
- ooooh I broke an E string
- yay! thanks for putting in an extra set of strings Brian!!
- Cooking in the dark...
- Found some sweet snails probably 1.25" diameter shells
- hmm finding internet cafe´s can be a pain... and to expensive
- off to Frankfurt...

Nights stayed: 2
Amount earned: € 25
Things that made it all worth it:

That teenager coming up and dancing next to me for 2 whole songs while his friends record the whole thing

Sitting along the Rhein, watching the sun set, and eating/drinking my pasta/soup