So it’s time to head to La Spezia to wander the five towns of Cinque Terra. I’m currently speeding along the Tuscan country side on Italy’s fast train, reflecting on the last few days. Venice was an incredible whirlwind that imbued my senses with the curiosity and awe often found with traveling to new destinations. Although I have felt jet lagged the entire time, adrenaline has kept me going to see and experience some of the amazing things Venice has to offer. Only have 2 days? Here are 12 things to do.
I’m slowly recovering from jet lag.
Jet lag you say?
Well, two days ago, Robbie and I boarded a plane en route to London Heathrow, transferred to Gatwick, and then flew to Venice… Venezia… the City of Lights, or Bridges, or Canals.
Back to Germany. After a sad goodbye, David and I were off to Berlin. Why Berlin? Just because. I had been to Berlin many years ago and my memory of the city was quite foggy, so I was definitely excited about a revisit. Berlin has an incredibly interesting history, and we were looking forward to learning a thing or two. We boarded the long train from København to Berlin via Hamburg and arrived on Sunday evening, ready for two days of walking and sightseeing. And boy was there a lot of walking and sightseeing! We visited the Berliner Mauer East Side Gallery of The Berlin Wall on Mühlenstr, the Brandenburger Tor, the Reichstag (German parliament), the Holocaust Mahnmal, the Homosexuellen Mahnmal, Großer Tiergarten, Postdamer Platz, Topographie des Terrors, Checkpoint Charlie, Gendarmenmarkt (where I found a chocolate Reichstag!), the Musikinstrumenten-Museum, the DDR museum (…a fantastic museum to learn about what life was like in Socialism for GDR citizens), Museumsinsel, and the Berliner Dom… just to name a few. It was always an adventure.
At one point, David and I had a lovely conversation with a Norwegian street performer on our way to the Ostbahnhof train station. He had drank a lot of Vodka the night before, tripped on acid, and had woken up on a bench that morning with his belongings taken by a girl he doesn’t think he’ll ever see again. He had his guitar with him though, and the clothes on his back. At first he wanted to go to the train station, which is why we all walked together, but then he decided he would go to a section of the Berlin Wall and play some tunes. He also had ambitions of jamming in New Orleans once he’s allowed back into the US. Unfortunately he’s banned from travelling there following an incident involving marijuana possession. He was a nice guy, but I can’t say I was able to relate. I don’t even know if ‘tripped on acid’ is the right way to describe the effects of such a substance. In any case, if there’s anything this trip has taught me, it’s to dream big, my friend. Dream big. You’ll get to New Orleans if you put your mind to it!
On the last night in Berlin, and before David and I went our separate ways (I would be returning to Göttingen and David back to København), we found a German pub and brewery near Alexanderplatz called Brauhaus GeorgBræu where we sat outside, had a beer and ate some German food. I decided I would get the ‘Brauhaus Hit’. Something described as a ‘Hit’ could only be good, right?! The description was: Boiled knuckle of pork, with stewed peas, sauerkraut, potatoes, 1 0.2L Georg pils beer, and grain schnapps. It sounded quite German to me. Now, I had never heard of a pork knuckle and I was clueless as to what I had just ordered. David knew what it was despite being vegetarian, but I thought it was a ‘lost in translation’ type of description and took it to mean a ‘good portion of boiled pork’. I have no idea why I thought that, but what I received was not expected at all! For anyone who knows me, I’m generally a chicken and turkey kind of guy, and like my extra lean beef from time to time. So when the fattiest epically-sized pork knuckle with all the skin on it came to my table, my appetite was slightly lost and I almost declared my vegetarianism right then and there! However, it tasted good, and I did manage to eat the bulk of that knuckle… until I saw some blood on the inside. At that point I was throwing in the towel. Pork knuckle FTW!
Thanks for a fun few days, David! It’s been quite the reunion :). As I write this, I’m on the train from Berlin to Göttingen, where I plan to enjoy a few relaxing days and spend some quality time with Darrin before flying back to Calgary. (As of posting, I’m leaving for Calgary today :-/ ). It’s been a fantastic trip with great experiences, cherished time with family and friends, busy traveling, and life reflection. And as I’m about to enter my 30’s, I look forward to discovering where I go next and what I do from here. To Europe and to everyone who made this trip truly memorable: Merci, Tak, & Danke. It’s been an absolute pleasure, and I dedicate my pork knuckle to you!