21 d’octubre 2014

A European European

As much as I love the Southern Hemisphere there is no other continent I identify more with than Europe.

And as much as many (mostly Dutch friends) shake their head in disbelief, there is no country I feel second (or even later first) at home than Germany.

So, langsam lerne ich die deutsche Sprache wieder, I recover my rusty and never supereloquent_but_nevertheless_correct German. Can't beat this language. It is compact and precise. It rocks and I am glad I can get to practise it, to enjoy speaking and listening to it again. Yep, I am a German enthusiast as much as I am an NZ enthusiast.

I bought an Interrail Pass that has so far made it from Amsterdam to Regensburg, München, Mannheim, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Bad Vilbel and it is still on the way to Paris with its final destination to Barcelona, the city that saw me first. It is a very nice feeling to travel around on trains. Specially when taking the German ICE high speed super silent trains that rock you to sleep. True story.

I have managed to catch up with a lot of people. Some we didn't manage timewise and some we managed to arrange a short-sweet and cheery improptu breakfast/beer. Danke Steffi, danke Patrick!. Usually people who have lived abroad understand that often touring one's homeland has little to do with doing holidays. It becomes very  important to share the gift of real flesh_and_blood presence and interaction with people. Maybe is a certain sydrome of the permanent migrant. You don't identify with a country as much as you identify with people you share life views and experiences with.

I am delighted that all is still so sentimentally charged. There's this thing... Whenever I travel I hardly ever get an airport farewell or a welcome commitee. But everytime I step an airport there are these people waiting for others and meeting, hugging, celebrating: friends, family, lovers...
Hence, if I arrive to a Bahnhof and if a friend or friends are receiving me I sob without  exception. I understand those arms are for me and I dive in them to wipe my ecstatic tears on their hearts. The love I experience for a brief moment is so big it cures the little wounds their absence did on me. I know it is cheesy, but it feels quite like that.

As much as I love Australia for its sun, its colour, food, wildlife, people, quality of life and uniqueness, Europeans have all the character any new country lacks. I am a European European. Born in Barcelona, raised everywhere.

07 d’octubre 2014

least self reflective trip

I am a bit sadly returned of my trip. That Fernweh...

I love now though when people ask me: are you now going back home? I really have to ask: back home where? It is hard to inhabitate the planet in different areas. Home Amsterdam where I have my apartment? Home Barcelona where I have my family? or home Sydney where I have my heart?
The trip was amazing and very educative. Least self reflective because having a smartphone around spoils all moments of sweet solitude, of writing impressions and of feeling far from your last destination. I think I will continue travelling 90s style. As awesome as it is having all the answers ready, there is a more elaborate way to find them that involves more communication, research and high head keeping.

This trip to a less known area also made me reinfoce the fact that if you've grown up whithin a reality and haven't experienced others you will try to understand things from your available resources. Regarding current affairs within the Middle East nobody we met seemed to carry any hate nor understand much of what was going on without involving many different factors. They all agreed it involved complex political interests. Of course as travellers you get to feel attracted to people with a broader view. Meaning, we'll never get to meet people with radical views. 
Bego, my best friend and travelling partner and I have written some highlights down of our trip.

We left on a Saturday morning from Paris. As we do, we woke up late and waited until last minute to make our way to the airport. And we almost didn't make it. Not because of the public transport, but because there was a fire in the basement of our building and the firemen didn't want us to set foot on street level, which was sealed. It took some running desperately on the same spot and backpack showing before they let us made our way to the metro.
We were surely late and the lady at the customs queue was making things harder. We had 7 minutes before gate closing and a big queue in front of us so I showed the lady the boarding pass and asked her if she could pretty please let us through. A typical charming Parisienne, that lady answered in her lowest grin and loudest voice: "Madame, toute le monde a le
même probleme ici". Ah, we love Parisians!

So there for starters. We took off late and arrived to our first destination: Beirut. In Beirut we were held apart and questioned. We learned later on the trip that we had been super lucky not to have mentioned our trip further to Israel, otherwise we'd still be at the airport answering questions.
I managed not to get too cocky or sarcastic with immigration authorities. Yay to me!

Episode 1 will be Lebanese anecdotes. And there is unfortunately a little bit of a misventure there.