InterRail 2010 – Part 15: Pisa

Later the same evening that I had left Brig, I arrived in Milan, Italy.

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I did not get to see much of that city, as I was soon on a train to Florence, where I took in on a hotel near the station, and left on the first train in the morning, so I did not get to see much of that city either.

I was headed toward Rome, but decided to take a detour through Pisa while I was in the neghbourhood.

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As soon as I arrived, I headed straight for the Leaning Tower.

I knew the general direction, and I figured it would stick out enough for me to spot it easily.

I ended up wandering for quite some time before I saw the Leaning Tower jutting out at the end of a street.

I arrived just before they were closing, so I just barely managed to buy a ticket.

I had not dared going up the Eiffel Tower on this trip, but I was determined that I would not let my fear of heights stop me again, particularly because this tower was much smaller, and did not look that crooked to me.

As soon as I started ascending the stairs, the tower started to seem much more crooked.

I just about managed to get to the top before I had hurry down to ground level again.

As I strolled back to the train station along the Arno River, I was happy that I had made myself go up there.

I took a room when I arrived in Rome, and readied myself for another day of new experiences.

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InterRail 2010 – Part 14: Brig

After having a quick stop in Nancy, I left France for the mountainous vistas of Switzerland.

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I had a quick change of trains in Bern, but it was in the middle of the night, so I did not get to see anything there.

I was now in the latter half of the month, and wanted to get quickly down to Italy so that I would have time to explore before having to head back home.

When I arrived in the small alpine town of Brig even later that night, it turned out that the next train to Italy would not get there before evening the next day, so I had no choice but to stay.

And I am glad I got that opportunity, because Brig is beautiful!

I spent my day there relaxing, something that probably served me well before arriving in Italy.

After doing a bit of exploring and photography, I found a nice café where I sat down to eat and read for a while.

As I was traveling with just a small backpack, I also had to find a place that could wash my dirty laundry.

I was given directions to some older women who ran a washery out of a cellar, and they took care of it for me.

This would be the last of three times I had to take care of that on my trip, having previously taken advantage of a laundromat in Amsterdam and hotel services in Newcastle.

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While I was there, I discovered where Santa spends his days during the off-season.

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I also found it a bit amusing the this workout studio’s mascot was a weird red-spotted cow.

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When my time there was drawing closer, I picked up my backpack from the hotel I had stayed at, picked up my washed and dried clothes, and got a last good look at the amazing view.

Then I hopped on a train headed to Italy.

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InterRail 2010 – Part 13: Nancy

After visiting Paris, I started heading south, toward Italy.

I was going to take the train through Switzerland to get there, so I had to change trains in the French town of Nancy.

I had some time to kill before my train departed, so I decided to have a look around.

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A thing I saw that really caught my attention is a sculpture I think I have identified as a World War I Moselle memorial, but I could not find anything concrete online to be sure, and I failed to get the plaque in the picture.

I like the symbolism of a golden heart atop a mass of blackened hearts, even if I fail to draw the connection to World War I.

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I did not have enough time to see very much of the town, but what I saw seemed peaceful and beautiful, and I am glad I got to see a different side to France than just Paris before I left the country.

But just as soon as I had arrived, I was on my way to Switzerland!

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Vegan Vampire Soup

We are quickly closing in on the month of Halloween, and I wanted to reflect that in this month’s geeky recipe.

The result is a beety bloodbath of a dish, a feast fit for any vegetarian vampire, werewolf or cannibal.

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The Recipe

(Serves 2 monsters)

1. Boil two large beets for 15 minutes, or just buy boiled beets.

2. Cut a small piece off each beet, so that they are flat on the underside, and can stand still on a surface.

3. Use a knife and a spoon to scoop out each beet into a bowl.

4. Take the pieces you cut off from the undersides and insides of beetbowls, and slice them into pieces. They should look like gory meat chunks.

5. Set aside two tablespoons of diced beets, and put the rest in a small pot.

6. Add 1,5 deciliters of water and a half tablespoon of vegetable bouillon powder.

7. Bring it to a boil, then mix it all together with a hand-held blender.

8. Adjust the taste with salt, pepper and a small squeeze of lime.

9. Serve the soup in the beety bowls, and decorate with the diced beet chunks you put aside earlier.

10. Watch out for vampires!

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InterRail 2010 – Part 12: Exploring Paris

After traveling to France and getting a good nights sleep, I started strolling all over Paris.

I had been to Paris once when I was five, but this would be my first chance to truly experience the place.

Paris is a beautiful city with a lot of wonderful architecture, but it was still my least favorite stop on the entire journey.

I’m not sure if that is a reaction to being alone in the city of love, or because everything seemed to close extremely early compared to everywhere else, or maybe I was just at a low point emotionally at that point, or just affected by the gray weather.

That being said, I still enjoyed seeing all the sights.

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One of the first places I visited were the Louvre Museum.

I was a bit surprised at how many other things that art they had on display, as I had always just associated the Louvre with artworks, but they had a good deal of archeological discoveries there aswell.

After exploring the city a bit more I suddenly saw the Eiffel Tower emerging between some buildings at the end of the road.

I had been up at the first platform of the tower with my father when I was five, but I had not dared going to the top.

I considered trying this time, but after taking a closer look I decided that I didn’t even want to go up to the first platform this time.

I am not sure if my vertigo had gotten worse, or if it was due to me being there alone, but when I did manage to visit the Empire State Building when I was in New York with my girlfriend some years later, even if I was acting pretty hysterical.

In any case, I took a selfie and got going.

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I walked long into the night, and saw many wonderful sight, before I headed back to my room.

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Then, early the next morning, I jumped on a train heading southward.

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My First Trip to Paris

In 1995, when I was five years old, I traveled to Paris with my mother, father and baby sister.

We were going there to participate in a family member’s wedding, but I barely remember anything about that event.

 

But I do remember some other minor stuff, like experiencing cola in a can for the first time, and probably having way to much, getting rather hyper in the process.

And while I don’t actually remember it, I found a picture of me experiencing a moving walkway for the first time, and absolutely loving it!

 

I recall that Paris is where I got my panda teddy-bear, which I promptly named Pandabear.

There were a lot of panda souvenirs in Paris at the time, probably modeled after Paris’ then resident panda Yen Yen.

Pandabear and Lars The Doll were my two favorite toys when I was really young, and I still have them to this day, although I’m not sure in which moving-box.

 

I also remember going to Disneyland Paris.

What I remember most is how the rocket on the outside of Space Mountain towered over the park.

I can’t remember if I was too young or too scared to go on it, but I did not, which I regret now.

I do remember going in the ‘Beauty and The Beast’ teacups, and getting motion-sickness.

 

I remember that my father tried to get me to go with him to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but I only dared going to the middle part.

For some reason I started dropping coins down to the ground, but I was soon stopped, and told that if they hit anyone they would get severely hurt.

I have later learned that this is thankfully not very accurate.

But I do find it interesting that I was afraid to go to the top of the tower even back then.

Makes we wonder if I was just born with a fear of heights, or if something happened to trigger it even earlier than this.

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My Shower Habits

Some people can spend as little as five minutes in the shower.

They just do what’s necessary to get clean, then get out.

Not me.

 

For as long as I can remember, I have spent an exuberant amount of time in the shower.

I stand for 20-30 minutes daily, letting the hot water wash over me.

I feel entirely relaxed, and the hot water warms me into my core in a way that nothing else can.

 

But even when I do try to get it done with as fast as possible, if I have to be somewhere on time, I still spend more time than most.

I feel incapable of rushing a shower too much, as I don’t feel entirely clean afterwards if I do.

 

Showers – my blessing and my curse.

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