Tuesday, November 24, 2009

back from lunch.

disclaimer: on a french keyboard (in italia) which is even more annoying than a german keyboard, so spelling errors will ensue. sorry.

ciao!

here are some thoughts i've had while wandering around rome today:

  • italian men dress very well. italian women need to take another look in the mirror.
  • i can't quite shake the fact that rome reminds me of southern california. probably because southern california tries to look like rome, but nonetheless...palm trees, pastel and sepia toned stucco buildings, excessive amounts of fur and bad taste.
  • i am going to get so fat in italy. pizza bianca is a revelation. ice cream ain't got nothing on gelato. mozzarella di bufala grows on trees here. truffles are my new best friend.
  • i must ride on a scooter. almost getting hit by one just doesn't cut it. where's gregory peck when you need him?
  • aperitivo! the perfect antidote to negroni.
  • i will never be able to say grazie properly.
  • tourists are funny. watching them pose for photos may be some of the most insightful people watching ever.
  • lonely planet is stupid.
i think i had more thoughts than this, but i can't remember them now.

anyways, this is my second week in italy. italy is stupendous. i didn't think it could possibly be as great as everyone says, but by god, it is. tuscany has to be one of the most beautiful places i have ever seen. perfect rolling countryside. i've already asked my dad if he'd like to be an investor in my future olive business. all i need is €300,000 for a villa and some land and to learn about olive farming and i'm set. seriously. very much considering giving it all up (all being a very relative term, as i am a soon to be pennyless unemployed fashion designer) and having my very own diane lane/under the tuscan sun experience. if someone can come up with a less chick-lit-y reference for this, please let me know.

here is my laundry list of things and places seen, visited or eaten so far:

  • pisa: saw the tower, posed for a goofy photo. shorter than i thought it would be. but it really leans!
  • florence: ate gelato, climbed the duomo, saw the david, walked and walked.
  • cinque terra and la spezia: ate my first bufala mozzarella, hiked the 5 villages, saw a great sunset, first glimpse of the mediterranean.
  • siena and san gimignano: great people, lovely medieval city, cooked for italians, negroni
  • perugia: stayed on a fake farm in an epty hostel, got lost in the middle of nowhere and hiked a country dirt road till i found my way, ate truffles
  • roma: colosseum/palatine/roman forum, pantheon, best pizza of my life, tivoli, piazza after piazza, trevi fontaine...more to come!
arrivaderci,
sammi

Friday, October 30, 2009

photos...paris. backwards.

le sigh.


success! francais!

notre dame.


laduree.


colette.


the louvre.



eiffel what? eiffel wow.


eiffel tower at night! still can't figure out how to rotate. sorry.


oscar wilde's grave. unfortunately i had no lipstick.



paris...


les puces - vintage. (rotate please)


les puces - chandeliers.



les puces - shells.


because i'm vain. and moody.



view from the pompidou.

a bathing schizophrenic.

this my friends will be a long one.

still in budapest. love budapest. beautiful city. interesting city. stylish city. happened upon many an interesting boutique, food i can actually digest, a free wine tasting and lovely people. it's a city i thought i might like to stay in for a while. that's now up for debate.

had one of those days. started off with the best of intentions: get up early, get to the baths, see a museum and head out for the evening with some new friends to check out the ruin/squater bars in the old jewish quarter. but things got bumpy pretty quickly. plans fell through, where i would stay for the weekend was no longer certain, and my plans for where to go next were completely confused. bucharest or vienna? should i stop in zagreb on the way? why the fuck am i travelling in the first place, this totally sucks...i get agro very easily sometimes.

had a bitchy email discourse with a potential couch host in vienna which i will now copy and paste for your enjoyment:

Samantha Smith wrote:

hello!

i'm planning on coming to vienna next week (dates unconfirmed, but most likely monday or tuesday), and was hoping that you'd have a couch or some free time for me. i'm new to the couchsurfing community, so my profile is a bit limited, but so far i'm finding this a really exciting way to see new cities and meet new and awesome people.

i sense we'd have a lot in common, and at the very least you seem like a great person to point me in the direction of interesting shops, cafes, sights and the like.

hope we can work something out!

sammi


__________ wrote:
nope, sorry, no time. besides - i don't like shopping nor fashion. hint to get started: rather write to less people but the ones you could really connect with and try to transport that in your email. good luck and kind regards.


Samantha Smith wrote:

you're so right. as all i'll want to do while visiting your city filled with great architecture, theatre, culture and parks, is find the nearest h&m and blow my cash on the latest trendy pair of acid wash jeans, we really could find nothing of interest to do together. and since i joined couchsurfing to only meet people with the exact same interests as me it would be horrible to meet with someone who could potentially, i don't know, teach me something new. forget the fact that my tastes are diverse, my interests in fashion lay on the side of green, and i'm a pretty open-minded person.


you obviously are in no way obligated to make time for me, and i understand you're busy and cs is a crapshoot, but, well, i suppose i'm a bit surprised and disappointed by your attitude.

thanks anyway,
sammi

anyways...after a few too many hours in front of the computer trying to organize my life, i finally headed to the baths. still steaming and stressed and confused, i stomped along the sunny, tree and statue filled andrassy st. fuming and on the verge of tears. a heavy dose of travel burnout and solo traveler loneliness. i'm tired of two day best friends. it's too much work. thought budapest might be some respite from that...now i feel abandoned. arrived at the baths: a line up! could this day get any worse?

no. because after i got through the sea of old lady tits that was the change rooms, i made it outside to the hot pools...an amazing (baroque? renaissance? i don't know) courtyard...slipped into the perfect water and immediately relaxed. quickly made friends with some fellow travellers when we caught each other laughing at an old man with ginormous balls. huge. saggy. hilarious. immediately my day was better. that's the way it always work. every time i feel hopeless, i meet some australians and they make me feel better.

now i'm holed up in my very own swank-ass studio apartment. there's a bathtub and a king-size bed. thanks tibor (my first couch surf host here owns some apartment hotel suites in the city). and i'm sitting here in front of the computer, in my underwear, cause i can (cause when you backpack you can never just be naked), with a glass of wine, gummy dinosaurs and a face mask on and there's some sweet funk-soul tunes on the hungarian radio station and i'm totally content.

still don't know where i'm going next...but i have at least a day and a half to decide...eons really.

therefore, i am totally schizophrenic. but i'm also squeeky clean.

-sammi
p.s. told you it was a long one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

found my way.

i just reread my last two posts. sammi sounded angry. sammi´s not angry anymore.

after getting the hell out of prague, i headed to krakow, home of the bagel and my first official couch surf. no more australians, plenty of doughy goodness. krakow appealed to me immediately; on a chilly, foggy morning i was greeted by bagel (obwarzanki) stands on every corner, a beautiful town square and smokey student cafes. did you know the bagel was invented in krakow? these are so my people.

i mostly wandered in krakow: the main square with its old churches and the cloth hall, the old jewish quarter (no longer very jewish but full of great cafes) and wawel castle. i´ve been pacing myself on the church/castle sightseeing front so far, so they still have an air of grandeur for me. wawel castle looks like a mixed up jigsaw puzzle of a castle. it seems to have every era of architecture represented in its various towers and courtyards. apparently that´s what you get from hundreds of years of invasions and political unrest. every invader leaves their mark.

then on to warsaw. now, warsaw, she may not be the prettiest girl at the party, but she certainly knows how to show you a good time. the city itself is pretty much as bleak and grey as i had expected, but i stayed with great people (total strangers, i was introduced to justyna through a girl i met for, like, half an evening in prague) who fed me and entertained me all weekend long. best memories (mostly food memories. of course): the view from the university library rooftop garden, discovering oskypek (smoked and then grilled chunks of goat cheese with cranberry sauce) in the old town square, doughnuts (rose jam filled heaven), radek´s feasts around the small kitchen table, and a night out of vodka and pickled herring, beer in an old-timers smokey bar and shisha. great times had by all.

now i´m in budapest, and it´s sunny and beautiful and i don´t want to leave. my god this city is fantastic. i´m sure it will become one of my favourites.

eg├ęszs├ęgedre! (that means cheers! in hungarian. so far it´s the only thing i can say).
-sammi

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

spin the globe and point....where should i go next?

so i'm in krakow now. i think this is a very cool city. i like it much better than prague, thank you very much. but after i've eaten a bucket of pierogies and thouroughly depressed myself with a trip to auschwitz, where do i go next?

tentative plan that failed. krakow to stockholm to helsinki then back through and around the baltic countries...but nowhere to stay in scandinavia now so that's been postponed.

new thoughts: krakow to lublin (weekend trip with my couchsurfing hosts) to warsaw, skip lithuania, down to romania, hungary, bulgaria...then back to the west for a bit.

or: maybe eastern europe is just too fucking depressing and i will be lame and just go to italy.

or: maybe eastern europe is too fucking depressing and i'll just go to turkey. thoughts on turkey in the off season?

help.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

fuck you prague.

that's what i wanted to call this post about 5 hours ago, as i walked through the soggy streets of prague composing an angry rant in my head. too many tourists. too many dumb fucks in my hostel. too much rain. what do people do here? a church is a church is a castle is a church. that sort of thing.

needless to say, i've mellowed out a bit since then. i've been in prague for about three days now, and i gotta say...it's beautiful, beyond picturesque, haven't seen a city like it yet...but it's not really doing much for me beyond that. it feels almost like a cartoon city. too many pastel coloured buildings i guess. too many tourists. do any czech people actually live here? maybe i just can't shake off berlin.

that being said, i am determined to make the most of my next few days. i will eat goulash. i will go on a day trip to kutna hora and see the Church of Bones. i will go to the ballet. i will drink pilsner in smokey bars with old czech men. and goddammit, i'm going to like it.

sbohem,
-sammi