Day in the Black Forest town of Freiburg 

Our first morning in Freiburg, we headed out to the old city. Our walk was wonderful–all along the river that we heard the previous night. The air was clean, crisp, and just perfect. We found a nice bakery that we got some pastries to start our morning. The OJ was great–usually I have a hard time finding regular tasting OJ, and this hit the spot. We sat at a bench at the entrance gate of the old part of town and watched passer byers hurry off to work / school etc.

After our breakfast, we headed in, and found our way down such quaint streets lined with buildings and greenery hanging above us. We stopped at one shop called ‘Collage’, and it had the coolest items in it. We spent a long time just going through all the curated stuff that got our imaginations pouring for projects and such. We then wandered down the way and came into a huge plaza with the Muenster Church. There was the hustle and bustle of setting up stalls for food items going all the way around. We explored the fresh fruits, cheeses, honey, sausages, vegetables. Everything looked great.

We opted to have fresh sausages in bread for our lunch–in typical German fashion.

We continued wandering down the streets and explored the whole town looking at the shops and getting lost in the side streets. There’s a university in the town, so that gave the town a very laid back, unique feeling. All on our way home, everyone’s riding their bikes, sitting by the river and playing games or having a beer together. It really has a great feel.

The next day, we planned to go to Baden-Baden, based on research and personal recommendations, and we were a little stumped as to why. It was nice, and clean, and typically picturesque, however, it felt very old…like what Monte Carlo I would imagine to be. After searching for lunch after the original spot was closed, we had a nice lunch (albeit we had to move because of smokers), but overall the lunch was a great way to start our exploration of the city–and to find out why people recommended it!

We walked throughout the main shopping street, then headed up the mountain to some wonderful fields and took great pictures in a meadow. We continued on and winded back down the mountain and got dropped back into the main street again. I guess we did it all–and we were fine with going back, as comparitively, we really enjoyed Freiburg better anyway!

Once back in Freiburg, we found dinner at a recommended (yelp) shwarma place, and it was quite good. Everyone was out and about watching the soccer matches, so it was fun people watching while we ate. Robert then got a gelato and we headed home for the evening. Freiburg was a really great place!


Drive on the Romantic Road to Innsbruck

This morning we got to the car rental place to pick up our car for the next week. Everything went mostly smoothly, and we were in our Ford B-max little european car! Driving manual was a little stressful being in the city, but after about 15 minutes of traffic and tight corridors or cobbledstreets, we were out of Munich and on our way south to Innsbruck.

First, however, we drove the Romantic Road toward Neuschwanstein Castle, the fairy tale like castle in Bavaria. We had beautiful weather, and the scenery was breathtaking. It was actually very fun to do the drive this time rather than going by train, and being able to take pictures from different vantage points by car was really great.

We made our way to the parking area and started our hike up the hill to the castle. Unfortunately, Mary’s bridge was closed yet again (it was also closed 5 years ago disappointingly so), which is such a shame, as this was the main view that you get to see of the castle that’s so beautiful. The hike was very nice up hill in the shade of the trees, and we arrived at the front of the castle. The tickets were already sold out for the day, but me having already been inside, I knew we weren’t missing much–it’s really the outside and position of the castle that is so beautiful in my opinion anyway. Why they don’t finish the castle and create hotel rooms for people to stay in? That would be an incredible use of all the space that currently sits completely unfinished.

After a while of hiking and walking around, we headed down to Innsbruck, Austria. In order to drive legally in Austria, you have to have a sticker in the window called a Vignette. They said when we cross the border, we’ll see signs for this and we can buy a 10-day pass. The total was about $10, which was very fair.

As we left the castle area, we went through winding roads. I thought I saw an EU sign which made me think we just crossed the border, and then immediately on my left I saw a little gas station, completely common, and there was a sign on the ground that said Vignette. I about slammed on the breaks and peeled into the gas station in order to get the sticker. I can’t imagine how many people would miss this due to the subdued nature of the signage. Luckily, we weren’t one of them, and were on our way with our legally driveable car in Austria!

Austria is definitely beautiful. And being able to drive around was great as the scenery was so breathtaking from rolling green fields, to high mountains surrounding little villages along the way. Innsbruck ended up being a lot bigger than I realized, and with our unlimited data plan, we were able to find our hostel quickly.

We were a little nervous during check in as we smelled smoke, and the hostel looked more like a prison, but it sufficed. Innsbruck lodging is of course expensive, so this was a good alternative. With the use of the car, it was easy for us to get around. That evening, we went to a Himalayan restaurant and had a great meal that was very decent in price. We enjoyed walking around the Old Town as it was quite lively with people outside eating in front of cafes and restaurants.

We found a cafe to have a famous Sacher Torte, and enjoyed our slice of chocolate cake outside people watching as they strolled the streets of Old Town. It was a truly European evening. After a wonderful evening, we headed back to the hostel and had a great night sleep.

Day in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Before this trip, Mom had a friend / relative who was traveling through Europe roughly at the same time as me, and recommended that this little town was a must-see. So, I added it to our itinerary as a day trip! We started the morning out and got our Bayern Day Pass that let us use regional trains all day. We got a quick bite to eat at the cafes at the train station, and then got aboard our train to reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber around lunch time.

The journey passed through some beautiful landscapes of the rolling hills of this part of Germany. Several farm like pastures and grape vineyards speckled the landscapes that were cleanly manicured like felt. The gentle rocking of the train made me sleepy, but we had a transfer right in the middle of our trip, so we stayed relatively alert.

When we arrived, we walked about 10 minutes before arriving at the ‘entrance’ to the walled city. I’d remembered just then that it was a walled city, so I immediately got excited of our adventure here. Stepping through the first gate, you are instantly beamed back in time walking atop cobbled stone streets lined with the wood beam architecture that you think of in fairy tales.

Shops also lined the streets selling everything from souvenirs, to fresh bread, to gelato. We started looking for lunch, and ended up at a bread house and got some freshly made pasta with house made bread. It was a delicious meal that we were able to eat in the square while listening to a concert being performed. Unfortunately, it was a bit overcast, but it kept us cool during our exploration of the town.

After lunch, we zig zagged up and down all the streets inside the walls. It was a great place to explore and take pictures. It was simply the most stunning little village that you could imagine. We’ve actually lucked out with the crowds–while there are quite a bit of tourists, it’s not overwhelming at all.

We spent the whole afternoon just enjoying our stroll, and came upon a bakery selling the infamous Schneeballen (snow ball) which was like a cross of a funnel cake hardened into a ball dipped into chocolate.

We then headed back to the train station to catch our train home. As we awaited the train, it was delayed by 20 minutes.. then by 40 minutes, so we took a different route home. Thankfully, we really were able to make it home almost the same amount of time by going the different route.

Once we got home, we were quite hungry and had previously made reservations at the Afghani restaurant around the corner. While we missed our reservation, they didn’t seem to notice (or care), and we had an amazing lamb dish with my favorite Mantu dumplings. Robert’s first experience to Afghani food was a success!

Robert joins the fun!

This morning, I went to the train station to pick up Robert. The train arrived mostly on time, and it was great to see a familiar face from home in Munich! We reunited, and then headed off to our hotel to drop off our baggage nearby. Amazingly when we went to check in, our room was already available for us! This was really convenient as we were able to set down our bags and get settled in, before heading out for the rest of the day.

We then went back to Marienplatz to meet up with Johannes for a welcome Bavarian lunch for Robert. Johannes picked out a restaurant for us to go, and we had some great Bavarian food to welcome Robert. After our great lunch, we bid farewell to Johannes and headed out to look at some shops. After a little while, it began to rain, so we headed back to the hotel to rest a little before dinner.

That evening, we headed back out after a great nap and we crossed a river, and saw a little family of ducks crossing. One duckling got a bit separated, and got caught in the rush of water and started being swept away from the family. We watched and cheered him on to get back to the rest, but suddenly a black crow-like bird flew above, and swept down to the water as if to pick him up. Thankfully, he wasn’t taken, and we continued to watch and cheer him on while we peddled furiously upstream. Finally he made it to the same are the family had gone, so hopefully he was reunited.

We found a cute little restaurant called Hans im Gluck, where the inside looked like a forest with birch wood tree trunks everywhere throughout. After a really great hamburger and fries with an amazing dipping sauce. It was like a french onion dip, and I do not understand how we do not have something like this back home. It makes total sense. We all love French Onion Dip with Ruffles, why would we not eat it with our fries!!?

Reunion with Johannes

My arrival into Munich was easy. Johannes and I went to grad school together and it had been 10 years since seeing each other last. Luckily, we were able to visit this trip.
After a grueling flight aboard with several screaming children, a nauseated passenger in front of me who forced her window shade open the entire flight while everyone was trying to sleep, I landed safely in Munich and quickly found the Lufthansa bus to take me to Johannes’ apartment. After being let in and visiting for a bit, he went off to work and I was able to take a much needed nap–though not too long to make sure I could get on the time zone.

After showering and resting, I headed out to Marienplatz to look around and wait for Johannes to finish work. We then went to Viktrualmarkt biergarten to have a drink with his girlfriend Anne. We enjoyed our chatting about various topics including the upcoming presidential debate as well as the whole refugee crisis and its effect on Germany. Real light hearted stuff :)

We then went for a traditional Bavarian restaurant and got some great dishes. After our great dinner, we walked home and enjoyed a nice evening with some rain, but mostly dry walk home. I was indeed ready for a great nights sleep the following day.

And that I did. After an amazing slumber, I headed out for the day to check out the residenz museum and gardens. I enjoyed beautiful weather and cello music in the gardens. I shopped around a little and enjoyed a day of leisure.

When Johannes was done with work, we went to get bikes for a bike ride. We spent the whole evening exploring the northern part of Munich up to the Olympic park, stopped for currywurst for a snack, then continued on to a palace to see the grounds there. It was a great bike ride.

That evening we searched for some sushi and found a restaurant to try out. When we arrived he said they weren’t serving anymore that evening. So in Japanese I looked at the chef and asked if he was Japanese. He was and then I broke out with pleas of asking if we could just have some leftovers and such, but despite impressing everyone in the restaurant, my efforts failed :(. So we had to find another place nearby. That ended up being pretty good too, but the other one looked like a good place too!

Last day of my trip

My journey has come to a close. What started as a challenge and a celebration of my 35 years here, I’d always wanted to do a trip completely around the world. 161 Days, 23 weeks, 3,864 hours covering 35,000 miles to places in Asia, Middle East, Balkans, and the north of Africa, I accomplished what I set out to do. I’m extremely proud of myself, my planning, and my courage to go on this journey, and I am coming home with a renewed sense of self and appreciation for my life. I have been extremely lucky on this trip with health, safety, and overall, have little negative experiences in all that I’ve seen and done.

A few fun stats from the trip:

Countries Visited: 17

Miles Traveled: Over 35,000 miles not including camelback, horseback, elephantback, swimming distances, sandboard distances, swimming distances, but including bullet trains, local trains, buses, share taxis, vans, and private cars.

Items Lost along the way:

Japan: Bigger vacuum bag with 1 pair of underwear and 1 shirt

Laos: Pair of shoes left at the waterfalls

Cambodia: Hat

Morocco: Hat, Lame sunglasses (on purpose)

Times Sick:

China – Upset Stomach

Laos – food poisoning

Portugal – Sinus Infection

Morocco – Upset Stomach

Items Stolen: 0

It was an incredible trip. Thanks to everyone who participated simply by liking a picture or a commentary of something I was experiencing. It made my connection to home feel alive.

Cordoba Spain

After spending the night trapped in Algeciras, we made our way to the train to get to cordoba. Luckily the hotel wed researched was in walking distance to the train station and arriving at noon, the temperature was surprisingly not hot. The train ride was nice and comfortable, and the scenery was really beautiful. We kept a look out for the solar farm, but never did see it :(

Wandering all through Cordoba, we made it to the main sites and went into the most impressive church ever, the Cathedral of Cordoba. It was originally a Catholic church, then turned into a Mosque, and then back into Catholic, all while keeping the styles throughout creating a beautiful mixture of clashing religions. After spending a lot of time photographing the inside, we went and walked around seeing the old mills in the river. We then found our way back to the restaurant we’d had a snack at earlier and had dinner, a beautiful seafood paella, where we were soon joined by a man and his wife from Australia.

Halfway through our meal, they turned around and just started chatting with us. The more we chatted, the more involved our chat became, and the longer we sat enjoying their company. They finally joined our table and had the rest of our dinner with us and we talked about all sorts of topics, including the Gaza conflict, America’s problems with guns, and Scottish Independence. It was so exciting to have such ‘worldly’ conversations, especially after feeling like I’ve been educated more in this trip than my entire highschool world history class.

We then left our new friends and found a spot to watch Flamenco, and see a performance over dessert. We sat for just about an hour and shared a small cake while waiting on our other order, which never came. Of course, we had to send the check back as they’d charged us for 2 desserts. Flamenco wasn’t really my cup of tea, and an hour was plenty for me :)

Bus to Seville

Seville was really a beautiful city. I think I must have picked the worst possible weekend to visit, as Friday was a holiday so everything was closed, then Saturday things were partially open til mid day, and then again on Sunday, everything was closed. I only got a glimpse of what Seville’s normal life could potentially look like on Monday when stores were open until just lunch time again.

I took the bus from Tavira to Seville, and it was one of the worst bus rides. Thankfully I bought my ticket the day before, because as it was a holiday, no one was working the ticket counter when I arrived, nor was anyone in the bus station. I only hoped that the bus driver didn’t take off as well.

As we waited, bus after bus came through, but none were for Seville, and I started to get a little nervous after the time it was supposed to be there had passed. Finally, it came just about 10 minutes late, and the bus driver needed to smoke, so he stopped the bus for a good 10 minute break, but wouldn’t let anyone on. So there we sat as a group of the bus came out to smoke, everyone just puffing away, while we stood there with our bags. If I gained an intolerance for anything, it’s still for smokers, and I’ll never understand the mentality and disgusting habit.

There were about 6 of us wanting to get on, and I asked the bus driver did I have a seat, and he said yes, but we needed to see who got out to know how many could get on. Amazingly, only 3 seats were available, so I and 2 french were let onto the bus, while the others had to sit and wait another 3+ hours for another bus to come. Lesson learned in Mostar, where I almost didn’t get on the bus because I was told I could buy the ticket day of!

After an uncomfortable bus ride which included cramped quarters, tiny air conditioning vents, a sweater from the girl who had covered her headrest in front of me, but allowed the sleeves to hang in front of my face (to which I kept flopping back over to her), sitting on the sunny side with just one curtain that she kept pulling to cover herself completely, and not share half and half like I kept trying to pull it back to do, as well as a nasty foot that propped itself in between my neighbor’s and my seats, I felt like I was in hell. Luckily, I had downloaded some tv shows to watch, and before I knew it, we were pulling into the bus station in Seville, and busting out of the bus to the still heated air of Seville.

I just wanted away from the bus, so I got out, got my bags and started out of the station, and looked at my maps to see what new transportation challenge awaited me to get to my hotel. Luck was on my side, and after mapping, it was just a 7 minute walk nearby. I headed for the tall buildings that lined tiny one lane streets and like a maze, followed the blue dot of my map to my hotel.

Entering the hotel, I had a huge sigh of relief to know that I was ready to just shower off the dirtiness of the bus, sweat, and refresh. The girl at the front greeted me as if I was interrupting her watching tv on her computer. She had that dingy looking hair that looked unwashed, no matter how many times it probably had. She just had a sepia look to her, maybe from smoking, maybe from just being unclean, but she seemed disinterested in her job, that’s for sure.

She spoke no English, and used ‘vale’ like a valley girl in California would say like. Like every like second like word was ‘va-le’, and while I guess it broke up her otherwise fast speaking, I was able to understand and ask my questions about wifi etc.

I got into the room, and it was perfect for what I needed. It was dark so I knew sleeping should be good, and pretty clean. The bed was not the most comfortable, and felt more like a garbage bag filled with newspapers in the shape of a mattress. It sounded like that too when I plopped down to relax a bit.

After my shower, I went exploring and was able to get some good sightseeing in because of the location of the hotel to the rest of the sites of Seville.

The streets were pretty empty, but mostly tourists were around. Apparently August is the shut down time of Spain, and everyone Spanish is away on holiday. That is definitely one mystery I’ll never understand. How demanding Americans are for their comforts, conveniences, and such, that there is no demand for a more reasonable vacation time. Although, that could have something to do with Spain’s financial strife, unemployment, and the US economy still doing well. I wonder what would happen if Spain worked as much as the US? I saw opportunity after opportunity of shops that had people just looking at them, wanting to shop, but everything was closed. If I was a shop owner, I’d be happy being the only store open selling my goods at a premium while everyone else was at their vacations. Oops, there’s the mentality as to why American’s don’t do more vacations J

Seville had some really amazingly beautiful churches, cathedrals, and gardens. The great Cathedral is the center point, and in the evening, the church was open, and I got to go inside. It really is incredible the majestic buildings that were able to be architected back then, and the obvious importance and riches that went into creating religion.

After a bit of a walk, I called it a night, had dinner at an Italian place that looked good (since I couldn’t find much else open), and came home after an ice cream. J

The next morning, I headed out for the walking tour with Alexia, the tour guide. A native Sevillian, she told us about a lot of the buildings, and did a good job creating a historical framework around the buildings we saw. It’s so interesting to see the Moorish influence into the architecture here, and the idea of peeling back layer after layer 4000 years into the history to see the various inhabitants of Seville is really an amazing thought.

After the walking tour, I went back for a nap since the heat was quite hot, oh and everything shuts down in the afternoon anyway. Again, in the evening, I spent time looking at places.

The next morning, after breakfast, I did some laundry and spent the afternoon looking around at some places I hadn’t seen before including the Alcazar and gardens. I was also looking for a flamenco show, but everything seemed very expensive and tourist oriented. Unlike the tangos in Buenos Aires, I was hoping to see some flamenco dancing in the streets J

That evening I walked around more seeing some other sites in other places I hadn’t gone too. My feet have definitely put a mark on Seville, as I spent hours and hours around the town (mostly in search of things that were open, but also to major sites)!

The next day, I had breakfast and continued walking around for a couple of items I wanted to buy. I didn’t want to throw away another bottle of Sunscreen (it’s pricey!!), so instead, I bought a clear bottle that I emptied the 200ML sunscreen bottle into since logic is not conducted at security screens anymore, if they see a bottle that’s 200ML but feels half empty, they would never allow it through. This way, I got to take it with me J

I was a little anxious getting to the plane, because Ryan Air is notorious for being really strict about baggage so they can earn that extra cash. I felt like I would be able to force my bag into the size box, but was hoping not to as the line just in front of the gate was completely filled up with everyone going through passport control. Finally, I was let through the foreigner lane while I had been passed up by about 40 other Spanish who just had to show their IDs to get out. Hopping from passport line to boarding line, I was nearly at the end, and they had stopped allowing luggage on board. Score! This means that they weren’t really looking at the bags much anymore and were simply checking all the others for free. I was so relieved that I didn’t have to be the customer who was escorted off the flight due to irate behavior of being charged $100 for bringing my backpack on J

All in all, I really enjoyed Seville, and I wish the life of the city had been more around, because I think I missed a good feel of the city. I’ll definitely return one day, because I think there’s definitely more food to explore, more people to see, and more places to visit inside and around the city.

Lively Lisbon

The train ride from Porto to Lisbon was very easy. When I arrived, it was quickly connected by subway as well so just hopped on the subway to the nearest stop of my guesthouse and quickly found my place to get situated.

There’s a huge avenue in the middle of the main area, and my guest house was just off this main shopping avenue so centrally located.

That afternoon I went around Lisbon wandering around down to the water and back up for a nap.

The next day I met up with Pedro, a Liboner and became a great guide of Lisbon. That afternoon, I joined a walking tour to get some history along with my wandering around.

That evening, Jessica, a friend from Austin came to Lisbon as well so we got to meet up and enjoy some great food.

The next day we all headed to sintra for the day to check out the fairy tale like castles that preside over a mountainous area just outside of Lisbon. We took the train after an amazing run for the train as it was shutting our doors. Jess’ ticket didn’t work and amazingly we got her in through a random ‘security’ guard who got her in the gate.

We didn’t get any seats being this last on the train, but we sat on the floor and the ride out to sintra was easy.

When we arrived, Pedro had actually driven to meet us and we got to enjoy his company through the trip. We had a decent lunch which then tried to charge us so much over it was like an imaginary person. They triple charged the couvert of olives to be almost $10, triple charged our meal which only two of us had, and added an extra glass of wine. Turned out to be over $25 of overages–scandal.

We were pretty bummed about sintra because the beautiful castle is being completely redone, apparently all at the same time so shots of the castle all had scaffolding. It was fun to see the inside and see appointments of furnishings and such of that time.

We drove back to Lisbon with Pedro and got a good dinner. We were starving after our full day.

Picturesque Porto

After a refreshing pause in Madrid for a night in a wonderful luxurious hotel (from points of course), I got my shuttle to the airport for my morning flight to Porto, Portugal. The flight was easy and quick, and after landing, I headed outside to a tram stop that took you directly into the city. I found my way to the hostel, and checked in. George, the guy working the front desk, was one of the most pleasant, genuine workers I’ve encountered through my various stays at hotels and hostels during my journey. He even made a point remembering my name throughout the time of my stay. Since I was early, I simply left my stuff and headed out to a sandwich shop I’d found on a tourist map that was notated as ‘the best sandwich in Porto’.

Winding through the cobbled streets of Porto, the colorful buildings created tall walls for which only small roads were able to creep through. All roads leading to the water were down hill, so the entire town is on a slant. It gave a feel of San Francisco, with all the colors, architecture, cafes, and cool fresh breeze despite the warm sun. (OK, so SF only gets warm sun maybe 4 days a year).

I found my way to the tiny hole in the wall shop that had this cute hipster girl in the kitchen getting the prep ready for the day. She spoke English and when I saw the menu, I started to Salivate. Chicken sandwich with greens goat cheese and apple? SOLD. I was excited for what this sandwich sounded like.

After listening to a great soundtrack played by the girl, I sat watching out the front door and charging my phone. There was a breeze that came in and made such a comfortable atmosphere, completely uninterrupted by nasty smoke, loud noises, hoards of tourists or anything. What a little old man I’ve become. I really do enjoy the peace and quiet to soak up the beauty of the new surroundings.

That afternoon, I found that there was a free walking tour, so I got my stuff ready to go on this after checking into the hostel completely. I got my backpack sorted and my camera out and waited to join the 2pm tour of Porto led by Pedro. Of course.

Pedro took us around a lot of the sites inside the city, but also sites on the perimeter of the city that we may not necessarily visit. My favorite stop was the famous bookstore, noted as the 2nd most beautiful bookstore in the world, which was also the inspiration of the Harry Potter books, as JK Rowling spent a lot of time in Porto. The wooden inside with stained glass window above was gorgeous, and the books lining the shelves offsetting the wooden interior brought speckles of color through an otherwise dark dreary, yet beautiful curved and flowing lines of the stairs and railings. The only unfortunate thing is they were strict about not allowing photographs, which was a bit annoying, but I guess kept  the flow of people moving some how–or so they think.

We continued a long walk around the various buildings throughout the city, and ended our tour at an overlook over the river. I’d met an Australian girl on the tour, and at the end, told her I was going to eat dinner at the river if she wanted to join. It seemed like she was questioning a little bit in the beginning, saying their was a BBQ at the hostel that she was thinking to go to, and when I encouraged her to go to that, she seemed to be more interested in just going ahead and eating. So we made our way down to the water to a place called Fish Pixe, and ordered a good meal. During our conversation, I knew she was young, but it wasn’t until towards the end when she said she was just 19, and I for the first time felt like a creepy old man with this young chick. I was quite impressed with her trip that she’s doing mostly alone, and around the world by herself seems quite a journey for someone so young. But it reminded me too, that we are a select few in this world that not only have journeyed to far off places, but also followed through with something that we sought to do. Many people talk or yearn to do this, but come up with every reason ‘not’ to follow through with the dream. I know even more now that ‘planning’ and ‘forward thinking’ are devils in my mind, but are the same devils that are responsible for propelling me forward, pushing me and rewarding me with results that far outweigh the anxiety or analysis that came along with it. I also realized even more that it is an asset that I shouldn’t be ashamed of, an asset that landed me ‘Most Dependable’ in high  school, and in this ‘laid back’ society, I should be unapologetic of this trait, as there’s no ill intent.

The next morning, I did another walking tour, this time with Miguel (of course). This time we went to the more sites inside the city walls, and enjoyed talks of history and stories about Porto. After this, I went to a lunch at a place called Tapabento, and the server was so excited/nervous to speak in English, it was very endearing. I had a great lunch, with a filet of steak on some of the most delicious mashed potatoes I’ve ever had.

I then stopped by the train station to sort out my train to Lisbon for the next day. and enjoyed more wandering around the city at night. I found a great little tavern for dinner, and had a nice dinner late, and took a scenic route home, enjoying the night air.

The next morning, I was downstairs in the common area after checkout and started talking with a couple of Australians and George about various issues that were going on, including Gaza, the shoot down of the plane, and the US gun laws and how in awe everyone is about how ridiculous our law is to allow just anyone to buy a gun. It’s funny that every other industrialized nation can’t fathom this ‘right’, and it’s a right that definitely won’t be going away anytime soon, no matter how many people are affected negatively from it.