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Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Flashback: Europe 1986, Part II

Continued from Part I

Took 10:20am Oslo->Bergen trn. I am on it now. There is actually snow up here. Increadible stuff. Lots of waterfalls & streams & lakes. Ate cheese pie[?], banana, fish & chips, chocolate, & sugar free orange drink for breakfast. Feel like I've been eating broken glass. Oops, think it's time to waste some more film.
Cheapest place to stay in bergen ~240kr (~$36). Everything else full. Went to store & bought makings for muslie. Ate some. Still fell like shit. Headache, nausia, aches. Fuck. Bought couchette back to Oslo for 60Kr. Great. Own sink, cabinet with water bottle & plast. cups. 3 little soaps on the sink... & so far, the other 2 haven't showed. Good night. Hope I feel better in the morning.
Also met darling english girl taking same train. "Lizza". Doubt I'll see again though.
Tram #1 to last stop-sinsen.
Only one other person showed up. A Norwegen fellow going home to visit his woman on his weekend off from the 15 months mandatory military service. Rumor has it, that was a sleeper at the price of a couchette. Woke up a couple times, effort not to get up & puke.
Still sick today. Took tram to Oslo youth hostile. Have to wait until 11:30 to see if there is space. Had some sitron-te (as its called here) for breakfast. Also bought more film - 85kr ecta-400, 36 exp. (~$12)
Got bed. Sat around all day at the hostile & talked to a fellow from London who arrived on same trolly as I. Went to Irma with his 24 hour pass & bought ravioli and other such stuff (his name: Millis).
[note scribbled at top of page] (the brie was eaten in kobenhaven)

Took a shit & shower. Shit brie & camenbert. Never eat lots of cheese & then nothing to flush it out. I suspect it sat & fermented & produced lots of toxic byproducts, etc.. Goodnight.

Breakfast was medium-boiled egg, toast, apple/orange preserves, bologna (yuk), corn flakes, & coffee, or in my case, water. [I made this note because, as I recall, it was quite an impressive spread, presented very elegantly, for a youth-hostile breakfast!] I still feel like shit. Bought couchette to Stockholm for 71kr. (~$10). Cities cities cities. I think Oslo's jabs (just another big city) but I don't know cause I feel too much like shit to move. (here I sit in the station. They just moved my bench out in the middle of the floor so they can wash the floor behind me).
Unlike the rest of Europe so far, it's been overcast & rainy all day, every day in Norway.
Went down to the docks & bought a HUGE bag of shrimp (just caught, & cooked on the way back to shore on the boat) for 30kr (~$4). Took a couple hours to eat it all. See pictures. It's been raining on and off for a while now. Funny thing is, unless it's a downpour (which is hasn't been yet) people pay no mind to it at all. A few umbrellas pop up, but most of the people walk or sit or stand on as though it were bright & sunny. I feel a little better now... Sat in a park of sorts for a while (overlooking the Fjord) and played my recorder. Got a crowd of pigeons fluffed up sitting around listenning. Amayzing. Ate more muslie. And... here I lay on the bench in the sun, and it's also raining on me. I like the trees here. Very leafy.
Eventless ride last night. Arrived early in Stockholm. Xchanged $100 for 676,00kr.
[notes here doing long division to figure the effective exchange rate: $.15/kr]
Got into the youth hostile. It is on a boat. Met a guy from L.A.. Total con man. [We] Got into two museums, tivoli, the sky ride in tivoli, and 3 bus rides... all for free. After he left for finland, I traveled with a guy from Turkey, & one from north Dakota. Ate at "Kabob" (Turkish food) and scammed women at the "Kings Garden" which is a big mass of people socializing outside with no excuses. Odd. Ran back to the hostile. [Presumably short on time, not out of fear :) ]
Bought breakfast on the boat (2 eggs, corn flakes, orange juice). Walked to the Station (the Modern Musee was closed) with the noth Dak american fellow & the turkish guy. John (the North Dakotan) went to Kobenhaven, & Hans (the Swede from [who I met in] Koln) met me at the station at 11:00 (I had called him yesterday from the restored warship that we actually paid to get into.) Me, Hans, & Gursal walked around all day. Now I'm on a train to Hamberg. Should've left @18:08, but a guy tried to jump on, and fell down in the gap beside the train. Ho hum. (18:25.. tick.. tick.. tick..)
Got to station, called Katja [the girl I met in Munich earlier...] and she met me at a U-bahn station. She drove to work after we talked a while in her room. I went with her. Now I am walking around some suburb of Hamburb. I think she gets off at 8:00pm. I just saw a porche 928, 10,000km on it, for sale by dealer for 28,500DM ($14,250).
Ate at a little stand where the guy dishes up the food to you on real plates, & washes the dishes himself. [Ok, this sounds like a silly observation, but it was really quite odd: imagine something just slightly larger than a Fotomat shack which is a one-man restaurant where the guy grabs your dish from you as soon as you're done and washes it and puts it in a rack to dry.. Kind of like a home kitchen in the middle of a parking lot.] Had 2 burgers (no buns)... oniony things the fellow had made himself. Very good. Only 85c a piece.
Called Vick at ~3:30. Finished at about 3:55. Hope it doesn't cost too much. Her only recomendation was to see Amsterdam. Oh yes, & Orla's # is [Orla's phone number in Ireland here; perhaps she'd sent it to my addr in the states on a postcard?] & Linda's in England is [Linda's #; she's a friend of the family; never did hook up with her that I recall.]
Got back, & Katja had left a little early without me. I hitchiked to the nearest S-bahn, (a young couple going to a party--gave them a couple peaches) and took that to U3 & that to ependorfferbahm. She convinced me to stay the night & I sat around with her friends & watched slides of their trip to Spain & France. [A little Meta, isn't it?] One of them was German fellow going to Calif soon to go to high school for a year (Volker)
P.s., Quick but juicy peck on the lips this night. I am such a woss.
Woke up by my alarm at 7:30 so as I could get up & out of their way, but the house seemed too dead, so I went back to sleep till 10ish. Her mother had stayed home that day, & she tried to feed me bread & coffee for breakfast. We talked about east germany for a while (which is where she is from [and from where she had escaped as a child under the floorboard of a car]) & about going to Russia. Dammit. I don't have enough time to do Russia. 10 days for a visa if I go from Finland, sounds like 14 if from Germany, & price is about 1000DM for 5 days? Shit shit shit. Then she drove me 'round Hamberg & we walked here & there, and she told me about reeperbahn, which is the red-light street in Hamberg, much like Amsterdam's. Katja is at work until 2:00pm. I think I'll walk back now. Just sewed on Sweden. P.s, she drives a 10yr old Mercedes. Katja is 20-Aug 13 is next birthday.
Went back & her mom was there but Katja wasn't. Then everyone was there, including mom, Katja, her grandmother, brother... Played with Katja for a while, & then we drove around in the rain (it's been raining all afternoon) and bought garlic bread & ice-cream. Now I am on a train to Paris. Bought a couchette for 24 Mark (11.50). Can't decide whether to change my return flight.
It's easier to find (100x easier) a skin care shop in Paris than a grocery store.
Here's an expression for you: S.V.P. is commonly used for "please" in France ["Si Vous Plais", but in initials as in R.S.V.P.]
It's funny to watch men in business suits put on a little helmet and hop on a moped.
Look up "Jane Opie" in the Village, Manhatten. Met her breifly on the Paris Metro, cute-intelligent. Said "Call Me. I'm in the book." Was with her mother. [Some how I never got around to looking all these people up when I got back... Don't think I ever read my own journal and remembered about them!]
Bought a TGV reservation to Avignon for 12 franc. Oops. Also, I changed my flight to Sep 5th. Ended up with a backward sear in a smoking section. Ah well. This train goes fasssst.
Met a total doll on the train "Monique". Great talk. Real cute. Went off to the bathroom for a long time and came back smelling awfully nice. [I wonder if this was to cover MY smell? Heh.] Jumped to get my address. Then I made a bumbling idiot of myself at the station. She has boyfriend but made point of discrediting the importance thereof & likewise of "mine" in spain. [??] The train I was supposed to take to Barcelona now requires 24 hours advanced notice. So I took a later one & will miss the madrid connection. Traveled with a noisy sweedish fellow with ponytail & a dress. Now I am in Port Bou (or something like that) waiting for a spanish train to Barcelona. Changed $100 here.
[Note at top of page: $100 = 13,026 pesetas. 100 Pesetas ~= 77c]
From Port Bou to Barcelona, we met an austrian woman (Sabine) and her 16yr old red-painted-haired brother, & a Norge fellow, & an Italian in a bright yellow jumper, with long black hair & dark sad eyes. Sobine invited me to her place in austria near Aug 28th.
Oh yes, also found a room for 3, & one for 2 (Sabine & Brother & Norge, me, weed) at 500 pesetos/. [~$3.50]
Sweed (Peter?) slept with Norge in one large bed. Also sat & watched Sobine undress last night. Ahhh...
No no no. I am not going to let my dick steer me to Austria. Maybe next trip. I should be going to Ireland then...
[Diagram at top of page]
Sobine - Peta - Bino - Roy - Alexander (sandy)
  ^       ^      ^      ^       ^
austria  sweed  italian norge  her brother

Slot machines are everywhere. We all took the train to some beach somewhere. Walked too far, but not far enough, & then Sobine, Peta, & Roy turned around to find drink, & we never saw them again. Pino, sandy & I walked back, but Sandy stopped & stayed to look for the rest. Pino & I ate salad & chicken, now I am on the train to Barcelona. Pino stayed back to record-shop or something. He wants me to send him a letter.
After passing Barcelona once or twice, I finally gave up trying for Termino, & went right for Sants. After standing in 2 wrong lines, I stood in 1 correct one & got a reservation which I didn't need for the worst overnight train in the history of this trip.
Would you believe that after the crying babies, and smokers, & all the discomfort of last night that I pop up in Madrid on what seems to be the one day of the year that everything is closed. Some festivel or something. As a result, I can't find Julie. [Julie! Right! Now I remember -- Julie was a sort-of (i.e., casual) girlfriend from California who was spending the year in Spain. In retrospect, on this day she was probably in the arms of that Spaniard I learned about later...] Tomorow begins the weekend to top it off. And nothing's open then either - looks like a call to L.A..
Met a 47 yr old from New York who is going to retire & live in Madrid. They put your bags through the X-Ray before you can leave them in a locker!!! It's also against the law to leave your bags, say, with the telephone people for even a moment. [We're used to this now, here in the states, but it was unusual then!] Oh yes, his name is Richard.
We walked & Metroed 'round town. Bought me breakfast (2 eggs, 2 rolls, horchata(drink)). It's hot here. Yuk.
After much effort, I couldn't find Julie. Suffering large amounts of frustration lately. Blew $20 on a phone call to L.A. so I could get a useless address I already had, etc.. etc.. Now I am on a train in Spain to Paris with no reservation. Perhaps they kick me off and fine me. We see...
They just charged me the standard Rapido fee - 1090 pesetas. $8 is a bit much, no? [note this was a surcharge in addition to what the Eurail pass covered -- pretty much for any train in all of Spain. What a racket! Latin cultures always piss me off.] I paid 1010, as I had no more small change. The Austrian fellow sitting accross from me paid the rest. This train gets into some border station at 2am, and the next to Paris from there isn't till 4am. Ick.
On French train, it was just me, a black norge, & a sweed. Plenty room to stretch. Feels good to be out of Spain.
The metro #5 going north out of gare d'aust.. is like a carnivle ride. Over bridges, into tunnels, etc...
Things like Milk & such aren't expensive in Norge, because the gov. pays for 1/2.
Metro to gare de Nord for Info on the ferry. Walk to st.-lazar with ["girl" struck out] woman (age 28) from some mid-U.S. state I met at gare-nord. Train to Le Havre, sitting on bus from Havre to the boats. Don't think this is where I went to before (from Ire).
The boat left 3 hours late of course, And to match, they have the whole thing in deep freeze mode. Froze my ass off again, basically. Burrrr. Even now as I write, an Icicle forms from my nose as I breath. Burrrr.
Some of the slowest lines in the world too. Though not as bad as some I recall. Xchanged $100 US. for 71.42[pounds] (rate - 1.40) Cornflakes, tea, sugar, bananas, bread...
Off the boat, Beatrice went away. Am sitting on ancient train to Dublin. Being back in Ireland, I see what I didn't like about Spain & Italy.. Absence of light-heatedness.
Went back to same hostile as before.
Xchnged addresses with All too american fellow Dave McHattie. Called ORLA. Working all this week. Went to her place Mon morn. and said hello & goodbye to her mother & brother (both fat). Spent the day (wasted) walking 3 little girls on the beach. Spent the evening watching her work at her pop's shop. Ho hum. Expressions: Jaded = tired, dear = expensive, trousers = pants, pants = undies, jumper = light sweater.
Missed last bus home. Got ride from some older fella she knew who just happened to pass by. Small world, eh? Not for Ireland. [scary sketch of a face here; no idea why.] Slept on sofa. Set my alarm so I could crawl in bed with her in the morn when her sister left.
She got up same time as me. I dragged her back to bed &... [she was, and remained, a virgin... but boy was her skin soft -- everywhere!]

... 12:15pm friend of hers rings the door. Breakfast.. public transport very slow. Missed train to Rosslare, I've given up on Ferry. Back to work with Orla & her girlfriend. No feeder from the Dart again. But the three of us hitched a ride, no problem. Sister mumbled something about her parents forbiding my existence, etc.. big dramatic scene, I left, she ran out after me crying. Stayed the night again.

Got up, played more touchy feely. Ran out to catch the bus, got to the Dart station, & I'd forgotten my retainers. [Sigh. Can you say "bad American teen flick"? Remember I was only 17...] Back to her house, I go through her 2nd story window, etc..
Missed the train again, took a bus to Bray, with a BIG sign that said:
BY 5:00 HELP
[I had run into shops one by one asking for spare cardboard and a felt pen... An amused shopkeeper had what I needed...] Everyone laughed at me (at 2pm in dublin). [The next ferry was not for another three or four days; hence the extra urgency on this particular day.]
The usher forgot my stop, so I lost another 20 min. Walked out on the road with my sigh, & within 30 seconds I got a ride, ahead of all the other hitchikers who'd been there before me. "Katie" was great. Beautiful, intelligent, & liked me. She raced to Wexford at risk of life & limb [mine! you should see how she drove!], called friends at the port, at 5:05, & found that the ferry was ~30 min late. Just for me... ahhh... So she raced me to the port in Rosslare & tried to refuse the 3[pounds] I gave her for gas & I ran off to the ferry, jumping in front of a moving train, accross the tracks, & then I was suddenly struck by a minor heart attack. [figuratively speaking, I hope] I need to get in shape.& then I walked to the ferry, boarded through the car entrance, & here I sit in the caffeteria waiting for them to call my name for a cabin. I feel as though I ran off too quick. Send her a letter & appologize.
[Katie Kavanagh's address here..]
If she hadn't known people at the harbor, it wouldn't have worked. How do I manage?
P.s., I'm getting a big tummy. I just consumed 1 litre of milk & an ORLA cupcake in the last 10 min.
Got a cabin for 1.25[pounds] with 3 north irish guys & 2 unknowns.
Made friends with the "hip" doublin snak-bar man & he gave me free cheese sandwiches & cakes & drinks & ice cream bars all night.
Took a shower after figuring out how to flush the broken toilet. Where to now? Madrid again? Still can't believe I made the ferry. Still feel wrong about running off so quick on her (Katie).
Went to the snack bar & got more free food. Cleverly by-passed all the passengers & was the first off.. Took bus to station & met Joan who was also going to Madrid. We found it would cost 300 franc ($48) to go the quick night route, & the others didn't get in until 5:00, fri. Too late to chance a repeat. We walked to gare de Nord from where I think I'll go to Amsterdam, & she goes to Metro to Austri.. to Madrid.
Getting on the Amst. train, I wandered to the near front, and happened upon lounger cars. The seats (8 of them/comp) look like this: [illustration of the profile of a pool-side recliner/cot basically]. Quite comfy. Next door to me is a druggy/dealer from Norge who is running from someone. He will make business in Amsterdam, & then run to Moroco for the rest of his life. Ew. Think I'll try for a picture of the comp.
This is a new train. The toilets are sparkling clean. Wow.
[to be continued...]

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com