France, Paris, Politics, Travels


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/09/25/internationale/

On my way to the Metro this morning, I ran in to Naomi again. She was on her way back to Spain. We made good-bye with the Latin kiss on alternate cheeks, which Nagi had surprised me with when I saw her off at Amsterdam. This time I understood what was happening, and reciprocted. It was tricky, considering that vast difference in height, but in my opinion, this is one awesome way to say goodbye.

The evening wound down in conversation with my Algerian roommate, who introduced himself as “not a terrorist.” Among the questions of where one is coming and going, what one is studying, and whether one is engaged or happy to sample the lovely ladies met on the road, we drifted in to politics. I was treated to a new spin on a contemporary frustration: “Why does George Bush hate Arabs?”

While in America we see the occasional crazy Muslim trying to threaten random lives, Arabs see autocratic regimes propped up in nations like Saudi Arabia, and people starving as the indirect result of sanctions against Iraq, the frustrations of a dozen Arab nations with American foreign policy, which seeks to divide and conquer a downtrodden corner of the world, to ensure in this backwards “stability” a steady flow of oil.

I lamented the fact that we failed to finish the war in Iraq, leaving instead this ugly detente of a stalemate. Arabs see hungry Arab children on TV. Americans will not soon forget the desperation of people jumping from the higher floors of the World Trade Center. Detente. I described an emerging concept of America as the reluctant World Empire, that ought to outsource her burden by promoting the growth of regional powers, that can ensure a self-interested stability in remote parts of the world. But today we retain the bloody corpse of Iraq, to keep Iran at bay.

America has an abundance of everything it needs to enjoy its tendancy for isolationism. An abundance of everything except oil. I believe the practical course is to promote democracy in the Middle East. If Iran lets the people vote, let them have some influence in the region. It is in the self-interest of a stable regional power to ensure the steady flow of cash-producing exports.

Another problem is the rising abundance of young people who lack opportunity. The paradox is that as we make it harder for Arabs to pursue opportunities in America, we leave more frustrated young men amenable to the poison of fundamentalist reactionaries. It was heartening that here we were, two such young people, with the opportunity to travel, encounter, and better understand each other.

And all that was expressed somewhere between my limited French vocabulary, and his limited English vocabulary, with the occasional Spanish. Wow. Un jour de tranquiller.

After reading about Normandy, tomorrow I am off to Bayeaux.

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Bayeaux, France, Travels


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/09/26/appreciation/

Cute train at St Lazare
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The French do have some cute trains. I spied this one while waiting at St Lazare.

Dannyman in Bayeaux
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Taken two days later, when the sun was shining. The photographer asked if I was German.

Metro to St Lazare, St Lazare on a lonely train to Bayeaux. Looking for the Auberge du Family Home, a local drove me a little ways up the hill toward the cathedral, dropping me off across the street from Family Home. I thanked him and gave him .60€ for the trouble. While it wasn’t very far at all, it seemed polite to chip in a few cents for gas, and I certainly appreciate not wandering around lost in the rain.

I hung out alone in the Family Home reception area, until the lady got back from wherever she had been, and hooked me up with a room. Then off to the Bayeaux Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy, which held a large collection of newspaper clippings, uniforms, soldiers paraphenalia and military hardware, and descriptive labels in French and English, as well as a half hour film made of period newsreels.

I was most fascinated with the posters telling soldiers how to identify different tanks, and how to disable an enemy tank if you should encounter one in the field. Of all parties to the battle for Normandy, I most readily identify with the technical concerns of a young American field soldier. I felt a great deal of gratitude to be growing in a world of peace. As a traveller, I also had to be grateful for a world of plastics; No heavy iron binoculars in a canvas sack for me, but light-weight, synthetic fibers with plastic zippers!

Back at the hostel I got to practice my French with a gaggle of Parisienne school girls.

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Bayeaux, France, Travels

The American Cemetary

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/09/27/the-american-cemetary/

Lunch at Omaha Beach

The Guided Tour via bus costs upwards of 30€. I can afford solitude.

This morning I got a nice sandwich on a baguette for 1€90, a couple of apples for .95€, a bottle of wine for less than 4€, a pocket-knife with a corkscrew for 13€, and a bike for the day for 13€. I rode off on the backroads, where bicycling is safer. The guy at the bike shop told me it was an hour or an hour thirty to Omaha Beach. It took me two hours each way, as I was lost and flabby. I was exhausted when I got to a quiet stretch of Omaha Beach, and sat down with my sandwich, which was a bit worse for wear, but still delicious. Opening the bottle, I broke the cork, but was able to fit the better half back in. I had the beach to myself to unwind from the first leg of my journey, and to think about things.

Grave with American Flag
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TEC 5  12 INF  4 DIV
NEW YORK  JUNE 11, 1944

E pluribus unum.

Then it was off to the American Cemetary, with over 9,000 crosses laid out in orderly rows, officers and enlisted men buried together with those Known Only to God. I spent some time walking amongst the graves. I sat down in a quiet spot in the middle, just me on the grass, in the sun, hearing birds chirping. Each of those graves was another man that would never be a grandfather to my generation. They died for the liberty of people on another continent, where they will remain forever.

They are the grandfathers of an idea. Liberty, freedom, democracy and peace are all their progeny. I am a grandchild of the world that they helped create.

It was a tough ride back. Another day in the saddle. I wasn’t sure I’d make it back before the bike shop closed at 18h30. Setting out, I felt pretty good: high on America, and what a young man might accomplish in Normandy. At the most exhausting, lonely, uphill parts I considered myself rolling along with the grandfathers, staggered along the road, gear and rifles on a road march to Bayeaux, first significant town liberated in June, 1944. Sometimes I sang cadence to myself. The country was beautiful, filled with ancient stone churches, chateaus, and cows, horses, sheep. “Bonjour, les vaches,” I must have greeted the cows one hundred times. One lowed at me.

Round Trip: About 50km

That evening I acquired a baguette and many sweets. Some Australian retirees gave me a tomato, some cheese, butter, a spare knife, and an extra corkscrew before they set off to bed. As the cork was now useless, I finished off my evil feast, and the bottle of wine, and slept from about 9PM until 8AM, breakfast the next morning.

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France, Travels

All Aboard … The Night Train!

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/09/28/all-aboard-the-night-train/

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Gotta take a leak at Gare du Nord? It’ll cost you a wee bit, but it’ll be . . . McClean! I am surprised that McDonald’s hasn’t leaned on these guys . . .

Gare du Nord
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A traveller enjoys a sandwich next to a pair of TGVs. Pigeons look on hopefully.

Gare du Nord Signboard
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While whiling away a layover at Gare du Nord, you can watch the dance of the mechanical signboard, flipflipflipflipflipflipping through the schedule, looking forward to your train making its appearance.

I hope the French have sufficient nostalgia to hold off replacing this.

Travelling Group at Gare du Nord
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A group of students wait collectively for their train.

It ran me 30€ to get back from Bayeaux to Paris, another 20€ for an overnight couchette to Hamburg, and 60€ for the ferry to and train through Denmark, which is not covered by my rail pass.

I spent the early hours of the 28th relaxing in Bayeaux, giving the tapestry a pass and instead stocking up on provisions for my journey: a sandwich, half a baguette, a small bottle of wine, and some camembert cheese. This kept me fed clear on through to Copenhagen.

14h48 from Bayeaux to Paris St Lazare, Metro over to Paris Nord. I spent a lot of time that day waiting in railway stations. At the arrival of the night train, we sought out our beds. Mine was in a second-class cabin, which seemed weird because I’d paid a few euro extra for a first-class couchette. Upon further observation, my roommates for the evening concluded that first class means four couchette beds instead of six. This makes first class worthwhile, because in the six-bed configuration there is no room to sit up in your bed.

The train had that feel of dispassionate German efficiency. When we arrived in Hamburg, we were across the platform from the train that three of the four of us were taking on to Copenhagen. This was very cool, because we only had ten minutes between arrival and departure. Apparently, “night train to Hamburg” is a popular way to get to Copenhagen.

I dozed off on our 7h30 train from Hamburg, which was a Danish train with a fancy electronic representation of our route. I woke up and saw that we’d just pulled on to the lower deck of a ferry, crossing the water for Denmark.

I went upstairs, snapped a picture or two, and browsed around the legal gambling, tax-free booze, and overpriced restaurants. I payed my last 3€ for a Coke, no ice. I tried filling my water bottle, but beer came out instead. I asked where I could get tap water, and was told that such an odd request could be satisfied in the bathroom. I’d been skeptical, because all of the trains I’d been riding warned you not to drink the water. The lack of warnings and the presence of restaurants on the ferry re-assured me of potability.

Back on our train through Denmark, I spent some time talking to a Chinese tour guide. He explained to me that while English-speaking tours were on the decline, business from China was steadily increasing. I dozed off again and found myself in Copenhagen’s Central Station.

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Denmark, Travels


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/09/29/copenhagen/

As it was Sunday, the tourist office was closed. I found the hotel where I was to meet the family on the map, and started on my way. They were finishing up a group tour, and I was to meet them in Copenhagen, after which they’d rent a car, and we’d spend a few days together in the Danish countryside. Just around the corner from the train station I saw a big ol’ tour bus emblazoned with the name of the company that was running their tour. The bus was empty, and I wondered if it was headed to the train station to pick them up, or something.

The company could quite possibly be running more than one tour through Copenhagen. I stayed on my course towards the hotel, following the most likely route of the potentially full tour bus back to the hotel. Were it to pass by me, I am hardly an inconspicuous character.

Strolling across a small plaza, I had that feeling you get when you think someone’s calling your name from afar. Since I had been travelling alone for some time, I was inclined to discard this sensation. Then I saw Uncle John, and then I figured out that Grandma had been calling out to me, from her seat within the tour bus, which had stopped for a brief photo break.

Mom was a few metres off, taking a picture of something, unaware of my presence. Uncle John suggested that I board the bus at the rear and surprise her when she returned to her seat. I opted to stay where I was to get a picture of Mom getting a picture of whatever it was, when she turned, saw me, and charged, her arms spread wide to hug her son. That made a better picture.

Mom Charges Toward her Son

I was allowed on the tour bus to see The Little Mermaid, and the four castles of the Danish royal family. Then it was back to the hotel for a shower while Mom and Grandma took an optional tour to the country.

I was invited to join the tour group for a tasty Danish Christmas Dinner, which they were to share for their final night together. I was the youngest person there. It was good.

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Denmark, Travels

Copenhagen, Christiana

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/09/30/copenhagen-christiana/

Breakfast at the hotel. We took a relaxing boat tour through Copenhagen’s canals, then we walked over and checked out the ruins of Copenhagen’s original castles, in the basement of the Danish parliament, which had been built upon the same site. Then we noticed that, being Monday, most of the other museums were closed.

We went to pick up the car. While the main party returned it to the hotel, I enjoyed a nice walk through town. I visited Christiana, which is a “Free State” — formerly an abandonned military base, since taken over by long-haired types. It had a nice, anarchic feel. One of the first things I saw was a kid spraying a picture on a wall. The primary economic activity seemed to be the sale of hash, in such quantities that they looked to me like blocks of chocolate, set out on tables in the street. The marijuana in Amsterdam is distributed in modest baggies, that sit behind the counter.

Crooked Orange Building
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Grandma encouraged me to take a picture of this building, which is pretty, and obviously very old.

Copenhagen Train Station
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I really liked this Copenhagen train station because it is tightly-packed with activity, and everything, notably the train cars, seem smaller, and cute … you’d think that this is the country that invented Legos. (It is!)

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Taken near Christiana, I just really like this picture.

Crowded Canal Scene
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Copenhagen’s canals are tightly packed with activity as well.

The rest of the place was low-key. Lots of gardens and art and dirt paths between buildings, dogs following their owners around. I got the impression that there was more going on below the surface. Were I not jamming all over the place with family, I’d be inclined to arrange ahead for a guided tour. As it was, I wandered on my way, leaving the enigmatic “Free State” behind me.

Copenhagen has lots of cafes, and posters for dance events. It seems like a pretty nice scene.

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Denmark, Travels


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/10/01/roskilde/

We drove off to Roskilde, where I bought a durable little pocket-sized notebook with some Danish cartoon character on it. The existing small notebook was nearing capacity. In addition to a small notebook, I also keep a larger notebook for journalling. This new notebook fits in the back pocket of my slacks, where its predecessor did not, not to mention the souvenir quality of a weird little Danish cartoon bear.

There is a cathedral in Roskilde, the Dom Kirke, which is filled with the bodies of Danish royalty. Far more fascinating is the Viking Ship Museum, which holds the restored remains of a half dozen Viking ships. A film, which runs alternately in Danish, English, and German, described the resource-intensive labour of love that it took to recover, re-assemble and prepare the ships for display: twenty years, a great deal of ingenuity, and a lot of loving patience.

Outside, they run a modern-day Viking shipyard, where they build Viking ships based on the archeological clues offered by the remains inside the museum. As the Vikings did, they use hatchets to cleave wood along the grain, resulting in stronger, lighter planks than modern sawmill techniques. The result is that Viking ships were actually far more sophisticated than historians had previously been inclined to believe.

Inside the Dom Kirke
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A beautiful cathedral where Denmark keeps its former royalty in Roskilde.

Mom digs the Dom Kirke
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I caught Mom having a good time.

Preserved Viking Ship
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Once upon a time, Viking men sailed this ship in the North Sea. Now, the painstakingly recovered pieces have been reassembled, preserved, and presented for us to gawk at.

Modern Vessel
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I know nothing about this vessel, although it looks like a descendant of Viking ships. I really like the quality of this picture.

Viking Seating
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Bucket seats they aren’t.

Life on a Viking Ship
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A curator’s view of what life might look like on a Viking ship, minus the Vikings. I’m partial to the polar bear skin, myself.

Cute Little Ship
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It aint Vikings, but this little craft is cute as a button. That’s about half the ship. The life of a Danish fisherman!

Viking Ship Construction
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Meanwhile, history marches forward. The Danes are building new Viking ships!

One of the clues to Viking ship-building techniques is found in the Bayeaux Tapestry, that I had skipped just three days before. Live and learn.

We spent the night in a gay little hotel in the gay little town of Odense. I ate Danish haggis. Not bad.

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Denmark, Travels

Haarslev, Odense

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/10/02/haarslev-odense/

We drove over to Haarslev this morning. Grandmother’s Grandfather was from this little town. We arrived in the morning, through spookily foggy weater, to see a church surrounded by a cemetary where the evergreen shrubbery was tinseled in glistening cobwebs. The place felt eerie, and somewhat familiar. Perhaps it felt like the Northern parts of America, like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where Danish and Swedish ancestors would have felt at home in the new world. Part of us is from this mysterious little town. Ancestors worshipped in this modest little church.

We spoke with the Priest about finding records from that era, but she explained that records of such age would be found at the archives back in Odense.

Foggy Morning
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The family makes its way out of the car. We know we are somewhere special, and we can feel it in the air.

Brick and Mortar Facade
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The sun comes out a bit, and shines on the church.

Very Old Tombstone
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The church yard and cemetery are well-kept, but that in places you can see that things are old.

Uncle John inside the Church
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Uncle John studies the interior of the church.

We returned to Odense, not to review nineteenth century Danish paperwork, but for Uncle John and me to visit the train museum while Mom and Grandma visited the Hans Christian Andersen Museum.


Denmark, Travels


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/10/02/rodby/

After that, Uncle John navigated us down the islands of Denmark to a little town called Rodby. A ferry runs from Rodby to Germany. The advertised rate was 3€ for a pedestrian. That is a lot better than the 60€ I had to pay to get to Copenhagen a few days prior.

There was little else in town besides a hotel named Dan. As it was getting dark, Mom decided that they would stay there for the night. We splurged for dinner at the hotel’s expensive restaurant, as the alternatives were a diner with no seats, and an Italian restaurant populated only by its staff. We tried the next town over, where I ventured into a pub and asked for a restaurant, and after much frustrated grunting, was referred to the aforementioned hotel back where we had come from.

Splurging was excusable as it was our last night in Denmark; I was to ferry over to Germany, and the family were driving back to Copenhagen the next day to catch a flight back to the States.

Dinner lasted some time. We derived no small amusement from the fact that the one hotel employee we dealt with was working not only at the reception on the ground floor, but as the restaurant’s sole waiter upstairs. He was, understandably, a bit high-strung, kind of like Basil Fawlty. “Can we smoke?” “In Denmark, we smoke just about anywhere, so yes you can smoke.”

Uncle John wanted to chill the four-pack of beers that he had purchased, but there were no refridgerators in their rooms, so he asked the waiter about ice. The waiter explained that, however lamentably, the ice machine had broken, so that the ice cube in our water pitcher was the last in the entire hotel. Hoewever, in Denmark the water was safe to drink so it was not in any way necessary to boil the water.


The ferry ran every half hour, all night long. Walking over to the ferry, we drank the beer that had been chilled slightly in the restaurant’s freezer. On the ferry itself, nobody ever charged me any money but then what’s 3€ between friends?

Trucks Unload at the Ferry Terminal
Trucks unload at the ferry terminal, as I leave my family in Denmark to make my way to my next adventures in Deutschland . . .

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Germany, Travels

Puttgarten, Germany

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/10/02/puttgarten-germany/

When I arrived in Puttgarden, the real adventure began. I looked around at the signs, and asked around for information. Everything was closed. The next train to Lübeck was at 5:15. Well, how far to walk? 90km. Oh, nevermind. The ferry terminal was mostly abandoned, the night traffic was trucks. No ATM, so I had no euros, just credit cards, krones, and traveller’s checks.

I considered hitching; I could probably catch a ride to Lübeck, and give my benefactor some krones. I could sit and wait for the train, dozing off as I did so. Find a reasonably safe corner of the terminal to snooze the night away? Hop on the ferry, and ride all night long, or try and sneak in to the hotel before 1AM … stroll down the second floor, innocently singing “Danny Boy” and hope a family member caught the signal?

As of 11:15, I had to call on a service phone to board the ferry as a pedestrian. As the guy was walking over, I saw the well-lit word HOTEL hovering low in the not-too-distant night sky. I changed my mind on the ferry, and decided to press on and try my luck at this beacon of desperation. When the ferry terminal guy appeared, I asked him, with finger gestures that conveyed “walking” how to get over there. He pointed, answering in German, I caught “straat” for “street”. Danke schone, as I went off, in to the dark night, in the direction indicated.

If Rodby’s Danhotel had Basil Fawlty holding down the fort, Lübeck’s Hotel Dania was managed by a tense, mousy Tim Roth a la “Four Rooms” charging me the stellar sum of 78€ to stay the night.

He explained that there were no hostels anywhere, and the nearest ATM was 6km away. I paid with plastic. The next morning, after a fairly nice complimentary breakfast, I saw a map in the hotel lobby that had an icon for youth hostels in the legend, but none to be found on the map itself.

I recalled the lonely, expensive night I’d spent in Cheyenne, Wyoming when the Beetle broke down on my passage to California. This hotel was more expensive, but I remained in better spirits.

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Germany, Hamburg, Travels


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/10/03/hamburg/

Lubeck Train Station
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The train station in Lubeck, which is all I have seen of this town.

Hamburb Train Station
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The train station in Hamburg, which looks like Lubeck, but much larger.

Hamburg Street Scene
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I kind of like this tableau … the little red switcher shunting DB passenger cars, the bicyclist, pedestrians and taxis. You get this odd sense of German orderliness.

Everything in Germany was closed today for the national birthday. I took the train to my previously-anticipated destination, Lübeck, but just didn’t care anymore and there was nowhere to sit down and get my bearings, so I pressed on to Hamburg.

I dropped my luggage off in a locker for 1€ and went in search of hostels. I could never get an answer from the first-reccomended hostel in my guidebook, but some good soul had left a page photocopied from the Hostelling International directory for Hamburg’s HI hostel. I took the U-Bahn over. It was big and clean and overlooked the Elbe with an impressive view.

I purchased a Hamburg Card for the next day. This is a transit day pass with discounted museum admissions. It was valid from 6PM the day before, so I spent some time wandering on foot around St Pauli, a cool alternative sort of neighborhood, stopping in at little fast-food restaurants and puzzling over the incomprehensible German menus.

As an aside, I recalled Stefi’s lament about how Latins never speak English. In Hamburg I encountered any number of Germans who will continue to rattle on in German, even after they have established that I don’t speak that language. I guess that if you’re German, you really don’t notice whether Germans speak English or not, and if you look sort of generically northern European, as I do, perhaps one simply assumes that your reticence to respond is due more to your character than a linguistic deficiency. I have further found that smart-looking young adults are the best bet for English. A bit younger, the kid selling me bread was practicing her high-school English.

I stopped in an Indian fast-food place. The smells made me hungry. I ate there.

During my meanderings, I consulted various paraphenalia to determine if there was some club I’d want to visit that evening. There were a very few available on that national holiday. I opted to do laundry instead, as I was on my last pair of underwear.

The super-efficient German washer and dryer in the hostel’s basement took six hours to complete a wash-dry cycle. I and the other American doing wash may have been a clue short since the machines operated in German, but we followed the graffitti on the one machine that indicated “full wash” followed by “hard arse rinse” and “soft arse rinse”. I got to bed about 2AM. My fellow countryman remained in the basement to complete his second load. After all, he had been out the night before and just barely missed the 2AM curfew, and had to sleep on the porch until 6h30. One must respect the insanity of his long-suffering tenacity, but best to do it from a distance, tucked cozily in bed.

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Germany, Hamburg, Travels

Hamburg’s Art Collection

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/10/04/hamburgs-art-collection/

Breakfast was had amidst throngs of German families and school groups. I recalled the lament of an Australian I had met the previous evening in the hostel’s bar that despite the fairly nice facilities, the place was plagued by too many Germans, travelling in packs of noisy young kids, making it difficult for the solo traveler to mingle with other solo travellers, because everyone was already part of some massive German-speaking group of kids.

The Kunsthalle, “Hamburg’s one un-missable art collection” was opening when I arrived. I spent the day wandering amongst the paintings, with a lunchtime jaunt to St. Pauli area. The Hamburg Card got me around town all day for free, as well as a modest 3€ admission to the Kunsthalle, and its modern art counterpart next door.

Train Station's Sunflowers
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I saw these at the train station on my way to the Kunsthalle, and remarked that they put me in mind of Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers, for which the Kunsthalle is known. The lady didn’t understand what I was talking about . . .

Kunsthalle Central Atrium
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Old School. The Kunsthalle has several large galleries.

Van Gogh's Sunflowers
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. . . since I took a picture of the flowers at the Train Station, I had to take a picture of Van Gogh’s work, too!

Paris Street Scene in Chicago Art Museum in Hamburg
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Okay, so this is a picture on the web of a photo in Hamburg of a gallery in Chicago with a large Realist painting of Paris.

The modern art museum was filled with a wide variety of crap. I took some solace in the fact that the crap was generally of American origin, so we’ve fooled the Germans. Suckahs!

Actually, the thing about modern art is that it doesn’t belong in museums, so much as it should appear randomly in public spaces to mess with people’s assumptions. For example, a yellow neon signs that says “five words in yellow neon” is an annoying waste of musem space, but if one were to run into it amidst the neon signery of the red-light district, it could actually transport your brain to a different place for a little while.

I saw a 45-minute film, titled “H-I-S-T-O-R-Y” which concerned itself with the relationship between authorship and death, with a series of airline hijackings framing the plot structure: a history of hijacking. The history itself was interesting, though hard to follow, because the cinematography was a frenetic pastiche of old footage from airline history, cut with random stuff like people getting married under water. It was an American film from 1999, and its tempo felt all the more excited because of the German subtitles, which threw me off from the films heavy use of English captioning.

The previous night’s wash had destroyed my hat. I’d have figured it ought to be able to weather a washing, being from the military surplus and all, but no, it lost its shape and color and it shrunk. It looked like some goofy girl’s hat. I’d have kept it around as a sick souvenier, had I the room. I made up for my hat deficiency by dropping 10€ on a haircut.

I also spent some time checking e-mail, finalizing arrangments for Janet’s 9 October arrival in Milan. I reserved a room through the Internet for us in Turin, where hotels are cheaper. Then I wondered what to do tomorrow — I was already tired of Germany — how about South France? Work my way over to Milan? How about the twelve-year-old boys in the next room over cut it out and let us get some sleep?

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Germany, Travels

Hamburg to Mannheim to Karlsruhe to Strasbourg to Lyon

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/10/05/hamburg-to-mannheim-to-karlsruhe-to-strasbourg-to-lyon/

I am on an ICE for Stuttgart, though I alight at Mannheim. I would be on a Thalys to Paris, then a TGV to Avignon, but the Thalys was booked, and would have cost me 71€ to board. Instead, I am Hamburg to Mannheim to Karlsruhe to Strasbourg to Lyon. Fortunately, I love trains.

ICE rules. The rail pass gets me first-class service. I boarded my car, walked past a few private compartments, and approached a glass barrier. As I leaned forward to figure out how I was supposed to get around it, it slid to the side. Star Trek!

The bilingual “Ihr Reiseplan” advises me that the Mannheim station has a first-class lounge with laptop work stations, with limited Internet access. I must check this feature out!

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France, Lyon, Travels

Ascension to Vieux Lyon

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/10/05/ascension-to-vieux-lyon/

It seems that “First Class Passenger Lounge” has only limited implementation in Germany. Mannheim had no Internet access for my laptop, but I did enjoy a complimentary café au lait.

The final leg, Strasbourg to Lyon, was six hours on a desolate, lonely train, through a wonderful sunset. The car was older and the seats less comfortable than Germany. The conductor told me not to put my feet on the seats, then explained that it was okay if I took my shoes off.

I got in to Lyon about 23h30, and wandered around in the dark, mostly-closed station of Lyon Part Dieu. I figured out where the Metro was, and took it over to Vieux Lyon, where I walked up a steep hill. The narrow street turned, and then there was more steep hill to ascend. This happened a couple more times. I hadn’t had the phone card necessary to call ahead, and the Metro was beginning to shut down. Should the hostel have room to accomodate me, I’d be extremely grateful, because at this hour, the alternatives, after climbing this steep hill …

They had a bed. 12€. I was grateful.

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France, Lyon, Travels


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2002/10/06/lyon/

Spent the day just wandering around Vieux Lyon. My first stop was to the Roman Ampitheatre, just ten or so metres from the hostel. Constructed twenty years before the common era, these were my first Roman ruins. The structure itself was in good shape, and they had bits of facade resting in a fenced-off area. The ampitheatre, like the hostel, has fantastic views of Lyon, below.

Sunday morning spent overlooking a modern city from the remains of an ancient city, high on a hill on an overcast day. For company, I had a few other tourists mingling with the ruins, singing birds, and the peal of bells at a handful of cathedrals, appealing to the heavens for the clouds to part and reveal the day in its full glory. The same appeal of people of this place made towards different gods in the same sky two millenia ago.

I wandered more, found myself at the Cathedral Notre Dame de Fourviere, with another great view over the city. Downhill, I arrived at Rue du Boeuf (Beef Street) and took a picture, because of my friends’ affinities for all things meat. For 20€ I splurged for a three-course lunch and a bottle of wine at Les Pavés de St. Jean, just down Rue St. Jean from the Cathedrale St. Jean. The Salad Lyonnaise had chewy bacon and a poached egg in it. I hunger for that salad whenever I think of it.

I wandered more, past street vendors on the river, scoping out Internet cafes reccommended by the guidebook. I picked up a sandwich and a bottle of wine on my way back, as well as some postcards. I spent the evening at the hostel, which has an extremely chill atmosphere of young international students looking for housing, sharing bottles of wine, to the accompaniement of an ever-changing, ever-great soundtrack, mixed by the super-hip-but-still-friendly staff.

I wrote postcards, and talked with Italian and African students about the ramifications of American foreign policy. By bed time, counting lunch, I had consummed two and one third bottles of wine, and a neat vodka-beer thing. I had a slight headache the next morning.

Old Roman Blocks
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Some large blocks set aside at the Roman Ampitheatre for future restoration.

View from Below
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That cathedral just pops right out of the hill, as seen from Vieux Lyon, below.

Twisty Old Street
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A narrow, old street twists along through Vieux Lyon.

View from Above
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My favorite “landscape” shot from Lyon, from high in Vieux Lyon, featuring the funicular creeping up the hill below. Puts me in mind of Escher.

Couple in Love
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While enjoying an awesome lunch, I noticed the couple next to me, and snuck a few shots of them. I tried to explain that I thought I had a great picture, but they were pre-occupied with more important things than interpreting the mangled French of a drunk American tourist.

Street Artist
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This guy paints on canvas masking-taped to the sidewalk. I love it!

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A great shot of a cathedral, seen in profile.

Flying Buttresses
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Flying Buttresses!

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