How much!? How much?! Let me show you something, and a change in direction.

The Wandering Nerd September 28th, 2007

I’m finally out!

The vortex that is Prague has released it’s sinister grip. The good old 0916 to Nuremberg is once again hurtling me through the German countryside. There are more stamps in my passport now just from switching back and forth between Germany and Czech than from any where else I’ve been.

Prague is a great city and is currently in a struggle for the title of my favorite city. The people are kind of strange though. The echoes of the Communist era are still there. People don’t talk on the trams or in the metro, if you smile at someone they turn away before smiling back. I’ve heard from various different sources that under communist rule people who talked loud - or in some cases at all - on the transport could be arrested. Further if people were seen talking to westerners they could be picked up and questioned for being ‘influenced.’ The things we take for granted in the states.

Australian summer is coming up and there are yet more Australians/Kiwis all over the place. Which is pretty cool actually. I’m finding them a friendly affable people. Industrious and clean, they are fine travel companions. Not at all like the stinky, lazy Canadians.

I think I have about three or four places to stay down under if I ever need them. I’ve always liked Australia, I’m lookin’ forward to trying an authentic bloomin’ onion, and the butter that they make out of Koalas. I’m in better spirits after the earlier charlie foxtrot.

I had a couple days of some intense introspection, which is dangerous sometimes. It was so rough I actually stayed sober for a while - relax I’m back on the sauce now, no worries. Full on. Sweet as - I don’t know what it is actually sweet as, it’s just something the Maori guys kept saying so it stuck.

Speaking of spreading the word. It seems I have shared the word ‘Asshat‘ with our down under brethren. The crew on the XOXO tour were using it when I caught back up with them in Prague. International relations are coming along nicely.

I didn’t really get up to much the last few days in Prague, it was pouring down rain most of the time, so I just stayed in, warm and dry and did some near term planning. I did make it to the flea market there.

I’m pretty sure it’s about the dodgiest thing you’ll find outside of a Turkish bazaar. As you walk through the stalls, the people - almost all Asian - try to sell you shit that you clearly don’t need. For the love of whatever you find holy, do not, under any circumstances, stop to look at something unless you want it. The stall owner will descend on you like a cloud of locusts and start packing it up for you to take. Or, and this was really strange the first time, they grab you by the elbow and pull you back into these little rooms.

I know what your thinking, you sickos, and no it’s not that. They have just more fake and replica crap in these metal crates and then really start pushing you to buy something. They do work on the haggling system though. They start out about 400% higher than they are willing to actually accept. I was looking at a ring and the guy wanted 700 Kc for it. I didn’t really want it, but he kept asking how much, and I just said 150 to get him off my case - it’s about 6 dollars us. Which also was what I had left in notes in my pocket. He kept coming down a bit at a time and I just kept saying 150. Eventually just pulling the notes out and saying that was all I had in any case. He look disgusted and just took the notes and handed me the ring. So now I’m the proud owner of a ring I didn’t really even want but got a great deal for. I can’t say I blame them for the extravagant prices, there were tourists just flat out paying whatever they asked so the owners were making a killing. Good on ‘em.

I’m in a town called Schw√§bisch Hall now, and I will be for some time. I’m going to be taking a one month intensive German language course here. It’s application time for business schools again and I needed a few weeks to get them all sorted and sent. This way I have an actual address for getting some resupplies dropped in, and get a short form of stability. The bonus is I’ll get to hopefully get back to some form of fluency with German. It should look good on an application for an international business school as well.

Have no fear though my younglings, I’ll still continue to have odd and strange adventures to share with you. If nothing else I’ll just make some shit up. The classes only go from 8-12 so I’ve got the afternoons and weekends free to travel. I’m going to try to make it down to Oktoberfest next weekend, and there’s another - supposedly better - festival in Stuttgart around the 12th that I’ll try to hit.

There’s the Black Forest and all of the other castles in the Bavarian area, so there should be plenty to do to keep me - and subsequently you - occupied. No new gallery, it’s been a quiet and rainy few days so I didn’t make it too far out, though I did go back to Cross Club and took more photos. I made a few of them into wallpapers for myself, feel free to grab any you want. Share them freely.

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i traveled the world
looking for understanding
of the times that we live in
hunting and gathering first hand information
-gogol bordello

2 Responses to “How much!? How much?! Let me show you something, and a change in direction.”

  1. Hoshion 02 Oct 2007 at 9:48 am

    Gross Gott Broi,
    .
    That is the typical greeting in the area of Deutschland in which you are staying, my beloved Schwabia. If you want to go to a good “Volksfest”, Stuttgart is definitely the one to hit. It is almost the same size as Oktoberfest in Munchen, but a lot less touristy and slightly cheaper. Man, I wish I were there now. I miss my Stuttgarter Hofbrau something fierce.
    .
    If you can swing it, shipping me back a “rack” of Hofbrau (Stuttgarter, not that crappy Munich stuff) would be handsomely rewarded. If you could manage to slip in a few “stark” biers, even better. :))
    .
    Making the sojourn into Stuttgart when the Volksfest is not happening would be a good thing too. They have some awesome places to go there. I was stationed just North in Ludwigsburg (named after the Mad King Ludwig who was responsible for building most of the castles in Germany). There are 3 or 4 “schloss” (castles) there. The main place you’d want to go in Ludwigsburg though is called “Rock Fabrik” or “The Bison”. It is a bar to beat all bars, kind of like Sinner’s or that place that had 5 floors of bars. Only Rock Fabrik is the bar that a lot of heavy metal and other bands go to after their shows in Stuttgart. It has several bar areas, a giant stainless steel dance floor right in the middle, a cafe, a deli, a pool hall, game rooms and even a theater. Thursday ngiht used to be “ladies night” there, so it was full of women and played music that was tolerable (read: NOT heavy metal) and easy to dance to. It’s a fun bar if you need someplace to go blow off some steam.
    .
    In Stuttgart proper, try finding a place that I can’t remember the name of, unfortunately. That makes it easier, eh? It is right on the main drag outside the haupt bonhof in Stuttgart. You walk up the stairs and go stright for about 4 blocks. If you ask someone where the bar is that you can order a “bier teuffel” (beer devil), they will hopefully point you there. It is basically a trashcan full of beer. One of those and a shot of “Roctopuss” and you can just plan on sleeping in the park that is right across the street. Yes, I’ve done just that too, so don’t bother asking. :P
    .
    Stuttgart is full of interesting culture and lots of hidden little points of interest. It was one of the few big towns in Germany that was not levelled by Aliied bombing. so, it has a lot of old architecture and historically significant places left to see as well as being home to some pretty interesting pieces of Bauhaus architecture as well. There is a performing arts theater not too far from the haupt bonhof that is interesting to look at, although I never bothered to go in as I am not a big fan of performance art. If you go during the daytime, there used to be people in the park who feed the birds by whistling and holding out their hands. They sound just like the birds they feed and it is a great way to wile away some time.
    .
    If you find the “bier teuffel” place, you will have passed a small bakery. It used to ALWAYS have a line out the door of people waiting to get a “donner”, which is basically a Turkish gyro, only better. If you find the place, do stop to get one of their donners. It is worth the wait. I didn’t find one any better in all of Germany while I was there. Granted, that was 17 years ago, but hey… :?
    .
    If you want to see the coolest castle in Germany, go to Ulm (South of Stuttgart). There is this gigantic Gothic castle that sits on a cliff there that is stunning. My favroite in all of Germany. Also, if you are still going to be there around the end of October, beginning of November, be wary of “Fasching” or “Fastnacht”. Men dress like caricatures of women, everyone is fasting (except for beer, of course) and drunk and causing mischief. It is fun but also a bit annoying if you are trying to do something not related to Fasching too.
    .
    I sent out the cards yesterday. So, you should receive them in a few days. If not, blame the USPS.
    .
    Well bro, as usual…have fun, be safe and enjoy the Volksfests (just not TOO much),
    .
    Hoshi

  2. The Wandering Nerdon 02 Oct 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Gross Gott Broi!

    Shit man, thanks for all of the pointers! I am indeed going to make it down to - or at least give it a good crack go towards - Stuttgart. Most likely next weekend. I’m not feelin’ the Munich thing that much and I’m not sure I’ll be able to get down there this weekend. In such case as I could make it down there there will be no accommodation and I’m not wanting to chance continuing being sick if I can avoid it.

    I’m all about hitting the castle, you happen to remember the name of it? The only one I can see that you may be talking about is: Burg Reichenstein.

    I’ll try my best to hook you up with the beer, but I’m not sure how the Germans view the laws regarding shipping beer. I know for a fact that Indiana ‘technically’ doesn’t allow alcohol shipped in, so you may bet a box of ‘Lava Lamps’ show up. That’s a trick I found out from a whiskey store in Scotland.

    I did however send you off a very small thank you today that you should appreciate. Consider it a precursor to when you actually make it over here. :)

    You’d be hard pressed to beat the Camel One place in Manchester. Which reminds me I need to kick Damo the next time I see him for doing that to me, I occasional cravings for that place that you wouldn’t believe.

    More on your other comment.

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