Friday, August 29, 2008

Hey Guys, I Finally Found It!!!!!!

Who knew it was in Amsterdam this whole time.

All My Photos from Amsterdam

Well at least the ones I like enough to show you.
Click photo to see the rest.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day 3 into Day 4

So Day 3, I started my day the same way, milkshake at Barney's. I know what you are thinking. “You start your day with a milkshake?” Sure, why not it is a great way to wake up, it has vitamins and calcium, with the added bonus of quick sugar rush to help get moving for the day. I talked with the two German guys, the normal stuff, my life, my journey, my philosophy, etc. Again the Universe keeps doing it's job, I don't question it anymore. I then started walking towards the center of town and Dam Square. I was not all that impressed, I prefer the places that are near my hotel, much more character and a lot less touristy. I left the main road off Dam Square and just started walking a few blocks, not really going anywhere in particular, just wandering and looking for things to shot. The next thing I know I turn left for no reason walk a block and end up in the Red Light District. I was not looking for it and I thought it was in another part of town. It was what I imagined it would be. The daytime talent was weak at best, and down right scary at worst. I then headed back to the hotel and grab some takeout. I went to a place called Wok and Walk. You go in, tell them what kind of rice or noodles you want, then what meat you want then what sauce you want, three minutes later you have a to-go container and are out the door. For fast Chinese food it was very good. After dinner I went back out for a walk to see if anything was going on. Without my tripod it's not worth shotting some stuff I would like to and I am not a huge fan of the flash. I walked about 10km today and I really felt it when I got back for the night. The room has a great bathtub for soaking so of course. (no jake, i didn't make a move) I chilled out the rest of the evening watching some news and a few TV shows.

Day 4, Checked out and enjoying a milkshake, as usual, at Barney's trying to meet my deadlines so the 6 of you who read this will get your fix today. As I was sitting here 5 Irish kids (19 – 26) can in to start there 3 day holiday. I talked with them for about 30 minutes about everything Irish, I am glad I got to speak with them as it will make it easier for me to understand them when I get there sometime next week. The plan for the rest of the day is as follows, get some lunch, walk around a new part of town I have not seen that is NW of my hotel. I am hoping for some good shots. I will be back to the hotel to get my bag from storage and take the tram to Central Station at 5pm to catch a train to the airport for my fight out at 8pm to Vienna. I have a car service that will return me to Bratislava, as the bus stops running at 10 pm from the airport back to Bratislava. I will also pot more of my photo once I get back home, I am still looking for a few apps for this eeepc that work like my Mac.

I am now having lunch at a small Italian place on my favorite street for places to eat. And Wijacking someone's net signal. Enjoy, I know I will.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Amsterdam Day 3

More words to follow.
Carsten and Steffen, my new German friends
Thanks for everything. (Great Guys)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 2 - Night Time Fun

So off to a late meal, I took advantage of the hotels location and walked past about 30 different places before settling on a Mexican place off the main square I am near.

It turns out to be a good choice the service was fast and the food was very good. My plan now is to head back to the square and see if the two guys I saw playing last night are back. If so I will try and get some video for you. They had a funky blues sound and I picked up some cd's from them last night. The only problem is the Asus has no cd drive so I will have to wait to get home to listen to them.

No offense to my English friends but, your brothers and sisters are the loudest, drunkest, rudest tourist I have ever come across. If you are walking down the street and hear a bunch of loud drunk people there is a 95% chance they are English, the other 5% are Scots, sorry but it's true.

So I am in the square listening to the “The Famous Unknowns” I hope the video comes out.

Day 2 in Amsterdam

So I am still not over the jet lag, it was 3 am before I was able to get to sleep. Of course it could have been the espresso at 9:15 last night, not a wise choice for someone who rarely has caffeine. I spend the most of that time working on photos.

Today is overcast with a small chance of rain, so the light is very flat for photos, I will see if I can work it to my favor. I have found this trip that Front Doors and Iron Work is catching my eye more than anything. I plan on walking into new areas near my hotel which is really turning out to be perfect for my needs, it is close to great restaurants and is right on the tram line so getting back to the airport is not going to be an $75.00 cab ride. Stopped by Barneys to talk with Andy and get some locals advice on spots to visit and I am now heading out.

I spent the next 3 hours just walking the streets taking photos. I stopped for lunch near the hotel and had a great pizza. It started to rain lightly so I packed it in for the day and came back to the hotel to give you an update. It is now still cloudy but dry so I will head out later for dinner.

Amsterdam - The Return - Day 1

So where did I last leave things. Oh yeah, departing from JFK.
Well the flight was uneventful other getting stuck in the bulkhead row
that does not recline because of the emergency exit behind me,
so I was forced to rest my head on my tray table, not my
preferred sleeping position. I did try and offset that by taking
three benadryls and two screwdrivers to get me to sleep,
which still did not work as well as I had hoped but I was
able to get about 3 1/2 to 4 hours of sleep. I then had a
car service take me to Bratislava.

So I am home, and yes I do feel like this my home,
I could try explain the reasons I feel this way about Slovakia but I
am not sure I could convey exactly what I feel since I don't seem
to understand it myself. The closest thing I can say I this, I know
that the Universe wants me here for some reason. It is the same
reason I return to Camp every summer, because this is where I
should be. For those of you who get to talk with me face to face
will understand the concept I am trying to get across because
I have said it before. The key now is for me to recognize why
So how is it living in the same flat as your ex-girlfriend. To be
honest it was rather strange right at first, both of us not quite sure
what to expect from the other. That passed as we both just sat
down and chatted about our summers, how they went etc.
It was then I think we both understood that while we were not right
for each other as a couple, we could in fact be OK with just being
friends. The lingering feelings we both are dealing with I think
will slowly fade in to the past and make it easier just to be friends
with each other. As with everything, time will tell. So the trip,
I as I write this I am 20000 feet above the Netherlands about to
land in Amsterdam. I am looking forward to spending a few
days walking around taking pictures and taking in the local culture
and attractions.

Landed in Amsterdam and took a cab to the hotel because I
was to lazy to figure out the train and bus lines in a town I cant
pronounce the names of the stops.

Andy from Barney's lounge was here again and remembered
me and all my stories. I was surprised how excited he got when
he saw me, I felt for sure that there was no way he remembered
one old American from 4 months go. It was my hat that I think
made him remember me.

(Props to my Pop for the vintage 1971 "Go Fast Hat")

So first impressions, First, I love having the Asus eeepc 900,
it is perfect for the mobile blogger like me. Second, Barney's
still makes one of the best milkshakes you wil ever have.
Third the cab drivers here would give the NYC crew a run for
there money, my only advice is close your eyes and pray.
Fourth The hotel I got this time is now my new favorite spot.
I will get some photos to show you this area of town in the morning.
I have no view but it's a smoking room and it is bigger than the
last place. But the down side is you can't smoke inside the
restaurants or bars or coffee shops, go figure. You can light up a
spliff in the coffee shop but the get mad at you if you fire up a
nicotine stick, what kind of sick twisted moronic bureaucrat
came up with that one, oh wait I think I answered my own question.

So what is my game plan for the next 72 hours?
Tonight if the rain holds off I am going to do some night shots,
which without my tripod, should produce some interesting results.
But to be honest some of my greatest shots have happened by accident.
Tomorrows weather looks like it should be nice so it will be a
day of walking and shooting.

So I have gone mobile and am now sitting down for dinner at a
small Italian place off one of the main streets. So the plan is for
me to stop every so often and just start to type. I have already
taken a few good shots and this way It will give you the up
close and personal view of the city, plus it's fun for me to do it.
It gives me a look I need as a single guy dinning alone. Doing this
makes me look important. ;-)

So I just finished one of the best dinners I have had in a long time.
The veal saltimbocca was amazing and the gravy on the spaghetti
would make grandma Lucarelli proud. I am going to finish it
off with some tiramisu. Then off for more photos before calling it a night.

I just got mistaken for a Frenchman, I couple sat down to me
and started to speak to me then I said I don't speak French the the
man thought I was French. Serge and Fabienne are from Aix province
and I have just been sitting here talking with them as they wait for there dinner.
They are both teachers who are on holiday. I told them about my
travels and we talked about my philosophy of life and that today is
the only day you get so you better enjoy it. Anyway, tomorrow is
just a future yesterday. Serge's english is very good and is able to
translate what his wife misses. They are both very pleasant to talk
with and disprove the old stereo types of what you might think of
the French. He has also given me the name of a French writer
Andre Gide to read. For those of you who don't believe me,
I will say it again. The Universe puts me where it wants me to
be when it wants me to be there.

And the tiramisu was great, of course the espresso at 9:15 might be a mistake.

I am now hanging out in a square listen to two guys jam on guitar,
the sound is amazing. I tried to get some video but it hosed up on me, I will try again tomorrow.

Bike repair with a brick, the Amsterdam way.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Am Home

It was an easy flight and I am now back in Bratislava. It is so nice to be back.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hanging Out In JFK

My flight leaves in just over an hour and I am so excited to be getting back to Bratislava.

Stay tuned for updates, remember I leave for Amsterdam this Monday so I should have new photos up on Tuesday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

So Camp Is At An End

I am having trouble believing that tomorrow I will return the kids to the airport to end camp. I always see the last camper off and get to make the call the John waits for all summer, "All the kids are away safely, now go have a beer." I am amazed every year how quickly it goes by. I really find it hard to believe that I have been here for over 2 1/2 months. I have to say that this summer has been one of the best summers I have spent here. We had a great group of campers and a near All-Star staff this year. I made two new great friends this summer and will visit them in Turkey this fall. ("If you make one good friend summer your doing well." - Tripper, Meatballs) I will end up with over 5500 miles driven this summer in 7 weeks with 2 of them really just hanging out, the first week and last week are easy but the middle 5 kick my butt.

I am looking forward to getting back to Europe and traveling. have only made plans for the first part of the trip and see how things go before planning the rest of the trip. I have also made a new purchase to help with my travels an Asus eeepc 900, which is a small laptop with a nine inch screen that weighs less than 2 pounds. google it. I am posting from it now and am really enjoying playing with it. It runs version of Linux that I have hacked to make it even more useful. I will let you know how it works out in the future.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Have Made My Plans

I spent a good portion of yesterday booking flights, hotels, cars and everything else I need to plan for for the next part of the adventure. So what are my plans, you ask? I fly back to Vienna on the 21st of August, arriving on the 22nd. I will then spend the next 3 days in Bratislava just hanging out and seeing some friends. I fly out on the 25th for 3 days in Amsterdam to explore more of the city. I plan on posting my photos as I did before, when I get the chance. I then return to Bratislava for 5 days, but I may visit Prague that weekend instead and come home late Sunday. I will then fly out on the 3rd of September for London for a visit with friends in Bexhill By Sea (and no I didn't leave out the "The" in Bexhill by Sea, that's it's real name.) for two days. I then fly out Friday night for Ireland for an 8 day trip. I will also be posting photos as I go along. I then fly back to Bratislava for the night on the 14th of September and fly out the next day for Istanbul for a 3 night stay. This will get me back to Bratislava by the 18th of September. I have an plan in the works to drive to Vienna, then Salzburg then into Germany to go see "The Eagles Nest" (google it) in Berchtesgaden. Then to Stuttgart to try and see the Porsche factory, on to Prague then back to Bratislava. I have a return ticket for November 1st and since the Giants play the Cowboys that Sunday, I will be back in the country at least for the weekend. After that who knows, if I can find a job in Bratislava I would stay again for the winter but right now it is not my main focus so I will see what the universe has in store for me.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

So I Am Heading Back to Slovakia

I have just booked the flight and I will stay over for about 70 days. I will use Bratislava as my base as I travel to the places in Europe I still want to see. I am leaving on the 21st of Aug. and returning the 1st of Nov. The added benefit for me is I get to miss silly season with the election but get home in time to vote and watch the returns. I will update you more as I finalize my plans.