Travel Journal Entry #18: Viel spaß in Munich

The first thing that comes to my mind when Munich is mentioned – Oktoberfest. We met friendly folks dressed in traditional Bauern clothing the very second we stepped into metro. Beer was shared, women were dressed to perfection and everyone was having fun. Except us as we were struggling to move our luggage to our hotel. Fun had to wait a bit longer. 

Oktoberfest maddness.                                                             

I have to rant a bit about showers in german hotels – do they plan them for goblins or humans? Once again the struggle was real as I did not fit to squeeze into the shower and even my friend lost his mind trying to turn in the damn thing. Small showers seem to be a thing in Germany.  Please do correct me if I’m wrong. 

Everybody having fun. Lederhosen shorts are cool.

Change of clothes and we were off to Oktoberfest. Security was tough as anyone would expect these days. Bags were not allowed and everyone had to open their jackets before entering. Then we were met with amusement park rides and small shops offering all kinds of snacks, drinks, grill food and of course beer. The biggest breweries had their own houses where you could reserve tables. As we came late the most places where packed full.

Luckily we found a empty table from outside and sat down. Drink maidens came to take orders and we were set. At first we were surprised that the beer cost 10,90 per pint but then we realized it was a 1 litre (0.26 gallons) pint. I can safely say you don’t have to order many times to get drunk. For us two per person was enough!

This is what 1 litre of beer looks like.

To counter the fun we had, we went to the Dachau concentration camp memorial next day to respect the dead and those who had to endure horrific acts under Nazi rule. We spent a lenghty three hours there and afterwards I felt really sad. So many souls lost for one bitter mans idealogy.

Many entered through this gate and never returned.

The Dachau concentration camp held estimately 206 000 “persons of interest” that were sent to concentration camp as “precaution”. One thing that separates Dachau from other concentration camps was the fact that the gas room was built but not used for total extermination. Victims lost their lifes due to fatigue from work, hunger and diseases. 

Map showing prisoner numbers by country.

After Hitlers power started to fade by the invading allied countries, the US army arrived to Dachau and liberated the camp from the german eliye SS soldiers. Thus ending the torture of thousands of innocent lifes. After the surrender of Germany in 1945 many high profile SS-commanders and soldiers were put on trial in Nürnberg for their war crimes. 

Original gate door. Work makes you free. Not. At. All.

Hence the next destination for us will be the city of Nürnberg. The main location for the Nazi party and the Nazi Nurenberg rally parties held annually before the dawn of World War II. I wonder how the city is nowadays, living with the shadows of the dark past? Report coming soon! Good night!

– George

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Travel Journal Entry #10: All Roads Led To Rome

You are going to hate me for this travel entry the same way I will hate myself for writing this. This will be a bit of an angry rant my beloved readers. Blame it on the heat.

My two day experience of Rome is a bit of an homage to the negative history of the once grandiose city. Unfortunately it seems that Rome has not been able to amend the defective mentality and social constructs of the society that enabled its fall to ruins in the first place.

The Pantheon. Visit inside free of charge.

Before I continue any further I want to make myself clear that my homeland is not perfect in any way imaginable. We have many current flaws in our current society and we have no shame in admitting that. But we do our damn best to fix the issues at hand.
As per my experience as a traveller I feel like the people in Rome just let things be broken. Then everybody clears their conscious by pretending it’s “the way of things just work around here”. 

Fontana de Trevi. Water fountain loaded with tourists.

My visit to Rome started with a way too crowded bus to our hotel and a sloppy but oppressive pickpocket attempt. An old man right behind me started to feel me up and search my empty pockets. I immediately slapped away his hands and watched him crawl further away in the bus. We exited the bus on the next stop and took the metro instead. Jeez.

The incident got me paranoid of other strangers pretty quickly. I had to abandon my cosy shorts because the front pockets were too easy to pickpocket and to change into heavier capri shorts which had more secure pockets. Have you ever wore jean-fabric in 35′ Celsius heat? Not pleasant at all.

Vittorio Emanuele monument. Yehaw.

First off the public transportation in Rome is laughable at best. I had heard the tales that one cannot trust the timetables in Italy but in Rome the timetables are literally non-existent. The busses arrive to your stop when they feel like it. You might wait 45 minutes and still see zero busses coming your way. It’s depressing when you see even the locals give up and just walk away from the bus stop. 

The old history, architecture and monuments of Rome and the Vatican city are fascinating but the general loss of logic in supermarkets, elevators, buildings and the people itself eat away the experience. 

Quick example: How many doors one elevator should need to be efficient and easy to use? The correct answer apparently in Italy is three. A door that opens the elevator shaft and two more doors that slide open inside the elevator. If even one of the doors is not 100% in place, the elevator will not work.

The Square of Vatican City.

If something has hit the sweet spot in Rome it’s definitely the food. The restaurants serve amazing delicasies and even a simple pasta carbonara will make you miss the chefs that prepared that heaven for you. Cafeterias will serve you fresh cappucino and tasty pastries for couple of bucks. If you are thinking about food-traveling, please do keep Rome in mind.

Yo Xzibit, Pimp my Pope Chariot.

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Rome and we will spend it by exploring the historical amphiteather Colosseum and Forum Romanum. Oh and shopping for a new mens shoulder bag as my “old” one broke down today. Never buy anything from Zalando kids. 

On Tuesday we will continue our journey and travel to Naples! Summon positive vibes and stay cool y’all! Good night!

– George

Vanity Card #54 – The Long Stretch

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Paul Coelho, the author of the novel The Alchemist, once wrote out to the world:

Life was always a matter of waiting for the right moment to act.

The summer breeze caught Finland by its balls in the start of June and nowadays we are experiencing a delightful twenty-something degrees of Celsius. It sure took long enough, as we experienced slight snow drizzles still in May.  I never quite understood how the weather shapes the people that live under it’s unjust ruling; until I started this year observing other worker ant’s like myself while commuting to work. From gray face to mild smile, The Finnish standard of expressing “I am enjoying the sunshine!”.

Summer has not been the only thing I have kept myself waiting for months now. I reckon’ it was last spring when I started to harbor feelings of exhaustion, being on the rocks and searching for a meaningful answer to the question “Why am I working so hard to cash in 37,5 hour weeks at the office if I don’t feel like this is the way my life should venture forth?”

Today marks the special date when I have set myself completely free for an extended period of time and I can only hope that the adventure that awaits will give me some answers that I desperately seek on this journey. This week I counted the remaining days at work with a shameless amusement and yesterday slow clapped myself out of commission. For all it’s worth, I have to give sincere thanks and gratitude for my employer for giving me another chance to continue my career in logistics.

Ever since I started studying 2009 at University of Applied Sciences to get my degree in business, I did not take any vacation as I was working the summer months to keep more than just an empty plate on my table. I was taught at a young age to always work harder than anybody else to stay ahead of the recession and I believe it took a major toll on me. To never relax under any circumstance.

I really need a break. No, I need an adventure.

A one of the parting gifts I received from my lovely colleagues at work was a compass. To guide me back home. I just hope I will find where that home is.

Two and a half month adventure through the Europe starts 1st of August, July will be mostly spent planning, exercising and buying all the necessary equipment to enjoy the train rides and keeping sure that I have a fresh pair of underwear when the shit hits the fan. Figuratively, of course. Well, you never know. I have a sensitive stomach. Did I gross you out?

Great, mission accomplished.

I sincerely promise that there will be a flow of new updates on this site as now the only currency I have plenty to spend is time. I have already bought myself a sweet Bluetooth keyboard and a quality tablet which I will be taking with me through Europe.

Perhaps I should do a test write on it? Oh yeeah can dooo!

– George

Vanity Card #53 – The Struggles and Payoffs

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Song to accompany the reading experience, performed by Welshly Arms:

 

The Nobel prize winner John Steinbeck wrote a quote about the journey of life that has stuck with me through all these years of soul-searching.

A journey is a person in itself; to two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

We humans have a heartfelt tendency to think ourselves as complex demigods, but we frequently tend to perceive others as something transparent.  I have always felt it very troublesome as I am always eager to connect with other people – to find a common ground among strangers. It would be a narrow-minded lie if I said that every single person I connected once upon time with is still in my life. We are on this rampart journey we can only try to plan and hope that most of our dreams materialize into being.

As we are along the subject of becoming something through the journey, all the hardships you have suffered to this breath have made you the person you are today. In classical Chinese philosophy the natural world is on bound together by Ying and Yang, two opposite forces that compliment each other. The duality that teaches that the whole is always greater than the assembled parts. In layman’s terms, what does not kill us makes us stronger.

No matter how good of a strategist you think yourself to be, there will always be a wild card or two among the tall grass. It might be the fact that every single day of our lives, we are being fed by millions and millions of stimulus so in contrast, we have developed a mindset filter to shift through the parts that feel like matter the most. But we are not perfect, the Latin saying errare humanum est stands the test of time. So in the long run, we miss a rough-rugged diamond every now and then.

Nevertheless, my mother didn’t raise no fool, life is a numbers game. Probabilities, chances, uncertainty are all over the board and all we can do is hope that everything will be alright at the finish line. Bargaining is callous part of the deal of owning a self-conscious mind. The only advice I can sell to others is to make sure that you take the ships wheel of life and steer where you want to visit. The only mistake you can make is not to raise the anchor and let the dices roll.

I have a feeling that this time the house does not always win.

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– George

Vanity Card #51 – The Countdown Sequence

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….

… Please…

…Stand by….

The following takes place between January 25th  – March 22nd.

The first three months of 2017 were truly a chaotic hell ride through hoops and high water. At the end of February, the three amigos; me and my two childhood friends; disbanded our shared apartment and we moved to different area codes. It was a fun year and a half, in a one wicked way or another I am going to miss it.

If life ever was a game of monopoly, I am currently residing near the starting line. The retreat from our earlier apartment was a hasty decision indeed and we all did not have a bulletproof plan where to find lodging after February. So I decided to grab my belongings and stash them into a storage space and stay here, at least for a while with my family. Not the perfect escape route I admit, but it’s a rent fee solution, the pros dominate the cons.

When the year changed to four new digits I promised myself that I would cut loose all the strings that had no meaningful purpose in my life and start anew, building a future for myself that I can live with my heart out. The plan has been in the works and now we’re closing on an important milestone. Please applaud my trusty countdown calendar on site!

Oh, now you are struggling to find it.

This is your captain speaking, if you please turn your head up and little to the left you are able to see the engine number two on fire and the sweet countdown sequence calendar.

Cabin crew, please prepare for emergency landing!

So what does the countdown calendar actually mean? Well, I believe that is a mighty fine story for the next Vanity Card, which I will not promise will be shortly published. I am a grouchy slouch after all. All I can say, I am cutting loose!

Enjoy your tick-tock-countdown-calendar!

-George

Vanity Card #46 – The Pursuit of New Reneissance

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The older I grow, the more and the merrier I acknowledge the fact that the media and our western culture pushes our understanding of the good life to the brink of personal bankruptcy.

Our generation (I am talking about the last generation that escaped the womb to experience first hand the joy of Tamagotchi’s, Super Mario and the hair-craze flat iron) was the last victim of the values that were hardened on us when we were little, taught when the world was wearing a sundress  – thrilling us to believe that honest hard work, long office hours, family of five kids accompanied by a dog was all the marital bliss one individual was able to achieve during one lifetime.

Twenty-something years later the same generation finds themselves as a graduate from the long drive through of ECTS credits with a damn fine diploma to bury it away somewhere in the middle of five to ten menial job credentials.

The world lies in ruins, the economy is stripped down to the bare essentials and the most conspiracy-nut jobs talk about inside jobs that were paid posthumously by Steve Jobs to corporate the whole world by giving blowjobs to the Wall-Street executives that bribe cops to kill a fellow worker for just the price of a happy meal.

You might smell a hint of exaggeration between my ramblings but nobody can’t avoid the fact that our society builds upon commercializing everything under the sun and the general public’s highway to have a happy, joyful life is to get a loan or find a loan shark to finance your dream of being in debt for the rest of your life.

I am hardly the last of the Mohicans that tries to hunt traces of freedom from the pursuit of preserved continuity, from the vast legends long told before we were ready to put our suits on and walk into the office closet in the name of prosperity. Back to the roots of the curious minds of the Renaissance.

I want to be free, to think different and capture the world as long as my pulsing heart gives me time.

There is no home like that left- most sanctums have been sold for eight pieces of soul and five days of your week. We treat every philosopher, poor stranger, asylum seeker and a free thinker as the inhumane, jobless husk of a soul not worth a dime for the society. Media directs our attention to Kardashians and the rest of the celebrity gossip. Evolution is still discussed as a theory rather than the force that molds the world we live in.

The quote by Eleanor Roosevelt has never been so true as today:

Great minds discuss ideas; average discuss events; small minds discuss people.

The community keeps baiting both sides into a open conflict, hence the riot claims more lives than spent dollars. Yet I truly believe we are on the edge of another breakthrough of our current society model. We have been riding this train of 1800’s factory worker way too long and the stop is long due. I dream of a better world.

World where we create jobs where they truly exist rather than forcing every individual into a pressurized model that does not fit ones hinges. We are not clay, we are blood, bones and guts.

Unity is assembled from the chess set pieces.

So believe me when I state this – no authority in the modern society should point which cog you should be in the clockwork of the mankind.

Keep tickin’ to your own purpose and dreams before you simply seize to exist.