Tag Archives: Homepage

Two Wheel Life in Vietnam

Once I hit the road pointed in the right direction to Huè, I promised myself I wouldn’t fly through the pass like I would any other time and I would actually stop and take pictures. So the first part, I stopping and took a few pictures here and there, but once I started riding into the single lane roads of the pass, my adrenaline spiked and before I knew it I’m flying through the corners. I did manage to stop once or twice to take a picture, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. That’s when I reminded myself that this is for me and my experiences and sometimes you have to keep those to yourself. After about 2 1/2 hours, I found myself in the town of Huè where I had a bus waiting for me to take me to a small village called Phong Nha. I meant two girls from Israel on the bus and we talked most of the time and one of them even told me that she had no place booked once we got there.  We decided to get a hostel together being that there’s only two to choose from. The next morning they automatically included me in all their plans which I really enjoyed because without their company I would not of seen nearly as much as I did.

We woke me up really early to go see the famous caves.  We didn’t want to take a tour, so we decide to rent a couple scooters and go on our own.  We get the first cave where we can swim, ride on the zip line, go on an obstacle course and also explore the caves (which had a lot of mud so I decided to skip the cave part). Instead I stayed on obstacle course and had a really good time for the first 20 minutes, but then I realize that me waiting for them got a longer than I thought. Once they came back they somehow knew that I was having too much fun as they did, so they took me out to lunch and we talked for a long period of time then we started making plans for the rest of the day.

On the ride back, we came across two Canadian girls broke down just outside the town we were staying. “The rental scooter decided not to run anymore”, they told me as I offered to help try to fix the problem.  After a minute or two, I got it running and followed them back to town. Once we got back to the hostel, we got really lazy and decided to stay around the hostel for evening.

The following day, the girls and I grabbed the scooters and rode out to the caves nearest to where we were staying. Riding down a long dirt road that the poor scooter wasn’t designed for, we found ourselves at a dead end right before the cave. Come to find out that only boats can enter the cave. We trekked back, found a tour boat and started our way through the dark cave. The boat took us about a mile in where they dropped us off and we walked the way back. The path goes around these mighty nature made structures that took millions of years to make. The locals brought in colored lights to eliminate the structures and wall making it a surreal feeling as we walked back.

We got back to the scooters when the girls brought up the idea of just riding around the outskirts of the town. This place wasn’t much of a tourist town and a lot of these streets were mainly untouched by travelers. This became apparent once we got a half hour in the ride. The girls wanted to stop at where a few local kids were running around a hut type building. One of girls took a bag of balloons out of her bag and started handing them out to the kids which became overjoyed with their new gifts. It was at that moment that I realized that that was their home which had no glass windows and hardly a front door and was also their place of work. These people barely had anything,  yet they were happy and smiling as if they didn’t have a worry in the world.

At that moment, it all hit me as if i landed there for the first time again. all the memories that got pushed deeper and deeper in my mind as I was having fun partying with the other travelers and walking through the oldest structures in the world in the past mouth, I started thinking of the stuff in between. The people living in the outskirts of the big cities that i saw while sitting in a bus to my next destination or that I interacted with at a truck stop. They all were just living life the best they could. Even with very little to live with, they were happy and joyful in the fullest. It was funny to me that a kid bopping a balloon in the air would make this rush of emotions come over me. Maybe it was the fact that this journey was coming to a close or the fact that I was blinded by the way I live and I was trying to compare it to life here. Whatever it was that came over me was just what I needed to really appreciate this trip for what it was and also appreciate what I had back at home.

 

Shortly after we back from our ride and we returned the bikes we planned our trip to Hanoi. Hanoi was my last stop, but not at this point because I had a plane ticket to Hong Kong for the weekend (Which is a another story on it own). After Hong Kong, I came back to Hanoi for one more night of my trip. In the end of the long flight home as I watched the U.S. coastline come into view, I shed a tear or two knowing that reality of everyday life was sitting there. It’s funny how just a month and a half before I was sitting at that same airport, finding any excuse to not get on that plane in fear of not knowing what Southeast Asia was going to be like. Now I didn’t want to come back!

 

 

No Reservations

The best thing about not having a plan is that you never know where you’ll end up. My thought was that I would be trekking it up north to Chiang Mai, but then a message from my buddy Ian changed all that. I wanted to sit on a beach since I got here and Bangkok and Chiang Mai was nowhere near that. Plans where changed within moments. 

Krabi is small town in the south end of Thailand and was just the place to Search for those beaches I was looking for. So early that morning I jump on my phone and booked a flight for that evening. That was the easy part, unfortunately the hostel I was booking was not available for the first night (which they informed me after the fact) now I was frantically trying to find somewhere else to go. I managed to find a “hotel” that was cheap in Krabi near the hostel I booked for the next couple of nights.   One crazy uber ride to the airport and the shortest flight I’ve ever been on, I found myself standing in a little airport about 15 minutes away from the center of Krabi. I hailed a taxi to the hotel, gave him the address and off I went. Unfortunately the nice taxi driver didn’t speak a word of English and come to find out, he had no idea where this “hotel” was. We drove around for 30 minutes when he pulled into a travel agency, where he got the agent to talk to me. After a little bit, we found the place on the map. Finding the place that I was staying was a bit surprising. The “hotel” was actually a sort of motel and most of the rooms had permanent residents in it. The room was fairly clean other than the lizards on the wall and the giant spider in the bathroom. I managed to sleep for a bit before they decided to either start working on the room next to me or was cutting up a dead body at 3 a clock in the morning. 



Once out of that wonderful hellhole, I decided to walk to my hostel. That afternoon I went and explore downtown Krabi and got food at the their market. That night I met a few pretty awesome people, two from the US, one from France and one from Australia. The two Americans, the Australian and I describe to rent scooters the next and go explore the beaches down the road from Krabi. This was a first for me because I’ve never been in the waves before. Later that day, we rode to a hot springs that seen better day, but we made the best of it. 


  We rode the scooter the next day where we saw more beaches, climbed a big rock and got caught in a thunderstorm while riding back. We seeked refuge at a restaurant with one of the best food on the trip so far. 


  Known of this was reserved or planned weeks before, it just happened. I think everyone needs a trip like this! Nothing to this extreme, but just something random and reservation free. 

God Save The Queen

Getting to the main train station 2 hours early, I knew it was going to be a different experience this time around. I was taking the Eurostar train that travels under the English Channel to London and with that, it has the same security as the airport. I went through 2 security checkpoints and waited about an hour in line to get to the train. Once I was on the train, it was surprisingly the same as most other trains on my trip so far.      

  

  

  

  I managed to rest my eyes for some of the trip. When I woke up, I looked at the time and realized that we would be arriving soon, but we didn’t and I started to wonder if we are going really late. A hour past by and we finally made it to London’s main train station. Wondering why we came in late I just decided to walk to the hostel that I booked a few nights before. It was a part of a big chain of hostels that are all over Europe named, “The Generator”. I stayed in The Generator in Paris for a night and really enjoyed it, so it was a no-brainer to book it in London as well. It was there, when I realize that I was not an hour late, but the time changed when we crossed borders. Looking stupid when asking why I couldn’t check in at 3:00 when it was really 2:00, I got up to my room and immediately passed out. 

  The first night in London was a bit odd. I had no energy from the train ride that afternoon, but I really wanted to go see some of London. So without a map or GPS, I just decided to start walking. Going through some places I couldn’t name now and getting very lost, I somehow managed to get back to the hostel at a reasonable time. 

   

  

   The next day was very scattered much like the first day. It took me until late afternoon to finally get up enough energy to go see the city in the daytime. Which was actually quite nice, but after a couple hours I went back to the hostel and just vegged out. At this point in my trip I was wore out on looking at city stuff. My batteries were running empty and I just didn’t have the urge to see much of anything there.  

    
 That night I decided to plan my next day the way I wanted to see it and wrote a list of all the things in London that would be important to me and I would take a walking tour on my own for the whole last full day in London.

   

   The next morning I got up fairly early walk down the street to have one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. After that, I walked to my first destination, Baker St. and the home of Sherlock Holmes. Once there I traveled to Abbey Road which was down the street. Then I walked across town and stumbled across the US Embassy on my way to find Jimi Hendrix apartment that he passed away in. Unfortunately Jimi Hendrix flat was turned into a flower shop and there’s really not much to see. For the grand finale I walked to the James Bond car museum. After a few hours of walking around I finally managed to get back to the hostel where I grab the iPad and went down to the Internet area of the hostel, where I stumbled across a girl named Tori.  

   
   

  

  

  

  

  

  Tori was from Los Angeles, but was there on a business trip. After talking for a little bit she mentioned she wanted to go to a pub crawl and was wondering if I wanted to come with. I told her I would under one circumstance, I really wanted to see the Towerbridge at night. She agreed to the terms and we managed to go find something to eat before the pub crawl started. 

    
    
  Now I can’t really describe that night on this blog, all I have to say is that it was the most amazing night I’ve ever had! And she kept her promise! 

    
    
   
  The next day, I had to make the decision on where I was going to go next and I had to leave that day. I looked on the map and saw Edinburgh, Scotland was only 8 hours away, but the bus didn’t leave until 11:00 that night. So I spent the rest of the day with the couple people that I met the night before including Tori and we had a really good time and a bittersweet goodbye. 

  London was a spectacular place,but with the way things were going, I just didn’t have the energy to enjoy it as much as I wanted to. It was the first time I entered into a country and didn’t have to ask if they spoke English. If I could go back I probably wouldn’t because even though I didn’t have the best time during the day I could never match up to that night!! 

It Was Simply Paradise

Feet dipped in the sea at the shore of Italy, I lost myself in the sight of the beautiful blue water. I was waiting patiently for my boat to arrive to take me to Barcelona. Unfortunately I got to Civitavecchia Port a few hours early, which in some ways was nice because I wasn’t in a rush. Once the boat ported, I was the first one on, I put the stuff in the room and off I went. I was eager to see this ferry that I was planning on for the past year. It had 2 restaurants, 3 bars and even a pool. After the expedition, I went back to the cabin to rest when I met my bunk mates, two awesome guys for Canada.  

    
    
   
They had the same idea I had of sleeping for majority of the the boat ride. We managed to sleep for about 15 hours on that, which was much needed being that I got very little sleep in the hostels I was staying at. After our rest we decided to go get lunch on the boat while waiting to dock in Barcelona. It took about an hour for the boat finally get into the harbor where we were dropped off and had to find our way to our hostels. Being that I was deprived of Wi-Fi on the entire trip on the boat I had no idea where my hostel was located but they had a rough idea where there’s was and I decided just follow them to get Wi-Fi. Once at their hostel, I was greeted as if I was staying there as well and was even fed dinner. After a couple hours I decide to venture out on my own to find my own hostel.  Unfortunately the hostel I was staying at was a chain hostel (meaning there was more than one Saint Jordi hostel in town). Not knowing that, I walked to the wrong one where they inform me that the one I was supposed to go to was another 30 minute walk after about an hour and a half I finally got to my hostel at midnight. Worn out from a long walk I jumped in the bed.  

    
   
The next day I tried getting a hold of the Canadians that I met on the boat to see if they wanted to wonder the city. One of them was still sleeping, but the other insisted that I would meet them at their hostel. We started to wonder seeing the La Sagrada Familia cathedral, which has another 13 years before finally being done. We also explored downtown and walked all the way to the beaches of Barcelona which was my first time barefoot in the sand. After our journey we went back to their house to grab the other Canadian that was surprisingly still sleeping at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. We went and grabbed a bite to eat then walk back to the hostel to join the rest of the crew there to go on a pub crawl. After a couple pubs I decided to head back to my hostel to get some rest. 

   

  

 The next day was special to me because it was my birthday, but I’m not one to celebrate my birthday so I didn’t really tell anybody. It was also my last day at that hostel and I decided to switch over to the hostel I was hanging out at in the first place throughout the day. That night I was getting things ready in my room, when I noticed it was about time for dinner. Walking into the dinning area, all the light turned off and a makeshift birthday cake with 2 lit candles sat on the table. Then everyone in the hostel sang happy birthday to me. It was the best surprise I’ve ever had. That night we all went out to karaoke and stayed out until the early morning.  

   
  The next day, me and few others from the hostel went to the beach for most of the day. Just like the night before we went out to the clubs, but I left early because that next morning I was getting on a plane to Germany to celebrate my birthday with my German family for a few days.  

   Barcelona was one the most spectacular places I’ve ever been to and the people I met there became life long friends. It’s one place I will be going to again soon!!

Poland

   After I got on the train heading to Poland, I knew I had 8 and a half hour ride in front of me, so it was a great opportunity to catch up on the blog and in my journal being that it was getting really hard to find time to do any of that with all the walking around and exploring. After a little while though, I found myself looking out the window and before I knew it, we hit the first and only transfer station. Getting off the train, I quickly released that almost no one spoke English here, but I felt that I was in the right place and was… until they announced something in polish over the loudspeaker and everyone got up and left the stage. My initial reaction was to follow them, but just didn’t know what was going on, so I went to ask the information desk. Unfortunately no one there spoke a word of English as well. Lost in translation again, I just starting asking everyone for help when finally I met a business man that told me my train was going to be and by the time I got there, it arrived. An hour later I was in Kraków. 

  
   
 Kraków is a beautiful old town. Most of it was rebuilt after World War II, but they’ve kept the original look which gave the city its own European feel. I walk a short distance to my hostel from the train station and got all sign in, went to pay and my card got denied. Freaking out a little bit, I held my composure and started looking through my bag to find some money to at least pay for the bed. A little after getting my stuff organized I went out and tried my card at an ATM and luckily it worked!! So I celebrated by buying a giant gyro. 

   
 The next morning, I booked a tour to Auschwitz concentration camp. it was an hour and half bus ride there, but once there, you could feel an uneasiness at that place. We were put in groups of 10 and led through a gate that read, “Arbeit macht frei” which translates “Work sets you free”. The first lie the Nazis told the people sent there. After seeing that, I put my phone in my pocket and decided to just experience this place with my own eyes, not behind a camera lens. The red brick buildings that stood there were the same as they were since the war which gives me a disturbing feeling that the people that were tortured and kill here looked at these same buildings. Three of the buildings were converted into the museum part of Asuchwitz showing all the documents, the belonging, the shoes and even the hair of ones that were killed were save to sell to wig shops and carpet companys. They also showed us the different ways that the nazis tortured the prisoners for little to no reason at all. The next camp that they took us to was a killing camp. A lot bigger in size, this camp could hold up to 100,000 prisoner although most of the prisoners that got here was killed within 20 minutes of being there. One thing that the guide told us when we were at the ruins of the gas chambers is that this was the last sight that over a million people saw before they were killed. The whole experience was a little hard to handle, but before I knew it we were on a bus to go back to Krakòw. The next day, it really hit me and knew it was going to, so i made sure I had nothing planned that day and I just sat at hostel, listened to some good music and updated my blog.

   

        The last day in Poland, I booked another tour to the Wieliczka Salt Mines near Krakòw. I needed something a little different then of the last couple days. Active since the 13th century, it pumped out table salt up until 2007. The world oldest salt mine, now takes in thousands of tourists on a daily. This was the original reason of me coming to Poland and at about 500 feet below the earth, the sights were worth the trip! The charged me to take photo, so I made an article dedicated to the photos underground.

  I was kind of happy leaving Krakòw. It was a beautiful town with tons of history and some amazing people, but the emotions that I went through was a bit to much for me. I came to realized that this life is a thin line between happiness and brutality. We take life in the thought that it’ll always be there when we wake up in the morning and it’ll just be another easy going day as always, but we dont know just how close we are to having all of that being ripped from us, all because someone with power disagreed with the way we do things. The poor souls that lost their lives in that god forsaken place didn’t get the chance to travel the world or watch their kids grow up or even get a chance to sleep in on saturday morning. They went through hell on earth, hoping that one day death will come claim them before the day was done. We will never know that feeling, we will never know what they really went through day after day before the end. All I can say is that I’ve seen a glimpse of what happen there and the methods on which they used the torture and kill them and with that, I’ve lost a little faith that day, in humanity and in god. There was no reason for the suffering at these camps and with keeping it on display for people to see what really happened, maybe it’ll keep us from repeating the past because as a the sign says in the first building I walked into there, “The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again.”       

  ….Next stop Budapest, Hungary


Journey of the Ring

Even waking up this day felt different. I knew whatever was going to happen was going to change my life. The Nurburgring opens for public racing at 5:30, so I was in no rush to get there althought I was getting inpatient. I took the train to the airport where I had resovations to a rental car that I got a couple of day before. After a little bit, I found the rental company where i walked up to the lady, gave her my confirmation number, my license and my credit card. that is when it went all wrong. She looks at my credit card and tell me, “we dont take these. We take real credit cards.” I argued with her for a few minutes, finally grabbing my stuff and walking off. I was pissed! I walked around a little bit to cool off and went to get something to eat. Then after 20 minutes of cooling down, I decided to go to another rental car company and after 160€ a car was rented. I got lost right off the bat, but after a quick turnaround I was on my way to the Ring…. fast.

   Once there, the day became one of the best days of my life and could only be described in the smile on face in these photos so enjoy…….