on the road again

What did I tell you about travelling? It never really works out as I wish it would … just a couple of days ago I was trying to come back from Barcelona by plane … I exactly knew how to get to the airport: first I would have to walk to the Metro station, then I would take the blue line and change in Sagrada to the red line and get off at Plaza Catalunya to catch the airport bus. Sitting in the Metro felt stressful because I was already late because I forgot my jacket at my fiends’ place and I had to run back to her apartment to get it. So I was sitting in the red line and thinking in getting off the next station to catch a taxi when I finally realized that I went way too far with the Metro. I got off the Metro, ran to the next bigger street to catch a taxi. I arrived finally in time at the airport and I was happy to go back with the flight to Geneva I bought some weeks ago and not buying a new expensive one.

On Tuesday I rushed to get all my stuff packed. Finally it was done. I went to bed around midnight to get up early. In the morning I received a text message from a colleague that there were strikes in Portugal … I checked my flight time table online to be sure that everything was fine – nothing was fine. My flight was cancelled 😦 what should I do? I phoned all possible agencies but only the airport information was open at that time of the day. I felt stressed because I had to make a decision to go or not to go to Munich airport.  Finally, I decided to stay in Innsbruck and it turned out that it was the best decision I could have taken because a fully day, TAP Airlines did not fly. The travel agency rebooked my flight and I spent two more wonderful days in Innsbruck, visiting friends, hanging out, drinking coffee at the balcony in the sun, going out for lunch with my colleagues and so on. I feel extremely good and I am ready to travel in 10 minutes 🙂

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Last but not Least

I’m still in Huaraz – relaxed and happy ever since. Last week I joint two friends going to Laguna 69 and I had a great time! We started at 6 in the morning and went by bus to Yungay where we shared a taxi up to the Huarascaran Park. In the beginning of our ride I asked Raul if he has an additional wheel to change if something would happen. Everyone laughed. But my joke was not a joke … 45 minutes later, one of the wheels exploded. It took Raul about 20 minutes to change the wheel and we went on. We passed the beautiful Laguna Llanganuco with the Huarascaran Mountain on its side. The sky was sky blue and the peaks glittered like diamonds in the sun light. I started to wake up and got mentally prepared for the long hike. It took us 3 and a half hours walking slightly up to the lake at about 5100m including a breakfast break (I ate bread with banana).

Laguna 69 is definitely one of the most beautiful lakes up in the Cordilliera Blanca! When you arrive you feel being in Greece: the blue water of the Laguna was shining like in a fairytale, a waterfall of the Glaciers water made the sound scenery and suddenly we heard a tremendous sound and a huge ice block fell down, converted into a avalanche heading down in the direction of the Laguna. I loved that place! After a little rest, relaxing in the sun and having lunch (the same stuff like for breakfast besides I was invited to a sandwich) we started hiking down again. Raul waited already for us and I made sure that he changed the additional wheel in case that something would happen … my friends asked me not to talk about things that could happen … I stopped talking. My head started to get a headache. It was terrible. I fall asleep in the taxi. After 3 hours we arrived in Huaraz – I was hungry and tired which is not the best combination for Tanja (some of you know that kind of situation: my colleagues from work they always bring some chocolate for me to but me in a good mood again – these people did not know about Tanja in a hungry and tired mood …).

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First contacts

Meeting people is one of the essential things in live besides drinking water and eating potatoes (in some parts in this world – if I would be in Europe right now, I would have written Pizza, if I would be in Asia right now, I would have written Wan Tang, if I would be in Australia right now, I would have written Kangaroo meat, if I would be in Africa right now, I would have written Cuscus and if I would be in Antarctica right now, I would have written fish). Getting attention and communicating are two actions that enrich our life with a lot of stories (especially if our world of dreams is poor). For me, both, real and dream world inspire me a lot enjoying life the way I do. I know, it is not the same for all of us – for some people the dream world is important and some would just like to skip the phase of sleeping because it is boring and seems to be a loss of time BUT I can tell: it is worth living your dream world as well! Just take a little time before starting off the day; stay in bed for some minutes, think about what happened in the “lost hours” of your life and you will see: red monsters were following you on your way saving the princess’ life. Finally, you beat the red monster and saved the princess: mission successfully completed – the princess’ father felt like the happiest person of the world and to show his thankfulness he gave you what ever you wanted and a permanent residence for his empire OR a beautiful cat with a bushy pink tale with green dots showed you the way to one of the last hidden treasure of the Incas – you could not tell anyone of your findings because you were afraid that no one would believe your story, especially the part of the beautiful cat. You might be sent to a lunatic asylum which would be a pity because of all the plans you already made to realize your real dreams, so, you just did not say anything to anybody and maybe no one would ever find out about that treasure you found except for you OR you just hang out with friends having a great time, going sand boarding in Sahara during the day, drinking Arabic Chai in an café at night and talking about the good old times back in school and watching the stars in the sky – what a happy life …

Recently, my dream world is rather poor than rich: I do not take over my boss’ office anymore OR kill people with my 13 bullet gun OR rescue people from drowning in the ocean. Maybe this is because of the cold I have which does not let me sleep properly. I wake up once in a while because of heavy coughing. Ok, back to the topic: first contact.

I went to GTZ in Lima to get information about a regional project considering women here in South America (called COMVO mujer). I met the responsible person Monday morning in the office in San Isidro and I had no idea about who I would meet. There is no information in the Internet so far because the project was just set up in January and is still in its initial phase. So, I waited about 3 minutes in a little conference room looking around not knowing what would happen. The door opened and a woman came in. I stood up and introduced myself before sitting down again. These 10 something seconds were very interesting for me because it was a new feeling and never happened to me before: we looked at each other, I introduced myself in Spanish, she told me her name, still looking at each other, than she asked me in Spanish where I was from, I told her originally from Germany, I asked her where she was from, she answered in Spanish from Germany, so I said that we could talk in German – everything seemed to be in “slow motion” BUT it was only a couple of seconds. It reminded me on animals’ behavior seen in documentaries I saw when I was younger. Conversation was poor and seemed slow in the beginning, checking the other person was more important. After these seconds we sat down and started talking fluently. It would have been very interesting how the woman perceived these initial seconds of our first contact!

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Joy and Pain

Did you ever think about these two conditions: ‘joy’ and ‘pain’? (I should not even mention them in a single phrase …) – or maybe: did you think that these two conditions have something in common? If so, I tell you that they have nothing in common and I can even prove my statement:

There were three of us and luckily not everyone was in a bad shape at the same time – or maybe I should start this Blog entry more positively (because I survived and enjoy writing this right now): each of us was motivated during a certain period of our hike. Now you know that we were hiking and with our naïve nature we first thought that we can make this hike in 2 days BUT nooooo way. It would have been much chillier if we would have taken 4 days instead of the 3 days: we were walking and walking and walking. My body is still in pain – no feeling of joy for life left. The first day I perceived as pretty joyful but then pain started and did not stop yet. I feel old and rotten but I know that my body will regenerate soon – this future feeling gives me joy BUT right now I’m walking like a duck: not in a straight line but from one foot to the other, moving like a ship trying to survive in a tremendous storm with huge waves in the Pacific.

My mind did funny things to my thoughts but even this had nothing to do with joy … my body hurt that much that I started not thinking at all in the end of the hike – I even lost faith in believing that this hike has an end. Every move seemed to be some kind of movement to survive – to reach the village at the end of the valley where a thing called car or mini bus would wait for us ( – exclusively for us, with a bus-steward serving my favorite meal, giving massages and so on …).

The monotonous steps called walking, putting one food in front of the other and trying to move on to reach something were so painful. To forget about the pain my brain took me to a different trip: let’s call this trip “mind trip”. I travelled back in time to the Second World War where a lot of people had to work really hard in forced labor camps. I just could not imagine how their body would have worked for such a long time at its limit. I felt their pain and I felt pretty sad for all that what had happened. Looking around, I saw the Alpamayo which is one of the most beautiful mountains, officially. Even this could not stimulate any joy – I lost balance, tumbled and fell more or less 200m down to the river. My head hit a huge rock, I was bleeding but the water was so cold that I could hardly feel the warmth of the blood. The river would have taken me easier to the village than hiking BUT I did not lose balance, I did not tumble and though, I did not fall in the river. Each of the Peruvian professional walkers (guides, mule owners and chefs) told me something different about the time left to reach the village. It did not motivate me anymore – I should have hired a donkey instead of walking about 50km in 3 days from 3200m to 4750m and back down to 3250m with 12kg on my back. (This is no joke: we really saw a group of tourists that hired a whole army of Peruvians to bring up their stuff including their wheeled bags!!! – I would call this ‘decadent’ or shorter: ‘who do you think you are????’)

I started my personal mantra (I will die, I will die, I will die, I will die, I will die, I will die – and so on) and it kind of helped: I continued without stops. I told my buddies incase of dying to put a smile on my face to remind this world that I was an all over happy person!

PS: @mum: there was no single minute where I could have died – I swear!!!

PPS: @everyone else: it was a fucking hard hike for me and it let me suffer quite a while after coming back to Huaraz BUT things will get better and my life continues in a joyful way!!! (I swear as well)

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Travelling

On the road again … I am heading to Huaraz which is in the beautiful Andes – let’s say in the heart of the Andes!

Just before getting on the bus I feel strange, I am thinking of my friends, of my home, of many things … The last couple of days I was together with friends, with really nice people and it showed me that I could live in all these places BUT you only have one life – it is impossible living in all these places someone likes. How could this be possible?

On the road of life you make certain stops – sometimes without knowing why and if it turns out as a good decision you tend to stay, you just do not think about moving ahead. While travelling it is different: if you stay in the first place you went, you have never travelled. You would have visited a place but you would not have travelled. For me it is so easy feeling at home somewhere. I am a lucky person though because I always meet lovely people on my way! And it makes it harder and harder because all these people live all over the world. Thanks to all of you making my life how it is – A GREAT ROAD TRIP !!!

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fun is (/and) queuing

Sao Paulo

I spent a beautiful day in Sao Paulo with my friends. When I arrived, Mariana picked me up from the Metro to go to Fernando’s house to watch the second half of the soccer game (Brazil – Portugal). I was late but luckily the game was not that interesting anyway. Fernando offered really good finger food: different salsas, bread, olives, cheese, meat AND fresh cold beer – actually, I had my first beer in Marianas car going to Fernando’s house. I felt good being there. After the soccer game we had lunch: rice with fish which has a special name in Brazil but I forgot it, palm tree heart pie, meat and rice. Afterwards, Mariana and I went to her house in Vila Madalena to relax before going out at night.

We went to a French 60s Party in the cellar of a second hand furniture shop. It was a cool place, the live band was great and the DJ as well. I was not in a dancing mood but I met many different people to talk to and I had a good time thanks to Dudo, Atillo, Clarissa, the Marianas and to all the others. After the Party we went to eat something – it was already late so we slept in the next day.

Queuing

Did you know that ‘queueing‘ is a national sport of Brazilians? I didn’t but it happened that I got to know that. I went back to the airport to get my flight to Lima two hours in advance – just be sure that I can make it. I made it BUT I had to queue. Do know these domino competitions? I felt being one of the little dominoes somethings in that game – fortunately, I did not fall. Anyway, I nearly missed my flight but before that: I had to queue. I started in sector B queuing to Sector C, than to sector D, making a big curve back to the section in-between sector C and D to start queuing in the official queue which was a 5 curves labyrinth. I started talking to the guy behind me. He was a nice guy, fluent in English travelling to Germany. Some nice Lufthansa staff took him away from me so he could not queue anymore. I think he was pretty unsatisfied about that. Anyway, I had the pleasure to continue to queue. After queuing one hour, I arrived more or less at this big curve. I got a little nervous because of boarding which just started … As I have not had to do anything I looked around, I looked at people, then I saw this good looking guy. He was for sure Brazilian because he wore this typical Brazilian shirt: yellow with green (you must know the shirt). Thanks to the construct of this queue it happened that we started passing each other once a while. Each time passing him, I looked at him – the third time passing, I cut my lip with the edge of my ticket. I hate this. Did this ever happen to you as well? I mean, normally you cut your finger … but now, blood was running out of my lip. It must have looked awful. I pretended having an open shoelace to escape his view …

When I woke up from this day-dream I realized that I was still queuing and that there was no good looking Brazilian guy. Luckily, my lip was okay and I tried to talk to the security guys to get taken away like the guy I talked to hours ago. My departure – I mean, the departure of my plane was in 20 minutes. No chance, everyone loves queuing, so everyone has to queue.

PS: Checking-in online the day before, I did not choose my favorite seat ‘A27’ anymore – I already strongly believed that my bad luck travelling was caused by ‘A27’ so I reserved ‘A7’: IT WAS NOT BETTER THOUGH!!!

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A27

(Caution: before reading this, be aware of skipping thoughts of the author – the ones who know me, know exactly what I mean … Comments on this Blog are welcome BUT please: do not write anything bad about me – it is only my nature! It’s not me – I am a pretty organized type of person.)

The title of this story has a long long tradition and therefore, was suggested by a friend of mine for a short story – my first adventure on this trip. I love travelling as most of you know! It always provokes a mixture of feelings which put me in a strange mood. The feeling of pleasure to be totally independent (okay, I admit, this is a bit exaggerated – you always need some money at least) makes me feel free. But this feeling is always connected to this melancholic mood leaving everything behind. Everything has some kind of materialistic touch but I mean as well my friends (this might be you). So, leaving everyone behind is not always as easy as it sounds … you have to make a first step.

Taking a first step here was to book a flight. You might have read about that just before – so I won’t get on your nerves and tell the same story all over again. Coming back to the title, one of the first things you normally do before starting travelling by plane – thanks to technology – is to check-in online where you can already choose your seat – your favorite seat. Now the mystery of the title is almost explained BUT the funny thing about mentioning ‘A27’ to my friend who suggested this to be the title follows:

As you all know, the German soccer team was playing the day before yesterday – right at that time when the online check-in started. I joint friends at the public viewing on Innsbruck’s Marktplatz where no Internet connection was available – bad for me, because I definitely wanted the seat ‘A27’. I do not know who of you already had the experience flying with a Boing A340-300 from Munich to Soa Paulo – I did though. In 2008, on my way to Peru, I hardly caught my flight due to bad time management. The ones of you who know me this might not be surprising BUT I really thought that 5 hours from Innsbruck to Munich Airport would have been sufficient. Unfortunately, the driver of the shared car (I was low on budget) drove slower than allowed on the highway. Then, arriving in Munich Downtown the most unexpected situation happened: the driver could not find an underground station. Is this possible? I never thought so. Right, being already late because of speeding up to 80km/h on the highway, trying to find a station in Munich I started getting stressed. Finally, I sat in S8 directly to the airport. Somewhere between two stations the train stopped because of technical problems and could not continue. No one could leave the train but finally, the train worked again and I made – running – 30 minutes before departure to the check-in. The Lufthansa service was really good, they still let me check-in and made the plane wait until I arrived at the gate for boarding. People looked at me entering the plane, I sweated as hell and sat down next to a young Brazilian soccer player. ‘A27’ is the last seat in the middle part behind the 1st class. This part of this plane has some kind of familiar atmosphere due to only 4 lines of seats (32 people – most Brazilians). Two Bolivian musicians started playing guitar and sang, we got served beer and other alcoholic drinks, started dancing and it was a great Party on Board. Even people from the 1st class came to dance in the narrow paths in-between seats. Since that flight, my favorite seat is ‘A27’ and before getting to my seat, I always feel curious who will sit next to me. After the soccer game I went out with friends and back at home I did the online check-in. It was about 3am and nearly all seats were already reserved BUT ‘A27’ not. What a lucky start to my trip!!!

Regarding time management, ok, all this was 2 years ago. I got older and the good thing that comes along with getting older is that you get more experienced if you do not only stay at home and watch TV. And this experience taught me several things which I do not forget anymore. First, since that trip, I always bring my mobile phone – it does not only help you if you are in danger – it even makes you feel saver just because of knowing having it in your pocket. In case you are late, you could phone and inform others. At least, this is my conclusion. Second, expect the unexpected – even if it is something totally irrational! This time, for example, I tried to imagine all possible scenarios that could happen during my trip to the airport (If you are not interested in the scenarios just skip reading the next paragraph and continue the next one. If you are not interested in ‘A27’ anymore, switch to a greater Web-page, read a good book or phone your Mum – do never ever forget your Mum! BUT Mums: please do not phone just when the soccer game starts – this is bad timing! I would have talked to you more than screaming only ‘I will take care and yeah, I love you too’):

Data to ground the scenarios: Train from Innsbruck to Munich Airport: 4:36-6:55pm; Flight: 9:35pm (see: there seems to be enough time between arriving at Munich Airport and leaving Munich Airport BUT you never know. This great time space let me think about things that could possibly happen during the train ride … excluding, missing the train in Innsbruck because there would be at least 4 other trains to catch to arrive in time in Munich BUT what could happen to my train?)

Scenario 1:

Scenario 2:

Scenario Z:

I swear, just after Rosenheim I decided to switch off the laptop and get prepared to change trains in München Ost – that’s why I did not finish writing about the imagined scenarios. And now, I just do not have to tell you anymore about these scenarios. My intension writing about the scenarios was to make you laugh. Exactly the second after switching off the laptop the train stopped. Some noise let me think that we had an accident but everything was quiet. After some minutes (and I will not continue to talk about time – otherwise I freak out), a broken catenary and a stop of unknown duration was announced. Due to the lack of energy the air condition did not work. I never talked to so many strangers on a train and I was never heated up to 35 degrees in a train before. We were not allowed to leave the train, to open doors because of the tons of volts on the trains’ roof. I started feeling the electricity – my feet pickled. Anyway, I promised you not to talk about time. After two hours without drinks – they did not even offer us normal water – we went back to Rosenheim. 2 other guys and I caught a cap, at least, try to catch our flights. During the taxi ride one of the two, Xafo (something like that – I just remember the name because of Xaphod) called Munich Airport to get some information about our flights and to tell them that we would arrive late … the other fellow, Clemens, was informed that his flight was cancelled – there is at least one other person in this world who is even unluckier than me J

Finally, I made it to the airport, check-in and gate. Boarding was fine, the food was good, I watched a movie and fell asleep. A short midnight snack followed and back to bed – chair, again. During breakfast I watched another movie (ah, by the way – the first time travelling by plane I had my own personal TV and I was the boss to decide what movie etc. I wanted to watch. Okay, there is always limited choice BUT there IS a choice.) Only some kilometers away from Sao Paulo, we just started the landing procedure, we got informed that due to the dense fog in Sao Paulo, the airport was closed. The next airport in Campinhas was closed as well due to an emergency, so we had to fly in to Rio de Janeiro. I felt happy to stay almost 2 days in Sao Paulo before catching my flight to Lima. Originally, I planned to continue my travel directly from Sao Paulo (landing at 5 something am) to Lima at 8:55am – luckily I did not book that flight, I would have missed it by now (12:05pm European time – 7:05am Brazilian time: in 4 hours Brazil plays against Portugal – maybe I can make it. They just started to prepare the plane to fly back to Sao Paulo).

Now, you might be already bored by reading BUT you have to understand that I get bored of travelling by now too. Whatever: What can I do? The second time on this trip I am not allowed to get out of the vehicle – the authorities do not allow us to. My butt hurts and I get hungry – and you all know what this means:

HAVE A GREAT DAY!

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