Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ramblings: 2012 Recap Part 2 - A European Spring


After some tears from Mom and Granddad, a firm hug from Dad, a not quite as firm hug from Judy, and an adequate gesture to my brother, I set sail to never return (well, any time soon). First stop, New York City.

I had to schedule a night in NYC to drop off my luggage. The evening was spent with one of my very close friends, Chantell. We were going on an alcohol excursion! First starting with mini burgers and wine, then overpriced cocktails at Milk And Honey (supposedly a very exclusive speakeasy), and then some beer at some bar. Wine, cocktails, beer... I wasn't sober that night.

There is always that paranoia that you'll sleep in and miss your big flight. But I thought ahead. I picked a flight in the afternoon. And boy did I need that. I slept like a baby that night.


My flight was long, as expected. I finally landed in Milano early in the morning, very exhausted. But I didn't have time to waste. That evening I had to catch a train to Trento which meant I needed to experience as much of Milano as I could in ten hours.

Technically you can't get lost when you just wander around, right? Oh, no, you can... it's when you keep wandering to the same area multiple times. I love the Duomo di Milano. But it became quite frustrating when I bumped into it the third time. I probably should have planned ahead better and figured out what sites I should visit. Hindsight is 20/20.

The train ride to Trento was peaceful. The train car I was on had some kind of electrical issue that kept the cabin dark. It was nice. I was greeted off the train by my dear Latvian friend, Evita and her Argentine boyfriend, Marcelo. I had initially met Evita at a hostel in Budapest in 2011. And now we meet again!

Evita and I took the bus to Arco in the morning. She was teaching English in the little town. Which left me ample time to explore. With music in my ears, I wandered the town. I instantly fell in love with Arco. Until then I didn't comprehend this concept of a "romantic city." This town, to me, screamed romance. It's small, beautiful, and intimate.

It took me a little while to find the path up to the castle on the hill. The path goes through small roads and tiny walk-ways. For a moment I thought I was walking through a private area. Then I came across what was obviously the foot of the path. As I walked up the hill I encountered a couple older women that worked at the castle. We had a very nice conversation that strangely started with politics. Apparently one of our Republican Candidates' family origin is around Arco. She then added, "I don't like Santorum." I laughed, "Neither do I." After roaming around the castle for an hour or so, I crossed paths with the woman of earlier and we continued conversing about society, politics, and religion. Although I had some opposing views, especially when it came to politics, our conversation was delightful.

The rest of my time in Trento was spent with Evita, Marce, and Marce's family. It was wonderful seeing those two together and great to pick Evita's brain with some deep conversation once again. In addition to Trento, we went to Venezia and Trentino. I wasn't completely enthralled about Venezia, but I did love Trentino!

After a wonderful time with Evita and Marce, I was reluctant to move on.


The train ride started fairly dismal and rainy. At one point the train entered a mountain. When we came out the other side into Austria everything was white. It was a drastic change in scenery. Dare I say, it was magical.

Austria started the music-oriented portion of my trip. Sebastian of Our Ceasing Voice picked me up from the Innsbruck train station. However, he had university classes to attend, so I roamed around the city for a few hours. Innsbruck is quite colourful even on a dismal day.

After class Sebastian took me to their home town, Achenkirch. For the next four days I would wake up and walk outside to the Alps, chill with Reini or Sebastian or Markus during the day, maybe drop into Innsbruck or go to a Touché Amoré concert in München, and in the evening I'd come home to traditional Austrian family cooked dinners all while recording my first short documentary project on OCV.

Sadly, there are no photos of the Touché Amoré show. The bouncer wouldn't let us bring any cameras, which was a shame because the two guys taking photos were for the second opening band and took very little shots of the headliner. Anyway, the show was great. The Tidal Sleep opened first. They left quite the memorable impression. Reini bought a shirt. I regret not buying one, though. I was thinking too much about my trip budget.
The next band, however, was only memorable from the headache the novice concert photographers attempting to use their cameras as constant strobe lights imparted upon me. I was just hoping the set would finish because I was ready to walk out. Closing my eyes didn't even help. Moving on...
Touché Amoré was, as expected, quite amazing. To my surprise, though, one of the guys was wearing a Sainthood Reps shirt. Of course, I had to make my shout-outs. "SAINTHOOD REPS!!! WOOO!!!" To which pointed at me and replied, "this guy is cool!" Toward the last song I saw someone stage dive. I thought, "if they do an encore, I'm doing it! I might as well! It's my first time in Germany!" Somehow visiting Germany briefly for the first time was a good enough reason for me to put my health in a bunch of random people's hands. Well, they did an encore, and I stage dove for the first time. I am still alive to tell the story.
That night I also experienced two more "first timers," I drank beer (some common hefe you can also get in the US) and experienced a tastegasm... in McDonalds. It was the Greek burger. Why couldn't we have that in the US? Seasoned bun, arugula, feta... that was some serious tastiness.

With my time in Tirol up, I was dropped off at the Innsbruck train station and hopped on the train knowing I'll be travelling further away from the beautiful Alps, awesome home cooked meals, and downright rad people.
But alas, Wien awaits! And the fourth member of OCV I haven't gotten to chill with yet patiently waits for my arrival.

Eyüp (bassist) and Simon (official OCV merch guy) greeted me at the train station with a very artistically written (not really) "BOB."

Right when I started to miss home cooked meals, Eyüp decided he will treat me to a home cooked traditional Turkish meal, Maklube (random internet photo), eaten the not-quite traditional way.

My time in Wien was short but sweet. I got to roam around the city taking photos with Eyüp and Simon, I ate a meat log and drank beer with Alkeos (These Portraits Never Spoke), and attend the Maybeshewill concert... but not before collaborating with Eyüp and Simon about a genre-breaking, absolutely original band concept, Iamshewont, the A Capella Ambient Doom Drone three piece. We lit the empty, quiet streets with our amazing drone vocals. (Look for our new album soon, coming out on polyphon near you!)

My week in Austria had ended. Next up, Hungary... by bus!