After spending the past five or six weeks in linguistic blindness, upon arrival in Barcelona today I felt as if someone had turned on all of the lights. Okay, so I wasn’t completely blind in Berlin; I did learn some words and with a little energy I could follow the feel of a conversation. But, that simply doesn’t compare with walking down the street and being able to tune in to the dozens of little radios that walk past me. If I want to, I can understand their conversations and it feels strange.
Since I’m living in a new locale in Barna, I took a new route to get to my house. Same old airport bus, but a slightly different metro combination. Aside from noticing the stairs (23.8 kilos of luggage always makes you notice stairs), I was surprised at the width of the metro car and the chattiness of it’s occupants. Berliners aren’t particularly noisy or even chatty on the metro. Barcelonins are. Also, the temperature of the metro tunnel was much varmer. Vow.
BUT, before I get to Barcelona, I’ll recap the last few days in Slovenia and Berlin. The day after the Lake Bled adventure, D. went back to the lab and I wrote a little at home. Around 10, I decided to go to the 30 cent coffee machine (whose coffee is actually more delicious than the 60 cent machine beside it) in the Institut next to our apartment. As I was pushing the buttons, a little hand pinched my back and I turned around. Apparently, D. and I had a psychic-coffee connection that morning and he had also come down at the same time as me. Not the most amazing coinkidink you’ve ever heard, but kinda cool.
In the afternoon, I walked into town to grab a postcard or two for my G-ma, et al.
Ljubljana in the afternoon.
Ljubljana by night. Or, by blacklight.
Later, D., T., and I took the bus downtown to Spazja, an upscale Slovenian-food restaurant. (We were meeting a prof for dinner, so this one went on the account…) Though the patio was certainly charming, I found the white-tablecloth, formal waiter feel kind of stuffy and staged. Squeamish people, look aside, because I’m about to tell you what D. and Prof ordered for dinner: horse. This, we learned, is a typical dish and something that’s common to eat. Since I’ll try almost anything once (brain sausage aside), I tasted it. And ya know, if you hadn’t told me, I would’ve said it was just really good beef. My halibut was tasty, if slightly more standard fare. After dinner we trotted home (too much?) and got ready for our 8 am departure for a leetle bike ride.
Bright smiles at the beginning of the trek…
D. and prof.
By leetle bike ride, I mean that Prof took us in his car to a gravel road off a highway about an hour outside of Ljubljana. Said road used to be a railway connected Trieste and Rijeka, but all railways and ties have since been pulled up and only gravel remains. First, I’m going to ask you to imagine something: you’re lying down and someone is karate chopping your back and you open your mouth to say ahh and it goes like ah-ah-ha-ah-ha…You know that sound I’m talking about? That choppy, “my insides are mingling in new ways” sound? That’s what it felt like to ride down this path. And I say down literally; it was 10 km down (almost no pedaling required; just a light death-grip on the handlebars) and then 10 km up on the way back. Though the trip was a pain-in-the-back, the scenery was lovely, the air was warm and Mediterranean and never-have-I-ever biked over state lines (or as they say in I-talian “confine di stato”) before. I think we all held up pretty well and we were back in the car just before the sun got really aggressive.
Old railways bring old railway tunnels, some lit by decidedly new motion sensing lights.
The view of Trieste from the latter part of our ride.
Pedaling UP! D. has dubbed me the cycling paparazzi.
On our way home, we took a small detour to a castle. Naturally.
Pretty side of castle.
Later that evening, D. and I sat at the bar around the corner from our abode. A lovely chat and a few sips of Slovenian vino later, we went home to prepare for early wake-up number 2: 4:40 am-ish to be ready for our 5:15 cab to the airport.
Once back in Berlin, I took a nap and then D. escorted me to the local vegan food truck where I got a sandwich with a strangely delicious combo of ingredients, including chips and guac. Later, we met H. and J. at Mauer park for a final despedida to the city. And we played poker. And I WON a round. Never-have-I-ever done that either!
I tried my first Fritz-Cola (the local-ish soda company) on this hill!
Early wake-up today was the third and final of the series. D. hopped on his plane to London, I hopped on mine to Barcelona (which lasted, like, an hour longer than I wanted it to). And bam. Just as quickly as it started, it wrapped up.
In no particular order, here are some of my top experiences from May 1st-June 13th
-waiting at the top of the rope in a Munich climbing gym just 5 extra seconds, trying not to let my fear get the best of me…and surviving!
-cappuccino mornings at the café on Malplaquetstrasse (which go hand in hand with me not feeling intimidated by our neighborhood)
-making our train in Norway and the feeling of opening the door to the sleeper cabin in the train
-brunch at Café Atlantic on our first day in the city with the certain feeling that this was the start of an adventure
-watching the Eddie dance (one of the roommates had a little dance he did to show his enthusiasm when talking)
-getting picked up at the airport coming back from Croatia
-having breakfast together every morning (which usually involved sweeping an avalanche of crumbs off the counter and making a fresh pot of café)
-our biking weekend all over Berlin
-learning the seemingly infinite uses of the word “pedo” in Mexican slang
-Seeing Baška as the sun broke through the clouds.
Grateful for ALL of it, A.!