Pissing In strange places

As I sit here, about to head home after 6 weeks away, I’m reflecting on two common themes from this trip: pissing in weird places and sleeping in weird places.

I have pissed:
-in a hotel room sink in Vernazza
-in Tupperware in London
-In a cashew jar in London
-on the lawn of a fancy hotel, Guerilla style, in Milan
-in a drinking glass that I periodically dumped into the grass outside my sleeping quarters in London
-in a home made tin foil funnel feeding into a kombucha bottle in the back of a four runner in a train station parking lot (attempted, but failed)

I have slept:
-on a futon in Brooklyn
-on a bed in Manchester
-on a boat floating on the Thames river
-on a sectional couch in Greenwich
-in a loft bed in Rome
-in a 300 year old stone wall apartment in Tuscany
-on a foam pad in Copenhagen
-a futon identical to mine in Germany
-in a “tool shed” in London
-on a sofa bed nest in new haven

We have experienced such amazing things on this trip, the most important and memorable being all of the relationships we formed, and the open arm welcomes we got everywhere we stayed. It was very humbling. The kindness we received is unforgettable.

Huge thanks to all of the people who made this trip possible – it was a group effort!

-Todd, for taking us to the airport
-Matt, for letting us crash at his apartment in NYC
-James, for giving us his bed and showing us the best time ever in Manchester
-Sally, for letting us couch surf in London
-Alexandra and Paolo, for taking us in like family in Tuscany
-Klaus and Viktor for showing us around Copenhagen and housing us
-Our beautiful German friends for pampering us in Wettenburg
-Sarah, for giving us her bed in Stockholm, sharing her box of wine, and giving us her bus pass
-Melissa, for the nest, the great company, and the naughty professor Tumblr page
-Prikryl, for driving us to Boston, for finding Twisted Fork, for the book, and for being all around the most delightful, genuine person ever.
-Marissa and Anthony for taking us in on our last night!
-roomies for taking care of the birdies
-Denise, for taking us home from the airport
-Stacie, for picking up and starting a placenta for me!

Breakfast in London, Dinner in Dublin

Day 32 Wednesday October 9th London & Dublin

This morning we walked through Greenwich Park and had lunch at a lovely french cafe before flying to Dublin:

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Our airbnb hosts in Dublin were fantastic- they are super into natural health and healing and we had a lot to talk about.

That night we had dinner at a totally classic Dublin pub. It was dark lit by candles and fireplaces, there was a beautiful wood bar, big chandeliers, it was way cool. The food was fantastic: Guinness pie and seafood chowder. And Kris had a house brewed beer:

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A Secret Garden

Day 12 Thursday, September 19th London

Went back to Black Vanilla today for more euphoria via their gelato. I took these adorable pictures of my boyfriend as he was sitting in the window people watching

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and this one, while we were walking to the VodaPhone store

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We left Bill’s and went to meet our couch surfing host, Sally, who lives on a boat. Look how cute her boat is!

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She had little vignettes like this in every nook and cranny

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This is our sleeping nest

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We walked through an absolutely beautiful park that had a little secret garden in the middle

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And then we had dinner at The Yellow House. Everything is freshly made in house. Kris’ pizza was insane and our dessert was so delicious – fudgy brownie with home made white chocolate ice cream on top.

Afterwards we went back and hung out on the boat with Sally and her neighbor, Dave. Dave was awesome. He totally “got” us. He used to work for Exon and made tons of money and traveled the world, but soon realized that he was just another robot, totally expendable and meaningless. He quit, bought a boat, went back to school and did lots of traveling. He has a house in Brighton and invited us there on our way back through England.

It was such a fun scene on the boat – crammed in this tiny space, drinking wine, listening to Billie Holiday on the record player, talking about world travels and the meaning of life.

He’s got garlic up his ass!

Day 11 – Wednesday, September 18 – London

Today was super lazy. We explored the neighborhood where we are staying, Greenwich, and then walked over to another neighborhood, Blackheath, and the best gelato ever at a little place called Black Vanilla. It was seriously amazing. And we had a pastry that was a layer of shortbread, then caramel, then chocolate.

We played frisbee for a bit and then went to the produce stand and got some stuff to make risotto for dinner and rice pudding for dessert.

Our host didn’t get back until later in the evening, and when he did he was super tipsy and hilarious. He rides his bike everywhere and he’s very serious about it. He came in the house with a giant helmet on, bike shorts and a proper bike shirt.

He was chatting away to us in the kitchen and at one point he farted, but it happened so fast I thought to myself….wait a minute – did he just fart? And then he said “Oh, don’t mind the fart, it’s just a beer fart.” and I said “Oh, that’s nothing. He’s (Kris) got garlic up his ass”. Kris started laughing and said, “Tell him why I’ve got the garlic up there! You can’t just leave it at that!”

At one point Kris and I were muttering to each other planning our route for the next day and Bill said, “Thank fuck you call it the tube. So many people call it the Metro and I just wanna smack ’em”

He asked what we were doing in the coming days and I said that Friday we’d just go somewhere cute for breakfast and then head up to the airport. He said, “Wait, wait – back up a little – did you say ‘go somewhere cute for breakfast’?” He thought that was the funniest thing ever. He said, “I’m going to go up to the first person I see tomorrow and say – hey! Do you wanna go somewhere cute for breakfast? Who could say no to that?”

Then he had to find something he says that i might think was funny and repeat. He said “I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating” That was his “saying”. And I do think it’s funny and I will use it.

A Special Kind of Hell

Day 10 – Tuesday, September 17 – Travel Day, Manchester to London

This morning was bittersweet as it was our last with James. We weren’t in a rush though, so we got to hang out a bit before it was time to leave. I made coffee in the french press that Kris drank, but James dumped out because it was too weak. Ha! I can’t seem to make a decent cup of coffee or tea for that guy.

We left around 11 and James said we were welcome back anytime, to call him if we needed anything – if we lost our wallets and needed money or our plans fell through and we needed to come back. He is just the greatest guy. A real friend for life.

Kris was feeling the funk so we stopped to get some garlic cloves to put up his butt and some effervescent vitamin c.

We stopped for lunch at Teacup on Thomas. It seemed really funny to me – Kris going to the bathroom to put garlic up his ass at a proper tea house.

The food was delicious and we had the same hot waitress wearing the same tight pants as before that Kris was drooling over.

We got to the bus station and realized we didn’t have our bus ticket number. There was no wi-fi in the station so Kris ran back to the public square that had wi-fi and I stayed in line to get on the bus. It took him a while and he came back unsuccessful. I went up to the ticket window, but there was nothing they could do. I mean – I’m sure there was, but they were assholes. A girl in line heard us talking back and forth and she offered her smart phone so we could pull up our email. Brilliant! I am glad she offered because I hadn’t even thought of that. If we’re ever in that situation again I’ll just ask someone if they have a phone we could use. She was the sweetest.

We weren’t too far back in line but we still didn’t get to sit together. That kind of sucked, only because the bus is cramped so if I’m going to be squished next to someone, I’d rather it be my hot boyfriend. Oh well. At least I was on the aisle. Across the aisle from me was a real beast of a woman – chubby, sweaty, nasty, in ill fitting sweat pants, a giant sweat shirt, dirty sneakers, a greasy frizzy ponytail and a bag full of crap food and drinks. She had a terrible British accent and seemed to be drunk. I wish I could’ve gotten video of her.

The bus ride ended up being not so bad, but I was ready to get off by the time we got to London 5 hours later. I had a headache, was tired, dirty, hungry and sick of carrying my backpack around. Although thank fuck I just had the one back pack. I couldn’t imagine lugging around any more.

The bus dropped us in a huge station in London (akin to Grand Central or Penn Station), but little did we know – we were dropped in a little annex building of the main station. But we didn’t know that. So we’re wandering around the annex and we can’t find anything or anyone to ask. Every one we do ask is totally out of it and can’t help us. We got to the main building of the main station, but it was under construction and there was no signage, so it didn’t look like we were in the main station – it looked like we were in a shopping mall. You had to go around some secret corner to get to the hall way that led to the main station. And even there – it was awful. The signage was terrible, the British bastard at the ticket counter was a total condescending fucking asshole who clearly hated tourists. We finally got wi-fi so we googled a route, but little did we know – google does not differentiate between the different trains. It just says “take the train” but there are three different types of trains in London – the over ground, the under ground and the national rail.

We walked back and forth between the annex and the main station several times because we kept getting pointed by someone to go back. It was just awful. A giant lesson in how crucial planning ahead of time is. We should’ve worked this all out before we even left Manchester. I hate getting off a train in a new place and not knowing what the fuck to do next. I like to know exactly where I’m supposed to go and exactly how to get to my next destination.

Long story longer, we walked back and forth between the two stations and a ton of unhelpful idiots trying to figure out what the fuck to do for over two hours. Two hours of mind numbing mind fucking hell. After finally finding someone who was actually helpful and amazing, we got on the train (it was the last train and we literally ran onto it as the doors were closing) and then found our bus and with help from another stranger (since the bus driver was a douchebag) we arrived at our host’s house – 3.5 hours after our bus arrived (it should’ve taken us an hour or less). Even just finding the house was difficult. We were on the street, but we were looking for unit #10. Of course there was unit 1-9 facing the street. Where the fuck was 10? Ok, maybe it’s upstairs? How the fuck do you get upstairs? We wander around back of the building and find a back door. There’s a call box next to the door that has 4 buttons. The first one is for unit 12, the second one for unit 11, the third and fourth ones aren’t labeled. Safe to assume to third one is for unit 10 and thank fuck it was. Couldn’t have been more confusing though.

Our host, Bill, was totally awesome. An adorable British bachelor with a super cute apartment who made us feel right at home. We freshened up and then went out for food because we were getting delirious. We went into the pub and the guy was so nice. He said the kitchen was closed, but he might be able to wrangle us up a piece of cake or something. We decided to try the Chinese food place across the street. Chinese people with British accents! So funny. And the food was fantastic.

We came back home and chatted with Bill for a bit exchanging host stories, which is always fun. Then we showered and dropped into bed.

What’s with grown men and their blankies?

Day 9 – Monday, September 16 Manchester & Buxton

This morning was super funny. James didn’t come home until 9 o’clock in the morning from his date, so when we woke up at 11 and stumbled into the living room (where he was sleeping) he was still rough as fuck from the night before.

We ended up hanging out with him for a couple of hours and having a super lazy morning since he was blowing off work. And again we watch British reality T.V. and made fun of it – particularly – that dating show where three girls make dinner for the same guy and then he rates them. So totally sexist and hilarious.

We bought James a blanket the second day we were here because he gave us his blanket and he was sleeping with some shitty mattress cover. Such a dude for you. But it turns out he totally fucking loves the blanket we bought him – it’s like kris with his little blanket “orangie”. Every time we see James on the couch he’s snuggled up to it – eating, watching T.V., sleeping – it’s so funny.

Eventually we made our way to the train station and went to Buxton – a nearby town that James recommended exploring.

We passed so many other cute looking towns on the way, like this one

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Once we arrived, it was cold, rainy, and we were super hungry. First order of business was finding somewhere to have afternoon tea. We ended up going to the #6 Tea Room and it was super delicious – traditional finger sandwiches, huge scones with a big dish of clotted cream, and some yummy little pastries on the bottom. And a big pot of earl grey.

Afterwards we bundled up and walked through a big garden that was super quaint and picturesque

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Then we came across a really beautiful cemetery. It was small and all of the grave markers were from the early 1800’s. Many of them were families buried all in the same grave. And lots of young children. It felt like going back in time, wandering through there, reading everyone’s head stones.

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This is the beautiful opera house in town

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And of course, another polite sign in the train station

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We headed back to James’ for the evening and it turned out both James’ were home. We all made dinner and lounged on the couch talking and watching T.V. and having a great time. Then the James’ put on a British move called Dead Man’s Shoes. Fuck, it was great in the beginning – super funny, but towards the middle it got way graphic and I couldn’t stop thinking about it as I was going to sleep so I made Kris read out loud to me from his book, “Fargo Rock City” to distract me. That worked.

Rough as Fuck

Days 7 Saturday, September 14 Manchester

This weekend was totally fantastic. We had the best time at James’ place and he is just the greatest host and friend ever.

Saturday morning Kris and I were both a bit “roughed up” and James was “rough as fuck”, which comes out sounding like “roof as fook” with their awesome accent. That’s way more fun to say than “hung over”. We actually woke up to James knocking on our door saying that it was noon and the football game started two hours before he thought it did, so we needed to get up if we were going to go with him and watch it.

So we did. He actually left before us and we met him there. Made some quick eggs and coffee and stopped on the way to put a load of laundry in at the “launderette”. It was 3 pounds, or roughly $4.60 or a wash! Crazy, right? And 1 pound for every 15 minutes of time in the dryer. Totally worth it as travelers, but on the regular that would suck.

We met James at a cute little pub called Montpelliers and watched the end of the match. It was Manchester United vs Crystal Palace. Kris and James had this funny exchange:
Kris: Is Crystal Palace a city?
James: Hmmm, No – I think it’s a town.
Kris: What’s the difference?
James; Well, you can only be a city if you’ve got a Cathedral
Kris: That’s fucking weird
James: That’s England for ya, mate!

Afterwards Kris and I were hungry at about 3:30 – the absolute perfect time to have afternoon tea, as they don’t even start serving it until 2:30. I like how afternoon tea is really a thing over here. It’s not just some novel thing that we have americanized and ruined. Real British people regularly sit and have afternoon tea. We went to the most adorable little place called Teacup on Thomas.

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After that we walked all around Manchester and saw some really great shit. It is a really adorable town.
This is just some random government building

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Other side of the building

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Everything in England is proper

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And all of the signage is so polite! BTW – this photo was taken by Kris as he was actively shitting

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Isn’t Manchester so cute? Little pubs like this on every corner

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A bit later we went into a pub called Thomas’ Chop House because they were highly rated and had a dish called “lamb faggots”. We went up to the host stand and the host was an adorable British guy in a 3 piece suit. He said they were full at the moment – he had a table that was on dessert, but he was afraid they may linger and then we may miss being able to order food since their kitchen was closing soon. I asked if there was anywhere else in the area he recommended and he said they had a sister restaurant called “Sam’s” and he’s call over and see if they had room. That would just never happen in America. It just wouldn’t. Everyone is so totally genuine here and they treat you like an old friend. So, he called to the other place and told them we’d be coming. Then he walked us out of the restaurant so that he could show us how to get to the other one.

We walked in to Sam’s and the cute host guy there was expecting us. We waited just a few minutes and then sat and had the most amazing fish and chips EVER.

Just a couple of dorks, waiting for a table

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Fish and chips in the front and chicken kiev in the back

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