Ich Liebe Nürnberg

We’ve been in Nuremberg for about a week, and I can say without qualification that I’m in love with this medieval city. I’m so grateful for this awesome house-sitting opportunity; otherwise, we might never have ventured to this part of the world. Gotta love dat serendipity!

Our travels around Europe have been largely shaped by house-sitting, and that is most certainly by design. So far this fall I’ve done house-sits in Amsterdam and Nuremberg, and next will be Gothenburg, a Swedish city I only learned about this year! As I’ve said before, it’s an amazing way to live like a local and visit really interesting places on the cheap.

We’ve really enjoyed Nuremberg’s old town, though the photos really don’t do it justice (an argument for upgrading my camera phone). At the very least you get the idea of how magical these structures are at night, particularly when you consider their age… properly medieval!

As per usual, the current highlight of the place (followed closely by the amazing architecture) is the animals! The Nuremberg Zoo would be an incredible place to visit even if it didn’t have giraffes and lions, and prioritize conservation and the animals’ well-being. The German word for zoo is “tiergarten” which I feel adequately represents my experience. 🍂 😭 

And that’s to say nothing of the local baker and butcher, both of whom have totally captured my tastebuds and therefore my heart. Gah. Is it totally ridiculous that I want to learn German now? I don’t care. Ich bin Janice und ich liebe Deutschland, dankeschön!

Have you ever ended up in a totally wonderful city by random coincidence?

-Janice

Advertisements

VGL is Sick and so Are We

Those of you who know me well will not be surprised in the least that as November begins, Matt and I have both gotten sick. Thankfully, with a strict regimen of fluids, rest, and Netflix, we’ve managed to keep the cold to a dull roar and we’re carrying on.

We travelled from Prague to Berlin on Friday morning. After an hour delay at the train station, we finally got on our way. And what a voyage! Matt, being the incredible research nerd that he is, figured out which side of the train to sit on for the best views.

Our main reason for visiting Berlin (besides just being cool hipsters) was to attend Video Games Live at the Tempodrom – the venue that conjures the image of this Turtles in Time level every time I say its name. “Technodrome: Let’s Kick Shell!” 🐢🐢🐢🐢

I was so glad to bring Matt to VGL for his first time, and though it was my seventh time seeing the concert, this was my first time not working. The music was great as always, but I had to rely on myopia to shield me from the Silent Hill and Resident Evil clips. 🤓

Between having a short time here and being a bit under the weather, we most certainly haven’t seen all of the sights – but I’m learning that it’s imposssible to do everything, and there’s no sense beating ourselves up about it. We simply do what we can.

Today is our last day in Berlin before we head off to Nuremberg for two weeks. We’ve visited some cool spots, seen some lovely friends, and enjoyed some great walks around the city… but we’ve also watched more episodes of Taskmaster than I care to admit.

How do you deal with illness while you’re travelling?

-Janice

Those Who Wander Are Sometimes Lost as Hell

J.R.R. Tolkien was one of those pure geniuses whose words never fail to inspire me. And even though it’s true that “not all those who wander are lost,” it’s also true that plenty of them are lost as hell. Including me, as it turns out. (And also John Travolta.)

AthleticLankyHedgehog-small
To be fair, I always feel at home in Whiterun. Travolta, not so much.

It makes sense, when you think about it – having lost my father, quit my job, binned or packed away most of my stuff, and left my friends and family to travel as far away from home as I’ve ever been – it’s hard to imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t feel a bit lost.

I feel like Samwise Gamgee at the edge of Farmer Maggot’s crop fields. Not only is this the farthest I’ve ever been from home, but as we’re now past the seven-week mark since I left Halifax, it’s also the longest time I’ve ever been away from the Maritimes.

Amidst feeling lost and confused, I’m trying really hard not to take for granted the beauty and opportunity of where we are at the moment. Prague is amazing, and we’re having a really lovely time here. You should definitely (wait for it)… Czech it out! 😂

This is only a very small sample of photos, but these have been highlights for me so far.
Vítkov Park near our Airbnb is stunning; Freya Kočkafé, the cat café in Žižkov, is a dream come true; and Prague Zoo absolutely earns its place in the top five zoos in the world.

I’m also trying the 6 Days to Decisiveness challenge, seeking out yoga and therapy (which I’ve been sorely missing since leaving home), and somehow still attempting The Artist’s Way, even though collecting rocks and leaves last week felt like a bit of a stretch.

What brings you back to yourself when you’re feeling lost?

-Janice

Moving Sucks and Harry Potter Rules

Oh man, it’s been a time. Since arriving back from Ammydam, we’ve had to step on the gas pedal to get ready for the *true beginning* of our own vagrant story.

MOVING SUCKS

Obviously. We’ve had to sort, chuck, store, donate, and pack a ton of stuff. Which I’ve already done at home. On one hand, my experience was probably helpful to Matt in his struggle to downsize. On the other, how the hell did I get roped into doing this AGAIN?

That’s love for you. On the bright side, I got to see some of Matt’s cool old video games, as well as to delight in the discovery that he has FOUR copies of my favourite game, Final Fantasy VIII (all in semi-working condition), plus one FFVII for good measure.

Unbelievably, we’re now sitting in Matt’s near-empty apartment, ready to fly off to Prague tomorrow. Our Euro Journey™ is about to officially begin, even though I’ve been overseas for six weeks. After tomorrow, neither of us will have a home base as such. So, the past six weeks have been a nice way to dip my toes in as a novice nomad.

HARRY POTTER RULES

Amidst all the chaos, I had booked us tickets to The Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Brothers Studio in London last week. It was INCREDIBLE. Being the huge Potterhead that I am, it was absolutely mind-blowing to visit the Great Hall, see the Gryffindor common room and Harry’s dorm, walk through Diagon Alley, and board the Hogwarts Express, among so much else. Here is just a brief and woefully inadequate selection of photos and descriptions of our amazing 3-hour tour.

Here’s Matt at the entrance to the studio tour, before we knew just how amazing this place would be. The potions classroom was SO detailed, and included self-stirring cauldrons!

The Great Hall was stunning, though smaller than I imagined. I had to mock the big ol’ bird at the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. Walking through Diagon Alley was a huge highlight!

OF COURSE I bowed to Buckbeak! Only a fool would do otherwise. The enormous model of Hogwarts, featured in so many scenes from the films, left me utterly speechless.

The wands were all labeled with the names of those who worked on the films, including J.K. Rowling and Emma Watson. I found A OWL! And ran through Platform 9¾, obviously.

Here’s my favourite photo from the tour, when Death Eaters emerged for a bit of LARPing! Matt and I are hardcore Hufflepuffs, which I learned is J.K. Rowling’s favourite house.

There is literally too much to say about the experience. Visiting the original sets, seeing amazing props and costumes, and getting to learn behind-the-scenes stuff was so incredible. If you want to see more, I’ve uploaded some videos to my Instagram stories.

NEXT STOP: PRAGUE

Phase two of The Great Europing™ (I’m still workshopping the title) starts tomorrow. Turns out life just keeps coming at you whether you have time to write about it or not! But I’ll do my best to keep yas in the loop as we go to Prague and beyond. ❤️

-Janice

It’s Been a Big Feels Week

I’ve been struggling to write this week, for many reasons. This is my third sincere attempt at it, and I think I’ve finally realized why it’s been so hard to sum up my experiences of the past ten days. There were some fantastic highlights from my visit to Amsterdam, like seeing an old man cycle past wearing naught but a silver speedo; and then there were some difficult times, like following some very troubling world events.

Here’s my attempt to summarize what I’ve been up to, and why it’s been tough to write:

I HAD AN AMAZING TIME IN AMSTERDAM

Let’s just start with the simplest and definitely the most pleasant thing that I’ve experienced this week. My ten-day catsit in Amsterdam was absolutely lovely. The place was incredible, the city was so beautiful, and the cat was such a sweet little weirdo. Plus, my super pal Sophia joined me for the second half of the trip, and we had some epic wanderings and Netflix marathons. I consider myself lucky to have had this opportunity, and I’m trying to focus on my gratitude for the genuine joys of this time.

I AM ALSO PROCESSING SOME TOUGH STUFF

I knew when setting off on this journey that it isn’t really possible to run away from one’s problems… I guess I was just hoping I’d somehow managed to trick the old cosmic jokester into cutting me a break. Between the intense yoga classes I’ve been attending and the self-exploration involved in the Artist’s Way, some deep dark feels have really risen to the surface. It took me a long time to even admit to myself the extent of the traumas I’ve experienced in my life, but this past year definitely takes the cake. And as it turns out, those deep hurts don’t go to bed until they’re good and ready.

PLUS I’VE BEEN OBSESSIVELY FOLLOWING SOME SERIOUS BULLSHIT 

Like the rest of the world, I’ve been obsessed with the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination amidst Dr. Ford’s sexual assault allegations. Sometimes a world event just strikes a nerve, and this case is so clearly emblematic of a much larger social problem. Even though everything about rape culture is heartbreaking and infuriating, this collective rage we’re feeling can be a hugely powerful tool for change in the face of injustice. Pretty sure we’re all gonna be able to start fires with our minds soon.

So, there you have it. I’m sure there are more stories to be told about my time in Amsterdam, but in the context of these other unravellings, that’s the best I can do.

It’s been a big feels week, for so many people. I hope you’re all doing okay.

-Janice