Madrid 🇪🇸

I don’t know how much I have to write about my time in Madrid. Yes, I’m having a bit of writer’s block, I’ve also been sick, but I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’m starting to question why I’m doing this, why did I start this and should I even bother? I don’t have the answers to any of those right now. Disenchantment, that’s probably a good word for what I’m feeling, but enough of that right? Right. I don’t think that I want to talk about my first day there as well, I’ve told you. If I must be entirely honest, Madrid was a place that barely made the list. I only wanted to see it because of the Santiago Bernabeu. That’s the stadium that Real Madrid plays out of, I fucking hate them. I think they ruined football, but hey, their model of building teams is the way that everyone else does it, including Manchester United, the team I cheer for.

I’m not incredibly well versed in Spanish history either. Here’s what I know, they were at one point occupied by Muslims in 710 AD. Christians and Muslims fought for hundreds of years over Spain and the Iberian peninsula. The Spanish was a colonial power with a predominant religious and cultural influence that can still be seen today. For example, the Spanish colonised Cuba, the architecture in Old Havana and Madrid are similar. While on colonial missions, new lands were often conquered in the name of the Catholic Church. Most former Spanish colonies are still predominantly Catholic. They stayed out of the First World War and sold both sides ammunition. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Spain fought a civil war where Francisco Franco… I’m going to stop because maybe I know a little bit. All the buildings that I took pictures of I don’t know anything about them. I did have some friends from Madrid, so they told me what to visit. I’d say Madrid was definitely my vacation from my vacation. I spent a lot of time in my hostel reading and watching Netflix, so this won’t be as exciting as the other trips. Here’s a photo I took on the first night out, from on top of The Roof Bar. You can see pretty much everything from on top, and the food and alcohol is pretty cheap. I think my favourite thing about Madrid was how the streets were always full of people, there was still music, and most importantly there was always an abundance of food. I will, however, say that I never want to hear Feliz Navidad ever again. I enjoyed getting up late and being lazy in Madrid; I could stroll into the kitchen and get breakfast for three euros, pocket a bunch of things and just head up to my room and watch Netflix. Under the Arctic Sky, a film by Chris Burkard was one of those movies I watched. I do recommend it as it shows the outstanding views that Iceland has to offer in the winter. The film is about a group of surfers who were chasing an arctic storm in hopes of riding the swells. Yes, they surf in that cold ass water. It’s times like this where most people are like,

I did get to do a lot of sightseeing; it took a long time because I cannot make this up, at some points, there were so many people in the streets that emergency vehicles couldn’t get through. Christmas in Madrid is intense! I ended up at the Royal Palace of Madrid. It is quite the building and right next to it is the San Francisco el Grande, which I think is the royal basilica.

I’ll let you guess which one the church is. As cool as these buildings are nothing compares to the Bernabeu, but I wanted to save that for the last day. Back at my hostel, I ended up meeting this American kid who was also on his study abroad. Cool California kid who had the fattest passport I’d ever seen. This thing was loaded with visa stickers and packed full of stamps; I think he said he’d been to something like 79 countries. The kicker, he’s only 20! We ended up going to McDonald’s for dinner, and you can get a burger, wedges and a beer for like 4 euros. We talked about our travels and what was up next. He’d been in Europe for a year, so he was itching to go home, I’d been away for five months, and I was itching to come home. There’s something about home that calls to us all, I mean now that I’m home I’d rather be anywhere else in the fucking world. He told me about some cool places I should visit while I was in Madrid. With one day left that would be a bit of a stretch. The next day we said our goodbyes and I headed to the Bernabeu. I’m not giving a history or background; Real Madrid is the most successful football team in the world and the most popular. Don’t believe me? Well, they consistently dress one of the most expensive lineups and well there’s this,

Those are Champion’s League Trophy’s. A tournament that is widely considered a football tournament that’s better than the World Cup. Twelve times Real Madrid have been crowned champions, and they became the first team in the modern day format to win back to back championships. Impressive, as was this view

All I can say is that all the stadiums I saw or visited, I ended up being in awe of them. They’re nothing like we have in North America, let alone Toronto. Even though I despise Real Madrid, I think this is something you have to see to get the full experience of Madrid. You’ll see that there are a lot of people from all over the world, and it’ll show you how this spot is not only important but also a sort of pilgrimage for fans.

I took in a few art museums, saw the other Mona Lisa. Um, nothing new to report, less of a line, that’s it. The museums in Madrid are cool because they celebrate Spanish culture and it is definitely something I don’t know way to much about. I ended up walking to the Temple of Debod. I have no idea of it’s significance but it’s one of the few pieces of Egyptian works that can be found outside of Egypt.

It is pretty cool. From here I headed back to the hostel and checked out, I spent the next couple hours watching crap on Netflix until I decided to go to the airport. My flight was at 8am and once again I decided to spend the night in the airport. Worst idea ever as Madrid’s airport was under construction. Also pro tip, there is a shuttle to the airport that costs five euros, if you want to take it the stop for it is NOT where all the bus shelters are, it’s right next to the Cybele Palace.

That’s the palace and where that blue light is coming from, that’s the side where you get the bus. Also if you look closely you’ll see a, “Refugees Welcome” banner hanging from the top, I thought that was pretty cool given the recent negative feelings directed towards refugees and immigrants in general. I know I kind of just threw this post together and my trip got off to a rough start AND at points I’ll admit it sounds like I’m shitting on Spain, I’m not, but I’d have to say that Madrid was probably one of my favourite spots. The food was great, the sangria … I’ve decided to stop drinking, but sangria I think I’ll miss the most and it was so cheap and so good in Madrid, and I want to say this, the people in Madrid were incredibly friendly. They were always smiling, dancing, singing, and always willing to lend a hand. I find myself thinking back and really wishing I’d done a little more while there, one day. Thank you for reading, I might do a little post about my last days of my trip and after that, I guess back to the scheduled programming. I start classes on Monday and then my internship, but lets face it adulting and being a student comes with procrastination!

Paris 🇫🇷 to Madrid 🇪🇸,

So this is my documentation of the longest 38 hours of my life. It involves delays, deceit, anger, a terrible amount of B/O, free beer, theft and the most refreshing shower I’ve ever had. I’ll say that this day was quite possibly the most stressful day of my year, but there was a lot of laughs that day. So like every day when I was in Paris, I had to get up super early, this time it was so I could catch my flight to Madrid. Getting to the airport was super easy because there’s a bus that goes directly to Orly airport. This is the end of “running smoothly” for the day. I flew with Transavia; I was forced to check in my duffle bag as I wasn’t allowed to bring two bags onto the plane. Finding the place where I needed to check that bag was painstaking, and no one wanted to help me.

Next up, after paying 45 Euros to check the bag, I went to the assigned gate. To my surprise I was not selected for further screening, the woman with the hijab in front of me was. Okay, I’m almost 100% that happened because she had a small child with her and a stroller. I apologise for the cynicism. When I got to the gate, I noticed it had been changed, and I’d have to go downstairs. Once there we were shuttled to another part of the airport, from there we waited about an hour and then began to board the plane. There was PLENTY of room for everyone to bring two bags, but its a budget airline to they have to make money somehow. Here’s where all hell breaks loose, we had to wait an extra 45 minutes for 13 passengers to arrive as they’d missed the shuttle. There were some moaning and groaning but nothing bad. When all passengers were accounted for we began the safety checks and demonstrations. As we were backing up and the engines were about to get going, we lost all power, and the plane stopped, and the lights turned off. It’s only after that I realised that we could’ve been in the air and fell out of the sky. We waited another 45 minutes while they tried to fix it, they couldn’t.

Back to the terminal where we were told to wait until 3:30, I was on holiday so whatever, I could expect. 3:30 comes, we’re told we’ll be fed and taken back to the main terminal, and we’d await further instructions. We were not fed well, and there was a PlayStation in the terminal that I didn’t see, so I sat there like a shmuck reading. By the time we’d gotten fed and were waiting in the terminal, it was already 5 pm. People were pissed off, and some had even left to take the train or book another flight. Around 5:30 I received an email saying they’ve put us all on another plane and it was leaving at 7. When we got to the gate they’d changed that time to 7:45, sorry, “Around 7:45 pm.” I sat there talking to some people, angrily tweeting as I’d begun to … let’s say, expire. I was also a little concerned my hostel wouldn’t hold my reservation, but an email fixed that. When 8:30 there were legitimate yelling fits, and some people had to be held back, there was also no plane in the dock. I had no choice but to sit there and watch Donald Trump videos; it’s a hobby of mine. The guy is such a dumbass; it’s almost hard to believe.

At 9:30 we boarded the plane, so it’s all good right? Wrong. The plane was a lot bigger than the one we were supposed to take, so there were no people in the back. This would affect the way the plane took off, it was to front heavy, and that was dangerous. So began the task to move people around, this caused another delay and some more yelling. I felt horrible for the flight attendants who were just doing their jobs, and I’ll admit they did a great job. At 10:48 we finally left Paris and were treated to complimentary food and drink. The flight attendant gave me five beers, one I drank and 4 I gave to random drunk people on the metro. At the airport I met an older Aussie gentleman named Peter, he was in Madrid for, and I’m quoting him here, “Why the fuck not?” This dude was pretty old, so good for him. I ended up meeting someone else on the metro, and he helped me get to the hostel. We got off at the stop, Sol which is the central hub. There were people everywhere, drinking, dancing and enjoying one another’s company. Madrid, after being there for about an hour I could tell that it was a party town. When I got to the hostel, I smelled like crap and just wanted to shower, that’s exactly what I did. When I woke up I tried to watch the highlights of the Habs game, they suck. I ended falling asleep in front of my laptop, and that’s when someone stole my MacBook. I was on the top bunk, asleep in in front of it and was out for about half an hour and gone! I couldn’t believe it, but hey what can I do? I filed a report and went on my first day in Madrid a little disappointed, but I could’ve had my passport or wallet taken.

Coming Soon 📆

I’m writing this post on my iPad. Not something I like to do but I’ll have to use this for the foreseeable future. My first night in Madrid I had my laptop stolen. I was watching highlights at 9:30 in the morning, dozed off right in my bed, on the top bunk, with my computer right in front of me. I felt my laptop brush against my back, but I thought I was dreaming. When I woke up, it was gone, along with a phone that belongs to one of the guys in the room. I took all the precautions when it comes to locking it and double locking it, went to the police everything, I’ve even got a replacement one in mind. I was able to find some of my files in the cloud (Thank God), but my laptop is my life. I have countless projects, posts and stories on there that I might never get back. I know it’s just a laptop and I’ll get another one. I’ll have to work hard, but hard work never scared me. This whole ordeal could’ve been way worse; I could’ve had my passport taken… Madrid would be an excellent place to live. Anyway, I apologise for the delay in posts. I hope to have the next one up soonish! And…. 5. More. Days.

Finland Pt. 4 🇫🇮

December 1st and I’ll be done with school. That means exams and final assignments. I’ll have my internship event on December 8th. There is going to be a game here in Jyväskylä between two-second division teams. Jyväskylä is home to JYP of the SM Liiga or the Finnish first division. This makes generating interest pretty tricky, it also means the event might be a huge letdown. Most of the exchange students will be in Lapland (Northern Finland), so there goes some of the possible spectators. We have a solid plan, we know how we’ll execute it, planned the events on game day but I’m still stressed out about it. Now I know how my bosses back home feel, but I wonder if they also feel the sense of excitement that I’m feeling? Who knows.

Home. Today I woke up and these were the first words out of my mouth, “Finland, you win.” Lack of sunlight, constant rain and the repetition of tasks has taken its toll. I’m ready to come back home. I’ve done what I set out to do, and now I’m looking forward to being an intern, an employee, a gym rat, gamer, bookworm, volunteer, most importantly, being busy. Now I know there will be days where I’ll miss it here, I know that’ll come. In the last Finland post, I touched on not being happy. I’m not happy with the weather, it does take a serious toll on the mind and body. I hope I can word this properly, there is a constant feeling of “Ending.” You wake up, and it’s dark, at 1:30 it starts getting dark, at 3:00/3:15 the sun is almost gone, by 3:45 it’s dark. Dark as in street lights are on, and cars have their lights on. I’ve been talking to some of the other exchange students, and they feel the same. I know, I’m Canadian I should be used to the darkness, I am just not when it happens this early. Another thing it never really feels dark in Toronto.

Having said this, I’d say its probably the only downside of being here. I’ve said there’s nothing to do here, there is just a lot of it is repetitive. Going to the pub and the club, then McDonald’s. When I’m at home I don’t go out a lot, especially drinking, the fear is I won’t know how to get home (irrational fear) or I’ll get lost (I have a phone), or in most cases, I’ll have to dish out money for a cab. I don’t mind if I’m in a group but a lot of time I want to sleep at home not on a floor or couch, so I have to take a cab home. That’s on me, and I accept it so most of the time I either don’t drink so I can drive or I don’t go. However, since I’ve been here I’ve gone out a lot, now I can refuse or just go to the pub and not the club but then I’d either have to walk or take a cab alone. A taxi from the city centre to home is 17 Euros. Let me put that in perspective, I’m on a budget, and a bus from Helsinki to Jyväskylä costs 8-15 Euros, that’s a 3.5-hour drive. It’s a 10-minute drive from the centre to my flat.

I’ve never been a person to go to clubs, I’m not a good dancer, I don’t like crowds I feel very anxious in them, and the only way to compensate for it is to drink a lot. That is a significant problem because what it’s done or what it’s doing is it’s forging this relationship that whenever I’m uncomfortable, I should drink. I have no problem going to the pub and getting hammered but that happens over the course of a few hours, and there’s usually a bunch of great conversations, some games, pool, and maybe even sports. It is a relaxed environment, and it’s what I go for.

I am ready to come home that much I know, but I cannot have asked for a better 4 months. I’ve learned a lot, a ridiculous amount, academically, and personally. The very first post I wrote for this blog makes reference to the little things and how they add up. When I came here I was in a different mindset, I’ve made mistakes out here that will and do have very real consequences, I’ve proven a lot to myself, impressed myself, haven’t hit anyo… we’ll work on that (Sorry Shawn). Finland “beat” me, but I’m walking away …. running away with a lot of things to build off of. So I think I have officially 17 days left here, I’ll be heading to Paris, Arras, Madrid and possibly Barcelona on the 10th-18th then I’ll come back to Helsinki for a few days and then Toronto. If you’re looking for the Billiards post I’ve taken it down, I’m happy with it but I don’t think it’s ready to be finished yet. It’s meant to be a bigger project, one that I’ll have to do research on. So Stay tunned for pictures and posts about France and Spain!

Hurt

In my last post, I touched on the topic of sexual misconduct, abuse, assault, and rape. I may not have outright said it, but there were definite undertones that it was something on my mind. Why? Have I ever done any of these things? Regrettably, the answer might be, yes. Sexual assault has a very annoying skewed definition, it’s classified as “any type of sexual contact or behaviour that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Now reading this carefully it definitely sounds like rape can be incorporated into this definition.

Perhaps I’m thinking of this all wrong. I’ve never done anything with any of my partners that I didn’t make sure they were okay with. Then I think about the relationships I’ve been in. Every time I’ve ever had sex with a girlfriend, it’s kind of just happened or I asked, or I turned around, and she wasn’t wearing pants (That was a code that my first girlfriend used.) There have been times where I’ve wanted sex more than she has and sometimes I got shut down because of perfectly valid reasons. I’ve never forced myself on anyone, I think I’ve asked every girl I’ve ever kissed if I could kiss them. Do I do it because I’m afraid of being wrong, afraid of being one of those guys? No, it’s just better to ask especially if you’re not sure. So Adel, why are you writing on this? Why did you say you might be someone that’s sexually assaulted someone? Because I can think of one thing I did with an ex that I’ve regretted and apologized for, but I did it. I won’t go into detail, but I think when I get home I’ll have to find a way to talk to her about it and apologize.

I’ve been thinking about her and my mistake a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about her a lot because well she’s all I’ve really been able to think about consistently for the 97 days I’ve been out here. Then there are the cases on the news and the fact that a few people here have opened up to me and talked about there experiences, on both sides. I’ve heard stories about the feeling you get when you hear someone say that you might have raped someone. A story recalling a time they got drugged at a bar. The moment they were almost raped. Or some guy stuck a hand in her pants, the list is endless. When someone tells you these things there is anger, there is sadness, I’ve dished out some hugs recently that I didn’t know I had in me. You can ask anyone, Adel Mohammed is not really an affectionate person. Okay, if you ask my ex she’ll tell you I am, that’s because I liked hugging her… and she smelled nice, but I traditionally I don’t like to dish out hugs or be touched or any of that kind of stuff.  Back on point, it breaks your heart to hear that someone had to go through this. I hope one day my daughter isn’t coming to me telling me any of this, I hope one day my son isn’t telling me he did any of this. I’ve been thinking about the subject a lot, I’ve been trying to write my next short story loosely around the subject.

I’ve been reading, and I’ve read stories from both sides. Not exactly the easiest things to read, I’ve also asked some friends to discuss their stories with me so I can get a better … Honestly, I think about talking to them about this, and I know it’ll be hard. So why am I doing it? It’s two-fold, I think it’s time I grew as a writer and actually wrote a proper story from scratch. Meaning I’d write on a topic I wasn’t heavily associated with. Secondly, maybe it’ll help someone, the talk, or the story. I don’t know, all I’ve got written is an opening. It’s also a challenge, and when I say it out loud or write it like I’ve done here, it makes me feel horrible. This is a subject that I don’t take lightly, it is a subject that I’m somewhat associated with. I don’t know how to end this post, maybe with a quote that someone told me. “These things happen, they happen all the time, and they’ll continue to happen. It’s the reason that in the back of my mind I think you’ll hurt me, that he’ll hurt me, that if you’re a man, you will hurt me.” That wasn’t written down, it’s just stayed with me since being told that and it keeps me up at night.

George and the Dragon 🐉

September of last year I used to tease a friend that I’d run away to Sweden. She’d joke that she’d come with me, well I went to Sweden, she didn’t go with me, but I’m sure whenever I see her I’ll tell her to visit. The obsession with Sweden came out of a desire to experience something new and different. Well, nothing’s changed, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of months.

A few months ago my classmates and I were presented with an opportunity to go on a cruise to Sweden. We’d leave on Sunday and come home on Tuesday. We’d get a room, one night with free dinner and unlimited beer/wine and eight hours in Stockholm. Why not? Getting to Helsinki like I’ve mentioned before from Jyväskylä is a nightmare. The morning started with the group riding our bikes to the bus terminal. If you’re going to ride your bike in the winter, bring gloves. Three and a half hours later we were in Helsinki, I’ve been there before, but I’ve never really wandered around the city. Helsinki is a fantastic city, its full of life and oddly enough its full of things to see and do. Helsinki Cathedral is a great stop. It was built in the 1800’s as a tribute to Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Finland was once a part of  Russia and Sweden once upon a time. Swedish is actually the second language here. Today it’s a Lutheran church. There are four million Lutherans in Finland. IMG_2992

Anyway, after we walked around and saw some more things we headed to the ferry terminal. I waited in line for about two and a half hours. I hate the “getting there” part of travelling, it’s ass. Okay let me dial it back a notch, when I’m home in Mississauga, I’m a five-minute ride from the airport in Finland I’m three and a half hours away. So maybe it’s just Finland that makes me hate Finland. To my surprise, we were not on a ferry but on a cruise ship. I’ve never been on a cruise, I’ve heard only good things. Since I’m a student, I’ve been eating like one, not a lot of ramen but a lot of bread and eggs. On the cruise, however, well your boy ate his fat heart out. They had three different kinds of salmon, roast beef…. and all you can eat ice cream. Thinking about it makes me hungry. Dinner, however, was spoiled by an idiot who tried to wet willy me. I don’t like to be touched, I don’t fancy hugs, I don’t like having people put their hands on me, poking me, grabbing me, yes there are specific scenarios where it’s okay, but most of the time, please don’t. So this guy tried to wet willy me, and well I almost hit him until I realised that, like most times I see him he was piss drunk. Still didn’t stop me from being mad about it. After that fiasco, a friend and I went down to the duty-free shop. Twenty-four beers for ten euros, sold. I won’t lie to you I don’t remember a lot from that night, not because I drank a lot but because it wasn’t all that memorable. We drank, played cards and got hampurilainen, which is Finnish for a burger.

I woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning so I could eat, do work and take this Processed with VSCO with f2 presetThat is the sun rising over Sweden, those little islands actually have people living on them. It was a tad chilly, so I came back inside, and that’s when I heard the captain on the PA. He said that we’d been delayed due to a search and rescue that took place the night before. It wasn’t until later that day that we found out that after a night of drinking a student went out onto the deck, started running and jumped. A thirty meter fall into the November Baltic. People laughed, thought it was funny,  some made jokes in an attempt to take away from the seriousness of what had happened. Look, you never know what is going through someone’s mind, and I’ll tell you, drinking doesn’t help if anything it gives you courage. When you die in cold water your body sinks, so the person who jumped may never be found.

I stopped writing for a couple of days to think about the cruise, and while I had a good time, there were a lot of small things that happened, that I observed, or heard that made upset me. Made me think about how people could do certain things, be so selfish, be so cruel, and be so monstrous. I’m not perfect but if I ever resorted to spiking a girls drink, trying to rape someone, grabbing someone against their will, or not taking “no” for an answer I’m pretty sure I’d never be able to live with myself again. I know this post is about me going to Sweden but in light of recent events, I feel like I need to comment on this. The victims are real people that try to carry on as best as they can, and sometimes they suffer in silence or worse, alone. That’s all I want to say about this, and I think it’s the lesson I learned or experienced or saw first hand going to Sweden. I mean I already knew this, but it’s closer to home than you think.

The Storkyrkan, a gothic church in the heart of Stockholm was the only thing on my list to see. It features a sculpture of St. George vs the Dragon. It’s to commemorate the victory by Sten Sture, the Elder who was the Swedish Regent in the late 1400s over Christian I of Denmark. The dragon represents an invading army, which the Danes were. Sten Sture commissioned the sculpture, Sture prayed to St. George the night before the battle. So that’s the little history lesson and here’s the picture.
IMG_3053Due to the delay we only had four hours in Stockholm, and from the port, it took about half an hour to reach the city centre. Here is what I’ll say about Stockholm, it’s expensive, it’s small, there is an amazing mix of old and new architecture, the history is outstanding, the people are friendly, and the people are very well put together, from the way they look to the way they dress. I’d really like to go back there and stay a little longer. Each adventure has taken me to a new place, taught me a new lesson, provided me with a shot glass, fridge magnet and a new country to scratch off my list. So let’s see, Canada, United States, Trinidad, Jamacia, Barbados, Germany, Finland, Sweden, England, Ireland, Estonia, Italy, and Ukraine. Frankly, it’s a short list, and that’s a letdown.

When in Rome 🇮🇹 Pt. Ⅲ

After my little adventure around Rome, I was ready to take it easy. I had a trip to Naples booked, I was excited to see Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. I didn’t end up going because it’s a bit of a rough place to be alone. I’m sure I would’ve been fine, but after what happened on my first night I wasn’t really up for anything like that again. The girl in my room was from Maritime Canada, so the craziest place in Canada. She told me about the mafia influence in Naples and shared some stories of what happened while she was there. Apparently, there was a stabbing and a mugging. I was a bit disappointed, but you know what? This just means I’ll get to come back to Italy and visit Florence, Naples, Venice, Milan, Turin and even Sicily. I’m reading that sentence again to myself, and it’s apparent that I have the travel bug.

I started the day with breakfast at this lovely little cafe. Anna (Canadian girl) and I walked down to the Colosseum and talked about Canada, travelling, all kinds of things. We split up, and she did all the tours, and I decided it was a great time to get lost. I had a lot of things on my mind, things that were just bumming me out, so I was more than happy to just be by myself. I didn’t take my headphones, and I wore pants. One of those was a mistake, it was 30 degrees or 86 Fahrenheit for my American readers. I walked around for about six hours and got five cones of gelato.

Eventually, I ended up here, Piazza Navona (picture below) Its the super cool open space in the heart of Rome. The obelisk is the obelisk of the Roman emperor Domitian.

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There is also a fountain there, but there wasn’t any water in it. Right now in Rome, there is a bit of a water shortage, so many of the fountains have been turned off to conserve water. I sat around eating my gelato and people watched. There were a lot of tourists, I struck up a conversation with Tanveer, a Londoner on his honeymoon. They asked me how to get to the Trevi Fountain, I didn’t know how to direct them, so I ended up walking with them to the fountain. I felt a little off because I for the first time in a long time I wished I had someone with me. I wished I was there with my significant other, I felt sad like absolutely fucking pathetic. Its normal, I’m still working things out, but after I left the newlyweds, I walked around some more and eventually found a place for lunch. That’s not exactly hard because there are food options everywhere. When I sat down, I was the only person sitting alone. Look I’m not going to lie to you the last few months have felt like hell. I wasn’t afraid, I just didn’t want to be there alone. Guess what? I was, I was there alone, and nothing in the world was going to change that. I had seafood linguine, the most filling lunch I’ve had in a long time.

I wasn’t grateful for the alone time, I know that will happen from time to time. Yes, it’s been hard, and things come up all the time that really get to me, but I was walking around and here’s where things got better. I was in Rome, a few weeks earlier I was in Ireland, Estonia and England. What I’m going through isn’t permanent, I’m out doing the best I can, and I’m taking risks on things that scared the hell out of me. I’m doing it alone and guess what, I’m proving a lot to myself right now.

On my way back I saw crossed a bridge and took this photo. That’s the Tiber River, the 3rd longest in Italy and one of the reasons Rome was such a power in the ancient world. It eventually drains into the Tyrrhenian sea, the sea that is near the tip of the boot of Italy.

IMG_2728That night when I got back to the hostel, I went out for dinner, alone. This time I enjoyed it and had the most fantastic lasagna ever. After dinner, Anna and I went to the bar, and I met a bunch of people. Some Aussies, a Finn! Some Americans, Germans, French, Korean, Canadians and some Danes. I met a girl from Minnesota, Danni and we agreed that we’d get breakfast and head to the Vatican the next day. It’s on my list to go, some of my friends make jokes about me not being able to go because I’m the devil. Can’t make to many arguments there.

I’ve harped on this but staying at a hostel is amazing, the people you meet will surprise you. ALRIGHT, I didn’t do a whole lot this day but I promise you there are some cool things to come and some good stories!