Months went by

June 18, 2018


The beautiful lake in Tymakov.


I have not been writing.  Yeah I am guilty of that.  I sit right now on a bus heading to Poland.  I have been in transit since Monday the 11th.  Where to start?  If I look at the last post, it was from the Czech Republic.  I crossed the world and back since then.  I guess I’ll go back in time and try to get updated…


spring plantings in Tymakov


I spent almost a full month in Tymakov, I wanted to stay more but I saw that my Schengen 90 days visa is coming to a close, so I started to look at my options.  Non-Schengen European countries were the obvious choice, I went on Workaway and decided to try for Romania, I wrote to 6 project’s hosts on there and got an immediate response from Ami.  We clicked right away and it was decided that I’d go there in early may.  Then out of the blue I found a cheap ticket to California and decided to go see my friends after a 4 year absence.


Pavel and Pavlina at Living Whale.


So it was with tears in my eyes that I left the village with Pavel and Pavelina.  It’s still always hard to leave, no matter where you leave from.  I got on a bus to Pilsen, had a last look to the beautiful villages and nature, then got on a Flix bus to Prague to spend the day then get on yet another bus which would take me to Timişoara in Romania.

Prague… so beautiful.


I got on the bus, it was a 22 hour drive and it was exhausting.  I woke up seeing Communist era buildings in Hungary that curled my blood, the artless, only for practicality architecture is just not my thing…

In Timişoara Ami and Marty came to pick me up, after a night there we headed to Bocsa where they live; we arrived at a beautiful old house with a gorgeous garden.  My first task there was to help clean a big room that had become a storage place so that we could make a studio space out of it.  My stay there was so quiet, filled with conversations on all topics.  But it was short, about two weeks later I made my way up towards Brussels from where I would fly to America.


Ami and Marti, the day of our mushroom hunt





I took a bus to the frontier, because of disputes no bus company offers the route all the way into Bosnia.  I had to hitchhike from the last city into Bosnia.  A really fancy black Audi stopped.  The man seemed iffy to me but I go in.  He did not speak English. I had the clear feeling that he was hoping for some sort of gimmick on my part.  Arriving at the border, he took my passport to give to the customs officer.  as soon as we entered Bosnia he pulled over and asked me to get out.  It was strange, but I did not really care, per chance, a bus station was just a few hundred feet away and I found a bus heading to Belgrade, my destination, it was to leave in a few minutes, I just had time to get a ticket and hop on.


Walking towards Moravita in Romania.


Belgrade was beautiful.  I stayed 3 days then headed to Budapest where  I spent 3 nights.  then it was time to head to Brussels.  I arrived late at night, then later still at the hostel I had booked.  I was exhausted, it was 1:30 AM and I had been traveling since 8 that morning.  At the hostel I was to find the key in a box, I had to enter the 4 first digits of my credit card.  It did not work.  There was no one at the reception, I rang the bell and finally I called the emergency number I saw by the door.  To make this short, lets say that the guy soon was yelling at me on the phone, would not let me place a word and he had to let me know that he had been in business for 15 years and that his system worked.  It was a no communication exchange and I finally started to raise my voice out of frustration as I could not say anything without being cut off and ridiculed.  “If you are to have attitude I am not going to help you” he retorted to my rise in volume.  I tried to calm down… “I’ll be here in 10 minutes” he said.


in a park in Budapest.


Pretty much 30 minutes later he showed up.  He quickly proceeded to yell at me blaming me for leaving his 2-year-old son alone at home… again there was no way to place one word.  He went in and got the invoice for my booking.  “LOOK!  LOOK!!!” He kept yelling at me… I looked indeed and that is when I realized my mistake; I had used my debit card number… not the credit card.  I was dumbfounded, embarrassed and all the rest of it.  I apologized, he kept yelling, I apologized again, he kept yelling some more.  Then he said: ” You could apologize at least!!”
“I did, I did twice.”  I knelt down on one knee and said “Here, what else do you want?  I am truly sorry.  I made a mistake, in 15 years in business you never had anyone make a mistake?!  I am truly sorry.”  He yelled some more and left.  I was in shock.  I don’t do so well with yelling, I felt as if every nerve in my body was lifting my skin and giving me electric shocks.  I went to the dormitory almost crying.


landing in Reykjavic.


Next morning I was en route to Los Angeles, we had a short stop in Iceland then arrived in the late afternoon.  From there I had many visits, conversations with friends.  Reconnected with Forrest, Mona, Hector.  Every visit would leave me kind of reeling with very strong emotions and my heart seemed to be emanating a strong vortex like energy, it was incredibly intense.


Arriving in LA at sunset.

a week later I was on my way to Felton, near Santa Cruz and the Redwoods.  I spent a week there with Seraphim.  I got to see my bike, which brought me to tears.  I rode as passenger and went to see the Pacific.  At first I was almost scared on the bike, everything seeming too intense, the noise, the wind, the weight of the helmet, then on the way back from the ocean, a flood of riding memories engulfed me and I was half way between pure joy and wistfulness.  In Felton I also played my first concert in 18 months.  I was nervous at the start but it subsided and I had a wonderful time.


Forrest and Mona


first concert in 1.5 year in Felton



coastal fog in the forest

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the giant redwoods.


After the time there, I went back to LA.  I stayed with Aaron and Sally in Upland.  There I was able to rest, catch up some work and see so many friends.  Kimberly, Crystal, the Klatch, Liz, Pat, Rye,    What a joy…  That was also when they both offered me their house to play another concert.  I had been toying the idea of playing at the Klatch but this was more organic and the Klatch had not answered me so I gladly accepted the offer.  we settled on the upcoming date of June 10th, the day before my departure.
I left Aaron’s and Sally’s home to get back to LA.  I had planned a nice journey with bus rides, but this ended up in a 9 hour slow marathon where I walked at least 6 miles with my backpacks, in the broiling sun.  From Upland to San Dimas took 5 and a half hours, it was nuts.   I stopped at the Klatch there to rest before continuing on.  There I saw my Iranian friend who seeing me so worn out left then came back with a bag of food and drink telling me that in Iran he would have invited me home to feed me and help me rest but since he could not he brought me this food.  it was amazingly generous and beautiful  I continued on my way to finally arrive at Hector’s place 9 and a half hours later.  Exhausted.  The train and bus situation in Los Angeles is beyond pitiful.


bird and sunset on the way to Felton



the loser cruiser, 3 hours late but got us there eventually.

I continued my visits, Stayed with Mona, Hector, Sarah.  Played the concert on the last Sunday of my visit, June 10th at Aaron’s and Sally.  There magic happened as we reunited new and old friends.  I was expecting to play solo but Forrest, kind and brave heart that he is drove all the way from LAX and joined me, Mona showed up with her Trumpet and Marguerite also joined us.  Seraphim drove all the way from Felton with his Go guitar, so I had the familiar instrument in my hands.  When all was done, we were outside on the street and I had this incredibly strong feeling that we are a tribe, I was reminded that I had this feeling before in California… With Forrest it was as if we’d never skipped a day, we were immediately in synch, Mona, the wild spirited, true soul joined the music with much feeling and emotion in her playing.  Marguerite was a new element, playing percussion, she added a beautiful layer of musical lace around the songs.  We all hugged on the street and I was overcome with tears.  My family, my friends… Knowing I was leaving the next day.


with Mona in Joshua Tree National park


Three friends, Seraphim, Sarah and Hector


Joshua Tree sunset


beach in LA

The next day with Marguerite’s generous help I made my final preparations and headed to LAX for my flight.  Next stop:  Reykjavic for 19 hours.  I must make a parenthesis here:  Wow Air.  I would not recommend Wow air.  They make it look really attractive:  my original flight from Brussels to LA was listed at $165 dollars.  But then it adds up.  They make you pay for a carry on bag.  The size of that carry on is ridiculously small.  If you ever fly with them, consider that if you have anything bigger than a normal day backpack you will have to pay for the carry on fee.  When you buy this at the counter it is 60 Euros.  If you will bring a check in luggage the cost up front is 70 Euros.  If you pay for check in baggage at the counter I think it is around $100.  They have these long stop overs in Iceland, that can be cool but if you are on a budget now you must count a $50 two-way shuttle from the airport to the city.  (you are not allowed to stay in the airport overnight) Then you will likely either drink all night or get a room which will be likely another 30 to 50 euros.  In the end, with luggage, my total for the flight was the same I would have paid if I had taken the Cheapoair low price and I could have brought back silly things like peanut butter in a checked in suitcase for example.  Now I could not even bring anything of that nature because of airport security and because my bags had to be pretty much empty.  We live, we learn.  I think overall the best transporter so far was Norwegian air, their fleet is superlative with the redesigned ventilation, seating and lighting.  The Wow air planes’ ventilation was horrible, the seats uncomfortable and the constant running up and down the aisle of the Barbie like flight attendants just selling anything at overpriced rates was not the greatest.


Sunset in Reykjavik
But in Reykjavík I went. I was burned out tired with the overnight flight, but when I stepped on the streets of the city I was revived.  it was about 10 degrees Celsius, I was wearing my California sandals, but somehow I did not feel the cold.  I walked around as much as I could, to take in the sights.  At this time of year there is virtually no night-time.  the sunset was mind-blowing and the spirit of the place was incredibly strong.  I really wish to come back and go inland.  I am hoping to organize a Workaway there for at least a month so I could really get to discover this land.


the modern cathedral in Reykjavic
I slept until 2:30 AM then headed out for my shuttle bus back to the airport where I flew to Brussels.  Again I was out of my mind tired.  I got on the 272 express and was amazed to see the bus filled mostly by a gaggle of noisy happy Turkish teens.  It felt like I was in Istanbul.  I had no idea there were so many Turks in Brussels.  I went to the Train Hostel, a hostel where some of the rooms are made with old sleeping cabins from a whole train wagon.  I didn’t see much of Brussels, I only went for some food in a mall that was close and tried to rest.  At 4 AM I had to get back to the airport for my flight to Berlin.  The skies were dark, the streets deserted.  The greenness of summer all around along with the birds singing.  It was quite beautiful.

At the airport all went well.  I arrived in Berlin and then waited for the bus that would take me to Poznan in Poland where I am now.


a night with friends I will never forget.