I am now in Munich Germany looking at the glow of Oktoberfest from our platinum club hotel room a few blocks away from the park where it is held. Freakin nice. I have 2 more days here in Munich with the guys and then they leave and Kari flies in, it has just been a whole mess of awesome and it is not going to stop. Switzerland was a blast, the high points all being because of a little snowboard shop called Popcorn. I demoed a Burton board from the shop and it was awesome, it was a $1500 board, so it better be, and it did not dissapoint. we took the half hour gondola ride up to the glacier in the morning and rode until the slopes closed at 2, they close it early because the afternoon sun melts the snow and makes for bad conditions, but while we were out there it was great. I was surfing the snow all day, i felt invincible on this board, it carved like a dream, was responsive, light, fast and nimble, and it was all great until I went for a jump in the snowboard park, i tried a few times and the park was just way too big for me to handle. I hit it, biffed the landing, and it was fine, but then when i got up and was boarding down the icy landing ramp I caught an edge on my nice new sharp edged snowboard and next thing i knew i was lying in thge snow and couldnt breath. Really it was no big deal, I fell unexpectedly and a hard sunglasses case in my pocket jammed into my chest and knocked the wind out of me, but then i was sitting there and couldnt breath and i kind of freaked out a little bit. I am a pretty level headed person, reasonable, unflappable you might say. Well that flapped me. I think that somewhere in the back of my head I was having some kind of post traumatic episode, lying on the ground unable to breath I thought maybe my lung collapsed again, maybe thats something that if it happens once it is easier to happen again, so i am contemplating the fact that i am dying right now, rocking back and forth trying to make something happen and I finally ghet one big breath in, that felt so good, but if you have ever had the breath knowcked out of you you know what it is like after that, you cant breath back out and when you finally do it comes out in a terrible groan, so i sat there struggling to breath in and then groaning out as i rock back and forth for a little while. I finally got back to normal and boarded back to the bottom and sat there for a minute trying to figure out what just happened to me, both physically and mentally. I was really freaking out, like i was scared to go down thge slope again, but i wasnt about to let myself get in my own way... so I went and booked it down the next slope and it was fantastic and i was fine. But man was that a weird experience, i wasnt quite right for the rest of the day. The night before we hit the slopes we went to the "discotech" that we heard was world famous for its parties. It was at Popcorn, the snowboard shop, which turned into a rockin dance party at night with a full bar and a DJ. We partied all night with mostly locals, we were the only americans in the whole place, which made us instantly awesome, and we knew every song they played because they played the exact same music you would hear at a club in the states, and we had a great time.
Heely segway shoes, they have a wheel in the heel like heelys and the mechanics of a segway.
The train ride to Rome was interesting, we spent most of the trip trying to converse with 2 Italian women and a German couple and learnig what we could of the italian language, it was pretty fun. We stopped in Milan and explored the city a bit, got some pizza at a little cafe and it was magnificent, I ate pizza at least 6 times in Italy and none of it even came close to the caliber of the Milan pizza. Our waitress didnt, or wouldnt, speak english so ordering was a bit difficult, I saw what I figured would be sausage pizza and went for that, Jon took a shot in the dark at a Napoli pizza, and when it came to Zack he looked up wide eyed in shock and pointed to Jon and said same as him. Our pizzas came out, my delicious sausage pizza, and... I kid you not... it turns out Jon and Zack both ordered sardine pizzas. It was salty and fishy and really not very good, edible, but definitely a mistake, a ridiculous hilarious mistake. So all in all great dining experience for me, not so much for the others, and we went on to Rome. Our hostel was great, one of our rommates joined us for the evening, he was from a navy ship not much smaller than an aircraft carrier that stays out at sea almost all the time and just sits, loaded with weapons and vehicles, to act as a first response should quick action be needed in the area. That night I put my Vibram 5 fingers on for the first time and the response was unexpectedly insane. They are shoes that have toes, like toe socks with soles basically, and people freaked out about them. I talked about them in the hostel bar till it closed, went around the corner to a bar and the manager sat down with us and we had little bargaining war as he tried to buy them from me, he was ready to take my offer of 60 euroes and the sandals he was wearing, but he decided he would see what he could find online first making me promise to come back the next day. I didnt, i bet he was pissed.
Dang is the Colleseum big! That was impressive. The city was full of historic sites that even today were incredible to see, to imagine what it must have been like when it was built to see such incresdible feats of architecture is mind boggling, no wonder Rome was so powerful. A full days walk got us around to most of the main points in the city, and on day 2 we went to the Vatican City. People... I saw the pope. not a picture, not even through glass, just me lookin at the freakin pope. There was a ceremony on the vatican grounds and he was there in front of thousands of people, including me. I snuck my new swiss army knife past the guards. The Vatican museum started with an extensive display of egyptian art, which totally blew my mind. I thought it was going to be entirely devoted to catholicism and its history but the first 3 or 4 rooms were all egyptian artifacs and information about their culture and religion. The rest consisted of a ridiculous amount of roman sculptures, some out of place modern art, some truely impressive paintings, a couple hundred gift shops, and last but not least, the sistene chapel. The effort put into every detail in the chapel made it an incredible sight to behold, that guy was good.
After another train ride and talking the night away with a new friend from Berlin we are now in Munich enjoying Oktoberfest. They serve beer in liters here. A liter is a lot of beer. A lot of good beer. One thing i was not expecting was the rides. There are more, bigger, better rides here than at the amusement park I have been working at for the past few months, it is insane, we rode a roller coaster that just flings you through the 5 olympic rings, got flipped and turned and flug on other rides, then went and ate a delicious bratwurst and got a liter of beer, standing on tables and clanking sloshing cheers with random passersby as we do our best to sing along with thousands of others crowding the massive tents, what a crazy place to be! The famous Munich glockenspeil. Dissapointment. Traditional German clothing. Awesome. There are more people walking around in lederhosen and dimdl than not. I feel out of place without leather pants and suspenders on. Who ever thought that would happen. The guys kind of look ridiculous, and the girls, well, i dont look, but i have heard that they look pretttty good, with their shirts all down to there and skirts up to here. Thats what they tell me.
We are now getting ready for the monastary, if i survived the vatican in the presence of the pope, i am pretty sure i can get through this without any smiting. we will see. Pictures will come once i get home and get the time.