To Poland With Beni!

My life in Berlin has officially ended. Yes, I will be going there again at the beginning of August to attend to some unfinished business. And yes, I might move back there for some reason or another in the future. And yes, part of my heart will be left in the city. But as far as this chapter goes, it has come to a close.

On Sunday I woke up early and decided to go on a bike ride. Pretty normal right…. that is until I went into the world’s best club, the Berghain, at 10am to party hard for 4 hours. That’s right Sunday morning was spent in a dark dank club blasting minimal electronica while I danced into a trance. I know it’s not the regular thing to do on one’s own on a Sunday morning. Most would go to the park, or the lake, or even church, but I saw this Sunday as one of my last opportunities to go to the club that was voted “the best” 5 years in a row, that happened to be in Berlin. To give you an image of what happens in this club think ripped Stephen Pannekoeks grinding up on each other, mad hippies tripping out, and the most disgustingly trendy people you’ve ever seen in a giant pimped out warehouse. That was my Sunday.

The next three days were mainly spend packing, cleaning, moving stuff to Beni’s, and figuring out my shit before leaving for a month-long adventure. With a little bit of stress, naturally, everything went pretty smooth. Beni got a little sick so we had to leave a day later for a festival we were going to called Openér. So we woke up on Thursday, the starting day of the festival, and I treated Beni to his first day of hitchhiking . Within a few minutes of waiting we were in the back of a moving truck zooming down the highway; an interesting first ride. The rest of that day was fantastic hitching. Unfortunately we did miss a great artist Ben Harper, but as we walked through the gates, wristband and everything, and we ran into the crowd just as the band Pearl Jam was starting. The band I went to the festival for…… amazing. Pure rock and roll power. It was a good sign for the rest of the festival. The next four days of rock and roll and electronica where unbelievably good. Bands such as Massive Attack, Damien Marley (who sang some his dad’s stuff), Matisyahu, and Kings of Convenience absolutely rocked the house.  Lastly The Dead Weather played an amazing show; this was the band Beni came for. I then made sure Beni enjoyed his first festival mosh and his first crowd surfing experience during The Dead Weather. After the festival we visited the city of Gdansk for a day and then CSed with a guy named Marcin for the night, Beni’s first CSing experience. So when Beni left the next day he had, had a long weekend of firsts.

After Beni left I was solo yet again. I quickly found another CSer for that night so I could check out more of Gdansk, which I did. When I got to my host I was pleasantly surprised by a super happy Polish family. Renata, the mom, and Pawel, the dad, had their daughter singing for me the second they saw the guitar in my hand. The rest of the night was spent talking with their other CSer, Slobodan, and doing a little performance for the family. The next day I was off to Warsaw. Again in Warsaw I was met by another family. Ula, a 24-year-old girl, and her mother and father kindly showed me Polish hospitality just outside the city limits of Warsaw. I got sick the first night with a 12 hour flu unfortunately, but I roughed through it and they kindly let me stay for one more day. While I was there, being Ula’s first ever surfer, she invited a bunch of friends over and I played music for them and showed them some of my travel photos on Facebook. Most of them hadn’t met someone from out of Poland. As well I did explore the city of Warsaw. The next city on the agenda was Krakow, a beautiful city to say the least. I surfed with two guys, Tomak and Roger, and their feisty dog. After this I hitched down to the Tatras mountains to a city called Zakopane. I went there to sleep in the mountains and after a day and night sleeping at CSers’, Anna, I finally got the advice I needed to do so. So up to a mountain hut I went and slept in the mountains. It was wonderful. The next day I hitched into Slovakia and that was the end of my Polish experience. Overall Polish experience: 2nd best place to hitch in Europe next to Ireland, super cheap, amazing women, great hospitality, and decent beer.

When I made it to Slovakia I started with some weird rides, one with an overly enthusiastic pimped out salesman all about his “contacts,” and another with a big fat gay guy who seemed very interested in me; I quickly told him I was straight and not interested and he took it amazingly well, even got my pastries from his grandma. The last ride was a good one that brought me to a beautiful lake where I set up my tent and had a great sleep. In the morning I woke up and had a good swim. This pretty much brings us to where I am now. In Bratislava, Slovakia, after a nice hitch, with my CS host Lukas. We’ll have a bonfire in the forest tonight, should be good. Sorry for the entry coming so late. Peace and Love, Taylor.

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