Almost Home, Dorothy.

I am hanging in the Maple Leaf Lounge at the Montreal Airport trying to recover from yet another flight across the Atlantic Ocean. What a wonderful, yet exhausting, journey over the past 12 days. I am totally in a grumpyIwillnevertravelagainmood, but that is what happens when you walk 8-12 hours a day in plus 30 degrees celsius. Scott flew out on a separate flight this morning at 4am, so he should be back into Toronto from Ottawa tomorrow. Rome near killed us at points; my worst moment was realizing at 11pm two nights ago that I was absolutely lost in Rome alone. I had missed a curve in the river and walked way beyond where I thought I was. Arriving at the Spanish Steps is fine IF you know where in Rome they are – no map, bad Italian and midnight approaching I asked a Polizi Officer who did his best to explain at route. Thank our buddy, Jesus, that I booked a room across from Saint Peter’s Basillica.

Highlights of the trip would have to be seeing the Sistine Chapel in the flesh, drinking strange beers in beirgarten across Berlin and Munich, eating white truffle tagliatelli, having a perfect espresso at the Ducati Caffe in Rome, walking across Checkpoint Charlie randomly crossing into West Berlin (which explained why it was so rundown where we had been walking all afternoon), swimming in a dark lagoon spiral pool in Munich before an hour long sauna/steam bath detox, and never really having to wait in line because there always seemed to be a way to get in back doors or pass the line (like the Leather School at Santa Croce). I should also mention that the graffiti Manning and I found through our walks down dark alleyways may have been some of the best modern art I have seen.

The photographic film from the trip should be developped early next week and then the process of scanning begins, so check back to see what I saw on 144 Hours of Walking. I will write new entries all next week on the various aspects of the trip. I need to go drink water, and then wine and then more water. Where is Jesus when you need him?

Top Ten Things I Realized on the Journey

  1. I cannot speak German.
  2. Germans eat more pig than you could ever imagine.
  3. Streets with cobblestones in Rome and Florence are hard to walk on for hours on end.
  4. Never drink an Avertinus Eisbock beer because two Germans insist “it is the best beer in the world”.
  5. Do not drink a second one just because it is the best beer in the world.
  6. I speak even less Italian.
  7. I cannot drink enough water when I travel, even when I try to.
  8. Carravaggio…ahhhh Carravaggio!
  9. Always, always get the best room you can on a train so that you do not have to sit with an awful, dirty family.
  10. I like to travel alone, but I experience much more when I travel with other people.

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