Severe Memory Impairment

There’s only one song I hear more than this over here and it’s a Shakira song of all things

Wow. I never thought I would ever actually be in a position to take a vacation from my vacation, but that’s part of what I just did. It was nice going to Germany to see my grandmother for a couple of weeks. However, language barriers (my grandmother doesn’t speak English, and my German has grown pretty poor over years of disuse) and being in a village that’s so small it doesn’t even have any stores meant it was time to leave after two weeks. Sorry, but there’s no pictures of my Oma (German for gradma), she’s very camera shy.

Vegetarian head-cheese sausage. I have trouble saying that with a straight face. Normally boiling the head of an animal makes the weird gel action.
“The American”. It’s true, I think all you guys look about like this lol. (Just kidding, I consider myself an American)
It looks like a poo, but it’s a pastry called a Grenate Splittern (grenade splinter), it’s alright.
I love the mason jar seals on the beer in Germany.
If you think this looks like raw bacon, you’d be correct. Why cook the fat out when you can lightly smoke the meat and eat it raw. YUM. OM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM.
The first one is an art shot, but this is what my days looked like for two weeks.
Where I spent my summers growing up. Although I can’t remember being a really little kid very well, I believe this was either my 16th or 17th trip to Germany.
And the view across the street, straight into the Bavarian forest.
Even though I laugh every time I see one of these, it’s not a joke. My grandparents live within a ten minute drive of the Czech Border, meaning that during the Cold War, they were right on the border of the free world. Seeing tanks rolling around to keep Communism from spreading was just a normal part of the day for a good many years.
In this room, over 100,000 people were stripped naked, beaten, burned with nearly boiling water, froze with water that was almost ice, and then assigned a number that was to be their name. It was a bit hard to interpret some of the German only signage, but from what I could gather, there were six main command Concentration Camps. One of these, Flossenbürg, is about a half hours drive from my grandparents house. It was very strange to go to a camp like this for the first time, being German, and yet knowing that because of certain affiliations I hold, that had I been alive at the time, I would have been hunted down and thrown in the camps with a downward pointed red triangle (enemy of the state) adorning me. And that’s without me even having to do anything specific.
Merry Christmas. I’ve chosen not to post too many of the pictures I took here because of their graphic nature. I sometimes forget not everyone is keen on knowing the harsh realities of the world we live in. There was a video at Flossenbürg where the survivors talked about the camp, and I thought one comment was particularly interesting: “How had humanity come to this? It made me wonder… how thin the veneer of civilization really was… and how easily it was stripped away”.
It’s exactly what you think it is.
This is a mass grave filled with bones, teeth, and ash. It’s about 8 feet tall in the center. Some of the smaller graves on site contained upwards of 10,000 people and were considerably smaller. I dare not guess how many people are in this. Also, if you aren’t aware, these crimes continue to occur today, even as you read this sentence, and the fact that you’re now aware of that makes you just as guilty as anyone else in all of history for doing nothing to stop it.

Moving on…
All pics of everyday Germany.

After my two week break, met up with my buddy Ryan and went off to Prague which I highly recommend if you want to party in some really awesome bars and see a few cool sights in process.

Prague. Pretty cool city.
Prague doesn’t have many tourists…. no…. not at all.
Some fine stone mason work right there.
This is like… *The Clock* in Prague.
In a random restaurant, thought that was cool.
I’m glad the grey aliens have something to contribute in a modern science museum. I only wish I could read Czech so I knew what it said, heh.

Oktoberfest was pretty awesome. It takes place the last two weeks of September and the first week of October in Munich, which is in Bavaria (where I’m from). It was friggen awesome to see so many people from all over the world dressed up in the traditional Bavarian outfits, called lederhosen (Wiki) for men and dirndl (Wiki) for women. It made me wish I had some lederhosen as well. It was funny to hear a British guy make the comment that wearing the lederhosen made him feel like he was putting on his drinking pants. The most unique thing I saw, which I *never* thought I would ever see, was an Indian girl wearing a dirndl. She was speaking English too, I should have stopped and taken a picture with her, but the half gallon of beer I’d already drank and gajillion people made that a bit difficult to actualize. By the way, if anyone reading this ever goes to Oktoberfest, DO NOT go on the weekend, go during the week. You’ll be much happier you did. To clarify, the following pictures were taken during the week when it wasn’t busy…

Only a small part of the Oktoberfest action.
The mug in my hand was the last part of the gallon of beer I drank that night. I don’t remember this picture being taken. My buddy Ryan in the middle and the awesome German dude we were talking to for a couple hours. He actually brought up something, without us saying anything, that we had been talking about earlier in our trip, that everyone tends to focus on the 1% difference between countries and cultures, rather than the 99% similarities. Can’t we all just get along?
Old school beer delivery.
Well… lots of a beer and a dirndl… I’m in love. I was trying to get a picture of one of the girls walking with 3-4 beers in each hand, but man, those girls *move*, this was the best one I got lol.
This soooo irritated me for some reason. In German, this is called the “vok und valk” as opposed to how it sounds in English. I wonder if anyone gets the joke in Germany?

After that, went off to Amsterdam, which surprisingly doesn’t really have a lot going on except the obvious stuff everyone goes there for. That said, it’s an easy city to get yourself into a lot of trouble if you even remotely try to look for it. And sorry, not a lot of pictures from there, I didn’t want some pimp to run out and throw my camera into a canal for taking a picture of the red light district. I have to say, I feel a bit sorry for the girls though, because most people, like us, were walking through like we were at a zoo rather than being there for a business transaction.

I guess that happens to even the best of us sometimes on the tanning deck. (none of the other deck signs had whatever that is, awesome) [taken on the boat ride from The Netherlands to England]

Right now, I’m chilling in London, Ryan has headed home after finding that he doesn’t share my affinity for London, and I’m trying to figure out what to do next. I’m a bit surprised to find that London isn’t having quite the same charm that it did the first time I was here, but I’m still digging it a lot. Ryan was actually the one to point out that London is a bit like Vegas, except that it’s real. With all the tourists and history here, I can totally see that, and it’s no surprise to me that I like it then, because as I’ve said before, I *love* Vegas. Besides that, I’m having a really hard time deciding what to do next because, well… I can be doing anything, anywhere, if I want to be. The incredible amount of options that provides is making it difficult to make choices, but I just might have found a plan that’ll work out pretty well. So far my time in London has been almost entirely dedicated to exploring neighborhoods (trying to decide where to live) and figuring out how normal life is conducted so that I can hit the ground running when I finally settle in here.

There’s something about London that’s just… crazy. For instance, being on the Tube (London subway) and having the people standing next to you consist of the following: two women in full covering Muslim robes with only their eyes exposed, an Indian guy, two French guys having a quiet conversation, a Russian couple whispering to each other, two girls in the prime of London fashion hanging out, and the guy in the business suit eager to get to work. It’s pretty awesome. All the world in one subway car. Pictures next time…

Miss you guys dearly.

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