September 2008


September 12, 2008 09:38

Well, I'm now in Reims. I have some wonderful photos of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. This particular cathedral is where the kings of France were anointed. Standing inside, one can't help but imagine about how the inside was decorated on these occasions. There are some fantastic statues that you can view inside of the museam located next door. I took pictures of my favorites. I also went to the fine arts museam. They have some fantastic things there, including two paintings by Monet and one beautiful sculpture by Rodin.

Last night, I happened to come across a "Jonglissimo," or juggler festival. It was really a ton of fun. You couldn't say that they were the best jugglers, but they combined comedy with juggling with music, for a great result. This morning, I got up and saw one of the players at breakfast. He asked me if I would be interested in playing some music with him. I agreed and we went to the park where we jammed out with him on the accordion and me on the fiddle. We had a good time. Tonight I'm going to see them play again.

I'm glad to be back in France. The food is so much better and cheaper here! It's amazing how simple things like grapes, tomatoes, cheese, and meat can taste so different. I think you would probably have a tough time finding a better sandwich than that which you can find here.

Next stop will be Nice. (That's Niece, not Nice, though I'm sure it will be nice.)
I'll be chillin at the beach. Later!

Archive link

Amsterdam is crazy!

September 8, 2008 06:52


The city is beautiful, both in architecture, and it's systems of canals and bike paths, but the people do not want to associate with "tourists." I know all about dislike of tourists, (being from New York) but the people here have a stronger destain for visitors than either Paris, Brussels, or certainly anywhere that I've been in the US, though I suppose that's partly because I don't even attempt to speak Dutch, but they seem cold to one another. (Let's face it, but a joke that makes you the idiot just because you don't speak the language making is really poor form and juvenile.)

I suppose that I can see why they would hate tourists so much though. I'm sure that a tourist to them is someone who is always on drugs, getting in the way of their life by getting in the way of bicycles, etc.

Last night, I a man who had fingernail scratches all over his body demanded more money from me after I gave him 1 euro and told him to go to a hospital. I ended up having to yell at him to let me pass. (He was obviously a really strung out junkie.)

I had success today playing on the street today. The first attempt had no success at 20 cents in 10 minutes, then a crazy homeless man holding a stuffed animal suggested that I choose a quieter street, so I agreed that that would be a better idea, so I left and found a perfect place to play on a street with an outdoor mall. I played for 2 hours there until the sun had nearly set and made 50 euros! I'm stoked. I'll play there again.


Today I took a bunch of photos of the area where we are moored and some of the city sights. I hope that you will all be interested. I think that they came out nice. I've been having difficulty, as usual, to find a good connection to upload my photos.

It's been cold and rainy all day, which sucks because I can't play in the rain. I think that the people here are used to being cold and damp. The food is also more expensive than that of Paris or Brussels and there are fewer grocery stores. I think that those are the reasons why it is legal for you to smoke here.

They don't have grocery stores here, or at least there are very few. I've been spending more than I would like to on food. After the conversion and increased prices, I'm unfortunately spending nearly double on a meal. Today I'm going to see the windmills, but I uploaded photos of what I have seen from Amsterdam already.

Check them out at:

Archive link

"Oh my god I forgot... I'm really stoned."

September 6, 2008 02:33

I'm here! It was the easiest train ride. Just two hours and I managed to find the houseboat without getting lost. Yes, I did say houseboat. I'm staying at the houseboat Marietta (a hostal.) The people who run it are very nice, (except for the captain, who the crew refer to a as "Jeckel and Hide.")

I really can't believe it, there is a really nice indoor skatepark immediately next to the hostel. They even rent skateboards! I am definitely going today after breakfast.

It was raining when I arrived, but now it is all clear, though the sky is still grey. This is a crazy place where mandkind's vices are all out in the open. I was thinking about how this is the only place in the world with coffee shops like these here. It is also the only place where every local rides a bike made before 1970. I don't understand that. If you're going to ride a bike, why not have a newer one? The Dutch all ride these steal framed bikes that must weigh 40 lbs. They are also not a very friendly people. The boat time tables are all written in Dutch, so I asked a Dutch girl what time the last boat left at and she told me, "Why don't you just read the timetable over there." In the end, I just waited for some more tourists to come strolling by-some British guys, who were a bit confused as well, but then they said that there was a shuttle to their boat hotel which is moored down the street from my hostel. We all went together. They were a nice bunch of people.

The houseboat is such a nice place to live. I look out and see the water at breakfast. I could get used to this.

Some cofffee shops sell a full menu (about 30 kinds) of weed and hash here. The names of these different strains are fun names like:

Willie Nelson
Red Dragon
Nothern Lights
White Widow

And a listing of cannabis cup winners.

The prices for the herb start at about 10 Euros for 1 gram. The prices for the hash start at about 15 Eruos per gram and go up to 100 Euros. Everyone is stoned here and the streets are filled with the perfume of the different varieties. The weed here is by far the most potent that I have tried.

The Redlight District is crazy here. You walk the streets and girls try to get you to want them. They each have a full-length window and they are dressed in very little. When a man comes up to them they come out, discuss the price, and then the curtains to the window are closed. The man gets 20 minutes.

2 replies | Archive link

Last night was so much fun!

September 5, 2008 07:02

Pablo and I have been paling around together. Last night we hung out in the hostel's kitchen, (yes this hostel had a kitchen) where we met an eclectic mix of Brazilians, French, and Americans. Everyone has a story and is coming from a different corner of the world.

I think that everyone traveling seems to have a similar view of life. We all like to live life cheaply and prefer to save for travel rather than to go out to nice dinners and blow cash on our clothes.

We all went to the same bar where we saw the best cover band that I've ever seen. I got one of the member's email, but not his myspace. Unfortunately, I have not had internet yet today, so I will email him when I can and see if I cant get a link to their music.

I'm on the train to Amsterdam now and excited for what everyone has said is a great city-beautiful and exciting, with legendary coffee shops.

I've been giving my contact info to everyone that I've met and I will meet again with Pablo tonight in Amsterdam. He took the bus and I took the train, but tonight we will continue the party. I may be meeting up with a guy that I also met in the hostel in Brussels, who is from Iowa on Sunday as well, so friends are plentiful in Europe!

It seems that you do not need a reservation to ride the train from Brussels to Amsterdam, but you need on from Paris to Brussels. I don't understand that. It's the same train.

Well, that's all I have to say. My next entry will be from Amsterdam.

Archive link

More fun in Brussels

September 4, 2008 07:11

Last night I was fortunate to be walking by the botanical garden just as Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band started their concert. A scalper offered me a ticket for the list price, and I declined, but then found that I could get wifi outside the Botanical, so I checked the band out online at:

Listen to "I don't want to die in the hospital" and "Milk Thistle."

And I haggled the scalper down to only 10 euros. I'm glad that I went because they put on a fantastic show and I will buy their album on itunes today. They are a band from Omaha, Nebraska, so it was ironic that I would see them here. Really thoughtful lyrics and musicianship, as well as a very dramatic show with full stage lights and a quality PA for only 10 Euros-what a deal!

After the show, I came back to the hostel where, what did I find, but the scalper who sold me the ticket hanging out at the bar, so I hung out with him and his friend for the night. They are truly European without a specific country that they call home. He told me that he follows bands around and sells t-shirts and scalps tickets. We discussed politics and militarism in America, as well as cities that are on my list to go to. He said that I should see Spain and was surprised that I'm not going to London. I told him, "next time." So I guess that I'm already planning my next trip to Europe. LOL.

Today I went to a fabulous museum, "The Beaux Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum." I should have pics of that up tomorrow.

I did try to play today, without any luck. I made 20 cents in 15 minutes. I do have standards. I won't play for nothing. Money is uncertain when you play for tips, but my experience busking has taught me that you cannot get down about one failed attempt. Tomorrow will be an entirely new day-and a new city!

Tonight will be my last night in Brussels and I plan to go out to "Delirium Tremens" again with Pablo. Should be good times. Tomorrow I believe that we will be traveling together to Amsterdam. He is flying out of there and back to Mexico city tomorrow.

Some of the backpackers have skateboards here. I really can't believe that I didn't bring mine. It would have made everything so much easier. I thought that there would be more old cobble stone roads than there are.

Check out my pics for yesterday at:

3 replies | Archive link

From the land of potent beer + Pictures of Paris!

September 3, 2008 03:03

Last night I went to "Delirium Tremens," a wonderful bar here in Brussels. You can get a glass of 12 point beer for only 3.10 Euros! After 3 of those and you end up like me! I'm soooooo hung over! (But, it was a fantastic time.) What else is there to do in Belgium but drink? Most of the city was reconstructed after WWWII and is quite modern (and ugly,) however I did see one absolutely beautiful old square.

I met two new friends last night, a guy from Mexico and a girl from Japan. I wonder how they feel this morning.

I am starting to feel a bit better as this morning progresses to this afternoon. I haven't decided where to go or what to do yet, but will figure something out. Mom suggested the Menneken Pis (the little fountain with the cherub peeing.) I think that I will have to do that.

The name of the hostel is the:

Youth Hostel Van Gogh (Chab)
rue Traversiere 8, 1210 Bruxelles, Brussels.

I do recommend. It has the feel of a hotel and has a bar, pool table, lounge area, and lockers.

I forgot to mention that while lost and looking for my hostel I came upon a whore house-at least I'm pretty sure that that's what it was. I thought that it would be fun to find out what the regulations were regarding these "sex workers," so I did some googling and found this funny artical about prostitiution in Brussels.

I am writing from a McDonalds. I felt fortunate to have "le Big Mac." I couldn't help but think of pulp fiction and the "Roy-al with cheese." LOL

They have free wifi! I'm going to create a Picasa account and post a link.


I just went out for an afternoon busking session and had a decent amount of success at 20 Euros for just over an hour, which sound alright, but I would say that in the states, with a pitch like that I could easily pull double that. This pitch was at a place called "City 2" an outdoor mall that is really new and ugly, with lots of trash everywhere on the street. It was being blown into my case, which kinda sucked, but whatever. I took a picture of my pitch for those who are interested. Not a beautiful place, but the people circulate and that's what you need. There were many "spongers," or beggars in that area as well, which is not good for your bottom line, but everyone has to eat, right? There are many children begging. I took a picture of a woman begging with her two children. Kinda sad to see.

5 replies | Archive link

Some thoughts about Paris

September 1, 2008 23:26

It seems that I cannot go anywhere without meeting new people. I did go out to play last night and ended up getting kicked out of the area in front of Notre Dam after only making a few Eruos, Next, I went and played on a small Rue where there were many bars. It seemed as though this would be a decent pitch, but after 25 minutes and only 3 Euro, I changed my mind. It is my opinion, at this point, that Europeans are tight-asses. They are used to never tipping, so they tip really badly. A 50 cent piece here would be a usual one dollar tip in the US and a two Euro tip here is equivalent to a five dollar tip in the US. I still have not had one 5 Euro tip here.

But, money problems aside, I love Paris! I really need to figure out how to reduce the file size of the photos that I have so that I can post on my blog. It really is a truly wondrous place. I willl work on this problem some more today and expect that I will figure it out. If not, I will just post all of my photos on one of those online sharing sights. I'll keep everyone updated.

So, after my defeat in the realm of busking, I decided to go see the eiffel tower for one last time before I leave for Brussels. I got to see It sparkle! There are many free light shows in Paris every night, with the star of the show being the Tower. In the park below the Tower, I met some study abroad students from New York and then some girls from the UK. I've probably made 10 new friends in the last 4 days. It's fantastic.

There are some things that do suck about Paris though, and topping the list would be in the in-availability of water. I walked from one side of Paris to the other last night and I didn't find any water (to buy or for free) until I nearly reached the Tower. All the shops close early here. It seems that they don't have any 24-hour grocers and unlike New York, there are no street venders, which a bad enough problem by itself! (No late night Gyro.) If you want water, you would have to go sit down at a restaurant and buy something.

Well, thats about all for this entry. I have to make my TGV reservation...

3 replies | Archive link

Just another dream

September 1, 2008 10:45

I just was writing from this internet cafe near my hostel, but was acidentally disconnected and lost all that I had written!

Anyway, like I was saying, I went to the Louvre today and it was an amaising experiance and every bit as good as you would imagine.

I must have walked 10+ miles today, between seeing nearly every room in the Louvre and walking through tourist town to find a delicious and cheap lunch of, yup, baguette and cheese. LOL. Definitly the most food as well as the best tasting cuisine for the Euro!

I just chatted with the folks running the internet cafe about 50 cent and lil wane being from queens. pretty funny. (A bit off topic from what I was writing about I suppose, but whatever.)

Just wanted to check in with my blog and say that im having a great time and meeting tons of new people.

I booked a hostel in Brussels today for 3 nights, so tonight is my last night à Paris! The sun is going down now, so I had better go and make a few Euro. Wish me luck!

2 replies | Archive link

More entries: August 2008

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music: Check out our selection of Celtic music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Summer Music Programs Directory
Find a Summer Music Program Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

The Wallis Presents

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine