I managed to fight my way on board the budget airline HLX and sucker-punched a pregnant woman to get a window seat.

I didnt want to miss the opportunity to see the Scandanavian landscape during the day as I flew to Germany. Im glad that I did, it was wet and spectacular. Green islands floating in the sea, a deep blue sky the color of glacier water, and a thick bundle of cotton clouds sat on top the whole picture like whipped cream on a dessert for my eyes.

Sweden was a great experience, but I was happy to be heading south before the weather realized that it was missing an opportunity to kick me in the butt again. I am still jacketless, a couple of shopping attempts in Sweden yielded nothing but expensive options and so I decided to wait.

I arrived into Stuttgart with no problems and my friend Verena was waiting to welcome me to Germany with a smile and automobile full of gas, I couldnt ask for anything more. We drove 2 hours south, under the watch of an enormous, white-hot full moon, to the small town of Konstanz, which sits on an impressive lake and on the border of Switzerland. This place is old. They were digging on one of the main streets in the city centre and uncovered a lot of junk the Romans had hidden a few years ago (like 1000), so there is quite a bit of history here. The brick streets are lined with sidewalk cafes and pleasant places to empty your wallet and fill your stomach. The lake water isnt quite as cold as Sweden, but I sent one toe on a recon mission and the temperature report that I got back told me to stay the hell out of it. 🙂

I am living in a student flat with 4 other people, 3 of which I have been hanging out with, and I am enjoying the luxury of having my own bedroom! The views from my window are nice, which takes some of the pain out of walking the 4 flights of stairs (no lift) to get here. Last night was Verena’s birthday, so we made sure she would have trouble remembering it by concocting a 10 gallon bucket of Bowle, which is German “hooch” (like a scaled up version of the Thai buckets) and I assured her that it was good for her skin so she drank plenty of it. There were also food treats and I met a lot of people, all of which I would not hesitate to spend any amount of time with.

Prior to the planned slaughter of braincells, we spent an awesome afternoon at the artificial climbing wall outside at the university here. I borrowed some shoes, but never roped up and just bouldered around the edges and made a few solo runs up as far as I thought I could. It was a vey difficult limestone wall, with just tiny fingerholes and places to insert one toe – extremely technical climbing and not what I have been doing lately, but wow it was fun! Nothing replaces the feeling of skinned knuckles and bulging veins on your forearms that a good day climbing produces.

Tomorrow the plan is to head to Switzerland and spend a day or two running around the Alps. I am looking forward to the mountains, the cheese, and the roadtrip. For whatever reason, I was not given a passport stamp in Stuttgart and did not go through any passport control, unlike Sweden and Ireland, so I have no idea if I am legal or not. Maybe the Swiss will deny me entrance since my papers are not in order. I hope not, maybe I can distract them long enough to sneak over by throwing a chocolate bar or threaten them with the tweezers/toothpick combo from my knife that they designed? After Switzerland, we´re off to Bavaria in the Munich area. I now only have one week, I have decided to meet some friends in Brussels on the 17th, so time is short. Time is always against me it seems, but I am going to squeeze everything that I can out of the minutes I am given. Life is good!

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