A Travellerspoint blog

Life

Something I wrote the day before my 21st birthday. This was me being afraid of adulthood, the future, uncertainty, responsibility, whatever. Still applies now, I think it could apply forever haha. I guess this isn't really travel or SEP related, but this blog has become a bit more than a travel blog. Never thought I'd see the day. Anyway, here it is, bear with me.

21 years lie behind me,
Stretched out along that crooked path.
Up small hills and over small streams
It totters, skips, crawls, twirls past
Verdant green and orange dust.
I turn and look ahead.

Immediately before:
The same old cobblestones
Lead up a short way, straight and broad,
A clear and open road,
But vanishes soon around a bend
And leaves me lost in thought again.

One can never tell from a distance
What sudden drops or rises,
Cold winds and cliffs
Are hidden from view on that path.
And beyond - who knows?
The unknown lies ahead,
There is no way back.
The way is barred
From retraced steps,
From hauntings of days long past.
So I press on, ending this brief respite;
I cannot not linger long.
Time - it urges me on.

What lies ahead?
Danger and turmoil, thirst and hunger?
Fear seeps in, cold and sharp,
Can that be all in store?

What lies ahead?
An unexpected flower, an oasis, a fellow traveler.
Hope is sprung, adventure beckons,
That kind of evens the score.

What lies ahead?
I don't have that knowledge in my head.
I'm just going to go and see,
I mean, it's just life, and eternity.

Posted by seaskimmer 14:47 Comments (0)

Berlin

I went to a few ww2 memorials in Berlin. And after seeing all those, being moved close to tears by the personal tragedies of individuals and families in the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, I think I'm just reminded that evil exists. What happened to the Jews and other discriminated people groups was horrible. I don't know how the persecutors lived with themselves. It's a reminder though that we all have the capacity to do great evil, especially when it creeps up slowly like in Germany, and it seems like a norm when everyone around conforms. I mean, when everyone is doing something, it can be hard to think right. I guess the question is whether you can remember your own personal yardstick that you will remain true to, or perhaps you'll remember truth that must be adhered to.

Apart from that, I didn't spend much time in Berlin. Only 1 day so I just ran around seeing as much as I could. Focused mainly on history. My friend told me she went for the alternative sandeman tour, and that it was really good, she saw the soul of the city, etc. I could tell, a bit, that people were really artsy and fashionable.

For most of the day Berlin was almost underwhelming. I stood above the bunker where Hitler committed suicide, and outside where the arsenal used to be, but felt nothing. Until one point, when I was between the French and German churches, one of the churches began to chime. And I was finally transported back into the past. I could see Hitler coming down the road, and the masses alternately reeling in fear and horror, and ecstatically hailing the Führer. Music brings things to life.

One interesting thing that maybe describes Berlin is how the government occasionally tries to control graffiti by painting over a piece. But this only allows a new work of art to be created on this new blank canvas. The art isn't always great, but it's an expression of the people.

One really annoying thing is that these two Singaporeans desecrated Singapore's name by writing their names and sg really largely and uglyly on the east Berlin gallery. Apparently they're one year my junior in smu, Marc neo and Dominic khoo. Disgrace to Singapore.

I had a pretty interesting day because I met t and her 3 friends there. She'd travelled with them in Germany already, and it was their last day together. We actually went to play pool that evening, something I perhaps would never have done on my own. I really am a homebody. And have a different travel style. But it was fun, it was cool to meet them. 1 Canadian and 2 nus Singaporeans. And my friend.

Would upload photos but I'm still in Scotland right now. So I can't show you how annoying Marc neo is haha. But whatever, thought I should at least give a brief update.

Posted by seaskimmer 14:29 Archived in Germany Tagged germany berlin war singaporean Comments (0)

I like lists

I'm 50% done with exchange. That's crazy. Time to do a stock-take. Goals are always important, so I thought it was time to take another look at them, to keep myself on track. (Also I just really like lists.)

Here's some of my more tangible goals.
1. Watch an ATP tennis match (soon to be done. Wimby in June, and Hamburg 500 in July!)
2. See Murray. Get his autograph. Take a photo with him. Give him a hug. (Hopefully. But unlikely. Unfortunately.)
3. Watch an EPL match (not happening)
4. Hike (probably in June)
5. Bike (maybe in May)
6. Camp, sleep under the stars (probably won't happen. But hopefully der Schwarzwald in July?)
7. Outdoor climbing! (DONE in Font)
8. Watch a climbing comp (DONE in Grindelwald)
9. Hockey match (because Hamburg is good at it. Don't know when)
10. White water rafting (prob won't happen, unless, again, der Schwarzwald)
11. Bungee jump! (DONE at Verzasca)
12. Rollercoaster!!!! (end of May)
13. Obviously, travel. (yes)
14. Eat good, local food (here and there)

And then some of my less tangible ones:
1. Be brave. Talk to more people. Make friends. (maybe a little bit?)
2. Learn more about myself (maybe?)
3. Learn more about other cultures, and in general people (yes)
4. Learn more about God (yes)
5. Enjoy living European history (yes! But more can be done)
6. Enjoy being outdoors (here and there)
7. Actually learn something in school (sort of)
8. Be more independent (what does independence mean)

And then things I must do in my last year of uni :'(
1. Get a little more prepared for -gasp- work. That's CVs and interviews etc.
2. Research into the direction I might want to take.
3. Take modules I've always wanted to. (Nature of language anyone? European history? Into to soci?)
4. Spend more time with friends <3 especially NUS peeps, who I'll see less of once I graduate.
5. Spend an evening on an NUS rooftop chilling

Posted by seaskimmer 23:55 Comments (0)

Adventure Time

We woke early on Sunday morning and set off on our grand journey. So 2 hour train to Zurich (spent half an hour there LOL just to say we'd been there) then 1.5h train to Locarno, 30min bus to Verzasca Dam (Diga Verzasca). All the way we kept fidgeting and worrying, because… we were going to the dam to bungee jump!!!!!!!!!!

Free Fall

We're all afraid of heights but this is something we all had to do. The 220m jump from the top of the dam was 'done' by 007 in Goldeneye. It's one of the highest bungee jumps in the world, probably 2nd or 3rd. How awesome is that?? 195CHF though, not cheap. But it was going to be SO MUCH FUN and I had to do it at least once in my life. Been on my list for a long long time.

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My strategy for coping was to not think about until I got there, and then when on the platform to also not think and Just Jump. Surprisingly, it worked. Not like I really tried hard not to think about the dizzying drop, it just happened so yay. I was accidentally the first to jump because somehow the staff just asked me to go over first haha. They stood me on the platform, counted from three, and I leaned forward and began to fall.

The moment my feet left solid ground and I was left staring into 220m of thin, non-solid air, I freaked out and seriously doubted my decision-making. I screamed as my innards rose and I hurtled towards my doom.

A mere 3s and half the drop later, though, it was okay already! I think I'd reached terminal velocity, so no acceleration and it was just free fall and I could appreciate the fact that I was bungee jumping for real. I reached the end of the rope and had about 4 bounces before I heard the staff yelling at me to pull the rope thing (I'd forgotten, in my attempt to keep my head from bursting with blood -- major rush of blood to the head). And then I just waited for the other rope to be lowered, so I could clip in and be towed back up.

A was next. They let me stand on the platform to watch! My knees were still trembling with adrenaline the whole time A hesitated on the platform haha. A is really really afraid of heights, so props to her for jumping! S too!

We all agreed that not thinking was the best thing to do, and that the first part was fun and scary but otherwise a little anticlimatic. Oh well haha. I would like to do it again next time! Maybe somewhere a little bit more natural. Eg. Australia in the summer with a water dip? Instead of in front of a huge dam haha.

When it was over we hung around ecstatically, watching others jump and taking more photos. We finally left at 4 plus, and realised we'd missed the bus down by 15min. Some fellow jumpers that we'd talked to offered us a ride down to the town, and we accepted gratefully.

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Wild West Wind

Train to Bellinzona, visited 2 of the 3 medieval castles. The first (lowest) was nice, we didn't stay that long. We hiked up about 15min to the next, and we spent probably one or two hours there on the grassy hill in the sun. The wind there was crazy, strong enough to blow our bags off the table, and to supply a continuous stream of ammo (ie. Leaves, etc). It actually hurt (a little) when the leaves hit the back of my bare neck! Sat and talked for quite a while, took photos. Then I rolled down the hill, convinced them it was fun, and then rolled down again with them hahahahaha. While I was left unscathed, A's felt-ish coat collected a bunch of dead grass and leaves, and S got grass stains on her jacket elbows.

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Had a good (expensive) dinner in Bellinzona.

2 pastas,
1 pizza,
a pitcher of white wine (Critone),
1 small portion of caramel panna cotta,
a basket of free bread.

Yumz. 31 francs per person! Spent so much because we realised we had a lot francs left and we didn’t really want to bring so much back.

Felt really good about ourselves, decided it had been a brilliant day.

Mooching Around
And then we got to the train station and realised with a shock that the last train to Bern left at 936, or 15 min ago. Sian. So we tried to get to Lugano airport, hoping we could spend the night there. Train to Lugano, then a bus to another smaller train station, then train. But at the end terminal of that second train we asked the conductors and found out we'd missed the airport stop, but also that the airport wasn't 24h. So from that stop we were at (Porte Tresa) we went back exactly the same way.

By the time we got back to Lugano, the waiting room was locked! We were very sad, and ended up huddled close on a stone bench, trying to sleep on each other. Then a bunch of night shift construction workers came over and I think they might have told the station master about us, because he came over and said we could stay in the waiting room! I thought he'd gone home already. So, blessed us got to spend the night in a warm room with a bench each to ourselves.

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Got up at 5am for the first train to Zurich, then to Berne. Stopped by the Coop for chocolates (gifts) and lunch. Had a shower, lunch, used the wifi. Back out for the 1pm train to Luzern.

The Hills are Alive

From Luzern we took a ferry to Viznau, and a small train up the steep Mount Rigi. Seriously, Switzerland is absolutely beautiful. Lakes and mountains at every turn. Got off at elevation 1750m! It was so cold up there, there was still snow on the ground. We hopped around like spastic bunnies, taking selfies of the breathtaking scenery while keeping hands in pockets as much as possible, then rushed 5min later back onto the same train. Got off halfway at Kaltbad. While waiting for the cable car back down, we recorded G's birthday video (since none of us will be in SG lol oops).

Ran for the ferry, missed it by 5min. Relaxed instead at a café. Had toast, fries, bread, goulash, an Erdinger and some sausages. Got onto the ferry, spent the entire hour or so outside on the front deck, singing random songs and trying not to freeze.

Despite it being pretty late already and with threatening clouds, we went to Thun by train and walked to the lake. Famous Thuner See, it was really big. It was indeed nice, but at 9pm and with dark clouds there was only so much enjoyment to be derived. We climbed some pillars though, that was fun.

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Back to Berne, we showered and I packed. Couldn't really sleep that night, but did manage to wake up at 4.45am. Extremely scared of missing my flight, in the end I was early for the 5.42 bus, early for the 6.04 train, early for my 9.00 flight! Yay! Used up more of my CHF on hamburger sweets and ricola haha. (Used the ricola to stay awake in my 12.30pm class later that day)

Der Schweiz

I think I spoke more German there than in Germany itself lol. They speak a bit less English than the Germans, so at least I can say I was helpful in keeping us from being completely helpless.

Switzerland is amazing, I love having the mountains always in a ring around me! I felt like I was on top of the world. I think next time I want to go back in summer, then grab a car and hike all around. Also go canyoning, white water rafting, etc. And since I'm assuming greater wealth, bungee jump again too :)

A note: getting stuck without a place to sleep is so bad. But it was much better because it was with old friends! Can't imagine having to do that with people I'd just met.

Posted by seaskimmer 03:08 Archived in Switzerland Tagged snow train beautiful switzerland hitchhike Comments (1)

Starstruck in Der Schweiz

Woke up at the unearthly hour of 4 am to catch my 650am flight to Geneva. After not being able to fall asleep the night before, I was running on 3h sleep (for me, a disaster) so I slept the entire 1.5h flight. Met S, decided to take the 0906 train because we weren't sure when A would get here.

On the train, very very excited like I've got that meme face on, let me see if I can find it...

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Yes haha so I feel like I'm in a blond land of milk and honey. I mean, Germany is great, or at least the little I've seen of it, but at first glance der Schweiz already blows my mind! Look at the mountains, the sky, the lake/river; I feel like I'm in paradise! I could yodel around the mountains and drink goat's milk everyday and live in a hayloft right about now. Also, I know that this is a very strange response, but I feel like dashing through the countryside like The Flash, screaming and with my arms up in the air. (then again it's properly spring and it's also a really nice day right now. Rain is forecast for tmr)

Ireland was a wonder to me. But Ireland was a taunting teasing beauty, and gave me restless curiosity. On the other hand, Switzerland is, as I said, refreshing joyful beauty!

This is also probably my most expensive trip here, because the flight prices rose so much in one week, I almost cried seriously, so don't ask me how much the ticket was okay? Practically speaking it also wasn't very worth it cos I'm only here for 3.5 days which is ridiculous for the amount of money I'm paying. And there's so much if Switzerland I want to see, so much I'm missing. I mean, S spent a total of like 3 months here. My 3 days is nothing. But, but, two things make it totally worth it!

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The first: I met S at Geneva airport, then rushed off first to Grindelwald, while S waited for A. Train and bus from 9am to 12.30pm, I rushed over to the Sportzentrum. I was so so so so excited!!!!!!!!!!!! Please see meme faces as above. Went down, wanted to faint because of all the pro climbers walking around in such close proximity. Took photos with some, watched the comp (the guys were just finishing qualifiers). A and S got there and I made them take photos for me with more climbers. Seriously I think I was almost a little creepy. Creepy Asian photo-taking stalker girl. Oh well. They really made my day, taking photos with me! Got pretty much everyone I wanted, except Jakob Schubert who has been focusing on lead I think.

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Jan Hojer and Juliane Wurm, probably two of my most favourite climbers. Maybe cos they're German lol.

I left about halfway through the women's qualifiers because I'd accomplished my goal (meeting them plus watching a bit) and we went to enjoy Grindelwald. Walked up a hill for some really beautiful views. Then made our way to our couchsurfer host's place in Bern. Really nice guy, had a good talk over homemade Flammenkuchen!

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Shall leave you with this poem. Although Switzerland isn't filled with daffodils, the sentiments mirror my own, especially the last stanza. Enjoy!

The Daffodils
William Wordsworth, 1770 - 1850

I wandered lonely as a cloud
   That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
   And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
   Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
   Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
   In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
   In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
   Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Posted by seaskimmer 02:30 Archived in Switzerland Tagged train beautiful climb switzerland Comments (0)

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