This is Your Captain Speaking

Well friends, this is it, the bittersweet end to a wonderful journey. When I first began writing this final entry, I started by trying to sum up all the things that I had learned. You know, a denouement of sorts. But to be honest, that’s an impossible task. Some teachings were explicit; others implicit, intuitive, and cerebral. To put it simply, there’s no way that I could do my time in Europe justice with a handful of words. Instead, I’m going to choose the most important thing I’ve learned on this trip, and I’m going to highlight it through the use of one of my favorite writers: Charles Bukowski. It really sums up my entire ideology for this journey, whether it was concerning <em>adventure, the pursuit of unrequited love, or plans for the future beyond my trip</em>. Before I throw that quote at you, however, I want to say one more thing: this blog has never been about me. Sure, I’m the sexy lead in a slew of hilarious/heartwarming/lusty/death-defying stories, but that’s just a minor detail. This blog has always been about each and every one of you, and about doing my best to inject you with the recommended daily dose of humour. In terms of feedback and daily views, You, Me, and Marqis has been more successful than I ever thought it could be, and it brings me continued joy knowing that people were as interested in reading it as I was in writing it. I have every one of you to thank for that. These stories would mean nothing if I didn’t have loved ones to share them with when I came home. And to all my travel buddies who helped make these stories worth writing: keep on fighting the good fight and don’t hesitate to call me if you come up to Canada. We can ride polar bears and eat frozen maple syrup underneath the Northern Lights together while listening to Hockey Night in Canada. You know, a true Canadian experience. I’m coming back rich with experiences (but broke as fuck monetarily), and with a deeper appreciation for those who have stood by me through all the good times and bad. For those of you who have told me I should keep writing: I can’t promise that I’ll be doing anything right away, but rest assured that the passion to write is far from dead. I just need to think of some shit that’s worth spilling my ink for 😉 . I have some other things I might post later, but they’re more serious writings than the usual stuff I dabble in, so we’ll see if I decide to share them!

– Marqis

If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

Marqis-Olympics

 

Bulls Deep Part 2 – Senor Marqis or: How I learned to Stop Worrying about Bulls and Love Sangria

The bull’s nostrils flared and released a plume of steam; its eyes piercing the very depths of our hero’s chicken noodle soup craving soul. It stomped its hoof down menacingly, sending a message of its intent to kill. Message received. Please empty emotional mailbox, it is approaching 100% capacity. The bull has requested that you send a read receipt. Receipt has been sent in form of urine trickling down your shaky leg.

The wind, the people, time…. it all stopped in one bone chilling moment as the bull charged forward. Our hero’s vision focused on the bull, the peripherals blurring with every thunderous step it took. A single bead of sweat, victimized by gravity, zigzagged down the side of our hero’s face while the physical, emotional, and spiritual planes of existence collided in one spectacular display, forming a knot that reached the deepest corners of our hero’s stomach. This was it. This was his destiny. With an overwhelming sense of determination and absolution, our hero ran to meet the bull in the center of the arena. The skies turned black, and the bull’s eyes flamed with a hot red anger that couldn’t be tamed. At the last second, our hero pivoted out of the bull’s way, grabbing hold of its horn and completing the dangerous Spanish rite of passage.  He had done it. He had laid his hand on the bull’s horn. There would be no prize money, no trophy, no aroused women. Just the glorious feel of winning. He wasn’t exactly sure why, but he had the feeling that everything that had happened to him over the years was building up to this one fateful moment. And, in a way, he’d been trying to grab this bull’s horn his whole life. The glory began to fade, as a wet, warm feeling washed over his chest. That’s when our hero looked down and saw his severed carotid artery spurting blood like a faulty water main. He had completed the rite of passage, but the bull had gotten the last laugh. The street ran red with his blood as people herded the bull away and flocked to our fallen hero. They gathered around him, staring at him with beady, helpless eyes; murmuring in whatever language Spanish people spoke in. He didn’t have time for trivial details like that, he was dying. His eyelids began to flutter to a close, when he heard a familiar beat whisk its way into his ear drums. Dun dun dun dun dun dun….. he concentrated as hard as he could, using his remaining energy to focus on the music.. “Muh-muh-muh-MY MILKSHAKES BRING ALL THE BOYS TO THE YARD. DAMN RIGHT, THEY’RE BETTER THAN YOURSSSS”. No, it couldn’t be, he thought… this can’t be how I die….he always imagined it would be to the sweet serenade of Dallas Green. The crowd began dancing and twerking as everything faded to black, milkshakes raining down from the sky….the bull drinking his blood as if it were rich sangria…

I jolted to life with one simple thought echoing in my head: “I’M ALIVEEEEEEEEEEEEE”. It had all been one really fucked up dream. And that’s why I would NEVER have truck stop food ever again. I rubbed my eyes and saw that we were approaching Pamplona, the city known for its infamous Running of the Bulls festival that happened every year. Here’s a little backstory for ya, courtesy of everyone’s favorite internet know-it-all Wikipedia: “The origin of this event comes from the need to transport the bulls from the off-site corrals where they had spent the night, to the bullring where they would be killed in the evening. Youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado. In Pamplona and other places, the six bulls in the event are still those that will feature in the afternoon bullfight of the same day.”  To sum it up for you, people are herded onto the street and chased by bulls much to the amusement of locals and onlookers. So essentially a bunch of dumb tourists, like myself, put themselves in the same corner as Death for a few rounds and hope that we don’t get TKO’d while everyone watches. The best part about this though is that the very nature of the event encourages the fact that your body will never be found by your loved ones back home. What do I mean by that? Well, to start you don’t want to carry around your phone or wallets (COUGH identification COUGH) in case you lose them while you’re running. Toss in the fact that you have to wearing matching bull running uniforms, and that’s a pretty slick setup for sweeping problems under the rug, Spanish style. I’m assuming it’s so when you die they can’t identify you and don’t have to worry about the political issues that come with transporting your body home. Instead, you probably get tossed on the side of the road somewhere with all of the other matching, mashed up bodies.. Just a guess though. This event is heavily grounded in tradition, so failure to wear these uniforms while you’re running results in you getting tackled, along with a probable cameo on Cops: Pamplona. Here’s what they looked like (the uniform, not the cops tackling people):

spain bullrunning

But I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself. Before all this bullrunning business, we had an entire night to kill. Naturally, we had booked our tour with a company that was pretty much run by a bunch of drunk, STD ridden university students. So, what happens when you leave all the planning in the hands of such a capable group? You end up drinking sangria all night and partying until you have to do your best attempt at a drunken run with bulls at 8am. I started my crazy birthday by getting serenaded in an underground parking lot by a bunch of strangers I’d soon hold an eternal bond to, strictly because of the morning we had ahead of us. It looked like I was playing an accordion made up of boxes of sangria as everyone passed a box to me and sang happy birthday. Once we hit the streets, the first birthday goal was to find some goddamn cake. What’s a birthday without cake? Absolutely nothing worth celebrating. You might as well go to bed and give up on life. We looked for ages but couldn’t find ourselves a bakery that was open so late. Saddened, we decided to go to the party street to transform our cake cravings into a drunken stupor. Then, a miracle happened. We found a late night creperie. Boston Pizza ran up, announcing that she would buy my birthday crepe for me while I yelled in response “YEA YOU ARE!!!”. That’s when things got even better. We discovered that the crepe lady had CANADIAN MAPLE SYRUP. OH HALLELUJAH, THERE IS A JESUS AND HE LIVES ON THIS EARTH IN THE FORM OF AN ELDERLY SPANISH WOMAN WITH A MEDIOCRE SENSE OF FASHION! I wish I had video of how ridiculous Boston Pizza looked as she tried to explain to the crepe lady that she wanted all the maple syrup. She didn’t just want a small, healthy portion. NO, she wanted her to dump that bottle on my crepe and turn it into the shamefully syrupy mess that my sangria soaked body craved and deserved. To paint a picture for you: imagine a starving, mute chimpanzee trying to get a banana held behind a glass wall with about a dozen people watched. That was Boston Pizza trying to get syrup (and no I’m not calling you a chimpanzee, but I just watched Zoolander and I was thinking of the scene where they tried to open the Mac computer and it inspired me to give a monkey related description. I know you’ll love that reference :P). Everything after the crepes is a blissful sticky blur (insert sexual innuendo here) that had us hopping from bar to bar in search of a place that could fuel our consuming hunger for debauchery. Things sank into clarity when we found ourselves tired and ready to pass out; our white girl dance moves draining us of the energy we had. We were like the energizer bunny, only we ran on sangria…and we needed a recharge. Unfortunately for us, the bars were closing and the only option was to rest on a park bench in the middle of Pamplona. Squeezed between other partiers and hobos, we formed a giant spoon train with some other people we had met on the tour. I wasn’t able to sleep, so I stayed awake and watched out for us. None of us had anything worth stealing, but we were a very attractive bunch, so naturally I decided it was a smart idea to go on rape patrol. Surprisingly, no one tried to get in on the action or rob us. Instead, tons of tourists decided to whip out their cameras and take some photos (and yes, most of them were asian). It’s like they’ve never seen a spoon train before. Since I was the only guy there, I was tossed a few “HAHA BIG SPOOOOOON FOR DA WIN!” looks from guys passing by.

Eventually, it was time to head to the starting point for the running of the bulls. By now we had processed how stupid our choice was to participate, so we were going through alllll the stages of denial. Anger, denial, acceptance, nervous flatulence…. they were all there to attend our big mopey-we’re-going-to-die-pity-party. It’s quite the sight as they herd you onto the street with all the other poor decision makers. The only thing going through my mind when they closed the big wooden gates behind us was “this must have been how Jack Bauer felt when he got exiled by the US Government”. Then again, Jack Bauer would probably fight all the bulls with his bare hands AND stop a terrorist plot at the same time. I was just trying my best to not pee when I sneezed. Different battles. Both heroes. While we sat with the masses and pondered how we would rather die, the event organizers decided it would be a cool idea to put up tv screens on the corner of the street, showing the Spanish version of TSN’s top 10 of last year’s bull run. Now, understand this: up until this point we had been told that there was ABSOLUTELY no way we would  get hurt or die as long as we didn’t get in the way of the bull, touch the bull, look at the bull, reason with the bull, or breathe the same air as the bull. And that was comforting. And then they shove our faces into constant replays of people getting run over and destroyed by these pissed off bulls, all to some sort of pseudo Lord of the Rings soundtrack. The video only made me think two things: 1) I should have stayed at the shire, I’m so dead and 2) I can’t believe I won’t get see the third part of the Hobbit. Ok, that’s a lie. I also thought “how the hell does Legolas keep his hair so nice when he’s fighting literally all the time? Middle Earth equivalent of head and shoulders? Good genes?” Now I’m getting off track. The point was that we’re all screwed. To the point where I was seriously considering how I’d position my friends between myself and the bulls. I might have also considered stuff like their weight and ability to balance, just in case I had to make a sacrifice to ensure my survival. Andddd that sound you heard was the sound of friendships dying.

A gunshot shattered the sky, splitting an atmosphere made up of oxygen, ozone, and the evaporated remains of liquid fear (pee). We were off. It took a second to get moving, mostly because no one really knew which way to go, or how fast the bulls were coming. We broke out into a speed walk, followed by a brisk job, and then straight into sprinting. We could hear the screaming and shouting rattling off the windows of the buildings as we blew through the streets at lightning speeds. I honestly don’t know where I found the energy to do it all after a malaria scare and night of partying. Oh wait, of course I could find the energy. I had spent the last 24 hours convincing myself I was probably going to die. And it wasn’t going to be in the jello pit orgy I had always envisioned it would be in.

The whole point of the run was to make it into the arena at the end of the track before the bulls did. If you didn’t, then…well, you got spared the joy of getting chased around by angry, horny bulls (I’m assuming they’re like most pro athletes and don’t get to get their jollies off before big games. You know, contract stuff) while hundreds of people pay to watch your not so glamorous death. And, of course, we managed to get into the arena before the bulls. Lucky us. Boston Pizza, Skywalker, and myself all ran to the wall on the side to get out of striking distance from the bulls. Naturally, everyone followed us. Clearly we looked like the surviving type, so people decided to stay close. Clearly. Fewer things are scarier than having a bunch of sweaty, terrified people shove their helpless bodies against you while bulls run wild in the ring. It was terrifying but also elating in that “I’m going to die, so why do I have a boner right now?” kinda way. Now, one of the “things to do” at the running of the bulls was to try and grab the bull’s horn without getting knocked around. You don’t get a medal or anything, but you “win” so to speak. Pretty much you get bragging rights to say you did something really stupid and didn’t die. It’s the American dream with Spanish subtitles.  The bulls were sent out in pairs while the other bulls were rested and fed before being sent back out to wreak havoc on us poor, unsuspecting tourists. Picture Rocky Balboa in between rounds of fighting: spit bucket, stitches, shoulder massage, squirt of water, and then BAM, right back into the ring to take on Apollo Creed.

The event went on for what felt like a lifetime, but was probably closer to 20 minutes. The bulls were all herded into the pen, and we were spared any more brushes with death (for now). Hundreds of people piled out of the arena and filed past the ambulances that were waiting to scrape up whatever was left of the not so fortunate people off the ground of the arena. The only medical equipment they’d be needing was a handful of mops and the world’s smallest violin.

We spent the next few hours waiting in an underground bus station, angry as fuck because our bus was going to be arriving 2-3 hours later than it was supposed to. This bus station had a realllllly questionable looking restaurant with monstrous sandwiches, so we gorged on those while we avoided conversation because of how tired and cranky we were. Eventually, our bus arrived and we hopped on it and took off to our campground. The second part of the tour involved camping near a small Spanish town, where we’d then bus to a 3 day music festival called BBK fest in Bilbao. We got to the campsite in the afternoon, so there was no way we were going to sleep in a hot tent in the middle of the day. Instead, we paid 20 euros so we could drink unlimited booze for the next 4 days, and decided  to party with our liquid personalities. To put it all in perspective, they had enough kegs there that we started using them as stools when we were sitting around and socializing. The festival itself was unreal, but I wouldn’t say it was extremely eventful in terms of shenanigans. Besides a few of our friends popping a squat and urinating in public, a ridiculous amount of cocaine being passed around by concert-goers, as well as watching a guy jump off of a c-can that was acting as a public toilet, things were pretty chill. I can say, however, it was the longest birthday of my life. It was also the first time I had spent all 24 hours celebrating my birthday. Here’s the breakdown for the rest of my birthday, and the few days after that: leave the campground with at least 2 liters of alcohol, arrive in Bilbao, catch a connecting bus to the festival around 5, drink and watch the performances until 4am, get back to the campground at 5am, wake up for breakfast at 9am, sleep until 11am, and then rinse and repeat for the next few days. The only snag we found was the first (or maybe it was the second) night when we got onto the wrong connecting bus at the end of the show and ended up on the wrong side of town. We did this 3 more times that night before we found out that there were two separate buses that were running from the festival to the bus station in town. The problem? They weren’t marked. We managed to get back and catch the very last bus to the bus station, relieved to see our drunken compatriots slumped on the sidewalk while they waited for our campground bus. We were 5 minutes away from being stuck on the festival grounds for the next 12 hours. No bueno. I should also make note that the tents we were using weren’t exactly the same quality that you’d find at your local Mountain Equipment Co-op store at home. No, my tent was 90% duct tape and 10% spirit… which didn’t hold up well when it rained the first night. There wasn’t a single thing that didn’t get wet that night. Not. A. Single. Thing.

After the festival, we spent our last few days together in Barcelona exploring the sights and relaxing. The last 4-5 days had pretty much killed us, so we were in power saving mode. Despite the lack of crazy shenanigans, it was a glorious few days with great friends, great food, and great sights. Saying goodbye was difficult, but that just goes to show how much fun the trip had been. But I had comfort in knowing I’d be seeing them soon back in Canada. My next stop would be Vienna, where I’d spend my last days catching up with friends and seeing the sights that I had failed to see when I was living there previously. It’s easy to procrastinate with stuff when you live in the city itself. Hell, how many of you Edmonton folk have seen everything Edmonton has to offer? And how long have you lived there? My point exactly. Thankfully, one of my Viennese friends offered me his place to crash at so I wouldn’t have to drop mad dolla billz on hostels, or try to have the perfect week with the ladies and take advantage of post coitus spooning. You’re the best, and I owe you accommodations and beers the next time you’re in Canada! My friends and I spent our last day at some of our favorite locations: hitting up Vapiano’s for dinner, followed by another raunchy night at our favorite drinking hole the Travel Shack. By ending in Vienna, my trip had come full circle, and I couldn’t imagine a better way to end it.

 

–       Marqis

Travel Playlist 2014
1.) Leaving Edmonton: American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html

2.) Vienna: Billy Joel – Vienna
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdiXvDU4P0
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/vienna.html

3.) Linz: City and Colour – The Lonely Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBFQpX6mV8
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cityandcolour/thelonelylife.html

4.) Graz: Closure in Moscow – Night at the Spleen
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggZaTPnMpMU
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/closureinmoscow/anightatthespleen.html

5.) Prague: New Politics – Fall Into These Arms
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUgMZDn1G4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/newpolitics/fallintothesearms.html

6.) Füssen: Biffy Clyro – Mountains
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2v4YsLpI8c
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/biffyclyro/mountains.html

7.) Reflections and Ramblings: Bastille – Laughter Lines
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccFSXgdv5U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/laughterlines.html

8.) Zell am See: The Menzingers – Gates
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1aWag0Nl9E
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/menzingers/gates.html

9.) Vienna II: A Day to Remember – City of Ocala
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Sl1lL1ybY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/daytoremember/cityofocala.html

10.) Amsterdam: Less  Than Jake – Good Enough
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p81Lqx3t24k
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lessthanjake/goodenough.html

11.) Brugges: Seether – Tonight
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzdecygpmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/seether/tonight.html

12.) Brussels: Frank Turner – Four Simple Words
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBaCRl2h87I
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/frankturner/foursimplewords.html

13.) Stockholm: John Newman – Love Me Again
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnewman/lovemeagain.html

14.) Uppsala: Philip Philips – Gone, Gone, Gone
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phillipphillips/gonegonegone.html

15.) Lisbon: Switchfoot – Saltwater Heart
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1e5kLDAGmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/saltwaterheart.html

16.) Lagos: Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/florencethemachine/shakeitout.html

17.) Budapest: All Time Low – Weightless
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpG3BxRctQ4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alltimelow/weightless.html

18.) Goodbye, Vienna: Good Charlotte – Counting the Days
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrGF9qG5kM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/goodcharlotte/countingthedays.html

19.) Copenhagen: Anberlin – Stranger Ways
Song: http://youtu.be/F1G6qRQYu0U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/anberlin/strangerways.html

20.) Berlin: Nothing More – I’ll Be OK
Song: http://youtu.be/5VgaEXGehDw
Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/nothing-more/i-ll-be-ok-lyrics/

21.) Athens: Black Light Burns – Cruel Melody
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omktVIJD0iA
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/blacklightburns/cruelmelody.html

22.) Santorini: Birds of Tokyo – Lanterns
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbJ3vacGOhw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/birdsoftokyo/lanterns.html

23.) Milan: Angels & Airwaves – The Adventure
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMl8cQjBfqk
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/angelsairwaves/theadventure.html

24.) Monterrosso: Babysitters Circus – Everythings Gonna Be Alright
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k4wM-NWEyo
Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/the-babysitters-circus/everythings-gonna-be-alright-lyrics/

25.) Florence: Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf-rEslupnY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gaslightanthem/handwritten.html

26.) Rome: Young Guns – I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54kyYs5m9Cg
Lyrics: www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/youngguns/iwasbornihavelivediwillsurelydie.html

27.) Marseille: Royal Blood – Out of the Black
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_3mNCaJgNM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/royalblood/outoftheblack.html

28.) Avignon: No Devotion – Stay
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S1O3D8Q7_A
Lyrics: http://www.sing365.com/music/HotLyrics.nsf/Stay-lyrics-No-Devotion/A8AAF234C63A4AE148257D0A00575CA

29.) Paris: Starset – Halo
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01BsH0p_T8c
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/starset/halo.html

30.) Barcelona: Heartist – Skeletons
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6T9XBuRcbQ
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/heartist/skeletons.html

31.) Pamplona: Chevelle – Hats off to the Bull
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MRLd1Cgbdg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/chevelle/hatsofftothebull.html

32.) Bilbao: Foster the People – I Would Do Anything For You
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOIfNyBmZ0g
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/fosterthepeople/iwoulddoanythingforyou.html

33.) Vienna: Breaking Benjamin – Without You
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb7zhunYGik
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/breakingbenjamin/withoutyou.html

34.) Going Home: Super Happy Fun Club – Way Back (The Conflict)
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uEGMQex4cA
Lyrics: https://soundcloud.com/superhappyfunclub/way-back-the-conflict

Bulls Deep Part 1: A Prelude to the Craziest Birthday of My Life

Spain. The final European party. This is the conclusion to the adventures of the traveler Marqis. His six month mission: to explore strange new clubs, to seek out new friends and new shenanigans, to boldly go where no Marqis has gone before. Coincidentally, this conclusion would feature our hero’s birthday. This is his story.

“It’s your birthday” Mateo said. I didn’t respond. “Are you not excited to be 15?” he asked. Reading my book I uttered “I turned 15 long ago”. – Jaden Smith

What better way to start off a birthday post than by using a birthday tweet from everyone’s favorite moron, Jaden Smith?? I’m not entirely sure what he was going for, but I’m assuming he thought it was really deep and perplexing. Yeah, no. So why did I choose this quote? Because if you’re expecting a really deep, perplexing birthday post that delves into maturity and the progression of one’s life, then prepare to get the metaphorical equivalent of a turd in a bag. This post is going to be filled with dumb comments, boob jokes, and it’ll leave you dumbfounded and questioning my smarts. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, to the good stuff.

The adventure began in a crowded airplane that was descending towards the Barcelona airport. I awoke from my siesta, images of sangria, tapas, and Spanish women with low standards dancing around in my head. In a matter of minutes we touched down on the soft, boiling tarmac; the Spanish sun beckoning our weary bodies out of the scrap metal tube we called a plane. The rays cooked my delicate, North American skin from porcelain to lobster red in a matter of minutes as I did my best zombie shuffle across the runway. I licked my dry lips, my mind swirling with the sweet anticipation of finding some blistex or lip chap. Nobody likes chapped lips. Not even the Spanish. Especially not the Spanish. Once I entered the shaded shelter of the Spanish airport, I whipped out my iPhone along with my iPod, iPad, and i-just-wanna-party mentality. The plan was to message my friend and her traveling companion; the two girls I’d be traveling with for the week. From here on in, I shall refer to them as Boston Pizza and Luke Skywalker (they’ll appreciate those nicknames, I’m sure). I rattled off a message to my friend Boston Pizza. The plan was to meet them at our hostel, and then continue the party from there.

After getting kinda lost on my way and having to ask a kid named E-Rod for directions (his name was actually E-Rod. I’m not sure what it stood for, but I’m sure he gets all the ladies and I’m also sure that there’s an erection joke in there somewhere), I finally stumbled into my hostel. The place was bumpin’, with everyone throwing back drinks, watching football (soccer for you American folk), and playing a little P to the O to the O to the LLLLLLLLLLLLLL. I figured I’d get all nice and cosy while I waited for my Boston Pizza and Luke Skywalker, so I went to my room to drop off my gear and clean myself up so I could go out in public without worrying about charges of public indecency. To elaborate, there’s swass, and then there’s traveling SWASS. The hostel floors looked like they were taken straight out of a Joel Schumacher film; neon on neon on neonnnnnnnnnn. Neon for weeks. Seriously, I can’t get over how much neon. Every floor had a different colour of lighting. I got into my room, which was in the equivalent of butt fuck nowhere on my floor, only to find what looked to be the remnants of an orgy…. clothes scattered everywhere, bodies misplaced, bags tossed without a care, the lingering stench of sweat dancing through the air to the sweet tune of “daddy issues” . Just my luck that I’d show up after it… I mean, uhhh. Anyways, I tidied up and went downstairs to wait for my friends…AKA play the waiting game. The only thing I learned was that the waiting game sucks, and that I’d much rather play Hungry Hungry Hippos. Hours slothed by while I waited for Boston Pizza (and yes, I just made “slothed” a thing. I can’t wait until that catches on). So what does one do when they’re getting stood up? They spam the fuck out of their friend’s facebook until they answer. Here’s essentially what the transcript was for my one man conversation:

“Hey, you here???”

“I’m in the lobby! So stoked to see ya! :D”

“Soooooooooooooooooooo, what’s your status?”

“Wanna grab dinner? I’m a starvin’ Marvin. Pizza? Oui? Non?”

“Just let me know what your plans are! I might go get dinner on my own if you’re busy!”

“Seriously though! Where are ya!”

“U nappin homie?”

“WAKE UPPPPPPPPPPPP”

“Hey! Guess who just got uninvited to dinner! Go die”

“Please come eat with me, I’m so lonely”

“I DON’T NEED YOU. WHATEVER. I’LL JUST EAT BY MYSELF AND TAKE INSTAGRAM PHOTOS TO MAKE ME FEEL BETTER ABOUT MYSELF. I DON’T NEED YOU. IM MAH OWNNNN MAN!”.

“So I’m going for dinner down the street, see ya soon 🙂 . JUST KIDDING, YOU’RE DEAD TO ME”

Conveniently, Boston Pizza strolled in minutes after I sent all this spam. I ran up to her and asked her what took her so long. She replied nonchalantly with “I’ve spent all evening in the hospital”. Overwhelmed with guilt, I asked her if she was ok and then casually dropped that she shouldn’t check her facebook messages. She replied with “Oh, I’m doing great! Luke Skywalker might have malaria thoughhhhh, haha!” It turns out that Luke Skywalker had a terrible fever on the flight after leaving a malaria zone, and had to take an ambulance to the local hospital to get tested to see if she contracted the disease. Good friends would be concerned and go back to the hospital to stay with their friend until the wee hours of the morning out of the fear of her dying. These friends went for dinner and watched Germany embarrass Brazil in the World Cup. Pizza was demolished, beers were downed, and eventually a twinge of guilt could be felt in our ever so thoughtful hearts. So, we trudged along to the hospital to see if Luke Skywalker was still alive, the lone thought in the back of my mind being “so this is how zombie apocalypse’s start…”. Of course the hospital is a nightmare to navigate, but eventually we find Boston Pizza’s friend, and I get the best first impression ever: meeting her for the first time in a Spanish hospital while she’s getting tested for Malaria. Now that’s a helluva “how did you meet your friend?” story if there ever was one!

We hoped that she would be all cleared to leave when we got there, but little did we know that the hospitals in Europe are just as bad, if not worse, than the hospitals in North America. How was it worse? Well it just so happens that I’ve broken it down into a mathematical formula for you guys. Take a look:

 NA Hospital Wait Time^^ (Time Difference Between European City and NA City)
No Health Coverage (Euros)  as (No English –> ∞)

The long and short of it is that you should never go to a European hospital unless you’re minutes away from death, or you’re having some sort of weird but extreme STD problem (ex. Your junk is falling off). The biggest factor that was keeping us from taking on everything Spain had to offer was the fact that no one spoke English at this hospital. At all. Period. If you tried speaking English to them, they’d spit out Spanish right back at you and pretend you weren’t there. You know when a 5 year old throws a tantrum and plugs their eyes while saying “NAH NAH NAH I’M NOT LISTENINGGGG”. Yeah, it’s like that but instead of a 5 year old it’s a 37 year old nurse named Bonita and instead of throwing a tantrum she’s denying you medical information in Spanish. After getting denied repeatedly (a feeling Marqis is not used am I right?!? 😉 ), we eventually gave up and played some more of the waiting game. The Seconds did their best Hours impression, strolling by at a terribly slow pace. To put it in perspective, I spent a solid 10 minutes trying to figure out how to reinforce my shoelaces so I could hang myself with them.

20140908-130450.jpg

Eventually, our suicidal thoughts were quelled by the arrival of Alejandro. That wasn’t actually his name, but I wanted a name that rolled off the tongue while you pictured me yelling the name of our savior. ALEJANDROOOOOOOOOOO. He escorted Luke Skywalker to the patient’s room, where she would further be evaluated by the doctor. For some reason, Boston Pizza and I decided that instead of waiting to see what the deal was with our friend in the overcrowded waiting room, we’d go sit in a stairwell and take hilarious selfies/post facebook statuses about our dilemma (insert something about current and future generations being pathetic here). Once again we waited aimlessly for what felt like eternity. We simply couldn’t figure out why our friend hadn’t been released yet, and if she had, why she hadn’t found us in an obscure stairway down the hall from the patient’s room. We mustered up some courage and barged into the patient’s room, where Luke Skywalker was curled up into the fetal position on a bed. Exchanging goodbyes, we decided it was best to leave her at the hospital so we could get a few hours of sleep before embarking on our tour the next day. T-Minus 17 hours until Night Zero: the beginning of Marcus’ 24 hour birthday celebration. Our bodies would never be ready for the madness that was about to follow.

Travel Playlist 2014
1.) Leaving Edmonton: American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html

2.) Vienna: Billy Joel – Vienna
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdiXvDU4P0
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/vienna.html

3.) Linz: City and Colour – The Lonely Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBFQpX6mV8
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cityandcolour/thelonelylife.html

4.) Graz: Closure in Moscow – Night at the Spleen
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggZaTPnMpMU
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/closureinmoscow/anightatthespleen.html

5.) Prague: New Politics – Fall Into These Arms
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUgMZDn1G4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/newpolitics/fallintothesearms.html

6.) Füssen: Biffy Clyro – Mountains
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2v4YsLpI8c
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/biffyclyro/mountains.html

7.) Reflections and Ramblings: Bastille – Laughter Lines
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccFSXgdv5U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/laughterlines.html

8.) Zell am See: The Menzingers – Gates
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1aWag0Nl9E
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/menzingers/gates.html

9.) Vienna II: A Day to Remember – City of Ocala
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Sl1lL1ybY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/daytoremember/cityofocala.html

10.) Amsterdam: Less  Than Jake – Good Enough
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p81Lqx3t24k
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lessthanjake/goodenough.html

11.) Brugges: Seether – Tonight
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzdecygpmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/seether/tonight.html

12.) Brussels: Frank Turner – Four Simple Words
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBaCRl2h87I
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/frankturner/foursimplewords.html

13.) Stockholm: John Newman – Love Me Again
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnewman/lovemeagain.html

14.) Uppsala: Philip Philips – Gone, Gone, Gone
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phillipphillips/gonegonegone.html

15.) Lisbon: Switchfoot – Saltwater Heart
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1e5kLDAGmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/saltwaterheart.html

16.) Lagos: Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/florencethemachine/shakeitout.html

17.) Budapest: All Time Low – Weightless
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpG3BxRctQ4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alltimelow/weightless.html

18.) Goodbye, Vienna: Good Charlotte – Counting the Days
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrGF9qG5kM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/goodcharlotte/countingthedays.html

19.) Copenhagen: Anberlin – Stranger Ways
Song: http://youtu.be/F1G6qRQYu0U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/anberlin/strangerways.html

20.) Berlin: Nothing More – I’ll Be OK
Song: http://youtu.be/5VgaEXGehDw
Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/nothing-more/i-ll-be-ok-lyrics/

21.) Athens: Black Light Burns – Cruel Melody
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omktVIJD0iA
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/blacklightburns/cruelmelody.html

22.) Santorini: Birds of Tokyo – Lanterns
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbJ3vacGOhw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/birdsoftokyo/lanterns.html

23.) Milan: Angels & Airwaves – The Adventure
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMl8cQjBfqk
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/angelsairwaves/theadventure.html

24.) Monterrosso: Babysitters Circus – Everythings Gonna Be Alright
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k4wM-NWEyo
Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/the-babysitters-circus/everythings-gonna-be-alright-lyrics/

25.) Florence: Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf-rEslupnY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gaslightanthem/handwritten.html

26.) Rome: Young Guns – I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54kyYs5m9Cg
Lyrics: www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/youngguns/iwasbornihavelivediwillsurelydie.html

27.) Marseille: Royal Blood – Out of the Black
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_3mNCaJgNM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/royalblood/outoftheblack.html

28.) Avignon: No Devotion – Stay
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S1O3D8Q7_A
Lyrics: http://www.sing365.com/music/HotLyrics.nsf/Stay-lyrics-No-Devotion/A8AAF234C63A4AE148257D0A00575CA

Rome-ing around in a France-iful kinda way

Rome. Ohhhh Rome. There’s so much to say about Rome. Yes, you, Rome. Ho ho ho ROME! MY god, you. Wow. Let me get started.

So France was pretty great.

Nah I’m just kidding. But in all seriousness, this entry will be pretty brief because I lost my list of things that I had written down on my iPhone. Throw in some premature senility and a ravenous case of travelers diarrhea, and we have ourselves a brief entry!

My trip to Rome started off with a nice dose of comedy early in the morn. After saying goodbye to my parents and hopping onto the train, I did my best Walking Dead zombie audition all the way to my train cabin. My seat was located at the edge of the cabin, so I had a few view of the hallway and all the weird people clamoring around in it. My ABSOLUTE favorite group of people had to be the group of Asians in the cabin next to me. They had lined all of their luggage up against the wall of the train hallway. Their first mistake was putting all of their luggage upright, so the wheels were touching the ground. Whenever the train shook or made a turn, the luggage would start crawling down the hall, resulting in a hilarious scene as 4-5 middle aged Asian women came jumping out of their seats, chasing after their bags. So what did they do in order to fix this migrating mayhem? They all took off their belts and scarves and tied their bags to the railing on the wall… Between 4-5 grown women, this was their solution. Not able to resist such a golden opportunity, I walked forward with the swag equivalent of Mad Max as he walks the post apocalyptic wastelands. Without saying a word, I picked up one of their bags and placed it wheels up so it wouldn’t roll away. The Asian women stopped and stared in awe as I handed back their scarves and belts. Then, in unison, they broke out in thunderous applause as I walked away, returning to my cabin with a sly grin on my face and the satisfaction of being the smartest person in the train cart.

The train arrived nice and early in the afternoon, giving me plenty of time to wander around and check out the sites. My favorite site by far was the Colosseum, which was a nice 20 minute walk away from my hostel. There was one promise that I made myself before I started traveling, and that promise was that I wouldn’t take public transportation while exploring the city/town I was in. It gave me the opportunity to really soak in the culture and atmosphere of the place, as opposed to sitting on a hot and sweaty bus with all the other annoying tourists that were taking Rome by storm. The Colosseum itself was worth every minute of walking. Most of it has been fairly damaged since its inception, but the remaining structures that are still standing are both intimidating and incredible. I’d give up someone’s first born child just to get a chance to see the gladiators fight on the sandy surface of the arena. I’d give up their second born child to start a quasi legal gambling ring so I could collect bets. Not to figure out how to get the odds straightened out for a tiger mauling or gladiator beheading… Before leaving the arena, I made sure to take a couple bad ass photos to commemorate my trip:

Rome

Later that day I found out that one of my exchange friends happened to be coming to Rome, and she also happened to be staying at the same hostel that I was staying at. We met up the next morning and decided to do one of the free walking tours that can be found in most major cities in Europe. It was probably the worst tour I’ve ever been on. The lady was knowledgeable, but her voice was so monotone and hypnotic, I’d start spacing out and falling asleep while she talked. It was one of those voices where you hear everything they say, but you don’t process anything. Every time she’d talk, I’d look to my friend and ask her to repeat it for me. I’d drone on about the sites we saw, but to be honest I’d have to look them up again because I lost everything on Rome on my phone…. I can tell you, however, that the Vatican is extremely nice on the outside, and probably not worth the 6 hour wait and 40 euro entry fee just to go inside. I didn’t even bother going in because of how packed and busy it gets. Seeing it from the outside was satisfying enough for this worldly wanderer. My biggest disappointment was that no one threatened to smite me, family guy style. Maybe next time?

What I can tell you, however, is that I had two nights of wonderful company from random people I met from my hostel. If there’s anything I love most about traveling, it’s the opportunity to meet people you probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. I’ll be seeing you folk soon! I also realized that the people at my hostel were all about partying hard and having a good time when I went to go have a shower and I found a pair of panties hanging off of the shower head… So what was going to be a chill two days in Rome ended up with me getting about 6 hours of sleep and having more sangria than I’d care to admit.

From there, I hopped onto  a plane to Marseille, where I spent a couple days relaxing before going to meet up with a friend and her family in Avignon, France. Pretty early on into my trip I realized that my french was wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy rustier than I would have cared to admit. It’s always frustrating when you understand what people say, but you don’t have the brain power to talk back to them in french. So instead of working on my french, I got really good at sign language. My friend and her family were staying at a lovely little french flat in some little town outside of Avignon. I was expecting to sleep on a couch or on the floor, but instead I had the luxury of sleeping in the guest house. I had almost forgotten what it was like to sleep on an actual bed, and not a hostel mattress. It was like sleeping in lotion. One of the highlights of this trip was embarking on a 77 km bike ride through the country side. Sounds relaxing and easy, right? No. God. No. There were hills on hills on hills. The first hill I saw I was like “that doesn’t look so bad”. Yeah, it’s the gradual ones that get  you because they go on for kilometers at a time. And if there’s one thing you need to know about road bike seats, it’s that they are UNFORGIVING. Here are three things I learned while biking the roads of France: 1) always wear bike shorts or you won’t be able to reproduce 2) I’ll never bike in Tour de France without steroids 3) no one likes it when a grown man cries. We severely underestimated how much food and water we’d need for our trip, so on the way back we were facing death by starvation. As luck would have it, we were biking back during the French siesta time, so everyone had closed shop for a few hours to do whatever French people do (well, we know the answer to that: not work). A third of a brain cell firing, bodies barely functioning, we were one pedal away from writing our last wills and testaments. Then, it happened. To this day, I won’t ever be able to describe the feeling I felt when I looked upon it for the first time. It’s like someone crossed the wires on my dead heart and brought it back to life; jumpstarting my will to live as the air flowed freely into my weak, dying lungs. A light pierced the overcast skies, falling upon our salvation in all its divine glory. Our salvation was Pizza Phil’s: the only  restaurant open during French fiesta time. Scrambling with the last of our energy, we abandoned our crotch destroying bikes and jumped into Pizza Phil’s warm embrace, ordering ourselves pizza after pizza, and a bowl of french fries to boot. We were in carb heaven. The only words that should be used to describe this pizza are from the illustrious Marshall Eriksen: “We begin with the first bite. Aww the crunch, and then marinara, that roiling lava of tomato and oregano it overtakes you. I’m falling!! And that’s when she catches you. That chewy voluptuous mistress Mozzarella. Oven-kissed cheeks crackle with warmth in your mouth, cradling the sauce and the bread letting you know from now on this is home. This pizza… It’s home.” Pizza Phil, if you ever read this, I want you to know that in a world that worships heroes and ethereal beings, you’re the only one I have ever believed in. The only one I’d never give up on. After eating enough food to feed a small village, or 1-2 teens whose metabolisms haven’t caught up to them, we climbed onto our carbon fiber steeds for one last stretch of finely paved french road. We were in the homestretch, having conquered the worst of the hills and twisty roads. It took us another tumultuous 30-40 minutes, but eventually we were able to get back to our quaint little french pad. Later that day, my friend and I walked down the road to a local goat cheese maker. The property was pretty decrepit, with the dogs barking along with every movement. We knocked on the door for a few minutes before giving up and  turning around. As we were leaving, the goat cheese farmer came stumbling out of his shed, hair messy and belly bulging. He walked up to us, flashing a toothy grin and rambling in french. We kept up with the broken conversation and explained that we wanted some cheese. He unlocked the door to his storage room and beckoned us in. The first thing I thought of when I walked in was “this looks like a kill room from Dexter”. Everything was immaculate in cleanliness, and the fluorescent lights and metal cabinets all but confirmed one thing: we were going to die and get made into the very goat cheese he was trying to sell. Once our overactive imaginations cooled off, we got some funky goat cheese and hustled out of there, scooting back to the comfort and security of our guest house.

After a couple days of thunderstorms, goat cheese meals, and copious amounts of wine, all 6 of us piled into a 5 seater car and took off to another little french town (whose name escapes me) for a winery tour. Everything seemed swell and dandy until we realized that the map was  taking us down a gravel road. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but when you have 6 people who are bloated from wine and fancy french food, there’s a REALLY good chance your car might bottom out. Which it did. 3-4 times. So 5 of us hopped out and started hiking down the road while my friend’s mom drove ahead. If there’s a Jebus, he was making us earn our wine, that’s damn sure. We had some time to kill before the winery tour, so we stopped in at a little store and grabbed some food. The girls all grabbed croissants and coffee, while I grabbed a 6 pack of yogurts, a package of lunch meat, and an orange juice. The looks I got while I was spooned through 6 cups of  yogurt was hilarious. The judgement in the air was so thick you could cut it with a butter knife and slap it on a croissant. Eventually it was time to go on the wine tour. We had a fantastically knowledgeable guide named Jasper, who didn’t hesitate to trash talk about football while also giving us one metric shit ton of information about wine. The best part was easily the tasting afterwards. Not because of the free wine, but because we could actually notice certain things about the types of wine and the differences in flavour that resulted from the fermentation process. After the wine tour, we went for one of the most expensive lunches I’ve ever had. I ordered one plate, and it was almost $60 Canadian. To say I crapped myself and cried while ordering is an understatement. I’m pretty sure the waiter could hear my voice crack as I held back tears and placed my order, trying not to make eye contact so he couldn’t see me cry. How fancy was this food? It was fancy enough that I’m 99% sure they had an engineer in the kitchen helping construct the food. It wasn’t so much about flavour as much as it was about presentation. The time in France started to speed up after this, and soon enough it was time to say goodbye and head off to Paris. It was a helluva week with some wonderful people! If you’re reading this, thank you so much for housing me! You saved me from whoring myself out for a bed and food for a week. And with the prices in France, there’s no doubt that I’d have to put up with some butt stuff.
Next up: Paris and Spain, followed by a recap of my adventures in Mexico! Buckle up, folks.

Travel Playlist 2014
1.) Leaving Edmonton: American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html

2.) Vienna: Billy Joel – Vienna
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdiXvDU4P0
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/vienna.html

3.) Linz: City and Colour – The Lonely Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBFQpX6mV8
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cityandcolour/thelonelylife.html

4.) Graz: Closure in Moscow – Night at the Spleen
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggZaTPnMpMU
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/closureinmoscow/anightatthespleen.html

5.) Prague: New Politics – Fall Into These Arms
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUgMZDn1G4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/newpolitics/fallintothesearms.html

6.) Füssen: Biffy Clyro – Mountains
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2v4YsLpI8c
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/biffyclyro/mountains.html

7.) Reflections and Ramblings: Bastille – Laughter Lines
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccFSXgdv5U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/laughterlines.html

8.) Zell am See: The Menzingers – Gates
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1aWag0Nl9E
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/menzingers/gates.html

9.) Vienna II: A Day to Remember – City of Ocala
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Sl1lL1ybY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/daytoremember/cityofocala.html

10.) Amsterdam: Less  Than Jake – Good Enough
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p81Lqx3t24k
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lessthanjake/goodenough.html

11.) Brugges: Seether – Tonight
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzdecygpmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/seether/tonight.html

12.) Brussels: Frank Turner – Four Simple Words
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBaCRl2h87I
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/frankturner/foursimplewords.html

13.) Stockholm: John Newman – Love Me Again
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnewman/lovemeagain.html

14.) Uppsala: Philip Philips – Gone, Gone, Gone
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phillipphillips/gonegonegone.html

15.) Lisbon: Switchfoot – Saltwater Heart
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1e5kLDAGmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/saltwaterheart.html

16.) Lagos: Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/florencethemachine/shakeitout.html

17.) Budapest: All Time Low – Weightless
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpG3BxRctQ4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alltimelow/weightless.html

18.) Goodbye, Vienna: Good Charlotte – Counting the Days
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrGF9qG5kM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/goodcharlotte/countingthedays.html

19.) Copenhagen: Anberlin – Stranger Ways
Song: http://youtu.be/F1G6qRQYu0U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/anberlin/strangerways.html

20.) Berlin: Nothing More – I’ll Be OK
Song: http://youtu.be/5VgaEXGehDw
Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/nothing-more/i-ll-be-ok-lyrics/

21.) Athens: Black Light Burns – Cruel Melody
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omktVIJD0iA
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/blacklightburns/cruelmelody.html

22.) Santorini: Birds of Tokyo – Lanterns
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbJ3vacGOhw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/birdsoftokyo/lanterns.html

23.) Milan: Angels & Airwaves – The Adventure
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMl8cQjBfqk
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/angelsairwaves/theadventure.html

24.) Monterrosso: Babysitters Circus – Everythings Gonna Be Alright
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k4wM-NWEyo
Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/the-babysitters-circus/everythings-gonna-be-alright-lyrics/

25.) Florence: Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf-rEslupnY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gaslightanthem/handwritten.html

26.) Rome: Young Guns – I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54kyYs5m9Cg
Lyrics: www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/youngguns/iwasbornihavelivediwillsurelydie.html

27.) Marseille: Royal Blood – Out of the Black
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_3mNCaJgNM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/royalblood/outoftheblack.html

28.) Avignon: No Devotion – Stay
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S1O3D8Q7_A
Lyrics: http://www.sing365.com/music/HotLyrics.nsf/Stay-lyrics-No-Devotion/A8AAF234C63A4AE148257D0A00575CA5

 

The Marqis, The Gyros, and The Sex Appeal Killin’ Carbs: Part 2

The start of the journey to Santorini ended with some bittersweet goodbyes to one of our hostel mates in Athens. He was supposed to meet up with a russian/albanian/greek/latvian/somethin’ other gal. I distinctly remember shaking his hand, the smell of nervous perspir….errr, anticipation filling the air as he waltzed off into the night, his conquest for cheap sex (I mean, love) leading him along the grimy streets of Athens to this girl-whose-origins-can’t-be-listed-because-she-has-too-many-to-be-named. To this day we haven’t heard from him, but we’re hoping that his casual facebook activity means he’s alive, and that he didn’t actually suffer a terrible death at the hands of the Albanian mob (of which this girl was assuredly associated with. I mean, if you’re Albanian what else do you do? Honest work? HA!). It’s a very real possibility that his facebook account is being run by a pudgy Albanian man in a basement made up bricks, mortar, and anonymity. Our dear friend will be forever remembered for his penchant for tossin up some damn dirty rhymes; the likes of which would make P Diddy call a doctor, because erections shouldn’t last for more than 6 hours. Whether he was getting ready to “jam out with his clam out” or “fest out with his breast out” (to be honest I can’t remember the others so I made that last one up. Admittedly it’s not very good)., he was an inspiration that will never be forgotten. Anyways, getting back to Santorini…. the adventure started off with myself and 3 wonderful Aussie girls soaking up the sun on the deck of a ferry. And by soaking up the sun I mean we were all passed out in awkward positions on tables and chairs trying to get a bit of sleep. Well, 3 of us were passed out. One of my friends decided that it was an opportune time to work on her photography skills. I can only imagine that she has photos of me sleeping pinned up on her criminal minds-esque serial killer bulletin board (and I know you’re reading this. I don’t blame you, really. I’m adorable when I’m not sleeping with my mouth open). The ferry was also the birthplace of one of our favorite words for the rest of the trip: muff. It pretty much started with me buying a muffin, and one of my Aussie friends going “where’d you get that muff?!?!”. From there, muff took on a life of its own. We couldn’t have a good time without a lil’ muff, and muff was all we needed. Have a bad photo? Add a lil muff to it. It was one of those jokes that became way too funny, probably because of the delirious state we were in from not sleeping much the night before. After busing into town, we got settled into our new digs and began to plan our night out. Myself and one of the Aussie girls were at one hostel, while the other two Aussies were farther away in different accommodations. SO, we decided we’d all rent quads and meet up at one of the beaches 30 minutes away. The quads themselves were an adventure because a) my aussie friend had never driven on the right side of the road before and b) my fuel gauge and speedometer was broken. Ignoring all forms of common sense and logic, I decided to cruise on my quad to the beach, thinking “what’s the worst that can happen? I mean, it’s only the fuel gauge and speedometer!”. Turns out that navigating the island wasn’t as easy as we thought, as we got lost like 4 times before getting ourselves set in the right direction. As a result, we  got to the beach an hour late and missed our friends. That didn’t stop us from enjoying the beach and having an impromptu model shoot though:
beach pose

     (don’t act like you’re not impressed)

Part of this impromptu photoshoot was dedicated to joking about how likely it was that my quad was going to run out of fuel on the way back. This is where Marqis made an error in judgment. See, Marqis assumed that they’d given him a quad with a full tank. And, knowing the fuel consumption of a standard ATV (but not actually), he figured his chances of making it back were pretty good. He was sittin’ pretty without a care in the world. And of course, less than 10 minutes after driving his quad serenades him to the sweet tune of “put put put cough cough coughhhh”; the sound of running on fumes. As luck would have it, this would happen on a particularly busy street, causing Marqis to swerve to the side so he could hop off and push his quad to safety (while hopefully not getting run over by crazy Greek drivers). The ridiculousness continued after that. Marqis had to ride bitch seat with his Aussie friend back to a gas station, getting all sorts of hilarious looks from people since a girl was driving. You could hear the loud, clunky sound of Marqis’ street credits crashing onto the uneven Greek streets, one lonely credit at a time. Once they got to the gas station, they found out that they didn’t have any containers he could put some gas in. So, Marqis was forced to improvise and had to fill up two water bottles with fuel, which he then had to hold in his hands while driving back to his quad. Thankfully it was enough to get me back to the rental facility, where Marqis wanted to yell at them for not telling him that he had to fuel up his own quad before going. Tired, we walked to the nearest food stand for some of our lifeblood: chicken gyros. These masterful creations were developed by scientists in the most top secret of facilities with only one goal in mind: eradicate hunger with economically friendly prices. They succeeded. Goddammit, they succeeded. I’d pretty much live off of these bad boys for the rest of the week (because at 2 euros a meal, who wouldn’t???). The rest of the night was left to debauchery. We met up with some Americans and UKers in the hostel and decided that it was time to explore the nightlife of Santorini. Our adventures took us to a neon paint party where I was introduced to the strange art of “slammers”. Let me paint the scene for you (pun intended): Marqis has had his fair share of drinks for the night. The beats are bumpin. His dance moves are slayin. All is well. Then, the bartender climbs up onto the top of the bar and points at Marqis. Naturally, Marqis assumes that his good looks and well trimmed beard have caused the man to lose his sanity and challenge Marqis to a duel atop the bar. That or he’s getting a free drink in exchange for doing something really fucking stupid. Either way, his curiosity is sparked, so Marqis decides to step forward and investigate. The bartender is holding a baseball bat in his hand, and is covered in neon paint; doing some sort of strange tribal dance and probably tripping balls on acid. Marqis acknowledges this and walks forward, a red helmet being placed in his hands as he does so. Naturally, Marqis dons the helmet. And damn does he look good. Then, in a swift and sudden movement, the acid-trippin-tribal man raises the baseball bat over his head and brings it down with the fury of a thousand burning suns. Marqis’ reflexes are too slow, and the bat makes contact with the helmet, rattling Marqis to his very core; every bone, blood vessel, and individual sperm suffering from extreme vibrations. Shaken, the acid-tripping-tribal man hands him a shot and starts to clap. It was all part of the show. Apparently Greek people get so bored that they do this thing where they go around striking each other over the head with baseball bats, fire extinguishers, chairs, etc before they drink. From my understanding, the concussion is supposed to enhance the drunk. Maybe we can get Mythbusters in on this? I guess that’s what happens when you’re in an economic crisis and have no money?

The rest of our time in Santorini would be spent quadding and getting in some MUCH needed beach time. One of my favorite beaches was the black beach, where they had a prime spot for cliff diving. At first the cliff seemed pretty intimidating, so myself and one of my Aussie friends kinda hooed and hawed at it, deciding that we would “see how we feel in an hour or two”. Sure enough, we started climbing the rocks and preparing ourselves for the jump. The height was slightly intimidating, but what made it worse was a) the gravel near the edge (so you could trip and fall) and b) the fact that you were essentially jumping between two cliff faces that were protruding out, the area of error quite small. We stood at the top sassing at each other for a few minutes until it was decided that I’d go first. My dislike for heights started to kick in, and it was followed by being completely emasculated by a 12 year old boy. This kid strolled up with so much swag it hurt my brain, and then turned towards the edge and did a backflip, falling to the water below with the grace of…. well, I dunno, something really fucking graceful. At this point I had no choice but to jump, so I waited for him to clear out of the way, and then I did my best “Batman jumping off a rooftop, ready to surprise a bunch of criminals” impression. It was completely exhilarating. The only downside was I didn’t plug my nose before hitting the water, so my insides got a thorough rinsing from all the salt water. I had water dripping out of my nose for 3 hours after that…..

Some of the other highlights included a trip to an island made up entirely of volcanic rock as well as a hotspring. The best part about this island was when we stopped to take photos of ourselves, all the asian tourists would get us to wave at them as they took photos of us taking photos (photoception). I’m just waiting to go to Hong Kong and see my face photoshopped on a head and shoulders bottle. The second part of this tour was a strangely coloured hot spring. This hot spring (which was more like a “mild” spring… ba dum tsssss) was a brown/orangey colour because of the sulfur content. It was quite the spectacle as you swam through clear water, and into a smoggy brown mess. Things started to get messy when we discovered the mud that was lining the floor of the hot spring. So, what does one do when they have mud and a mild case of heat stroke? They recreate this scene from the lion king where Rafiki draws on Simba’s forehead with paint/fruit/whatever it was. We even sang “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba” (I still can’t believe that’s how it’s spelled. I always thought it was more like HAYAAAAA AWEMBAAA MAHIIBAYAHOOO WEYAAA or something like that.

One of my favorite afternoons/evenings was embarking on a hike with two of my American friends. We were going to meet a bunch of people at Oia, a town on the island that offered the best view of the sun setting. So what does one do when he’s near a town that has such a romantic setting? He hikes there with his two manly friends. No wait, that’s definitely not what I should have done. But it was pretty damn awesome. The hike there was absolutely confusing and unpaved; leading us through the cliffside condos and then through rocky and mountainous terrain. We even stopped at a super sketchy trailer home cafe that offered up some of the best cheese and ham sandwiches EVER (but that could have been because my stomach was eating itself out of hunger). The hike was supposed to take about 3 hours, but we managed to kill it in just over 2. Strolling into town, we met up with some of the Aussie girls and found ourselves a nice little perch to sit on to watch the sunset, before eventually grabbing some food and beers and relaxing. This would mark the end of my time in Santorini. I ended up going back to Athens for a night or two, but to be honest I didn’t do much because I’m not a fan of the city.

After Greece, I embarked on a trip to Italy to meet up with the Bank of Mom and Dad (as I like to call them). To be honest, nothing really exciting happened. Or at least nothing blog worthy. It was incredible getting to see them again after 5 long months, and  they were generous and caring as always. We conquered some walking trails in between the towns of Cinque Terre, sassed restaurants for their crappy service, and soaked up museums, fireworks, and many other wonderful sights. It was a nice departure from the usual rowdiness I’d grown accustomed to. The only really funny thing that happened was a severe case of senility on my parents part. My dad was brushing his teeth and he had a glass of water sitting by the sink. Without asking, my mom emptied it and put some soap in it so she could wash it. My dad, in turn, failed to notice this, and started drinking from the glass without looking. Realizing it was soap, he starts coughing it up and yelling “WOMAN, ARE YOU TRYING TO POISON ME?!?!”. It was the kind of banter that could only come from an old married couple. Aside from that, the only thing I consistently did in Italy was eat away my sex appeal, one carb at a time. I went from hulking hero to pudgy loafer in no time at all. Mission: beach body pretty much died the minute I stepped off the plane and entered the land of the Italian. Coming up next: Marqis does Rome, France and then faces certain death in Spain!

Travel Playlist 2014
1.) Leaving Edmonton: American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html

2.) Vienna: Billy Joel – Vienna
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdiXvDU4P0
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/vienna.html

3.) Linz: City and Colour – The Lonely Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBFQpX6mV8
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cityandcolour/thelonelylife.html

4.) Graz: Closure in Moscow – Night at the Spleen
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggZaTPnMpMU
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/closureinmoscow/anightatthespleen.html

5.) Prague: New Politics – Fall Into These Arms
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUgMZDn1G4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/newpolitics/fallintothesearms.html

6.) Füssen: Biffy Clyro – Mountains
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2v4YsLpI8c
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/biffyclyro/mountains.html

7.) Reflections and Ramblings: Bastille – Laughter Lines
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccFSXgdv5U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/laughterlines.html

8.) Zell am See: The Menzingers – Gates
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1aWag0Nl9E
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/menzingers/gates.html

9.) Vienna II: A Day to Remember – City of Ocala
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Sl1lL1ybY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/daytoremember/cityofocala.html

10.) Amsterdam: Less  Than Jake – Good Enough
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p81Lqx3t24k
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lessthanjake/goodenough.html

11.) Brugges: Seether – Tonight
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzdecygpmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/seether/tonight.html

12.) Brussels: Frank Turner – Four Simple Words
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBaCRl2h87I
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/frankturner/foursimplewords.html

13.) Stockholm: John Newman – Love Me Again
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnewman/lovemeagain.html

14.) Uppsala: Philip Philips – Gone, Gone, Gone
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phillipphillips/gonegonegone.html

15.) Lisbon: Switchfoot – Saltwater Heart
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1e5kLDAGmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/saltwaterheart.html

16.) Lagos: Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/florencethemachine/shakeitout.html

17.) Budapest: All Time Low – Weightless
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpG3BxRctQ4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alltimelow/weightless.html

18.) Goodbye, Vienna: Good Charlotte – Counting the Days
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrGF9qG5kM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/goodcharlotte/countingthedays.html

19.) Copenhagen: Anberlin – Stranger Ways
Song: http://youtu.be/F1G6qRQYu0U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/anberlin/strangerways.html

20.) Berlin: Nothing More – I’ll Be OK
Song: http://youtu.be/5VgaEXGehDw
Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/nothing-more/i-ll-be-ok-lyrics/

21.) Athens: Black Light Burns – Cruel Melody
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omktVIJD0iA
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/blacklightburns/cruelmelody.html

22.) Santorini: Birds of Tokyo – Lanterns
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbJ3vacGOhw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/birdsoftokyo/lanterns.html

23.) Milan: Angels & Airwaves – The Adventure
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMl8cQjBfqk
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/angelsairwaves/theadventure.html

24.) Monterrosso: Babysitters Circus – Everythings Gonna Be Alright
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k4wM-NWEyo
Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/the-babysitters-circus/everythings-gonna-be-alright-lyrics/

25.) Florence: Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf-rEslupnY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gaslightanthem/handwritten.html

The Marqis, The Gyros, and The Sex Appeal Killin’ Carbs: Part 1

Enter Tuco, Blondie, and Angel Eyes.

[After the stand-off, where in Angel Eyes is killed and Tuco finds out that there’re no bullets in his gun] “You see in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.”

That quote prettttttty much sums up how I felt about walking through Athens at 11pm at night with all of my possessions lumped on my back. In this case, I’m Angel Eyes; my shovel equivalent is my giant backpack, my wallet, and pretty much anything of value that could give someone a reason to mug me. Blondie is any sketchy street occupier who decides they could go for another Mykonos beer, but they don’t have the money to do so. I wish I had video of me sauntering through the streets in an ever vigilant state. Bandana on my head, oversized bag on my back….I looked like a poor man’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sneaking around on the streets, sans katanas and any fighting knowledge period that could save me from the questionable Athenian nightlife. My flight had gotten in fairly late, so as a result I had to navigate my way through Athens to the bus station. You know it’s a quality city when the first thing you see after getting off the airport shuttle is a horde of SWAT vans parked outside the bus station. Getting to my hostel was an adventure itself, as I had trouble finding the street signs at each intersection. Like Luke Skywalker roaming the frozen tundra of Hoth, my weary body began to falter with each wrong turn. Then, out of nowhere, my ghost-of-Ben-Kenobi equivalent materialized before my eyes. And by materialize I mean he woke up from the park bench he was sleeping on and yelled “YOU. HOSTEL? LOOKING?”. Thankfully, he gave me legit directions and I was able to find my way to the hostel. Maybe Athens isn’t so bad, I thought. Maybe it’s just misunderstood?

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The next day, I decided to embrace the city with open arms. You know, giving it the kind of hug I’d give any close friend: a slow, gentle embrace, followed by a casual butt squeeze. I began to adventure around in typical tourist fashion; soaking up the striking sights of the Colosseum, the daunting stature of the Temple of Zeus, and the beautifully archaic design of the old Olympic Stadium. Funny story about the last sight…. Apparently, back in the day, girls were herded into a tunnel in the stadium and guarded by older women. While these older women stood guard, the young girls would get naked and dance around a fire, sacrificing berries and almonds to the gods in a plea to secure themselves a worthy husband. I can only imagine they also had some pillow fights and mud wrestling too, but that little tidbit hasn’t been confirmed by existing scripture. Yet. Maybe they need to bring this tradition back? I mean, you don’t see the historic facebook equivalent of status updates carved onto walls, bitching about how boys suck and whatever. Clearly something worked. Anyways, this is where Athens took a turn for the worst for me. After all this sightseeing, I was hit by a sudden thirst for something hoppy; visions of Mykonos beer dancing in my head. As it happens, an old man approached me on the street (the second time in less than 24 hours. I reallllllly need to change things up so I only get approached by hot brunettes or something) and, having noticed the canadian flag on my bag, started talking to me about canada. After the usual questions about maple syrup and snow were answered, he told me that he had a pub around the corner and that the first beer would be on the house. Now, I’m not a naive tourist. I mean, I’ve lasted this long. It was clearly a ploy to either a.) rip me off or b.) rob me. However, I had left all my valuables locked up in my bag back at the hostel, so that wasn’t too concerning. I sized the guy up; he was old and rather short, so I figured the chances of him raping me were pretty slim. So, I said “fuck it” and decided to see how this played out. He led me to his pub around the corner, and I started to survey the scene. There was at least half a dozen, non sketchy looking people in there, so it wasn’t super sketchy looking. He offered me a pint, but I kindly declined and asked for a bottle of beer (just in case they decided to put a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ in my drink). We started chatting a bit, and then he calls over his hot blonde, Russian bartender. Her milkshakes definitely brought all the boys to the yard. She starts chatting me up and asks me to buy her a drink. Now, if there’s 2 rules I have when in this situation, it’s 1.) never buy a girl a drink if she asks for it and 2.) never buy a girl a drink if you don’t know her name, or  you just met her. Violating both these rules, I kindly declined. She responded with “but you’d be paying for my company”. This threw me right off… in my head I was like, “is she a prostitute?” followed by “no, you should buy ME a drink, because I’m hilarious and you barely speak english”. The Russian started to pester me, until eventually she conceded defeat and went to pour herself a drink anyways. In between the Russian and myself talking, the old man had ninja-ed his way out of the building. To this day I have no idea how he did it. I can only imagine there was a trap door or something beneath where he was sitting. The Russian moved gracefully back towards me and said “we should go sit in the corner over there” pointing to a dimly lit table. This was starting to get really sketchy, but I was like “well, lets see how this plays out”. We sit down and she immediately whips out her breast and… just kidding, just thought I’d throw that in there to see if you’re still paying attention. She whips out a routine that she’s probably used 1000 times in the past. It started off with asking my name, and then following up with “oh, Marcus! That’s what I want to name my firstborn child if it’s a boy!!”, followed by touching my arm and asking if I “play sports”, and ending with “if you come back with friends, we’ll take care of you”. Soooooo this is just starting to get awkward and uncomfortable, so I ask for my bill and decided to skedaddle. A little Asian lady comes out with the bill (talk about a diverse bar staff) and hands it to me. They charged me 10 euros for my beer….and the bartender put her THIRTY EURO glass of champagne on my tab. At this point, I start to rage. Doing my best Bruce-Banner-turning-into-the-Hulk impression, I stomp around and yell “THERE’S NO FUCKING WAY I’M PAYING FOR THIS. MARQIS SMASH”. Eventually, I just get fed up with them and pay for my beer, but only my beer. 10 euros for a crappy beer… I can take that. But I will not, under any circumstance, swallow the fee for something I didn’t order.

And then, things only got better [/sarcasm]. I get back to my hostel fuming and go to open my locked backpacking backpack. For some reason, my key won’t fit. I look down at the lock and someone had tried to pry it open with a screwdriver. I hit Angry Dad levels of fury (and I know there’s one girl who reads this who doesn’t get this reference. And you wanna know why? Because you suck and don’t watch The Simpsons. Why you would choose calligraphy as a summer hobby instead of watching the Simpsons is beyond me. Good day to you, Miss!).

angrydad
Naturally, I go down to the front and ask some of the people at the hostel if they have any bolt cutters or anything I can use. They didn’t have any, so they gave me a pair of pliers to use. I sat on my bed for what felt like hours sawing away at this stupid thing. It was a borderline Cirque-du-Soleil show for the people in my room as I try to prop my body against the pliers and leverage my way to unlocked victory. Making no progress, I go to a piss poor excuse for a hardware store and buy a nicer pair of pliers. The sawing continued to no avail.  Eventually I got fed up and went back downstairs, this time talking to someone else who worked at the hostel. I ask them if they have a hacksaw, a big knife, hell, even a hammer. Then they reply to me with words that would haunt me the rest of the evening “No, but we do have a bolt cutter if you need it”. I proceeded to go through all the stages of grieving in about 2.5 seconds before breaking out into a fit of  psychotic and hysterical laughter.

Thankfully, things started to improve from there. I refused to let Athens get the best of me. Coupled with some excellent company, we decided to make the night our proverbial bitch. At first it started off with a leisurely dinner and everyone being relatively noncommittal about going out. Regardless, we decided to grab some pizza and load up on beers in case we changed our minds. Our first mistake was buying pizza from the grocery store without checking to see if we had an oven. This led to what can only be described as the greatest discovery that any traveler, or person in under equipped student housing could possibly make, ever. EVER. PERIOD. EXCLAMATION MARK. WELL OK, MAYBE JUST AN EXCLAMATION MARK BECAUSE A PERIOD FOLLOWED BY AN EXCLAMATION MARK IS POOR GRAMMAR. And that brilliant discovery was the creation of the double frying pan oven. Let me learn ya somethin, kids. When you have an adequately sized frying pan, you put the pizza in it, and then you cover that frying pan with ANOTHER FRYING PAN and proceed to cook your pizza to perfection. I call it Pan-ception Pizza. Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the ultimate game changer:

image (1)image (2)
This great accomplishment propelled us into a night of debauchery as we went on an impromptu pub crawl; the kind of pub crawl where no one knows which direction to go in because they’re too inebriated to read the map properly. After bar hopping around, we eventually decide to call it a night. One of the gentlemen leading us home is a rather strange character. I can only describe him as a mystery that’s wrapped in a riddle. No one knew where he was from or what he did, but I’m assuming that drug dealing is somehow involved. Anyways, he decided that he was going to fearlessly lead our goof troop home. His idea was to cut through a park and save us some time. There was something about this park that I couldn’t quite place though…. the fact that we had to hop the fence to get in was starting to bother me a bit, as well as the fact that I couldn’t place which park it was even though I had been to most of the parks that same day. We mosey through the park without any problems until we get to the other side and hop the fence. Turns out our mysterious friend had taken us through the Parliament grounds. How did we know this? Because Greek security guards armed with machine guns started screaming at us to leave as we were flopping over the fence. I was convinced that I was going to shit my pants and die (not necessarily in that order). Yelling “TOURIST! TOURIST! WE DIDN’T KNOW!” we ran off and rounded the corner to one of the main streets.

After all these shenanigans were said and done, one of my new hostel friends decided she would accompany me to Santorini. Coincidentally, two other Australian girls at the hostel were also leaving for Santorini at the same time, so it was decided that we would split a cab and go together to the ferry. This is how my adventure in Santorini would begin…

Stay tuned for the rest of Greece, as well as a small bit on Italy! Not so much on Italy because I traveled with my parents, so there’s only so much I can write about in terms of rowdy stories haha.

Travel Playlist 2014
1.) Leaving Edmonton: American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html

2.) Vienna: Billy Joel – Vienna
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdiXvDU4P0
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/vienna.html

3.) Linz: City and Colour – The Lonely Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBFQpX6mV8
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cityandcolour/thelonelylife.html

4.) Graz: Closure in Moscow – Night at the Spleen
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggZaTPnMpMU
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/closureinmoscow/anightatthespleen.html

5.) Prague: New Politics – Fall Into These Arms
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUgMZDn1G4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/newpolitics/fallintothesearms.html

6.) Füssen: Biffy Clyro – Mountains
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2v4YsLpI8c
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/biffyclyro/mountains.html

7.) Reflections and Ramblings: Bastille – Laughter Lines
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccFSXgdv5U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/laughterlines.html

8.) Zell am See: The Menzingers – Gates
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1aWag0Nl9E
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/menzingers/gates.html

9.) Vienna II: A Day to Remember – City of Ocala
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Sl1lL1ybY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/daytoremember/cityofocala.html

10.) Amsterdam: Less  Than Jake – Good Enough
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p81Lqx3t24k
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lessthanjake/goodenough.html

11.) Brugges: Seether – Tonight
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzdecygpmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/seether/tonight.html

12.) Brussels: Frank Turner – Four Simple Words
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBaCRl2h87I
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/frankturner/foursimplewords.html

13.) Stockholm: John Newman – Love Me Again
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnewman/lovemeagain.html

14.) Uppsala: Philip Philips – Gone, Gone, Gone
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phillipphillips/gonegonegone.html

15.) Lisbon: Switchfoot – Saltwater Heart
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1e5kLDAGmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/saltwaterheart.html

16.) Lagos: Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/florencethemachine/shakeitout.html

17.) Budapest: All Time Low – Weightless
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpG3BxRctQ4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alltimelow/weightless.html

18.) Goodbye, Vienna: Good Charlotte – Counting the Days
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrGF9qG5kM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/goodcharlotte/countingthedays.html

19.) Copenhagen: Anberlin – Stranger Ways
Song: http://youtu.be/F1G6qRQYu0U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/anberlin/strangerways.html

20.) Berlin: Nothing More – I’ll Be OK
Song: http://youtu.be/5VgaEXGehDw
Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/nothing-more/i-ll-be-ok-lyrics/

21.) Athens: Black Light Burns – Cruel Melody
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omktVIJD0iA
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/blacklightburns/cruelmelody.html

Copenhanging & Berlinning: Part 2

So you know how it said I was going to pump these out with startling velocity? Yeah, not going to happen. I’m a product of the inconsistent wi-fi that dominates my life. And by inconsistent wi-fi I mean none of the bars I’ve been living in seem to support my writing needs (instead, they have supported my newfound case of alcoholism). But after hours of looking through motivational memes, I’m finally back for round 2 of Copenhanging and Berlinning! In our last entry, our hero was taking advantage of Copenhagen’s entertainment opportunities. Having exhausted himself with kids rides, expensive dinners, and questionably named shots of alcohol, he decided it was time he learned himself something. He had been in Copenhagen for two days, and all he had learned was how to say cheers in Danish, and that his sex appeal wasn’t enough to combat the beautiful people of Copenhagen. Determined to get something out of Copenhagen that wasn’t a hangover, it was decided that our hero would embark on a walking tour! Having made up my mind, I moseyed on over to the meeting point for the walking tour. Along the way I stumbled across some sort of strange futuristic dome. It was part of an environmental sustainable living project in Copenhagen that was being run by some entrepreneurs in their 20’s. It was also a place where hippies could go and trip on acid while talking about their favourite arcade fire songs. Or so I assume. It seemed like the kind of place you’d go to for a spiritual journey…you know, the kind where you eat strange herbs and talk to the animals that you’re hallucinating. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to gain access to this mystical place; I think they could smell the poor commitment to recycling me. I finally made it to my tour group, where a gent from the UK began to lead our tour group. Along the way we learned a number of cool facts. For example, most of the statues in Copenhagen were funded generously by Carlsburg beer. I can only imagine how many hockey player statues we’d have at home if Molson Canadian would buck up and send a little love our way. One of these statues showed a man blowing a war horn. Legend has it that if you’re a virgin over 18 and you walk past the statue, you’ll hear the sound of a war horn blowing. So you’re pretty much getting cat called from beyond the grave… Another strange legend that I would love to know the origin if. My guessing is it’s from some perv in a nearby tavern who tried to pin his cat calling on someone else. That’s just me though… “Uhhhhh no, that was definitelyyyyyy the statue…”. Some other fun facts: Copenhagen is home to the original Lego toy (I’m really hoping they decide to pull a Carlsburg and donate stuff to the city. How cool would a giant Lego statue be?), plumbing was nonexistent back in the day, so the streets were regularly covered with poop, urine, and beer, and old people think hop on hop off tours are called hip hop tours. For those of you who don’t know, hop on hop off tours are tours where you get on a bus, drive to a sight, hop off and take a photo, then hop back onto the bus and go to the next sight. I have no idea what hip hop tours would be like but I imagine it’d be pretty similar, only with more Beyoncé and older ladies with hip problems. The coolest part of the tour was learning about Tommy Sneum, who was the Danish equivalent to James Bond. To sum him up: he tried to kill Himler with a crossbow, he refuelled a plane mid flight, and he frequently snuck in and out of the country by doing all sorts of ridiculous things. So he was kind of a bad ass. He was also a huge womanizer who died alone, but that’s beside the point (EDITOR’S NOTE: if you want to read about him, look up the book “The Hornets Sting”). Once the tour ended, two lovely individuals from the UK joined me for a night out on the town. We ended up at a really strange bar that consisted of two levels. The bottom level was over run by 18 year old guys, with the only girl in the bar being one of my friends. On the top floor is where everyone else flocked. If the basement had a theme, it was “sausage fest”. This floor, however, was definitely “bad dance moves”. At one point a girl was just galloping for about an hour straight. “Save a horse, ride a cowboy” wasn’t even playing, so I’m not sure what she was going for… The trip to Copenhagen ended off with a hilarious surprise from back home. One of my friends was having a graduation party, and since I couldn’t attend, he decided to make a giant cardboard cut out of me. The results are hilarious:

20140708-123819-45499357.jpg The next part of my journey would be in the beautiful city of Berlin. I can say with utmost certainty that this was one of my favourite cities so far. My first day there I conquered some of the important sights like the Berlin Wall, as well as the memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe. I won’t dive too much into these, but just know that they’re must see sights when you visit Berlin. It’s hard to wrap your head around the suffering and torment all those souls suffered so many years ago. Most of my activity occurred the next day when I went on a biking tour. There was some retread from the previous day, but we also saw a handful of other memorials and key historic sights. An example is Checkpoint Charlie, which represented the American camp in Germany. This sight has kind of been bastardized though, as men walk around in American and German posters and pose for photos for money. To top it off, rumours have it that most of these faux soldiers are actually strippers who just needed day jobs. Go figure. The best part of the bike tour came from the comic relief my American friends provided. One of the girls was cycling along with one hand on her handles/brake, and the other hand on her go pro. We approached a downhill portion, so she decided to ease on the brake while she tried to turn her go pro on with her other hand. What she didn’t realize was that the brake she was holding was her front brake. In typical female driver fashion, she hammered the brake too hard and did the best unintentional front flip I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t remember her name, so all you see is her flipping and me yelling “MURRRRRRRRICAAAAAA” to see if she’s ok. The good news is that the only thing she hurt was her pride. The bad news is that she didn’t get ANY of it on camera. Americas Funniest Home Videos would have been at her mercy. Second best part of the bike trip was being caught in the middle of a flash choir while we were having beers. It’s like a flash mob, but with choir singing and absolutely nothing exciting to watch. I guess a chunk of the people on our merry little tour were part of a choir back home (wherever that is. As you can imagine we didn’t talk much, since we don’t exactly have a lot in common….). The rest of my trip was spent meeting up with friends and exploring the night life of Berlin. After pre drinking with an Aussie, his band of Canadians, some Americans, and a wannabe rapper from the UK (who insisted on calling us Canadians “the pancakes and the maple syrups”, and asking us to do backup vocals whenever a Canadians spoke), we tore up the town, bouncing around from bar to bar. At some point we lost most of the group, and the rest of them decided to call it a night. Marqis, however, had a thirst for adventure that needed quenching. And quench it he would. So what does one do when he has no friends to party with? Why, you strike up a conversation with a random girl at the bus station and join her and her friends for a strange and alcohol fuelled night. There was drunk hopscotching, drinking games, piggyback rides, a near fight, and an eventual liquid TKO that resulted in me deciding to go home around 5am. The next day I woke up realizing that I had slept through my check in…by 2 hours. Skipping a much needed shower, I threw all my stuff in my bag, put on a pair of pants (it’s amazing I did that in the first place) and bolted out of the hostel and to the airport for my flight to Greece. Stay tuned for my tales from Greece and Italy! Sneak preview: Marqis almost dies, and we learn never to trust a Greek person in Athens!

20140708-123304-45184539.jpg Travel Playlist 2014 1.) Leaving Edmonton: American Authors – Best Day of My Life Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html 2.) Vienna: Billy Joel – Vienna Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdiXvDU4P0 Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/vienna.html 3.) Linz: City and Colour – The Lonely Life Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBFQpX6mV8 Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cityandcolour/thelonelylife.html 4.) Graz: Closure in Moscow – Night at the Spleen Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggZaTPnMpMU Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/closureinmoscow/anightatthespleen.html 5.) Prague: New Politics – Fall Into These Arms Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUgMZDn1G4 Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/newpolitics/fallintothesearms.html 6.) Füssen: Biffy Clyro – Mountains Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2v4YsLpI8c Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/biffyclyro/mountains.html 7.) Reflections and Ramblings: Bastille – Laughter Lines Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccFSXgdv5U Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/laughterlines.html 8.) Zell am See: The Menzingers – Gates Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1aWag0Nl9E Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/menzingers/gates.html 9.) Vienna II: A Day to Remember – City of Ocala Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Sl1lL1ybY Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/daytoremember/cityofocala.html 10.) Amsterdam: Less  Than Jake – Good Enough Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p81Lqx3t24k Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lessthanjake/goodenough.html 11.) Brugges: Seether – Tonight Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzdecygpmg Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/seether/tonight.html 12.) Brussels: Frank Turner – Four Simple Words Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBaCRl2h87I Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/frankturner/foursimplewords.html 13.) Stockholm: John Newman – Love Me Again Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnewman/lovemeagain.html 14.) Uppsala: Philip Philips – Gone, Gone, Gone Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phillipphillips/gonegonegone.html 15.) Lisbon: Switchfoot – Saltwater Heart Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1e5kLDAGmg Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/saltwaterheart.html 16.) Lagos: Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/florencethemachine/shakeitout.html 17.) Budapest: All Time Low – Weightless Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpG3BxRctQ4 Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alltimelow/weightless.html 18.) Goodbye, Vienna: Good Charlotte – Counting the Days Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrGF9qG5kM Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/goodcharlotte/countingthedays.html 19.) Copenhagen: Anberlin – Stranger Ways Song: http://youtu.be/F1G6qRQYu0U Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/anberlin/strangerways.html 20.) Berlin: Nothing More – I’ll Be OK Song: http://youtu.be/5VgaEXGehDw Lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/nothing-more/i-ll-be-ok-lyrics/  

Copenhanging & Berlinning: Part 1

Greetings, fellow travelers and homebodies! Due to popular demand (and not the inconvenience of a six hour ferry ride with nothing to do), Marqis has returned from his two week sabbatical and is primed for laying down some more tales from his traveling shenanigans. But before we recklessly dive into these heartwarming and sometimes lusty tales, I want to briefly overview my last couple nights in Vienna. Then we’ll get into the nitty gritty of it.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away….

Our hero was living out his last few days in the strikingly beautiful city of Vienna. Torn between his love for the city and his crippling case of wanderlust, he decided to extend his stay in Vienna for a few days longer than he had possession of his apartment. No Jedi mind tricks were needed to keep this guy around. As such, he was forced to stay in a hostel until his inevitable departure. The hostel was barely used, however, as he soaked in the local sites and more than his fair share of booze, often leaving in the early afternoon and not returning until early the following morning. The strangest thing that happened during his stay was when he came home from a night of belligerency with friends. Covered in what he could only determine was a mix of booze and saliva, Marqis slipped out of his party attire and tossed his Clark Kent-esque glasses to the side before crawling up the ladder of his bunk bed. But something curious happened. His bed was made and his things had been moved off his bed. Blinded by a genetic predisposition to being fucking blind, our hero crawled onto the bed to get a closer look. That’s when he realized a big Latino guy was sleeping in his bed. Not exactly the busty blonde one would normally hope for…. Had he been bi-curious, this would have been a tempting endeavor for Marqis. Unfortunately for the Latino guy, however, these were not the droids Marqis was looking for. The bed stealer began to stir, causing Marqis to jump off the bed while yelling a bunch of word vomit that was supposed to sound like “hey sorry I thought this was my bed and you definitely took the wrong one but that’s ok I’ll go to a different one”. Instead, it came out like “derpderpderpderpderpderpwrongbedderpderpderpderp”. The next day, our hero avoided eye contact like the plague. As the perpetrator moseyed on from his plundered lodgings, Marqis happened to notice that the bed bandit was wearing a G-Unit jacket. It all made sense now! He wasn’t just a bed stealer, he was also a giant, raging, douchenozzle.

I’m going to drop the third person story telling now because it’s only going to accelerate the development of my Marqis/Marcus personality disorder. The next night I fared much better as I slept in the airport and spooned the hell outta my backpack on a row of chairs. It was that or stay out partying until 3am, then scramble to catch a night bus to get me to the airport in time for my early flight. Normally I crave adventure, but I figured I’d play it safe and set up residence in the airport for a night. Let’s just say my backpack wasn’t disappointed.

The first stop on my 6 week adventure was Copenhagen. The best way I can think of describing this city is that it’s “Sweden-lite”. The sights and people are beautiful, but not Swedish beautiful. It’s like choosing between regular ranch and fat free ranch: you can’t go wring either way, but one just happens to taste marginally better. The hostel I was staying in was called “Sleep in heaven”; a name that is equal parts creepy and rapey. It was also ironic because, as the receptionist put it, “it’s like sleeping in a prison cell”. The first day I planned on taking it pretty easy. Naturally, that’s hard to accomplish when you meet people at your hostel; a hostel which happens to have two for one beers on special during happy hour. Making sure happy hour lived up to its name, we had a generous liquid dinner and embarked on a quest to find the stomping grounds for a festival called “Distortion”. They pretty much shut down a portion of the city and open it up for a gratuitous amount of partying. Beer bottles and poor decision making litter the street, along with some really strange horsing around. Ex) We saw two guys trying to grab each other’s balls and squeeze them until the other one surrendered in defeat. Could this be a Copenhagen mating ritual? The event itself is hugeeeee, with DJ’s at every corner just blasting some beats. The only unfortunate part was the toilet set up. I felt terrible for any girl who had to share a portapotty with the guys, because the splash zone only got bigger as the night went on. Guys also had temp urinals set up, but they were essentially large red troughs on the side of the street. It’s the only time I can say a group of at least 10 people have seen my penis without any compensation. The party would continue to rage on until the wee hours of the morning before we decided to call it a night.

The next day, I met up with some exchange friends to conquer the Tivoli amusement park. I’m going to preface this by stating, with no shame, that roller coasters and rides reduce me to the equivalent of a 6 year old girl. To put it bluntly, I’m kind of a bitch when it comes to rides. It’s not because the roller coasters aren’t safe, or because the drop of doom is too high. No no no. It’s because I fear that I’ll be in that measly <1% group of people who die at amusement parks. Regardless of this, and because I had to save face with the group of pretty girls I was traveling with, I decided to do the roller coaster and the drop of doom. I like to think that I looked super brave, but honestly I think I fit in really well with the girls I was with: screaming incoherently in a high pitched voice, cursing at myself for doing this, tears ruining my mascara (no wait, that was the one difference between myself and the girls)… The worst part was when we went on the giant swings. You get pulled up high into the sky and whipped around on metal seats…so not exactly my idea of a good time. The only way the view could have been ruined was if Mother Nature decided to throw a torrential downpour our way. Funny story…. The bitch made it rain, and she made it rain good. There's really nothing worse than having a mild fear of heights while you're suspended high above the ground in flimsy chairs during a windy rain storm. We somehow managed to evade certain death, and proceeded to take an embarrassing number of selfies in the gardens (sometimes selfie-ing a selfie….selfieception). All in all it was a pretty fantastic day that was capped off with a really expensive burger that made me feel things no woman ever could.

Next up! The remainder of Copenhagen, and Marqis does Berlin! Stay tuned, folks. I'm going to be pounding these entries out at Ron Jeremy like speed in an effort to catch up!

20140620-132743-48463775.jpg

Travel Playlist 2014
1.) Leaving Edmonton: American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html

2.) Vienna: Billy Joel – Vienna
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdiXvDU4P0
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/vienna.html

3.) Linz: City and Colour – The Lonely Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBFQpX6mV8
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cityandcolour/thelonelylife.html

4.) Graz: Closure in Moscow – Night at the Spleen
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggZaTPnMpMU
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/closureinmoscow/anightatthespleen.html

5.) Prague: New Politics – Fall Into These Arms
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUgMZDn1G4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/newpolitics/fallintothesearms.html

6.) Füssen: Biffy Clyro – Mountains
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2v4YsLpI8c
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/biffyclyro/mountains.html

7.) Reflections and Ramblings: Bastille – Laughter Lines
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccFSXgdv5U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/laughterlines.html

8.) Zell am See: The Menzingers – Gates
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1aWag0Nl9E
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/menzingers/gates.html

9.) Vienna II: A Day to Remember – City of Ocala
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Sl1lL1ybY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/daytoremember/cityofocala.html

10.) Amsterdam: Less  Than Jake – Good Enough
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p81Lqx3t24k
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lessthanjake/goodenough.html

11.) Brugges: Seether – Tonight
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzdecygpmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/seether/tonight.html

12.) Brussels: Frank Turner – Four Simple Words
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBaCRl2h87I
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/frankturner/foursimplewords.html

13.) Stockholm: John Newman – Love Me Again
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnewman/lovemeagain.html

14.) Uppsala: Philip Philips – Gone, Gone, Gone
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phillipphillips/gonegonegone.html

15.) Lisbon: Switchfoot – Saltwater Heart
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1e5kLDAGmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/saltwaterheart.html

16.) Lagos: Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/florencethemachine/shakeitout.html

17.) Budapest: All Time Low – Weightless
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpG3BxRctQ4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alltimelow/weightless.html

18.) Goodbye, Vienna: Good Charlotte – Counting the Days
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrGF9qG5kM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/goodcharlotte/countingthedays.html

19.) Copenhagen: Anberlin – Stranger Ways
Song: http://youtu.be/F1G6qRQYu0U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/anberlin/strangerways.html

 

All These Things – An Ode to Vienna

It’s been 114 days since I left home to embark on an adventure of a lifetime; an adventure that would change me in ways that I couldn’t possibly fathom at the time, but now have an intimate understanding of. Up until the start of my trip, I had never been outside of North America, so I was the farthest thing from being well traveled. Hell, I still lived with my parents. And here I was, abandoning home so I could live on my own in a country with a language and culture that were completely alien to me. I vividly remember my first night in my apartment in Vienna. Jet lagged and exhausted,  I lay slumped on my bed in a room that was mine in name, but not mine in feel. It lacked the personality, comfort, and security of the room I left in Canada. To put it simply, it just didn’t feel like home. Remember those stupid toys, from when we were kids?Cylinder in the circular opening, star in the star opening. I guess you can say it felt like trying to get the star to fit in a circular hole. But I needed this. I needed a change of pace; a change of perspective.

I’ve never been one to look at life as traveling down a linear road. If you were to map it out after an individual gets their proverbial time card stamped, then sure, it would look linear… but that doesn’t do life justice. The best analogy I can think of is google maps. If you zoom far enough out, any route looks fairly straight shootin. But if you zoom in, if you take a closer look, you see all the turns… the up’s and down’s, the side steps, stops, starts, and radical changes in directions. For me, life is a collection of defining moments; moments that send us off in a different path and change us for better or for worse. Life is not about one destination. It’s about multiple destinations building to an animate conclusion. We race down a path until we stall or something changes. When this happens, we have a defining moment; something life changing; a catalyst that sends us off in a different direction. These moments shape us like the silly putty your kids will try to eat one day. Cause of being. They show us who we are becoming and give us a glimpse of our potential. Cause of becoming. They keep us moving when we’re running on empty and slow us down when the fast lane starts to run out of track. We’re a collection of random points, coincidences, and it’s our ability to interpret and respond to these points of action that set us off on our respective paths. 114 days ago, my path had started to become predictable and linear. Back in Canada, I had stalled, and the defining moments I so desperately craved weren’t being given to me as part of a greater design, so I had to make them by my own hand. Vienna was that defining moment.

I remember staring out of my window 114 days ago, allowing myself to be wrapped in the sounds of the hustling and bustling of the city. I started thinking about where I’ve been and where I want to be. And at first, I didn’t have an answer. And that terrified me. I kept thinking, and found myself on a proverbial ledge of uncertainty, gazing off into the unknown, juggling fears of failure and disappointment. I was alone in a city full of people. For a few minutes, that feeling consumed me. I didn’t have an answer, so I just ignored that feeling until I was preoccupied with something else. 110 days later and I would have that same sense of terror hit me while I was walking through the streets of Vienna. Once again, that feeling would consume me, but this time, strangely enough, I had a moment of complete clarity. You know, the sort of mental acuity that happens every now and then but disappears as quickly as it came. That feeling after the perfect sleep, fuck, or pickleball game (maybe that last one is just me…). And that feeling was telling me “who knows what’ll happen. But no matter how things turn out, carry on and on and on”. Looking back on the past year or two, I never would have guessed that things would have happened the way they did. Whether it was getting a job I didn’t think I stood a chance for, relationships that I thought would last that didn’t, or even getting the chance to travel and go on exchange; these were things that I couldn’t predict. They were completely out of my control. If there’s one thing that living abroad has taught me, it’s that you can’t expect things to happen the way you want them to, and that you can’t control every moment of every day. That doesn’t just extend to traveling though… that extends to life in general. These are teachings that totally contradict everything I use to believe in, but they are teachings that are making me a better person and someone I want to be as I move forward, one step at a time. I’ve always believed that I was the master of my own destiny, and that feeling of control could extend right down to every little infinitesimal detail. But that’s not how life works. At the end of the day, have to do your best and hope that things will work out. And it’s the single simplistic nature of that idea that provides me with the comfort I need to walk away from that proverbial ledge of uncertainty and to keep on track.

Vienna has been home for me because of these lessons; lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It’s that defining point that has sent me off in a different direction… a direction I didn’t have the ability to go in before. It’s not just this knowledge that has made Vienna home for me though. More than ever, I know that there’s so much more to a home than simply being a destination. It’s not just a tangled mess of concrete, wires, and neon lights that you can point out on a map. No, a home is made up of more than that. It’s the lessons you learn along the way; it’s your friends, both new and old, and all of the happy moments you share with them that help define who you are; it’s an epicenter for the expenditure of love, and the collective culmination of both good times and bad. For the past 114 days, I’ve learned more than I could learn in any school or classroom. For the past 114 days, I’ve met so many beautiful and wonderful people that I’m incredibly thankful to have in my life, while cherishing friendships that I have back home with renewed energy. For the past 114 days I have certainly loved (not always well), had a few notable disappointments, and experienced more victories than I can recount. For the past 114 days, Vienna’s been my home. And in a way, it always will be.

Thank you to everyone who’s been a part of that.

–  Marqis

Vienna

Travel Playlist 2014
1.) Leaving Edmonton: American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html

2.) Vienna: Billy Joel – Vienna
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdiXvDU4P0
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/vienna.html

3.) Linz: City and Colour – The Lonely Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBFQpX6mV8
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cityandcolour/thelonelylife.html

4.) Graz: Closure in Moscow – Night at the Spleen
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggZaTPnMpMU
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/closureinmoscow/anightatthespleen.html

5.) Prague: New Politics – Fall Into These Arms
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUgMZDn1G4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/newpolitics/fallintothesearms.html

6.) Füssen: Biffy Clyro – Mountains
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2v4YsLpI8c
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/biffyclyro/mountains.html

7.) Reflections and Ramblings: Bastille – Laughter Lines
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccFSXgdv5U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/laughterlines.html

8.) Zell am See: The Menzingers – Gates
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1aWag0Nl9E
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/menzingers/gates.html

9.) Vienna II: A Day to Remember – City of Ocala
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Sl1lL1ybY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/daytoremember/cityofocala.html

10.) Amsterdam: Less  Than Jake – Good Enough
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p81Lqx3t24k
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lessthanjake/goodenough.html

11.) Brugges: Seether – Tonight
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzdecygpmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/seether/tonight.html

12.) Brussels: Frank Turner – Four Simple Words
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBaCRl2h87I
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/frankturner/foursimplewords.html

13.) Stockholm: John Newman – Love Me Again
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnewman/lovemeagain.html

14.) Uppsala: Philip Philips – Gone, Gone, Gone
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phillipphillips/gonegonegone.html

15.) Lisbon: Switchfoot – Saltwater Heart
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1e5kLDAGmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/saltwaterheart.html

16.) Lagos: Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/florencethemachine/shakeitout.html

17.) Budapest: All Time Low – Weightless
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpG3BxRctQ4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alltimelow/weightless.html

18.) Goodbye, Vienna: Good Charlotte – Counting the Days
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrGF9qG5kM
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/goodcharlotte/countingthedays.html

 

Spring Breakers Part 3 – A Marqis in Portugal and a Quick Word on Budapeshhhhht

Greetings, ummm, readers? Fans? Friends? Family? I really need to think of a nickname for my regular blog readers. You know, like Star Trek fans have “Trekkies”, comic book fans have “nerds”, and male My Little Pony Fans have “Bronies”. Marqistadors? Marqisians? Hmmm. I’ll keep working on that one.

Anywaysssss, the third part of my adventure took me to the stunning beaches of Portugal. I was prepared for a week of relaxation, tanning, and bodacious beach babes. Things would get a little strange on my way to Portugal, however. My adventure started off with a stupidly early flight to Lisbon, where I realized I’m a masochist for booking something so early. The “strange” happenings wouldn’t start…well, happening, until I stepped foot on the plane. Actually, they wasn’t so much strange as much as it was just “really fucking weird”. The first weird thing was a lady sitting in front of me on her cellphone the entire flight. She didn’t have any headphones, so she just held her phone up to her ear and listened to the same 4 Beyonce songs for 4-5 hours. I mean, I know Beyonce is fierce and all, but I could feel the pain in my hips from not being able to shake my ass to those tunes. NO wait, what I meant to say was, I know Beyonce is fierce and all, but even 4-5 hours is too much to be listening to the same 4-5 songs over and over again. The only song that escapes that curse is “You Should Be All Night Long” by ACDC. The second weird thing happened when we landed in Lisbon. First, a lady beside me grabbed my wrist and pulled it over to her lap. My first  thought was “oh my god, I’m getting taken advantage of by an old spanish lady”. Turns out she grabbed my wrist so she could read my watch for the time. THEN, no less than two minutes later, she had her hand in my pocket. My first thought was “oh my god, I’m getting raped by an old spanish lady”. Turns out I had dropped some change and she was giving it back to me, but for a split second I was ready to pop a granny in the face with my good friends Jerry Springer and Sir Winston Churchill *holds up fists*. After narrowly avoiding assaulting a senior with boundary issues, I boarded a bus and began to explore my way through the city, trying desperately to find my hostel so I could strip down a few layers and stop from sweating out all of my sex appeal points. Since I don’t have a phone plan that works outside of Austria, I was relying completely on some directions that the hostel I was staying at gave me. The funny thing about using directions from hostels in foreign countries is that I’m prettttttty sure they type things out in their native language, and then they run it through google translate. 3 of the streets they told me to use didn’t even exist. It’s only because I’m a bloodhound reincarnated that I was able to find this place… and by that I mean I stumbled upon it solely because of stupid luck. My first night was spent lounging on the beach and eating pizza. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Marcus, why would you eat pizza in PORTUGAL?!”. Friends, I’ve put together a little thing I like to call “The Italy-Pizza Proximity Theory”. My theory is, because I’m much closer to Italy (which is famous for pizza) than I was in Austria, that the pizza in Portugal must, logically, be better. Lo and behold, my taste buds when on a wacky and orgasmic ride for the 30 seconds I spent devouring these slices of heaven. After getting roasted by the sun and binge eating, I figured I should head back to my hostel and relax before calling it a night. As I  stumbled home, I happened to walk past a veryyyyy unfortunate old lady. I honestly couldn’t tell if she was wearing a dead cat on her head, or if she just couldn’t afford head and shoulders. Toss in a few missing teeth and she was about as far as you could get from a Marilyn Monroe type gal. And, as luck would have it, as I walked past her she called to me “heyyy babyyyyyy”. Turns out she was a prostitute. My first thought was “greattttttttttt, first night in Portugal and the first girl who cat calls me is an old prostitute”, and then my second thought was “eh, it could be worse…. no wait, it really can’t be”. Realizing the prostitute was still sizing me up; I covered up my bosom and hustled out of her line of sight. Once I got back to hostel, I realized that I spent a little tooooooo much time in my sleeveless shirt while I was in the sun. Instead of getting a nice even tan, I had one of those “constantly looks like he’s wearing a white sleeveless shirt even when he’s shirtless” tans. That tan has no progressed to a “constantly looks like he’s wearing a white bra when he’s not wearing a shirt” tan, FYI. I even managed to burn my armpit. Putting on deodorant was pretty much out of the question for a couple days….

tanlines

The next day would bring about a great and wonderful change of pace, as a familiar face from home came to meet up with me for the rest of my Portugal trip. It’s funny; I don’t think I’ve really missed home until I met up with her. Up until then I had grown accustomed to calling Vienna home, but this just reinforced that home is more than just a place you reside it, it’s the place you devote your heart to; the place where you expend the most love, whether its directed at friends, family, or significant others. We had a pretty relaxing day lounging around (you’re going to read this 5 or 6 more times before I finish the entry. C’mon, I’m in fucking Portugal. There are beaches on beaches on beaches. Lounging is all you do), deciding to rest up before planning our adventures for the next day. We kicked off the next day with a walking tour from a really strange, talkative, short Portugal native who couldn’t tell a good joke to save his life. His mannerisms and facial features reminded me of my uncle though…. to the point where I’m wondering if I should shoot me an email and see if he’s ever been to Portugal, and what the chances were that he got someone pregnant there, sayyyy 20 years ago. Halfway through the tour we stopped to indulge in a delectable Portuguese dessert. You essentially drink cherry liquor out of chocolate cups, and then eat the cups. We made the mistake of eating the cups while they were full…. so we had this burning liquor in our mouths while we tried pathetically to chew through all the chocolate. The rest of the tour was pretty interesting, and there’s lots of compelling history in Portugal, but I’m not here to detail history, so I’ll sum it up in a few short words: war, earthquakes, failed invasion, war, invasion, war, standoff, war, happy times. That’s about the jist of what I got from the tour. What really got my attention though, was the name of a famous square in Lisbon: The MARQUIS Pombal Square. Yes, you read that right. MARQUIS. Turns out that Marquis (or as they also write it, Marques) was the title given to noblemen in some European colonies. This particular Marquis is known today as the most influential head of government Portugal has had. Once again, I’d like to point out the MARQUIS part. Maybe this is the beginning of my claim to fame? After getting our ears talked off by our guide, we found food and lounged around for the rest of the day. The next day was much more extreme, as we went surfing on the coast. This was my first time surfing EVER. And unfortunately for me, I hadn’t spent my years on skid row rocking a skateboard, so my surf skills would need some serious work. Surfing is actually wayyyyy harder than it looks, mainly because you have to maintain your balance while moving from your stomach to your feet WHILE also riding the crushing force of a wave. I managed to stand up a couple times, but I wasn’t able to hold it very long. The only unfortunate part was when a girl in front of my wiped out and I took her surfboard to the stomach, bruising my ribs as a result. But that was ok, because once the water calmed I could lie down on my surfboard and let the sound of the ocean cast its mesmerizing spell on me, lulling away any sorenessfrom trying to be a pro surfer. Our surf guide then bought us all a round of beers before we hopped back onto the bus and back towards our hostel. I’m starting to think he bought us all a beer so he could get us to relax before we had to see his driving skills. You think distracted driving is bad in Edmonton? Try distracted driving while you’re on a road where there are essentially no rules except for one: survival. The only thing keeping me distracted from certain death was listening to the Latvians in the bus teach us all tongue twisters in their native language. I can’t remember the ones they taught me, but rest assured, Peter Picker Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers was repeated like 10 times (because that’s the only one us Canadians  could think of).

nikki and I

We then boarded a train to Lagos, which was the next city on our list. The train ride was much longer than expected though, clocking in at 5 hours. One of these hours would be spent at a train station and having the fanciest of dinners while we waited for our connecting train…..that fancy dinner was kit kat bars and lukewarm beers. 3 long hours later and we arrived in the city of Lagos. I like to think of it as a beachy version of Banff; a small party town filled with Australians. Lagos was easily my favorite city compared to Lisbon, if only because of the beaches. There are simply no words to describe the pure magic and splendour of these beaches; the colossal waves creating an energetic and industrial-like soundtrack to our wanderings on the sandy shores.  To put it simply, it was heaven on earth. Nothing brings a greater sense of inner calm than sitting on the beach while your mind just drifts away into silence; resistant to the brevity of peace that you would normally find while trying to relax in a city. Our one mistake was going to this place in the middle of the week, where the party scene was… not as lively as it would be on the weekend. But on the flipside, this means that we were able to chat up the bartenders more. Toss in a few low cut shirts, and we were on our way to free drinks and irresponsibility. Lagos was also were I first really dabbled with Portuguese cuisine, as I indulged in prawns and spaghetti for one meal, and Portuguese pork with all the fixins in another.

After hanging out for almost a week, it eventually came time to say goodbye as my friend continued her adventure while I went back to Vienna. It was sad saying goodbye, since my friend still has another year of traveling ahead of her before we probably cross paths again, but it was great that we were able to hang out and have some familiarity from home. If you’re reading this, I wish you nothing but the best in your adventure, and I can’t wait to hear about your stories when you’re back 🙂 .

Also, I was going to write about my short trip in Budapest, but to be honest that would just make this entry wayyyy too long. I’m going to do it a massive injustice by not describing it. Instead, I’ll just say that you should make the effort to go there when you’re in Europe. It’s a wonderful city with lots of character, and plenty of sights to keep you busy. And if you like partying, go to the ruin bars and the bathhouses! Also, apparently Yoda’s speech pattern was based off of the Hungarian language. They took his lines in English, translated it to Hungarian, and then translated it back to English but kept the Hungarian word order. FUN FACT FOR YA.

Up next! A little blurb on roommates, and Marqis moves out and starts his adventures. My blog posts will probably be harder to keep up with after this next one, but I’ll do my best to keep up with them!

Travel Playlist 2014
1.) Leaving Edmonton: American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y66j_BUCBMY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/americanauthors/bestdayofmylife.html

2.) Vienna: Billy Joel – Vienna
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdiXvDU4P0
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/billyjoel/vienna.html

3.) Linz: City and Colour – The Lonely Life
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBFQpX6mV8
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cityandcolour/thelonelylife.html

4.) Graz: Closure in Moscow – Night at the Spleen
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggZaTPnMpMU
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/closureinmoscow/anightatthespleen.html

5.) Prague: New Politics – Fall Into These Arms
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUgMZDn1G4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/newpolitics/fallintothesearms.html

6.) Füssen: Biffy Clyro – Mountains
Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2v4YsLpI8c
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/biffyclyro/mountains.html

7.) Reflections and Ramblings: Bastille – Laughter Lines
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ccFSXgdv5U
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bastille/laughterlines.html

8.) Zell am See: The Menzingers – Gates
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1aWag0Nl9E
Lyrics: http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/menzingers/gates.html

9.) Vienna II: A Day to Remember – City of Ocala
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Sl1lL1ybY
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/daytoremember/cityofocala.html

10.) Amsterdam: Less  Than Jake – Good Enough
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p81Lqx3t24k
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lessthanjake/goodenough.html

11.) Brugges: Seether – Tonight
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzdecygpmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/seether/tonight.html

12.) Brussels: Frank Turner – Four Simple Words
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBaCRl2h87I
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/frankturner/foursimplewords.html

13.) Stockholm: John Newman – Love Me Again
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnewman/lovemeagain.html

14.) Uppsala: Philip Philips – Gone, Gone, Gone
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oozQ4yV__Vw
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/phillipphillips/gonegonegone.html

15.) Lisbon: Switchfoot – Saltwater Heart
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1e5kLDAGmg
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/switchfoot/saltwaterheart.html

16.) Lagos: Florence + the Machine – Shake it Out
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/florencethemachine/shakeitout.html

17.) Budapest: All Time Low – Weightless
Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpG3BxRctQ4
Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/alltimelow/weightless.html