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  • Day14

    Goodbye

    May 15 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Day 14 - Goodbye

    We started the day by getting coffee and walking around Prospect Park before sitting down on a bench by the water. It was weird to think that this would be my last day here. I knew I had to get home, I was exhausted from travelling by now. Still, a part of me wanted to stay. I enjoyed my time here a lot. I'd miss New York. Matt told me that from his perspective as a local, my New York experience came close to being perfect. I definitely do agree with that, it has been an amazing trip and I really didn't look forward to having to say goodbye tonight. I could already feel myself getting emotional about this - it would probably stay this way for the rest of the day. We drove into town to get some shawarma and went back to the tattoo parlour, which turned out to be closed that day. I texted the artist and we agreed that Matt would go there to give her the rest of my money the following week. Since the sun came out, we decided to get some ice cream and hang out at Washington Square Park again. We took a last walk around the city together and ended up at Union Square where a lot of artists were selling their paintings accompanied by the sound of street musicians playing their instruments. On the metro back to Matt's place, I got my last view of Manhattan while crossing the bridge back to Brooklyn. We relaxed a little at his apartment before I needed to get ready to leave. This evening, I was again reminded why I hate goodbyes so much. It always feels like something very precious is ending when you have to say goodbye to a person you care about. Especially when you know that you won't get to see the person again any time soon. You never know what the future brings, after all. On the drive through Brooklyn, I also had to say my goodbyes to New York, this entire trip, this continent. Somehow, I felt that at least this one would be a goodbye for good. At the airport, most of the self-serving check-in points were out of service, so the line was incredibly long. I made it through the security check 5 minutes before boarding would start and rushed through the airport to find anything edible since I didn't have the chance to have dinner. I basically inhaled a hot dog and finally got one of the infamous largely produced American canned beers. I then ran back to my gate, only to discover that the flight has been delayed now. Thank you very much for that. On the plane, I was seated in between a lovely grandpa from Montenegro and Raphael, a 29 year old guy from Vienna with whom I ended up exchanging travel stories. At first, both of us wanted to sleep on the plane, but we decided it would be smarter to pull an all-nighter and go to bed early the next night. We ended up drinking a couple of beers, listening to music together, having some great conversations and playing games. At the passport control, I made an ass out of myself by saying good morning to the police officer who then pointed out that it was afternoon already. I made it back to my apartment around 2pm and was greeted by my cats. I was home again. My break was over. Life would continue now.Read more

  • Day13

    Coming to an end

    May 14 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Day 13 - Coming to an end

    I started the day at 9am with a massive headache. Mixing drinks hadn't been a good idea. I joined a call on Discord waiting for Matt to wake up, but since he was still sleeping by noon, I decided to start my day either way. Since Dimitri told me that I'd have to try Dr. Pepper in the US, I stopped at the supermarket before getting some coffee at our breakfast spot and hopping on the metro. The B line which I normally took to the city doesn't run on weekends, so I had to improvise a bit and went to Union Square. This turned out to be more interesting than my original plan since there was a huge market and a protest against abortion laws going on. My plan was to walk in the direction of Washington Square to get a burger there, unless I found a more appealing place on the way. I ended up at a place that offers Cuban and Brazilian cuisine. While being there, I texted Matt and we had a conversation about being a bad influence for one another when it comes to alcohol. There is definitely some truth to that. Maybe it was for the best that I would be leaving New York the next day. I felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation. Well, at least my liver did. I then went to the tattoo parlour and got my second tattoo here done. Since my card stopped working, I could only pay for half of it in cash and we agreed that I'd come back the next day to pay for the rest. I went back to Matt's afterwards and we watched some Eurovision together since the finale of the song contest took place today. He had no idea about Eurovision before. We then got some food at the same place where we ate the first night. It seems fitting that my journey would end the same way it began, tired but with great Thai food.Read more

  • Day12

    Nightlife

    May 13 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Day 12 - Nightlife

    The day started with some breakfast tacos around the block. Man, have I missed NYC. It started raining the moment I arrived at the metro station but I wasn't going to let that change my plans for the day. I wanted to go to Hoboken in Jersey City. Technically, I had been in New Jersey the day before since I arrived at Newark, but I wasn't counting that. Luckily, it wasn't raining in Jersey when I arrived. I walked along the waterfront and got a beautiful view of Manhattan's skyscrapers being covered in clouds. First time in the US and I got 3 states covered, that wasn't too bad, I would say. I got on a train back to New York and started walking around Manhattan. The rain had stopped again by this time. My plan was to walk from tattoo parlour to tattoo parlour until I found one that would do a walk-in today. During my walk, I had my Good Vibes playlist running and sang along to myself a little. I got a fair amount of streets covered that way. After being unlucky at a few places, I found an artist who said she'd give me a call in the evening. I then headed to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. This was the grimmest and most depressing experience of my trip. I was alive when this happened. It feels so recent. Right outside the museum was the Smorgasburg Food Market where I got myself some empanadas and guaraná soda. I then continued my walk around the streets of Manhattan, trying to stick to spots I had not been to yet, which wasn't much of a challenge. At around 4pm, I decided to head back to Matt's apartment to relax a little. The tattoo artist hit me up and we agreed that she would tattoo me on the day after. We then went to a Korean BBQ place near Empire with one of Matt's friends. This was my first time trying Korean BBQ. It was on the pricey side, but definitely worth it. This was one of my favourite dishes in North America so far, and frankly, at this point, I've had a lot. The three of us continued to a rooftop bar a few blocks down and enjoyed some very expensive drinks before getting some beers and chilling at Washington Square Park. The place was incredibly busy, but I guess on a Friday night, that was to be expected. Partying in NYC is very hectic, but in a good way. There's just so much energy in this city. We hit another bar but only stayed for one drink because it was crowded as hell. After that, I can't really remember what happened. According to Matt, I smoked a joint and we went to a café where I passed out. We then tried getting a cab which didn't work and walked back to the metro instead where we saw people having a fight, screaming at and punching each other. Our drunken selves found that to be pretty hilarious. We made it back to Matt's at around 3am. We made some trashy instant ramen and ate leftover breakfast tacos before calling it a day.Read more

  • Day11

    Return to the city

    May 12 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Day 11 - Return to the city

    We had some french toast with blueberry syrup and maple syrup for breakfast. What a great way to start the day. I would be leaving Canada today. It made me a bit sad since I've been treated with so much kindness here. On the other hand, I really did miss New York already and I couldn't await getting back. We said goodbye at the airport. I had never flown so often in such a short amount of time before. However, I don't think flying will ever lose its magic for me. I caught my connecting flight in Toronto and thanks to the perfect weather, I was even able to see Niagara Falls from the plane. Immigration at Newark took ages and Immigration-lady kept piercing me with questions for quite some time. What I was doing for a living. What I was doing here and in Canada. Where I knew my friends from. If one of them was my boyfriend. If I had a return ticket, and if either of the two paid for it. She was clearly weirded out by the idea of me flying to a different continent to meet people I only knew from the internet. To be fair, I couldn't blame her. It was 5pm when I was finally done at the airport. Since I didn't want to pay 80 bucks for an uber, I asked the guy to simply take me to a metro stop and I'd find my way back to Matt's. Driving in NYC must be annoying as hell. You're standing more than you're driving and the amount of honking is incredible. Eventually we made it into town and I got some falafel before hopping onto the metro. It was half past 6 by the time I made it back to Matt's apartment. The sun was shining and Matt was ecstatic about the great weather since it had been raining the entire time while I had been gone. It seems like I picked the right day to return to the city. After taking a short break at his place, we headed back into Manhattan and got some Sri Lankan food and a few beers from the store right below the Sri Lankan place. I'd never had Sri Lankan food before, but I'm definitely adding it to my diet. Once we made it back to his apartment, we played the children's game on Canadian geography that I got at the bushplane museum in Sault (he won) before going to bed.Read more

  • Day10

    Maple Leaf

    May 11 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Day 10 - Maple Leaf

    I woke up way too early; around 6am, and killed time with Norwegian and music. I got some whiskey and sat down by the burnt out campfire, appreciating the sunlight. I sat there for about 2h, just enjoying the view and the peace. Quin and Krystin woke up eventually and we sat outside and enjoyed the nice weather together. I was still only wearing a bikini for pants. We cleaned up the place and got ready to go at around 10am and went to Tim Hortons, which is actually quite overrated. After we put our stuff back into the apartment, we went to the reservation again to buy some cheap cigarettes. Quin and I then went to the bushplane museum in the Soo and afterwards I wanted to turn my desire of getting a tattoo in North America into reality. We walked to a few tattoo shops before finding one that does walk-ins and I got my small souvenir. Afterwards we drove around town and I got my COVID test done at a pharmacy to be able to re-enter the States the next day. We then got some burgers and poutine on the way back to the apartment, watched some more Letterkenny and sipped on some wine. Gotta admit, I love Canadian trash television. I was then on a call with Matt for some time after informing him that I'd be back at his place the next day. We talked a bit about my visit to Canada and he found the best description of that nation, ever: A barren wasteland full of bears and socialism. Quin responded by informing him that they have better maple syrup in Canada than he does in Vermont. After the call, we made chocolate fondue. I started writing my journal for some time and went to bed.Read more

  • Day9

    Oh Canada

    May 10 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Day 9 - Oh Canada

    Quin and I started the day outside with cider and cigarettes and then continued with red wine. He took some days off work for my visit so we were able to not care about behaving responsibly during my stay. I am treated with so much hospitality here. They paid for the food, the drugs, the ingredients and wouldn't take my money for it. They were trying to make me comfortable and to make my Canada experience as authentic as humanly possible. We then smoked a bong. It wasn't even noon and I was both drunk and stoned as fuck. Also, we managed to lock ourselves out but luckily, a kind neighbour let us back in. I got ready to go and headed back outside into the sun to smoke another cigarette and started some smalltalk with another guy from the neighbourhood. The weather was perfect, it was in fact the first time this year that I was wearing short pants. Krystin - who was completely sober, in case you were wondering - then drove us through the wilderness. It seemed a little like driving through southern Norway, only less mountainous, or maybe Estonia. Forests and nothing else. We arrived at their camp and I went into Lake Superior, which I was told is kind of a rite of passage. Maybe they were just shitting me. However, I did and it wasn't even as cold as I expected it to be. We then lit a campfire, cut up some wood and got the ATV - or as they call it, the four-wheeler - going since Quin wanted to take a ride on it. Afterwards, we smoked some more weed and prepared the roast for the evening. Then we sat down by the campfire with some whiskey and got the tea with the shrooms ready. We made hot dogs over the fire and his family came to join us. We were having a great time playing cards and preparing the rest of the food. We spent a lot of time discussing the German language with his nana and his brother. I was basically invited to a family gathering here and welcomed with open arms. I was astounded by that level of hospitality. We had an amazing beef roast dinner and some apple pie for dessert. After they left, we sipped our tea, but it didn't do much. I was still pretty high and drunk at that point, so we killed the fire and called it a night.Read more

  • Day8

    Welcome to the Soo

    May 9 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Day 8 - Welcome to the Soo

    I started my day with a walk to the airport and killed my time there on Discord again before boarding my plane to Sault Ste. Marie. I was quite disappointed that there was no Tim Hortons at the city airport, since I definitely would have gone for it. On the plane, I thought about how relaxing those short flights I took actually were. They provided an opportunity to get lost in music and thought, which I need to recharge. The flight was 45 minutes delayed, which was just as well given I would have to wait for Quin to finish his shift before he could pick me up from the airport anyway. Flying over Lake Huron made me realise how enormous the Great Lakes actually are. There was nothing but water in any direction. I completely underestimated the sheer size. We could as well have flown over an actual ocean. After arrival, I walked around outside a bit because the weather was way too good to be waiting inside. So here I was, in rural bumfuck Ontario, not really sure what to make of myself. I started to realise how little I actually knew about Quin. At least that meant we wouldn't run out of stuff to talk about. Him and his girlfriend Krystin picked me up and we sang along to some songs together on the ride back to town. We got some fried fish and poutine and went back to his mum's place to eat while watching a Canadian trash show called Trailer Park Boys. I told some stories about New York and Krystin then drove back to their place to clean up a little. Quin and I took a walk around his neighbourhood and the forest while we had some music playing. It was lovely to see rural Canada slowly awakening to spring. Quin is the kind of person who will sing along to any song and actually jump into the air when he's excited, I enjoy his company very much. You actually gain a bit of energy yourself just watching the guy enjoying himself. He made fun of my quirks in pronunciation and I therefore started counting the times he said "eh?", but I stopped at 7. Krystin picked us up again and we drove to a Native American reservation to buy weed-slushies - I had no idea such a thing existed - and some shrooms for the next night at the camp. My slushy tasted like grapes and as I was about to find out, would get me really high. We continued to a supermarket and got some Canadian snacks for me to try and ingredients for dinner. We cooked some goulash and made spätzle. Very cliché European, I know. Cooking while being high is something I'd never done before, but it's actually a lot of fun, even though it probably took slightly longer than I intended. We also went through most of the Canadian and some of the Austrian snacks. I got to try some really good things but also curious stuff like ketchup flavoured chips which taste - and I promise, I haven't gone crazy - quite alright, although in a bit of a weird way. We had some red wine for dinner and watched another trashy Canadian show called Letterkenny. By this time, I was pretty done. I hadn't been this high since my experiences in Copenhagen, 2015. Edibles definitely seem to be getting to me. We decided to call it a night and get some rest before going to the camp the next morning.Read more

  • Day7

    Toronto

    May 8 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    Day 7 - Toronto, or what seemed like a wild fever dream

    New York, the city that never sleeps - well, maybe at 6am on a Sunday it does. The streets were almost eerily empty on my drive to LaGuardia. Luckily, that also meant that there was almost no traffic and the ride went smoothly, as did the check-in with AirCanada. The security check was something I wasn't looking forward to. I completely forgot that you're supposed to take your shoes off during security checks in the US. That still seems weird to me. However, all went well and I killed the time on the channel #breakfastclub on Dimitri's server, ironically being the only one to actually have breakfast - I needed to try Dunkin' Donuts in the US eventually, after all. I spent the flight listening to music and catching up on my Norwegian lessons, which I haven't really paid attention to during my trip. Since it only took 1h40min, the time was quite easy to kill. The first thing that made it blatantly obvious that I was about to enter another country was the language. I hadn't been exposed to this much French in a long time. After landing, I got on a train to Union Station and wanted to drop off my suitcase at a nearby place until I could check-in at my hotel. However, I was a little lost in thought and realised after some time that I had long passed the lockers, so I decided to simply walk around the city carrying all of my stuff with me. Toronto at first didn't seem too different from New York. There were skyscrapers, there were really nice and warm people, and there were way more homeless people than I am used to from home. All in all, almost the same with a bit of French mixed in. However, I soon started to discover some differences. One thing that stood out to me was that Toronto apparently tries really hard to be artistic - in my opinion, successfully so. There's some kind of art at almost each corner. My first stop was the CN tower. Security-guy informed me that he'd have to search my entire suitcase. We started making conversation throughout the process; about my travels, with whom I'm staying and how I got to know people from North America. As it turned out, Security-guy uses Discord as well, only in his case for gaming. I was intrigued to ask for his username, but considered that this would be rather inappropriate and decided against it. The view from the CN tower upon the city was a bit underwhelming in comparison to NYC, however, the view of Lake Ontario was breathtaking. I also saw the Island Park from above and decided to take a ferry over there after I was done with my tour and the check in. After I came back down from the CN tower, I got a cold drink and relaxed a little in the sun with some music. It was 14° with a clear blue sky, no comparison to the miserable weather we had in New York these last few days. Another difference that I noticed as I continued my walk came to me as I started smelling weed - and realised that I haven't smelled any here before at all. NYC was basically covered in that smell, somehow I expected the same for Toronto. I stopped at the old spaghetti factory to get lunch and ended up ordering the by far most fancy pasta I have ever had in my life and am likely to have again - butternut squash, caramelised onions and brie stuffed ravioli with cherry tomatoes, spinach and garlic shrimp in alfredo sauce. From the start I knew that the food was going to be a huge aspect of the experience and it was one of the things I looked forward to the most about my journey, but it was still amazing how much different, yet great food I ate within the span of a week. It is also incredible how many calories I consumed and how much money I spent on said food, but I try not to think about that too much. This was going to be a one in a lifetime experience for me, so I wasn't going to start counting pennies. I also ordered a pitcher of Canadian draught beer without really knowing how much a pitcher is. As it turns out, it's about 1.5 litres. Slightly tipsy due to the burning sun, I continued my walk to the City Hall. After that, I wanted to go to my hotel to check in. However, my day would turn out to go in an unexpected direction. A few metres from City Hall, I met Dave and his two dogs, Oni and Fiasco. Dave was sitting on the street, begging for - as his sign said - money or weed. I gave him props for the sign and asked him if he wanted my leftover doughnut from the morning. He agreed and I sat down next to him for like half an hour. We talked about alcoholism, drugs, the criminal law system, COVID and so on. During the conversation, he shared some of his joint with me. He seemed quite educated, although leaning very heavily to the alternative and slightly to the conspiracy theorist side. He was then kind enough to show me the way to my hotel. After I checked in, we walked down to the Waterfront together. On the way, he wanted to teach me how to skateboard, which turned out about as well as you would expect knowing my terrible balance. He also pointed out some interesting places to me. Turns out, I found a local guide in Toronto as well. In this case, it was just a polite beggar. We arrived at the Waterfront and smoked another joint together, before walking along the water to the harbour where a ferry would take me to Ward's Island. We parted ways and exchanged our contacts, saying we'd stay in touch, both perfectly aware that we wouldn't. I was awaiting my ferry as I realised I'd have to make my way back alone, in the dark; around half an hour of walking through a city full of homeless people and addicts, still slightly tipsy and under the influence of drugs, not really knowing where exactly I'd need to go cause my Google Maps wasn't cooperating. You've got to give me one thing, I do know how to stay safe. On the ferry, I started some smalltalk with the guy standing next to me. His name was Ivan, a 19 year old economics student from Russia who'd been living in Toronto for 3 years but still took the ferry every other day to walk around the island. He walked me around and showed me some of his favourite places there. As it got late, we found ourselves some chairs and sat down by the lake to watch the sunset. He gave me a jacket but I still think I might get a cold because of that - but even if I will, the view was definitely worth it. We arrived back on the mainland at around 9pm and took the metro together. Ivan then told me how to reach my hotel from my stop and our ways parted there. Back at the hotel, I needed to figure out how to get to the airport the next morning. I also tried out uber eats for the first time and got some very cliché things - pogos (or corn dogs), tater tots and flavoured cheese curds. Tomorrow, I'd get to try poutine. Gotta love Canada, man.Read more

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