Friday, April 22, 2011

Berlin to Paris to Milan (to Rimini!)

The week in Berlin wrapped up nicely, though too quickly- I'm already planning on heading back at the end of my Europe travels (hopefully for 10 days this time). And it looks like I'll have to give up the Business Class ticket I scored for my return flight from Paris if I want to fly directly from Berlin- a sacrifice that seems to be worth it.

Spent the last 2 nights in Paris, crashing at the apartment of a friend from the team I played with when I studied there (and the team I'm playing with at Paganello). The first night, I went directly from the airport to practice; discovered that while I am dreadfully out of shape, I can indeed still play Ultimate. Also, my shoulder continues to be holding up, fortunately.

My only full day in Paris this stopover (yesterday), I was wandering around the Marais (hoping to get some fresh-baked matzo, a goal that did not succeed), when I heard my name called out from someone nearby. And who should I look up to see but Jake Reibel, my classmate from Amherst, fellow Senior Week-er, and cousin of Aaron Reibel, someone I became good friends with on my Birthright trip! He's been teaching English in Dijon, but was up in Paris on vacation with his parents. We chatted, then parted ways (they had freshly-bought falafel that I didn't want to keep them from). Then, an hour later (having at least found a sheep's-milk cheese filled matzo pastry), I ran in to them again- and they told me that about a minute after they had seen me, they had run in to Sam Schiavone (whom I stayed with in Vendôme at the beginning of my trip, and was also on our Senior Week trip)! He was also in Paris with his parents; his teaching job has just finished up. So (after some phone issues) I ended up meeting up with Sam and his parents; we went to the Musée Carnavalet in the Marais (free museum about the history of Paris!) and then got some delicious gelato. Later that evening, Sam and I met up at the apartment they were staying at (only a few metro stops from where I was staying) and walked from Père Lachaise to Hôtel de Ville (a fairly lengthy walk) and then met up with Jake again. We decided to go to Rue Mouffetard (the favorite hangout spot for the people I mostly hung out with when I was studying in Paris). Unfortunately, the bar we usually frequented had changed ownership (but not the red velvet decor), so we mostly wandered around the street, got a drink at a bar, then called it a night.

So that brings us to today. Made it to the Orly Airport in Paris; met up with my teammates for this tourney, and made it to Milan relatively smoothly. We had a few hours to kill when we got there, so we walked to this amazingly ornate cathedral (can't look up the name while writing this, as I don't have internet access), then waited a long time for pizza at a nearby restaurant, got some gelato, and then walked (again, quite far) to the train station. And now I am on the train to Rimini! However, there are some unfortunate things: my computer power adapter does not work with the outlets on the train; hopefully this will not also be the case at the hotel. Also, my phone refuses to connect to any of the Italian cell networks; since I don't have internet, I can't verify that Italy is one of the countries that it works in. So I am feeling relatively cut off at the moment, though I imagine that I will be able to get internet access when we are in Rimini, even if I have to pay for it.

Should be excited about the tournament, but right now a bit preoccupied with the aforementioned issues; however, once we're in and settled, I imagine the excitement will kick in and the worries will melt away (as is so often the case with me).

Addendum: So, when I bought the ticket for the train, the site informed me that all I needed was the confirmation code, which could be verified on board. Though I was a bit dubious, I figured that it wouldn't lie to me. The conductor just came by for the ticket; I showed her the code, she checked my seat number and punched something into what looks like a smartphone, then said "Grazie" (sp?) and moved on to the next person. I am impressed.

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