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At about 5 AM, I hopped in the taxi, direction the airport -my feelings being all over the place. A part of me was sad to leave Morocco. I knew that my memories of the last few days would slowly fade away -and I wanted to hold onto it a bit longer. If it wasn’t of meeting my best friend in Germany, a few hours later, I don’t think I would have been in the mood to discover a new country just yet. But, Rali was now texting me, her ass in the plane, half-way from Montreal to Berlin. I had to change my mindset as fast as possible, leaving my nostalgia and all these unrealistic romantic scenarios behind. I landed a few minutes before her plane, giving me enough time to grab my bags and walk to her terminal. I waited for her, the phone ready to capture the moment. After a few minutes, she appeared from behind a sliding door. When I saw her, my vision became blurry from the tears in my eyes. I missed her, a lot. Although we had been texting every day, since I left Montreal, it wasn’t the same to finally have her standing in front of me. We yelled (at the surprised of the other people waiting for loved ones to arrive) and hugged, ready to celebrate this friendship with an epic 10 days of adventure. We went out of the airport and took a taxi. We were both fried and just wanted to arrive as fast as possible at the hotel, so we could refresh and start our exploration. The taxi driver was a Lebanese man that spoke absolutely no english but still wanted to communicate through the whole ride. He kept trying to speak in German, although he knew as much as we did about this language. We ended up laughing through the whole ride, because of tiredness but also because the driver laughed at us trying to mime stuff. We finally made it to the hostel -a very hype building. We checked-in, realized how young the people were here and then decided to go for a walk downtown, to find something to eat. We were about 10 minutes away from our hotel when Rali pointed out the sheer amount of police everywhere, in the streets. There was several officers, cars, vans, gates -a very dramatic setup. We wondered what it could be, but as every one else in the streets didn’t seem bothered, we deducted that it was something related to a parade or something. After all, it was almost St-Patrick’s day (We later realized it was in fact due to a shooting that happened hours before). Berlin’s air was crisp and cold. We had to stop in a shop to buy hats and gloves, but we realized fast enough that our heads and hands had frozen already. We stopped in a typical Bavarian restaurant, desperate to find a bit of warmth in this cold city. We both ordered wurst (sausages), some sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. The food was absolutely delicious -and pinpoint what we needed for this temperature. We walked back home, feeling full and ready to confront the wind. We talked for a few hours before falling asleep (although we would wake up sporadically, due to a party in the hallway).

We woke up ready for adventure. We went straight to a small coffee shop, next door, and had a delicious breakfast. We talked more, about my trip -about Stan (that, might I remind you, was from Bulgaria like Rali) and she joked that she was happy he ended up not being an embarrassment for her country. Although she admitted her biases- after reading my blog and getting a personal take on everything I lived, Stan was her favourite of all my encounters. “Was he your fave too?” This made me re-think about the whole trip and every one I had crossed path with. Like when someone ask me which of the country I’ve done so far is my favourite, I am left with an empty answer. I can tell you which one (or who) is my least favourite (I won’t tell you..but I could..) but I can’t tell you who was outshining who. The people I met were all different, with their own quirks, personality, dreams and ambitions. They all made my trip an amazing experience and I made memories I will never forget, with every one of them. What I can tell, is that Stan was the one teaching me that I truly want to find my person, some day. “If that’s your question: I want one like this, yes”. She laughed. We finished our breakfast and walked to the Hop and Off bus stop, ready to explore Berlin. The weather was way warmer today and we ended up having to remove a few layers, during the first hour. Our first stop was the Topography of Terror, a museum on the site of the former Gestapo headquarters, documenting the horrors of Nazism. After a very long and heavy hour walking inside the museum, we were now standing outside, in front of parts of the remains of the Berlin wall. After reading a slide of information, Rali looked away to take a breath, and that’s when her emotional state instantly shifted. “OMG a trabi!”. She started walking in the direction of that trabi-thing I had no idea about. “Wtf are you talking about?” I asked, following her. “It’s a trabi!! So many of them”. We were now standing in front of an edifice covered with old cars. I read the sign: Trabi-Safari. “Ok, now you need to explain.” I had a throw back to my relationship with a car-lover boy - the longest time ever as I do not give a single fuck about vehicles. Did we just discovered that my bff has a secret love-affair for eastern-European automobiles? Yes. Yes, we did. But as Rali explained to me the whole history behind, I also developed an affection for it. That Trabi car was the little car her dad was driving, back when they all lived in Bulgaria. It was loaded with memories of a simpler time, and I could see in her eyes that it made her nostalgic to the core. We had a look and were very surprised that it would cost roughly 100 euros per person to drive this car around for an hour. We decided this wouldn’t be a clever investment and continued walking around Berlin, instead. We walked to the Brandenburg Gate, then to the Television Tower (where we visited the Body exposition) and finally took a break in a small coffee shop. Rali decided that she was going to pay for the Trabi experience. She really wanted to do it. “Fine, but i’m not driving this in central Berlin. I don’t know how to drive manual. Like I never even tried”, I said. We managed to find a way to pay for both, but have me seating with her in the car. The first try, Rali was so excited that she mistakenly reserved the experience in another city. She had to cancel and reserve again, for Berlin this time. We finished our coffees and went back outside to continue our walk. A few minutes later, Rali spotted a red and white bracelet knotted on the branch of a tree. “Did your friend told you what this is?” I looked at her, confused. “What friend?” “The Bulgarian guy”, she said. “What the fuck are you talking about?” She proceeded to tell me that she saw the white and red bracelet around Stan’s wrist, when I first send her a picture of him. She thought he would have had explain to me what it meant. “Nope, he didn’t. I didn’t even noticed he had a bracelet, to be honest. I wasn’t looking at his wrist..”. She rolled her eyes at my insinuation, but then explained to me that this was part of a Bulgarian tradition. People give this bracelet (called a Martenitsa) to their loved ones, around March, and it is supposed to represent health, longevity, fertility and abundance. I asked why the bracelet was now hanging on a tree branch. She said that to complete the tradition, people had to tie the bracelet to a fruit tree, as soon as they had spotted one migrating bird. I smiled. I was happy to have met Stan, because of all the reason state previously -but there was one more, very important: without knowing it, he was now opening a conversation with Rali and I, about her history and culture. We saw several people passing by with green hats, and it made me realize that I too, had more than Quebecois’ blood in my veins. I asked Rali if she wanted to celebrate that part of my ancestry and she wholeheartedly agreed. After all, she loved beer and Irish stew. We arrived at Kilkenny around 18H, thinking we would be early enough to beat off the crowd. We were fucking wrong. The bar was completely full inside and the crowd was now gathering in all the streets around. We managed to sneak in the exterior patio and ordered some stew, a beer and a cider. We then pushed our way inside and stayed in front of the stage for a few songs. My ancestor would be happy, no doubt. Around 22H, we decided we had enough for the night. We started to walk back in direction of our hostel, but noticed very quickly that the cold was back and we wouldn’t make it alive. We downloaded an app on our cellphones and unlocked two scooters that we drove in the park and on the streets back to the hostel. We made a stop at an Indian restaurant that had it’s opening night, made friends with the staff and then walked the remaining part of the road to the hostel. We felt asleep quickly, with no party in the hallway to wake us up this time.

We woke up with the same routine planned as the day before. Headed up to a small coffee shop, had breakfast and then had to switch hostel. We took the subway and bus to the new place and checked in as soon as we arrived. The hotel was pretty cool, but I had made a mistake with the reservation and we ended up having a single-bed caravan for the night. We were now on the east-side part of Berlin, and although it was years after the cold-war, you could still feel the difference from the west-side. It was poorer here, more edgy and vibrant. I liked it better. We walked for about 45min until we reached the east-side gallery -another vestige of the Berlin wall, this time covered in murals and graffitis. So all due respect for the artists, but the whole thing was shit. I am pretty sure there isn’t any portfolio review before someone is allowed to draw on these walls. Our murals in Montreal are a thousand times better. Nevertheless to say that both Rali and I were very disappointed. We skipped through everything and walked to Trabi-Safari (about an hour and a half further), where our Trabi adventure was starting. We arrived 30min in advance, had to go wait in a coffee shop and then came back 5min earlier than the time that they told us- only to be received with another annoyed guy saying that we were in Germany here, we needed to be here in advance. We were about to tell him that we were, but he was already gone. We made our way to the yard, where all the Trabi were, and there was a station to practice the gear-shifting (because Trabi’s shift gears are where the steering wheel is, not at the bottom as usually). Rali started to get a bit anxious -realizing that she also haven’t touched a manual car in ages -yet alone one that you shift via the steering wheel. We were then asked to choose our car and hopped on it. Rali was getting increasingly nervous and I know I should have been too -but I just thought this was hilarious. “You’ve put yourself in this situation, love”. She wanted to kill me for following her in this plan, I’m pretty sure. We were all in line, following the guide in the first car. We were the fourth car in the row. It was time to start and Rali made the motor choke. I could see the panic taking over her, but we were going to do this together and it was going to be fine. There was nothing to panic about. If the car stopped, the car stopped. We were all in a line, driving flashy soap-box cars, people knew it was our first time. We started the car back and started to drive. During the next hour, we managed to find a way to make it work. Rali was driving while I was changing the gear. “One”. “Two”. “Neutral”. That team work got us through the whole circuit, without choking the car any more time. We even managed to get Rali’s peace back. The anxiety was gone -we both had fun. We arrived back at the Trabi-Safari parking, took a few pictures in their yard and walked to the Cold War Museum, rehashing our driving success. We had about an hour to kill before our next stop: watching the sunset from the Television Tower. The Cold War museum ended up being total garbage -we were very sad because comon’, there is so many things to say about the cold war. From the space race to the nuclear threats and the espionage, we were hoping to get a bigger and more in-dept museum than what we ended up visiting. An hour later, we were watching the sunset from the observatory of the Television tower, speechless in front of the city turning slowly to night. We walked down to go for dinner and then took the subway back to the hotel. We slept like babies, regardless of the tiny bed we were in.


We woke up ready for a road-trip adventure (hopefully one that wouldn’t need both of us to drive at the same time, like the day before). We arrived at the airport to pickup our car and the girl at the counter was about to drop a bomb on us. “There was a problem in the system so the only cars we have left are manual ones”. “Well I don’t drive manual, so can we add the insurance?” I said, laughing. She laughed, too. I have learned over my trips around the world that getting angry at a situation is never ever gonna make the situation better. Laughing about it, though, usually works fine. People are way more keen to go above and beyond for someone sympathetic and funny than for an angry client they do not give a shit about. The lady ended up finding an automatic car, in an above category, and upgraded us -free of charge. We walked to the car, about 5 min away from the counter, and proceeded to curse at it for about 30 minutes as there was no way to start it. I even watched a youtube video on how to start a fucking 2018 corolla, thinking I was probably missing something stupid. But nothing I haven’t tried came out of the videos, so after one last attempt we had to shame-walk back to the counter and ask for help. She apologized, saying she forgot to tell us that the car was fully locked. We had to hold the car keys on the start button for several seconds for it to start the car. We walked back and the trick ended up working just fine. We would continue cursing at the car through the next days, though, as we kept forgetting we had to do that every single time. We drove for several hours before stopping at a trucker-stop to get a lunch. This was trucker-portion and the lady at the restaurant was laughing, from the counter, watching us trying to finish it (unsuccessfully). We continued our drive, pass through a lightening storm and a sunset to die for. We even questioned ourselves if we weren’t heading into a wildfire, at some point, as everything around had turned to bright orange. By the time we arrived to our first stop of the Romantic road, it was already night. We parked the car and checked-in in our Inn and then went straight back out to go walk in the old town, a few meters away. We were both absolutely shocked by the beauty of this old town. Walking through the main gate was like stepping in the pages of a fairy tale. The crooked buildings around us were surrounded by twisted plants climbing their stoned walls. The towers and clocks projecting shadows on the ground were worthy of the best Grimm’s stories. We wandered around for a few hours, almost forgetting the cold that was turning our cheeks into the famous ridding hood colour. A part of me was heartbroken to be walking in such a mythical place. If a scene like this existed, then the love from all these legends was meant to be real too. Would I ever find it? I wanted one that last, one that I wouldn’t get bored of and one that could handle all the adventures I still wanted to live. I wanted someone to enhance my day to day, someone with whom I would explore the world with, but also be able to explore without. We would look forward to come back to each-other, so we could share the tales of our days apart. I wanted something real, so real that there isn’t a doubt or any lack of trust -we would both knew that we had something too special to mess up. We would find the passion of a first kiss, the fire of an affair, into our shared dreams of a crusade around the globe. We would find it in climbing mountains on a remote island, in passing through giant waves on our way to Antarctica, in growing lemons on a farm in south Italy. As I watched the lights shimmering through the windows of the few houses that had life inside of them, I remembered that so far, I never had a sign that such a romance existed. And even in the fairy tales, all my favourite love stories were ones of forbidden, unspoken love. From Tristan and Isolde to Romeo and Juliet, the real true love that made my heart vibrate wasn’t the one of a dumb princess falling in love with a prince after a single kiss -and living happily ever, after. “Are you hungry?” I snapped back to reality, mom’s spaghetti. We walked to an Italian restaurant that was about to close, but seeing our poor hungry face, the staff decided to let us in for a quicky (pizza). We walked back to our Inn and we felt asleep, wrapped in our blankets like to massive burritos.

We woke up a bit before the sunrise, the next morning. We wanted to walk in the old town before any tourists arrived. Turned out, tourists never arrived in the whole 6 days we passed on the romantic road. It was low season -there was absolutely no one in the towns and we loved every single moment of it. We walked for about four hours, inside the old town, in the gardens and around the fortifications. The weather was rather gloomy but the temperature was way warmer than it ever was so far. We stopped for lunch in a small coffee shop, where Rali found 40 euros on the ground and decided to give it to the lady working there. After reflection, we both agreed that the worker was in fact a witch that had put the 40 euros on the floor to test us -and if we had kept it, she would have probably curse us to death. Got you, old cunt. We walked back to the car and drove to our next stop on the path. It was another medieval town but this one had way less charm than the previous. We hopped back in the car for our third stop - Dinkelsburg. This town was like a new chapter of an old tale. There was a tower, like the one from Rapunzel, that was standing up, fighting gravity to reach for the sky. We wandered around town, in all the alleyways and small brick roads, getting lost in the streets and in our thoughts. After I don’t know how much time, we hopped back in the car, direction of another small town that ended up being nothing worth mentioning. Our next stop was a magnificent medieval castle, one that was once wooed by Michael Jackson. We had a full tour of the castle but barely understood anything because the guide was only speaking German. Two other people were in the tour, and they helped us here and there, but most of the translation was done through my google translate app. We googled later on, to get the missing pieces. The tour lasted about two hours in total, after what we hopped back in the car, direction the hotel. At that moment, both of us were getting hangry (we hadn’t eaten in a while) and we had a laugh about it as soon as food settled in our bellies. We checked-in and ate, and then went for a walk in the old-town, only to discover that the river passing by was the Danube. This river was like the St-Lawrence in Bulgaria, and Rali was happy to see it from another perspective. We went back to the hotel and felt asleep quickly.

The next day, we woke up pretty early again, to drive away from the Romantic road - to Munchen (Munich). We stopped in the Palace, where we first learned about King Ludwig 2. Nothing was picking our curiosity about that character, yet, but we would later that week learn a story that would make us want to know everything about his life. A medieval tea. After walking though the palace and gardens, getting hangry yet again, we decided to snack quickly on some chocolate and get to the hotel asap. We had lunch, walked around Munich (which I ended up loving even more than Berlin) and settled in a coffee shop for the afternoon. We worked a bit, her on her tattoos and posts, me on my posts and blog. We left the coffee shop and went for a walk around the canal, but as the night was settling in, we ended up eating in a typical Bavarian restaurant. There, we learned the shocking news that one of the former professor of Rali had been arrested for sexual offences on minors. We talked about that for the rest of the night, while walking back to the hotel.

The next morning, we were taking back the road, excited to discover the magnificent Neuschwanstein castle. The drive to it was perfectly insane. The Alps started to appear in the background, getting closer to us by the minute. When we first saw the castle in the distance, both of us stopped breathing, it felt like. It was absolutely everything you could imagine, and more. We hiked around the castle, all day, with a stop to visit the inside of it (and of Hohenschwangau, another castle nearby). The visits were amazing. Very well done, super informative -and the inside of each castle was out of this world, in details and textures. We passed a few hours, at the end of the Neuschwanstein castle tour, to hike up the mountains behind so we could have an even better view of the scenery. Sitting above, we watched the wind move in the trees surrounding the castle, and discussed the impossible single-sided love of King Ludwig and Richard Wagner (see my instagram stories for the detailed tea). We stayed there for hours, just discussing and contemplating the lakes and the castle. We had to leave because the night was slowly settling in -and we were starting to feel tired from all the walking we did in the past few days. We drove about 10 minutes and arrived in the town of Fussen, where we settled in for the night. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant and ended our night surrounded by naked dicks. No, not like this. We ended up in a moroccan spa, at the top of the hotel. The first time you see a dick in this context is quite shocking, for Canadians, but after a few hours it becomes like another painting on the wall. We were sipping our mint tea and reading on our phones, without a care in the world.

Our next day was passed on the road to the black forest. We decided to take the long path and stopped in a few towns on the way. The setup was extraordinary, passing from the imposing mountains of the Alps to the green valleys surrounded by gloomy pine forest. When we finally arrived, it was dark and we were exhausted. We had dinner in our over-the-top hotel and felt asleep in one of the most soft bed I ever slept on.

The next morning, we slept-in, had breakfast and went for another moroccan spa (I am a bit confused as why this is a theme in Germany), where we were forced to remove all our clothes to attend the sauna. We had a good laugh and ended up leaving quickly after. We had to wait a few minutes outside, for the staff of the hotel to come and tell us that our car wasn’t starting. I failed to use this moment to make the guy panic by telling him we had to go to the airport, and simply told him what to do with the car keys to make the engine start. A few minutes later, we were sitting in the car, direction Stuttgart, for our last night in Germany.

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