Wednesday, August 7, 2013

European Dreams

When discussing my lodging while traveling, my husband made a slightly snide comment about camping.  My response was "who hasn't dreamed of camping across Europe?"  He apparently never had.  Now, I'm honestly curious how this couldn't be on someone's bucket list.  What better way to really get to know a land, a continent, than to pitch a tent and see parts you would NEVER see if you stayed in a hotel?  I can not think of anything better.  I dreamed of camping and hiking in Europe as a little girl.  The old woods, the beaches, the ancient ruins hidden where no one thought to look and you accidentally stumbled upon them, the air of history surrounding you in nature.... *sigh*  I get goosebumps thinking about.

However, I am aware that camping is not for everyone, even some "outdoors" types like my husband.  We're all shaded by our pasts.  Sure he can survive in the Alaska Tundra, but maybe that's why he doesn't want to go around Europe only camping and not staying in a hotel?  I don't know, we didn't delve into it much because I want to camp when I travel.  I really wish we had gotten our passports sooner because I could have gone camping in Norway or Sweden.  Sadly, by time I take care of my next two trips, it will be a bit too late to camp comfortably in the North like that.

My current plan is to be in Romania for the Fall Equinox and Rome for Samhain (Halloween).  I do not have the plans all laid out for Romania, as I'm waiting on the results of his next appointment for his hand, but I can quickly plot out train routes and campsites once we know when his next appointment is.  I am really thinking that I should get a Eurorail pass.  I'm going to read over the site again, but if I read it right the first time, I'll get to use local public transit with the option I was going with.

With Romania, if you are going for the Vlad Tepes experience, you have to take a week.  Most of the sites are at least 100 kilometers apart and many require lots of walking.  Bran Castle requires you to walk up something like 1500 stairs to reach the ruins of that castle.  Needless to say, I've been purposely making multiple trips up and down the 6 flights of stairs that lead to our apartment.  We're on the third floor, but these stairs are stupid.  I'm at a point to where going up and down them 3 times is no big deal, unless each trip up requires heavy lifting.

I still can't believe I'm so close to things I've always dreamed of seeing or have now seen.  I saw the remnant of the Berlin Wall.  I've seen the canals of Amsterdam.  I saw the armor and clothing of Peter the Great of Russia (it was an exhibit in Amsterdam ok).  I live in a city that was bombed heavily by the Allied Forces during WWII.  I've walked along the walls of the old city in Nuremberg, quite drunk, and watched the locals shoot off fireworks on New Years.  Who can boast these things?  And I still have time to see more!  I'm so overwhelmed with the joy of it all that I sometimes become unable to function outside of my normal routine.  I think this is why so many people who get stationed overseas don't take advantage of the opportunity.  They know the history is there, they know the beauty is there, but it overwhelms them.  Also there are those who have no desire to see, and to them I say "WTF IS YOUR MALFUNCTION!!!!!"

Just so it's out there, here is a list of places I still need to go, not mentioned above:
A bunch of places in the UK (gotta see my ferrety friends and all that Celtic and Norse shit!)
The cave art in France
The Louvre
Warsaw, specifically, anything to do with Chopin
Something in the Alps
Can I see Moscow?
Places in the Byzantine Empire

I could go on, and on, and on, and on.... Everything is so close... so close you can almost taste the history of each place.  As it is, the history of one area bleeds into another.  My particular part of Germany at one point had both Norse AND Celts, then the Romans.  Oh the history!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's Been a Hot Minute

Once again I've neglected this blog, and I do apologize.  Life in Germany has been something... special.  If my poetry I posted earlier this year is any indication, there have been some troubles.  I won't publicly discuss the happening in April, but I'm ok with what happened, and boundaries have been set.  (If you know, you know)

Since being in Germany, I've visited a few places, but not nearly enough.  I finally left Germany earlier in July.  I spent a week in Amsterdam, camping on the east side of town at a place called Camp Zeeburg.  I absolutely LOVED it!  I pitched my tent right by the water and was greeted in the morning by the birds, and one morning a spider.  I explored Amsterdam by foot and public transit, and rode a Dutch style bike (cruiser bike) through a park in Zeeburg.  The entire experience was both spiritually uplifting and physically invigorating.

Waterfront near Zeeburg

What I haven't expressed in this blog, as it's been crazy around these parts, is my shift back to paganism.  Don't preach at me, cuz I will and have out debated both sides of the argument for years.  Anywho!  When I say that Amsterdam was a spiritual trip I am not lying.  Since being in Germany I have found that the old gods are here like you would never believe and I know where our fairy tales come from and why they were written the way they were.  The sight of ravens gathered on snow is one of the most amazing sights you will ever see, if you're not afraid of birds.  Snow weighing down boughs of trees as the sun dances off them is moving.  The entire world is different in those moments.  I'm also in a part of Germany that, way way long ago, was the intersection of the Norse and Celts.  I can tell you that makes for some interesting experiences.  Needless to say, you can't just assume something you are dealing with is one of the things you dealt with back in the States.  You have to research.

I also have had the privilege of meeting some wonderful people who've helped me grow spiritually, both my gifts and my heart, here and I'm so thankful.  Before leaving Colorado, I had the wonderful opportunity to be gifted a few tarot decks and they have helped tremendously in figuring out what I'm dealing with.  I've learned that "evil" is relative and is about perception.  You really have to flex your sensing "muscles" before banishing anything, but always have your guards up.  I've learned the art of wards in a way I never thought possible in Texas.  I've discussed before, maybe not here, the craziness that is Texas on a spiritual level, and this is totally different.  Maybe one day I'll tell the story of how I met Loki or how I met Morrigan back in Texas all those years ago, but I won't go into that now or into the fey, alfar, and elementals that are around here.

I have plans this weekend to visit Rothenburg and in September I'm planning on going to Romania.  I've decided that camping through Europe is the best way for me to go.  Not only is it WAY cheaper than hotels and hostels, but you get to commune with nature, the old trees and waterways that make up the stories we were told as small children, in a way you would never experience staying in a brick and motor building.  When I go to Rome, I've already found a beach front camping site I will use.  Thanks to my experience in Amsterdam, I'm no longer apprehensive of staying near water.  I've learned a way to keep water spirits, which in my experience are the most likely to be nasty and/or evil things.  I can't wait to be on that beach near a city I only fantasized about in Latin class 16 years ago.  To be near a place that is ancient, but no where near as ancient as places just south on the other side of the Mediterranean.

I could go on in length about the beauty that surrounds me, and I will probably go on ad nauseum in future post about just that.  I'm in awe.  My camera can not capture the essence of what I see, even if I had a fancy DSLR.

One last note before I close this post:  I have finally found myself in a position as a leader of a spiritual group.  When I was young, I always knew I had the potential for something like that; however, as I got older, I became lackadaisical, but also apprehensive about being a leader other than in the work place.  I'm afraid I'll give bad information or scare people off with some of my more controversial ideas, i.e. evil being relative and all the fey/alfar stuff, oh and chaos magic and practices.  However, I'm finding that, despite my social issues, people respect me and listen.  This is truly humbling and makes me take pause at exactly what I say and not just pop off with whatever comes to mind.  I also make sure to point out that what I'm saying is unverified personal gnosis (UPG in future posts) so that those I'm talking to know that, though it is my personal experience, there is no historical evidence, at the moment, to verify my beliefs.  I think much of what we call dogma, though one can show passages here and there to prove one's point, is UPG since many ancient, holy texts have repeatedly been mistranslated or the parts people use are taken wholly out of context.  I'm so blessed to live this experience.  And the best part is, B almost literally pushes me out of the house, forcing me to face my fears and social anxieties to overcome them and experience my dream like I would never do before.  I'm finding that I can actually be alone and be happy.  I give that all to him, and a really good friend I met here.