Monday, November 30, 2009


As I was exploring the city of Berlin and listening to my tour guide tell me hundreds of interesting facts about the history of Germany and more specifically, about Berlin, I realized that Berlin might have been my favorite city and Germany my favorite country.
Just in the past 100 years the history of Germany has changed so much, they have gone through so many different forms of government that it is hard to keep it all straight.
From what I saw and from what I have heard, the city of Berlin is the most hip city in Germany. Full of young people and artists the city seems to never sleep and never become boring.

The picture above seems to be nothing but a starbucks coffee building, which sadly, are all over Europe.
But I was informed that this building used to be the Stasi police head quarters back when the East side of Berlin was communist controlled. We discussed how ironic it was for a group of people who were so against capitalism to now have their old building be taken over with one of the biggest corporations in the world.

The Berlin wall.
I found it funny that the wall that was once built to "protect" East Germany from the rest must now be protected from tourists who try and take pieces of this historical monument.

TV tower.

This memorial located on the ground of one of the main city squares in Berlin was created in memory of the famous book burning that took place during WWII.
The story of the book burning is basically that a few Nazi police went into the university in Berlin and encouraged the students to do their part in cleansing the country. The students then left the classroom and went to their own library and took all of the books written by Jewish authors and burnt them in the square.
Today there is a nonprofit group at the University that stands outside the school every day selling books that were written by the authors of the books that were burnt on that day.

The Holocaust museum in Berlin.

My cute little hostel in Berlin was a cozy place to stay even though my roommate situation caused one of the more awkward moments of my life.


On my way from Berlin to Prague I was fortunate enough to stop into the city of Dresden for a few hours.
Only being in this city for a few short hours really wasn't enough to learn very much or
to see everything that I wanted to see;
but I was thankful to see what I could of this amazing city.

Although I do not know much about the history of this city, I do know that in 1945 it was bombed and it is estimated that up to 50,000 civilians were killed due to these bombs that were dropped on during the night.
The bombs caused the largest fire in Europe's history and the beautiful city was completely destroyed.
Everything was eventually rebuilt exactly as it was.

Walking around this city was an extremely strange feeling,
it was very similar to the way I felt at the concentration camp earlier on my trip. Being present in a place where so many innocent lives were lost is one of the most intense feelings that I can ever recall feeling and I couldn't help but notice the music of Sigur Ros playing in my head as I explored the town of Dresden.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Metting new people and ideas

While traveling you tend to meet a lot of interesting people.

Sometimes, you just click with a person that you just met; you might bond over something that seems so silly and small. And sometimes, you meet people who you have nothing in common with other than your current proximity.

Yesterday, the girls and I had coffee with an acquaintance from Bellingham who is now living in Paris. He pretty much just up and left his life in the states and took on language class in France, then got an apartment with a few French people, and is not making a living by giving people English lessons. I couldn’t help but think of how brave he is for doing what he is doing. Then I thought back on a girl who Becca and I met back in Germany who is from Canada and has been traveling for over a year. She finds a job in a bar and works until she has enough money to travel some more and then travels until she runs out of money and then finds another bar tending job. This also seemed very bold and very brave to me. These two individuals are only a few among so many that seem to be living such adventurous lifestyles and I am a bit jealous of them to be frank. I mean. All I have done is a little backpacking. I know it’s a big deal and it is quite exciting and I have loved every minute of it… well, perhaps not EVERY minute. But I guess meeting all of these people have just made me want to do more. I am Meghan and I am always craving a new adventure. That is all.

Today was the day that Becca left me.

It was bittersweet.

I realized today that Becca and I have spent everyday together, and almost every second of those days, for the past 6 weeks. That is a lot of time spent with the same person. I am proud to say that Becca and I are great travel companions. I am so sad that she is gone and I know that I will miss her, but I am also looking forward to having some adventures by myself. I think it will be a good growing experience for me and I hope to learn a lot along the way.

Goodbye my dear friend.

Paris, yet again

We did a bit of sight seeing in Paris during our stay this past weekend and our first stop was a famous cemetery, the name is escaping me at the moment. But, many famous people are buried there, like Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre. The tombstones were amazing and many of them from so long ago. It was strange to be in such a historical place.

Second we went to Luxemburg gardens.We sat in the sun on the lounge chairs and took fun photos in the gardens and by the fountains.

We went out to lunch which was far too expensive but it’s hard to avoid that in Paris.

Becca and I ventured out on our own to Versailles, the famous palace where Marie Antoinette lived as well as Louis the IV. Sadly, we got to the grounds at 17:00 which is when it closes, so we didn’t get to go inside but we saw the outside of the palace that was fenced in by a gold gate. From what we could see I’m sure it was amazing. Perhaps I will go back someday and see what I missed.

Going back to the cemetery that we visited here in Paris, I would just like to say a few words about my old friend Ben. Ben was an old family friend of mine who I have known since I was a child, and he was tragically killed a little over a week ago. I go this news the day before I visited this cemetery so as you can imagine it was quite emotional for me to be in such a location after learning of such awful news. As cliché as this might sound, I began thinking a lot that day of the people in our lives who we impact and get to know. I guess I just thought about how Ben and I were best friends when we were children but grew apart, as we were older. I hadn’t talked to him in years I think, but it doesn’t change the fact that he had a huge effect on my life. I remember wanting to be just like him when I was little, and I think he wanted to be a little like me too. I feel like I am rambling, but I guess that’s what happens when you have so many feelings running around inside and you don’t have the words to express them. I guess what I wanted to say was that, as shitty as this world is at times, we can all make an impact on the lives of others as they do in ours and hopefully it is a positive one.

Paris trip number 2

There is this musical artist named Andrew Bird. If you do not listen to his music, I would advise you to try it out because he is wonderful. About four years ago my dear friend Molly and I went to go see Andrew Bird at a small venue in Seattle, Wa. And let me just say that few musical events have been able to come even close to how moving this concert was.

With this being said, the girls and I decided to buy tickets to see his show in Paris. The venue was about ten times the size of the place where I saw him a few years ago and we were pretty far back which was very different from the front row position that Molly and I had before, but it was still so lovely. And I mean, seeing one of my favorite musicians in Paris; romantic? Yes. I would say so.

During our stay in Paris we were fortunate enough to be able to stay with our friend Borus again and experience his generous hospitality as well as his parents. As I stated in previous blogs, this home was perfectly, lovely. Honestly, if I ever have a home as cute as theirs I might just die of happiness. Here is an example of how darn cute it was, we walk into the house which has crates of chestnuts and apples, which they got from their house in the country, and inside the crate of apples was an beautiful old key. It looked straight out of a film, so I decided to be a huge creep and take a picture of their apples.

Borus’ Birthday was a few weeks ago, and two of his cousins have Birthdays that are fairly close, so while we were staying with them this past weekend there was a family gathering that we were invited to. I don’t want to be too over the top or anything, but it was the most perfect family gathering I have ever witnessed, straight out of a movie. First of all, we wake up and his mother and farther are cooking together. Many different dishes, all vegetarian too, and I would like to add that I do not think I have ever been at a dinner like this where I was able to eat all of the dishes. There was these delicious savory onion tarts, hummus with some sort of spice on top, and two totally different kinds of eggplant dip for the bread, steamed carrots and squash in some sort of sweet sauce, and quiches, some with tomatoes and goat cheese and another with basil and walnuts. Then after this course, we all at many kinds of cheeses and more bread, then after dinner we had homemade ice cream and cake. And all the while we drank lovely red wine and coke a cola (not mixed, separately).

Borus’ family was so welcoming and warm, even with the language barrier. Most of his family spoke very good English but most were not very confident with it. But the younger cousins and such were very chatty and friendly and wanted to ask us all sorts of questions about pop culture in the US. Then, there was the grandfather. Let me just say that this was apparently, a VERY French family, but the grandfather was even more so. He spoke no English at all and we were informed before he arrived that he does NOT like Americans and that he is a communist. We later find out that he is a socialist not a communist but he still doesn’t like Americans. However, he seemed to like us a lot. We think it was because we humored him and tried our best to communicate with him. He was the cutest old man with very good fashion sense. We quite liked him, and I think he was found of us as well.

You might think that this is the extent of this perfection, but no, after dinner we all sat around the piano and sang “Imagine” by the Beatles while Borus’ father played the piano. It was all quite lovely.

just a few thoughts of home

Today on the train ride from Pairs to Dunkurque, Katie and I listened to podcasts of wiretap, wait wait don’t tell me, and this American life. All popular shows on NPR that I miss dearly. Listening to them made me feel at home again. As much as I love it here, there are a few things from home that I really do miss. Here is a little list.

I miss… driving my car, walking in the rain and knowing that I will have a warm shower soon after, NPR, breakfast food, jogging, sleeping in my own bed, being able to wear a shirt that I have not looked at every single day for the past 6 weeks, worrying about when I will run out of underpants and socks, work, craft projects, and my music. As many of you might know by now, my ipod was stolen out of my bag in Greece. And as many more of you might know, music is something that warms my soul, calms me, and can always make me smile. I miss my music more than I can express. I have been proud of myself for not letting it get me down too much, except for that time when I cried on the ferry to Crete, but it wasn’t too many tears so I would say that I have been pretty strong.

Now, those things that I listed are things that I miss very much, however, I must add that I do miss all of my friends and family. I miss you all so very much that it hurts sometimes. I cannot wait to be able to spend time with everyone again. I know that my heart will smile when I see all of you.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Market in Dunkurque, France

Laura. Enjoying our newly found food.

katie's shopping basket and our apples.
Laura. She only shops at the markets. she would fit in Bellingham perfectly.
Katie and her super cute basket.
fresh apple cider.

We eat apples and bri almost every day.
I love that you can buy anything at the street markets here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I would just like to start this post by saying that it doesn’t matter how much you have heard or read about this city, there is really no way to prepare yourself for what you will see.

First of all, the city is beautiful. Great restaurants, great shopping, great museums and galleries. I loved being in this city, even for only a short while.

My ultimate favorite part about this city was the amount of bike riders and bikes everywhere. I couldn’t walk a block without seeing at least 50 bikes. And everyone from every age group imaginable was riding a bike somewhere. It was breathtaking.

Another gorgeous part about this city was the canals everywhere. There were bridges to get around on almost every block.

So. I guess now I will start in on the prostitution and the drug use. It is exactly how it is described in books and films and wherever you have heard about Amsterdam. I went out exploring in the Red light district in the evening and was asked by a man if I wanted to go somewhere and smoke and drunk; I politely declined and when he smiled at me I realized that he had GOLD teeth. This was only the begging of my night. The rest of the night was filled with tons and tons of red lights in windows with half naked girls behind the glass; who would tap on the glass when men walked by to get their attention. As if they needed any help getting attention. There were streets that were so narrow that when I walked down them I could have spread my arms out to either side and touched two glass windows with naked girls behind them. On every corner there is a sex store of some kind as well as a live sex show or something of that nature. I walked around this town as if in a dream almost not sure what to believe and what to assume was only imagined.

While in Amsterdam I visited the Sex Museum, a photography museum called Foam, ate my first Thai food in months and mostly explored a whole new type of city that I couldn’t have imagined in my craziest dreams.

From what I have read about this city it seems very progressive and open-minded, which I guess it must be since so much is legal there. One thing that I noticed was the amount of bike police that were present in the Red Light District at night, it made me feel safer knowing that they were around but also made me think that perhaps it wasn’t the local people of Amsterdam that were getting in trouble, but most likely the tourists that come to the city to party. I couldn’t help but think of how annoyed most of the locals must be with the pot head tourists who come to the city just to sit around and be totally out of it.


Bruge was like a fairy tail. Chocolate everywhere. Beautiful buildings, of course. Becc and I went to a fry museum which was interesting; we learned lots of fun facts about potatoes and the history of potatoes as well as some information on Belgium Fries. And then we ate some. Yum.

We went into many chocolate shops and passed by many more.

Next we went on a canal tour of the city which was extremely interesting, I enjoyed it because we didn’t get the chance to get to Venice to see the canals there. As much as I would have loved to see those canals, honestly, I’ve heard it smells terrible and I found the ones in Bruge to be just lovely.

At the end of the day the rain started to come down, and come down hard. So Becc and I just called it a day and headed back to our dear Dunkurque.

French Films

While we have been staying here in Dunkurque, France we have had the opportunity to watch a few French films, all of which have been amazing.

Je Vais Bien, Ne T’en Fais Pas

Dînner des Cons

Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis

The first films that I have listed was nominated for a few cesars, which are the film award show similar to the Oscars. The movie was set in Paris and was quite heart breaking yet had wonderful acting.

The second film was a comedy that is apparently very popular here in France. And the final film was one that although it didnt win any césars this past year, i was the most viewed movie at a theater in France. The movie was so very funny and it really taught me a lot about the French culture and more specifically the differences between Northern and Southern France.

Katie's Home

In Katie’s apartment most of her furniture has come from the school where she works or has been generously donated by the nice teachers at her school. This means that We usually eat at her coffee table while sitting on our Moroccan poofs and pillows. On this little table we have great feasts of salmon chowder or sautéed veggies with mashed potatoes and chicken for the meat eaters. Brunch of fruit salad and baguette with jam or peanut butter and honey along with tea. Tea is our what keeps us warm throughout the day up here in Dunkurque, I would say that each of us drink at least 3 cups a day.

When we are not drinking tea and eating fancy French meals we entertain ourselves by watching French films or going to see the local hockey team play a game, sometimes we even venture out to get a drink, However, I would not recommend that night life here in Dunkurque. Here are a few photos of Katie’s lovely home that she has so generously welcomed us into.

If I have not mentioned this before, Katie is our friend from Bellingham who is living here and teaching English at a local school. Katie majored in French so she can get around quite well. Becc and I love to hear stories about Katie’s students, she teaches junior high school age and all of the boys have crushes on her and try to make eyes at her while she teaches. Katie is constantly reminding them that she is about 10 years older than all of them. They reply with “ ce n’est pas grave“ which means, “It doesn’t matter.”

Chausson Au Pomme

A flaky apple pastry.

I would venture to say that Becca attempts to eat at least one a day.

Sometimes many more.

We all enjoy these desserts, but no where near as much as our dear Becca does

Paris. Session 1. Take 4.

Final day in the city-

Today was our final day for sight seeing in the beautiful city of Paris. After an uneventful yet smelly ride on the metro we arrive at the Effle Tower which is much bigger than I thought it would be, even though people have told me that most people have the same thought. We do the whole tourist thing with tons of silly and cute pictures with this symbol of the city.

Then we head to the Montmontre which was not only beautiful but also had a great view of the whole city and was the spot where many scenes from the movie Amalie was filmed. After all of this sight seeing we are famished so we head to a cute café where we get a late lunch and laugh about all of our Paris adventures.

On the way back to the train we walked through a few streets with lots of tourist shopping and some great graffiti art. We almost missed our train due to the distractions on the streets but we made it safely and I was able to listen to girltalk on Becca’s Ipod and look at my new Paris Vogue, which made my heart so very happy.