From Writhe’s journal:
I get back to the hostel at 6am and am woken at 11 by the sounds of saws and jackhammers. I stay in bed until about 1pm. I visit some music stores this day and not much else. I try to pack around 10pm and can’t bring myself to do it. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of these clothes I’ve been wearing for three months. I’m sick of this backpack, I’m sick of hostels, I’m sick of my trip. I just want to be home. I want to have the same roof over my head. I don’t want to worry about getting up early to catch a train. I don’t want to worry about where to find a place to do my laundry. I don’t want to worry about where I’m going to get my next meal. I’m completely sick of everything and I’m sick of myself.
Two grad students are in my room at the hostel and the conversation turned to reading all the best sellers and intellectual books and blah blah blah. Of course I say nothing, but finally joke that I don’t read books without pictures. They don’t think it’s funny. I go to the bathroom and come back. The girl says, “Did you get all the wrinkles out of your shirt?” and the guy chuckles under his breath. Assholes.
I lose another game of chess. The Canadian (yes, I got my shirt back from him and it’s been cleaned) asks me to go with him to the squatters art gallery area. I go and it’s decent enough. It’s a bunch of artist studios and galleries in a bombed out building in what was East Berlin. Nothing really pleases my eyes that much. People of all kinds hanging outside drinking and smoking and talking. Impromptu performances for small gatherings of friends. Two unfamiliar dogs playing with each other stirring up dust and dirt. Graffiti everywhere and low music coming from the two or so bars. I leave after checking out the galleries. He stays with the people he was supposed to meet there.
Back at the hostel I sleep and check out in the morning. Decide to take the night train to Brugge. Reserve a bed. I have the whole day. Music stores and misc. tourist stuff. Do my laundry and bring it back damp. One of my shirts has shrunk a bit. Internet cafe closed. Eat at the deli again, but it isn’t as good as I remember from the first time. Went to another music store by the Ostbahnhof and listened to some new releases. Wrote a bunch of band and album names down. Stood in a mall and watched an entire American movie dubbed in German, no subtitles. Ate at a fast food place so that I could use their toilet. Now I’m waiting for my train.
I slept relatively well sharing a cabin with two people from Las Vegas. I got into Brugge and forgot what a pain in the ass it was to get money. I had to lug my stuff all the way to the city center and back again just to get some change for the lockers. Only to find out that I don’t need to because I’m taking the train to Ippers. I fall asleep on the way there. I drop my stuff off at the train station and walk to find a tourist info place. I find one and buy a bike route. I walk to a far away bike rental place full of screaming kids. I proceed to ride around town looking for a place to buy some water. It took a while. Then I start on the trail knowing I’m not going to do the whole thing. I pick poppies along the way and visit the Hill 60 Museum. Full of rusty helmets riddles with bullet homes. I also buy a coke which is served to me in a strangely fizzy glass. I ride back and get lost, of course. I try to ask some locals for directions and fail miserably because I don’t speak the language. I finally get back into town, drop off the bike and have a hard time walking back to the train station. Eat at a dodgy burger place. Their concept of rib meat is terrible. Get back to the train station and have a choice of going to Brussels or a place I’ve never heard of. I can literally go anywhere. I can lose myself in the countryside and not give any fucks at all as to where my life is going. I can drop everything I’m doing, I can drop everything I am and everything I represent and just disappear. I can give up on my old life and my old friends and my entire universe and just start fresh in a new place where absolutely no one knows me. The choice if obvious. While waiting for the departure time, I put the poppies in my book and buy some more water. I eat a bit more out of my bag and kind of meditate/veg out waiting for the train.