Every year, my dad and I try to sleep in more beds than each other. I know I sound like a raging slut, but it really is just that I travel a lot. I’ve possibly neglected this blog a little in the last week. I’ve been a very bad Tom and I should not be allowed any cookies for the next week. But before you put me in the corner with the detention hat, please can I explain myself?
Some of you might have seen my dumb face in the newspaper. For those of you fortunate enough to miss it, your luck has run out, as here it is. Feast your eyes on this monstrosity;
It all looks very exciting, but there are several writing errors in there, and it was only made because, basically, I’m a creeeeeep, I’m a weeeeiiirrdoooo. The truth is that not many tourists visit Gotha in Germany, and those who do don’t often stay to work, and those who do stay to work absolutely never come from New Zealand. As it turns out, New Zealand is actually a fictional country that contains talking lions and hobbits and Tom Cruise at a regular height and it doesn’t really exist. It’s a story we made up to confuse and upset the Australians. So when somebody claims to come from this mystical, magical land, and happens to be in the middle of Thuringia in Germany, apparently it’s worth sticking in the paper.
So, one Tuesday morning, a rather bearded beardy man essentially (and quite rightfully) asked me what the fuck I was doing in Gotha. The story actually goes back a while…
Back in Napier, New Zealand, it was my friend’s birthday, and his wonderful girlfriend organised a rather intricate treasure hunt involving tidal waves of alcohol for his present. I agreed to accompany him as he tried to find the treasure, which, as it turned out, was just her standing on the beach screaming “I’M THE TREASURE”. I cleverly spilt coffee on myself before I even drank anything alcoholic, it was wonderful, it was beautiful, it was inebriating, and it was the day I met Christina (with coffee all over my shirt), a rather awesome German girl who was also invited to join the search party. We got talking and realised we had rather a lot to talk about. We traded contact details and she escaped to the South Island to become a skydiving instructor, as you do. I’m only a little bit jealous…
So I left Napier and started my travels. I called in to see Christina on my trip around the South Island before I escaped to the USA, Canada, Iceland and then England. I worked in England for a few months, but Ecuador was calling my name, and with just enough funds, I booked a trip to South America via The Netherlands and Germany.
My flight back to Europe landed in Frankfurt, Germany, and I knew I would need to get a job, and I really didn’t want to go back to England at this point (blame Brexit). Towards the end of my time in Ecuador, just before I made my way to the Colombian border, I realised that money was really going to be a problem, and that I would be sleeping on the street or becoming a male prostitute if I didn’t act soon. I was casually talking to a few people, and Christina’s name came up on my phone. She asked me what my plans were, and I mentioned I would probably need to find a job in Germany.
Christina comes from a family of bakers who own a little bakery in Gotha. She knew that her brother (who runs the bakery) could probably do with an extra pair of hands, and she also knew that I needed a job and that I’m a fat bastard who eats too much, and she put two and two together and recommended I got in contact with them to satisfy my cake cravings. And that’s how I ended up in Gotha, scaring all the locals with my exotic traits and bongo bongo language.
None of this explains why I have been ignoring you, dear readers, but this will. That article was published on my penultimate day of work in the bakery. Last Saturday, between midnight and 8 am, I completed my final shift and ate my last piece of cake. I have, since then, been a very very very busy Tom. When one travels, the weirdest things happen, and it’s weeks like this that make all the money worries and deprivation worth it.
As soon as I finished my shift, I went to sleep for maybe two hours. My friend, who I discovered lived just down the road from me, came to pick me up and we went to visit what was left of a concentration camp turned into a museum called Buchenwald. It was a very humbling and shocking experience, and I will only say that I will never complain about a hostel again. After this, we travelled to Erfurt to go to a food festival. Here we had the delight of trying such exotic eatings as a zebra goulash from Kenya, momos from Tibet, tapiocas from Brazil, and most importantly, fried insects with a caramel dip.
I’m not going to lie, they were actually rather delicious. I possess this weird need to eat the most extreme thing that is offered to me, and I’ve eaten a plethora of things that Claudia will disappointingly never put near her pie hole. What I didn’t know when I put them in my mouth was that I was actually allergic.
So I hilariously broke out in a horrific rash about an hour and a half later, as it turns out amazingly during my goodbye dinner in Gotha with everybody from the bakery. I don’t think anybody noticed (but I never did ask) – I smiled and carried on despite being in burning agony, trying to subtly scratch myself when nobody was looking. A trip to the bathroom confirmed that there were swellings all over my chest, and the timing was just absolutely tragic. I rode it out until it started to fade, said goodbye to everybody and went home to sleep, only to wake up at 3 am with a second rash burning through. Needless to say, I felt like absolute shit when I caught the train on Sunday to travel to Würzburg.
My beautiful friend was waiting for me on the platform with a big grin on her face. We proceeded to put the world to rights and to fill ourselves with beer and pizza in perfectly executed student fashion. The next day we completed what I can only describe as a “Wine Hike”, where one walks for about 5km with multiple stops to fill up your wine glass. The problem was that it cost money to fill up one’s glass, so we instead brought with us a plethora of different wines which were selected very carefully with true wine connoisseur skills – by picking the cheapest and those with the prettiest labels, and proceeded to get rather tipsy as we stumbled around the vineyards. There was racism, obscenities, hilarities and french fries, and now I have a photo to prove that I’m constantly surrounded by German women, just like everybody believes. After some gourmet home baking, we all went to the pub, which brings us to yesterday.
I sadly said goodbye to my friend and caught the bus to Nürnberg. I met a boy called Joschi and picked up a key to what is now my new home. I tried desperately to find a surface to sleep on during my first afternoon, and to no avail. I slept on my camping roll mat with my sleeping bag feeling a little bit sad and sore. This morning, Iris and I ran around IKEA, only partially reenacting the scene from 500 Days of Summer (at one point I did play “There Goes the Fear” by the Doves on my phone, but sadly there was no Chinese family standing in my bathroom) and right now I’m sitting on bed #22 of 2017 in my new room which I intend to kit out for basically free with whatever materials I can find to make furniture from. Go figure. There is plenty of floor space for anybody who wants to visit me, and plenty of wall space for anybody who wants to send me a postcard.
I think Dad’s gonna win this year. It’s been a very weird week. And there’s still two whole days to go…
– Tom @ indieroad