Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 33 & 34: The Reflecting Begins...

So, from starting this trips blogging from the Sleepwell hostel in Brussels, my final entry comes from the breakfast table of the citystay hostel in Berlin. Yesterday went as such; up and made the train to Berlin taking in some great views through Czech and back into Germany. After some faffing around I made to this hostel, dropped off the gear and went straight to the best beer store in this city. If they had the Hercule, I would have bought it to take home. Still, was able to do my other plan and get the Berlin aussies some interesting beers from my travels to give to them to try. From Belgium I found the Rochefort 10, from Germany the Bamberg Rauchweiss (hopefully a nice introduction to these smoke beers for them). They did not have any Turkey beers that I could see, and only had the Budvar Dark from Czech, so decided as a beer challenge to get them another dark beer from there that even I haven’t tried to get them to review it for me.

After picking up those beers had a kip at the hostel before making my way back down to their part of the city, stopping at the local pizza place for a Galzone, so that as the twilight of the last sunset occurred, I sat in Templehof airport and started to reflect on the whole trip with the pizza. It was amazing to think of all I have been able to experience through the people, places, beers, etc in these countries, and how fortunate I have been. The contentment from that moment was a great feeling to have towards the end of this trip, and was happy the kneipe was not far away to have my first beer while I was feeling like this. As a nice bookend to our meeting in Brussels, Jaimi and I met at the front door of the pub, and headed in for a Kostritzer, the German beer he recommended me for this trip. So, over that beer and an Erdinger Dunkel, we caught up from last seeing him in Munich and started reflecting together on what we had done.

Once we were onto our second Dunkel, Joe and Tina arrived, and then soon after James and Lottie, so we took back the round table we had all sat around the first time I had come to this pub with them (again, another nice bookend to the german part of the trip). I was able to present my beer journey to them and talk more of what the trip has brought me and where I take the experience of it from here. We even had a nice moment where everyone was able to say a little something about the experiences they had with me on this trip and to encourage me to pursue the direction I seem to be taking with beer. I tried to say something nice to them all in return trying to express how much they had helped with my experience and using their own labeling of me as a beer artist to fit in with their crowd. Still, it didn’t go that well, so to rectify, I am going to quote someone else who has said it better than me. In the wise words of Gomez, ‘It’s the things that are given, not won, which are the things you want.’ I have been given so much from so many aspects that you can from an experience, and so I hope that once I get home and have time to reflect on it all, as I picked up from the gang last night, that I find a way to give more of myself and find that direction in with to pursue life a bit more.

To bring it all to a close, Jaimi and I had one last Kostritzer (which as an even bookend I just realized this morning, is the first German beer I ever tried when I went out to Hanhdorff in South Australia many years ago and asked the bartended for a dark beer), so am happy to end this beer journey on that.

Then in true Jaimi Faulker fashion, after saying my goodbye’s to the rest of the gang, Jaimi and I hit the kebab place he lives near to finally have one of their doners, before saying farewell to him and getting back to my hostel for 4 hours sleep. So hopefully now this means I will be able to sleep on the plane back home.

As I found last night, it is very hard to put into words the admiration I have for all the people I have met, and the encouragement they have all shown me. Whether it was someone like Jaimi who put up with my crap all trip and came out with a better appreciation of beer (and maybe even me?), other friends like Brad and Seda who were in a spontaneous moment able to show me around Istanbul for a few days, or all the people like Willy I met randomly (yes, mostly with a beer in our hands), I can take away many memories from this trip, and let the impact of them filter over the coming days, weeks, years, etc to see how I react to all of this. Luckily, I have had this blog to help me document as much as I could.

Thank you too, to all of you who have read and are reading this now, as the past month has shown that people actually do read this stuff and have continued to follow me on this journey. You won’t enjoy the boring old man I go back to when this trip is over, but it has been a pleasure to show you what I have from this trip. I don’t like to use the term inspirational in attachment to myself, but if any experience I have been able to communicate to you through this blog helps in your own appreciation of beer, the diversity of this world (not just the beer in it) and the people that inhabit it (including those that drink/brew beer), then I have found something else to be content with from this trip.

Good luck to us all in our journeys (and especially beer journeys) from here.



PS: Don’t you just love the ‘syrupy, semi-philosophical, rose tinted glasses’ vibes that come out of people when they have just been on a trip? Sorry if I am being a bit over the top, I would like to blame sleep deprivation but can’t. As I said, boring Beefy will be back soon.

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