Lack of sleep in Europe

December 8, 2008  
Topics: Europe

A lot of time has passed since we had a chance to share with you our life. Then, our flight to Europe lay still ahead, which now is already far in the past. The last weeks in Argentina were wonderful, marked by steady changes of places and uncountable new friendships made. Although this isn’t anything new for us, this time it happened in twice the speed than usual. There was few time left to share our experiences with you.

The first months in Europe wasn’t at all different. When arriving in Madrid we met with our Colombian friend Nohora who won a one year scholarship for literature studies in Spain. A few hours later we walked towards the highway for hitch-hiking to Germany, this time without my backpack carriage, since it got lost on the airway to Europe. Within two days in unexpectedly cold weather conditions we managed to arrive to Dortmund, where we spent a couple of days with my (Katja) brother’s family. Much sleep was not an issue during our trip to Europe nor in Germany, where Katja’s 5 year old niece was occupying us full time. Here we also met our Colombian friend Angelica who is doing her PhD in veterinary medicine in a town close to Dortmund. Colombia seems everywhere 😉

After a short visit to Bielefeld we headed towards Lithuania. With luck we managed the whole 1.600 km trip in only 22 hours. Sleep was absent of course and in Lithuania was waiting a full program. Taking care of nephews, helping grandparents, arranging meetings, and organizing a presentation about our trip. Additionally, we continued working on our other projects and thus within the 10 days in Lithuania we got everything but rest. Besides the lack of sleep, we felt very happy finally to be close to our friends and families – a rare thing in our life.

From Lithuania we traveled to Berlin, which was a cold venture with minus 4 degrees celcius and snow falls the night before. A Lithuanian truck driver finally rescued my feet from a freezing death and let me rest nearly full time during our 1,5 day trip from Kaunas (Lithuania) to Berlin. It was a big advantage since my frozen feet allowed a strong cold attacking me which spread quickly through my stressed body.

While I got out of the truck in Berlin, Augustas continued with it towards Luxembourg. Although it was going near Lux, Augustas decided to leave this slow-moving vehicle. He got fast 250 km ride to Frankfurt am Main and then got stuck for the whole night in a gas station, where being tired it took him ages trying to biuld borrowed tent, finally realizing he has forgotten some core parts of it. The following day finally he was lucky, arriving at his friend’s place in Luxembourg around noon. After a couple of interesting and relaxing days spent with his friends, Augustas finally headed for Oostende (Belgium) to visit his mother with her husband. Also here he was entertained well, enjoying lots of good food and care, and finally leaving towards Leipzig to meet me.

Meanwhile I picked up my bicycle from the house of my friend Therese’s grandmother, where it was stored for the last three years. Thick dust had built on top of it, and air didn’t exist in its tires anymore. In the night followed a wonderful get together of my closest friends, where we made together a delicious vegetable stew. It was touching that all those friends had time to meet me on this only evening I was staying in Berlin, and welcomed me back so heartily.
Content but tired the following afternoon I somehow managed to carry my bicycle in one hand, and my carriage in the other hand to the train station for taking a train to Leipzig. Instead of the carefully planned two hours I needed only one to arrive at the station (we are not in Latin America anymore…). This resulted myself standing and waiting for the whole hour in the cold. I survived, though, and once I arrived in Leipzig I fell into my mom’s arms with big happy tears on my cheeks.

After only two days spent with my mom I headed to my sister Christina in Gera. Although the program had forseen caretaking of the children, I found lots of time for calming down, resting, and getting rid of my cold. The days were mainly spent with doing nothing but chatting with my sister, picking up children from kindergarden and school, and spending some time with them building snow man and snow castles, which always ended in a snowball fight.

Just being back in Leipzig Augustas was already knocking on the door, spending with us 3 wonderful days. We used the chance enjoying the German pre-christmas time with the three of us discovering the Leipzig Christmas market during one afternoon. Intense smells of Glühwein (hot wine), and irresistable Christmas bakeries occupied our noses. With fried mushrooms, potatoe pancakes with apple jam, and candied almonds our stomachs enjoyed a merry atmopshere after our eyes got tired from watching the beautiful christmas decorations. The mini life concert done each afternoon during the weekend on the balcony of the old town hall in front of the Leipzig Christmas market gave finally our ears time for joy too. Only the high amount of visitors and due to our frozen big toes we let ourselves convince of leaving this colorful place.

The coming weeks will be marked by lots of Christmas preparations such as Christmas baking and meetings with more friends and family, which is an enjoyable time waiting ahead for both of us – no matter that we are in different places of Europe, since Augustas is already back in Lithuania while I continue my stay in Germany.

Lots of greetings to all of you whom we didn’t meet so far in Europe and of course all our friends and families, which we had to leave behind in Latin America – and there are many of them after three years hitch-hiking from Mexico to Argentina 😉

We wish you happy time!
Katja and Augustas