A Wunderkammer – Part 2

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More Spanish postcards: With much love and a lipstick mark, these postcards found their way to the rusty grey postbox outside my flat in Mannheim. The lipstick-marked one, the postcard originating in one of my “home-cities”, Murcia, travelled across the world, to Australia, then all the way back to Europe to find me. It’s like a dramatic war-time romance, or the tale of a man lost at sea…

Art by Sturm Frauen, Keith Haring, Salvador Dali, Kája Saudek, Goya: The amount of astounding and historical art I was witness to in Europe still blows me away. I’d never thought I’d see Guernica in the flesh, or Goya’s black paintings. In London, Prague, Frankfurt, Berlin, Madrid, Hamburg, Edinburgh and many, many more cities I tried to consume as much art as possible. Not only was I travelling the world, I was travelling time and some of the greatest artistic minds ever. These postcards and tickets can’t even begin to scratch the surface of the world I’ve seen, but they are doors to it.

A photo of Mannheim Hauptbahnhof in the sixties: This doesn’t strike me as something that many people, especially in Australia, would own. I was handed this nostalgic, grainy photo by a strange old man who I found sitting among piles of boxes and train sets in a small, unassuming shop in Mannheim’s quadrant. After a brief, broken English/German conversation with this lonely train operator about how I love miniatures and just got back from Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, he shooed me off with the photo as a gift.

Hostel stickers and business cards: Though these are only a few of the many cards I swiped from hostels around Europe, they represent some of the best nights of my life. The large postcard from Ani & Haakien, Rotterdam, reminds me of a time spent among weed-smoking hippies and bourgeois hipsters in one of the most unique hostels I’ve ever visited. Black Swan hostel in Barcelona gave me the opportunity to meet incredibly inspiring people, form some hopeless crushes and learn how to salsa. The Nomad Hostel in Sevilla… well, the things that happened there aren’t appropriate for the blog… wink wink.

Tickets and wristband: Some of the greatest memories I have of my time abroad are of the unique events I splurged on. MS Dockville, Hamburg, was the first major “thing” I did in Europe. Despite the fear and the confusion, I managed to hop on a speeding train on my first weekend in Germany to travel the length of Germany and arrive at a strange, out-of-the-way festival in time to see some of my favourite acts of all time. I remember being nervous to travel solo so soon, but also exhilarated by the prospect. The fact that I found it so easy to accomplish set the positive tone for the whole exchange. I’m damn proud of myself… the festival was secondary to that experience.
I also saw my first Cirque Du Soleil show in Mannheim, Varekai, as well as my first hockey match. Being among the excited, ferocious crowd to see Adler Mannheim destroy the Hamburg Freezers really made me appreciate the sport and feel more at one with the locals. I found myself cheering and screaming along with them, even attempting to join in on the chanting.

ADLER MANNHEIM! DEUTSCHE MEISTER!

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Victorinox Swiss Army Knife: When I was 12 my dad gave me a Victorinox knife because I wasn’t a child anymore. While living alone on the other side of the world, I was able to buy my own Swiss knife in Switzerland itself. Maybe this marked a point where I could actually call myself an adult. Maybe I don’t need the silly token, but still, it’s something.

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