I should stop checking travel rates for this summer. [livejournal.com profile] wolflady26 suggested to book about a month in advance, and by checking in ever so often I just get depressed. It seems I can't get the prices to fall under 700 Euros (about 1000 Dollars) no matter on which site I look, though the American sites usually are a tiny bit cheaper than the German ones.
Which makes it more and more likely that my trips within the US will be made by coach.

You guys were kind enough to offer me places to stay. That really means a lot, because otherwise I think I'm just about reaching the point where I'm ready to give up the whole plan. Which would suck majorly because I so want to go to Portus and meet you, and visit [livejournal.com profile] linnapaw and [livejournal.com profile] quietselkie and [livejournal.com profile] martianmooncrab.

I have cut down on expenses. I haven't bought a single book this year. Basically, I have only bought food.
But there is the minion's birthday and my brother's birthday this month, and my sister's birthday and another RL friend's birthday in March.
And my family seems unwilling to give me money for my birthday, if Christmas is any indication. And I hate hate hate to borrow money for things that aren't stricly necessary because after all I do have an income.

I do hope that I'll get some tax return.
There is also some money in a savings account that isn't actually doing anything right now, but it's money that my parents saved for each of us kids to use when things get rough, and that isn't really the case. It will take some more calculating and whining on my part before I overcome my reluctance to touch that money, I suppose.

Ignore me. I'm just depressed right now because I have a headache. There's been a lot of activity on the training ground yesterday and today (mostly bazookas and mortars with a side of machine gun) and as it has been very cloudy, the sound really stays close to the ground and we get the full benefit. And just to make things perfect, the kids in the flat underneath mine have been blowing up the last of their New Year's fireworks and have now taken to hammering on the walls.
I love kids. I just can't eat them whole.

Anyway, so I have a headache and see everything in black and dark grey. It will get better.
I'll go read fanfic and point and laugh at the Indiana General Assembly of 1897. (thanks to Google; the reason for pointing and laughing is here)
Merry Christmas!


Christmas Eve was lovely.
The tree looked great, there was no dog-related accident involving tree, decoration, curtains or dog going up in flames (it's always a risk, even though we never had a problem), everybody was happy about their gifts and as everybody received a book to read, the evening was spent nice and quiet with reading.

I got a calendar with lovely pictures of Hovawarts (our dog is one and my Mum has been giving me that calendar for Christmas for the past three years or so) and a travel guide to the US from my parents, with the travel guide including the extra gift of 50 Euros in travel money.
My older brother got me a ticket for a performance of the German comedian RĂ¼diger Hoffmann, which is going to be fun.
My little brother gave me Pratchett's "Making Money" which I am going to read today.
My sister is going to come down on the 27th, so there's more to come.

Once the new year starts, I will get to travel planning in earnest, so everybody in the US, do consider whether you want to meet with me while I'm there, which will either be at the end of June to early July or all in July, depending on whether Portus is going to be the last act or the first or somewhere in the middle of my holidays.
I could meet at least five people I know at Portus.

I could likely take my holiday at that time, as established when calling the sergeant today.

I could travel on to LA and meet [livejournal.com profile] holyrood. And stay for a few days, too. (Clearly, she hasn't met me yet, but don't tell her I'm a crazy axe murderer or she'll take that invitation back.)

Plane tickets from Frankfurt to Dallas would come in between 870 and over 1000 Euros, as of today. Of course, this might change. I can't even check the American airlines yet as it's still so much time until next July.

There is no way in hell I could afford staying alone in a room in the Hilton, so if I want to stay there, I need to find roommates. Hostels, at least those that are members of Hostelling International, apparently do not exist in Dallas, there are only a handful anyway in the whole of the US. To be sure, a motel or some such thing would be possible, likely.

If I stick around the US longer, I might not get around renting a car. For the first time in my life. Eeep.

I'd need a new passport. (With biometric data. And supposedly the chips degrade rather quickly and make the data illegible, which would make the passport worthless, which sucks as it is more expensive than a normal one.) I'd also let the immigration service take my fingerprints and a digital picture. And I'd need an internation driver's license.

This is going to be huge.

I'm thinking...
Many flights to Dallas seem to go via Chicago. What if I fly into Chicago and stay there for a bit, provided that [livejournal.com profile] linnapaw, for example, will have me; then get a possibly cheaper flight within the US. I need to check whether that could actually save me money. (Of course, I could also take a Greyhound bus. It just takes something like 20 hours. Though booking in advance, I can get the ticket for a little more than 50 $... What am I even thinking about? I must be crazy!)
A while ago I asked whether anybody was attending Terminus, which didn't seem to be the case. But some of you apparently plan to attend Portus.
I've never been to Texas, but there is a first time for everything, right?
But would I meet enough people I know and enough people I like to make it worth while? Are the speeches, roundtables, informal events, feasts and balls as much fun as they seem to be? Will I be able to find somebody to share a room, and therefore be able to stay in the hotel, or do I have to find myself a cheaper place nearby?
Or would I end up spending a load of money for four days of sitting in a corner being alternately bored and lonely?
I think it would be cool to attend, but the prices are just a bit scary, especially as I would also have to take into account that I'd need to get a plane ticket and would then take my main vacation of the year around that time, which means I would have to do more than just attend the conference, there's time to fill before and after.
I'm horribly undecided and would welcome each and any suggestion, of Harry Potter fans or anybody else who attended conferences in his or her fandom.


[Poll #1043814]
I've changed my plans once more.
As they're cutting off the hot water in my building (again)in August, I decided to not be there when it happens. Which means I'll be on vacation from August 7th to the 18th. I had already planned to be at my parents' from the 14th on, but I am not really feeling like spending two weeks here.
So I have one week to do other stuff that keeps me away from Hammelburg most of the time.
We'll see.
*headdesk*
I found my key.
It was sitting in one of the bookshelves were I likely put it to have both hands free for shelving.
Gah, stupid! But at least I have it now. *phew*

Anyway, to some more interesting things:
A question to all those of you who live in Scotland, have been to Scotland or would like to go to Scotland.

1. What are the things I should definitely try to see on my vacation? This can be anything from a beautiful town, lake or mountain to an interesting museum or a must-see event. (I'll be likely going in August, the last two weeks of August, to be more precise.)

2. If I don't want to rent a car, what is the best way to get around? Does BritishRail reach most places that might be interesting, does a major coach service like National Express go there? (This is important for me to check whether it's worth it to buy a ticket that's valid for the whole of my stay or if I should rather buy individual tickets as I'd be traveling with many different services.)

3. For those from a country where people drive on the right hand side and who have traveled to a country where they don't: is it hard to adjust? How do you get used to shifting gears with the wrong hand?

4.
I think I'm going to try to organize or rather not organize this trip very much like England last year. It's nice to be so flexible. Also, I calculated that I paid about 1200 Euros including plane and bus tickets, accomodation and souvenirs for England last year, which isn't too bad and much cheaper than most of the decent tours of Scotland that I've seen so far. Even the camping tour by bus that the Youth Hostel Association offers costs about 1000 Euros and that is not including one night that you apparently have to spend in a hotel, entrance fees and food. And it would mean sleeping in one tent with everybody in the group.
I'm not a big fan of camping anyway.

Venezia

May. 8th, 2006 12:52 pm
We're back!
Had a lovely time in Venice with [livejournal.com profile] wolflady26 and her husband and a friend this weekend.
We didn't take a gondola because they charge like 120 Euros per hour and that was a bit out of our range, but we did take a vaporetto (water bus, basically) along the Canal Grande Sunday morning, before we went into the Doge's palace.

Friday we drove down (note to self: next time I think I'd rather take the plane. [livejournal.com profile] wolflady26's husband did all the driving, but it was still a really long ride) and after checking in at our hotel in Marghera (much cheaper than Venice, and a really nice place, despite some moldy spots), took a bus into town.
[livejournal.com profile] wolflady26 required us to get lost, which we did. It was nice to walk around the sestiere Santa Croce and Cannaregio and see a bit of the less touristy Venice.
Saturday we then went into the tourist areas, saw San Marcus (really nice, but unfortunately they don't allow you to just sit down and stare up at the amazingly decorated ceiling, they basically just want to herd you through.) and the Piazza, the doge's palace from the outside, San Michele only from the boat (we tried to get there about 4 times, but the boat never stopped. Turned out we were too late, the cemetery closes at six.) and a bit of Murano.
I had to think of [livejournal.com profile] thehoodedcrow really often, because there were tons and tons of amazing masks, if you took the time to go to the better stores and away from the street vendors with the cheap Chinese stuff.
I bought a lovely mask in a workshop (pictures will follow). I also bought a necklace from Murano and generally spent way too much money on touristy stuff.
Saturday evening I managed to make it impossible for any of us to ever enter a certain restaurant again by sending two other guests away, not realizing the waitress was within hearing distance. But the food was so horrible, disgusting, terrible that I think seriously pissing off a waitress should be made up for by saving two unsuspecting tourists from our fate. It should have warned us that an Italian couple left because the waitress couldn't understand any Italian...

I loved Venice.
The whole atmosphere of the town is great. It isn't all clean and nice and in good repair, quite on the contrary. Some houses look like they're falling apart any minute, the channels aren't exactly clean either. But the town has a certain grace and serenity that makes you overlook the faults. Or rather, it wears the scars of a long life proudly and with an ease I haven't seen before.
I hope my pictues came out well. I didn't take my father's digital camera, just my own regular one, and had three rolls of film full on Sunday before entering the rooms of the Doge's palace. Which was alright because you're not allowed to take pictures there anyway. Which didn't keep some French tourists from stopping traffic through the Bridge of Sighs (you can't actually stand on the Bridge of Sighs, it feels rather like a narrow tunnel instead of a bridge, no matter what Byron said) by trying to take pictures of the sea through the tiniest windows.

I think I still haven't processed it all. There was so much, so many beautiful views and lovely scenes, so many peaceful and funny and relaxing and amusing moments.

Therefore, and also because I am still pretty tired, I called the nice kid this morning and told him I wouldn't go to the movies with him tonight. Instead, I'll drive back to Hammelburg sometime this afternoon and go to a photo place in town to get my pictures developed.

Time for lunch.
[livejournal.com profile] cleverusername2 sent me this link.
All fanfiction writers on my flist should listen to that commentary, it's really interesting.
And right, IMHO.

Also, I'm so looking forward to next weekend. [livejournal.com profile] wolflady26 invited me to come down ot Venice with her and her husbnd and another friend. I've been reading a Venice guide book and they have some recomended tours around the town in there that sound just great.
Maybe it'll also inspire me for the [livejournal.com profile] hp_smutfree challenge. I like my assignment, it's a good choice for me, I just haven't had an idea yet. Though I did write a bit last night - some scenes that might be used at some point.

This summer, it looks like Scotland's going to be the place for vacation. I still haven't decided, but Mom gave me a guide to Scotland and all those lovely pictures really tempt me.

Mom and I went shopping on Thursday (I came home Tuesday night to watch the dog on Wednesday) and I spent way too much money. I bought a really lovely blue skirt I probably wouldn't have tried on had I been alone, but Mom said it would be worth trying. And it's great and fits wonderfully. And then she found a t-shirt to go with it, again one I'd never have tried on with the shirt. It's dark purple, kind of an aubergine color, and really nice. The funny thing is, I kinda look taller with the new clothes.

Then we came by a shoe store and I bought a pair of black sandals. I have several pairs of brown ones, but no black sandals, and that was no state to be in.

Lastly, we went to a bookstore so I could buy my Venice guide. And Mom gave me the complete works of Shakespeare! In English, in a lovely (fake) leather binding with gilt edging. Very fancy. Of course, I had to read the beginning of Twelfth Night immediately, I just love that story.

We had lunch at the Chinese restaurant. My Dad and brothers don't like Chinese food, so we only go there when we're alone.

Friday we went to visit my Grandma. She's better, but the way my aunt treats her makes me want to strangle that woman. To think we're related... Well, you can't chose your relatives, you can only chose your friends.

Speaking of friends, you guys really helped me Wednesday night. I had been watching Criminal Intent and there was a rape scene.
Now, I love to watch crime shows, and I don't freak out usually. Not when somebody's brutally murdered on CSI, or they're cutting off body parts or anything. But this was just - I don't know, it totally threw me off. Maybe it was because I talked to the psychologist a few days ago (she hasn't been able to find a shrink she could recommend, as the clinic refuses to give recommendations for ambulant therapy, so it looks like we're basically back to finding somebody in the phone book...) and so the whole thing wasn't as far back in my mind as it usually is. Also, it'll be six years tomorrow, and I've been thinking about it on and off for the past year.
Anyway, I was really shaky when I went to bed, but then I thought of you and what you told me last year, and that really calmed me.
Thanks, guys!

bad dreams

Apr. 6th, 2006 06:16 pm
A few nights ago I had a dream that was about a group of people. There was a father and his son, but the rest of the bunch were mostly Egyptian gods and some Martians. The Martians looked like regular people, you could only see they were Martians when they died. Which happened like this:

The group had to leave some place they were staying. They traveled on a kind of cart that was not drawn by any animal that I can remember. On their way to wherever they were going, they were stopped by some sort of bandits. Obviously, the group had nothing of any value with them, but the bandits stopped them anyway and told them to come with them. The people did, thinking it was better not to get into any trouble with quite well-armed bandits on a dark road.
Next thing I remember is that every one of them is strapped down on a board, the boards arranged in a circle. And one of the bandits goes round with a chainsaw and cuts people's heads off. He starts with one of the Egyptian gods, then a person who looks like a human but when his head is cut off, his body becomes green and his face and mouth are kind of odd - a Martian.
Then the guy with the chainsaw tries to kill another Egyptian god, but as this one - I forgot the name, it's the god of the Nile, I think, a crocodile - has not one but three heads and they're kind of difficult to control, being crocodile heads, he decides to go for easier prey instead and walks over to the boy.

I woke up with the image of father and son screaming for mercy, the father telling them to kill him instead, to not kill the boy, to not let the boy see this, the boy crying for father, father FATHER!!

When I went back to sleep, my mind had taken control again. Sechmet, who for some reason was a man in my dream, turned into a cat and managed to get out of the shackles and get away, which distracted the bandits enough to stop killing people. I believe Sechmet, in lion form again, killed them and then freed the group. The only person actually to be dead in the end was the Martian. Gods aren't that easily killed.

I hate bad dreams. Especially as they usually return the next night if I happen to remember. This one did, but I managed to chase it away by thinking of how it all ended well (except for the Martian).
I wonder what a dream interpreter would say to this though.

Anyway.
here be vacation poll )

here be LJ userpic map )
I ws at the Leipzig Book Fair Friday and Saturday and there were way too many people. Some good costumes for the Manga Cosplay Contest, though.

I finally got around to read Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and totally love it. I like it even better than the Sandman comics. [livejournal.com profile] wolflady26, thank you so much for giving me that to read!

For my vacation this summer, I am thinking about Ireland. Specifically, this journey by a German travel company who specialises in trips that are more than the tourist traps and the hotel pool. The have special offers for singles, this is one, and are known for very good travel guides, well-planned tours and generally good service. They're not the world's cheapest company ever, but that's to be expected. The good thing is, they give you free time to do stuff on your own as well as with the group. And this specific tour sounds really good.

There's a trip to a guinness brewery and a whiskey distillery included which would likely be wasted on me, but I've been to German wineries, why not see an Irish brewery and a distillery?

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