The start of me leaping from country to country all over Europe was about to begin. After spending time volunteering, I had a limited window before I had to leave the Schengen zone. If you ever plan to travel to Europe for longer than 90 days, you need to be aware of the visa regulations. If you plan on staying for an extended amount of time, trying to figure out the complicated system is tough. With a US passport, it allows you 90 days within 180 days in the Schengen zone. It is up to you how you want to spend those 90 days. I recommend a Schengen calculator, which keeps track of when you must leave and when you can come back. Also, many countries are apart of the European Union but are not apart of the Schengen zone. The zone consists of countries that have an open border agreement. I planned my trip around my volunteer program in Poland since I agreed to this before coming to Europe. The program in Poland wasn't until January, so I decided to do one month in Greece and one month out in Albania. Once I finished the two weeks in Poland, I had only 42 days left in the zone. The goal was to hit eight countries within this time frame.
The first stop was Berlin, Germany. It was a quick 4-hour bus ride from Wroclaw, Poland. I arrived in the late afternoon but had to wait until evening to meet my host. I found a coffee shop right next to the bus station, the employees were fabulous and even gave me a free smoothie. I met my host at a little restaurant. It was nice to meet another vegan, after some falafel he asked if I wanted to go back to his house or go to a dance class with him. I was quite tired, so he gave me the keys and directions and off I went. The stop which I was supposed to get off at never happened. I got off on the next stop and started working my way back to find a restaurant he had told me was near. Once there, I started looking for his house, which was a scavenger hunt, but I found it. When he arrived home, he offered to teach me what he had learned in class. Earlier when we had first met, I had asked him if he would be able to host me a second night he said he would let me know. While he was teaching me this new dance, I could tell he was starting to come on to me. I moved farther away from him I wasn't interested, so he told me I couldn't stay another night and I needed to leave by noon. At this point I was happy I was leaving, I wouldn't want to stay another night with him.
The following day I left as early as I could and made my way to a hostel I had booked. Considering I had arrived in the morning, I had a lot of time to spare before I could check-in. This place had a huge table where I could do some work for my website to keep everyone updated on my expenses. After I checked-in, I realized I needed to do laundry, which was downstairs, but this gave me more time to work. I thought it was going to be a quiet night catching up on my website. Yet, it was anything but quiet. I noticed a man who sat down at the table about three seats away from me. At first, I didn't pay attention to him, but he decided to grab the extension cords on the table and pull them towards him. After he moved one chair closer to me and then pushed the chair in the middle of us into me. At this point, I gave him a look, but this opened the flood gates to crazy. Apparently it was an open invitation for him to move closer to me and start talking to me. I told him I was working, and I needed to focus, but when he said he doesn't speak English, I knew this was going to be a disaster. Even though I stated I was working, it didn't seem to phase him because he kept trying to talk to me. At first, he touched my arm and said something about my tattoos, then he grabbed my skirt. I was on guard at this point and trying to stay calm, but this man was pushing my buttons. I could see his irritation growing since I wasn't paying him any attention to him. He then asked me if I want coke (which he motioned with his nose) and asked if I wanted some. I told him no and again told him I am working and put my headphones back in. He did not like me ignoring him, he got up and pushed the chair and walked up to reception, and I followed him. They had asked him to leave, which he was rather upset about and made a huge scene. I rush of relief that he was gone, and I could get back to finishing my work. It was short-lived as the cops walked in ten minutes later to ask me questions about the guy.
I was leaving the next day but not until 11 at night. It gave me the chance to do a free walking tour that I had booked. As I made my way to the meeting point, the weather was frigid, but the journey there was eventful. I got to see many places they call squatter communities. If they are open, they allow you to walk inside but be respectful of the no photo rules plastered everywhere. These communities fight against capitalism. Once I arrived I, of course, made a friend who was from Brazil. I have always loved learning about the history of places. It was a glorious break being able to learn about Germany's history before World War 2. There is a memorial in the middle of the city center to remember the people killed during WW2. It is a maze with two thousand, seven hundred and eleven gray concrete slabs. The artist wanted everyone to be able to interpret the piece of work in their way. Following the end of the tour, it started raining cats and dogs. Rushing back to the train, we ducked into a building, but after twenty minutes, we realized it wasn't going to stop. Embracing the rainfall outside, we kept trudging towards the train.
I still had a lot of time to spare before I had to make my way to my bus for Copenhagen. So I took myself on a romantic date and started planning the next phase of my trip. On my way to the bus station, I tagged along with others going that way. It was going to be a long 10-hour drive, but it was an overnight bus, so I planned to sleep. It was time to go on to the next destination. Where I get to reconnect with one of the greatest souls I have had the chance to meet.