ViENNa VibRaTiONs

mozart stature

girls

beer garden two  floating pool

I didn’t stay in Vienna long enough to have a deep experience with the culture nor did I take enough photographs on my long bike ride through the city and along the Danube, but I do have a lot of great information here to share about this fantastic capital city in Austria.

danube two

walkway

I stayed at a laid-back hostel called Ruthensteiner, which has a great outdoor courtyard, bar, and lots of musical instruments available for use inside, including a beautiful piano.  The staff was very helpful and friendly, and I enjoyed talking with a beautiful and intelligent girl from Milan who works there.  She told stories of her travels and advised me to go for a long bike ride along the Danube.  She made me feel very welcome at the hostel and I enjoyed chatting with her in the mornings.

girl posing

Vienna has a very happy, calm, intelligent vibe, and is not much of a wild, party-city in comparison to other wild, European cities, although you can find it here and there are some very cool hangout spots to check out.   The city is very clean, organized, and the people were very educated and kind.  I rented a bike from my hostel and rode along the Danube as recommended.  After my long bike ride along the river, I intentionally got lost riding my bike in the city and randomly came across some cool restaurants and bars along the Danube Canal that provide an awesome area to relax during the heat of the day and warm nights of summer.

danube one

Strandbar Hermann at the Urania is a sandy beach area in front of the canal where the crowds come in to enjoy the relaxing chairs, hammocks, food, and music.

beach arda

beer garden

beach area close

The sandy beach was jam-packed; and just a five-minute walk away on the canal, you can take a dip in a floating pool-boat at Badeschiff.

canal pool

vienna

pool close

This floating pool is about 30 meters long and is open until 10 pm.  This is the best way to go swimming in the heart of Vienna, and it is so cool to be swimming on a floating boat in the Danube Canal.  There is a nice restaurant and bar connected to the pool on a second level, providing a good view and a cooler breeze.

wien number one

scwhimmen two

schwimmen

I met a group of locals at a common table at the restaurant in front of Badeschiff.

outdoor cafe

They recommended me to go to Volksgarten Pavillon – as it was Thursday night and there was an event going on there at Volksgarten which is located in the Museums Quarter.

volksgarten

I was warned not to show up after 9pm because of the long lines, but I did anyway and had to wait for almost an hour to get inside this wonderful outdoor venue loaded with stylish locals ready to mingle.  Volksgarten was alive with great music and beautiful hangout spots outside along the garden areas.  I definitely recommend events at this place if you want a great place at night to meet people and have drinks.

graffiti

danube three

danube four

Again, my stay in Vienna was way to short to have a full experience here as I missed out on so much this city has to offer. There are so many great museums to go to and a ton of great exhibitions always ongoing – and of course, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart settled here and composed some of his best-known symphonies in Vienna; so you can also visit his house, The Mozarthaus, and learn a lot about this amazing composer in Vienna.

mozart two

danube canal

graffiti

Next time I will have to check out more of what this laid-back, classic city has to offer. I was given lots of recommendations that I will pass on.  Here they are:

Check out the Naschmarkt especially on the weekends as it has lots of stalls, food, wine stalls, cafes, restaurants, and sometimes live music. A favorite bar of a friend there is Bar di Mar which is an excellent seafood spot. Naschmarkt is about 1.5 kilometers long.

If you take the Ring Road – or Ringstrasse (a circular road surrounding the Innere Stadt district of Vienna), you can get on and off here at lots of the main sites. You can get a pass at one of the stands – better to get the 5-day pass if you plan on staying long and it is good for metro and trolley.

Figlmueller is where to go to have the biggest schnitzel in the city with some schnapps of course. The Vienna Plater is a huge park with a huge ferris-wheel. This is a great place to just hang out and I have been told there are some strange clubs around there too.

There are also lots of great trails in and around Vienna to explore including the nearby vineyards. This is a very nice bike-ride and will get you out of the city and into a bit of nature.

If you are feeling adventurous you can bike about 2.5 hours to (or take a bus) to Neusiedl am See – Lake near Vienna and wine region. This is a very nice place to stay overnight or camp. My friend’s favorite restaurant there is Mole West, which is a chill spot with very good food, great parties, and live music. Check out the upcoming events. www.mole-west.at/en/

Other notable places to check out are Flex Café, Adria Wien, Tel Aviv Beach, Vienna Schützenhaus, Summer Stage, and beach club Sand in the City on Heumarkt.

vienna bitches

THE END

BUttERfLiEs iN BuDApEsT, HuNgArY

musicians two

castle old car one budapest bus           bath house

After traveling a good portion of Europe, I found Budapest to be one of the most aesthetically attractive cities around.  Budapest is filled with energy and excitement, but I did have some serious qualms with the taxi drivers and the quality of the food.  The taxi drivers are definitely the worst in Europe, and if you don’t research online on where to dine out, you will most definitely strike out with some very horrible and overpriced food, especially in the long, pedestrian walkways in the heart of the city.

fatal rest

budapest buildings

view from tram

budapest view buildings

What I love most about Budapest is the architecture and how active the city is.  There was so much going on in this city every day and so much to learn on one of the many educating tours; and if you like to party, well you can do a lot of that here too.

djs

There are bars and parties that cater to the traveling-tourists, which can be a lot of fun, but most likely you will not connect with locals at those big events. One of the coolest bars I went to was Szimpla – although it was jam packed with travelers, it had an amazing open-air ambiance with creative decor.

szimpla

szimpla crowd

Every Thursday there is a party boat that sails along the Danube.  It is a very young crowd and will be all tourists.

bridge night

parliament 2

Every Saturday there is the Thermal Bathhouse Party at Szechenyi Bathhouse.  You will find very young crowds there eager to frolic with one another.  One of the best things to do during the day is relax at one of the many bathhouses in Budapest – they are massive and elegantly decorated with marble architecture, providing a wide variety of thermal pools, steam rooms, saunas, spa services and medicine baths – indoor and outdoor.

gallet bath house

bathhouse one

bathhouse two

bathhouse close

Szechenyi Bathhouse has a fitness center and Gellert Bathhouse has a wave pool – not for surfing but just for fun water movement. Szechenyi Bathhouse turns into a massive party on Saturday night, and there aren’t many rules at this party.  You will see many people kissing amongst floating beer cans.  Epic.

night people pool

night flash pool 3

bar pool

A live DJ blasts music for the young tourists to frolic and dance in the water.

night pool flash one

bath house pool

bar pool people

There is so much wonderful history in Budapest and an abundance of local tours available to teach you the history of this beautiful city.

castle

parliament

There are a lot of great hostels to choose from if you want to keep it cheap.  The Mavericks hostel is located in a gigantic mansion with wide, winding staircases and comfortable rooms, providing a very helpful, friendly staff and a mellow setting for laid-back travelers.

hostel mavericks

The California Hostel feels like a cozy apartment and is much smaller.  And if you want an endless party, then join the wild party-staff at the Grandio hostel where they are constantly drinking in the courtyard, playing beer pong, and sticking together in groups, attending the daily, wild parties in Budapest.

grandio hostel

grandios beer

grandios beer pong

grandios art

grandios bar

If you avoid getting a taxi off the street and research where to eat, Budapest will warm your heart. But if you don’t take caution, you might have a very horrible stay. I had a muscular taxi driver blatantly rob me in money exchange.  He said I gave him 2000 forint when I gave him 20,000 forint – which is about 100 US dollars.  There wasn’t much I could do about it as it was my word against his. And to top it off, he also overcharged me for the ride. I should have listened to the locals who warned me to always call for a radio taxi as they are always honest.  Never, ever get a taxi off the street here as the taxi drivers are borderline thugs.  Many of us consistently had problems here  – a fellow traveler and I had a bad standoff with a taxi driver who wildly drove us past our stop and around town after we protested the unfair charge.  It ended up with him screaming, me getting out of his taxi in some random place when he finally slammed the brakes in the middle of the street, and me posing in my best boxing stance and standing my ground against him in the street when he charged after me.  It was not a good scene.

budapest panorama

Unfortunately, I also got pick-pocketed late at night and as a result, I have been traveling Europe with only my American Express card that I fortunately left behind at my hostel.  The theft and taxi driving experiences really put a bad taste in my mouth with Budapest, but I still want to love this city, I just need to learn how to have a better head on my shoulders when I visit again.  Getting your wallet stolen really puts a damper on traveling overseas; two months on the road and I finally got burnt in Budapest.  And I thought I had a good head on my shoulders!  I guess that’s what I get for storming around late at night at wild parties.  At times I think I’m getting too old for my late night shenanigans. Traveling with just your American Express in Europe is very challenging, but I have made sure that the road will continue.

parliament

old car

parliament river

budapest view

Heroes square is near city park and Szechenyi Bathhouse.  This is a great part of the city to check out and walk around.

heroes square

castle water

boats

At sunset locals would sit on one of the many bridges and drink beers.  So cool!

bridge party

bridge party 2

budapest view two

garden building

buildings

When you visit Budapest, make sure you go to Margaret Island.  It has a wonderful wonderful waterpark and lots of great outdoor activities.  There are also some cool parties there that will be mostly all locals.

men pool

old building

buildings budapest

THE END

Odd mAN oUt iN oDeSSA, UkRAiNE

heart odessa

ukrainian passports

beach people 2

bar menu

bono bar outside

You aren’t a world traveler if you don’t wander off the beaten path sometimes… so I read about Odessa, Ukraine and decided to vacation there by myself.  I took a flight from Amsterdam via Kiev to Odessa on Ukrainian International Airlines.

ukrainian airlines

I am intrigued by Eastern European countries – as there can be special opportunities that arise in countries with up and coming, or cheaper economies; you never really know what great things (or bad) can happen until you just go.

golden angel

A key factor in any wonderful place with a poor economy is the heart of the people.  I always follow my instinct and gut, and I unfortunately learned first-hand that the culture of Ukraine can at times be somewhat heartless – at least in my short week-long experience in Odessa at Arcadia Beach.  Maybe I was a bit jaded by the cab drivers, but I felt uneasy in Ukraine in comparison to the many other countries I have traveled to.

eagles

odessa building

Maybe I was in a bad mood, but the difference in the way I interacted with people in other European countries was much different, with the exception of the horrific taxi drivers in Budapest that are mere, dirty thieves.  But the majority of taxi drivers I have encountered in Europe are crooks to various degrees.  Ukraine was just as bad, but the economy is so different that it really doesn’t have as much of an impact on your wallet as European taxi driver’s overcharging you.  Bottom line, try your best at other forms of transit or call a radio taxi as they are always the most honest.

odessa fountain

Although I met some good people, they were far and few in between.  I saw a country battered by corruption, creating an economy with no middle-class, leaving the lower-class desperate to make money during the Summer as that’s when the money pours in with the height of tourism.   Taxi drivers rip you off at the airport on the get-go, but this especially happens in Eastern Europe anywhere from Czech Republic to Hungary… and I have to give credit to the Odessa drivers, they weren’t nearly as criminal as Budapest taxi drivers. Sometimes bus riding is not only cheaper, but better – especially if the trains haven’t been upgraded since early communist days.

odessa tram

beach area

odessa buildings

Street vendors are looking to pinch a dollar from you, occasionally from the taxi driver swerving tricks on the road, the waiter not bringing you your change, or some street thug throwing a giant eagle on your shoulder.  The wealthy elite have created businesses in Odessa that are exquisite, serving the wealthy and their price ranges.  There you will find excellent food, amazing décor and ambiance, and an honest staff.

club ibiza beach

club bono club

club bono pool

Sometimes you will see young, gorgeous women walk hand and hand with older men; at first it seems like they are father and daughter, but soon it is discovered that they are loving, evening entertainment to a wealthy counterpart.

club ibiza pool

blue building

This country is loaded with gorgeous people – the women are quite possibly some of the most beautiful I have seen in the world and the men are quite muscular and athletic.  The women tend to dress like they are attending high school prom in the United States, as their dress style is very formal and colorful.  You will often get a “niet” in Russian if you strike up conversation with a female, because more likely in these tourist areas the people having a good time are Russians on vacation – and the wealthy from Moscow at times can be a tough bunch.

potomokin stairs

golden angel two

I struck up conversation with a young Russian oligarchy princess, who politely warned me of her entourage security team nearby and how at times they can act very unfriendly.  We danced a bit and then I had to escape for the beach by the water because I saw the group mounting up to make a move on me. This gorgeous girl and I ran into each other a few times in Odessa. She would dance alone by the pool during the day – she was perhaps one of the most beautiful women I have seen in my entire life.  There were many gorgeous women working as the entry way staff in club Ibiza.  They were easy to talk with and extremely kind – either being from Ukraine or Moldova.

bono cloud

bono beach djh

bono outside pool

I have learned that they love to box in Ukraine.  At the gym I saw a muscular boxing-trainer training a toddler in the ring.  This explains why every 10 meters there are two or more boxing games on the street.  The game measures how hard you hit the bag, and believe me I have witnessed many locals playing this game and playing it well.  At times, I have seen men almost maxing out the boxing machine.

punch belly

Every day I would go get coffee at a small coffee truck by the boxing machine.  The coffee vendor watched me hit the bag one day and I did okay.  The next day he wanted to have a competition with me and he whooped my ass, well not that bad but he did hammer the bag with amazing strength.  I wasn’t too far behind him, but was not near enough where he was, consistently hammering the bag to almost full capacity.  You can tell when someone has real quickness and power even though they aren’t gigantic or muscular – just good leverage and quickness with muscle-strength and good form.  We joked everyday after that and he gave me free coffee.  One of a couple cool guys I met at Odessa and connected with, another being a young ice-cream vendor who watched me pig out on his tasty ice-cream every other day.   He was kind, informative, and generous – even refusing  a tip.  I did some exploring outside of Arcadia Beach in search of other areas and I found a cool dive bar with phenomenal live jazz.  I made friends with and hung out with two Russian girls and two Ukrainian guys.  Another positive Odessa experience – so it was not all that bad, just far and few in between with frustrations of the social system and the brash culture.

russian couople

roses buildings

lights pier

flares

beach people

I witnessed a strange brawl in Ukraine – two guys slugged each other in the street and then talked and then slugged each other some more.  My taxi driver slammed on his brakes and left me alone in the cab so he could run over and get front row to the show.  He came back to the taxi explaining how it was his friend fighting in the street.  I was amazed how these two guys were unaffected by the heavy slugs and would calmly walk back to talk after a heavy blow to the face.  By this point, I realized that these people here come from a different mold.

boat

strong house rest

I slept on the hardest bed of my life in the worst beachfront hotel ever – The Strong House. I don’t say something like “it is the hardest bed ever” without traveling around the world and sleeping on bunks on more dirt and ships then I can count on my fingers and toes.   How do I pay for a beach-front hotel room and sleep in pain every night with metal springs gouging into my entire body?  Serious.

bono inside

club moscow room

Furthermore, the hotel was right next to the beach club called Moscow which blasts its music until after sunrise, vibrating my room with a pounding bass and making it very difficult to sleep because the music is louder then anyone would believe.   I am not a wimp either, but when your room becomes a torture technique with music then I will tell the truth  here in this Blog.  It caused me some sleep deprivation because of the hard bed and the bass thumping music – the clubs blast there music all night and keep the bass pounding until well after sunrise.

ibiza crowd

I guess I was looking for a party and I sure found it in Odessa as there is definitely a party every night here in the Summer – with great DJs and live acts performing every night at these beachfront clubs.

club ibiza night

But the quality of life in general is not so good if you aren’t at a fancy resort, and you could go somewhere like Poland for equal cost and have a magical stay.  It just wasn’t worth the cost and the low quality of restaurants and businesses available. And you have to deal with the vultures.

club ibiza entrance 2

There are many beach clubs to choose from in Odessa if you just want to dip in the Black Sea all day in a nice poolside cabana with food served to your table.  The nice ones are Club Ibiza and Club Bono, but Club Ibiza takes the cake with an amazing ambiance and great live bands, gorgeous stage dances, and top touring DJs like DJ Sebastian.

sabastian sign

ibiza pool two

lights club

There were great live musical acts, Russian and Ukrainian popular rock bands with large energetic horn sections.  The Russian fans overly crowded the venue and absolutely loved this Russian rock-band – jubilant and rowdy.

club ibiza entrance

crowd rock band

Club Ibiza is right on the beach and provides top notch food and services all day and all night.  I ate here frequently and enjoyed renting my spot by the pool.  It is a great place to relax on the beach, and you will be accompanied by many wealthy Turkish and Russian tourists – gorgeous ones at that.  All the waitress staff was local or from Moldova – very pretty girls, professional and extremely kind.  These clubs have tons of local staff making sure this place is beyond above par.

wine beach

lunch table ibiza

cigarrette light

club ibiza couches

Years ago when I worked for the military, I was the navigator aboard a special dive operation navy vessel that made a transit through the Turkish straights into the Black Sea.  We made ports of call to Varna, Bulgaria and Constanta, Romania, working and training with the local military special-operation units in those countries. I remember strong bonds and good times.  But my recent visit to Ukraine has been much different as a tourist and at times do not feel completely comfortable or welcome.  There are almost no European or American tourists in Odessa now in the height of Summer and during Odessa’s 3rd Annual International Film Festival.

loreal ad

Not a lot of tourists from your own country can be a wonderful thing for a traveler like me, but it also makes me stick out like a sore thumb.  Word on the street is that this Summer had a very low turnout compared to the recent Summers and Film Festivals a couple years back.  The poor tourism this summer is obviously indicative of the way the locals treat tourists and the poor services that are either not available or hard to find.  Simple things like getting your laundry done can be very difficult, unless of course you are staying at a luxury hotel. Very few people here speak any English at all and have little patience trying to figure out what I am saying.  I can understand this – why give a rat’s ass about an English speaking American in your territory?  I guess I should have learned some words, but some business have been very rude to me at the get-go, from checking into my flight with Ukrainian International Airlines at the ticket counter to the restaurant at my beachfront hotel called Strong House, to the laundry cleaners.  I searched for a laundry facility for couple days, spending lots of money in a taxi, in hopes of finding any place to clean my underwear and socks.  I walked forever trying to find a place, and when I finally did, every place refused to clean my underwear and socks or they would charge me about 30 US dollars for a small bag.  It was absolutely ridiculous and it became a theme of my stay here – so I decided to clean my socks and underwear in my sink.

potomokin stairs

I am often give the ugly face and have not experienced many strangers that offer an inkling of kindness to me.  It can be a little disheartening as a solo traveler – furthermore, I have found it difficult to connect with locals and have friendly conversations.  Women are very defensive and think I am hitting on them and have no time for any conversation – but I think most of these women are Russian on vacation. I did meet one group of three guys in my hotel who are Ukrainian – they were somewhat nice and invited me into there room for a chat – I played them a few tunes on my guitar.  Although I am very skeptical of anyone I meet in Ukraine now because of the strong, strange vibes I have been receiving.  Some guy yelled in my face for no reason at a club.  I have eyes in the back of my head here.  I probably hang out too much in the wealthy areas and clubs, which are host to the very rich Russians on vacation. But it is where I felt most comfortable because the clubs were right on the beach and offered some cool lounge areas that were absolutely beautiful.  The hot spot in Odessa is Arcadia Beach.  Oh my Odessa, how far you need to go to become what you want to be.

anchor odessa

ibiza night

western club

bono club dark

club bono poolside

cabanas

THE END

NeW CiTy EvErY DaY oN tHe RoaD mUsIc tOuR ENDS Cologne HaMbUrG FrAnKFuRT GeRMaNY LiLLe & PAriS FrANcE AmStErDaM

eiffel punami

ryan standing metro                        punami group

It has been difficult for me to keep up with the Blog and write about every city we have seen and experienced because we have been traveling every day at the end of our tour.  It can be a challenge to travel, check in to accommodations, play a show, celebrate and promote all night – then wake up and travel again on the train and do it all over again.

train

trainsytat

ryan train station

We have been hauling around Europe a ton of promotional materials and musical equipment which could be exhausting at times.  But the tour was unforgettable as we connected to some fantastic people in different cities and sometimes danced with them in the streets.

french couple

amp

We played an unforgettable show by a subway entrance in Paris and probably had one of our biggest, warmest crowds in the street.

statues

I was able to see some tourist attractions along the way, saw some wonderful architecture in Frankfurt.

windspirale

beth building

justin eiffel blanket

Saisha and Justin and a wild night in Germany and met up with some pro skaters.

skate crew

justin skate

Lille, France was an amazing town mostly because of the people we met there.  The French are welcoming, warm, loving, and so very cool!  It has been such a wonderful adventure… to be continued in the future.

boat ride

light ryan laptop saisha justin tickets face justin finger ryan office final ryan jeans 2

ryan bags

justin bar

traintrACKS

jazz fest

ryancartbike

girlsbike

ryan lunch girl

cat

trains

sun

ryan sweat

birds

ryansleep

louvre

THE END

BeAcH JAmS iN AmStErDaM

woodstockswoodstock one

saisha beach

doggy

paul smoking

We stormed into Amsterdam excited to come back to the Flying Pig. Most of the staff remember us and treats us with such kindness and love. We jammed music with some of them before and enjoy hanging out and catching up with all of them.

flying pig

We made some new connections in Amsterdam that helped us book a great gig at a beach party at this awesome beachfront club called Woodstock.  Special thanks to Naomi.

woodstocks 69

beach empty

Woodstock soundman

Woodstock is an incredible venue with the best beach party near Amsterdam.

woodstock inside

woodstock stage 2

woodstock hangout

saisha couch

This place is built only for the Summertime and completely taken away for Winter. I love the ambiance and the way this place is set up with couches everywhere outside providing cozy gathering places around the fire.

saisha fire 2

woodstock inside 2

ryan fire relaxing

The staff was so wonderful – feeding us a dinner to die for on the house.

eats woodstock

saisha drink

Our favorite person ever, Paul, drove us along the beach in his pickup truck providing first class access to our gig.

justin paul

paul truck back

paul justin

pickup truck

justin drinking truck

justin drinking

He proved to be a great host and friend, meeting up with us at other spots in Amsterdam so we could have some more good laughs.

paul girl

saisha paul

We did the usual at night in Amserdam, riding our cart bike through the city with new friends and playing our music in as many public spots as possible after our gig. So many positive and receptive people come over to say hello and join our jams.

justin cart two

We ended up at a karaoke bar and I witnessed for my first time a “mangina” on stage – this guy had some guts pulling a move like that on stage at a popular bar. All the girls in the audience joyfully screamed bloody murder.

mangina

mangina two

We played music in the hostel till sunrise, which created a chaotic morning of travel to Lille, France.

jamming flying pig

jay tongue

Justin had a terrible wreck on his bicycle, face planting on the pavement, and we are very fortunate that he is not severely injured, although he was in pain nursing his knee and hand for days.

justin hands

We were thrilled, exhausted, sad, excited, and storming on in fifth gear as the tour approached it’s end!!  We can’t believe all the wonderful places we have seen and experienced in such a short period of time. So many magical people and places that have become dear to our hearts – although exhausted, our spirits were flying. And of course, we were excited to catch up with Devendra Banhart’s tour again.

Devendra Banhart

Saisha snuck out on the town in the wee hours and took some great photos.

woman bird

amsterdam night

Thank you, Amsterdam!

ryan street

old lady bike

woodstocks rip jeans

saisha laughing

saisha just taxi

ryan justin min guit

ryan closeup

petting dog

fire woodstock

sai justin dancing

ryan watch

ryan dancing

saisha jay

justin tickets

amsterdam

santa chicks cd

paul soundguy table

feet fire

paul truck

paul pickkup one

girls laughinig

santa barb chick

ryan car two

THE END

BErLiN iS oFF tHe WaLL

art show area

skeleton

foot tattoo

graffit wall

When we first arrived in Berlin we were overwhelmed by the size of this city.  We new there was magic to be found, but we didn’t know exactly where to first look in this gigantic city that was once divided by East and West.

soldier

It has created an urban world of mystery and enchantment from a vicious history of war and division from Cold War.  Decrepit buildings are etched with art and graffiti, creating a city filled with color and artistic expression.

vanessa pose 2

go forth graffiti

graffit girl

The abundance of youth storm the streets in the Summertime after bearing the burden of hunkering down through harsh Winters.  Berliners are alive, bustling in the streets and parks, and partying until sunrise is the norm.

warsh bridge

We first stayed in a gigantic hostel called the Aletto Kudamm Hotel & Hostelin in West Berlin.  Fantastic hostel, but more of a gigantic hostel then a gathering place where traveler’s lounge together in community spaces.  The bed included buffet breakfast was the best I have seen in Europe.

tower

solo guitar player

I was impressed with the transit system here as the metro was extensive and accurate, and there was the street tram and bus.

tram

Although it is a big city, you can get anywhere you want very fast and cheap.    Furthermore, on the weekends the metro runs 24 hours around the clock.

metro

We played a show in Berlin at Kater Holzig on a beautiful, sunny Saturday.

jus sai katenholzig

katenholzig two

katenholzig

On the weekends, Kater Holzig is an open flea market with handcrafted bohemian goods and art.  There are various kiosks with great food, drinks, and ice cream.

grass shot

katenholzig close two

Pünamí swapped sets back and forth with an energetic soul band.

soul band

dreadlock guitar

We couldn’t have asked for a better venue to perform in Berlin.  We connected with so many great people.  Kater Holzig transforms itself at night into a booming, popular nightclub.  Sometimes it can be challenging to get pass the door man and make an entrance as they are unpredictably picky.

saisha skeleton

bicycle

I moved out of my hostel and was invited to stay with a local friend, Vanessa, who I met years ago while living in Cadiz, Spain.

Ryan vanessa

girls boat

Vanessa was an amazing host, giving me keys to her apartment and inviting me out to go wakeboarding and skiing on Lake Wannsee on Sunday.

jetski tow two

jochen grass boathouse

vanessa pose one

Ryan boat wheel

Her good friend, Jochen, has a beautiful house on the lake with a cool boat and jet ski.

jochen jet ski

boat finish

vanessa smiling lake

girls close

There was an armada of sailboats and motorboats on the lake enjoying the day.

wood boat

boat nico

girls boat laughing

patrick jet ski

ryan beer

After exhausting ourselves on the lake, we went back to Jochen’s place and cooked pizza.

cooking

pizza dough

I love how European friends cook together and hang in the kitchen.  We ate on the balcony with a great view of the lake – I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday.

dinner outside

ryan guitar

Vanessa also showed me around town a bit, taking me to Mauerpark and the remnants of the Berlin Wall.

berlin wall two

walking lady

There were plenty of performers and bands in Mauerpark.

sax band crowdsax band

mo park

magician

musician mo park

I also went for a long walk by myself exploring Museum Island and Hackescher Market.

museum river

musuem island

musicians museum

Berlin is such an amazing city filled with such great artistic energy and fantastic food.  Vanessa and I had dinner out our last night at a very popular Thai Restaurant called Monsieur Vuong.

thai menu

dinner thai drinks

thai oustide two

thai rest outside

The food and drinks were top notch!  Thanks for being such a wonderful friend, Vanessa.  I LOVE BERLIN!  Till next time!

libre sign

berlin wall ground

bob dylan sign

people on roof

torn

van

climbing gym

saxaphone boy

movie theater area

graffit wall bike

indians

1961 painting

robot man

ryan pathway sitting

band outside

ryan pose wall

Theater

THE END

FrEnCH CoUNtrYsidE DaY TriPPinG

ryan saisha wheel

saisha turn road

justin eyes

Punami was invited to a beautiful French Countryside Estate in Breonne. This magical property transformed us into kids again, running through the unkempt statue garden – discovering secrets under the brush. We found old costumes on the property and ran around like wild children, filming a music video on this lovely property.

ryan field

jump three

justin saisha flowers

saisha justin boat

The twlight fog drifted along the fields – so our musical family layed down in the grass like deer and sang our songs to the wild like coyotes.

justin saisha fog grass

ryan grass one

saisha grass

justin field

The lovely woman that lives in this house says she could hear us in the fields from the distance.  We howled every night we were here, gazing at the stars, exploring from the horse stables to the old water mill and along the riverside.

ryan bridge

jus saisha by water

Ryan Swing

kids willow tree

jus saisha paddling

We were invited here by a fellow musician and music producer, JImmy.

jimmy closeup ryan jimmy river

jimmy house wide

JImmy let us run around like wild animals in his house filled with antiques – I’m not sure how many floors were in this house, but I do remember it was a long way to the top floor where we had a few bedrooms to ourselves.  The cat would run around the stairwell playfully watching me with his keen eye.

ryan mirror best

cat

I cooked up a big breakfast outside by the river for the kids. It was so nice to spend time with them on the river – the kids made the trip that much more special as we were one big, happy family.

breakfast

kids river

kids boat

kids river

jimmy balcony

We had so much fun in the garden and the poor kids were forced to behave and watch us be kids as we filmed our music video on this estate. We found old costumes in the dust and sang silly songs to the statues and roses.

Here is the music video:

justin saisha flowers laugh

saisha rose flowers

ryan statue

Jimmy’s biggest concern about our visit was scaring his new friend that nests underneath his dock – a gigantic black swan.

black swan water

black swan

justin black swan

Black Swans can actually break your arm if they hit you in the right spot with their powerful wings.  Jimmy first encountered the black swan on a long stroll to the post office which he never takes.  He said hello to the swan one day and not too long thereafter the elegant beast created a massive rock nest underneath his river dock in front of his porch.

saisha swan

The Swan eats the willow tree leaves that lean onto the river, creating a beautifully trimmed willow tree.  However, the swan is protective of his nest so we had to keep our distance.  Jimmy was concerned about us swimming in the river, and he was right as we ruffled the Swan’s feathers and he ended up swimming down river for a bit.  JImmy wasn’t too happy and we were all concerned about his return – which took about an hour as he had to swim back upstream against the current.

saisha boat thre

saisha garden

saisha window

We were told stories by the mother about the history of this house and the famous, wealthy people that have stayed here years ago to fish and enjoy the estate.

Ryan hat

Jimmy and his mom invited us back and we are eager to return to the magic.  I’m going to be dreaming about this place for the rest of my life.  Thank you, Charis and Jimmy!  We hope to return for another magical visit!!!!

charis closeup

Ryan laying grass

saisha vegetables

dinner table

saisha pose water

justin saisha boat float

justin bed

justin lola

jus saisha hanging boat two

justin saisha sink

saisha field one

jus saisha river flowers

PaRis LE HOtt JazZ

flag

train station     =

saisha walking two

ryan red lipstick

french group

saisha drumming

punami michelpunami bridge

I arrived from Copenhagen eager to meet up with the rest of our bandmates.  Saisha is our beautiful percussionist who recently arrived in Paris from traveling through Madagascar.

saisha freddy 2

saisha walking

saisha drum

Saisha and I have not seen each other in a very long time, so we had so much to catch up on over dinner.

teramisu

Saisha is from Kauai, Hawaii – we met years ago at a reggae ensemble on the Lydgate Farm.  She was born and raised on an organic, vegetable farm; both Justin and I have played music with her on her farm and completely adore Saisha.  She is such a great addition to our band – her musicality and spirit uplifts us.

saisha des artistes

saisha laughing

pearl earring

I was also very excited to catch up with Sammy Asuncion.  Sammy and I first met in his hometown, Manila, Phillippines during my journey there to produce Pünamí’s current album, Wheelhouse to the Bungalow, which Sammy and I co-produced with some of his bandmates from Kalayo.

sammy ariel three

Sammy is more then just an amazing musician, his playful soul ignites energy in everyone he encounters.

ariel pic

We played in several places outside in paris – the bridges near Notre Dame, St Michel Fountain, Montmartre, the Subway, and of course, under the Eiffel Tower.

love bridge saisha

paris punami

notre dame bridge

saisha justin

saisha drum sam

st michel three

I was also able to catch up with some friends of mine and we had a wonderful picnic in Place Des Vosges.

picnic one

picnic sacha two

ariel bird

picnic three

Paris is such a classic city with such lovely walkways, cafes, and such strong, elegant culture.  There are very few cities in the world where I travel and fall in love with the music in a foreign language.  I have heard so much French music that I adore.

jazz band

We paid homage to Jim Morrisson, played him a song and had a toast for the man. Thanks, Jim, for letting us visit.  His old statue is missing and his grave is now barricaded off.  Security came by and told us to stop playing music even though we were doing light fingerstyle.

jim grave flowers

ryan jim grave

saisha jim grave

jim morrision grave

justin graves

We took a day trip to the Louvre.

louvre glass

inside louvre

louvre painting

cieling louvre

Such a lovely museum with exquisite cielings with enormous sized paintings.  I couldn’t believe the spectacle that can develop over one painting – the Mona Lisa.

mona lisa

mona lisa crowd

mona lisa crowd three

mona lisa crowd two

Most people are annoyed by the everyday crowds, but I thought how wonderful it is to see one small painting get so much attention over the world every single day.  Fantastic!

louvre two

ryan justin mirror two

red lipstick

broken building

justin ryan mirror

sai jus 2

matt guitar

justin train

saisha jumping

hip hop sign

justin face

sacha house

ryan fishes

cops montmarte

Thank you, Paris!  WE SHALL RETURN VERY SOON!

GrEaT DaNES oF cOPENhagen

kids canal

swimmers

ryan lake

justin blur

somali flyers

ryan back grass

swan

We hopped on a five hour train ride from Stockholm to Copenhagen and had beds booked in a six-bed dorm at the the Public City Hostel which turned out to be a fantastic hostel with a relaxed staff. The guitar-man statue in front was inviting us!

city public hostal

It was a short walk from Central Station Copenhagen to our hostel.

train station

justin copen train

train copenhagen

train conductor

The hostel is connected to a youth center so it was active with kids running around and playing on water slides in the front grass area.  The gigantic kitchen was great for cooking. We rented two cargo-bikes so we could ride around town with all of our equipment and perform at different locations around the city just like we did in Amsterdam.

fountain

The tourist shopping walkway near Amager Square was jammed pack with street performers and at times was tough for us to find a spot to perform. We had our first session in Copenhagen in front of the fountain at Amager Square.

plaza

floating man

plaza justin

There is so much live music in this town – it’s everywhere in the street!

buskers

band water

stage close

stage far

music bus

walkway

We met so many wonderful people right in the street as well who showed us how to get around and took us with them to the fun clubs and bars.

josephine blurry

bike ride two girls

pink dress
In Nørrebro at the Northern edge of the city, we rode along Jægersborggade, a quiet neighborhood street which is one of the hippest spots in town.  It is rivaled by Kødbyen, the meat-packing district which is the upcoming area for great bars and excellent food.

inside bar

cafe

One late night, Justin and I lost track of each other and I was taken out into an exclusive membership club by a cool group. This girl had an membership card that looked like an american express card and we went through this fancy entrance area – she took my arm and acted like my girlfriend so she could bring me in with her membership card. It was a two story club filled with smoke on the dance floor, lights, and heavy DJ music.  The place was jam packed with good looking people that were getting down.  A lot of people had there little clicks and I would observe groups of people running into friends – I love checking out how friends interact and being welcomed into a circle.

drinking in road

foosball

spanish girl

girls dancing

We had a really fun show at Kings Park and met some great people that day.  Great crowd at the park and an unforgettable sunny day.  The applause was warm and welcoming.

ryan grass park

park tree

park group

ryan view

girls dance two

Our new friends at Kings Park told us about this bohemian center called Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania, an autonomous neighborhood and commune that operates under it’s own special law.

christiania entry

justin woodstock stage

Christiania is a squatted military area that was created in 1971; because it is autonomous status, cannabis is sold and traded everywhere inside this compound.  Vendors stand at there kiosks with buckets of different types of marijuana and blocks of hash.  Marijuana is sold in the street there everywhere you look and it is a center for the arts and music.  It looks like there are ruffians walking around, but the community is quite diverse and they just like having there drinks, smoke, and whatever else they might want to do.

woodstock bar rough

huggers

There is absolutely no photography allowed within the gates of Christiania and there are signs everywhere with warning.  If you bring your camera out you will have several people come after you – but fortunately the owner of Woodstock allowed me to take a few photographs.  At night there was this massive hip-hop performance with a massive stage and Christiania was jam packed.

woodstock window

woodstock bar

woodstock outside

Woodstock is one of the most popular bars in Christiania – so we booked a gig there at 420 pm on Friday afternoon.

mona smoking

The crowd was great – a lady asked me for my hat to pass around during the gig and we made some decent loot – probably about 500 krone (crown) and the owner of the bar threw us some additional crown as well because we stirred up a crowd. Performing in Christiania was the highlight of my stay in Copenhagen.  I met some people that spoke to me at an artistic level that can be a rare find for me.  Christiania is an artistic center and there are art facilities, marijuana grow houses, and an excellent hardware store inside the gates that had everything you need for artwork and carpentry.  There are weed plants that grow outside in the open – the special law of Christiania confuses me as cannibis is illegal in the rest of Denmark.

cardboard

Nyhavn harbor is a popular tourist area because it is so beautiful.

walkway canal two

walkway canal three

ship canal two

Copenhagen has been so wonderful – the people here are so vibrant, outgoing, and they sure love to drink in the early afternoon.  We rode our bikes all around the city, and our last day we went for a 30 km ride out of town with all of our heavy equipment.  We went searching for this beach area that was suppose to be popular, but ended up mostly riding through posh neighborhoods.

fancy car

cool building

blue house

house

We got lucky on our long bike ride as a gas station attendant told us about this beach bonfire at Fort Charlottenlund in the late evening.

bonfire two

moon two

bonfire three bonfire distance

They really know how to celebrate Midsummer’s Day; as most of Europe has summer festivals to celebrate the summer solstice. We would have never found this party if we didn’t venture out of the center of Copenhagen. We mapped our way to the Fort Charlottenlund and found a nice restaurant to relax our bones.  I had a Salmon dinner that was spectacular.

dinner

dinner two

Justin and I were completely exhausted from the long ride hauling our cargo bikes loaded with gear, but we were excited because we were gearing up to perform at this Bonfire party at the beach.  We had a great show on the grass at Fort Charlottenlund and met a lot of young people there.

bonfire close up

justin fire

The party went very late and then Justin and I had to ride another 15 km home.  Copenhagen went beyond my expectations and it was really because of the people.   We are now flying to Paris!  Bon Voyage!
justin plane

justin cart copy

girls bike three

travel agency

copenhagen sign

hat girl

josephine umbrella

smoker

ryan guitar man

weird bike

suNNy NiGhTs oF StOcKHoLM

punami card two

buidings stockholm

k2 club

mimmi stage

justin ryan kicker

The Winter’s here fill these cobblestone streets with mountains of snow from September to April; they are unable to dump the snow in the surrounding waters because the environmentalists think the salt and sand that is mixed in to maintain the roads will harm the natural environment. Some roads turn into small, narrow pathways for pedestrians because the snow piles up so high.

stockholm view

girls cobblestone

The climate changes rapidly every day – the clouds roll in fast, pour down rain and then the sun breaks through making for wonderful skies; this happened a few times a day during our stay here in June.  When we first came here we encountered a lot of rain.

stockholm rain

ships

One time we set up to busk in the old part of the city, Gamla Stan, and thirty seconds in to our first song it started raining on us and our equipment.  We grabbed our battery powered amps as fast as we could and rushed under an old arch entryway of a building.  People were surprised to see us playing under the archway as they walked by with umbrellas.

justin guitar wall

It doesn’t get dark here until 2200 and the birds start chirping at 0230 when it starts getting light out.  It doesn’t get very dark and the skies in the evening are delightful.  The architecture is classic and the cobblestone streets are intricately patterned which can be seemingly pyschedelic at times.

justin entryway
We met some American girls at the Castanea Hostal and they invited us to check out the night scene in Stockholm.  First we did the tourist thing and checked out the Stockholm Ice Bar and had had some Vodka drinks in Ice Glasses.

icebar stockholm

ice bar

justin girls water

We then went out to a popular nightclub and danced with the locals.

club outside

I found most of the locals to be very kind, educated, and quite good-looking.

mimmi two

However, we did notice that this city was very conservative and the clubs had a very strict policy – anybody that looks slightly intoxicated gets thrown out.  Oxymoronic if you ask me because it’s a bar and they should want to make money!  Nevertheless, we still love this city even though Justin got kicked out of a couple bars for his suspiciously intoxicating look, even though he was dead-sober.  We were refused entry into a couple bars and clubs as well because they were exclusive with membership.

justin club

Justin and I stormed around town with our equipment, plugging into our portable amplifiers and loudly playing our music at some amazing locations in public.

train tracks

We got busted by the police in Södermalm on a lovely sunny, Sunday afternoon.  The police said we were too loud, but we had no complaints from the crowds of dancing kids and parents.  Södermalm is the popular part of town that is an excellent location for good food and nightlife.

jbird smile view

We were lucky to get hired off the street by the tech company, Aptitud, to perform at their private party in a very cool office in Gamla Stan. They were extremely welcoming, offering us great food, beer, wine and amazing conversation. These guys were so intelligent and friendly, and I admired how they would invite everyone off the street into their office party.  Thank you, Aptitud!  You guys rock!

aptitud

justin aptitud

aptitud outside

Our Stockholm booking agent and now good friend, Love Carlsson, escorted us all around town on Saturday so we could perform at popular spots in the city loaded with people. Thanks to Love Saturday was an amazing day of endless performances around town at various parks.  We first performed at a beautiful park on the water – Rolandhovsparken.

park stock

park play two

ballarina two

We always try to find a good skate park in every city to connect with the youth, give them a great live show, and also so Justin can show off his skate tricks.  We really enjoyed playing at Fridhemsplans Skate Park and the acoustics there were awesome.

justin skate

skatepark ryan ramp

Ryan park skater

justin kicker

Ryan skatepark

skatepark one

Our favorite spot we performed was on this sweet, rock mountain that overlooked the entire city – Skinnarviksberget.

punami card

crowd rock two

hangout rock

rock perform four

rock four

Rock two

view rock

We announced our performance time through flyers and had a great turnout at this scenic park.   We played on the bottom of the rocks so the music could travel up the rocks which was great for our sound.

rock four crowd

rock perform two

group rock
There was a boat race going on in the harbor just before we performed.

boat race

boat race two

Skinnarviksberget is an amazing location to watch the sunset – so we played at sunset which was a magical location for me to perform.  The crowd was so inviting and warm.  Wish we could rock Skinnarviksberget rocks every sunset!

rock three

punami card two

rock crowd

Love Carlsson was our local booking agent and turned out to be a good friend as well.  Thank you, Love!

dinner love

Along with helping us find great locations in public, Love booked us two gigs during our stay in Stockholm.  We played at a cool club called K2 and we were happy to be part of a very rocking line up on a Saturday night with some great local acts.

band stockholm

k2 club two

club k2 close

k2 sweat

We also played a gig at the Dubliner and had a great turn out from our friends in Stockholm.

dubliners one

dubliners two

shanti

justin dubliner

Our final night we had wonderful dinner with Love and his girlfriend, Sara.  The Wild Salmon was to die for!

love dinner

salmon

Our trip to Stockholm was unforgettable.  I am writing this now on the train to Copenhagen.  Justin is sleeping across from me – getting his beauty rest for the dangerous nights ahead.  Goodbye, Stockholm!

train

justin wall two

mimmi wall two