For starters, jet lag is a real thing. Second, I'm pretty sure Laura and I got on the wrong train, but hey, no one checked our tickets. We ended up where we needed to be so I am chalking that one up in the win column. A kind man from Patagonia chatted us up in line. I could not understand his wife who he explained, "was practicing her English". My inability to speak two languages fluently became abundantly clear in that moment and now becoming conversational in at least 3 languages is added to my list of things to do.
Our Airbnb is small but quaint. Quaint seems to be the word we continually use to describe this beautiful place. There is this stark contrast between new versus incredibly old, and artistic versus industrial. Everyone dresses way too cool, mostly in all black. As much as we try to assimilate, there is no avoiding the incredibly obvious fact that we are Americans.
There is an overwhelming number of bikes in the city. They are parked block after block, handle bar to handle bar. This appears to be the most efficient way to get around the city, and these cyclists are the most confident I've seen (mind you, I live on a college campus). Two people on one, small children perched up wherever they fit, hands free biking and the occasional multitasker, we saw it all. Laura suggested we rent bikes one day, but I'm a bit hesitant. I don't think I have the gusto or the general traffic "know how" to ensure that adventure wouldn't be a disaster.
The most apparent difference I've noticed is the pace of life here. Laura put it best when she observed, "the people here take the time to stop and smell the roses". That's something that I really don't see back home and is certainly something I have already begun to appreciate. We sat on a park bench for a while (well really it was more of a massive log sawn in half) and just took it all in. The only word that can really encapsulate it is lovely. This park is just flat out lovely.
Laura said, "hello, Sir" to every dog that passed us on that bench. She even managed to befriend a beagle pup whose name we never really could catch. There was an abundance of incredibly happy and overwhelmingly beautiful couples with these pups, or holding hands and strolling, or licking ice cream cones that were big enough to be considered a single scoop in the U.S. And then there was Laura and me. It was great.
We had dinner on the patio of a Middle Eastern restaurant called Bazar. I ate the mushrooms on my beef kabob and that's a big deal. Maybe Europe will force me into liking more veggies than just corn and carrots. I sipped mint tea while Laura drank Heineken. We felt like adults and that is a cool feeling.
Anywho, today was an exhausting yet exhilarating day. Our exhaustion left us laughing at this coffee shop's name for much longer than its title warranted.
"What did you think of that coffee shop?"
"Eh, nice place."