Better Late Than Never? (Part 1)

Hallo! Guten Tag! Hier ist der Lucas Sconzo, writing to you from the lovely city of Konstanz, and I apologize for being so damned late with this second post! Although I've been for here some weeks now, I feel as if I've already done a month's worth of travels and activities, and, unfortunately, sitting down and blogging wasn't one of them, though I've done plenty of writing and note-taking in my handy little journal. Without much further ado, then, I'd like to recap my travels thus far:

NOTE: The quality of my photos and videos at this point isn't particularly high, as lately I've favored the convenience and "handy"-ness of my iPhone camera over the quality of my Canon point-and-shoot, which, to be perfectly honest, isn't exactly a Leica or a Hasselblad—or even a good Canon dSLR—itself.


On Tuesday the 24th of August, after three difficult months spent shoveling sheep shit in Shushan, my days of nervous anticipation had come to end: about five nights earlier, at the incredible DISH Bistro and Espresso Bar in Greenwich, NY, my dad had organized a splendid little going away dinner for me and my good friend Sophie Varosy, who is herself spending a year abroad in Budapest, Hungary. About twenty-five close friends came (we wanted even more to come, but we'd already pushed DISH beyond its seating limit), and all enjoyed a delicious, mostly paleo-friendly buffet-style meal courtesy of the awesome cooking skills of Susan and Scott Garth (I think everybody agreed that all of the dishes went together perfectly). Many people got up to say a few words, including yours truly, but as it was a going away party, the mood was tinged somewhat with sadness, and sniffled-tears and loud guffaws easily mingled as the night progressed. After a tasty dessert, then, our friends slowly but surely left the restaurant, and my countdown to departure became all the more real.

Yours-truly, completely unprepared to address the room but doing so anyway (photo courtesy of Ian Creitz).

That weekend, we made a quick trip to East Hampton to visit some good friends, and I got to spend some of my final days in America soaking up some rays and jumping in the ocean—not too shabby, if you ask me! When we got back, I had only a day to finish packing my belongings before we had to leave for JFK. My close mate, Elliot, stayed with us on Monday night and came along on the ride to New York—it was definitely nice to have a good friend come to see me off, and I felt fairly ready to leave when the day came. On the way to the airport, we stopped in Brooklyn to say grab a bite and to say goodbye to my mom and grandma. Elliot took a picture of us standing next to my grandma's building:

Finally, we made it to the airport, and after what seemed like a blur of checking bags and chatting with other travelers, I quickly said goodbye to Elliot and my dad, and I was on the plane, getting ready to take off. The flight turned out to be mostly uneventful, save for one instance where a baby's crib fell off the wall and onto another child: both the parents and their children were understandably shaken-up, but, thankfully, there were no real injuries.

I arrived in Zurich to a beautiful sunny day, and after making some calls to assure friends and family that I had arrived safely, I was picked up by our good friend and my emergency contact, Walter; the two of us then drove the relatively short distance to Konstanz to get me a head-start on my bureaucratic proceedings. In Konstanz, we managed to drop off many of my things, open a bank account at Sparkasse, reserve my room, and enjoy a nice lunch. 

In the evening, we left Konstanz for Walter's hometown of Ettlishofen (near the city of Ulm), and after a small meal, I unsuccessfully attempted to get to sleep at some semblance of a normal time. The next morning, after a night of essentially zero sleep, I phoned my friends Garnet and Anna Maria to arrange visits to each of their cities—Heidelberg and Schweinfurt, respectively—over the next few days. I ended up buying a ticket to Heidelberg for that very day, and at around 12:30 Walter took me to the Ulm Hauptbahnhof to catch the 12:54 IRE into Stuttgart, where I then grabbed the 14:19 RE to Heidelberg. 

I arrived in Heidelberg completely exhausted from the night before, but I managed to keep myself awake as Garnet showed me to his new residence and then around the city, which, to my eyes, looked very much as it had the prior summer. After a long day of walking, Garnet and I settled-in with Garnet's host mother, Ellen, and a friend to a welcome dinner of stuffed peppers. It was a great first night in Heidelberg, and after a lot of laughter and far too much good food, Garnet and I headed back to his apartment for some much-needed shut-eye. As I don't normally sleep for more than seven or eight hours a night, I was shocked to awaken early the following afternoon to find I'd slept for nearly fourteen hours... just what the doctor ordered, and more than enough to conquer my awful jet-lag!