Archive for the ‘ Travel ’ Category

Parade of Oddities

Skulls embedded in the walls of the ossuary.

What do St. Petersburg, Paris, Rome, and Philadelphia have in common? You know, besides being metropolitan centers for the arts and the homeless? The answer lies in a smallish hall dedicated to the macabre. But, you may be saying, what of the Parisian Catacombs? Don’t you find miles of underground tunnels, which include a very well organized ossuary creepy enough? Well, yeah, you got me there. Walls lined with human bones and floors laden with bone dust is pretty messed up, but have you been to…

Exhibit A: Musee de Fragonard

Housed in the Alfort Veterinary School of Paris, the Museum is a single hall where rows of shelves containing dusty jars filled with formaldehyde and labeled in yellowing hundred-year-old French handwriting explain that you are looking at the two-headed fetus the occasional occurrence of which may have been the basis of Janus mythos. Or, perhaps, the lonely mermaid baby, a fetus with its legs fused and feet resembling the fins of a fish, floating calmly in its jar. The star of the collection, however, is just beyond some animal bones, in a glass cabinet, for it can certainly not be contained in a jar. This is The Horseman, Fragonard’s most impressive Ecorché. Both the horse and his master are flayed, but their flesh and veins are somehow frozen in time. At their feet are three skeletal fetuses, immobilized in festive postures, a gruesome dance of death. Continue reading

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Wacken 2009: 20 Years of METAAAAL

Festival Dates: July 30 – August 1, 2009
Venue: Wacken Open Air, Village of Wacken, Germany
Bands Reviewed:  Airbourne, Bring Me the Horizon, Bullet for My Valentine, Endstille, GWAR, Heaven Shall Burn, In Flames, Machine Head, Motörhead, Napalm Death, UFO, Vreid, Subway to Sally

(via Youtube, via http://www.Wacken.com)

I won’t even pretend like this article has anything to do with music. The music is there, somewhere, far below the fraternity of sweating metalheads, the mud, the bipolar weather, the mead, the circle pits, the drunks curling up in the sun, the menfolk marking each foot of fence with a puddle of piss… I think you get the point. Wacken Open Air is united by music. Its existence is based on it’s line up, but that is not really what it is about. I learn this fact all over every year.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Wacken Open Air. It has began as a few trailers and a few campers–an intimate collection of mostly German bands and folks who could drive over from neighboring towns and villages. Today it hosts anwhere from 70,000 to possibly almost twice that number of attendees, journalists, band members, hangers on, and of course villagers hocking goods. People come from all over the world to take part, especially since “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” has named this festival the mecca of metal in 2005. Continue reading

RyanAir: Hell on Earth, or Just a Cheap Way to Get Around Europe?

d42 is currently playing expat in Germany, and while there, she had the opportunity to try out RyanAir, the airline I always wondered about due to the fact that you can fly from one country to another for less than you would pay for a Greyhound ride to another state. They even offer free flights. “What’s the catch?” I thought to myself, and then d42 went to Stockholm…

RyanAirPlane

Here’s the article my boyfriend and I would love to write:

Everyone can easily summon a fairly detailed image of their conception of Hell On Earth(TM). In fact, for many, this is a serious pastime, and one they dedicate countless hours to perfecting. For some, it’s sitting in a boardroom listening to the droning of a middle-management lackey, for others, it might be toiling in the malodorous, dimly lit kitchen of a scummier-than-average White Castle. For me it is, without a doubt, languishing for hours in a flightless airplane with no hope of exit, rescue, or a decent tuna sandwich. Friends, this past weekend was like a delightful subclause, within the Dark Prince of Hell’s parenthesis. And that parenthesis’ name is RyanAir. We traveled for hours to an out of the way airport misleadingly named “Hamburg (Lübeck)”– Lübeck is only close to Hamburg by way of some mad cartographer’s artistic license. We waited in a tent– a tent!– for our decrepit spruce moose. We crammed ourselves into acrid-smelling pleather “seats,” wrestled with our seatbelts, […] Continue reading

Wacken 2009 Info

wacken-ticketI’ve got the golden tickeeeeet! And I hope you do too, because Wacken 2009 is SOLD OUT and if you still want to go you will have to deal with E-bay. This year is Wacken‘s 20th in the metal business, and also my third partaking of said metal. I wrote up some sort of an update or list every year, so I think I’ll stick to that. You can check out previous articles (links are at the bottom), but the most updated links and info will be here. Continue reading

Wacken Open Air 2008

Festival Dates: July 31-August 2, 2008
Venue: Wacken Open Air, Village of Wacken, Germany
Bands Mentioned, in Order of Appearance:  Girlschool, Mustash, Avenged Sevenfold, Nashville Pussy, Leaves Eyes, Iron Maiden, Synic, Unearth, Job for a Cowboy, Soilwork, Opeth, Gorgoroth, Avantasia, Hatebreed, At the Gates, Lordi

Browser Warning.. a million pictures follow

Wacken Open Air 2008

or

How I made a lot of friends, got a black eye, and lost my passport.

Wacken Open Air is recognized in many nations as the best heavy metal festival in the world. There are some contenders, like maybe Metal Camp in Slovenia, but seriously, there is nothing else out there like W:O:A. The amazing line-up that each year tops the preceding one is only half the story. What W:O:A is truly about is the seventy thousand people who make their way from across the world to this small village in Northern Germany to unite over their love of metal. W:O:A is about the metalheads, headbangers, rockers, punks, fetishists, and of course Vikings. The story of Wacken is the story of these people.

Naked, just because

Naked, just because

We offer you a miniscule portion of all the many stories and tales that weave their way around the magical time of July 31-August 2, 2008. We give you the account of two girls from New York City who decided that it was a good idea to go for an international camping trip with thousands of drunk and high strangers who are there to worship music by hammering each other with fists, wallowing in mud and vomit, running around naked, and refusing to shower. This is our story. Continue reading

Losing My Wacken Virginity (part 2 of 2)

Lots of pictures and lots of words. Part 1 is equally dangerous, so consider your browser warned. And now back to your regularly scheduled Wacken.



03.08.07 Friday At 6am I was awakened by loud death metal someone was blasting nearby. I pissed and went back to sleeping bag until 9am. Thankfully found pain pills. Unfortunately, there were only two left.

On this third morning at Wacken people seemed less interested in each other. There is really no sleeping late, although naps through the day are very doable. We were all up at about 9:30am, but we were all sullen, and I personally shook a bit with hangover. The .7 liter bottle of whiskey was grievously short of being even a 10th full.

I officially evicted Brett later in the day after he confessed to having have pissed in the tent. He used a cup, and promised that he didn’t miss at all while doing this in total darkness next to my sleeping form, but I still felt that he would be better off with his British friends. Continue reading

Losing My Wacken Virginity (Part 1 of 2)

Aerial of Wacken back in 2004, when it was still more manageable. Click here for previous aerials.

Few things hold more promise than huge festivals full of strangers and booze. Wacken Open Air brings all these possibilities to life. It is, unquestionably, the Metal Mecca of the world, but the music itself is only the starting point of a romantic lifestyle requiring metal encrusted leather, lots of beer and burping and pissing, and of course, rolling around in filth, falling into mud pits and freezing at night. It’s about being heroes, like in the bygone times, when men were quaffing Vikings and women were scantily dressed maidens. Like in those long ago times, it is also a time of pain.

Lets begin with the saga of Brett. He is a slight man of 22 who has been holding down a clerical position by day and rocking out to the likes of Nile and Samael at all other available hours. His decision to go to W:O:A 2007 was a little belated and just as he made up his mind, http://www.wacken.com pronounced the festival sold out. In lieu of letting the dream die he turned to E-Bay.

E-bay supplied him with a ticket, for an exorbitant sum of over six hundred American dollars, which he paid up. The ticket could only be shipped to England, but Brett thankfully had some friends who were also going to Wacken situated in the U.K. With the precious ticket safely in the hands of one of these friends, Brett, armed with a phone number, got on the plane. Continue reading

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