Tag Archives: LoTR

The Lady of the Rhine Sagas: 1 – Quest of the Enchanted Ring, 2 – Quest of the Sacred Key

Every year, I take an epic saga, a sort of “living myth”. Following are the last two European quests that I had an “adventure of a lifetime” with. Enjoy! and please comment on these working sagas …

Part 1: Lady of the Rhine, Quest of Ring:


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LoTR, Sect 2: Chap 17, Pt C (4/11) – “Trolls et Legendes” Festival – Concerts & the Sacred Key


Chapter 17: Part C

Saturday, 11 April 2009
Mons, Belgium

Realizing the key has been discovered, Sir Thomas Leaf sat to ponder the new revelation that the key was not an ancient rusting artifact, but rather a gift of spirit, warmth, youth, Faerie energy, and a re-awakening that the Irish and English faeries he met unlocked just by being in their presence. Their passion for life and frolick re-awakened that which he had lost over the last few years and once himself very famous for – healing the recent disconnection from his inner child, wild self, spirituality, artistic essence, and the traveller he is – bringing it back, and entering a new spiritual outlook. It has dawned that this year will bring new beginnings and new thoughts for him. He felt as if he was brought back to the land of Fae, to be lost in Faerieland once again as his epic mythos that his life is styled upon, that of the tale of “Oisin”, but more being the older Oisin after his wanderings with Saint Patrick who was separated and lost from Faerieland and his queen when he fell off his horse to assist the mortals in lifting the henge stone. His faerie queen is near. Life is to be lived, not to be withered away – to ward off that stagnation in the muck that humanity has created with materialism, politics, drama, compliance, and boring routines. The lock to his soul has been opened to kindle the inner child again, become bathed in the fountain of youth, and to be the wandering gypsy artist and adventurer that is the root of his soul. To be at one with his art / oracles / and visions. To write. To Dream. To Experience. Blessed by the Fae, Sir Thomas Leaf began the evening with music, dance, and revelry – dancing till his daughter Princess Brea dragged him home; knowing the quest of the sacred key had been complete. In celebration with some amazing new family, friends, kin, and connections enchanted beyond belief by one of his favorite bands – Qntal. Amazing. Blessed. Re-vived. New journeys and adventures to be summoned forth in the very near future … embracing the misty lands of Ireland, England, and Scotland … as well as the tropical molten lava lands of Hawaii … and down the road – Australia and Thailand. :: Fin ::

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Trolls et Legendes: Day 2 – Concerts – 4/11/09

Trolls et Legendes Festival 2009 – Day 2 – Concerts
Lotto Mons Expo * Avenue Thomas Edison – 7000 Mons – Belgium *

http://www.trolls-et-legendes.be/2009/index-en.htm

Knowing its a shame that I could only attend 2 of the 3 nights of concerts, I was in extreme excitement about tonight’s line-up with the chance to see my second favorite band next to Faun – which is Qntal. In total excitement. Amazing group of performers on the middle concert night of Trolls et Legendes – Opening with a fabulous show by Ceili Moss, followed by the spectacular Louisa John-Krol, with the enchanting Daemonia Nymphe, and a mind-shattering awesome finale by Qntal. Trolls et Legendes outdid themselves with this lineup, placing myself in utter ecstasy with ritualized musical bliss and theatrical display. I was saddened to know I would be missing sunday night’s lineup of Nehl Aelin, Cecile Corbel, Woodland, and Omnia. On a mythic quest during this trip for my own self, the line-up tonight pushed it to epic proportions in the re-vitalization of my soul that occured during these performances. Thank you especially Daemonia Nymphe and Qntal for the magic you caused. Outright Amazing. Thank you. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 17, Part B (4/11) – “Trolls et Legendes” Festival – Market, Woodland, Faeries


Chapter 17: Part B

Saturday, 11 April 2009
Mons, Belgium

“Closer to the key, I can feel it …” Sir Thomas Leaf pondered. “It is the day for the revelations to be revealed.” Difficulties making conversation or getting around without knowing French was pretty prevelant for the duo, and it frustrated Princess Brea. Sir Thomas Leaf made poor half-ass attempts at utilizing his 6 years of schooling in French to get around, but failed horribly. The dialects were quite different than the French he had learned in school. Some intriguing films drew Leaf into the theater – but not being Faerie or “fantasy” at all, but rather, macabre sick-n-twisted flicks in French. That was entertaining but not what he had expected. The vendors and crafts-beings were amazing and lured the already-broke Leaf into purchasing some art for his collection at home. Fantastical creatures, wizards, faeries, monsters, trolls, orcs, centaurs, and lizard people crept, crawled, hymned, hawed, and enchanted those around them as they weaved around the crowds. Crepes, festival food, and Belgium beer greeted many in the dining hall. A stunning Irish Faerie captivated the curiousity of Sir Thomas Leaf – alluring him to the British “Fae” magazine booth. (He’s always wanted to check out this magazine, but had not seen it in physical form, as well as the American “Faeries” magazine as well, which future investment shall be made into when the time is right. The Fae magazine he had always wanted to get and delve into, and a charming Faerie Moe to promote the already sold zine, he excitingly purchased the full set of 6 issues. As he became friends with the mesmerizing Irish charm, he returned later to the booth to meet a familiar kindred spirit – a captivating British Faerie named Zoe, who recognized him from being an online friend. Instant deep connections were created as Sir Thomas Leaf realized these kindred spirits were faerie family, and were soon to be the ones to reveal the sacred key of which this quest was set out to discover. From the mystical lands of Britain and Ireland, the mythos is near realization. A bounce around, Sir Thomas Leaf was also pleased that his beloved Faerie band “Woodland” from Oregon, that he had come to love from seeing them at “Faerieworlds” was doing an un-expected un-plugged jam session performance so that he was blessed with the ability to see them on this trip, making the day ever more so magical as he was prior disappointed he’d be missing them since the adventurers had to leave that night after Qnthal. Alas, Woodland was scheduled for a sunday performance. But he did not have to miss their charm. Magic in the song, inspiration from the tunes. The European quest coming to fruition. [to be continued …]


Photo by Zoe Nicholls

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Trolls et Legendes: Day 2 – The Fair


Trolls et Legendes vendors
photo by Zoe Nicholls

Trolls et Legendes Festival 2009 – Day 2 – the Market
Lotto Mons Expo * Avenue Thomas Edison – 7000 Mons – Belgium * http://www.trolls-et-legendes.be/2009/index-en.htm
Wandering around the vendor side of the the Festival, I was amazed by the incredible and amazing array of artwork presented. Paintings, books, crafts, homemade goodies, costumes, elven ears, masks, jewelry, leather works, figurines, statues, archery, games, and comics. Pretty fantastic fair. I think Trolls et Legendes did a fabulous job with their vendor market. There was also a gaming and role-playing game section, which since it’s not all my thing, didn’t wander through that area much – but it seemed well done as well. Costumed fantastical creatures, wizards, warriors, orcs, elves, and faeries wandered around the market with song, dance, smirks, quirks, and playfulness. My favorites was the didgeridoo playing creature on a leash, the centaur, the Troll or Orc, the elven bard, and some of the faeries in the mix. Top job with the theatrical! After not being impressed with the first night, the fact that programmes were not easily available, and some dynamics of the festival that were poorly organized – this part of the festival brought hope and fulfillment for me during the day. I was quite pleased. The food services, still not the top of my list with their silly little token plastic coins you had to use to purchase those items with were ridiculous, but I thought the crepes were good. Some of the artists and writers were amazing. I found meeting them and being enlightened by their art was very worthwhile. The S.C.A.-like camp in the back, outdoors was very intriguing, but not very welcoming. It had its own charm. However, I’m guessing I’m not much of a fan of Faerie or fantasy festivals to take place in convention centers. The writers and illustrators were also signing books and displaying their literature/art with a full list found at http://www.trolls-et-legendes.be/2009/litterature-en.htm. Market: Rating 4 stars out of 5.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_9brQBcGvc

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 17, Part A (4/11) – Legos, “Trolls et Legendes” festival … Day 2: The Fair, Artists

Part A


figures by Brian & Wendy Froud

Saturday, 11 April 2009
Mons, Belgium

Today is the revelation of the key. Such as sacred day indeed. The adventurers awoke at the hostel, packed up their gear, and headed down for a decent breakfast. It was quite obvious many other Trolls-et-Legendes Festival-goers were there, as one could tell from their dress. Checking out and off to the rental carriage for a shuttle over to the Lotto Mons Expo center. With time to spare as the duo arrived early, getting a close parking space, they wandered over to the Grand Place Mall, awaiting stores to open, as they gazed upon the Lego exhibits. Pretty cool stuff. They wandered into a French version of a Target for Belgium chocolates, french comics, books, and souvenirs. Then over to the festival center to await in line for the doors to open to “Trolls et Legendes”. The festival end was much more exciting, with vendors galore, art, crafts, costumes, books, and writers … faeries, monsters, elves, and orcs, wandering about in curious twitches and stances. Meeting Brian and Wendy Froud again (originally met at Faerieworlds) – with much admiration of their artwork. Galleries showcased some incredible faerie art.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part B (4/10) – “Trolls et Legendes” festival … Day 1

Part B


Trolls et Legendes

Friday, 10 April 2009
Mons, Belgium

Heading down to the Central Station, and getting a little turned around doing it, the adventurers finally found the info booth, and in half-english, half-french was directed round-a-bout to where they needed to find the C bus. Of course, none of the signs listed a “C” bus so they were quite confused as where to go. Just as frustration began to set in, a pan-like spirit came tromping through the square – harem pants and all – and obviously enroute to the Trolls et Legendes festival. He spoke some decent English and guided us to follow him. Sir Thomas Leaf, while his french is poor, could make out most conversations even though he lacked the confidence in his own usage of the language. He made out that some woman was making fun of the pan-like spirit’s harem pants saying they’d look better on her – Leaf doubted that much. Once at the Lotto Mons Expo center. Picking up tickets from the booth, they got into the lineup in the nick of time as it began to wrap around the block. Once in they stood in numerous lines to get the tickets, to get in, to get their troll coins, to get their drinks, and to get some food. Some fabulous bands went on with some cute Lord of the Ring parodie flicks (all in French). After a few shows, the fatigued travellers sought to find their way back to the hostel. At the bus stop they met some fellow travellers, originally from Russia, who spoke good English and was able to help guide them back to the Central Station. As the four of them realized that they missed the last bus, they all went for a hike roughly two miles away to get back to the station. Good times …. Turning in pretty much as they returned, the adventurers rested up for a long day tomorrow.

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Naheulbeuk Night: Trolls et Legendes Festival in Mons, Belgium 4/10/09

Naheulbeuk Night
Trolls et Legendes Festival, Night 1, 4/10/2009 – Lotto Mons Expo Center, Mons, Belgium
Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk (France) presented the night with a role-playing parody that began originally as an audio saga. Apparently the group became immensely popular and diversified into a band, a series of comic books, novels, and soon a TV series. The first night of Trolls et Legendes presented concerts of Naheulbeuk and two side projects, Belyscendre and Maigh Tuireadh, as well as the screening of previously never released episodes of the TV series by the Mortal Fight Circus. All of the screenings and the musical talents were spectacular and thoroughly enjoyed. Humorous, full of frolick and joy, and at points mesmerizing … the stage captivated the audiences and sent them into fellowship, song, and dance. You can view the comics, animations, novels, TV clips, and musical talents at the following sites: http://www.penofchaos.com/warham/donjon-groupe.htm, http://www.myspace.com/maightuireadh, http://www.belyscendre.com/. The performances were very well done. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Trolls et Legendes Festival – Day 1 – 4/10/09 (Mons, Belgium) – Naheulbeuk


Trolls et Legendes – Day 1

Trolls et Legendes Festival 2009 – Day 1
Lotto Mons Expo * Avenue Thomas Edison – 7000 Mons – Belgium * http://www.trolls-et-legendes.be/2009/index-en.htm
Day one of the infamous Trolls et Legendes festival at the Mons Expo center … evening only as they were to present some films and concerts from 6 pm until midnight. The bulk of the festival as we could peak through the black papered covered glass doors looked like the market and fairgrounds in the exposition center were nicely done. The theme of the evening however was “standing in lines”. We stood in line for the tickets, then we stood in lines to get in the doors, we stood in lines to use the toilette – which had a troll attached to it as do many toilettes in Europe where you had to pay .20 Euro to use it, then had to stand in line to convert our Euros over to these silly little plastic coins for which you could use to buy Troll Beer, Wine, drinks, and food. (CDs, t-shirts, and vendor stuff you used Euros). Then after getting the coins, you had to stand in line for beverages. If you wanted food, you had to stand in a separate line for that. So that was a downer for the festival’s opening night, plus the concert space was poorly organized other than a nice stage for the kids to stand and sit on so they could see. Once the performances came on however, much of these silly distractions didn’t seem to matter as some humorous parody films were presented and some good acts. The doors opened at 6:00 with projections beginning at 6:30, and at 7:00 the Maigh Tuireadh played. Another series of projections followed each act, at 8:15 – Belyscendre came on and Naheulbeuk ending the night. Group dances, festive frolick, and the wave were done by the audiences. The musical talents definitely got a 4 star, the projections a 3 star mainly because the screens were way too small, and the festival organization itself for the first night was a meager 2 star because of the lack of organization, the numerous lines, the silly coins, and the fact they didn’t hand out any programmes. We had to ask for them through the middle of the evening just so we could figure on who was going on next. Statistics stated over 4,000 attendees the first night. Overall first night 4/10/09: 2.5 stars out of 5. Continue reading Trolls et Legendes Festival – Day 1 – 4/10/09 (Mons, Belgium) – Naheulbeuk

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part A (4/10) -Leaving Amsterdam for Mons, Belgium to the “Trolls et Legendes” festival …

Part A


Hunting for the hostel in Mons

Friday, 10 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Mons, Belgium

The adventurers had a pretty interesting night partying in Amsterdam with the pub crawl. Awaking early with a hangover was not the best start to the day that Sir Thomas Leaf could have. Onwards to check out from the Zeesburg hostel after a good night rest. Princess Breanna took advantage of the free breakfast and chatting with friends before their departure, Sir Thomas Leaf was certainly too groggy and needed to catch up on winks. A short bus ride from the hostel to the Zeesburg park-n-ride, the party was soon into their rental auto-carriage and off on the road to Belgium – the land of chocolate and fries. The roads getting out of Amsterdam were pretty congested and a headache, but once into Belgium, the traffic alleviated somewhat. It was afterall Easter weekend and since European’s are big on travel and vacations, one would be sure to run into crowds hitting the roads for their Easter vacation plans. The party drove through Brussels, but didn’t stop, as they wanted to get to Mons to find their hostel and the festival center so they could see the opening acts at http://www.trolls-et-legendes.be/. Sir Thomas Leaf has 6 years of French under his belt so was quite excited to try it out – unfortunately he sucks at comprehension and pronunciation, so it was no better that he knew French as he was still stuck with English. It however was much easier for him to manage in Belgium than Germany and other countries he felt. The roads in the historic section of Mons were an absolute nightmare. Cobbled roads all one way, roads the GPS was saying existed either didn’t or were blocked off, the frustrated duo, arguing over directions, finally two hours of driving around in circles parked and hoofed it on foot dragging their luggage. They weren’t too far off as the looming castle of a hostel was right in front of them the whole time, it was just shut off from driving to it because of road constructions and restorations. Checking in, they were blessed with their own private room, as the apparently “full” hostel on the web, wasn’t so full in person. One could spot a few of the festival goers in their outfits that were staying at the hostel as well. Unfortunately, the duo really struggled getting around because no one knew English and with Sir Thomas Leaf’s poor french, it was a struggle finding out where to go. The woman at the hostel desk knew decent English so was able to guide them to the Central station so they could catch a bus to the festival center.

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part A (4/10) -Leaving Amsterdam for Mons, Belgium to the “Trolls et Legendes” festival …

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part C (4/9) -Amsterdam Pub Crawl

Part C


Ultimate Party Pub Crawl

Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

After an afternoon’s rest, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea were ready to hit the bars and clubs – partying all night long. They hopped the bus to the meeting place at News Cafe on Korte Leidse dwarsstraat. With some time to spare, the duo grabbed some gelato, watched the dj in the H&S, and wandered the streets where Breanna bought some souvenirs at the 5 Euro shop. As the doors to the News Cafe opened, they paid their 14 Euro and got their bracelets. Entering the News Cafe, they were doused with unlimited cranberry and vodka shots – well essentially captured a bottle for themselves and boozed up. Then met a dozen of new cool friends who they partied with as the pub crawl wandered from bar to bar, club to club – with free drinks at each of the 6 clubs, vodka shots on the road between the clubs, cover charges covered, and numerous drink specials. Princess Brea wore out earlier than Sir Thomas Leaf and braved the route back to the hostel – as she said she was taking the bus, she wound up deciding to walk on her own for a couple of hours until a cab was nice enough to give her essentially a free ride. Sir Thomas Leaf was not impressed that she didn’t come back for him when the bus was not a choice. He left an hour later – and a couple of bars later, to find the same situation, making his way by foot across Amsterdam trying to find Centraal Station for the ride home. Both made it back to the hostel safely but it had its moments. Incredible fun time was had …

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part B (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour, pt. 2 – Begijnhof, Amsterdam Miracle, Dutch Courtyards & Paintings, Multatuli, The Bird

Part B


Entering the Begijnhof

Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sir Thomas Leaf was inspired by the healing energies of the plaza that was mythologically known for its healing and the bread that doesn’t burn. From the crazy wild partying city of Amsterdam – a walk through a door to another dimension – into a Dutch square where it was sacred, quiet, and tranquil. Intriguing thoughts about the key swarmed Leaf’s mind. He realized he is closer yet to discovering the ‘key of life’. After the tranquility, Kevin led the band to oogle over the Dutch masterpiece painting and learning about the seals and marks of Amsterdam. The tour ended at Anne Frank’s house where the story of “tolerant” Amsterdam stood up against the Nazis and the tragedies befell that struggle. Hungry for Thai food, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea headed over to the Asian District to try out the highly recommended “Bird Thai” restaurant which they quite enjoyed. Wandering back to the hostel for a nap and down time before exploring the nightlife with the New Amsterdam Tour’s Pub Crawl.

Read my telling and review about the Amsterdam Miracle and the Begijnhof / Chapel here …

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New Amsterdam Free Tour (Amsterdam, Holland)


New Amsterdam free tour meeting place at the monument in De Dam square

New Amsterdam Free Walking Tour
Rain or shine this tour meets every day at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm in front of Centraal Station, and Starts at 11:15 am and 1:15 pm at Dam Square in front of the National Monument. It is Free.
Again, I’m not a big fan of tours, but this tour is spectacular and quite informative – best yet it’s free. This is one of best orientations you could take of the city. Our tour guide was Kevin, a humorously fun and knowledgable man who guided us on a three-hour free walking tour through the history of Amsterdam, from its beginnings as a muddy village on the Amstel River to the prosperous industry it is now. He told the tales, the legends, the lore, and many tales that most won’t tell you about prostitution, drug decriminalization, Anne Frank and the Nazi occupation, the Old Church (including the sour occupants), the Red Light District, The Jewish Quarter, the Royal Palace, the Jordaan District, the Anne Frank House, the Dutch East India Company, The Begijnhof Convent, Masterpieces of Dutch Art, the Widest bridge and the narrowest house to name just a few of the sites we saw. We were blessed with a fantastic guide, Kevin, who was the perfect match for our crowd. According to the New AMsterdam site: “Kevin is originally from Boston, MA in the States. There, he went to the University of Massachusetts and began studying psychology. While studying abroad at the University of Amsterdam, he fell in love with the city and began working as a tour guide. Now, he still works as a tour guide, still goes to school in Amsterdam, and is eventually hoping to marry in to the European Union.” Excellent Job Kevin! Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Continue reading New Amsterdam Free Tour (Amsterdam, Holland)

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part A (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour

Part A


The Dam Monument

Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sir Thomas Leaf awoke shortly after Princess Brea disappeared down to the dining hall. Slowly rustling out of bed, Sir Thomas Leaf headed downstairs to join her and their new friend from Ireland, James for a pretty delicious continental breakfast and good conversation. Princess Brea had been worried a little bit with Sir Thomas Leaf disappearing off with the two girls they had just met – but was glad he was safe and sound. Sir Thomas Leaf was a bit hungover from clubbing with Kristien and Karolien. As 10:00 rolled around, Princess Brea and Sir Thomas Leaf met in the lobby the New Amsterdam (free) tour guide who took the crew of them on the bus and down to Centraal Station. There they were led to the De Dam square to meet at the monument. A New Amsterdam tour guide named Kevin who took them on a few hour foot trek around Amsterdam showing the sights and explaining the history of everything under the sun. The duet definitely felt it was a fabulous tour. Meeting a handful of Canadians, new friends were also made as the explorers all tromped around the streets, canals, and alleys of Amsterdam. Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part A (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part D (4/8) – Amsterdam, Waag, Dam Square, Cafes, Fair, RLD Tour

Part D


New friends …

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Onward the adventurers met with the tour guide leading them through the Red Light District on a spectacular tour learning the history of the sex trade, industry, prostitution, and cannabis culture of Amsterdam. The adventurers met some amazing new friends from around the world as well while exploring the darker and redder side of the city. At the end of the tour, those who wanted to, went into the Belushi Bar for their free shots of Jager and some happy hour specials. New friends from Ireland, Australia, Britain, and France … the adventurers chatted, drank, and headed over to a cafe later before figuring out how to get back to the Zeeburg hostel. Hungry, the hostelers dropped into a restaurant for some fries with a tasty peanut satay sauce. In process, two charming sisters introduced themselves as Karolien and Kristien who tried to pursuade everyone off to dancing to celebrate Karolien’s successful interview. Only Sir Thomas Leaf took them up on the offer. The three of them piled into a taxi and was off to the heart of Amsterdam. The original club that Karolien wanted to take them to was closed, so they went to another decent sized club playing “Techno Light” which appears to be a common popular music type in Holland. Dancing and drinking …. the trio had a blast. When Sir Thomas Leaf made it back to the hostel, it was the wee hours of the morning, and he quickly passed out. His daughter princess Breanna didn’t even wake.


Kristien and Karolien

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part C (4/8) – Amsterdam, Red Light District

Part C


Candles in a cafe

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Looking over the maps, the weary travellers decided against hiking across town to the City center. Sir Thomas Leaf bought the pair some 24-hour Metro tickets so they could hop the bus and trains unlimited for the next 24 hours. The hostel recommended taking the bus, so the duet hopped on the bus, and was blessed with the driver not stamping the tickets, giving it more of a boost of a timeline when they could use it. Now the quest for the sacred key of life is amongst the living. No longer to focus on the crypts and the deceased, but rather amongst the aspects of the living, and that which gives life energy. What form shall the key hold? Only time will tell.

Venturing around the streets, into the Red Light District, along the canals, and into the City Center – where a amusement park was setup in front of Madame Tussaud’s House of Wax. To get a good perspective of the city, the duet took the ferris wheel for some ethereal viewpoints. Afterwards, some shopping ensued and a drop over to the Sex Museum before taking the Red Light District tour. They planned to take the tour of the museum later, but given they were running late for the RLD tour, planned to do it later. Since Sir Thomas Leaf had done the museum on another visit, was not much of a rush. Over to the Tourist Information center at Central Station, they awaited for the tour guide to arrive. [to be continued … ]


Copy free photo of Redlight windows from amsterdam.info

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part B (4/8) – Off to Amsterdam, Zeeburg, hostel

Part B


Atop the ferris wheel in Amsterdam

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Arising early and calculating his paycheck, Sir Thomas Leaf spontaneously decided to take Princess Brea to Amsterdam for an excursion enroute to Belgium. Rental motor carriage arranged and lodging set at a hostel in Amsterdam, routing was figured out and plans set in motion. Lord Christian graciously awoke early to shuttle Sir Thomas Leaf to Avis to pick up the motor-carriage. Within a few hours, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea were off to Holland. The Autobahn was clear and speed was actualized as the duet drove into the rain and was wondering if they would be tromping around Amsterdam in the rain. Quite a few pockets of traffic congestion between Dusseldorf, Germany and Amsterdam, The Netherlands – but by 3:00 pm they arrived at the Park n’ Ride to store the rental, hop the bus to the hostel, and check in. A little lost in the rain, tromping around a neighbourhood they were unfamiliar with, they got a little frustrated as they tried to find where to go. Eventually they made it, checked into a very spacious hotel-like hostel, and unwound before setting off to explore the historic part of Amsterdam.


Amsterdam

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part A (4/8) – Contemplations on Life and Death; losses of friends

Part A



Sir Thomas Leaf with a heavy heart …
atop the ferris wheel in Amsterdam

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Dusseldorf, Germany – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Let the quest for the sacred key of life to pause for a moment, to reflect on some great spirits who have moved on to the other realm. Sir Thomas Leaf has felt a setback in his heart on this quest as he heard through wire overseas that he lost two souls out of his life. These two individuals were very special to him, always happy to see them, and inspired by their beautiful lights of happiness. For this entry, the story will take a recess and I share my thoughts about the tragic loss of two friends that I lost on April 1st of this year.

“I contemplated about just posting this in my private livejournal blog or sharing it here where everyone can read it. I’ve decided to make it open, as a release, for great losses I recently experienced. It was very tough to take this in, being separated from an great sea from those that I love, and in being there for those who are experiencing this great loss as well. It’s weird for these losses to occur when I myself, feeling dead inside in the recent year, and going through great transitions and stresses with life, career, and emotions this current year. This is part of why I dreamed up the fantastical tale of a quest for the sacred key of life, to unlock the box that seems to confine me, so that I can re-discover myself and renew my spirit before i myself walk to some dark lost place. Life is difficult and one is challenged with many decisions of what turns to take with life choices. As much as a tale of fantasy with real-life faces, experiences, and places – the quest has become real and has transformed into a life changing event. The losses I experienced, and am experiencing, are still transforming me as I write this.


Me and Timber celebrating Fat Tuesday and my birthday this year
Timber may you rest in peace: October 11th, 1963 – April 1, 2009

The Loss of Timber
http://www.legacy.com/gazette/Obituaries.asp?Page=LifeStoryPrint&PersonID=125711930

On April Fool’s Day, I started seeing my friends post very tragic news … that our mutual friend Timber was found hanging in the warehouse next to the Inqb8tor with a letter. Knowing Timber to be the world’s biggest prankster, I refused to believe it, though pretty pissed that it was a very poor April Fools joke. It took me a couple of days to realize it wasn’t a joke, and being distanced by thousands of miles and a ocean, and a good friend clarifying to me that it indeed was a fact, Timber had chosen to part this existence. I was besides myself with great sadness as well as disbelief. How could, this incredible shining soul, who always had a tremendous smile on his face, a soul who could walk into every room and bring great happiness to everyone there. How could this happen? How could this be? I just couldn’t understand it. This was a great man who brought me much inspiration. He was an idol of sorts. He was an incredible artist and muse. While I haven’t had much one-on-one time with this great spirit, I cherished every minute I did have to spend with him – from his fabulous parties and events at the Inqb8tor, Apogaea, Burning Man, SantaCon, V bar, and seeing him around the art scene, First Fridays, and the Burning Man community.

His letter was released on April 22nd. I am so glad Douglas that you shared this with us so we know why he took his life and thereby giving us a sort of completion to this tragedy. Like many of us, Timber had many things on his plate that were weighing him down and restricting him from freely experiencing life as one should. I had no idea behind this smiling face, he was fighting through such weights but kept a very happy persona. Much to the same that I do through the many things that weigh me down. It resonated too deeply with me and is why its taken me this long to process it. Why Timber have you left us? Emotions of anger and sadness rushed over me, and oddly enough some excitement for his new journey now that I read his letter. Death is a very tragic life experience, but it is also a cross-over to a new place, for those of us that believe in life after death or reincarnation. I truly believe, that Timber is looking down on us and is on a journey that he felt he needed. Timber, I hope you find the happiness and experiences you seek in this new journey you have chosen to take. I thank you for everything you have done for our community, for the wonderful times and smiles you brought to us, and the beautiful art and music you enchanted us with. I understand how the materialism and trappings of this world frustrated you, and that the other dimensions appear so very much more attractive. I’m very sad about the loss of you. I love you Timber. You truly have been a blessing to my life. Thank you for everything you have done. You will be greatly missed.

For those who were friends of Timber: Here is his memorial page: http://www.facebook.com/wall.php?id=63270483525#/group.php?gid=63270483525
http://csartsblog.freedomblogging.com/2009/04/01/another-major-loss-timber-kirwan/897/
http://csartsblog.freedomblogging.com/tag/timber-kirwan/
http://csbj.com/hazlehurst/2009/04/03/a-death-and-a-life/




Michael Dunning: November 17, 1946 – April 1, 2009

The Loss of Michael Dunning

http://www.legacy.com/gazette/Obituaries.asp?Page=Notice&PersonID=125711934

My dear friend, co-worker, and spiritual elder; Michael Dunning also lost his life while I was away in Europe this year. Across the wire across the sea I heard the disturbing news that he had passed while I was gone. I didn’t hear about Michael’s death until almost a week later, but he too, passed away on April 1st of this year. Michael was a incredibly happy spirit, always full of smiles, and a soul full of great wisdom. He was warm, accepting, and a very helpful spirit who lived to protect our ancestors, the Earth, and the wildlife. He served greatly and admirably as a wildlife officer at Fort Carson. He was a wonderful elder with the Lakota Sioux Inipi Lodge at Fort Carson, helping initiate sweat lodge ceremonies to bless and heal friends, family, and soldiers at Fort Carson. He passed of natural causes. Michael, you will be greatly remembered for everything you have done and I thank you for being such a blessing to my life. You’ve inspired me in many great ways. You will forever be missed.

Other losses on April 1st and the same week

I heard reports from other close friends that they too lost friends this year on April 1st and the week of that date. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you – being so far away, thousands of miles, separated by a sea, and also lost in dealing with my own losses that I was trying to shut out and not accept the reality of such. I am truly deeply sorry for your losses. Alot of great spirits and souls left this existence that week. It reflects great changes that this year is to bring – and I just hope an end to this dying cycle happens soon, as I keep hearing about losses this month. Much love to you and know you can also call me if you need someone to talk to.



If anything, these losses, and my current quest, has taught me to appreciate every minute of life – to live every day like there will be no tomorrow, to sieze the moment, and take advantage of every beautiful jewel that comes into your life. It is with the losses and self-discovery on this quest that I realize much needed changes must occur with me right now. I need to get back into my spirituality, I need to rekindle my inner child, I need to focus on more exploration of the world around me, and I need to focus on why I’m here. This has become my journey, This has become my new quest. A celebration of life and a walk away from the darkness that has been recently drowning me. I will focus on my writing, my travels, the Faerie world, and protecting the wisdom of the ancestors and those enlightening souls that came before us.

Death – lament
Although thou hast died,
Love, though hadst not needed to die;
Still uam, still am.

Thy little kebbocks of cheese
Had been placed on the withe;
Still uam, still am.

Thy little kegs of butter
Had been smoothed by thy hand;
Still uam, still am.

And thy little chests of meal
Had been pressed by thy foot.
Still uam, still am.

Where shall we go to make out plaint
When we are hungry on the round?
Still uam, still am.

Where shall we go to warm ourselves
When we are chilled with cold?
Still uam, still am.

Where shall we go for shelter
Since thy hearth is now dead?
Still uam, still am.

Whom shall we resort to and visit
Since thy house, love, is cold?
Still uam, still am.

Although thou hast died,
It was not thy wont to be gloomy;
Still uam, still am.

Well mightest though have stayed
To give crowdy to folk.
Still uam, still am.

But, O gentle loved Mary,
Be thou kind to my love.
Still uam, still am.

[Carmina Gaedelica [550] p 540. ]



Annually a trip to Europe to begin a mystical, magical quest. The tales to come in the next two months are a blending of truth and fantasy, merged together in a incredible journey of continents … this year, LoTR The Sequel will begin …. “Lady of the Rhine, Quest of the Key”. The people and places are real, some of the mythology is real, but some fictitious titles and descriptions will be added to the story for a novel experience.

The Sequel: will take place from Sir Thomas Leaf’s journey to the Old World, to the Land of the Rhine, explorations around Germany and ending up at the Trolls et Legends Faire in Mons, Belgium. Be prepared for the adventure, start from the beginning ….


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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 13, Part A (4/7) – Duesseldorf, Planning, the Key, Keinohrhasen, The Secret

Part A


Various Roman and Medieval keys at Xanten, Germany

Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Duesseldorf, Germany

This particular morning Sir Leaf McGowan, Explorer and Adventurer from Colorado, awoke with visions. Clarity to the understanding of what exactly it is this key that the adventuring party seeks. Even though many keys had presented itself during the expedition – Xanten, Worms, Nuerenberg, Wurzburg, Cologne …. Sir Thomas Leaf is starting to realize that which he seeks is not the physical “key” that one would expect. But rather a “energy form” or “universal law” that is this “key of life; key of untapped raw wild energy that brings bliss”. As an archaeologist, he had been searching the crypts, the catacombs, the cathedrals, castles, museums, and archaeological sites for a sacred physical artifact that would unlock the secrets of youth and vitality of life. How to ressurect the child within. How to escape the coma he’s been in. But is realizing now it is something different. Its obvious now to the explorer that “the key” is something similar to the concept of “The Secret“. For those who haven’t watched this inspiring piece, “The Secret” is the “key” to “prosperity, health, relationships and happiness.” So “The Sacred Key of Life” being delved for is the key to keeping your “inner child alive” and staying “youthful”, “vivrant”, “exciting”, and “full of passion” about life. Not just in action, but in appeance, because they are quite connected. As the quest began with Sir Thomas Leaf feeling like his life has been stagnating in the last couple of years and that he had lost his way to the power that he had tapped into for most of his life 1990 until about 2007. Then he somehow lost it. In order to open this energy gate again, he realized he needs the key to unlock the lock. His first conclusion of course was a physical key. Now he knows this is far from the truth.


The city key in Worms, Germany in the zodiac wheel fountain clueing us to follow the dragon slayer in his tale for answers

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Fortress Marienberg (Wurzburg, Germany)


Castle Marionburg, Germany

Fortress Marienberg / Castle Marionburg
http://www.schloesser.bayern.de/englisch/palace/objects/wu_fest.htm
* Festung Marienberg * Nr. 239 * 97082 Wrzburg * Telephone (09 31) 3 55 17-50 *
Festung Marienberg is a humongous fortress along the Main river in Wurzburg, Germany. A fort since ancient times, it is one of the most prominent landmarks along the Main. Originally a Celtic settlement and shelter, the Marienkirche was built in 704 AD and by the 13th century was surrounded by its first fortifications. By 1492 the main castle was encircled by a medieval ring wall with the Scherenberg gate. In May of 1525 the Peasant’s War attempted unsuccessfully to sieze the castle – with 15,000 men failing. Their leader Florian Geyer went to Rothenburg ob der Tauber in early June to procure the heavy guns needed to breach these walls while the leaderless peasant army camped around the castle and thereby outflaked by the bishop’s professional army. More than 8,000 were slaughtered or blinded. In 1600 Julius Echter rebuilt the fortress into a Renaissance palace. Continue reading Fortress Marienberg (Wurzburg, Germany)

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Wurzburg, Germany


Entering Wurzburg

Wurzburg, Germany
Wurzburg is a Franconia city in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. It is located on the Main River approximately 120 kms from Frankfurt and Nuremberg by road and it is a center for culture, exports, trade, and commerce. It is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Unterfranken. It is a German speaking city with the regional dialect as Franconian. The city itself is not included in the district of Wurzburg but is its administrative seat and holds a population of roughly 131,320 (2006 census). Wurzburg started as a Celtic fortification in 1000 BC where the Castle Marienberg now stands. As it was Christianized in 686 by Kilian, Colman, and Totnan; a group of Irish missionaries wanting to convert the area. First called Vurteburch in 704, the first diocese was founded by Saint Boniface in 742 who appointed Saint Burkhard as the first bishop of Wurzburg. The bishops created a duchy in the center of the city which extended throughout the 12th century to Eastern Franconia. Wurzburg became the seat of several Imperial diets, including the one of 1180, in which Henry the Lion was banned from the Empire and his duchy was handed over to Otto of Wittelsbach. [wikipedia] In 788, the first church was built and became the present Wrzburg Cathedral and was later consecrated that same year by Charlemagne. It was converted to Romanesque style from 1040 to 1225. Wurzburg is also home to the infamous University: The University of Wrzburg, which was founded in 1402 and re-founded in 1582.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 12, Part B (4/6) – Wurzburg and Castle Marionburg, Return to Dusseldorf

Part B


View of Castle Marionburg from the bridge in Wurzburg

Monday, 6 April 2009
Wurzburg, Germany

The adventurers made it to Wurzburg. Wandering around the streets and exploring the artistic architecture, statues, and sights. The adventurers were in awe of what a beautiful city Wurzburg is. Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Vanssa, and Princess Brea crossed the bridge with all the statues to see how far a walk it would be to make it to the Castle on foot. Deciding against it, they opted for a scenic walk along the waterfront and over to the Tourist Information center. Soon thereafter, Lord Christian picked the group up in his motor-carriage and drove them up to the Castle. There they explored the still used interiors, walls, towers, and well. A key was held in the hand of a Saint and the other who may have held one, was missing the arm that would of held the missing key. Could this be the heavily sought after “Key?” to “Life”? Was the key in the hands of this other statue and cut off by someone who wanted “the sacred key of life”? Bedazzled and confused, the adventurers continued on as Sir Thomas Leaf believed a mighty Troll may have taken the Key to Belgium. Omens and prophecies said the key would be there. Being a reknown diviner – faith was planted to follow his intuition. After the castle, it was a couple hour drive to Dusseldorf. The party dropped by Sir Ingo the Great’s for some tea and cake, then Lady Vanessa lured Princess Breanna and Sir Thomas Leaf off for some Lebanese fast food. That evening they took it easy and settled down to a movie satisfied with their adventure.

 
The statues at Castle Marionburg, one holding a key, the other perhaps had the missing key

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 12, Part A (4/6) – Lord Christian’s Farm, Leaving Ansbach

Part A


Leaving Christian’s Family’s Farm

Monday, 6 April 2009
Ansbach, Germany

Rustled up by Lord Christian the explorers got their gear together and departed the farm. Today was the road trip to Wurzburg and the Castle Marionburg to accomplish the quest for the sacred key. Sir Thomas Leaf having some revelations overnight is realizing insight about the key and to stop looking for it buried in crypts, tombs, dungeons, and ancient ruins. But that it may exist in more ethereal form in the beauty of aspirations of life. So the quest begins to change as they begin the search for the key above ground to discover the mystery it beholds. Perhaps there is a gatekeeper to a secret world where this mystery lieth.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 11, Part C (4/5) – Lord Christian’s Farm, Ansbach, the Palace …

Part C


Keys in the mural decoration

Sunday, 5 April 2009
Ansbach, Germany

From the Veste Lichtenau, the weary travellers headed over to Ansbach. It was quickly discovered that “Sir Christian” was indeed not just a knightly “Sir” but rather a “Lord” as we soon met his family and their estate. A new family member recently born joined the clan … the cutest ever four-ling. After greetings and a little nap … the travellers headed to the legendary roaming grounds of Kaspar Hauser. Sir Thomas Leaf and Lady Vanessa parted from exhausted Princess Brea and Lord Christian after a nice tea-cap at Lord Christians’ favorite cafe to have a uniquely German drink called club-Mate that is popular amongst German hackers; and went to the Palace for a tour of the royal interior and furnishings. Afterwards, a tour of dead in the basement of the local cathedral, in search for the sacred key. More clues were revealed, in the epitaphs/seals/ and murals revealing directions to the key they seek.


Emblem seal with keys

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 11, Part C (4/5) – Lord Christian’s Farm, Ansbach, the Palace …

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 11, Part B (4/5) – ‘Palmbosch’n’, Lichtenau and Castles

Part B

Sunday, 5 April 2009
Nrnberg, Germany

The adventurers had a chance to sleep in a little bit … up and out by 11:00 am. The crew met with the gamer group out on the back patio and it was decided that before parting ways, breakfast at a local cafe waa in order. Packing up their luggage and a short drive into town, hanging out at a cafe for chocolate croissants and breakfast goodies. After social calls, the parties went their separate ways … Sir Thomas Leaf, Sir Christian, Lady Vanessa of the Rhine, and Princess Brea headed off to Christian’s hometown of Ansbach. It was a few hour drive … but allowed for a quick road stop at a Castle along the way. Sir Thomas Leaf and Lady Vanessa took a walk around the castle to bask in its glory. No signs of keys, though. Home of the Nuremberg Archives.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 10, Part B – Nrnberg: Graveyards, Gamers, and Drinking

Part B

Saturday, 4 April 2009
Nrnberg, Germany

From the Nibulengenmuseum, a brief hike back to Lady Vanessa’s motor-carriage, with a pit stop at at the fish stop and bakery for some travel munchies, the adventurers were on their way to Nrnberg to meet up with Lady Vanessa’s and Sir Christian’s gathering of friends who periodically meet up in a regional city to network on a online RPG game in German they all play together. A few hours later and the delvers arrived in Nrnberg ….

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 10, Part A – The Keys of Worms, The Nibelungen

Section A


The Sacred Key of Worms

Saturday, 4 April 2009
Worms, Germany

      iWorms comes from “Lindwurn” or “Dragon slain by Siegfried under the linden tree.”

      “Yet more I know of Seigfried that well your your ear may hold.
      Beneath the lindeu tree he slew the dragon bold;

      Then in its blood he bathed him, which turned to horn his skin,
      So now no weapon harms him, as oft hath proven been.”
      ~ Nibelungen, st. 104.

    Early to rise the adventuring party awoke refreshed and rejuvenated at the Jugendgstehaus Worms. Quite satisfied with their rest and their lodging in the wonderful historic city of dragons, the explorers went to seek out more insight from the city dragons, delve into the legends of the Nibelungen and the dragon slayers in hopes of finding out about the “sacred key” that their quest is in search of. Two breakfast halls greeted the party downstairs with slices of bread, lunch meats, cheese, yogurt, cereal, milk, and coffee. A brief breakfast was had and the adventurers walked out in search of the Nibelungen museum.

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    Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 9 – Quest to Worms, Searching for the Key, Faun Concert

    Friday, 3 April 2009
    Worms, Germany

    The adventurers got off to a late start on their travels as they were taking a road trip in Lady Vanessa’s motor carriage to “Worms” to see the mythical band “Faun” in hopes that the music will shed some light about this “sacred” key they are questing for. Along the road trip down the autobahn to Worms, many scenic farmyards, castles, and cathedrals loomed along the landscape giving the quest a medieval twist. The adventurers in search of the sacred key travelled hours to the Dragon city of “Worms”, Germany. Medieval cathedral welcoming them as they made their way to its base where the Jugend-herberge was located (youth hostel). Brilliant and enormous building dedicated to International travellers of all ages. Alas, since Lady Vanessa is from the Rhine and not an international guest, she had to purchase a 20 Euro membership on top of the 18.50 Euro room fee. The party did however score their own room with bunk beds, private bath/shower/toilette. After unloading their bags they went in search for the key, and keys they did find. The city of Worms emblem is a key and it was everywhere. Messages clued the party for answers to their queries as they visited each of the city dragons for answers. They visited at least 8 of the city dragons.


    The city key in the zodiac wheel fountain clueing us to follow the dragon slayer in his tale for answers


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    Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 8 – Dusseldorf, Gothic clubbing at Pulp

    Thursday, 2 April 2009
    Dusseldorf – Duisburg, Germany

    The adventurers slept in past noon, as they were up late and didn’t get to sleep but until the wee hours of the morning. Sir Thomas Leaf was up to 4:30 am alone. Around noon, the party did laundry and a late breakfast. Lady Vanessa off on an interview, and Sir Thomas Leaf headed to the old town part of Dusseldorf for some sights, exploring, and hanging out in a cafe. Hittsville, one of Sir Thomas Leaf’s favorite little CD/vinyl/music shoppes caught his attention for a bit as well as the K12. Both great music and clothes shops in Dusseldorf. Around evening they rested and headed off for a journey to Duisburg after a great chocolate sponge cake with custard.


    Lady Vanessa and Princess Brea ready to go off clubbing

    On to Duisburg to meet up with Lord Sven to discuss strategy in the castle club known as “Pulp”. A banquet feast for only a few Euros with fire roasted meats and vegetables in a large buffet fit for a king. Feasting and merriment ensued between Lord Sven, Lady Vanessa, Sir Thomas Leaf, and Princess Breanna. Two club rooms of dancing; one 80’s / new wave; the other called “the Cave” was medieval, goth, industrial, electro. Much of the dancing style in the cave was very rhythmic “chopping” line dance style that Lady Vanessa described as “too martial arts style taking up too much room on the dance floor per individual”. The 80’s room which most of us preferred as there was offered more space to dance. Sir Thomas Leaf danced up a storm. Dancing, drinking, flirting, and merriment continued. Sir Thomas Leaf being from a higher elevation so higher tolerance for alcohol at sea levels; and two trips to the buffet, ran through his 26 Euro drink card and over to a new card eating up 9 Euro on it. The adventurers stayed only until about 2 am, as they had a long trip to Worms tomorrow. Nonetheless, Sir Thomas Leaf had to be pulled away from the dance floor.


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    Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 7, Late Afternoon/Evening – Exploring Koln, German Roman Museum, Italian Restaurant

    , Late Afternoon/Evening

    Wednesday, 1 April 2009
    Koln, Germany

    Our exploring Duette heading down along the Rhine from the Chocolate Museum to explore some of the river-side cafes, streets, and parks. Then on to the German Roman Museum that Sir Thomas Leaf ventured into and Princess Brea, not being into museums, went to the Starbucks around the corner to hang out. Sir Thomas Leaf checked into the Museum desk, paid his 5 Euro fee, checked his bags, and ventured downstairs into the catacombs of the Museum in search of the Key. Going through dozens of artifacts, he found some keys, but once again, not the sacred ones this quest is all about. Amazed by the glory of the Roman and Germanic remains, he spent quite a few hours while Princess Brea sat and read her book over tea. Upstairs were monumental sculptures, blown glassware, ceramics, and lithic technologies able to lose oneself into for hours.


    Roman keys

    After the museum, Sir Thomas Leaf headed back to the Cathedral for some more photos. Then after some more sightseeing, joined Princess Brea for a chai. Around 7 pm, Lady Vanessa of the Rhine, met the adventurers in front of the Koln Cathedral. They wandered off for more city browsing, and then took a pitstop at the German equivalent of Starbucks: Woyton’s. The Chai however was very watered down and they had to request more syrup. Even with the more syrup, still tasted like water. Might had been more affordable but the Chai at Starbucks so far cannot be oompeted with at any of the cafes in Germany. Even moreso, the Chai in Germany at Starbucks is very weak in comparison to how its made at Starbucks in the states. The party does not understand why. After more chai, venturing and enjoying street performers and the arts, the adventurers hopped into Vanessa’s carriage, and drove over to a different area of Koln where her sister lives, and introduced Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea to a mighty fine Italian restaurant. After some seafood pizza, they returned for a walk around the quarter, and called it an evening.


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