Mental Preparations for the Next Journeys.

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My life on the road is winding down. I’ve been away from America for nearly two years now. I had only returned for a short trip last year when my mom died, and let’s face it, that wasn’t a visit. I always think about how if I had only known that that one day in August of 2013 was going to be the last time I’d see my mother alive that I would have hugged her tighter, kissed her, told her over and over again how much I loved her. If I had known she was going to die I never would have left. It had been my fear since I was a child that my mother would die when I was far away from her. China couldn’t have been farther away.

Now that August is nearly here, and my time is rapidly moving toward my year anniversary of being in Europe things are again coming to an end. Last week my work visa finished and I am no longer legal to work in the Czech Republic. I have moved from working visa back to a tourist visa allowing to remain for three months in the Schengen before I have to return to the U.S.

So what to do for the remaining two months? Well, it’s of course difficult to live for two months without making any money. Anyone whose worked for Czech wages knows that you don’t exactly make a ton of money in Prague. So it’s off to Poland for two weeks as a volunteer teacher and then the week following that it’s back to the Czech Republic for one final gig and then it’s nothing but wandering time. Since I will be on the East side of the Czech Republic I thought that I would explore a little of the Southern part of the country and eventually end up in the beautiful little Cesky Krumluv. I’m really wanting some lakes or even better- the ocean. Perhaps I can squeeze in a trip to Croatia or Slovenia before I leave, but I’m not sure where I’ll be able to get to. I’ll have to just take it one day at a time.

It makes me a little nervous taking it day to day during the height of the tourist season, but I’m a little nervous all the time. That’s anxiety for you- a real buzz kill. Still, even with the anxiousness I’m moving forward in some kind of direction.

There’s so much catching up to do with this blog. Filling in the missing pieces of the past two years, but I’ve nothing but time at this point.

On to the final months in Europe.

Melbourne Graffiti-Part 2

Wandering around the city of Melbourne looking for Gertrude lane Lisa and I were lost. I didn’t know anything about this lane, but Lisa who owns a cool resale shop in Portland, knew that Gertrude lane was famous for hip shops with interesting items. Lisa has always been an expert of spotting something unique and at a low price which is really hard to do these days since resale has become such a booming business.

She’s always been good at finding deals but not great at directions. I don’t know where we were, she didn’t either. We had taken the tram a bit of a distance out of the central part of the city. If there was a Gertrude east we were on Gertrude west. There wasn’t a lot out in the area we were wandering around, mostly residential. We found a quaint coffee shop, and a couple of thrift stores, but the great discovery was this dead-ended alleyway. CIMG2555

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All kinds of hidden nooks and alleyways with tiny shops can be found in random neighborhoods.

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We found ourselves back in the city near the National and International galleries, and from there we headed over to Hosier Lane.CIMG2616

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Hosier Lane is one of two well known graffiti alleys. I’m not certain how long artists have claimed these alleys as places to make art, but there are several layers of paintings and stencils. The work is always changing because in the graffiti world nothing is permanent- unless of course you are Banksy or something and you become one of those coveted street artists and your shit sells for millions. I guess in a way it was street art that first got Basquiat seen, but his canvass work surpasses his street work- in my opinion- on a tangent here…CIMG2621

Hosier Lane has become a tourist attraction. This alleyway that has been painted and repainted again and again is like a rotating gallery. The alley gallery. What you see today will not be there the next time. I can promise that what is in these pictures are not there now.

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Artist at work

As you can tell by the limos, and taxis, and people wandering through the ally, that is directly across the street from a museum, that this is no ordinary alleyway.
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One museum is for free the other has a small fee, and both are worth the visit.

CIMG2901Melbourne is a beautiful place.

Melbourne Graffiti -Part 1

You can’t really talk about Melbourne, Australia and not mention the graffiti. It’s everywhere and it’s excellent. In my humble opinion Prague could really use a lesson in graffiti from Melbourne (I’m living in Prague as I write this post. If you happen to wonder why I would randomly pick Prague as an example of bad graffiti). I’ve always liked street art even when to other’s it’s considered vandalism. To me if it says something, if it’s done well, then it’s valuable- then there are the shitty tags. You know the kind. The true vandalism. There’s no point except to tag something and your tag or your scribble sucks. There’s so much of that in Prague I just consider it a mess that ruined a beautiful building for nothing.

But… Melbourne, wow, what an art scene.

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Almost any alleyway offered up something special. There were so many different styles.

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There were spray paint and stencils, instillations, and poster art, and stickers.CIMG2506

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Hell, they even had collage. CIMG2547

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Some of this work was found around the St. Kilda area, but much of it was found when we were lost trying to find Gertrude street.
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I don’t think I need to say much since the art speaks for itself.