How many times have you been told “you can be anything you want to be”? Or that “if you can dream it, you can be it”? You may have told someone too. Well, allow me to burst your bubble; you can’t be anything you want to be.
You can only be anything you’ve got the talent to be.
Let me explain.
After leaving New York, I visited Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. I have homeboys in those cities and looked forward to some R&R. My base on the trip was Houston. I had planned on visiting the Johnson Space Center in Houston, it being the 50th anniversary of mankind’s visit to the moon. But I was sidetracked by a few Naija owambes. On one instance, we drove four hours to Dallas to attend a wedding. Truth be told, it was nice to eat some Naija food after weeks of oyinbo food. But photography-wise none of those three cities were particularly interesting to me.
Sometime in 2018, I watched CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interview Ronen Bergman on his book, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations. In the interview, Bergman talked about how the Mossad, the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security organ) and AMAN (Israel’s military intelligence) went about aiding perceived enemies of Israel cash in their chips early. Bergman explained that Isreal’s strong hand on its perceived enemies was borne out of centuries of Jewish persecution, the Holocaust and the Talmudic mandate:
“The Talmud says: ‘If someone comes to kill you, rise and kill him first.’ This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA.”
So, let’s talk about Amsterdam.
If you are reading this blogpost, chances are you probably read the earlier post that led to it. However, if you didn’t or haven’t, it might be a good idea to. The link is here.
Amsterdam was the first port of call on my European jaunt. I had never been to the city although I’d flown through Amsterdam Schiphol on several occasions. I was therefore looking forward to seeing the city.
So, here I am. Berlin. The second city on my European jaunt. The first was Amsterdam. You can read about that here.
From Amsterdam Centraal, I took the Deutsche Bahn IC to Hannover, where I changed unto the ultra-modern ICE Sprinter train to Berlin Hauptbanhof (‘Hauptbanhof’ means ‘main rail station’). Comfortable and fleet those Sprinter trains. The whole journey was some minutes shy of seven hours. By far the longest train journey I’d been on till then.
My chariot from Berlin to Munich was once again the ultra-fast ICE Sprinter service. Just like the train service from Amsterdam to Berlin, you simply get on the train without a check-in. That means, you get to the train station, locate your train, get in your coach and sit pretty. Now, I believe that you are not a jerk and will not be nursing the idea of a free travel at someone’s expense. I advise you to perish all such thought now. At some point during the journey, the conductor will come round to check for tickets. If you are caught without a ticket, the train will be stopped, you’ll be put on the tracks and run over.
So, on to Central Europe. To Budapest.
Just so you know, Hungarians hate it when you refer to Hungary as being in Eastern Europe. They are in C-E-N-T-R-A-L-E-U-R-O-P-E!
My train from Munich to Budapest was the Euronight sleeper train Kalman Imre. It left Munich Hbf at 23:00pm and arrived Budapest Keleti station at about 8:00 am. I’d booked a berth in a 4-bed couchette for a comfortable night sleep. A pleasant Swiss guy and I turned out to be the only occupants of the cabin.
On to the last leg of my Holocaust jaunt. To Krakow, Poland.
If this is the first post you are reading about my European jaunt, it might be worthwhile to read why I embarked on this 9-day, 5-city tour. You’ll find that here. You may then follow up with accounts of my trips to Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich and Budapest.
Done with Budapest, I chose to take a bus to Vienna. I would then take a sleeper train from the Wien Hauptbanhof to Krakow.
So, why did I choose to detour via Vienna?
Because I can! Stop asking silly questions!