letter twenty-four to rahel: under my skin…

hello, hello.


it’s been a while. i have, in fact been in a multitude of countries and cities since i last wrote to you. on this format, that is. there should be a postcard or two awaiting when you return. in september.


first things first: spain. as you know, on the 15th of this month i embarked onto a lengthy journey which would ultimately bring me to a lovely coastal town in the south of spain by the name of el puerto de santa maría. as there were no direct flights, i had a two hour layover in barcelona (the way val says it, of course), where i ate my first sandwich with tortilla of many to come. having experience a temperature increase of almost 25 degrees in about six hours, i was absolutely boiling by the time antonio, my lovely taxi driver, dropped me off at the libreria papaleria acanto, where i was welcomed by a clearly overjoyed (or so i’d like to think) and sunburnt marco. we made our way into the flat, where at long last i met faye (you know, max’ not(yet)girlfriend), who would become a great partner for all kinds of card- and board games over the next few days. after a few minutes of settling in (and changing into something more airy), we decided to get the bus to the centre of the town, where, after some playground experimentations, we had dinner. walking back to the bus after our meal honestly felt like a scene from a movie, all of us joking and laughing whilst roaming through the warm spanish night’s air. grand. when we got back i introduced the group to the great card game that is set. safe to say marco won’t be playing it anytime soon again. at least not with me.

the next day was marked by a trip to the beach. the flat was located a mere ten or so walking minutes from the sea, we, however, wouldn’t just settle for any piece of beach. so we walked for about forty-five minutes, blazing sun on our scalps, cooling sea around our feet, until we reached a smaller section of the beach which used to be all the rage according to max. we spread out our belongings and skipped down the scalding hot sand into the cooling waves. which is basically where we spent the next six hours, only interrupted by short intermissions of eating the sandwiches we had made in the morning, reapplying sun cream (although, it turns out, the one we use apparently had lost its protection and we all ended up with minor (moi) to semi-major (les autres) sunburns. i was not amused), and getting some of our many toys (the boys were very much in love with a blow up boat they would have faye and me sit in and pull whilst running to give us that real speed boat feel) like a ball we played a stranger version of volley ball with or a pair of beach tennis rackets. the water was that perfect temperature of being refreshing but not too cold to spend a long time in. the stones, however, i could’ve done without, for both marco and i managed to get painful cuts in our feet, which, practically, were disinfected immediately by the salty water. after we were dizzy with sun and salt and had ensure that grains of sand had found their way into every crevice of our bodies, we packed up and walked to the nearest (still far) supermarket, where we bought ingredients for a paella. which the guys made. by themselves. oh yes. i sat on the couch pretending to read whilst they were working in the kitchen, but i was mainly trying not to laugh my ass off whilst listening to their cooking conversations. faye joined me after a while and we played a party of chess until they were done. the food tasted nice in the end, and we finished our evening off with some scattergories (which is basically the english version of the stadt land fluss).

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i am very, very pale

on sunday we had a bit of a chilled un’, only going to puerto to have ice cream and wonder about for a bit. upon our return, after playing a lengthy round of acquire (a bit like monopoly but less fun (sorry, max)), we did the one thing max had been looking forward to the most: having the guys do our make up and doing theirs. and oooh lord. we spent a total of an hour sitting at marco’s (who actually tried) and max’ (who tried, too, but tried to make faye look bad) mercy, having them use blush on noses and mascara on eyebrows and younameit. we did get our sweet revenge, though, although max sadly suited the makeup almost scarily well. we even went as far as going out for dinner with our new looks, and got a fair number of, well, looks, but let me tell ya, so worth it.

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prune faces on fleek

the next day we took the ferry to cádiz (apparently europe’s oldest city my good friend google just told me), which is “situated on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea”. despite a ton of wind and waves (and adorable tiny ginger boys i wanted to steal, which, yet again, marco didn’t let me. flamingo) we made it to the city safely, and chose the cathedral as our first stop. i know cathedrals tend to be, but lord, it was big. there were some catacombs, too (phantooooom), where we experienced the most insane echo i have ever experienced, where, when one would say a world, it would legit be repeated another ten times before becoming inaudible. safe to say we had a lot of fun with that. after climbing the tower (where the great flying hair photo below was shot), we decided to roam about the streets a bit. marco and i got into one of our heated discussions whilst doing so. boy, did we discuss. we were still discussing (or more like in a state of post-discussion-pensiveness) when we reached a park/botanic garden, where we spent some peaceful minutes. i really felt like having a milkshake after that (forty or so bloody degrees celsius and all), and somehow, magically, we came across this lovely royal café which served delicious milkshakes. there are few things better than having an urgent food fancy satisfied. it was nearing evening at that point, so we got the ferry back (discussing intense harry potter questions amongst us four as we had done all day long) and took another detour to a supermarket where we got ingredients for a) a pasta bake for dinner and b) pancakes. the boys kindly agreed to make the pasta bake, so faye and i enjoyed a couple of rounds of set and some classic elvis tunes whilst it was a-bakin’. after dinner i introduced those poor english philistines to the best card game ever: geimsche (is that how it’s spelled) and we spent a looong time playing and signing, switching up the groups so everyone had teamed up with everyone. lord, did we laugh. especially when marco and max used a series of incredibly obvious fake signs to throw us off track. or when i realised faye had a geimsch even before she made the sign. fun.

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the aforementioned flying hair

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tuesday was my last full day, and faye and max generously decided to go into town by themselves to buy the missing pancake ingredients and give marco and me a couple of hours of alone time. we snuggled up in bed (despite the heat) and watched a movie and enjoyed our last few hours we’d spend together all by ourselves for the next seven weeks. 😥 when they returned sometime mid-afternoon, we enjoyed a last round of gamin’ (monopoly this time, and i totes would have won through my smart jewish bargaining, hadn’t marco and i decided to just call it quits when it had been only him and me left for about half an hour already). after we returned from dinner (at a semi-fancy place), it was time to do something marco and i had been wanting to do for literal months. we snuck out of the flat and frolicked down to the beach, where, only watched by the stars and the moon, we rid ourselves of every last fiber of fabric on our bodies and ran into the ocean. marco had never been skinny-dipping. ever. absolute no-go. it was grand. the water was still warm enough from heating up during the day and the beach’s emptiness allowed us to run around until we had dried completely. it was absolutely grand. memorable. (although due to the lack of being in a bay during a thunderstorm, maybe not as memorable as our most recent skinny-dipping experience).

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the next morning was bittersweet. sweet because i made pancakes (although in my opinion horrendous ones) and bitter, because, of course, the goodbyes. but let’s not dwell on those. my journey back was long and lonely and boring and my flight was delayed, but my mum and luna picked me up and it was all good.

after a day of washing, repacking and shopping on thursday, also for norway (i managed to find some hiking shoes), we departed for prague on friday morning. after some searching about we found our air bnb flat, which was utterly beautiful and situated beautifully next to the vlatva/moldau. we deposited our luggage and set out to explore the city, and by some lucky coincidence stumbled upon an incredibly italian restaurant, where we enjoyed our first ever meal in the czech republic. honestly, so so so good. we should go there someday.

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my dad is clearly overjoyed to be spending time with us

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the view from our flat

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on saturday we decided to do a segway tour; we had seen loads of people on segways the day before, and as doing so was (yes, was. yay) on my bucket list, i was all for trying it out. we hired a private guide and spent the next two and a half hours segwayin’ about. honestly, i had no idea it would be THAT much fun. we saw things all over the beautiful city that is prague, whilst having an absolute blast. pure elation (as depicted below). minus the part where it rained so heavily that my dad slipped on the wet pavement and fell incredibly hard onto his left thighbone, meaning we’ve been walking veeeery slowly the past few days. poor thing. the segway joy had to sink in for a bit, so we had dinner in that night and watched “jaws” (“smile, you son of a bitch!”).

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have you ever seen me have this much fun?

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the next day we visited an exhibition at dox, featuring installations, paintings and sculptures centered around sports. after a traditional czech dinner, liam and i got ready to hit the clubs. well, just one club. but central europe’s biggest one. and sweet baby jesus, did i not belong there. fumes of cigarette smoke and wafts of vomit stench and people who were drunk or just dicks or probably both, including a specimen with a t-shirt saying “sorry mädels, ich bin nur zum saufen hier”, an astounding amounts of incredibly happy gingers, and (it’s a small, small world) two girls who according to liam are from oberwil. we still had fun singing along to charty tunes and oldies and dancing until there was no dancing left to do. we rewarded ourselves with a late night trdelník and headed home.

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in da club

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monday meant saying goodbye to prague and embarking on another journey; poland. i had never been here before, but with saba and safta originally coming from here, there definitely was an interest to see where their, and in a way also my, roots laid. four hours on the train and two and a half on the bus later it was about 11 p.m. and we were here. immediately we noticed the tons of young people all here for the world youth days (a catholic event happening every two to three years), but little did we know how many there would be. either way, we got to our flat and safe to say we fell into bed exhaustedly.

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which brings us to yesterday. sweet lord (literally), there are many people in this city right now. two million in addition to the one million regular citizens, to be exact. and they’re everywhere; waving their flags, clapping, singing, cheering (there genuinely was a communal cheer all over the market square when thunder happened (is there a verb for that in english?), as though the lord above had spoken to us directly), and just having a grand old time. it’s fairly sweet, actually, with all the kids in their matching outfits and the nun mascots and the like. but as i said. many, very many of them. we met a couple of bus drivers from newcastle, who had driven their respective youths down to poland and now spent the week getting drunk until they have to drive them back come the end of this week. lovely lads. pierogies for dinner. when we returned to our flat (located in the jewish quarter, btw), we heard music from across the river, so we crossed it and spent some time amongst the youth listening to a french band sing about jesus with cool reggae vibes. and that was it (i’m getting tired. can you tell?).

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sunset as photographed from le bus

today. we got into a lil’ cart to do a tour of the old town and the ghetto (including schindler’s factory), which was touching in many ways, and practical for my dad’s injured leg. we then strolled around some more, didn’t see the pope (who arrived in kraków today. liam has never been this excited) had lunch, took it all in, went home, went back out, got a tattoo, had dinner and had ice cream. and here we are. i’m tired.

but before i sleep, the book: i’m only halfway through, although, due to it being short, i’m sure i’ll finish before month does. quite frankly, i don’t feel like it was the right time for me to read this book. i appreciate descriptive writing, and i don’t mind the slow-pacedness, but somehow it doesn’t feel like the read i need right now (rhyme). nevertheless, it has provided a very interesting insight into how different life has been not too long ago and not too far away, and gotten me all norway’ed up. so i look forward to reading the rest.

i hope you and sophia are having an absolute blast (although, do save some blasts for me, please) and i shall see you next week. insanity.


yours knackeredly


p.s. find below a wee series of ootd’s liam and i made. #suchfashion #veryarts


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