Greeting Image of Me

1. any question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty.
2. a question proposed for solution or discussion.
3. Contemporary greeting for foreigners to the European continent.

But, what i find really interesting is the entomology of that word...

It seems i have some explaining to do:
1. Why am i pictured riding my back-up server through a fountain on a bike in the Netherlands?
2. What happened to my plan for summer vacation?

To answer question one:
The problems with my Dutch hosting reached a fulcrum this year with the third unplanned power outage in as many years. I decided to remove my server from the data-center in Dronten during my planed visit to the Netherlands for SHA2017, a quadrennial computer hobbyist camping festival in the Flevoland. Flevoland, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, exists today as a huge depression below sea level surrounded by dikes that hold back the sea. It was flooded with sea water as recently as the final days of Word War Two following a Nazi explosion at a dike. It's mostly used for agriculture but there are several towns, villages, cities, and my former data-center, Serverius, in the depression. Also, I'm not sure weather you would call them wooded-areas, plantations, or forest; either way, all the trees are perfectly aligned in evenly spaced rows on a grid. And the rain-water that falls on this vast territory drains thru dredged canals and is pumped out to sea. Despite the interesting recent history and impressive engineering, it's not really an appealing place to go camping because it lacks natural appeal.

Before going forward with the story, i should backtrack a little to the start of my trip and begin answering the broader question.

2. What happened to my plan for 2017 summer vacation?

My plan was to enjoy a relaxing two month summer holiday in Bern, Switzerland while leisurely shopping for a chateau (or at least a villa) in the Bernese Oberland. The hills above Interlakken, Inns, or somewhere near the Jura appeal to me. I like French cuisine and culture, but the buildings on the German side are more sturdy. So, ideally, i would inhabit a German building near the French region. Back to the plan, while not shopping for property, i planned on swimming in the Aare river and cycling. Although i was able to spend about a dozen sunny days including August 1st swimming and browsing museums. However, most of my time is spent moving myself and my stuff from one temporary accommodation to another and dealing with the situations that evolve as the deal falls through in each place. This is the story of my summer vacation:

I entered the European Union in Iceland after a six hour flight from Washington DC. Had a relaxing meal with my cousins and uncle in Iceland and almost forgot about my connecting flight to Amsterdam where i changed planes again and flew again to Bern.

View of Bern from the ParlimentTravelling

Before i arraived, I had arranged a temporary apartment for two months with a company called Glandon apartments in the museum quarter of Bern. But, when i saw the place it was different from the photos and it smelled like cats + cigarettes. They had many other rooms, but insisted that i would take the smelly one. I turned down their offer for the place because I'm allergic to cats and sensitive to air quality. The big issue with this was that i had to pay 150% of the rent before viewing the place and despite my problem the company, Glandon Apartments decided they would keep the rent + deposit. Basically all the money was profit for them. With my travel budget exhausted and myself worn from the journey i turned to my friend Sandro for help. He showed me his spare with without delay and for that i am very grateful. But, it did not last long (about 40 hours) because his wife soon decided she didn't like the situation. There was some loud yelling in Spanish and i had to leave quickly to the hotel. My times at the hotel were the most relaxing because i had the day to myself. I was able to swim in the Aare, browse the market, museums, meet people, make music, and really enjoy life in the city :-)

I felt lucky to find another temporary room in Schwarzenburg, a 30min train ride from the city in a renovated farmhouse built in 1857. While i was there I decided to buy a car to explore properties. I traveled to Geneva to buy a classic blue Mercedes-Benz with matching hub caps. It was there that my money troubles began. When I tried to withdraw 2.5KiloCHF for the 1984 Mercedes-Benz diesel, the bank froze my card. During frantic repeated attempts to withdraw from the ATM while the foreign used card salesman nearly yelling in my ear "try again, again" the card's chip was damaged and i lost access to my capitol. Meanwhile in Schwarzenburg, my housing situation soured. The woman who rented me the room, Sonja Delz, put most my stuff in the outdoor garage and keep some things for herself. After returning from Geneva, I quickly decided it was time to do some camping in the Netherlands, but in retrospect i never should have left the country because the situation only worsened.

Chris and I infront of the SHA signSHA's dock
Outdoor talk at SHATravelling

I arrived at SHA2017. As i wrote above, despite the Flevoland's novelty it's not really a desirable place to go camping. Whats worse, i got food poisoning and spent most of the days in my hammock or toilet. On the bright side, i did not have to spend much money.

After the event, i returned to Amsterdam with Chris. My friend Tony ( ) gave us a place to stay while i tried to convince my bank in the old country to send me some of my money. According to them, the gravity of my situation did not warrant emergency measures; they were unwilling to send any funds. Luckily, i had a few BTC and, at that time, the price was at an all time high. I traded ~2BTC for 8KiloEUR in the lobby of the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Amsterdam. The gentlemen who agreed to meet me for the exchange were really nice and understanding of my situation. THANKS GUYS!

TravellingShop window in Amsterdam
TravellingShop window in Amsterdam

I used the cash to buy a little truck (so little i had to crouch to pose next to it). But, since I'm not Dutch i could not register a car in the country. The truck came with a two-week temporary international insurance which was supposed to be enough time to travel to wherever and put plates on it. Since i am an Irish citizen, i thought it would be no problem to register it there, and started my journey to Ireland. The truck had been sitting in a garage for a long time and the battery didn't have much charge. After push starting the car once, we decided to leave it running whenever we could. We motored to Rotterdam where we parked on the ferry for an overnight crossing to the UK; it was like a mini-cruise.


When we arrived the next day the truck started! Before crossing the UK, we stopped in Bangor for three days to see what is life like on board the Astral Ship ( ). I enjoyed cooking vegan meals for ship-mates, including banana splits:

Vegan Banana Split

  • 1 Banana split lengthwise
  • 2 Scoops of dairy free coconut ice-cream
  • 1 Serving of whipped cream
  • 1 Drizzle of chocolate syrup
  • 4 Freshly picked quartered strawberries

    Chris at the edge of the pondCleaning up the yard

    I left Chris in Bangor and continued the journey to Ireland to register my truck. After a two and a half hour cruise across the Irish sea i arrived in Dublin on the 24th of August at 2pm. I had an intimidating introduction to Ireland; the port authority put the dogs on me. The search seemed reasonable enough until the dog started licking the interior of the truck... eventually they had to turn me loose in Ireland because i had not yet done anything wrong.

    Mural in Knock, IrelandCleaning up the yard

    Today, is September the 21th, nearly a month since my arrival, and despite being a citizen i still don't have a registration for my truck, a new bank card, nor a place to stay. There is little i can do without a bank card or car; I've basically abandoned hope of getting my backup server online in a reasonable time frame. Lately, I've started helping out around the farm,

    Red Tractor at the Ploughing Agri-FestivalCleaning up the yard

    It occurred to me to try to make cheese with the cow's milk. But, after drinking unpasteurized cows milk i fell very ill. Which brings me to the conclusion of this letter:

    In my old country i had everything; house, car, money, apartment. Now, I have nothing; no bank card, no car, no permanent address. It's taking it's toll on my health. The only thing i have left is a small fortune in Bitcoin. I write to appeal for help.(if you are receiving this message, i remind you that you know me personally, I'm not a Nigerian Prince)


    The summer is almost over and it seems i have little chance of accomplishing my plans; they all fell through and now you know the story.

    I underestimated the importance of having a stable place to stay. Now, I'm sick, penniless (metaphorically speaking), and in Ireland. Please let me know if you know a good doctor, a decent banker, and/or someone who wants to sell their renovated farmhouse in the Jura.

    Your Friend,