I’ve been terrible at Spanish for an entire year now, starting back in Buenos Aires. Since then I’ve lived in other Spanish-speaking countries: Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador — each with distinct dialects, idioms, accents and slang. In an attempt to describe the style of Spanish I speak currently — imagine a three-year-old child speaking broken English utilizing a haphazard, incongruous assortment of accents: Scottish, southern, Boston, and cockney. The child can tell you what he wants or needs and ask simple questions effectively but if asked a question containing a word he hasn’t learned yet (his vocabulary is around 100) he’ll just look at you with cow-eyes and a blank stare of confusion. That’s pretty much where I’m at. While in Spain I added a new verbal weapon with which to assault native Spanish speakers — the fabled Spanish “lisp”. In Barcelona (and apparently much of Spain to my surprise) some consonants, such as “c” are softly pronounced as a “th” turning “gracias” into an audible “grathias”. Let me tell you right now that depending on your level of aggravation, it could drive you nuts. It drove me nuts. Madrid impressed me on account of what I would refer to as its […]
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Brussels, Belgium

by Reid Peryam· February 20, 2017· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
2017 started out with a quick, 3-day, early-January stop over in Brussels, Belgium. In between work and jet-lag I had enough time to explore and and do recon on a new city and country I had never visited. Brussels struck me as a very walkable, easy-to-navigate and livable city. It’s quite small, quite beautiful and quite expensive, but like the rest of western Europe you get what you pay for — good food, safety, photogenic streets and old architecture. The narrow, curving streets in the city center are lined with all sorts of small, independent restaurants, cafes and boutiques selling anything from artisan goods to comic books. Even the graffiti and street art are of a high order — I spotted a scene depicting TinTin covering an entire building wall, another scene elsewhere was a murder mystery thriller in comic book style. The effect on me, in winter, was a cozy, traditional charm. Belgium is proud of its beer which is served cold, rich, high-alcohol and malty. Delerium Tremens is often rated as one of the best beers in the world in various competitions (the name references the “rapid onset of confusion usually as a result of withdrawal from alcohol”). Unfortunately I have a […]
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Split, Croatia

by Reid Peryam· October 15, 2016· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
Fourteen months ago I was in Cavtat, Croatia for a month and it was pretty good; smooth, 72 degree Adriatic sea water for morning swims, grilled octopus lunches sunsets the color of the Rosé I was drinking. My excuse time was that I needed to flee the Schengan zone in order to return this winter to Switzerland (stay tuned); Split was perfect because my friends recently opened a co-working space there and I wanted to go work from it. So I booked a flight from Munich and an AirBnb just north of Old Town for six nights. Split is a old town on the shore of the Adriatic sea. It’s much larger and busier than Cavtat – but during the Autumn most of us tourists aren’t around because the weather isn’t as beachy. For me this was ideal– as a travel hipster I enjoy visiting places in off-peak season and it was easier to get work done in the cooler, cloudier weather. I was still able to explore and even meet a lot of new friends at WIP, the co-working space I worked from. Highlights included learning to play spike ball – a sport my friend Travis taught me, showing new friends […]
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Munich, Germany

by Reid Peryam· October 08, 2016· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
Last year I was in Munich for 10 days during Oktoberfest and absolutely loved it. I wanted to come back this year to experience more of Bavaria. When I was in Santiago I reserved an AirBnb across the street from the wiesn (the Oktoberfest fairgrounds) and rented it for 5 weeks. Bayern (what Germans call Bavaria) drives the auto industry which in a large part drives the German economy. BMW is based in Munich (I visited the BMW museum), Audi is headquartered in Ingolstadt and Mercedes is based in Stuttgart (while technically not within Bavaria is directly adjacent to it). Hundreds of years ago Bavarians were considered sort of country-bumpkins and even thieving knaves within the Nibelungenlied. These days those – people from Munich have adopted the persona of being sort of rich and snobby. This is not *my* description of Munichers, but instead their own! This year, October 3rd was the German unification holiday – celebrating in 1989 the unification of West and East Germany; a time I was told, ‘East Germany became much richer and west Germany much poorer.’ This gives you some insight into the local perspectives within a country which is still quite internally diverse. And while personally I prefer Munich […]
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Oktoberfest, Munich

by Reid Peryam· September 28, 2015· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
Oktoberfest has been a highlight of 2015 for me and a complete surprise. I had no expectations of loving it as much as I did. A Bavarian tradition for over 180 years (Bavaria is a region of southern Germany unique from other regions in culture, dialect and other ways) Oktoberfest is the epitome of a unique, cultural immersion that should be experienced by everyone. And in Munich everyone does! The young, elderly, single and married — foreigners too — flock here once a year for an international celebration that lasts 18 wonderful, glorious, happy and blissful days. You might recognize Oktoberfest as a drinking festival and it largely is. German breweries erect massive tents holding up to 10,000 people (16 of these tents cover the Wiesn, or “grounds”) and serve their ice-cold brews in 1-liter glass steins for 10 euros apiece. This is actually quite a deal considering if Oktoberfest took place in the United States… well it wouldn’t be nearly as fun. For instance Bavaria is known for it’s hospitality and kindness to travelers (not exactly the same as the rest of Germany) — the tents take great pride in hosting its visitors and the service is second to none. You […]
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Berlin, Germany

by Reid Peryam· September 22, 2015· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
Berlin never had a chance. Then again it didn’t exactly help its cause. I took a bus with four friends to Berlin from Munich where I had just experienced Oktoberfest opening weekend. The friends that I was with were excited for Berlin – unrivaled nightlife, romantic cultural history and significance, blending of Soviet influences and a culture distinctly different from Bavaria. A culture distinctly less appealing to me than Bavaria. Wifi was very hard to find – none available in the many coffee shops we visited, making actually getting work done problematic. A main reason for my visit to Berlin was the Pergamonmuseum, a museum showcasing the relics looted from the ancient site in Turkey I had visited the week before. Unfortunately I learned upon arrival that the exhibit within the museum showcasing the looted items is under reconstruction until 2019. As for that historical romanticism surrounding the concrete wall — doesn’t do it for me. Nor does the night-life or clubs that my peers are so excited about. Maybe it’s because I’m 35 and the idea of buying drinks until 6 am sounds silly or I just feel no connection to the euro-chic — Berlin culture isn’t my thing. So I […]
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Istanbul, Turkey

by Reid Peryam· September 11, 2015· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
I spend about half of September in Istanbul and the rest exploring remote regions of Turkey (with a couple excursions to Germany as well). I have never experienced a city like this before — 14 million people, terrible traffic, poor infrastructure and water that the locals refuse to drink. I had a blast. I came to admire and enjoy these charms as well as so many more – Turkish delights, nargile (aka “hookah” or shisha — smoked water vapor in a variety of fruit flavors), tea in place of alcohol in many social circumstances, the friendly, curious locals, the endless corners and neighborhoods to explore in this sprawling, cluttered, chaotic city. Istanbul is marketed to its tourists as a dichotomy of eastern and western influences – the only city spanning two continents, it is split by the Bosporus into a European side and an Asian side. I never made it to the Asian side — and I didn’t come close to seeing half of everything the European side has to offer — Istanbul is that large. But it doesn’t really seem large as much as busy. In most contexts your view beyond the neighborhood you are in is obstructed by buildings […]
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Cavtat, Croatia

by Reid Peryam· August 23, 2015· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
Cavtat, Croatia is 11 kilometers south east of Dubrovnik and an utter paradise. I start a typical weekday morning by riding my bike to the gym 5 minutes away, exercising, and then swimming laps in the Adriatic sea. The temperature of the water is 79 degrees — the salinity of the water makes staying afloat easy. There are no waves and the water is clear enough that I feel like I am flying while I have my goggles on. Swimming in such a vacant, accessible and wonderful place is immensely freeing — the shores are uncrowded or busy and you can plop into the ocean from anywhere around the city quite easily. This makes an impromptu swim on the way home from the office simple. After my morning swim I return home to shower and prepare for a day at the office – a nice 10 minute walk to the conference room in Hotel Croatia. I have been living off of grilled squid, fruit salad (fruit and vegetable vendors are 100 meters from my apartment) whatever I stir up in my tiny kitchenette. My friends organize potluck dinners regularly and finding others to share dinner with or help cook is always a breeze. This lifestyle […]
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Tivat, Montenegro

by Reid Peryam· August 07, 2015· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
Tivat, a quiet, sea-side vacation destination in Montenegro where I stayed for two nights.      
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Belgrade, Serbia

by Reid Peryam· August 06, 2015· in Europe, Travel· 0 comments
I spent two nights in Belgrade, Serbia. A surprising city to me because I had little conceptualization of it to color my perception prior to arrival. Belgrade might surprise others as a city that is very European-feeling and yet with a very discriminate flavor of the Balkans which makes things much more appealing to me than compared to other more popular American destinations. When describing the “feel” of a culture I struggle — yet the Balkans give an impression distinctively varied from what I have experienced and that’s good. The people are not cold or indifferent (like many Europeans) and in fact it was easy to stroke up conversations and ask questions. Like Bucharest, my time here just scratched the surface — but enough to want to return.  
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