Saturday, August 14, 2010

7 in 2010

Hi Friend!
I’ll set the scene first.  Before meeting up with me in Austria, Evivova (AKA Eva) had spent a week in Tuscany, followed a trip to in Kenya where she ignored Embassy warnings that she needed to evacuate immediately, volunteered with orphans, and didn’t shower (but did wash her hair in a bucket once) for 6 weeks.  Naturally, there was no hugging when we saw each other at the airport.  We picked up the car where we made sure the car had stickers to drive in all of the countries we were planning to visit and found out that the sticker also included Poland.  We went to the hotel in Vienna, where Evivova took a nice long shower.  (I had brought lice shampoo for Eva, which I think she might have been insulted about, but really, if she had had lice, should have been seriously thanking me.  This same Shampoo would travel back with me to NY.  Frita wanted to return it.  I told him the box had been on the bottom of my suitcase for weeks and was in no shape to be returned.  He told me he would just tell him that that was the reason he was returning it.) In the meantime, I discovered that we not only had a living room and balcony, but we also had a freakin’ WATERBED!  Eva: This hotel has a waterbed? This is the greatest hotel EVER!  We grabbed some beer, cheese and crackers and brought them back to our balcony. 
Then it was off to Praha (Prague)!  Naturally, when we got to the hotel Eva’s first works were “What? Not wate?” after sitting on the bed.  Spoiled already.  This was after we got booted from the original hotel due to construction, free drinks and advice including what we should drink.  Bartender: Beckalavaka? I have to every morning! We hit up the stare and nova mesto (old and new town) where we went to old Jewish part of the town where the Nazi’s had gathered belongings and history of the Jewish people in preparation of extinguishing the entire race, very chilling.  We also checked out the communist museum.
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We also began a game of Where’s Waldo in our pictures… if only we had thought to carry a funny hat.
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So, after this a full day of walking around (with the boot, on cobble stones, after so recently getting off crutches) we had dinner in Wenceslas Square.  The next morning we hit up Charles Bridge (Eva on Taxi Ride: I think this guy is giving us a ride that is the 2nd time we’ve passed that street.) and our first castle/church combo (St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle). Eva: I can’t believe we have a whole day in Prague.     Me: What’s this Washington monument over here? 
Eva: I can’t believe it is 12 o’clock and we have seen ALL of Prague.  Me: We haven’t had dumplings and goulash!  (Which ended up being bread and stew which we ate in this basement restaurant, but this picture I thought was funny so I’m putting them next to each other anyway.)
Then we decided to add Poland to the trip because, why not right?. We woke up early and drove to Krakow (we didn’t stop at Auschwitz mostly b/c I didn’t feel like it was the type of thing that you just “stopped by to see on the way.”  I’m really glad we went.  We had Perogie’s near Cloth Hall in the main square, saw Florianska Gate, saw more churches than I could count before going to our next castle/church combo Wawel Castle and Cathedral on, what do you know, Wawel Hill.  We weren’t able to get tickets into most of the exhibits however I can tell you that there were an abumdance of dead people in the Cathedral including 41 out of 45 monarchs.  In the basement, Eva asked about the many flowers around one grave and we found out it was the recently deceased vice president who had died in a plane crash in April.  Then we saw another grave behind that from 1918, Eva: You ask, I can’t ask “Who’s the dead guy?” again.   And we also had awesome amazing food in the old Jewish part of town including these Latke’s that were like square bricks. 

While we were on Wawel Hill we started talking to the 80 year old German woman who knew all of the US gossip (more than I know for sure.)  Then this guy asked if he could see our map b/c he had lost his 16 year old brother inKrakow only neither of the brothers could pronounce the streets that the kid was on never mind be able to figure out how they would be spelled so he could find the streets on our map.  Naturally, Eva and I thought this was hilarious (we’re not always nice people.)
The next morning Eva woke up covered in bed bug bites.  The above, smiling picture, was taken the night before.  Let’s move on to our drive through Slovakia.  We stopped in a town (which is a generous name of 10 houses and a dog) called Zdair.  At this point we should have turned right back around, but we didn’t, so the GPS recalculated and added 2 ½ hours to our originally 6 hour trip.  We also stopped to teach Eva how to drive stick and I don’t think she stalled once! There was also an orange car that drove past me so fast I jumped in surprise.  And… yes, traffic on one lane highways and the gripping fear of trying to pass a truck and a bus at the same time.  I’m not sure we actually passed into Slovakia b/c so often there wasn’t any indication that we went over the border.  My sister said not having boarder control is for sad countries that are begging for visitors, I was just upset I didn’t get as many stamps.
Budapest, Hungary.  We immediately headed out to the Szechenyi Baths.  Before we could get there we found out that the hotel staff were most unhelpful and unpleasant people. We got there anyway, and the whole “mineral bath” experience freaked me out given that I am a bit of a germ-a-phobe.  Plus, it was a lawsuit waiting to happen with super wet and slippery floors which forced you to walk barefoot… yucks.  Anyway, we experienced that and then headed over to dinner where there was young duck on the menu and swimming around us.  As it got dark, Eva asked if the waiter could do something about the mosquitoes, and then suddenly the waiter brought us some Off.   Me: I would NEVER have asked for bug spray.  Eva: Even if they had offered bug spray you would have said, “Oh that’s okay!”  (See flammable Off next to candle lit dinner.)
We saw these creepy underground caves that were dark, dripping water, and help odd things within.  Including a sign indicating a specimen of undiscovered homo sapiens next to a Nike sneaker. 
 And of course we saw a Castle/Church Combo on the Buda side of the Danube.
 We went back to the Pest side of the Danube and decided we wanted to get a massage and we thought this shade apartment like establishment would be a good idea.  The massage was on the floor and at least my lady did not leave so that I could get undressed and actually helped remove my clothes when I wasn’t quick enough. 

I know I haven’t told you about what I did on Sunday, but Sunday was a whole new country so I’m going to stop here and let you take a bathroom break and I’ll get back to you on that one… and b/c had I been home, I would have found a way to add this card, I’m just going to squeeze it harshly onto the end of this message. :P
Love Always T O’B

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