(WARNING: ERIKA DO NOT LOOK AT THE FIRST PICTURE IN THIS EMAIL!)
When I got back from Europe, Eva and I began a “game” in which our tagline became “If it makes you feel better…” For example, she told me that she had bought a monthly metro-card and then promptly dropped it down the sewer. I told her that if it made her feel better, I had scratched my cornea. She said she had a UTI. I told her that if it made her feel better I had developed a mysterious something on the bottom of my injured foot that caused pain with every step. She then sent me this picture with the caption “What is our tagline again?”
I told her she should wrap it with a wet paper towel or gauze with Neosporin on it. She suggested she use a Maxi Pad. I mentioned it might be ridiculous to walk around with a Maxi Pad on your pinky. She responded with It’s a Light Days! Eventually I called her (so she didn’t have to get blood on her phone while texting me) and said that we had better stop playing this game before one of us lost a limb or fell down an elevator shaft. (PS it took 2 hours and a trip to the emergency room to stop the flow of blood and then Eva was dismissed with an “I guess there goes your hand model career!”)
My brother came out to visit me when I got back from Europe and told me that the compound was like living in a Fraternity. I revisited the scene of the crime (AKA where I hurt my foot in November and have never been the same) and we went Kayaking. During this Kayaking adventure Luke and Diana managed to cause a casual fisherman to lose his fishing pole—but it’s okay b/c he said he’d get his scuba equipment out to find it later.
Luke also told tales of his travels with a pigmy yak and living in a yurt and his quest for a “Quattro Magnifico” and then swore that he would NEVER tell a lie. We hit up the SAM for the first time and I was quite impressed with how it perfectly catered to people with short attention spans. It might very well be my favorite museum of all time. We also went to the Red Hook brewery and discovered that there is going to be an honest-to-goodness Sausage Fest on Sept 18th (where you should totally join me!) My friends were particularly amusing when I introduced my brother. I’m not sure if Sean was appalled by their running commentary and overly frank sharing or if he was just surprised that a lady would speak of such things in mixed company. No matter what, I should it vastly entertaining.
We also discovered a wealth of RV from the 70’s on our way to Ballard. I have no explanation for their existence or the large quantity on every street we passed and sadly I think it might be a mystery that I might never solve.
Sean also had to hang out at Redmond Town Center while I got my eye checked out so, once again a thrill a minute. After that I took him to the Redmond Dog Park where, apparently, they have over 700,000 visitors a year. I have seriously never seen so many dogs in one place. They also had a mini-agility test which was much more interesting than the dog competition we watch every year after the Thanksgiving Parade b/c everyone’s hands are covered in food fixings and can’t change the channel.
Sean told a whole bunch of really funny stories, but I’m only going to tell one of them. His co-worker was going on a trip and his friend, knowing what flight he was on, made a phone call. He told the airline that his friend would be traveling first class and would inevitably ask for a scotch on the rocks and asked that the stewardess not give him the scotch, that it was a very sensitive issue but his friend really was not supposed to be drinking. The airline understood perfectly and did not serve alcohol to the man on the plane. By the end of the flight they had to arrest the man because he was so outraged by the treatment that he went a little crazy. To this day, the man does not know that it was his friend who caused the airline not to serve him.
Alright… I’m almost caught up. Well if a week and ½ behind can be considered caught up.
Consider this an “extra” email for the week of Aug 23rd. I know you don’t care about my system (you’re just thinking why so many emails Tiffany? Don’t my attention span isn’t this large?), but I need to keep these updates in order with some kind of system just in case when I die someone wants to write a Biography of me and is too lazy to actually do any research and wants to cut and paste these into a delightful read.
The summary for the rest of the trip is that we spent it in Vienna. I met Eva’s 90 year old grandmother Karla, hung out with her dad, Peter, met Eva’s Aunts and all of her cousins. My favorite german’s flew out to Vienna to play (Julia and Kathi) and we basically saw some sites and then hung out drinking wine, coffee and beer for the rest the trip. I learned 9 new German phrases, saw a couple more churches and palaces and hung out in some parks. Met a butterfly or 2 and it was awesome. In lieu of trying to describe every minute I am going to give you some random quotes and hope you find them as amusing as I did.
When we arrived to Eva’s grandmother’s (Karla) house she said, “I’m making lunch. I don’t know if you’ll like it, but you’ll eat it.
On her son Peter, when he left the room and it was just me and Karla:
Karla: I’m being punished.
Karla: I’m being punished. Three weeks with him!
(She would then intermittently just turn to us and say “Three weeks!”)
Karla: I’m trying to cook and he’s asking me about how my parents met… I don’t know!
Karla: Have some cake. It’s okay if you don’t like it, I didn’t make it.
Karla on son-in-law: No woman with eyes would think he is good looking. He isn’t manly. You don’t know, you aren’t a woman. His hair – like this (gesture)- always looking greasy. He needs to wash his head.
Karla on cousin’s wedding: It was so funny! He took HER name and then signed it wrong on the paper!
Karla: My husband loved washing dishes so he wouldn’t buy me a dishwasher. He’s been dead for 22 years now so I’ve had to wash my own dishes for 22 years. I hate washing dishes.
Peter had lost his luggage so I offered him some clean T-shirts, but he refused one saying “I can’t wear a shirt with a GIRL on it!” (It was a beer and scotch festival T-shirt btw)
Then, at the 90th birthday party, he complained about having to wear Yankees and Albany T-Shirts, so naturally I said: Look around you Peter. I’m the only one out of every one here who even offered you a clean shirt.
After Kathi explained a fascist party poster I said: I think I got that from the Hitler mustache and the word “Nazi” written on it.
Kathi: I think I might be a lot funnier in English.
Johanna: I’m next to the sex shop. Not in the sex shop.
David showing us a picture of his son’s first bike ride: See that (graffiti) above his head with an arrow? That says “Shit day.”
-Is that Mozart?
-He’s got a Violin though.
-He was a prodigy, he played everything.
-Okay, It’s Strauss.
Me: Is that why when I was driving over 170 kph the car started shaking?
Karla: I think Johanna is the only wedding for my grandchildren I’ll ever go to. None of you are going to get married. Look at you (Eva). So skinny. There’s nothing for a man to touch.
Ferdinand: Did you leave money at the bar?
Me: No I did that on purpose.
Ferdinand: You left 2 euro on PURPOSE?!
Peter: "You have to give Tiffany credit, you know."
Eva: For what
P: She went to all those countries not knowing one word of any of
E: Me either.
P: No Eva.. You have to give her credit!!
P: And do you know what else you have to give her credit for?
E: Walking around with her foot?
P: No. The GPS. Knowing where to go!!
E: That's what the GPS does... It tells you.
P: Give her credit!!
At one point Eva tried to get peter to take a picture of us. After 5 full minutes, this is what he took:
I almost got kicked out of the Belevedere when I took this picture—but they were velvet covered exercise balls! Come ON!
We were staying at Eva’s Aunt’s apartment and on the last night, we absolutely could not figure out how to open the door and had to call Eva’s cousin to come open it for us (which they did, easily.) In case you wanted to know what defeat looks like:
Where were we? Ah yes. Croatia. This was the first border that cared enough about its visitors to check their passports. As we handed our passports to the patrol they immediately held them up yelling “Americans! Americans!”and walked away. I looked at Eva and said “It’s a good thing we aren’t carrying anything bad in here.” And Eva replied “Ya, they probably won’t find that spear in my luggage.”
We drove through the gorgeous mountains of Croatia, down to the Dalmatia Coast and stopped in Split, where Evivova scored us an apartment right inside the Diocletian Palace. I know, very cool. After walking around checking out the sites, we went back to the apartment prepared to cool down. Only the a/c was not sufficient for the extreme heat. We opened up all the windows and watched a true story in which people hundreds of people were being surrounded by and eaten by sharks for 4 days. I then looked up whether or not there were sharks in the Adriatic (there are.) I also took one of the most complicated showers of my life with ten different water sprouts shooting in three different directions and 2 swiveling handles. I got out and simply said “I’m not telling you how that works. Good Luck.” When Eva later, from the shower, “Give me a hint!”, everyone, due to the open windows and the surrounding bar outside the apartment, could hear me say “Okay FINE! I’ll give you ONE hint!” (She ended up flooding the bathroom and taking a freezing cold shower btw.) When we tried to go to sleep, the noise and smoke from the bar was like actually sleeping in a bar, but louder b/c the noise reverberated against the ancient walls of the palace directly into our room. Awesome. I might have taken a nap the next day on our ferry/bus travel to the island of Bol… and another nap on the beach.
Right, Split rocked, and then we drove up to the capital Zagreb. We managed to see all of Zagreb in three hours and then went to see a movie. After grabbing a drink and some people watching, Evivova needed some chicken nuggets and fries. (What were you saying about wanting to travel with us again?) After dinner, we walked along a very long street looking for the private garage that we parked our car in by just clicking the clicker we were given by the chick whose apartment we were staying in. I took a picture of everything else so I don’t know why I forgot to take a picture of where we parked the car. (The following pictures are of the cool looking fries, the view from our apartment including the car that brought us all over Central Europe, and view of our drive through Slovenia)
And Bled Castle, where I may have had trouble starting the car. I even got out of the car, and got back in the car as if that would suddenly trigger my memory on how to turn a key. When that didn’t work, we had to ask a couple bus drivers until we found one that understood the word “Go.” When he so very easily made the car “Go” we asked him what the problem had been and he said “No problems. Go.” As he jiggled the steering wheel indicating that it had been locked. Perfect. Our next stop was Salzburg, Austria where we were oh so pleased to finally be in a country where we understood at least some of the language.
I didn’t take a picture of the funicular b/c my camera ran out of batteries, but it lived up to its name. Right, so clearly we did a church/palace combo here with the Hohensalzburg and the Dom and then had a traditional Austrian dinner. The next day we drove through the Alps on our way to Grandmother’s house.
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.
We also began a game of Where’s Waldo in our pictures… if only we had thought to carry a funny hat.
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