Saturday, July 3, 2010

When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza guy, that's the morning

So it seems we've been a bit more diligent with the carousing part of the blog than the blog part of the blog, but here's a quick update on what we've been doing over the last week or so, which in this writer's opinion has included some of the best stops.

First of all what hasn't been happening: sleep. From some heartwrenching soccer matches to gorgeous beaches to surprise picnic invitations, whitewater rafting trips, nightlife, etc. it's been a whirlwind. We're all exhausted but making the most of our time here.

After Prague we spent a few days in Munich at Hotel Jaeger, which while not seemingly associated in any way with the liquor of the same name does attempt to capitalize on the branding, with one free Jaeger shot for every guest and the Jaeger deer plastered all around the building. This was definitely our most social hostel emvironment. The bar downstairs serves a mass or liter-glass of Augustiner pilsner for a scant 3 euro. This became our home base for soccer viewing, and here is where we saw the Yankees run come to an end with an uninspiring 2-1 overtime loss to the lone African representative in the elimination round, Ghana.

Here also we met up with Krystian and his friend Mike, who helped us navigate the nightlife. We were also lucky enough to be able to spend a day at the lake house of his second-cousin-in-law-5-times-removed (or something)who hooked us up with an incredible spread of food, foosball, and mosquito repellent and were just all around some of the nicest people I've ever met. Other highlights included a trip to Neuschwanstein castle (on which the Disney castle is modeled) and the famous Hofbrauhaus. No need to search for the local liquor here; there is such a bevy or cheap, delicious beer that we stuck mostly to the brewskis. Franzinkaner, Lowenbrau, and Paulander are all based out of Munich, and are much tastier without all the modifications that must be made to American imports. People drink outside at all hours, and it was nice to stop in for a half liter or two every now and then to try something new and beat the heat.

After Munich we ventured down to the Croatian city of Split, a city we must evangelize. Croatia lies across the Adriatic from Italy and has a similar climate and drinking habit. We found an abundance of cheap, serviceable wine, and spent most of our days lounging on the beach, treated to beautiful vistas both at sea and on land courtesy of some generous sunbathers. People here all spoke English, but it seems Americans haven't yet invaded this town and scarred the locals. Overall, this is an incredible place to visit. We took a day trip to the nearby island of Hvar and Corey and I spent another afternoon whitewater rafting on the Cetina. Literally a minute into the trip Corey hits a low-hanging branch and gets knocked ass backwards into the river, losing a sandal and being forced to limp around town with a child's flipflop he bought in the small town we launched from by the river. It wasn't all Corey's fault though - when we started asking questions about the rafting outfit and the topograpy of the river, it became apparent that we had about as much rafting experience as our guide, and one of the customers on the raft with us took over shouting orders while our pony-tailed guide sulked in the back. "This is my first time down the river," he said. We are now apparently certified Croatian rafting guides.

We then took an overnight train to Budapest, Hungary. After 15 hours of sweating and attempted sleep (Thanks Krystian for closing the window in the middle of the night...twice), we landed in the great city of Budapest. Exhausted, our host suggested we go to the Baths, a collection of naturally thermal springs in northern Pest. Expecting some sort of heavy, hairy, nude European manfest, we wavered but ultimately decided to go. Thankfully a bathing suit required policy was in force and we enjoyed an incredibly relaxing day. Before leaving the Baths, we decided to literally cook ourselves in a sauna that registered in at 100 degrees Celcius.

Budapest is cheap. Not quite presidential suite for 52 cents in Bratislava cheap, but cheap. Like 1 dollar beer cheap. Changing out our remaining Forints (roughly 235 to the dollar) for British pounds is bound to be a sobering experience. Aside from the baths, we've enjoyed the club scene here, with labyrinthine basement entrances and huge open air drinking grottoes.

All in all, it's been a great week, but I have to admit that I am excited to return to English-speaking territory. Hungarian is one fucking crazy language.

And speaking of language problems: Charlie enjoys doing ad lib remixes of popular songs, all of which feature a strange approximation of DMX. We requested "That's Amore" by Dean Martin, which Charlie chose to reinterpret as found in the subject line. Idiot.

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