Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy Birthday...

To Meeeeeeeeeee!

I'm gonna go enjoy some more beautiful booze in the beautiful sunshine with this stud muffin guy:

Cesky Krumlov, CZ. Go there. And have a sparkling wine with peaches in it.

See you in 3 days.

Friday, February 22, 2008

So...We're Going To Vienna

Just because we can. We leave in two hours.

Here's some pics:

So we left behind the cold ass climate in Cluj Napoca, Romania. The land of ridiculous headwear.
Which was prolly a good idea. Kansas was getting a bit punchy to move on. Here he is doing Spider Kansas. Yes, it has a name.And off we went to Budapest, Hungary. The land of...paprika and unpronounceable EVERYTHING.We shopped.Drank beer (mine's on the left...notice the size difference).And climbed in between the legs of giant Communist statues. If you can see me in there somewhere. The pic seems really dark on this computer. So I'm feeling him up...what can I say, I'm human. And he's well built.
Most importantly...we went to the BATHS! Oh they were glorious. Well, Kansas hated it for reasons we won't go into (he has some public hang ups), but I forced him to stay there for hours and hours. The sun was shining (it was going down by the time I took these) and the water was hot and rotten egg sulphury, t'was glorious.
These guys were glorious too. And rockin' the speedo.
I couldn't stop taking pictures at Statue Park.
Really, I couldn't.

Hungary's history is especially fascinating from the turn of the century to when Communism fell in '89. The Terror Museum is a must-see for anyone who visits. I had no idea how much the people of this country suffered for almost an entire century at the hands of the Nazis, The Arrow Cross gov't and the Soviet Red Army. We even got to watch an instructional film strip on "spying 101" from 1956. You all better watch your backs, I learned some shit.

Anyway, we were going to take a night train back to Prague and hang out or whatevs, but then we discovered that we were only 3.5 hours from Vienna. And shit...if you're only 3 hours from Austria, well, you damn well go to Austria.'re going to Austria.

The next time you hear from me...well, I have no idea when that will be, so nevermind.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hells Yeah, I Have Pictures

This is going to be all higglety pigglety because I can't seem to move any of these pictures and I've already been on this computer for over an hour and I'm done. I tell you I'm DONE.
Currently, I am in Cluj Napoca after what has been a trying/wonderful/frustrating/okay couple of days. Here we go...try to follow along with the jumping around and such:
This is me in a stairwell of Corvin Castle in the small town of Hunedoara. This is yesterday (2/16).
Though a perfect BITCH to get to and surrounded by burned out nuclear plants and is an amazing castle built in the 1400s and it very well could've FALLEN out of Brahm Stoker's novel...if castles could fall out of novels. Here is Kansas in ANOTHER winding stairwell of Corvin Castle (of Castelul Corvinol). Almost the whole castle was open to the public and we did everything short of scaling the walls. But I might've tried it if my hands weren't frozen blocks of icy frozenness. Romania in February...I'm an idiot.We have yet to find anyone around that would be willing to take our picture in front of things, so we've just been doing it ourselves. Hence the "reeeeallly close to the camera" look that involves cutting off my lower jaw (which is good since it hides my giant travel zit). Look at that castle in the background. Is that fucking awesome or what? It's on a cliffside an everything. There's even a moat.
Did you hear me? I said a moat!
"Who gives a damn about a moat?" you say. Go ahead and scoff if you like...but it's an essential portion of any castle experience. I've seen my fair share of castles. But I don't recall any actual moats. I've seen dry paths and places where moats used to be...but never an actual water-filled moat. So shut up.
The night before was a bastard of a night. We left Sibiu around 5 and took a train to what we thought would be the closest town to Corvin Castle that would have a hotel. That would be Deva. So we went there. Well, sort of...the train stopped three minutes before it was scheduled to arrive at the station. We looked outside and couldn't see any signs and people were getting off left and right, so we got off too. As soon as the train started moving, we knew we got off at the wrong station. Thankfully we found a taxi to take us on to our destination, feeling like idiots the entire way.

On top of that, we couldn't find a frigging hotel. Let me tell you, there's nothing like wandering around at 10:00 o'clock at night in a strange and fugly city carrying 50 lbs of who the fuck knows what on your back and no hotel in sight.

We eventually found one...and our room looked like this:I couldn't tell you what era this was supposed to be from, but the bathroom door didn't close, there was hair all over the place, the "blanket" was goldenrod and there was no hot water coming from the sink.
But at least it had cable.
So...a little touristy advice. Don't go to Deva. Ever. Not ever.Rewind to that afternoon (2/15), when we were still in Sibiu. This is a door in Sibiu. A quaint little town with very germanic architecture where we were attacked with snow.
This is us waiting at the bus stop. Or rather, we're waiting at the bus stop with these people. I love that woman's hat on the left. Lots of women were these ginormous fur hats. It's so...unethical.
Anway, we're on our way out to the open air Astra museum, which the dude at the hostel ASSURED me was open.
So we took the bus out there. It dropped us in what looked like the middle of nowhere. We walked the grounds, it started snowing. We thought "hey, this might be pretty in the snow".
But it was CLOSED! Assholes. So we had to start walking til we could find a bus stop, having no idea when or if a bus would come. Here's Kansas waiting.The bus stop was by a cemetary, so I went in to take some pictures. Here it looks all calm and serene. And that's when the snow began attacking us. It was falling so fast, it was up to the tops of our shoes by the time we got on a tram. That serene cemetery was completely white when I left it.
We got back to the city (Sibiu) and warmed our toesies with a little coffee and sustinence and then went out and took a shitload of pictures...most of which refused to be copied onto this computer. Assholes.
See Kansas over there waving? Yep, that's him. There's a similar one of me in a square looking ever so slightly chilled...but it wouldn't copy over. Because it's stupid.Anway, I think you get the idea. Tomorrow is our last day in Romania. I've just made our reservations for Budapest and we'll have a couple days there gorging ourselves on foodstuffs covered in paprika. Because that's what a good tourist does.
I guess then it will be goodbye to the elegant Romanian trains without working bathrooms. Alas.

Now I must go make myself horizontal for a while. You can't even imagine the amount of goulash I stuffed into my person this eventide. But it wasn't my fault. It had potato dumplings. They had to know I'm defenseless against starches. Assholes.

I don't know how much more I'll be able to update in the next week. You might have to wait for the rest til I get back. I'll definitely post more Bran Castle pics, etc. then. I know, you're sad...but go eat a pint of Hagen Daas and get over it.

As for your blogs...I'm horribly behind. I've barely been able to read any. I promise to sit my jetlagged ass on a couch for a good full evening and catch up weekend after next. So this means that you better not write any half-assed crap so's you don't waste my time. It's valuable, you know.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dracula Was Totally Born Here

You can see through the money here!

Sighisoara - birthplace of Vlad Tepes and quaint midieval hamlet extraordinaire. I'm in the internet cafe located in the basement bar of my hostel. And by basement, I mean this place looks like a brick bomb shelter...with WiFi. We've been here a day and a half, and without a car, there's not much else to see but the city itself. After Brasov, one really needs a car to see all this country has to offer. I guess that should be our biggest lesson next to "stop buying 2nd class train tickets because it puts you in coaches with fat, smelly Romanian men with no teeth who eat grey sausages and stare at you".
That being said, this place is beautiful...despite it's lack of a laundromat. We've climbed parapets and stairwells from 16somethingorother and ancient clocktowers that still function as well as they did the day they were the magical forest. Poor Kansas...he's probably never walked so much in his life. I'm being a bit of a slave driver...though beer is proving to be a glorious mid-afternoon power boost. I highly recommend it to athletes and people with jobs requiring more movement than going to pick up what's on the printer. They have great beer here. I think we've tried most of it by now. At least it feels like we have.

I thought I'd be having to physically hold myself back from buying one cheesy Dracula-related piece of touristy crap after another...but really, as far as such things are concerned, I've been disappointed. They're not marketing the kitsch possibilities here to the extent that they could and it saddens me. Is that wrong? Perhaps. But I'm here and you're not, so suck it.

Ok, this is the portion of the program where I try to upload some pictures.

You can't really tell, but that cart has a license plate. Awesome.

Kansas really excited to be next to the head of Vlad Tepes. No, that's not his real head. What's wrong with you people?

Lunch yesterday. That thing over there on the left is a meat wad. Actually, it has a better name, but I can't think of it. Polenta seems to be the side dish of choice. Not sure why. Haven't asked.

The bar/internet cafe where I'm sitting here typing this.

Me eating some sort of cheese bread thing waiting for the train. This was before we knew we'd be sitting next to the oogiest men ever. I look so

I really really wanted to go into this cemetery...but no matter how longingly I looked into it, no one came to let me in. Jerks.
K, this is all I have time took too freaking long as it is. We're off to do more crap. Today's the first day the sun hasn't tried to shine my face right off, so I don't want to waste it. Not that was a complaint. I love sun. I'm just not used to it.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

It's Fucking Snowing!

The bad news is, there's no stupid USB port on this stupid ancient computer. The good news is...I'm on it for free so I should just get over myself. But I wish you all could see the view I'm viewing from the window next to me. All nestled into a mountain side I'm sitting here in a toasty warm hostel in Brasov, Romania where all the young'uns are thankfully passed out, unknowing how truly awful their hangovers are going to be when they must wake up in a couple hours. So it's quiet. I have my tea, and I'm watching the snow fall gently onto these gajillion year old houses...and into the back patio silently filling up the empty midget pool. Don't worry...I know how shitty my descriptive skills are. I'm taking pictures.

The hostel as organized transport for us to go see Bran AND Peles castles today. Normally we'd be all "thanks but no thanks", but it's Sunday and all the museums are closed Mondays so we have to try and pack it in. Poor Kansas is going to have to try to pry one of the cameras loose from my over-excited death grips. He's doing well, by the way. No severe blow ups or even bad spats. He's out right now trying to track down some normal coffee. I think he will fail. In either event...I can't wipe the smile off of my face. This place is incredible in the winter...and it's going to be hard to leave. So I'm not going to for at least the next week.

Maybe if I pay for internet at some point tomorrow, I can upload some pictures. Until then, you'll just have to sit at your desks, staring at your monitors in anticipation. I'm going to go stare out the window til it's time to leave. Jealous? You should be.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I Am Not Quite Gone

1 1/2 days left. No packing done. Shit.

And so, Kansas and I will pack up our little backpacks of fun and spend the next three weeks avoiding frostbite in the forests near Brasov, the streets of Budapest and the outskirts of Prague. the end of three weeks...he will still be there with me. Sorry, inside joke.

Anyway, like I did in Morocco back in October '06...I'll try and post while I'm there where I can. Maybe I'll even be able to upload a picture or two. Who knows! Though, to be completely truthful...I'd probably benefit from a break in blogging as much a break in working. However, since I know you're all currently tapping into your abandonment issues and crying yourself to sleep tonight at the thought, I'll refrain from refraining. Because I am a giver. And that's what givers do. Give. And blog.

And if ONE more person asks me to bring them back Absinthe...I'll break a bottle over their heads. We have BACKPACKS much room do you think we have?! The last time I tried to bring liquid home in a backpack...the can of Pimms and Lemonade punctured all over a white Moroccan kaftan. It was really quite an imperialistically metaphorical moment. Or it would've been if it had been a can of Pastis. But they don't put Pastis in cans. And I wouldn't bring any home if they did because it tastes like black licorice, which in turn tastes like battery acid. Or what I imagine battery acid to taste like but hope never to find out for sure.

What the eff?! I don't have time for this. Shame on you for distracting me.

Cross your fingers that Kansas and I come back still in love!


Friday, February 01, 2008

And So...

The countdown begins. 4 days.

Romania better get ready for me.

Yeehaw, F*ckers!