On the train to Praha

Trip Start Sep 20, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Austria  ,
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Guten Tag,

On the train again – only this time I'm travelling from Vienna to Prague. Natalie and I have had a great first few days on the continent. We ate weird vegetable Strudel, schnitzel, lots of pork and a few gelatos. Our only regret so far is that we didn’t buy "Shocken Bananen" in the candy store near Charles square. Not only is it the greatest product name ever, it actually looked pretty good. We couldn’t figure out if the shocken bananens  were actual chocolate dipped bananas or just banana flavoured chocolate. Either way, the next time I see the stuff I’m buying it.

We’re slowly figuring out how best to stretch a dollar over here. We’ve paid 8 euros for a delicious thin crust pizza with two tall boys of Gosser lager at a street vendor stand (that’s right, tall boys at a food stall), and 25 euros for less-than-stellar sausage at a cafe. General rule of thumb: Don’t sit down anywhere! It’s incredible what will show up on your bill. We’ve been charged for ketchup and butter already. With our lesson learned, we will now be sticking to the grocery store and street meat for the most part.  

We’re still dealing with a touch of jet lag and a lot of culture shock. Nat is perplexed by the German language, and claims that she can understand “everything else”. I told her that it’s closer to English than Polish is, but she wasn’t having any of it. Our stress levels are also pretty North American.  We found out that we were sitting on the wrong platform to get on this train about half an hour before the train was set to depart. We practically sprinted to the right platform – for no real reason. Then when we were boarding there was no place to put our gigantic bags. Natalie rushed to find someone to ask what we should do.  I stood nervously, wondering if we weren’t allowed bags this size on the train. Turns out, the Europeans just put them anywhere. Room on the chair next to you? Lay it there. Packed train car? Pile them in the aisles. It’s great. We’re so used to having our bags weighed, measured and secured by someone that works for the bus/train company.  It’s little things like that that are teaching us to just relax. The guy beside me brought two beers onto the train. He’s obviously been here longer than I have.

I’ve just about lost Natalie to her technological devices. If she’s not using the camcorder to film footage for the movie that she’s decided to make, she’s crouched down twenty yards behind me with her new camera snapping  an artistic shot. I’m not complaining though, she’s having a lot of fun with it, and the pictures we have so far look great. On that note, we’ll get them posted up here as soon as we can.

Auf Wiedersehen,

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zakpet on

The euro Trap
It seems so harmless at first. It's only 5 euros here, 10 there, 2 for a bottle of water. But then reality slowly starts to seep in. The mind begins to ponder. The calculations start. The hands get clamly and you realize you have no saliva. You start flogging yourself for not have paid enough attetion during grade 4 math lessons.

The Euro is sly one. She's foxy and mysterious. Her allure is almost irressitable. She calls to you like a siren perched on the jagged rocks of doom!

The romance with her is so fleeting. The cafes, lunches on the patio, and boboniere shops slip through your fingers only to find that you have nothing to grasp on to but the local grocery store.

Soon, baguettes, processed cheeses, deli meats, cans of anything become the staples of your European diet. You rush back to your hotel room after a day of siteseeing hoping that you'll still be able to make it down to pick up some bread, a pickle, some juice?

All of us who have undertaken this journey have learned these lessons all too well. I'm only glad that you were able to learn it sooner rather than later. And perhaps, unlike the rest of us, you'll be able to strike the right balance between exotic meals out and comfortable sustinance staying in.

But don't forget...there's European yogurt! The best in the world. Flavours the North Amercian palette could never fathom. Eat as much as you can! You'll miss it when its gone.

So glad to know that you're having fun!

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