At some point the fun has to end, and both of us have to go back to our regular lives at home. When I say regular life I talk about the flight I have to catch the 18th of April from Copenhagen, so that I can play Reykjavik Open. Anyhow we had only planned 12 countries on our 20-day trip, and since we managed to do all of them, it must now be the time to go “home”… my 15 hours bus ride awaits and here comes a blog post about our last three stops in central Europe: Vienna, Bratislava and Prague!
Huge Wiener Platz
We had just had a huge schnitzel in a nearby restaurant and were getting ready to leave:
- Lokander: “Should we tip?”
- Ellen: “I can barely afford the food and much less to pay for someone else’s!”
- Lokander: “We should tip”
- Ellen: “Fine I will leave the 8 Leks and 5 Kune I have in my pocket”
Lokander later referred to that as: “the cheapest tipping he had ever experienced”. I just explained that it was tipping on budget and something is always more than nothing! Nonetheless Vienna is not a cheap city to stay in, and I had a hard time adapting to the fact that a meal and a beer no longer was cheaper than a pack of gum bought in Sweden. What to see in Vienna:
- The National Library is really worth stopping by. The whole building is wonderful and both Martin and I enjoyed a long relaxing pause in the park (approximately 10 minutes, we did not have time for more). I have to say, that I could really see myself sitting on a bench with a book outside of this library the whole summer… If I lived or studied in Vienna.
- The Historical Art Museum: “Three hundred years ago Maria Theresa was born in Vienna. In 1740 she succeeded her father, Emperor Charles VI, the last male Habsburg ruler, in what were difficult times. Almost all the European powers waged war against her, believing that the young woman would not be able to hold on to her crown. How wrong they were: Maria Theresa became one of Europe’s greatest rulers and mother of sixteen kids”. The Historical Art Museum in Vienna was more than just a museum; they had signs all over the museum marking important women through history and called for feminism. I love it. Here I also had the chance to shine (bore Martin to death) with my extra knowledge from ancient history classes about ancient sculptures from Greece: Archaic, Classic and Hellenistic sculptures and their features… I probably only remember this because my teacher refused to give me the highest grade at my exam, and I subconsciously still know that I f***ing deserved it! The four Ninja Turtles also became a topic, but I gave up when Martin said he did not know what “The Ninja Turtles” was or who they were named after. Come on, how should it otherwise be possible to remember the most famous renaissance artists: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Rafael and their work!? Nevertheless the whole museum is stunning both on the inside and outside. In the end, Martin did not even regret paying the 15-euro entrance fee.Archaic, Classic and Hellenistic
- The Votive Church you cannot miss even if you want to. This neo-gothic church really wraps up the city and once again underlines how spectacular the architecture of Vienna is.
I ended up getting the most amazing dress at a random store we passed by on the way home. As mentioned earlier I was on budget, but once again I was happy to have the love and support from family and friends, when I needed it the most (it is referring to the dress) 😉
Naked baby alien
Wow, I really do not know what to say. I barely remember the city of Bratislava since the people we met were so strange. I mean the beautiful castle completely faded in the light of the weirdness being emitted from the “Downtown Backpacker Hostel”. Before I tell this story I have to say, I am not a racist and I have a high weird-tolerance:
- Martin and I had just received our keys for the room and were preparing to leave the bags and go out and see something. When we walk through the door to the “Van Gogh” room we were met by the sight of a Muslim man from Senegal who was praying. We both said hello and sorry for disturbing and walked past him in silence. The man did not say anything but just starred at us in anger before he continued praying. At this moment another person who lives in the room walks in and accidently steps on his prayer rug (the rooms at hostels are very small, it clearly was an accident). The Muslim man gets extremely angry takes his mat and continues praying outside of the room while watching videos of people screaming??? I later learned that this man sold wood (voodoo) figures for a living. At first I felt bad for being scared of this man, since he was black and Muslim, but as Lokander said, it had nothing to do with his skin-colour or religion, but the fact that his behaviour was extremely strange, nevertheless all of his brothers were nice! I ended up changing room, but mainly because everybody said he snored awfully loud. I left Lokander behind.
This was just the beginning. After we both had quickly walked down the stairs and outside the hostel, we decided to grab some food, see some sights and maybe take a beer. The first two ideas were great, the later… I do not know what to say:
- I had talked to an Italian guy, who wanted us to have a beer with him and his American friend. Lokander and I agreed and went to the hostel bar. At first everything seemed quite “normal”, but as the conversations went on, it really took a surprising turn. The American guy became completely obsessed with psychoanalysis and chess players and started asking the weirdest questions I have ever heard:
“If chess players had to play naked in a tournament, do you think it would affect their performance?
“Imagine chess players holding a baby while playing. How many would drop the baby, when seeing a winning move and having to perform it?”
“Aliens are arriving at earth. They cannot communicate in language or writing. Do you think chess would be a suitable game to use for communication?”
I was completely speechless. The last thing he said to us when we left the hostel in the morning was:
“Naked, baby, alien!”
I have to admit; I am probably going to use these questions for my blog, when I make player profiles during Reykjavik Open. It is definitely going to be interesting.
Yes the castle was interesting, the war memorial nice, the old city beautiful – but I think it will take some time, before I stay at a hostel again, or mention the fact that I play chess…
Last stop: Prague, Prag, Praha?
Our journey took an unexpected turn when we realised that we were going to Prague during the Easter. Why you ask? Basically the city is full of tourist partying and celebrating. Danes and Swedes everywhere and everything was booked. The only available place was “Gay Hostel” for 250-euro a night… well luckily I am an interracial breed and have family everywhere, which we really could benefit from this time. Central apartment for free, yes please, and thank you to my fathers cousins daughter!
Since it was Easter we had the pleasure of some Easter markets and a completely people packed city. Prague is amazing and instead of recommending something to se (which would be basically everything: take a guided tour or just walk around for a couple of days. Martin have been here… a lot, and still got things to discover) I am going to tell you some fun facts we got from the “free”-walking-tour:
- In the Czech Republic they on average consume 142.6 litres of beer per person per year (infants included). This is on average 80.7 litres more than an ordinary Dane! (We personally did a beer tasting with 15 different kinds. Martins favourite was cherry-beer).
- The biggest “religion” in the Czech Republic is atheism and it is one of the least religious countries in the world. Since the percentage of atheist is so high, Jediism is an official religion in the Czech republic. More than 1500 people wrote jediism, when they were asked what religion they belonged to by the state. (Jediisme is basically based on the Jedi’s way of living in Star Wars).
- The president of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman once said that he wished death upon all vegetarians. A little harsh if you think about how hard it already is to be a vegetarian in this country.
- The enormous castle on top of the hill gets illuminated every evening. The president at that time was a friend of Mick Jagger. The state itself could not afford to pay for the lighting but Mick offered to do so. The lighting is officially sponsored and paid from his personal pocket.
And do see the clock, but do not expect anything. It is the biggest tourist trap and has been voted the second most disappointing tourist attraction more than once. The Mona Lisa wins every year. Anyone who has been in Prague knows what I talk about.
I definitely also recommend the Chocolate Museum! You can eat all the chocolate you want for a very small amount of money. I am pretty sure I got value… but I also had nausea the rest of the day. Martin do not even like chocolate anymore.
And then there were one…
The last step on the journey was in a bus with 70% Danish teenage girls from a basketball team (that really liked talking loudly the whole ride) and 20% Danish teenage boys (that have a vodka they share). I took a great picture though, that really illustrates that the Danish youth is no better than the Albanian average person when it comes to queuing. I can also conclude that I basically have taken the bus from Albania to Sweden… not in one sitting, but I think it counts!
This is my last official post about this trip. My head is now pointed at Reykjavik and the game of chess once more. The tournament starts the 19th of April, and a short teaser will soon be posted!
Thank you very much Martin for a remarkable journey, and I am so sorry that I had to end our friendship today because you confessed you like pineapple on pizza.