Friday, April 3, 2009

Eastern and Central Europe in a week continued

So we went to Hungary and drove all the way to Budapest.  We went on this tour with this guide who was one of the most monotone people ever.  But then we had free time.  We got off the bus and walked to the Hero's Square where there was a big World Peace Day demonstration going on.  Then we went to a hookah cafe for Turkish food it was really good and very in keeping with the hippy bohemian day we were having.  Then went to try to go back to our hotel but the bus we had been told we could take didn't exist so we ended up asking a million Hungarians and then taking a couple taxis.  Our driver was really cute and let us stick 5 people in the car.
The next day I had goulash for breakfast.  We got on the bus and went to Austria.  Vienna is a really beautiful clean city.  Our tour guide was really funny.  He explained why Austria developed so differently from Germany.  Because it was a catholic state so it developed with a much more philosophic approach to life.  He showed us where Hitler spoke and explained why he doesn't likes Sound of Music.  Then we went to a cafe and had apfelstrudel.  Then we got back on the bus and got lost for several hours so it was really late when we got to Prauge.
We got on the bus and went to Prague.  We met up with our tour guide who was really nice and showed us all around the city and we got to see the famous clock go off at noon.  And then he took us to a brewery for a Czech lunch.  It seemed appropriate since Prague is famous for being the beer drinking capital of the world.  The average person drinks a liter and a half a day.   Then we went to the Mucha and Dali museum and saw amazing art.  Then it started to snow/slush so we went into a chocolate shop for some shelter and tried some samples.  Yum.  Then we went to an internet cafe and I emailed home.  Then we met up with the group to go on a boat tour down the Valtava river.  It was really fun and beautiful because it was right at sunset. Then we went to the hotel and tried to play some games together but we were all so tired it didn't really work.  
Then we went to Dresden.  It is a weird ghost town like city.  But I got to see some cool buildings and eat a real German brawtwurst.  
We went back to Prauge, toured the other side of the river where the palace is.  It was beautiful.  The weather was so nice we all got sunburned.  We walked across the bridge.  Then we got back on the bus where we started to go crazy after 5 hours of Russian soap opera.  We got to the Polish boarder and I couldn't find my passport.  I thought it must be under the bus in my backpack but when I got to the hotel, it wasn't there.  People started telling me I was going to be deported, that I would have to stay in Krakow alone, that I would have to go to Warsaw for two weeks...basically Ukrainians are really mean about passports.  I really wanted to cry.
The next morning we went to figure out what to do.  We went to a police station and the police man was really nice.  He told us where the consulate was.  We went and I was able to get an emergency passport in 40 minutes.  We made it back just in time to meet up with the group and buy a Polish bagel thing and get on the bus.  I now hate Poland.  When we got to the border, we had problems filling out the forms wrong and so it took along time to cross.  We were running really late when we headed out.  So the Ukrainians told us to sing hymns and the bus driver took off.  We were flying down badly paved roads in rural Western Ukraine praying for our lives.  It was ridiculous.  But we made it to the train 3 minutes before it took off.  I was totally out on the train until the next morning.  
The next morning, we got off the train and I COULD READ SIGNS AGAIN!!  And I COULD UNDERSTAND PEOPLE TRYING TO SELL ME THINGS!  I was so happy I wanted to run and jump and skip!  I love Kiev!  We rode the metro home.  I tried to call them to tell them I was coming but no one answered so I was afraid how I would be recieved by a sleepy household.  But when I got to the door and buzzed up you could hear the heartbreaker smile in Vanya's voice when he said, "Annilyn?"  When they opened the door.  Styopa mauled me.  For the rest of the day he would not leave me alone.  He even stood outside the door when I went to the bathroom.  That night, Vanya, Misha, Volodya, Megan, Styopa, and I headed в лесу (to the forest) for shashlik (Ukrainian barbeque).  We played Volleyball, ate bootterbrod (open faced sandwiches), chopped wood, and then had the actual shashlik.  After that we had tea and chocolates and the boys sang to us and played the guitar.  It was really really fun.  Unfortutuantely we ran out of gas so we had to walk home.  I carried Styopa.  It was a beautiful night.  

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