Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Al returns to Eastern Europe

Al missed Eastern Europe and asked to return by joining a trip Josh and Alina were taking. At first, they were a little hesitant – what would happen to their romantic trip for just the two of them?
hopes for romantic time?

But upon realizing that they were traveling for 2+ weeks with only a few changes of underwear and not a lot of opportunities for showers, they realized it already wasn't going to be romantic in the traditional sense to start. Al was allowed to join.

They started in Prague, where they got a few days with Mr. Paul DeBell, too! They ate a lot of food, drank a lot of beer (and becherovka), and saw some pretty sights and fun museums.

Prague's castle at night

Some propaganda from the Communism Museum

More propoganda from the Communism Museum

Al admits that although he finds the fanged Matryoshka scary, there's also something a little sexy about it all...

Enjoying the night life in Prague. One of the four in the pictures above was not drunk. See if you can guess who!

Al claimed to enjoy hanging out with other intellectuals, but he thought Kafka was "kind of weird."

Visiting the memorial to the students who killed themselves to protest the occupation.

"One of my idols!" Al exlaimed, of Jara Cimrman, one of the Czech Republic's most beloved citizens. For more info, please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimrman

One of Cimrman's most brilliant inventions.

After Prague, the trio went to Vienna, but Al was less pleased with Vienna than other cities he has been in. And by Al, I just might mean Josh and Alina. Note the scarcity of pictures of Vienna. After a quick stopover in Bratislava, the trio arrived in Budapest, where they were reunited with Paul. The group continued on with the excellent food, abundance of beer, and some sights to remember. And, yes, a fascist rally. Although they didn’t know what it was when they first got there.

Al, slightly uncomfortable upon realizing that the rally was primarily for blaming all the country's problems on the Jews and Gypsies.

Kossuth, one of the most famous Hungarian rebellion leaders. Most towns have at least one ter (square) named for him.

The largest synagogue in all of Eastern Europe

A monument to the Jews slaughtered at the Danube river bank by the Nazis in WWII

Budapest at night

A few days down in southern Hungary provided Al with the opportunity to see Paul in the classroom, some small-town living, and yes, some ridiculously angry-looking (yet mechanically-oriented) children.

Paul in the classroom

A very serious Bendi

Bendi, fixing the engine

Josh and Alina had a blast on their vacation and ended up being thrilled that Al joined them. "He’s a light packer and never vetoes your pick for dinner," they were overheard gushing about their travel companion.