Email sent July 25th, 2005:
Okay, well Im not really sure where I left everyone off but I know I last wrote from Budapest... The city was really cool, very eastern european feeling, and we had a blast walking for hours and taking it all in. Our final day we went to the Gellert Thermal Baths and pool, which included pool size jacuzzis, an open air pool, beautiful decorations everywhere, and far too many naked elderly men. It was a great relaxer though, except when way too many large european guys in their 50s entered the steamroom immediately after luke and I entered... and right before that this old creepy guy wouldnt give us a towel to enter until he literally watched us take off our shorts and change facing him... all I could think of was American History X and there was no chance i was getting invaded in a damn hungarian steamshower, so I got the hell out of there immediately... from there we went to the crown jewel of this planet- Bratislava, Croatia.
Luke and I planned out our eurotrip to include what we thought were the coolest and/or most beautiful cities in Europe that we hadnt previously traveled to.. that said, we really picked some great spots. On our first lengthy train ride though, we were randomly reading through the Lonely Planet Europe Guidebook and came across Bratislava, Slovakia, which it kindly described as the shittiest place on earth. We read about its depressing nature and lack of anything worth seeing, so we immediately decided we needed to go there for a night... i believe it was aristotle that said "you cant smell the roses if you never smell the poo", and ive heard he was pretty smart so that was the mantra for the visit to bratislava... from that point on we talked about bratislava incessantly (or as its name evolved into for us, (said in the thickest russian accent possible)... "The Brautishlaiv"))... it truly became larger than life for us, and everytime we'd see something horrible somewhere we'd describe it as the most beautiful thing that could possibly happen in the brautishlaiv... so we took our 4 hour train ride there and arrived at 11:45pm, in what most sites on google describe as the worst train station in europe.. this is taken from the first site i found on google:
Worst Train Station: Bratislava
Whoa boy. This is a tough one. Eastern European train stations tend to be filthy, depressing places, so it's hard to finger one as worse than all the rest. That said, Bratislava's pretty much got it all. You can't buy English–language reading material or change money after hours at the Slovak capital's dark, dirty railway station, and the waiting lounge reeks of passed–out winos.
This is a gross understatement... Bratislava is the type of place where high fashion includes 60 year old men with all 4 headhairs combed over, wearing capri versions of grey dress slacks and 1982 Reebok hightops, with their distended stomachs screaming out from their button down shirts that have not a single button done... not because they dont want to button their shirts, but because that would make them a part of the hated aristocracy of "people who have anything resembling clothing that looks normal"... we swigged our bottle of wine from the hungarian wine tour (the only way to handle a place that smelled that awful and was that depressing was to get drunk and laugh our asses off) and walked the mile into town and began searching for a hostel... the entire city was desolate on a wednesday night, no people, no cars. Eventually a nice guy helped us find a "orange hostel", which upon our entrance we were so delirious and buzzed that we decided to tell them we'd been jumped on our way there but because luke was a taibo instructor who'd trained with billy blanks we were able to fend them off... they had sympathy for us showing up at 1am, and gave us a "nice room" as they described it... google reviews described our hostel as "Ugly and dirty, not recommended at all. The staff woke me up at 09.30, telling me to get out because they were going to disinfect the room (creepy...)." Again, a gross understatment.. we decided to pee in our own sink because somehow that made our room actually cleaner.
So luke and i were beyond pleased with our bratislava experience, it turned out to be the exact shithole we expected and so much more... from there we went to vienna for 3 nights where we had an amazing time... great hostel, good food, unbelievably cool city. This email is already long enough so i wont detail vienna much, but its definitely our favorite european city thus far (although dubruvnik wasnt a city so it cant be compared) so if you go to europe def get to vienna... we just arrived in prague, city of absynth and absynth.
K, i hope everyone is having a great summer, staying healthy and happy. As always, id love to hear from all of you.
Be safe and stay classy