Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Walking around Europe....

A home accident-waiting-to-happen is called "Catfallingitis."

This occurs when your cat, who felt abandoned while you were away on vacation, follows you very closely - whipping and wrapping her tail around your legs as you walk.

And head butting your shins and calves to get some soothing scritches behind her ears.

They act aloof and independent but they drop that sham when you've been away more than half a month.

The challenge, after dumping my travel bags' contents around the room, was the solemn march to the bathroom - accompanied by the overly-friendly feline.

The moment of truth was when I stepped onto the scale.

How much damage had ale, stout, porter, boch, pilsner, lattes, melanges, whipped and foamy milk, slices of decadent chocolate cake and other pastries, done to my dieting body?

There also were sausages, brats, Kielbasas and  liverwurst.

And yeasty and tasty rolls and strange meals that featured goulash, dumplings, all kinds of pork and even a pizza.

I was NOT looking forward to a weigh-in.

The cat and I held our collective breaths as the scale told the tale. (The cat was not ON the scale, just standing by closely in case I felt the need to stoop down and pat her head.)

A VERY respectable 188 pounds! Wow.

I had gotten down to 185 so the net gain of only a few pounds back after two and a half weeks of glorious food and beverage consumption was surprising and rewarding.

Actually, walking miles and miles and hiking up and down palace, church and railway and tram stations stairs probably helped me maintain a balance.

I had stayed away from anything fried and had eaten many new and exotic vegetables.

There were other things that I have no idea if they were animal, fish or fowl.

I also used very little butter on those croissants and black bread and rolls...mainly because you paid extra for butter.

They give you one (1) paper napkin.

And a glass of water costs more than a glass of beer.

Those Germans and Central Europeans love their trams and Metros. We rode only one bus. Walked everywhere else.

My buddy had spent weeks pre-planning this trip and it really paid off! 

On his smartphone, he had tours and sights to see in each city and area. He knew which train to take and how much a rail pass would cost in each country.

This helped when our train was delayed almost 2 hours from Bratislava in Slovakia to Budapest in Hungary.

We arrived after midnight and the Metro train had stopped running so we had to hail a cab. The cabbie would want to be paid in local currency.

In Budapest, he withdrew 60,000 in 10,000 paper notes from a bank machine. 

These were Hungarian Florints, valued at $1 USD = 20 HUF. He handed me three grand so I could pay for some beers. 

Actually only two. My "pocket change" totaled about $15.

His 60,000 HUF cost only $200. 

We both quickly switched from "American" coffee to a much simpler latte or a Vienna coffee similar to a cappuccino. 

Not being used to cream in my coffee, I adapted because I learned if you asked for what we thought we really wanted, it usually was an ounce or two of espresso with hot water added, served in a tiny cup. Sometimes. Yikes.

Once past the need for a "cup of Joe," there was a pattern developing: Cake is usually paired with the coffee/Latte or melange.

This is the first post from my two and a half weeks traveling through 5 Central Europe countries.

Yes, there WILL be more posts and pictures.

I took 4,339 with my camera and hundreds more with my phone cam.

Hey, I don't plan to return there soon.



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