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Day Tripping
2004-10-10 - 9:54 a.m.

Yesterday, my friend M and I went to Slavakia. Bratislava to be more specific. This was my first time and I was a little nervous going to another country with just us for a day. We took the train over the border. On the way I saw seagulls. Now, everyone kept asking me how the heck could they be seagulls in Slavakia (no where near the sea). I'm guessing they missed a turn. But I say if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck then it's a duck. ANd dammit, these were sea gulls. Anyway, we got off the train and I had to show my passport. You know how people usually take a little goofy pic for passports and ids? Well mine takes the cake. Nobody has yet to glance at my photo without laughing aloud. I look scared and constipated. It's pretty awful. I'll chalk it up to a bad hair day though. So, onward.

We took a bus to the center or old part of town where the castle is. I saw the American Embassy perched in the middle of a cobblestone road. It is a lovely little are rich with history. The statues dated back to the 1800s but there are castles and home dating back hundreds, even thousands of years old. We had no specific place to go but just wanted to see what we could find. I think we saw an opera house and a few other official buildings but then we found a pub that served shots of everything all for under a euro. Even a liter of beer was only .90 cent euro. Do you know how cheap that is? We (3 of us) had 8 shots and a beer for 10 euro. I tried some green shot that burned a new hole in my throat. Absynth I think it was called. They told us your supposed to set it on fire (after the fact). I tripped a couple of times on the cobblestone roads from my big feet and dizzy head but I wasn't too bad.

When we left there we found a little outdoor market where I bought a stein and 2 Mamushkas (I think they're called that. Little wooden nesting dolls) for 25. That's not bad for the 3. After shopping we decided to get dinner and found a place called The Hell Hole. It had plates of ribs for 3 euros.The walls were painted black with flames on them and giant devil heads were coming out og the walls. All the tables were carved wood and there were tons of pitchforks dangling from the ceiling. For 30 bucks we got 6 glasses of unfermented wine 5 plates of entrees and a salad. We gave the waitress the equivalant of a 5 dollar tip and she said it was too much. We still gave it to her but where a little more than flabbergasted by it.

After that, we went to the one castle we passed earlier going back to the bus. At the top, it has a view (I'm told) of three countries at once. You can see Austria, Hungary, and Slavakia with just the turn of your head. We walked up there at night so I didn't get that view. Next time. But while I was standing there, I imagined myself there a couple of hundred years before looking out over the river. I cleared the cars and the lights and bridges from my mind and tried to see and feel what a woman my age might have so many years ago standing in that same spot. And it did hit me, if only for a moment.

It was a long ride back home and we had to take the train, Strassenbahn and Ubahn where Glen met us at the bus station and drove us the rest of the way home. I really enjoyed it and am glad for the experience. I slept like a rock last night and guess what? I dreamt about a castle.

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