We got up at 5am in Budapest this morning. It's now almost 7pm in New York. My plan is to go to bed around 8, so I have twelve hours of rest in our awesome real bed.
Some quick notes about our Central European Adventure:
1. GAH the smoke. Everywhere smoke--indoors, outdoors, passing on the sidewalks. Gross.
2. LOVE how everyone stands on the right on escalators. Everyone.
3. Budapest is a little run-down, and the transit is straight out of the Soviet era. New York has trains that look like that--but they're in the museum!
4. All three cities we visited (Budapest, Prague, Vienna) are stupidly easy to get around, with metro, bus, and trams. Vienna has the bonus S-Bahn (suburban trains).
5. Apparently Europe does not believe in full-size or king-size beds. Everywhere we went was two twins pushed together, with baby duvets.
6. Prague is still utterly gorgeous.
7. Vienna is a wonderful mix of beautiful old buildings and modern urban feel.
8. It was a great time to be traveling. The weather was a bit in and out--poured our first full day (Budapest), but it was sunny for at least half the time, and warm for most of that. We did need a variety of clothes--shorts and jeans/sweaters. Also, because it wasn't around a big holiday, we saw very few Americans.
9. Heathrow is super serious about security. They caught my bag both times on our transfer because of my knitting/crocheting stuff. Crafters, you might want to send your stuff through separately.
10. I did about ten rows of knitting/crocheting the entire time; mostly I read a ton--six books! The kindle is pretty great for that.
11. Back to transport--international trains are SO EASY and CHEAP! 80 euro for the both of us for all the legs. The last one we only bought an hour in advance. Love it.
12. We took it easy on ourselves and didn't force early wake-ups. In fact, the first day, we arrived from our red-eye and connection, and stayed up til almost 8pm--and then slept til almost 10am!
13. We picked up a few words here and there, like kijarat and vystup (Hungarian for exit and Czech for transfer, respectively) but kept getting confused about whose words went where. Hungarian and Czech are just plain hard; at least German has some similarity to English.
14. Mister Melancholy loved the sausage carts all over town in Vienna. The Austrians love their street meats!
15. Those three countries are really white.
16. Two separate times we tried to go for a pizza dinner, and both times we were foiled. Argh.
17. Free breakfast is worth so much!
18. We came to love the local supermarkets--we must have gone to Tesco (which is a British chain, but still) in Prague like five times in two and a half days. We found Billa in Vienna and it was just awesome. A cup of generic brand pudding costs 19 euro cents! And they have flavored water called Wasser+!
19. It's always strange how by the end, we are sad that it's ending but also looking forward to getting home.
20. For being the cultures who invented and shaped all of Western civilization, you'd think Europe would have softer toilet paper.
21. But they *almost* make up for it with all the banana chocolate and other candy!