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Hello, Sveiks!

Welcome to the chronicles of Arunas and Maddie's European Summer Vacation. This page is for us (and mostly for you too) to keep a record/messageboard so you can drool over our photos of picturesque scenery/landmarks and drunken debauchery etc.

PLEASE SAY HELLO whenever you visit this page, we'd like to feel special and know that back home, there are people who care. We'll also respond so check back the next day.


Adieu! Auf Wiedersehen!

- Arunas & Maddie

Diary Entries

Monday, 27 August 2007

Location: Frankfurt International Airpor, Germany

So, it is the end to our trip.
We are waiting to check in for our flight, which we have only just found is swinging by Jakarta aswell...
In any case, we will be back on Wednesday 29th at 6am.
We will call and catch up for drinks and pressie giving times soon!

We also will have photos on Maddie's harddrive if you would like to see any of the snaps you didn't get to see here.

Bon chance for our flights!

Thanks, see you soon.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Location: Budapest, Hungary

Hello, we are in Budapest.
We have tried to connect both Maddie's hard drive and/or the memory card reader to the computer. They (the PCs) are protected.
It seems that Eastern Europe is afraid of some tourist attack of terror on their PCs. ITS FREAKING CRAZY!

Ok, we have found another internet cafe. Plug in the USB and it seems that our memory card is corrupted. The memory card is full, we can see all of the photos in the camera. Insert it into the card reader and the writing is all in Russian and there are a gazillion folders of nothing. HMMMM.

Shove the memory card back in to the camera and what happens... card is full of blank images! AHHHHHHHH
We will have to use another memory card but this is crappy because we can't show you any photos of places like Ceske Krumlov, Brno, or our extra night in Brno with Hill.
:( Maddie and Arunas are very frustrated and very sad.
There is hope that we can get it fixed when we get back to Melbourne but that's not the point. :(

In any case, we arrived ini Budapest with a hangover (we'll explain why for this time we had a very very good excuse), on a delayed train (it rained so hard that the train had to stop) from Brno (running 2 hours late) finally arrive in Budapest, have a run around, or to be blunt a f--k up with the hostel (ie: no one at reception when we arrived) amid the fireworks for St Stephen's Day (Patron saint day). In any case, we are safe.

Speak soon

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Location: Brno, Czech Republic

Hello all.
I have just updated this page. However, I can't upload photos at this internet cafe. Why? Their afraid people will have viruses and therefore the USBs do not work.
I will go and try to find another cafe now to do this for you. Althought it took me half an hour to find this one in the centre of the city....
There are some really amazing photos I would like to show you, particularly from Krumlov castle.

Bye for now!
Enjoy reading while you're all stuck at work in the middle of winter! hahahah
from Maddie with love!

PS: We are BROWN!!!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Location: Brno, Czech Republic

Spilberk Castle, Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Spilberk Castle - originally a royal castle, founded in the 13th century, rebuilt in the 17th century into a sizeable Baroque fort. Till 1945 there was a prison and barracks. 'Kasematy' – Baroque fort architecture and prisons in the Josephine era. The castle is also the home of the Brno Musuem.

A huge, steep walk, in the baking sun leads us to the Castle. First we try and figure out how and where to get either a map or a ticket. We bought the combination, it seemed only logical, for the permanent exhibitions, the look out tower, and the casemates.
The exhibitions started off as an introduction about how the castle was built and when and by who. To be honest, we briskly walked through a lot of it until we got to the exhibition called "A prison of the Nations". It is the second largest Prison/torture place in Czech. It originally was just a castle, and a bastion. Soon enough they housed some of the worst criminals in the Czech lands. Later, it was a prison for political prisoners of the Hapsburgs, Napoleon's enemies, Hungarian Jacobins, Italian Carbonari, Polish revolutionaries, and a Nazi gestapo prison in the 1930s. Thankfully, the lower prison casemates were built in 1742-- this is after Prussia BANNED torture in prisons (1740). However, I tihnk that having Joesphine Cells, starvation etc. is torture enough.

We had a nice tour through the casemates (as nice as nice can be)... at one point, you can go and sit in a Josephine cell with the door locked to get an idea of what it was like. A Josephine Cell is a wooden box (no windows) in the deepest, coldest, dampest, smelliest part of the underground cells (casemates) in which the prisoner was chained by hands, feet and neck. Arunas tried to convince Maddie to go in for a photo. Maddie looke inside it and said "It feels like ghosts!" It was really disgusting.

Onward and up to the Lookout Tower. Great view, Great photos. We could see the Cathedral "Petrov" where we were headed next.
On the way we stopped off to grab a bit to eat for lunch. Maddie's salad with Cucumbers came out as "tomato and onion" (obviously she thought i pointed to the wrong one on the menu) and after Arunas has downed his, Maddie's salad comes out as this: a bowl full of shredded cucumber. No lettuce. A blob of yogurt on top with a sprig of parsely. In the bottom of the bowl was all the water from the cucumber.
Interesting is all I can say.

On our walk to the cathedral, we came across heaps of police cars and some police tape. There was a body in the street. Maddie turns around to go the other way while Arunas keeps walking towards the tape. He later informs me that it looks like someone jumped out of their window.
We quickly ran to the Cathedral, the sun was being hidden by incoming clouds. Great photos from the hill and the cathedral inside.
Our walk back leads us through the old Veggitable market (now it is summer, was a lovley fruit market) and then into the old town square... which is actually a triangle!

We find ourselves at Pivovar Černá Hora (a brewery) dating back to 1503) and sit down to cool off from the sun and our long walk in the castle. After trying a great beer, a not so great beer, and a foul one, we grab some groceries, and head home to Hill's HOT flat.
We stopped by Pivo Zone (Pivo = beer if you didnt notice), what looked like a bottle shop on the outside, but is a place where you buy kegs. :( Arunas picked up some cool beer merchandise and some beers... Maddie found Hoegaarden for 25KC... that's $1.50 AUD. BARGAIN!

Maddie put the kitchen to good use making Farfale with cream, bacon, mushrooms, and spinach. Arunas and Maddie spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out when to go to Bratislava, when to leave Brno or wheather to skip Bratislava or to go somewhere random like Vienna. It ended as "we'll see how we go tomorrow"

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Location: Brno, Czech Republic

Train to Brno:
We jump on, find an empty compartment, throw our suitcases, and take a deep breathe. Arunas goes to find a toilet.
A distressed looking man runs into our compartment, yelling in Czech. He is sweating, shaking, looks scared/angry and he freaks me out. I yell back "NO CZECH!!!" I want him to leave. What does he want? He says (in perfect English mind you) that he is a German tourist who fell asleep on the train, and when he woke up all is luggage was gone. "Help, Help, please help". I tell him to go and find the conductor. He doesn't udnerstand what I am saying. I get up to show him what I mean (as in point out a conductor) and he stares at my backpack with a grin on his face. I usher him out of our compartment and point him in a different direction to another conductor. He turns around and says "No, No want man. No.. I need 5 Euros, help me please." I inform him that I have no euros. "Czech Money?!?!? PLEASE!!!" I would like to point out that his please is not a "please?" it is a demanding yell. I tell him to go away, get back in our little compartment and shut the doors.
Maddie turns around and looks at Arunas who is now back in the compartment who informs me that the train is about to leave.
The "German Tourist" is walking through the carriages of the train trying to find someone to give him money for crack. The train crew jump on, the train starts to pull away, and the crackhead jumps off.

In any case, it turned out to be a lovely train ride, full of farm land, rivers, forests, small towns, and simply great scenery. Maddie slept for most of it. Thankfully Arunas had the camera and was happy to take photos.

The further we get away from central Bohemia (ie: Praha) the lighter the clouds are. The better the weather looks, the heigher the temp gets. EXCELLENT!
We arrive in Brno.

We are staying in Arunas' friend Anthony Hill's appartment. Unfortunatly, "Hill" already booked a trip to some small beachy town in Croatia with a lady friend. So, we arranged to pick up the keys and directions to his place from his work.

It is hot. There are no lifts to get out of the station. We lug the suitcases up. We follow the directions to get to Hill's work (English Language School in Brno)through streets that don't even have little dipps from the curb to road at pedestrian crossings. Maddie is starting to crack. We drag our suitcases until finally we find Hill's work. Arunas runs up, gets the keys and the hillariously drawn map showing directions to Hill's apartment.
We jump on a tram, and finally get there. It is an old Soviet block of apartments. Except, we are impressed that the concrete buildings have been painted nice pastel colours. Hill's is a nice butter yellow colour. We notice that he lives on the 5th floor and prepare ourselves for the heavy climb.

We get to the 5th floor and try and work the 2 locks on the door. After a while, we bust it open, dump our things, have a shower, and then start to look at the things Hill left us.
Firstly, Thanks Anthony for letting us use your pad for a few days!
He left us a map labbeled with restaurants, the museum to check out, the public pool, the trams to get and everything. Nicely done - we appreciated it.

We head into town to find the beer tent Hill recomends first. Maybe we are blind, or maybe we are just useless, but for the life of us, we cannot find the place called Charlie's Hat in Koblizna Street. We find some place that is listed in the Lonely Planet book and head over. A beer, some crazy food, and a discussion about Vilnius (and Arunas realising that Maddie even knows the street names where things are in Vilnius, and he doesn't) Maddie is on the point of tears. Half of her wants to go home to Melbourne and the other half wants to go back to Vilnius for the remainder of their time. It seems as if Arunas feels the same way. They go home and try to figure out what to do.

They decide that tomorrow they will go to Spilberk Castle and the main Cathedral in Brno.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Location: Hostel Rosemary, Prague, Czech Republic


7am, the alarm rings. I jump up and run to the laundry, only to find our clothes in the washing machine, with the door locked.
I wake Arunas... it was like waking a sleeping angry Giant. We marched down to reception to figure out WTF was going on.

The repair man had not come yet.
We explain that we have to be on a train soon and that we need our stuff.
We are advised that the guy has been called and will be here any minute. 30 min later, Maddie hears drilling. A repair man has showed up. He is removing the entire door.

Panic sets in, she tries to figure out a way to get out of paying for a replacement door. SHIT, this could end very badly.

We opens the door. Maddie sits and watches. He replaces the seal between the door and the washing machine face. He puts the entire door back on, and opens the door properly.
He says its ok to get my clothes. He points to the broken seal


We shove our twice washed, yet slimy clothes (slimey from sitting in a machine for 24 hours), in plastic bags, throw them in our suitcases, head down to recpetion, throw the cash for the rooms on the table and leave.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Location: Hostel Rosemary, Prague, Czech Republic


We arrive back to Hostel Rosemary at 9pm. We are eagerly awaiting our clean dry clothes. Unfortunatly, we forgot that we were in Prague, and nothing was ever going to work out for us here.

We get to reception and ask for our key. As we look up, we see a new face. Someone we had not seen working before. We tell him 4C. He asks for our names. WEIRD. They didn't do that since we checked in! We gives us the key. He says "No repair man came. We tried to get the door open but they could not. A repair man is coming at 6am tomorrow to get the door open. The manager says you need to pay for it because you must have broken the machine because this is not a common problem. I hope you don't need to pay for a whole brand new machine!"
Arunas and Maddie look at each other in disgust... and dismay. We are getting on a train to Brno at 9:50 the next morning.
Arunas: "What? WHY? We have to be on a train to Brno tomorrow morning! We're not paying for anything, we haven't done anything to the machine!"
Maddie: " I am not paying for anything! I'm not going to yell at you, because it\s what your manager says. You tell you're manager that if he wants us to pay for anything he can talk to us directly. This has already happened to another couple here, so it is a problem with your machine."

We grab our keys and run up the stairs to check out the machine, have showers, and sleep. We both try to open the door one last time before we have a shower.

Alarm is set for 7am, enough time to pack and get ready and get to the station.

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Recent Messages

From Donna
Ah....the best laid plans.
Keep well Maddie-how about some rest. You and Arunas seem to be exerting yourselves greatly doing the tourist thing. Why not some relaxation at some time? How about taking the water at a spa? How about dringking some water? cheers, D&J
Response: oh believe me, there was been water! There was a lot of relaxation in Brno, in fact there was 48 hours straight! We are now in Budapest, home of the best spa resorts in Europe here we go!
Hi hi hey,
BOOOO Aaron here of the montague 2008 dream team,
Let me start by saying im very envious of you guys being anywhere but here in "cold as a witches tit melbourne".
Looks like yours having a blast which is v sick, i was just talking to michaela about yours absence over many a payed for drainks "thanks scott you twot" hope the rest of the treak provides fruitfull stories on return. Have a disco guys better contact me on return, the montague is boring as f--k without you guys, its just me alone in the bar drinking after work. ne way. PEACE live long an profit.
PS: Transformers was good, but what was with taking the cube into a populated city to hand it to chopper pilots, i mean they were agaisnt super jets. retarded COME ON SPARTA PRAGUE!!!!!
Response: oh Aaron... many drinks will be had friend! Who knows, even maybe some more drum and bass parties!!! That would be most excellent.
Scott did get a mention on this site, I managed to justify working with him for so long. If you would like to read (yes, I can't believe I actually found a good reason....) it is when we went to a place called Palanga. f--k we hate that guy.

From Mama Ruta
Hi Arunas & Maddie,
I was wondering if the hostel in Czech is the same one u stayed in last time u were there. Anyway, life is full of good and bad experiences. Hope you have some clothes to wear. If moulded, throw them out, claim on insurance. Well its good that you are going out sight seeing even after all the rotten luck, look on the bright side and make the most of it. Love the photos. Take care, eat plenty of fruit. Spring is in the air in Melb. Love mum
Response: hi mum,

luckily no mouldy clothes but the material is a bit rough after 5 washes in one hit! anyway when everything goes to shit you just have to make the most of it, which I think we've done very well. at the moment Brno has been very relaxing and great, having an apartment to ourselves has given us freedom to do whatever we choose, whenever we like. Maddie's got a bit of a chest infection but im ok, just trying to keep as healthy as possible!

thanks for keeping an eye out on us!

From Antanas
Love the pictures and story lines, looks like your seeing a absoloute shitload.
I'm jealous and inspired all at the same time.
Wish you well on your travels look forward to seeing back home safe soon.
Luv Antanas and Sally.
P.S. check out our "i love technology" video on youtube.
Response: love the film clip!

those crazy lazers on a projector do wonders! lol

thanks for stopping by and checking our page out. this "holiday" has been one hell of a ride, and it aint over yet! When we get back we're definately going for a beer or 10.

take care!
From Laura
Hi both :)
So sorry to hear about Prague... It used to be really charming. What a shame... Hope You'll have much better weather/time/food/hostel at Your next destination.
Take care!
Response: AND WE HAVE!

Give Darius a big hug and kiss for us! (you are a lucky mum!)
From Cousin John-Michael
Hey Guys,

looks as though you're having a great trip! your blogs are alot more detailed than ours :P. we are currently in Bordeaux, France. only here for couple of days then were off to Spain to soak up the sun and drink sangria.

Travel safe and who knows we may bump into each other in a foreign country...

Bye for now, John-Michael and Erin.
Response: Thanks for stopping by. We're not jealous you're going to Spain! LOL!

Enjoy and work on those tans!

From Daina
Hey guys!
Great to hear about all that you are doing - still only up to Krakow, just wanted to let you know that we are all good, the kids cant wait to see you again and that the weather here is finally getting better :)
Catch you soon.... now long to go now
Love Daina, Ken, Jack & Anastasia xxoo
Response: Miss you chickens!

Stay healthy and happy, read read read! We've been busting our guts to update this page (not really but i want to make you feel guilty!) Speak soon! xoxoxox
From Laura (remember Viln
Hi guys :) been to Berlin two times and all I can recall is delicious kebabs. Now I know the history behind all the monuments I saw :D Glad You're having a good time. Keep it up and take care! Hugs, Laura&family
Response: Thanks Laura! The kebabs so far are cheap and delicious! Thanks for checking our page. Love A&M
From Mama Ruta
Hi guys,
I am happy you have ventured out. What a history lesson, better than reading the history books, just travel and absorb all the information and see it in real life. Keep enjoying and absorbing the culture and history. Are you enjoying any of the summer fruits available in Germany i.e. berries, stone fruits etc. Arunas let me know is there are any fancy Swatch Watches about. Bye for now, take care. Kisses to both of you.

Response: The quality of fruit in the supermarkets is quite disappointing actually :(
Haven't stopped by any Swatch shops so far...
From Mama Ruta
Hi Guys,

I can imagine how sad you must of been having to leave friends and relos, well at least you will have fond memories and hopefully you will see them again in the not too distant future. The photos and captions are funny. Who was writing the diary? I hope Maddie had a great time in Litho land. Now for more adventure and fun. What a journey! Enjoy and look after yourselves and belongings. Arunas, I think you need to do some serious walking....good for your physic.

Jackie and Anastasia are just gorgeous. Jackie and I go for walks and play when I visit. Love holding Anastasia, she is quite alert and checking out the scenery. Jackie is not quite sure about his, are you for real!!!!

Bye for now, love mum
Response: both me and Maddie contributed equally to the diary and the photo captions. I have been walking non stop in Berlin- except my beer intake is not decreasing so they cancel each other out :(

From MaMa
Things have gone quiet for a while...not much happenening eh guys. Got your card Madge....thanks very much
Response: yes, we do send our appologies! We had a week away near the beach and since then have had little/no big chance to come on the net....UNTIL NOW! updates tomorrow
PS: Thanks for the news re:Bracks and Sheedy!
From Vytas Braza
Hey guys,
sounds like you have a ball, I'm very jeolous.

Response: Cheers VB, definately going to need a liver transplant. - Arunas.
From Monika & Glenn & Kid
Hey Arunas & Maddie!!!
We have been watchin your blog with great interest and appreciate the detail with which you describe your daily adventures. Soooo Wish we could be there. Are you catching up with mochiutes rels?? by the way John-Michael & Erin are still in England & will eventually come to Lietuva via other Euro Countries, any advice or suggestions for the novices?? Their travel blog is javascript:ol(' Hope you can contact them and give them sum advice cos we here back in aussie land r flounderin with information. Sveiks from the peninsula. Monika & Glenn xoxoxox
Response: The advice I can give is to check out Vilnius, Nida and Klaipeda. Kaunas hasn't much to offer and Palanga is a little too crowded.
From Donna
It was amazing to speak with you on the mobile the other day- so clear. Isn't technology wonderful?
Hello to Arunas. Hope you are keeping well. Are you supplementing your diets with Berocca?
Much love, Mum
Response: HA. Barocca has been a godsend. It was very nice of you to call!
From dalia
Hate to think what your liver looks likes!!!! Hope you meet your other cousins especially your father's name sake and tell me if you think he looks like Paul. Your pics brought back great memories from last years trip. Mocuite is well and sends her love. Keep safe.
Response: I've met Aistis and Vidmantas, they were heaps of fun. As for the resemblance to Paul, I can't say I saw it...
From Ruta
Hi Guys, Brings back alot of memories, since I've been their last 10 yrs ago. What a contrast, so much has improved and upgraded. One big history lesson for Maddie! It's good you are both going around and having a look at all these places. Love the feed back & photos, keep it up. Slow down on the DRINKING!!! Today the sun is shinning, Yeah, cold nights though. Dad and I did quite a bit of gardening yesterday. Catch u later. Mama
Response: I think its been a big history lesson for both us!

We're slowing down on our drinking, its just hard when the prices for drinks makes it look like happy hour at every bar!

Love always.

From Michelle
I am hoping that we have the connectiona and will connect at home but at Christmas in july lunch I will say hello from the Mclachlan clan, have had a lovely day wish you were here!! Glad to know what an interesting time you are having. very exciting to be able to communicate accross the world!!!All is well with us had a Bonfire last night very nice on a very cold night. Coldest winter here in quite a few years. We just had a little holiday to Robe in STh Aust. gorgeous place very picturesque landscape with limestone rocky outcrops and fabulouz coastline. Love to you from Michelle
Response: Hi Michelle! I head it was 2 degrees in Melbourne the other day! CRAZY! Say hello to the girls for me!
From Aiste, Alan, Eirima
Sveikas Arunas+Maddie,
Pleased to meet you Maddie! Looks like you two having fantastic holidays. Enjoying Lietuva so far?!! If you still in Vilnius, Old Town you could visit Vytas+family. He's back from Palanga around26th Jul, I'll double check if you interested...Keep enjoying the sights, have fun xxx
Response: Labas Aiste, Alan ir Eirima!

We get back from a Palanga-Nida-Klaipeda trip on the 27th of July but it might change. If I could get Vyt's number i can call to perhaps organise meeting up! Lietuva has been fantastic so far...having sooooo much fun! Thank you for your message, viso gero!
From Donna
Vidmantas is very hospitable and clearly so are his friends and his relatives.
Best wishes to all. Your summer snaps are so incongruous with the Antarctic weather we are expereincing. The plasitc windows (temporary for 6 months) in the dormers have finally given in to the penetrating blasts. Burrrrr!
Response: Weather sounds awful! We have already convinced him to come to Melbourne...
After we come back in 2009!!! 2009 it is the 1,000 year mark of Lithuania in written history. Very cool! In fact half of the city is being rebuilt, new museums etc are opening in July '09 for the event.
From MaMa
Hi travellers...great to hear all your news. You are certainly having a great party time. To bring you up to date from down under, the Saints had a great win last Sat, beating Adelaide by 2 points. They are still out of the 8 and playing the Hawks on Sat Ging to Oakwood on Sunday for Xmas in July, down and back in one day as I have all these animals to take care of.
Been snowing all day here and I mean snowing. Probably 10cms on the ground and with what weather is coming in it loks as tho we will be snow bound again tomorrow. I am warm and toasty, glad you both are having a ball and look forward to hearing from you soon
Response: WOW snow in the winge!
From Donna
I'm so impressed with the photo montage. Well done, very comprehensive both from the historical and the sociological points of view.
Have you both thought about taking the waters, ie, drinking Baltic waters! Keep well and thanks for keeping us so well informed.
Response: thanks Mum.
It turns out that Arunas is quite good with the camera!
From Rimas
The last time I was in Lithuania I brought back a Lithuanian Cookbook written in English named "Lithuanian Traditional Foods". It has all the traditional recipies etc. Bookshops would have this & perhaps others that are in English for sale. I'm sure you have already started to taste the various Lithuanian style cooking & foods such as kepta douna (baked bread) that is one of Arunas's favourite. Keep enjoying the sights & both of you stay healthy. Cheers ):
Response: I have been looking. So far, there is not that much on offer. However, there is a massive bookstore I have seen today. I will give it a go. So far we have had one or two meals that are non litho maximum. I like kepta duona even if it is a day old! Ha. I have tried many things, besides smoked pigs ears. They look interesting, but I will wait until I feel up to the challanage. Other then that, I am thoroughly enjoying myself!
From Pete!
Hey Dudes, this adventure sounds awesome, thanks for posting it so i can live vicariously though you guys and escape work for a bit!
Also Kudos on managing to reference beer in pretty much every post.
Response: (Arunas) I reckon mate. I think you would love it here, also because they haven't evolved from Speedo's!
From margie and Lucy
Hi guys...great to hear the news but we are concerned that you seem to be drinking a lot and not eating..... (i.e. merely salad versus large vodka intake?)

mum says she's glad to hear the veggies got a mention. luc says that's such a pedestrian mum comment (just glad about arunas' beer on tap glee).

Response: Trust me, there is a lot of food intake! The food here is stodgy as hell. Lithuanian food consists of pork, potatoes, and cream, and is served with the accompanyments of beetroot/cabbage (either hot or as a salad) and bread. We are eating very well. Fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, a big dinner consisting of above ingredients. I think that only every other night so far has been a big drinking occasion.
In any case, thank you for your concern Ma-Ma.
Postcards are in the mail!
From Ruta
Hi guys, I hope you have settled in, caught up with the Relos and now begin to see the sights in Lithuania. Has much changed since you were there last Arunas? Anyway, keep having a good time, rest and restore when you can. I enjoy reading your adventures. Keep it up, when you can. Maddie I hope you are recovering from all the germs you've encountered on the planes and now enjoying our Litho traditional cuisines and a bit of liquor. Cheers mum.
Response: Maddie has certainly indulged, so has your son. Unfortunately the Chinese worms haven't left his system yet, I think they've encountered more Vodka that nothing should be able to survive it. Oh well we're healthy...enough...speak to you soon i hope you enjoy the new posts and pictures!