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.
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.
Location: Brno, Czech Republic
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!!!!
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"
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.
THERE IS AN ELEVATOR! thank Christ!
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.
Location: Hostel Rosemary, Prague, Czech Republic
THE SAGA WITH THE WASHING MACHINE... Part 3
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
THANK f--kING GOD!
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.
Location: Hostel Rosemary, Prague, Czech Republic
THE WASHING MACHINE SAGA... Part 2
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.