Sleeper Train

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June 6th 2009
Published: June 6th 2009
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(The flow of this writing is very sporadic in this entry, I wrote it over 4 seperate days)

I do not believe I had the opportunity to finish writing about prague , except for me being sick.

I will now:

Let me first say that this story below was in no way shape or form my idea, but, considering how fun it was, I decided to go with it.

My roommates in the hostel were two Aussies, one guy from LA, and one Scottsman. We all got along real well, and went on the pub crawl together. One of them thought it would be a funny to say we were in a band. A harmless little lie to tell girls turned into 2 hours of planning. By the start of the pub crawl, our band Etcetera had 2 released cds, and we were signed by skunk records. I am the lead guitarist, and we even had a story how we all met for the doubters on the pub crawl. We had just finished touring in Japan and were headed to Croatia was pretty funny.

A problem occured when the LA guy decided to get drunk very early, and start telling everyone, even people who were friends with the aussies from home (who knew this was fake). As a result these girls shot us evil looks all night. I never brought it up, the LAguy loved using the line, and it actually worked for an aussie friend...a success for one is a success for all.

So prague was an absolute blast. The only complaint I had was the location of my hostel. It was 15 minutes (by tram) to get to the city center, but the amenities and talent within the hostel more than made up for it.

Barring my birthday , I went out every night. It is impossible not to go out, especiallz when your roommates are Austrailian. Out of my five nights in Prague, I saw the sun come up 4 mornings. Success and failure at the same time.

Prague itself is beautiful. There is only one modern building in the entire city, and the locals hate it. I think an accurate comparison is saying Prague looks like Main treet in Disneyland; only bigger and more beautiful.

My favorite part of the citz was the history and culture I learned during the tours I took.

The Czechs most famous hometown artist is named David Cerney. He creates very controversial pieces. Everything from painting communist tanks pink with flowers, to making a statue of two men peeing in a fountain the shape of Czech Republic. The best part, is he does not provide any explanation whatsoever. Leaves it to your imaginiation.

What he did recently is awesome.

Because the Czech republic currently has the head position of the EU (it rotates every six months), the Czechs were instructed to select a local artist who will employ the help of one artist from all other EU contries, and create a piece depicting European unity.

Cerney was chosen. In the selection of his assistants, he decided to make up 12 fake proflies of artists, and do the whole piece on his own. It can be seen here;

Keep in mind, this is supposed to be showcasing European Unity, and was presented on the grandest stage of europes governing body.

The last part of Prague thats worth writing about was seeing the statue where ''The Boys'' cover picture was taken. The Boys is a book about a group of young refugees of the holocaust, my grandparents were part of it.

Grandpa & Grandma: The statue the picture is taken in front of is a statue of the worst king Prague has ever had. He was an ethnic cleansing megalomaniac... interesting background choice by the photographer.


June 3rd was the most emotional ridden day I have had yet. My emotions vascillated up and down, left and right.

From the comfort of my first single room in a hostel, to the intensity of seeing Auschwitz and Birkenau, my day in Poland was full of different experiences.

The emotions started with my options of getting to Budapest. I had the option of playing it "safe" and taking the 10 hour train to budapest during the day, or taking the night train. I contemplated this for hours, reading all the tips and stories I could find online about night trains. Everything from passengers saying it was fun to people explaining how some thieves throw ether bombs in the room so you fall into a deep sleep, and then they steal your stuff... it was a difficult decision. When I arrived at the train station all I could think of was the ether bomb.

I walked towards the train with a look that probably was telling people "stay at least 3 feet away from me or I will punch you," I was getting emotional.

I started to relax when I saw a guy wearing a camelbak, i gave him a thumbs up and felt a little better. I began to notice that every person getting on was young. WHEW!!

I walked into my room that was no bigger than 6 ft by 7.5ft, with three beds on each side. I met myy two polish roommates. One around my age and one around 60, both smelling like a combination of rotten kelbasa and herring. They spoke not a word of english.

Seeking asylum in my camelbak friend I knocked on this guys cabin door. He was playing a card game with 5 other college age guys, some wearing duke shirts. I found out they all just graduated from Duke, and one of the guys was actually from San Diego. He went to the SDJA (jewish academy), his name was Brett Jaffe (I think). Its amazing how small the jewish community is, he knew at least 9 people who I went to high school with, all because they are jewish..small world. (I ended up running into these guys at the Budapest pub crawl, so random).

So, thanks to my new american friends and the card game "asshole" I started to calm down. I went to bed at 11 30 with the polish snores and the fear that I would lay awake all night.

I took two excedrin pm and next thing I knew it was 7 30 and didn't get robbed. What a relief!

Moral of the story:
Even the shadiest night train from one of the shadiest eastern european cities is doable, you just gotta embrace the smells and sounds (and have sleeping pills)

Even though I was allecviated of the emotional stress of the night train, I still had the Auchwitz Birkeaneau tour.

I was very emotional on the bus ride there because they were showing a documentary filmed by the russians during liberation. The best word to describe my emotions once I got to Auschwitz would be shock and numbness. The size and barrack conditions were unfathomable. Im not going to write any more. I will put pictures up.

Now to Budapest, which is my favorite city so far.

Budapest is actually two cities, divided by a river. BUDA & PEST...

So why is it my favorite city?

The reason lies in 3 days full of something that I love more than anything: pools, saunas, steam rooms, and old tanned women in bikinis and men in speedos.

I visited 3 seperate ancient Hungarian bath house (much like a turkish bath house), during my three days there. Each bath house had the healthy thermal water being pumped straight from the bowels of Budapest, and they each had a unique outdoor pool. From a wave pool, to a pool at a spring break destination(with a lazy river type circle), I had the best time ive had in europe yet, and that is evidenced in my spending at least 6 hours ateach spa.

Between freezing pools, natural thermal pools, outdoors pools, jacuzzis, saunas, and steam rooms; it was three days of relaxation and replenishment. Perfect.

I went on another Pub Crawl and again had an amazing time.

The beauty of Budapest is unparalled, the best way to describe it would be "tropical eastern europe."

Currently, I am in Vienna. I took a 6 hour river cruise from Budapest. The two water locks we went through were a very cool experience, I have good pics of those.

There is a lot more I could write, but im getting really tired and I have to shower for another pub crawl. I also know Seidel is reading this instead of doing work, so I will stop writing so he can get back to fun legal stuff.

Hello (it means goodbye in Hungarian)



10th June 2009

Great Experiences!
Hi Scott, I just read your 6/6 blog entry and was choking up while reading it. I am so glad you are taking advantage of this once in a lifetime experience! All our love, The 5 Schindlers

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