Frequently asked questions about our road trip in Europe

We’ve only been home a few days, but Kathryn and I have already heard a lot of questions about our trip. For the benefit of everyone else, I’ve decided to repeat some of them here, along with their answers. Continue reading “Frequently asked questions about our road trip in Europe”

Eventful start

Our adventure has started rather eventfully. We took off from Phoenix this morning right on schedule, and now we’re safely back on the ground … in Phoenix. The aircraft had a mechanical problem shortly after takeoff, and we had to return to land, but only after circling for almost an hour to burn fuel. We’re not sure what happens next.

Long overdue post

There’s a certain irony to writing a blog. During those times when you have the most to write about, you have the least time to write it. The year 2007 has been, and continues to be, almost unbelievably good to me, and for several months I’ve been maintaining a hand-written list of all the things I want to write about.

There’s a certain irony to writing a blog. During those times when you have the most to write about, you have the least time to write it. The year 2007 has been, and continues to be, almost unbelievably good to me, and for several months I’ve been maintaining a hand-written list of all the things I want to write about. However, the blog format lends itself to telling stories in a chronological fashion, so as my list grows longer, I feel a certain pressure to write everything or nothing. More often than not, over the past few months, I’ve chosen nothing, but with a new travel adventure beginning in less than 48 hours, I’ve run out of time. Therefore I’ll dispense with the formalities and blurt out everything I recall in whatever order seems relevant. Perhaps it’ll all make sense at the end. Continue reading “Long overdue post”

Arizona road trip: Tonto Natural Bridge, Strawberry, Jerome

I had a chance Sunday to get out of town for several hours and enjoy some parts of Arizona I hadn’t ever seen before. The weather was warm and the sky was clear. It was a perfect day for an Arizona road trip.

I had a chance Sunday to get out of town for several hours and enjoy some parts of Arizona I hadn’t ever seen before. The weather was warm and the sky was clear. It was a perfect day for an Arizona road trip. Continue reading “Arizona road trip: Tonto Natural Bridge, Strawberry, Jerome”

Celine Dion in Las Vegas

I had two specific goals for my recent visit to Las Vegas. I wanted to see Celine Dion, who was sick when I visited in December, and I wanted to learn how to play craps. I’m happy to say I accomplished both goals, and I did it while fighting a cold. In retrospect, I probably should have spent the weekend in bed, but I really did have a great time.

It probably seems like I just got back from Las Vegas, but I went again a couple weekends ago. I had some unfinished business from my December trip, so I’d been itching to take another trip up there. I had two specific goals for my recent visit. I wanted to see Celine Dion, who was sick when I visited in December, and I wanted to learn how to play craps. I’m happy to say I accomplished both goals, and I did it while fighting a cold. In retrospect, I probably should have spent the weekend in bed, but I really did have a great time. Continue reading “Celine Dion in Las Vegas”

Drinking in Pasadena, redux

I spent last weekend in Pasadena, visiting the same buddy I saw in August. I’ve spent the time since then sobering up.

I spent last weekend in Pasadena, visiting the same buddy I saw in August. I’ve spent the time since then sobering up.

When my friend and I started planning this trip a few weeks ago, I reserved one of my club airplanes, intending to fly out there. I was looking forward to getting some good cross-country experience, and flying into the crowded Southern California airspace was a challenge I felt I was ready for. However, the week before the trip, the weather forecast started to deteriorate, and by Wednesday, I decided just to abandon plans to fly and simply drive there instead.
Continue reading “Drinking in Pasadena, redux”

Flight canceled

I told a number of you I would be flying to Southern California this weekend to visit a friend of mine. I’ve been following the weather reports for several days, and every time I see a forecast, it gets worse. After some deliberation, I’ve decided to cancel the flight preemptively and make plans to drive there instead.

I’ll have plenty of chances to fly there when the weather is conducive. I’ll choose to stay on the ground this weekend and live to fly another day.

Vegas revue: Bally’s, Fremont Street, and Les Folies Bergeres

When it was nearing dusk, I took the bus to Fremont Street to check it out. It was definitely over-the-top, as advertised. I enjoyed walking around there for a while. If my lunch hadn’t been so enormous, I would have tried some of the food there, like the deep-fried Twinkies. Fortunately, there’s always room for a beer.

My trip to Vegas was short, but sweet.

Upon arriving, eating lunch, and drinking a couple beers, I started to give some thought to what I was going to do that evening. I decided that since I was there by myself, I would see Celine Dion, since I can’t imagine anyone I know would ever come with me. I was staying at Bally’s, so I walked across the street to the Caesar’s Palace box office to see if they had any single tickets left. Well, it turned out that Celine was sick, so the show was canceled. I would have to find something else to do. Continue reading “Vegas revue: Bally’s, Fremont Street, and Les Folies Bergeres”

Last-minute solo getaway to Las Vegas

I made a last-minute executive decision this morning to do an overnight trip to Vegas. I got in the car at 8:10, and thanks to the miracle of time zones, I was at my hotel at 12:20. I’m going to see how much trouble I can get into by myself in less than 28 hours. I’ve already wandered off the Strip, and I’m settling into my second beer.

I made a last-minute executive decision this morning to do an overnight trip to Vegas. I got in the car at 8:10, and thanks to the miracle of time zones, I was at my hotel at 12:20. I’m going to see how much trouble I can get into by myself in less than 28 hours. I’ve already wandered off the Strip, and I’m settling into my second beer.

Drinking in Pasadena

One of my friends, who goes all the way back to junior high with me, finished his PhD a few months ago and is doing a residency at UCLA. His wife was out of town on business, so we decided to do a guys weekend. I arrived early Friday evening. My friend and his wife are living with her parents, and her father cooked us a great dinner. After that, my friend and I proceeded to Old Town Pasadena to do some serious drinking. However, neither of us Einsteins considered the fact that we had already done some serious drinking during dinner, so the evening rapidly devolved into sloppy drunkenness.

I got back this afternoon from a fun weekend in L.A. Well, I was mostly in Pasadena, but that’s close enough, right? One of my friends, who goes all the way back to junior high with me, finished his PhD a few months ago and is doing a residency at UCLA. His wife was out of town on business, so we decided to do a guys weekend. Continue reading “Drinking in Pasadena”

Missed connection

It looks like I’ll make it home tonight, but I’ll be a lot later than anticipated. I missed the connection to Phoenix here in Minneapolis, but I got a boarding pass for a later flight to Las Vegas, then to Phoenix around 1 am. The check-in agent says this happens almost every day with the Icelandair flight, which has a short connection to Phoenix and is almost always late.

The thought of having been up for 28 straight hours is not at all appealing.

En route

The first flight segment is done, but it was the shortest. I have two to go, if all goes well. I’m having a beer at the airport in Iceland, which gave me a chance to use most of my remaining kronur. The next flight is reportedly on schedule.

From the plane, I was able to see the glaciers I didn’t see during my stay here.

Heathrow

After all the horror stories I’ve heard about Heathrow for the last six days, I arrived at the airport this morning, got through the security outside the terminal, checked in, went through the normal security checkpoint, cleared an emergency passport control, and arrived at the departure lounge in … wait for it … 20 minutes. I could have stayed in Oxford for another two hours, but oh well. I took advantage of the time to eat an enormous breakfast. It’s going to be a long day, and I’ll need more than three meals.

They are letting passengers take small bags on board as hand luggage now, but still no liquids, since I’m heading for the US.

All journeys end

I’ve just boarded the bus to Heathrow from Oxford, where I’ve spent the past two days with a buddy from college. It’s here that I begin what will probably not be a pleasant journey home. The security situation at the airport is very fluid, and I’ll find out when I get there just what I’ll be allowed to travel with. As a precaution, I’ve packed as much as I possibly could in my checked baggage, leaving only a handful of essential items in my small backpack. Continue reading “All journeys end”

Waiting for a flight

I’ve had a pleasant four-day stay in Ireland, but today I head across the Irish Sea to England. I’ll spend a couple nights there before returning to the US.

Here at the airport in Dublin, everything at the security checkpoint seemed to be business as usual, although many flights to and from the UK are behind schedule or cancelled. Mine is delayed 20 minutes right now, meaning my bus connection in London will be awfully close. We’ll see how it goes. Continue reading “Waiting for a flight”

Guinness Storehouse

I toured the Guinness Storehouse here in Dublin today. I won’t elaborate much about this tour. It goes without saying there was a pint of Guinness at the end of the tour, which is of course said to be the world’s freshest Guinness. However, to their credit, they served it in a top-floor bar with a 360-degree panoramic view of Dublin.

So, in what I imagine will be the last of my alcohol-related blog entries, at least for this trip, I toured the Guinness Storehouse here in Dublin today. I won’t elaborate much about this tour. Continue reading “Guinness Storehouse”

Old Bushmills Distillery

After a whole day of waiting, I was able to tour the Old Bushmills distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, home of my very favorite whiskey.

Yesterday morning, after much holding my breathe, I was able to tour the Old Bushmills distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, home of my very favorite whiskey. I was shut out all day Friday because there was some maintenance underway that required them to cancel tours, but they were able to re-open for Saturday. Continue reading “Old Bushmills Distillery”

Another quick update from Ireland

I’m sure someone I know is waking up this morning, turning on CNN, and hearing about violence in Northern Ireland. I didn’t hear about it until an hour or so ago myself, so it hasn’t affected me, other than increased traffic. Police with machine guns were checking cars on the bridge in Derry, and I didn’t know why until later.

I’m sure someone I know is waking up this morning, turning on CNN, and hearing about violence in Northern Ireland. I didn’t hear about it until an hour or so ago myself, so it hasn’t affected me, other than increased traffic. Police with machine guns were checking cars on the bridge in Derry, and I didn’t know why until later. In any event, I’m now back in the Republic of Ireland, where I had already planned to spend my time before heading back to the chaos in London.

Northern Ireland

I’m in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, where I spent the night in a farmhouse bed-and-breakfast about six miles from Bushmills. Today I’m hoping to see Giant’s Causeway and tour the Bushmills distillery, if it’s open.

I’m in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, where I spent the night in a farmhouse bed-and-breakfast about six miles from Bushmills. It was a bit of trouble finding a place to stay. The area is crawling with summer tourists from the Continent. I went to a pub last night, and I was beginning to wonder whether I’d really left Germany, since the place was packed with Germans. Continue reading “Northern Ireland”

Pub stop in Ireland

I’m in Ireland, and for the first time on this trip, I’ve rented a car. I left the airport in Dublin maybe an hour ago, and I started driving north until I found a little roadside pub. I’ve had a pounding headache all day.

Quick update. I’m in Ireland, and for the first time on this trip, I’ve rented a car. I left the airport in Dublin maybe an hour ago, and I started driving north until I found a little roadside pub. I’ve had a pounding headache all day, exacerbated by a flight, a long line at immigration, and a car with both a right-side steering wheel and a stick shift, which is of course operated by my left hand, which is very confusing. Of course, once I get on the left side of the road, everything is backwards, so it all seems to make sense. I thought a little food, a little beer, a little coffee, and a little Advil would make the afternoon go better. Continue reading “Pub stop in Ireland”

Weight

I had a discussion with a cousin of mine a few days before I started this voyage. He was joking that I might gain 20 pounds during this trip because of all the beer I’d be drinking, which is perfectly reasonable.

I had a discussion with a cousin of mine a few days before I started this voyage. He was joking that I might gain 20 pounds during this trip because of all the beer I’d be drinking, which is perfectly reasonable. However, I responded that I might lose 10 pounds because of all the walking I’d be doing, which is also perfectly reasonable. Continue reading “Weight”

German women, French language, Chinese food

New day, new place. I’m once again passing time on a train, this time bound for Cologne via Hagen.

I had a fun day in Kassel. My friend met me at the train station, and after we dropped my bags off at her place, we saw the city’s beautiful green spaces on foot, including a grueling half-hour walk to a castle perched atop a hill. We earned the ice cream we stopped for. I was surprised by the lack of tourists, since it was such a pleasant setting. Then again, it may have been pleasant because of the lack of tourists.

Later, we went out to dinner with some of her friends. The dinner was a Chinese buffet, and I must say I’ve rarely seen four young women eat so much at one time. I think one of them had six plates. They put me to shame.

At one point, my friend commented that I was the only man out with all these young women. I could do worse, I said. She studies French and math at the university in Kassel, and so most of her friends are classmates who also speak French. In fact, one of them was French. So it was somewhat bizarre that I was out with several young, attractive women, speaking French, at a Chinese restaurant in Germany. It’s not something that happens to me every day.

After dinner, we met some other friends of hers at a bar near her apartment for a drink. One of them did not speak French, and so the tables were turned, as the young women who speak French and German every day now had to speak English, which none of them had spoken in years. I got to be a teacher for a short while.

My friend put her apartment at my disposal, while she slept at a friend’s place nearby, which I thought was particularly generous of both of them. She had to leave early for work, so I didn’t see her this morning. I slept very well and rather late, and I almost missed my train.

I also missed breakfast this morning, and this train has no cafe car, so I am very hungry. Sometimes a regional train like the one I’m on will be serviced by a snack cart at some point. We’ll see. If not, I have a long wait for food. Hagen is still over two hours away, and I only have 11 minutes for my connection, if everything is on time. If not, I’ll have to wait another hour for Cologne.

My plans for tomorrow involve an airplane, which is the only reason I’m going to Cologne. This may be my last long train trip for a while.

One night in Munich: Posh restaurants and English Gardens

The gods have recently forgiven me, and we had some really pleasant weather for walking around the city. We walked through the city square, all the way to the English Gardens, where the recent rain has filled the streams nearly to overflowing.

I had a very pleasant evening in Munich last night. My friend found me shortly after I wrote my last post, and fortunately she was willing to sit with me while I finished my beer. Despite being a two-minute walk from her apartment, she had never been in that particular bar. It was kind of an after-work place where guys watched sports, so I guess it wasn’t her scene.

The gods have recently forgiven me, and we had some really pleasant weather for walking around the city. We walked through the city square, all the way to the English Gardens, where the recent rain has filled the streams nearly to overflowing. We saw some places that were new since my last trip to Munich over three years ago, including a very posh shopping center and a market that had been turned into a restaurant hall, where we had dinner and chatted for hours.

I got an early start this morning, not immediately realizing that my train didn’t leave until almost 11. My friend left for work at 7:30, but she let me stay at her place as long as I needed. Even though I was only there for another hour, it was nice to have a little time to myself and an apartment at my disposal.

Today I’m on my way to Kassel to see another friend. I’m on the train now, and I’ll be there in about an hour. Germans and foreigners alike seem to know little about Kassel, so I guess I’ll just be surprised when I get there.

Munich: Bavarian beer

I’m waiting in a bar near where my friend lives in Munich. She had to work late, so she’s not home yet. I thought I’d have a beer while waiting for her. Until just now, I had forgotten how good Bavarian beer is.

I’m waiting in a bar near where my friend lives in Munich. She had to work late, so she’s not home yet. I thought I’d have a beer while waiting for her. Until just now, I had forgotten how good Bavarian beer is.

No more words, while I savor the moment.

Weekend in Eisenstadt, Austria, and Bratislava, Slovakia

We saw the castle on the hill in Bratislava, Slovakia, walked around the old city, where we had a nice lunch in an outdoor restaurant. I had goulash, which I still hadn’t eaten on this trip, despite where I’ve traveled. We only spent a few hours in Slovakia and then went back to Austria.

I’m once again aboard a train bound for somewhere. I left Eisenstadt early this morning so that my friend could drop me off before work. I took a rural bus to Vienna, where I took a streetcar to the train station, where I boarded the train I’m on now. I had meant to board an earlier train, but it took a half-hour to get a ticket, at which point I’d missed it. I’ll take this train to Salzburg, and then catch another to Munich, which is where I’m going today to meet another friend. Continue reading “Weekend in Eisenstadt, Austria, and Bratislava, Slovakia”

Underground in Austria

I’m still here in Austria. I’m in Eisenstadt right now, staying with a friend. I met the friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s daughter at the airport in Linz, and then we drove to Altaussee, where we rented a charming cottage in the country for a couple nights.

Unfortunately, it has been raining almost nonstop since I arrived in Austria, so I have been experiencing the extremes of summer weather in Europe. The good news is that my friend had planned some underground activities for us, so we visited a salt mine one day, and an ice cave the next. Both were quite fascinating tours.

We dropped her boyfriend and his daughter off last night in Vienna, where he lives, and the plan for today is a day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. I passed through Slovakia a couple weeks ago on my way from Poland to Hungary, but being in a country from 3 am to 6 am doesn’t really permit me to say I’ve visited it.

Arrival and beer drinking in Linz, Austria

I arrived in Linz yesterday afternoon. I did a little sightseeing, and then found a beergarden. Good beer and decent food, outside among the trees on a beautiful summer evening … did I need more?

Frankly, this is not such an interesting city, but I won’t be here much longer. I’m meeting my friend this afternoon. The only reason I’m meeting her here is that we’re picking up her boyfriend’s daughter at the airport. It’s much cheaper to fly from London to Linz than to Vienna.

I’m not really sure where we’re going from here, other than that it’s in the mountains. Since most of Austria is in the mountains, that doesn’t narrow it down much.

Austria

I crossed the border into Austria about an hour ago. I’ve often said that Austria is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and the route I’m traveling today has done nothing to change my mind.

I’m going to spend one night in Linz before meeting a friend tomorrow. I hope I can find a place to do some laundry. I’m due for a haircut, too.

It’s also nice to be back in a country where I can read signs.

Great steak dinner in Ljubljana, Slovenia

I had the best meal of my trip this evening here in Ljubljana. I’d walked past a little hole-in-the-wall place with a sign that read “home cooking” several times since yesterday, so tonight I walked in. I don’t even know the name of the place.

I had the best meal of my trip this evening here in Ljubljana. I’d walked past a little hole-in-the-wall place with a sign that read “home cooking” several times since yesterday, so tonight I walked in. I don’t even know the name of the place. Continue reading “Great steak dinner in Ljubljana, Slovenia”

Sightseeing and comfortable weather in Ljubljana, Slovenia

I had a brief but funny moment at the border yesterday. The Croatian border guard opened my passport, flipped through the pages for a moment, and said, “Mr. Gilman, where are you going today?” Answering wasn’t so easy for me. “I can’t pronounce it,” I said. “It’s Loo … Lube …” Then, one of the two beautiful young Slovenian women sharing my compartment laughed and said, “Ljubljana.” I guess the answer was okay. The border guard stamped my passport.

I arrived in Ljubljana, Slovenia, yesterday afternoon. I’ve only walked around for a few hours, but I think this is the most beautiful city I’ve seen on this trip yet. For a capital city, it’s quite small. The city’s center is very easy to walk around. A very narrow river runs through it. There are cafes, bridges, and statues all around. A castle is perched on a hill just above the center. Continue reading “Sightseeing and comfortable weather in Ljubljana, Slovenia”

Croatian beer: Ožjusko and Karlovačko

The local beer was generally one of two brands, Ožjusko and Karlovačko. The quality of both was inconsistent, especially when served on tap. A couple times I was poured beer that tasted almost stale, leading me at first to believe the way the bars were storing and serving the beer was the problem, not the beer itself.

For the sake of completeness, I figured I should post an entry about Croatian beer. In short, it wasn’t very good. Continue reading “Croatian beer: Ožjusko and Karlovačko”

Another night in Zagreb

I spent one last night in Croatia, back in Zagreb. After the long train ride back from Split, I was happy to stop for the night, particularly in a city where I could already find my way around.

The weather has improved dramatically. I don’t know if a front has come through, or if Zagreb just has drier weather because it is further inland, or a bit of both. In any case, it made for a very pleasant evening. I had a nice dinner and a drink in a cafe before turning in relatively early.

If all goes well, I’m moving along to Slovenia today. I’ll report more when I get there.

Spoke too soon

After starting the day with broiling hot weather, a cloud cover came through, along with an ever-so-slight breeze, so the evening is off to a pleasant start. I’m suddenly optimistic about sleeping tonight.

I’ve booked a room for tomorrow night, after I leave Split, and it’s air conditioned. I’m totally ready for that.

Still, I’m not sure what happened to all the tourists here. It’s Saturday night, and although it’s still early here, it’s really dead. Restaurants and bars should be filling up, but it’s been quiet all day. Maybe there are a lot of Sunday to Saturday vacation rentals. Maybe there are fewer ferries or buses on Saturday. Maybe folks just got sick of the heat and went home.

Hottest day yet?

I think this is the hottest, muggiest day yet. Despite it being Saturday, the waterfront is virtually deserted, save a handful seeking respite in the shade of a cafe, like me. A small backpacker colony has sprung up under the shade of a couple nearby palm trees. I may join them soon.

I can’t say this with any authority, because this city has a conspicuous lack of outdoor thermometers, but I think this is the hottest, muggiest day yet. Despite it being Saturday, the waterfront is virtually deserted, save a handful seeking respite in the shade of a cafe, like me. A small backpacker colony has sprung up under the shade of a couple nearby palm trees. I may join them soon.

Every movement makes me feel unpleasant. There’s a Coke in front of me, but I’ve hardly drunk it, because lifting the glass seems like too much work. I’m sweating everywhere I have hair, and then some places I don’t, few as they are. Even as I write this message, I fear dropping my phone for the sweat on my fingertips.

I rejoice for every breeze. From the window of my room yesterday, I saw cumulus clouds in the mountains outside the city. I decided to do a rain dance to draw them closer. I realized I didn’t know how to do a rain dance, so I just danced and hoped the weather gods would give me credit for trying. Instead, they punished me for my insolence, and the clouds dissipated. There are clouds forming again today, but I will no longer tempt fate.

A few places here are theoretically air conditioned, but they aren’t fooling anyone. Even McDonald’s had its doors propped wide open because its air conditioner couldn’t keep up. I was in an air-conditioned Internet cafe for an hour, and it was pleasant until I was no longer alone in the room. One person it could handle; three people were too many.

After several days, appetite returns in Split, Croatia

I knew my appetite would eventually come back, and it finally did last night. I haven’t really wanted to eat since I was in Poland, so I ended up missing out on Hungarian cuisine altogether, which is almost a crime, given its multitude of influences. All I really ate in Hungary were some light snacks in my hotel’s bar, where the entire menu was Western food, and breakfast, which was also Western.

The cuisine here in Split seems to be heavily influenced by its Italian neighbors just across the Adriatic Sea. The restaurant I went to, in a small square in the old city, drew quite a crowd. I arrived early, around 7 pm when only Germans were eating, but by the time I left, around 9 pm, the manager was turning people away. I ordered a first and second dish, Italian style, and even left some room for dessert and coffee.

The food was … okay. The first dish, which was tortellini with a light cheese sauce, was quite good. The second dish, a steak with green pepper sauce, was merely okay, although I was so hungry I probably would have eaten a steak with peanut butter sauce if they served it to me. The dessert was a creme caramel, which I think was soaked in Grand Marnier or Cointreau or something. It was just okay, almost disappointing. My stomach wasn’t complaining, though. At least the coffee was good, and the house wine was good, too.

Although I may sound a little disappointed, I haven’t written off the food here yet. If my appetite remains, I’ll try someplace more seafood oriented tonight. I walked through the seafood market yesterday morning, and it was impressive, so the chefs here would clearly have a lot to work with. I’d love some shrimp or fish … or both.

Another day at the beach

Another day in Split, and I’m at the beach again. Yesterday I think I over-exposed myself a bit, and this hot weather has taken away my appetite, so I think I have been under-eating. When I’ve gotten back to my room in the evenings, I’ve fallen asleep just out of exhaustion, but after a few hours, I wake up drenched and realize again how hot it is. Then when dawn brings a light breeze, I get a couple more hours sleep before giving up.

It’s interesting that the land here drops off dramatically to the sea. All around you see high cliffs. It means there are few sandy beaches, but it’s great that there are trees within a few yards of the shoreline. So, on a day like today, I can find a tree, get some real shade, and enjoy being at the beach at the same time. It’s pretty sweet..

Arriving and finding accommodation in Split, Croatia

I arrived in Split, Croatia, this afternoon. Finding accommodation was not a huge problem, but I did have to turn a room down. A little old lady met passengers coming off the train and offered a room. I’ve had good luck getting rooms this way, so I decided to try again.

It was painful to follow the woman back to her place. She had recently had some sort of operation, so the three-minute walk from the train station took about 15. Then she showed me her place. It smelled like piss, and it was filthy. I told her no thanks. She showed me another room and offered to lower the price. I told her she could show me any room in the house, I still wouldn’t use the bathroom at any price. Then she showed me the kitchen, which was as dirty as the bathroom. I told her I had to go. I grabbed my bag and ran, knowing she couldn’t catch me.

I walked back to the train station and threw my bag in a locker. Then I went to a place recommended in my guidebook. They found me a place quite quickly, it’s centrally located, and although it’s not “German clean”, it’s clean enough.

The waterfront here is beautiful. It’s like a mini Nice. I’m gonna finish my beer, get my bag from my locker, take a shower, and find some dinner.

Train ride from Zagreb to Split, Croatia

The train ride from Zagreb to Split has had some stunning scenery. We’re up in the mountains, and I’ve been seeing valleys below with lakes and streams and shallow rapids, with campsites and people wading and canoeing. It makes me want to hop off.

The train ride from Zagreb to Split in Croatia has some stunning scenery. We’re up in the mountains, and I’ve been seeing valleys below with lakes and streams and shallow rapids, with campsites and people wading and canoeing. It makes me want to hop off.

The downside is that this mountainous route is not especially straight, so the train changes speed constantly as it negotiates curves. This has left me feeling a bit seasick. Fortunately there are snacks on this train, so I got a sandwich and a beer, and I already feel a little better.

Overnight in Zagreb

Like many of the cities I’ve visited recently, you have to look to the historic center to appreciate Zagreb. Apart from the center, it’s a concrete, Communist-era shit-hole.

I’m at the train station in Zagreb, Croatia, awaiting a train to my next destination, which is along the Adriatic coast. I spent only one night here, mainly to break up a long train ride, but I’ve found this to be a charming city. Like many of the cities I’ve visited recently, you have to look to the historic center to appreciate Zagreb. Apart from the center, it’s a concrete, Communist-era shithole. However, I’m looking forward to spending another night here on my trip back from the coast. Continue reading “Overnight in Zagreb”

Punchline on the beer

A half-liter of Amstel in the hotel bar is 900 forint, which is a little more than $4. And the hotel tacks on a ten percent service charge. The half-liter beer I’m drinking now is 300 forint, with no service charge. You do the math. I’m about 100 feet from the hotel door. I wish I knew about this place two days ago.

A half-liter of Amstel in the hotel bar is 900 forint, which is a little more than $4. And the hotel tacks on a ten percent service charge. The half-liter beer I’m drinking now is 300 forint, with no service charge. You do the math. I’m about 100 feet from the hotel door. I wish I knew about this place two days ago.