Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Return to Budapest

Back in the days when I was a bored law student, longing to get out of my small college town, I got wind of the possibility of a summer study-abroad program. I would pay for the credit hours and flight and the University would take care of my room and board. There were three options. Belize, London or Yugoslavia. Belize held the promise of beaches, which I had in ample supply back home. The London program, at Oxford I believe, was rumored to require actual studying.  Nope. I knew next to nothing about Yugoslavia. Couldn’t have pointed it out on a map if I’d been asked but this program was led by a favored professor, a notorious good time guy who liked to throw extravagant parties at his home. (extravagant, at that time meant that he used actual glassware and provided beers from actual bottles and not whatever keg was on sale at Mike’s Beer Barn). Additionally, word had trickled down to us about how cheap everything was, words that sing loving harmonies to broke college students.

So…it was our second week in Dubrovnik. Our classes, during which heavily accented professors would read straight from a page, were opportunities to write out postcards, catch up on crosswords and look ever so studious while highlighting travel guides. Our party professor, a rather portly gentleman, had introduced us to Slivovich, shown us some of the best restaurants in town and provided an indelible memory to some classmates who had the misfortune of stumbling upon him at a clothing optional beach. Our per diem, which was something like $20 per day, had us eating and drinking like kings, with plenty of cash to spare. Our first weekend, we used our surplus to book a live-aboard sailboat and cruise around the nearby islands. The second weekend, our professor proposed a trip to Budapest. If I knew little about Yugoslavia prior to this summer, I knew even less about Hungary but he had not led us astray, so off we went.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Country #94: It's Not the Size That Matters...

Regular readers (hi Sans, Roly and Yale)may have noticed that this blog has been silent for the last few months. Others, (hi, people who have stumbled upon this page whilst googling the importance of size and are now sorely disappointed) will see that thanks to the magic of back-dating everything is business as usual. To both groups, I apologize.

Anyhoo, last time I checked in, I was in Munich for five days, drinking beer in quantities that led me to believe that buying a dirndl was a good idea. Fortunately, I did not have the space in my bag for the five underskirts and push-up bra the outfit requires, so a change of scenery was in order. As luck (and basic geography) would have it, there was also a country I had not been to a mere 2.5 hour drive away. Thus it was decided, we were going to Liechtenstein.

Situated in the Alps,  somewhere between Austria and Switzerland, the world's sixth smallest country (it's only 62 square miles) promised, if nothing else, a really pretty drive.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Munich: It's bad for your liver...

Fifteen years ago, I had the good fortune of going to one of Europe's booziest cities at the peak of its drinky drunkenness.  More specifically, that would be Munich on the opening day of Oktoberfest.  From the moment the first keg was ceremoniously tapped (noon-ish?) until the wee hours of that evening, my friend Michelle and I swung heavy tankards to and fro, all whilst becoming increasingly proficient in the art of German drinking songs.  As we stumbled from tent to tent, I remember trying to find something non-meatlike that I could eat.  The sole menu item available to me was the giant pretzel. I must have had at least a half dozen in a misguided attempt to somehow soak up all the alcohol that was coursing through my system.

That day was as messy as it was fun.  Falling asleep on the train and ending up in the wrong part of the country the next day...not so much.  But we survived it and had a story to tell...but not a single non-ale related photo to show for our time in Munich.  We were so focused on all things Oktoberfest that we completely neglected the rest of the city.