Bohemia

After securing my new abode for the winter months (and by “securing” I really mean installing a gas heater) and a night at the hostel in Yerevan, I climbed aboard my Aeroflot flight from Yerevan to Moscow to Prague. (With a laundry list of wants and wishes from my Armenian friends here.)

Many volunteers attempted to pass on their astute advice – having previously roamed the streets – parting suggestions on where to eat, and what to see. Unfortunately, none of that was retained in my frontal lobe, and furthermore, for the record, f#$%^ Frommers. Many inquired as to what it is I might be doing during a 9-day stint. Replying that nothing was planned, and that is how I liked it, they still greedily asked for souvenirs.

Yes, we saw the castle in Prague where someone famous lives, and the big spiky church too. In Old Town, where that really old clock (actually the oldest in the world) is, we tried goulash and smoked bratwursts, all washed down with a variety of liquid refreshments; some where even banana, coffee, and vanilla flavored. We walked across the Charles Bridge and went to a jazz club. So my impression of Prague so far; it’s kind of like New York City in Eastern Europe. Lot’s of tourists, restaurants, bars, shopping and old churches.

Yesterday was more of a Bohemia model. Venturing by train to Pilsn, the town which boasts the origins of Pilsner beer, and by default Pilsner Urquell beer, we received an education into Bohemian brewing. Personel recommendation: Do not start drinking before a tour begins. Ever. After impatiently waiting for it to begin, we visited the restaurant/bar nearby. Of course, the last part of the tour is the tasting, which grew exponentially painful after every sip from the barrel. After a bladder disaster, we managed, based on a recommendation, to dine at a nice Czech restaurant before heading back to Prague. Side note: probably had best beer to that point in country at aforementioned restaurant. Beer’s name: Master.

So I tried and failed to keep up on this pathetic blog daily during the trip, but I’m actually on the plane from Prague to Moscow (which is probably where I’ll finish this entry) and am still writing about what the hell we did.

Back to Bohemia. Taking another train, this time to visit Vienna, I really didn’t expect much, seeing as we’d only be there for 48 hours. Vienna is for people who like orchestras, museums and buildings only painted in white. The town was dead at night. Now, that could be due to one of two possible reasons: the “holidays” and it being butt-ass cold outside. So, here we go again with the routine tourist stuff – the Opera House where Mozart played, the Spanish riding school, some big famous palace – and a handful of different restaurants. However, one was Mexican, and therefore by the grace of some God, was able to relish in a long overdue cerveza. Furthermore, one restaurant, built out of a gigantic greenhouse, was outstanding. As for everything else, stick with the local street food, it’s cheaper and 77% of the time, it’s better. The beer was also better in Vienna, but everything else was more expensive. Thanks Euro; but not coming back to visit Vandeuchbagenhagensteiner anytime soon.

Damnit, now I’m back where I started these whole shenanigans … the hostel in Yerevan; the day before New Year’s Eve, and attempting to recap what happened at the airport in Moscow. So, here I go. In route back to Armenia, the layover was supposed to be around 3 hours or so. Not so. Instead of leaving at 11:00 pm, we left at 8:00 am the next morning. So, what happens when large groups of Armenian’s get stuck in an airport waiting hours for a flight: sleep, or raid the duty shop of it’s’ vodka and start drinking. The later took over and made for some hilarious moments getting on the plane. I missed this country more than I thought I would, I’m happy as hell to be back, and not a moment too soon before “Nor Tari” (Armenia’s New Year) – supposedly one of, if not, the biggest party of the year. Good stories forthcoming …

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