Reasons why I have decided long-term travel is like childrearing despite not having any children:
- Tired like 90% of the time, usually more
- Begin to neglect basic hygiene, long showers become a new and exciting luxury
- Full of social media posts that make it seem like every second of your day is a grand and thrilling perfect adventure
- Spend more time than seems reasonable talking to your partner about poop
- Lose contact with all your friends who aren’t doing the same thing
- No longer seem capable of having a conversation about anything else but if you complain about it too much people think you’re terrible and ungrateful
- Significantly restricted access to sushi
- Very expensive, even more expensive than you thought it would be, and you really thought you had a handle on the whole budget thing
- Mostly tiring and kind of gross on a daily basis with enough exciting moments, surprises, and transcendent happiness that you forget the bad parts and can keep the memories of it in a nice rosy glow once you’re no longer in the thick of it
It was rainy and cold today and I was fussy. Eastern Europe is really not coming through for us on the weather front, it has rained much more than I was expecting and been hovering in the 50s, which my wardrobe is not at all prepared for. If you told my 21-year-old self how much I’d be missing leggings she’d probably have gone out and purchased that “leggings aren’t pants” shirt and stapled it to herself. My 21-year-old self had a lot of wrong opinions.
We’re currently in Keszthely on Lake Balaton in southern Hungary, a town that I bet is lovely in nice weather but in bad weather feels a little like you’ve stumbled into one of those tourist horror movies. Probably did not help the situation that we saw signs for something called an “Erotik Panoptikum” and I immediately demanded that we find out what it was. Mistake. It turned out to be a basement display of wax figures in various weird sexual situations with blown-up and highly pixelated historic pornographic illustrations on the walls. We were the only people there and the sullen teenage ticket-taker who looked just slightly too blue around the mouth closed the door after we walked in. It would definitely be the setting of an episode of Supernatural where teenagers snuck in to giggle and make out and got possessed by some kind of sex demon.
I can only be grateful for my stinginess in not buying the six-museum pass and thus avoiding any sort of financial compulsion to see the torture museum, toy museum, and folk doll museum, which I’m sure are all very nice in their own way and also probably very haunted.
Luckily the plan for tomorrow involves less museums and more thermal lake, proximity to which is the reason we chose this town in the first place.
This marks the second time on this trip that I’ve done something I thought would be kitschy and fun but ended up just scaring myself. Previously we trekked out to the Wurstelprater in Vienna with the intention of riding the Riesenrad only to discover a full-on amusement park. Did not ride the Riesenrad, did consume a bottle of wine while picnicking in the park just outside all the rides and then decide I couldn’t leave without riding at least one of them. The dinosaur one was closed (and not knowing what was actually inside that giant fake-rock building is eating away at me) but the haunted house cars were cheap and open and the operator very nicely humored my haggling attempts. I spent the entire time shrieking at every movement and clinging to David’s arm while he laughed at me.
Also for the record, did not cave to the costumed ticket hawkers in Vienna. David saw one free church concert and remembered he doesn’t actually really like classical music. Did cave to my cravings for sushi, which I would never forget about liking.
We’ve also covered our whole Czech Republic itinerary between my last post and now, all eight days and three cities of it. (Cesky Krumlov, Prague, and a day trip to Kutna Hora, home of the bone church, where I composed a whole new set of lyrics for “Chapel of Love.”) It involved an excellent river trip; lots of trdelniks, rain, and synagogues; my yelling about being bored of Czech food after only three days in the country and eating more sushi and discovering Georgian food instead; a very nice zoo; some castles; more art; many failed picnic attempts; the occasional ticket dodging; lots of angst about the general dourness of the population, difficulty of buying train tickets, and tendency to charge for tap water; a bone church; a cubist cafe; and the obligatory beer, so much beer.