A Travellerspoint blog

Amsterdam

My memory of Amsterdam will forever be one of ten million perfect, undaunted windows, each with its companion vase or flower box. End of June and the days are long--stretching well past 10 pm--but brisk and biting when the sun hides. We are forever putting on and removing jackets, hoods, hats. Warmth is a tease--something to lure you into the sharp slap of wind that will whisk your breath away. Now the gleaming windows make sense: no screens to dull them because who would open her window to this weather, or, opening it, what insect would inhabit the place long enough to breed a family, whose members would dart through and bother a human? Just an errant bumblebee supping a rose, perhaps.

But I jest. The cool air is refreshing after tropical humidity. And Amsterdam is as lovely as promised.

Posted by chschen 17:00 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Prague

And now we leave Prague, Praha. Goodbye, Old Town. Goodbye, Castle. Goodbye, parks with your ostentatious roses and secret, misted gardens. Goodbye, merry Antonín of boardgames and beer and late-night talks, too little sleep. Goodbye, you army of tour guides waving bright umbrellas, false flowers, beribboned sticks. I walked you, Prague, at night, in the rain, in the elusive sunshine. Your walls were burnt sienna, mustard yellow, the unamused tan of ancient rock. In a square we sat and soaked in your heavy expanse, your old splendor. And all the church bells ringing at once in insistent chaos.

A place of arrested romance.

Posted by chschen 17:00 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Vienna

The past few days (but it feels like "lately") I've been preoccupied with a story that's been brewing in my mind. It began while we were watching the Royal Orchestra our first night in Vienna and since then has grown into something strange and interesting. I only hope I don't get tired of it before I can begin to write.

I haven't much time to reflect on Vienna, or Bratislava, where we made a day trip this morning. If the story gets written, though, it may be the best tribute to these places I can create. It will be the Vienna I've imprinted in my heart, a place where the soul feels awed. The Vienna of soft nights, steps shuffling quietly on cobblestones, Gothic spires soaring into the inky skies. The Vienna of artistic heritage, artistic ambition.

Posted by chschen 17:00 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

A Frugalist's Daydream

Vienna, Austria

All dried up. Or: super-saturated. Either way, too blasted to comment on anything I've seen, trudging from cathedral to museum to castle to square in this European heat wave.

Today we arrived in Vienna. From the hotel room window I can see the flat, blocky streetfronts of innumerable old-style apartment buildings, an architectural style that has grown familiar as we've skipped from one Central European city to another. But you would never fantasize about living in Vienna the way you would, say, Budapest, where you could buy a flat in the city outskirts for $80,000. You imagine taking a tram into central Pest in the evenings and, if the night is lovely and light, you eat a three-course meal in an outdoor cafe for $12.

Well, we haven't seen Vienna at all. I expect it's lovely, too.

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Budapest

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Why can't we have roofs this colorful in the U.S.?

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Amateur photographer's frustration: Cant. Get. It. All. In.

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Our rude and condescending tour guide wanted to rush us through everything, but we insisted on taking too many pictures.

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But how could we not? It's like a grownup's doll house

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And decent views to boot

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Grand from all sides

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Disneyland?

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Parliament was eh, but the goose-stepping guard's dance was nice

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Churches churches churches

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I used to want all the windows of my house to be stained glass

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A meal on our own! Which means we actually get to eat Hungarian food (we think).

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I know. I'm a tourist.

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Also a police informant.

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River cruise under the moonlight

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Buda and Pest have many bridges connecting each other

Posted by chschen 05:25 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

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