Thursday, July 28, 2011


Knocking off Slowakia in a matter of minutes meant missing all of Bratislava, a place to visit if only to say the word - Bratislava. It sounds cool. Yet, miss it we did. From there it was on to Hungary and a coin toss. Having spent a good portion of the day working on Swifty and finalizing her preparations, we were finally ready to hit the road in earnest. 
The EU really believes it is a United States and therefore the free movement of people across borders is now a given. The large creaking customs posts rust slowly as the long grass grows up between the cobblestones. Not an official soul in sight and we keep moving. Our passports have not been checked since Mike landed in Heathrow and Tom in Reykjavik. We could be anywhere right now, and indeed the miles flew by as Tom piloted us first to Buda and from there made a beeline for Pest. As any tourist will tell you the biggest challenge in many European cities is figuring out where you are at any point in time. In Pest it was also a challenge for a friendly local from whom we’d asked directions. Given Hungarian’s incredibly dense use of diphthongs, accent marks, and umlauts, reading the streets signs became more a matter of consilient interpretation. Fortunately, our  random stranger spoke nearly perfect English and after a moment’s orientation pointed us back to where we had just come from. After a few ‘P’ turns and near misses we pulled up outside the Queen Mary Hotel, which once again proved the value of Lonely Planet guides. Dinner of local specialities in a local cafe was concluded with our waitress tossing a coin for who was going to move the car at 8am. Coming up horse and rider meant Mike got another 10 minutes in bed. 

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