Backpack Europe Homepage

What's New
Travel Tips
Hostels, Hotesl, etc.
Travel Links
Other Stuff
Site Index


Last updated February 07, 2016. 

Travel Tales

Alan Gamboa Traveled Europe July 1999-Sept. 1999

July 5, 1999 August 1, 1999 September 5, 1999
July 14, 1999 August 9, 1999 September 19, 1999
July 21, 1999 August 18-19, 1999 September 25, 1999
August 28, 1999


July 21 Strange Itinerary

Hello all!

Well, the Internet Cafés have been ridiculously easy to find and I am writing to you from one now in the beautiful city of Venice, Italy.  It's truly an amazing city, it met all of the expectations that have built over the years from movies and such.  It's actually a quite huge city, which is the only thing I did not expect.  And despite the size of this place, all of the tourists still flock to Piazza San Marco where the pigeons have no fear of man and will eat out of your hand.   But Dine and I have mostly been avoiding the hordes of tourists and spending our time just strolling through the picture perfect streets and squares and over countless bridges.  This is by far the most beautiful city I've ever been in.

The only problem with Venice is that yeah, it's incredibly pretty and amazing, but you look around for a while, and then there's not much to do.   At least if there is much to do, we never found it.

It's funny because people keep mistaking me for an Italian, I guess because of my fairly dark skin, hair, and eyes (or it could just be because I'm in Italy, but it never happened to fairer skinned Nadine).  They'll come up to me and start chattering away.  A couple of times I've been able to figure out what they've been saying because of my Spanish skills (they really are similar languages), so I'll just bluff an answer in Spanish and hope they're satisfied (Yo tengo pantalones).

So anyhow, as planned, we first went to Prague.  A very cool and very cheap city, but also one swamped with tourists.  And while Dine and I often make fun of tourists as if we're these grandiose traveler wanderer poets blessing various European cities with our presence, deep down we know that we are just tourists too.  We may be good/smart tourists, but we are tourists just the same.  So in Prague, we mostly did touristy things, seeing all the famous sites and such like Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge (ultra-horde), and various churches and cathedrals.   Prague had a real "old world" feel to it, all the buildings, even just ordinary apartments and things looked incredible.  It was a very impressive city and one I shall have to return to.  On Charles Bridge there is this kind of famous statue that you put your hands on and make a wish with.  And if you do so, legend has it that you are destined to return to Prague.  I forgot my wish, but hopefully I'll still return to see more of this fantastic city.

Since this was the first time we had been alone since I arrived in Europe, we got to really talk and catch up on all manner of things.  So we were really enjoying being able to spend time with each other after being apart for a year and catching up on what we had missed.

Next, we headed to Vienna.  I'm going to write about our second day there.  First, we spent a couple of hours trying to find this building that was supposed to be Art Noveau, so I wanted to see it.  When we finally found it, it wasn't that impressive at all.  So we immediately headed off to a museum, which was actually fairly cool, but well, it was a museum, not the most exhilarating thing in the world (although I must say I have a new found respect for Gustav Klimt).  But we noticed that our ticket also gave us admittance to the Ambrosi museum which was way on the other side of town.  For some strange reason, we decided to go there.  And it was in this huge park, but we didn't know where, and neither did anyone else.  So we were wandering the park in the hot sun trying to find this place, and we finally do, and it was very lame.  We were like the only ones there besides some old lady and the place just had these dumb statues and busts... I don't know... it wasn't worth all that searching.  Then we went to another museum, but when we got there we decided we really didn't want to pay to go inside.  So we basically just ended up wandering through Vienna all day.  The moral of the story is, even when you're on vacation in interesting places, you can have boring and uneventful days.  Oh well, the day did end off OK when we found a café and had some nice cake and coffee and conversation.   So I guess you win some, you lose some.  And it really wasn't all that bad a day, we just had to keep laughing about it and at the end we had a new word for generic, waste of time, rip-off, sucky, crap: Ambrosi.

On the other hand, our third day in Vienna was pretty cool.   We went to Kunsthauswien and Hundertwasserhaus... an art gallery and a block of flats designed by a guy by the name of Freidensreich Hundertwasser (roughly translated, Empire of Freedom Hundredwater).  These places were totally cartoony and cool.   Hundertwasser was a real naturalist type who felt that walking over uneven ground kept up the natural rhythms of life or something, so the floors in his building had little hills and dips and stuff.  Later that day we went to the Prater, one of the world's oldest amusement parks and an interesting looking place to say the least.

One thing that's funny about Vienna is that it's German name is Wien.  Thus, things that come from Wien are called Wiener.  So a Viennese person is a Wiener and in other countries you will often see Wiener Cafés which is very funny.   In Berlin, I had to explain to some of Dine's friends why I was laughing so hard when we went to the Wiener Cafe.  So Wien is also the home of Wienerschnitzel, which is basically breaded pork and has nothing to do with hot dogs, but boy are they tasty.

Our route is kind of strange right now.  Nadine has an uncle in Munich who we can stay with and who can drive us around, but he's only available on the weekends because of work, so we came to Venice early.  So tomorrow night, we leave to Munich, then after that, back to Italy.  So it's weird, but no big deal since we're taking trains at night and just sleeping.

So anyhow, it's time to go find some food.



[What's New] [Travel Tips] [Packing] [Hostels, etc.] [Transportation] [Travel Links] [Other Stuff] [Site Index]

[Austria] [Belgium] [Czech Republic] [England & Wales] [Ireland] [France] [Germany]
 [Italy] [Luxembourg] [Netherlands] [Portugal] [Scotland] [
] [Switzerland]

[About Me]  [Coupons and Sales] [Student Stuff

Want to meet and learn from other travelers? Visit the Backpack Europe Bulletin Board.