it might be best to just try to breeze through some of what we did, in the hopes that along the way i will recall the major points. we did so much that it will be difficult!
to start off with, we got to verona thursday night and toured the city. it was beautiful. the fact that shakespeare was inspired to write romeo and juliet there makes perfect sense.
then friday morning, at an ungodly hour, we had a bit of a fiasco at the airport but somehow made it to vienna. my god the culture there is amazing. to say that vienna is a city of culture does not even begin to describe how much there is to see, do, hear, eat and drink. as with each of the following cities, we literally walked vienna into the ground trying to take advantage of our time there, and i think that we can safely say that we did.
what we saw:
the vienna secessionists at the leopold museum, where i picked up a new artist of note: koloman moser.
extravagantly decorated churches
and free concerts everywhere we turned
then after a wonderful evening aperitivo in milan (an apertivo is an ingenious italian institution that requires a post of its own, more to come on that later), we took off for budapest monday morning, and boy was it a departure. our friend kenny informed us that it is considered a major faux pas to describe hungary of the czech republic as eastern europe, but so-called "central europe" is definitely no western europe. stepping off of the plane and getting into the soviet era metro cars alone was enough culture shock to knock your socks off. the fact that we could no longer even decipher the language (the german of austria is slightly discernible despite its proliferation of syllables) only compounded our sense of unfamiliarity. to be cliche, it was a definitive "we are not in kansas anymore" moment. as noted yesterday, i unfortunately do not have pictures from our brief time there because it was raining, but will post some as soon as catherine and alex post theirs.
budapest is oftentimes described as a smaller version of vienna and indeed the cafes there were just as splendid as those in vienna. the turkish baths though, a distinctly budapest institution, were wonderfully different and unique. to be able to sit in a heated pool outside at the end of october and after a long day of walking was blissful, to say the least.
after budapest we spent a full afternoon and evening in milan, and of course enjoyed another amazing aperitivo. while rather aesthetically underwhelming, milan definitely has a distinctive character. just walking down the streets you can tell that it really is a young, cosmopolitan city. in fact, we flew in and out of there because it is significantly cheaper than anywhere else in italy. you can literally get anywhere from there, and for a reasonable price too.
although it was really nice being back in italia and being able to understand the language, prague the next day was the an absolute blast. in total we spent three days in the city, and it was a great way to end the trip. between the partying, the touring and the eating, it would probably be best not to say which consumed the most time, but it was undoubtedly a fun city!