Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It’s Wednesday, right?

Monday was a holiday here in Austria,  as well as other parts of Europe.  The previous Sunday was “Pfingsten”,  which loosely translates as Pentecost.  

Anyway,  I remember quite vividly that, when I was studying at Albert Ludwig’s Universität in Freiburg,  back in ‘79,  I was rather taken aback to learn that the whole week would be a school holiday.  “Pfingspause”.   Gah!  What to do for a whole week?  And with very little in the way of monetary resources.  I shot off a quick note to a friend of mine who was studying in Duisburg,  and decided to hitch-hike to Krefeld where she was staying with a cousin,  who graciously put me up for the week.  I barely remember that week,  but I do remember hitch-hiking in Germany on the Autobahn.  My apartment-mate Lutz explained to me that you didn’t stand at the side of the road, since the cops would sort you out right quick,  but instead you asked people at Travel Plazas if they were driving to the next major town.  Best not to ask for the entire trip though,  since then it was easier to say ‘no’.   Anyway,  I made it with very little difficulty,  having secured the bulk of the trip with a very nice young couple driving a 7 series BMW,  which was awesome.   Not only that,  but they dropped me right at the door of my destination!   Pure luck.

Of course,  south of the 49th,  it was Memorial Day.  I have difficulty wishing people “Happy Memorial Day”,  since I find neither that day,  nor our Canadian Remembrance Day to be very happy occasions.   We did visit Washington D.C. during the week leading up to Memorial Day in 03,  and I found the expanse of commemorative structures such as the Vietnam Memorial and the World War 2 Memorial to be well,  overwhelming.    If you go to that second link and read a little,  you’ll realise that,  although the memorial wasn’t “officially” opened until the following year (April 2004),  we could still see it in it’s entirety in May of 03.   Again,  pure luck. 

For me,  photo wise,  it was the “pre-digital age”,  and I have prints of us in and around that area that are stored in a box somewhere,  in a house,  in Canada.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it.





A tiny bit more about Prague:




After having lunch on Saturday at a little restaurant we found just off to one side of the Charles Bridge,  I spotted a music store nearby.  You’ll notice in the photo above that there’s a small sign in the middle with “Österreiches Restaurant”?  



See,  if you simply click on some of the links I’ve included,  it’s really a self guided tour.  You don’t need me to go on about it.



Wanna buy a Zither? 

I asked the lady in the music store if it was alright to take some photos, and she was OK with it.  Always best to ask I find.

While some folks might drool over something like this:


which was sitting in the Hard Rock Cafe btw,  and pretty cool I’ll readily admit.




Instead, I find these kinds of things,


to be at least as exciting.


Even these things, 


and I wouldn’t have a clue how to do anything more than make some horrible groaning noise.



More groaning noises probably…only amplified.


I continued to drool ever so slightly.


And what’s with the one in the middle?  It’s got like,  97 strings on it!   Whut issit??


I could probably play one of the saxomophones* in the photo above,  but it’s been a long,  long time.  I think things (like my lower lip) would start to hurt big time in about 90 seconds.  Plus,  I think I’d need to win some money to get me a sax.  Yikes,  saxophones have gotten pricey!   No wonder our band leader/music teacher back in high school got a little annoyed with us going down to the Collins Hotel for some “refreshments”  and then showing up at band practice.  I can just imagine the price tag of the brand new baritone saxophone I was entrusted with.   All those metal chairs and music stands!    That would have been about 1974,  and apparently my ability to remain upright while carrying a huge metal instrument all the while slightly inebriated was considerably better than anything I’ve been able to come up with over the last couple decades.  Youth and exuberance.  And good balance.




I’ve decided not to go on about the Prague trip,  since that would be too boring.  It’s the usual touristy stuff that most anyone can find on the net.  Travelling Companion has been to Prague four times.   This trip makes two for me.   For Ljuba it was her first,  which was the reason for the excursion.

On a slightly different note,  we did come across some sort of dance competition that was going on when we were making our way to the funicular. 


It was being held in the lower level of this rather imposing building.


Now get this,  it was an Irish Dance Competition,  and I found a link on the web!   We figure they had just finished up the competition,  and were about to hand out the trophies.






The one fellow in the second photo on the other side of the trophy table,  who is bending over (to put his shoes and socks back on)  is I believe,  one of the “adjudicators”,   and went up on stage to do a little dance.  He was pretty damned good.  AND,  the crowd,  mostly consisting of impressionable young ladies,  were going bonkers over the guy!  It was hilarious!



I made a gallant attempt at a video,  the first half of which is painfully out of focus.  Grrrr! 

Worth the wait though.  Hang in.   I just played it,  and you may need to turn up the volume.



OK,  I’ve just now done a little snooping around on the web,  and I think I’ve got it.  He must be John Carey,  which would put him in celebrity status among the young dance hopefuls.  Man,  the things you see when you’re not even looking!


Now aren’t you glad you stuck around?  Of course,  we had no clue what we were watching.  We’re just a bunch of dumb tourists.


That’s all for today folks.    Keep those quills sharp.


Thanks for coming by.


*all spelling mistakes are intentional.




  1. HItchhiking on the Autobahn?...the road with no speed limit!!..oh to be young!!

  2. ....and, as a young lad of what? 21? Sitting in a 7 series BMW hurtling up the Autobahn at around 200 k.p.h?
    Nothing finer.

  3. It is a lute sitting in the midst of the classical guitars. Some lovely looking instruments but the sound is the most important thing!

  4. Nice tour of Prague. We will have to visit there some day too!

    I have to ask, you had no problem way back when hitchiking to your friend's, did you have any problems hitchicking back? Was it as easy as going?

    Kevin and Ruth

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. (stupid spelling mistakes!)

      I didn't mention how I got back, since it wasn't nearly as exciting. In spite of "monetary constraints", which made it expedient to hitch hike there, I took the train back to Freiburg, partly since it would have been a challenge to get out to the Autobahn from my friend's place, and I didn't want to risk not being quite so lucky the second time around.
      It was all a matter of how much money I had for that week. I had everything budgeted out, right down to the cab ride home from the airport after I got back to Canada.
      When I now think of how little I had in my bank account...*shudder*.


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.