Top of the morning, folks.
And what a glorious winter morning it is. Gently falling snow, indifferent gray skies, deadly slippery roads… But what makes it all that more special is that I know it is the last morning I spend at work for the next 10 days. I am going to the Czech Republic (almost wrote Czechoslovakia there, whoops) with my mates and girlfriend, although it now looks like the number of mates actually going has been whittled down to two… One asshole didn’t even say anything, just stopped replying to calls and mails a few days before departure! That’s fine, be an asshole, buddy, but the dickwad is putting my mate’s room reservation in jeopardy (original reservation was for a 6 person room, and now that they are down to two the tour guide is grumbling at the waste of space and his money) by his sudden disappearance. Not to mention that we’ll have to explain, once again, to the tour guide that our mate isn’t coming, and that there are only two left out of five. Fucking brilliant..! That guy deserves a hobo turd stuck in his mail box, or, preferably, his mouth.
But anyway, we’ll be leaving tomorrow on the 8am ferry for Estonia, where we’ll board buses and head to Vrchlabi, Czech Republic. The drive on Via Baltica will take us through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and, finally, to the Czech Republic, and will last from around 22 to 25 hours. I am basing this on last year’s trip to Ružomberok, Slovakia, which is about as distant as the Czechs, and lasted 21 hours there and 24 hours back not including the ferry trip. Last year I was snowboarding on the slopes of Tatra Mountains, this time it’s going to be the Krkonose (Giant) Mountains. They are a bit more modest, certainly not doing justice to their lofty name, reaching up to only about 1600m tops, but I guess they’ll do. We are going to be doing all (or at least most) of our skiing and snowboarding in Špindlerův Mlýn and Herlikovice, when not enjoying local beer and soaking in aquaparks or bowling. As for the costs, well, some would say that the trip is expensive while some would find it cheap, and I’m sorta falling in between with my opinion. At 385€ (no breakfast, ferry included) It is certainly cheaper than going to Lapland, not to mention more fun, and sure is cheaper than booking a week (or even a weekend) at the Alps.
I have prepared well for this trip. I am carrying a formidable arsenal of entertaining electronics, something vital on a long bus trip, as well as a good selection of books. Basically, I am taking along an iPod Nano, gameboy micro, iPAQ, cell phone, laptop and a camera, as well as a travel radio. That’s a lot of chargers. As for the laptop, it has been considerably beefed up for the trip. I bought a ”new” 40Gb HD to replace the old 6Gb one, 128Mb more memory to bring the total up to 256Mb, and, most importantly, a PCMCIA WiFi card to replace the old wire-only one! Now the old runt is perfect for casual web browsing, movie watching, or playing Diablo II and Baldur’s Gate II..! And to think I almost bought a 400€ new laptop for this trip. Now I can postpone that till next year… Ah, the joys of being cheap. Well, anyway, I am already almost done packing, so will soon go have a pint or three with some mates, since, judging from my previous experience, I am prone to breaking bones, having already broken a rib last year, and might not be coming back from this trip alive. But I’ve only myself to blame, since, as my girlfriend said, “It takes an idiot to strap both his legs to a plank and hurl himself down a mountain”.
Ok, so a few links and then it’s go time. You are probably not stuck in traffic right now, but here are 7 things to do if and when it happends. I wish I had number 7 and I do number 4 constantly, both intentionally and not, while number 1 has unfortunately been known to happend… And speaking of traffic and traffic jams, Google has a new service that measures your bandwidth and how it’s utilised, ensuring that you know what you pay for. Nifty. I swear, one day Google Inc. will rule the world, Cyberpunk Zaibatsu-style. We’ve plenty of time before that, though, so check out some weird words and bizzare phrases in different languages. My favorites are Sjöstygg: Norwegian for someone so ugly the tide refuses to come in if they stand on the shore, and Layogenic: Filipino for someone good-looking from afar but ugly up close…