Dateline: 08.00 28 Aug 1996
Location: Wien-Ljubljana, IC 151 Emona
In the immortal words of Chuck D, "Here we go again!" It
seems that my lingering flu has finally been terminated, thanks to some
14+ hours of sleep last evening/night - and I would have gladly dozen on
a little longer. Yesterday's account of Wien remains sorely lacking, so
let us fill up the gaps now...
Oh my god, it is so beautiful! And I don't mean
Wien at the moment. After days and days of flat plains and gray cities,
to suddenly find oneself on a train slowly climbing a twisty little trail
in the Alps! Hills, valleys, mountains, snow-covered peaks, gorges, cliffs,
all covered with thick green forest, idyllic little houses jutting out
here and there in the lower parts. Why didn't I come here before?!?
Back to Wien. Early in the morning I was hit with not
merely one but two of everybody's least favorite sur-prize, the Cat Ass
Trophy. I did not realize it at the time; if I had, the tragedy might have
been averted, but no. The first was the loss of my Abidas sweater, evidently
left on the Praha-Wien train. It was not a particularly important garment
- I can count the number of times I've worn it with the fingers of two
hands and the number of times I've worn it on this trip with the nails
of one finger - but I will need it in Slovenia and getting a replacement
may not prove cheap. But the second and far worse problem was the loss
of my address/infopack. This meant that I lost all my addresses (e-mail,
telephone, mail), the list of all places to go to (netcafes, record stores,
etc), and worst of all, every one of the little souvenirs and random little
tidbits I had collected in it! There were dozens of things in there, all
of them irreplaceable, and they're gone now! WAAAH! And I was going
to take no risks and send them home from Praha, but I never got around
to getting the envelope & stamps & stuff. WAAAH! Sniff. Well, at
least a few bit'n'things were conserved in my wallet(s), and this diary
wasn't lost. Tomorrow I shall send these off - I can't afford to let this
happen again. Lesson to be learned? Don't travel when sick and tires (not
of it all, but literally).
The train is so high up now that everything is wrapped
in a blanket of fog. Except that it's not fog, it's a cloud! Keep your
feet firmly on the air, and excuse me while I kiss the sky...
Here I am at the last stop in Austria, Spielfeld-Straß,
and as I watch it starts to rain. The day started out nice and sunny in
Wien, but we're only halfway through - perhaps there's still time for a
SLOVENIJA! My first glances of the country I've been
waiting to experience for so long. First impression: Neat! After the Czech
Republic, I'd been fearing the worst, but this is in noticeably better
shape - and we're still way deep in the countryside! No visible environmental
damage, no garbage dumps on the side of the road, no horrid factories belching
out smoke... just a bit too much peeling paint for my liking, but
the best indicator of a country's advancedness - its traffic signs - are
in excellent shape indeed. Overall, it looks like a step above French countryside.
I think I'm going to like this!
Maribor station. Not exactly the prettiest place I've
seen, but certainly beats Holesovice (yecch!). This is starting to sound
like I'm desperately trying to convince myself that Slovenia is OK, but
even a neutral assessment would agree. (My pen, which just died, doesn't.)
Even discounting the negative karma generated by what is by now extremely
heavy rain, which just keeps on getting worse. And I lost my sweater...
Chugging through the lush green fields of Stajerska,
it is strange to think that another few hundred kilometers to the south
lie the killing fields of Bosnia-Hercegovina - or that, had the high command
of Republika Srpska decided to hang on to this rebellious province instead,
these fields I'm passing through would be mined, the roads filled with
tanks and checkpoints, this railway itself blasted to oblivion, people
perhaps scurrying past in the shadow of the track enbankment trying to
avoid the "snaipa" training his rifle on them from atop a nearby hill.
Bratstvo i jedinstvo, indeed.
"Výstup anastup, dvere se zaviraji!" Is it normal
to get flashbacks of Prahan subway announcements? Are the locals' rates
of psychosis increased by having to hear them every day, every time, at
The day's budget
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