On The Road (With Parents)

I had visitors.  They were my parents.  We rented a car.  We went on a trip.  It was fun.  If this was all the detail I ever gave you, I’d probably write more often.

Who doesn't want to drive through a gate like this? (click to see larger)Ok, fine, I’ll say more.

Keep in mind, this was a few weeks ago.  It’s not that I don’t have any time to write, the truth is that I don’t feel like sitting down and typing away after long days of studying.  My free time during busy school months (like this one) is typically spent doing activities that don’t require thinking.  You know, activities such as boiling water, going grocery shopping, or closing the window.

Back to the topic:  road trips are fun.  I like train trips a lot more, but they can really limit your options.  When you travel on the rails, it’s much more challenging to get to small places, and it can take longer with local trains and changes.  The result of a train trip is that the journey is more fun at the expense of the destination.

Cars are a responsibility.  A big, big responsibility.  The only realistic option for me is to rent one.  Two alternatives I can think of are to buy or steal one, but the first is too expensive and the second requires a lot of tattoos (at least according to Hollywood).  Therefore, I have to track down a rental company, and figure out how to make it all work.  Fortunately, my dad has developed quite a skill set for doing this in a European setting, so it requires minimum effort on my part.

A nice Slovakian sidestreet. (click to see larger)The next catch is finding where to go.  Cities are difficult to navigate, and this isn’t the continent where I grew up.  This equation has the result that European cities are difficult to get around in.  But, it’s 2012.  We now have a nice little object called a GPS that tells us exactly where to go.  Unfortunately, her robotic voice always ignores me when I start to argue – so rude (and “turn around when possible” is a phrase that haunts my nightmares).

Another challenge is gas.  I assume this part will be irrelevant in another 100 years (there will be an alternative source of fuel or a robot to do it for us), but now we still have to take responsibility.  Fortunately, pulling a car into a gas station is a pretty big hint of what you want, and a little bit of pointing covers the less certain parts.  This trip, I even ended up with a (maybe free, maybe not) water bottle!  What a deal!

Driving right off of a hill. (click to see larger)On the other hand, there are plenty of good parts to a road trip.  You don’t have to worry about some creepy, smelly guy sitting in the car with you (if that happens, you have much bigger problems).  If you get hungry, you can stop (train conductors don’t take kindly to the pulling of the emergency brake when passing by a nice restaurant).  And, the best part, you can sing at the top of your lungs!

This is the biggest debate:

Rental Car Smell vs. Train Smell

That, in my opinion, is a toss-up.

As usual, I’m out of time and didn’t talk about my trip.  Why do I always do this?  Whoever it was who said the famous quote about the journey being the most important part would probably really like me.  Check back soon for some more stories!

 Driving right next to this didn't make me uncomfortable at all... (click to see larger)

Hungarian word of the day:


This word is pronounced like „Aw-oo-toe,” and it (surprisingly) means car.  It’s pretty useful when you want to rent one.  It can save you from having to take a boat trip.