Between one thing and another, my brother M and I ended up doing a tour of various points in central Europe at the end of 2011. This was a bit of an 'odd couple' act; he needs time to understand his surroundings and hadn't left the US on his own before, and I adjust to different places by osmosis and have the kind of passport that CBP doesn't bother hogging room in with reentry stamps. He doesn't do museums, and I have to be pulled out with ropes and chains; he takes few pictures, and I, as previous chronicles will show, should probably look into one of those ear-mounted coaxial video cameras. He does the "vaca" in "vacation", the sense of empty space, and I do the "ation", where everything is all blastbeat all the time, always in motion.
Despite this, things worked out, and we saw a bunch of cool stuff and had essential European experiences. We got stuck on a rail siding in the middle of the night and wrote out refund forms for the DB, and pitched up at a budget hotel on a wing and a prayer. We did half of Prague zonked out and loaded up, drinking coffee in a tiny cafe run by an aging expat hippie, blowing a last cooldown to get that last mile. We used flowery formal German and punchy umgangsprache to grease shit through in a Viennese Adelhof, and good sense to buy yummy food rather than expensive and probably illegal junk in the Naschmarkt. We camped out in drafty railway stations, and we saw high-stakes championships in footnote sports like snooker and curling as well as do-or-die Champions' League matches and an El Clásico. We ate local food, a lot of Turkish takeout, and more Central Asian stuff than might have been expected. Our pockets were full of rye bread, sausage, hummus, beer caps, and validated subway tickets. We saw the Alps in winter and the sun on the rolling hills of Bavaria, and dawn amid the sandstone bluffs of the Sächsische Schweiz. We drank a lot of beer -- halves with normal meals, nach Mass killing Brotzeit plates around Munich, half-liter bottles just hanging out, and 33s only once, with Uighur plates -- but also a lot of wine and punch standing around Christmas markets in the dark. We saw pagan fires, Christian cathedrals of both species, and both synagogues and the shadows where the black tide of '38 had swept them away. We saw the window, the car, and the beerhall (or, more accurately, the Hilton where it once stood), and perhaps understood things a little better. This was not a perfect trip, but perfection is seldom adventurous, and as long as you're not dead yet, you might as well have some fun with it.
Sofort, how Spedition Gebr. D GmbH undertook this undertaking, in four hopefully-convenient parts:
1 - NBL
2 - Bohemia
3 - Ostmark
4 - Bayern