Tuesday, June 19, 2012

80s music on the way to Austria from Prague

This morning we arrived in Prague after a two-hour flight from Istanbul, and straight we went to the rental car station to pick up our car for the three-and-a-half hour drive via the picturesque Czech countryside into equally picturesque Austria.

The Czech countryside is a mix of very charming villages and some agro-industrial areas, plus some truly beautiful woodlands, while Austria -- at least this part near the Czech border -- is full of quaint villages and pastel-colored houses on manicured fields. We oohed and aahed over everything, and every so often, one of us would say: "Hey guys, we're in the Czech Republic!" Or: "We're finally in Austria."

It had been quite a long trip, all in all, but the drive had been livened up by all the 80s songs we listened to on the way over to Austria. My friend A probably has thousands of songs on his iPhone and by activating his playlist on loud and placing it on a box-type contraption on the car dashboard, we were able to enjoy these with a stereo effect all the way to our destination. Scroll down to read about what we listened to...


We started out playing 80s dance music, which was nice but it didn't really fit the scenery outside. We deliberately avoided the highways and instead we used the backroads all the way from Prague;  this was such a great idea because we saw so many charming scenes this way. But some of the backroads were so narrow that we thought we would end up not at our destination but in someone's garage instead. Fortunately we never got lost -- and I was the navigator by the way.

Anyway, after hearing a couple of thumping dance tunes, I said: "Don't you have anything slightly more sentimental than hardcore 80s dance music?"

Of course he did. He had dance playlists and also slow song playlists of all kinds -- from the slightly sentimental to the I'm-going-to-throw-myself-in-the-river type of sad songs. You name it in the 80s, he had it. I'm not into very sad songs myself, so I chose the lighter version of his slow song playlists. It had things like "Foolish Heart," which I like very much, and that Manhattan Transfer song "Worlds Apart."

A said to me: "I remember when I first let you hear this song. You made me play it over and over." Yes, that's me. When I like a song, I play it over and over until I get tired of it. This was about 20 years ago that we were talking about, by the way.

My other friend S was seated at the back and she was laughing and laughing.


Then the three of us started reminiscing about the different songs we were hearing, and especially our memories associated with each one. We certainly had a good laugh remembering people, events, actions and all kinds of special things.

We've kept in touch although there were a couple of years of blanks because I was away from Manila for so long -- but we also realized that there were so many people who were once in our lives who we are not at all in touch with anymore.

So most of the morning became a "Whatever happened to XXX?" kind of discussion as we remembered people who'd somehow been part of our lives. Interestingly, I have a very lousy memory for 20 years ago but A could remember some people in my life that even I can't recall anymore. How funny that was.


When we got to our destination, we took all of an hour to unpack and get settled; then we set out to take a walk and take some photos while the weather was perfect and the light was good. It was a lovely first day in Europe.

As we'd been driving straight, we hadn't stopped for lunch although we'd had a very big breakfast on the plane. We went to sit in the first outdoor cafe we could find without much thought about gourmet food or specialties.

We were just hungry, and the place we'd chosen served only drinks and one kind of food: hamburgers. And I don't usually eat hamburgers, by the way.

But as we were all hungry and tired, S and I shared the hamburger special which came with cheese, corn and really delicious bacon. I wasn't expecting much as the place did not at all look promising except as a place to park our feet for a few minutes. And I just wanted to hit the sack as soon as I finished eating something. Anything.

Just our luck. That burger tonight was just about the best hamburger I've had in a very long time. How lucky can we get? Just another day in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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