Stinky German Backpackers
We've been slowly traveling through Eastern Europe for nearly two months now, and believe it or not, today marks the first day we've actually met and talked with another backpacker. We've met loads of locals during this time, but the pair of young Germans here at Josef and Teri's home (CouchSurfing for the night) are the first travelers that I've spoken with in person since February. Damn, it's been a while.
We're not anti-social—well, at least I'm not—though we've somehow managed to stay out of hostels and shared transport with other foreign travelers during the region's peak season. The tourist trail is certainly no place for us during this time of year, and since Poland I've tried to keep us off it.
The young couple, just barely out of their teens, have been moving at sadly typical pace—all the way from Prague to this little town in 10 days. I sort of shook my head at their speed, to which Alex said that "speed is subjective, and at least we didn't fly to Istanbul" (their destination and the origin of their departure flight back home, only a handful of days away).
He's right; speed is subjective, and our travels have taken us maybe less than three-quarters their distance and more than five times as long to get here. But I know that they arrived late and will leave early, and they'll have stopped here without seeing or learning much of anything—perhaps a pattern echoed in every city they've blown through.
But these kids are very young, and it's their fist time traveling together as a couple. Since they don't live very near each other, I'd imagine their travels are less about destinations and the time spent at them, and more about spending time with each other. But if that's the case, do you really need to spend most of your time with your newfound love inside a stuffy train?
Steffi is a very quite one, and Alex sports that middleclass nonconformist deadlocks look. Tatiana finds the both of them to be quite smelly—overpoweringly so would probably be a better way to articulate her words to me. I've got a bit of a stuffy nose, so I suppose I've been spared.
Why someone wouldn't want a shower after hours and hours of sweaty train rides from Budapest baffles Tatiana's mind, and my own, I suppose. First thing I do after travel is shower, especially if it's on the kind of transport floating around this part of the world at this time of the year.
Tatiana gave me a knowing look when Josef offered the two the shower in the bathroom after a dinner conversation that we'd exhaustingly carried all the way through. "No thanks," Alex replied for the both of them, "we showered yesterday."
Tatiana thinks that Alex gasped and reacted to the question as if Josef had said "Hey look, we've got this device in the back that makes your penis smaller, if you're interested in using it. What do you say?"
The pair would ultimately end up leaving the house without ever bathing.