Bratislava packs a mighty aura for such a small and often forgotten city hovering on the edge of western and eastern Europe. The feeling of being one step away from normalcy creeps in your mind as you navigate through the streets and pay attention to local residents. Luckily we never fell over normal’s cliff. Well Kevin … might have.
After trudging though town back and forth for two days it was time to move on. Packing the car provided more entertainment then usual. These damn narrow streets were for pedestrians only which meant we needed to lug all our shit up medieval stairs and paths, then across some city squares to the closest road. Being the ingenious lads that we are, we crossed the city tram’s tracks to park the car next to the bridge which connects the old town and financial center. This step saved us a few hundred meters of walking which was very important for Kevin as his previous night’s exploits were debilitating him to the fullest.
The 3 hour drive from Bratislava to Budapest was slowed down by a total of 10-100 stops along the highway. One loses count after awhile. Projectile vomiting, moaning and overall discomfort were the main drivers behind all of our stops. Nothing could save poor Kevin from living in complete persecution. Kevin had the look of “FUCK YOU BRATISLAVA” tattooed across his pale disheveled face. That’s why he doesn’t do castles and churches. Add Bratislava to that list.
Next stop: Budapest. If you have half a heart and any cultural awareness you will know that Budapest is famous for being an awesome city to visit. Famous for a good time and excellent prices, Budapest was the perfect place to hunker down for a bit. You see, Jeff needed to visit London for a few very important reasons right at this exact point in the trip. July 21st was a special day in London.
- Go to amazing friends wedding on July 21st. Thank you Liam and Charlie, it was perfect.
- Pick up his brother Jason from said wedding to embark on the rest of the mongol rally together.
- See his beautiful wife Kayla and family before being gone for 2 more months.
- Then came #4. Jason and Jeff meticulously worked over their wonderful mother Joanne for a few hours. 2 weeks prior to the trip, they convinced her to let them surprise their 16 year old brother Garrett by taking him from the wedding in London to Budapest for a 7 night stint on the rally. At a pub in London before the wedding, Jason and Jeff surprised little G with the flight ticket. He was shocked and excited as you could imagine any 16 year old would be upon learning that he was about to join the 4 stooges on an epic Eastern European multi country drive.
In proper mongol rally fashion, just getting to the wedding was a complete and utter fiasco for Jeff. JH was locked in the hostel either taking a shit, manscaping, or putting on his pretty little make up while Kevin and Jeff were down at the car counting the seconds go by. They were cutting it close with about 2 hours to go before the flight and a 30 minute drive ahead of them. Jeff took the reigns and drove like a bat out of hell to make his flight. Then he walked into what could only be described as mayhem. Thousands of people were in the Budapest international airport counter lines and there was no way Jeff was going to make his flight. This is where the rule “Always Cut” was first implemented on this trip.
Jeff weaseled his way unapologetically past families, bachelor parties and missionaries on his own unrelenting mission past a 2.5/3 hour boarding pass, checked luggage line. Operation: I’m not missing this F*cking wedding was a full go and getting to the very front of the counter was priority #1. He did so with ease and proceeded to yell at some lady about letting him print his ticket. Sure enough Jeff didn’t confirm his seat so he had to go to another line and cut again. Then another to pay a late check in fee, then another to actually get his ticket. That’s not the end. Oh no. There is a sparkle of hope at the end of this disastrous airport saga. With only minutes to spare and another insurmountably long line to get through security, Jeff saw his last chance at redemption. The last path to making the wedding. For only 50Euros, even commoners can pay to skip the security line at select airports this side of the world and have your own personal attache. NO BRAINER. 300Euros later and Jeff made the flight – ALWAYS CUT people! That’s a lesson that will prove integral to our trip’s success over and over again.
Jeff, Jason and Garrett all had an outrageous time at the wedding. They packed up the next day and took off for Budapest to meet up with Kevin and JH. What were JH and Kevin doing during the wedding? By all accounts, it involved Turkish style bath houses and some quality bromance time. A proper way to get more acclimated to each other and squash some previous squabbles. Would that last the rest of the trip? No, but it was nice none the less.
They all had one night together in Budapest before continuing down Europe in search of the real adventure in central Asia and beyond. This was Garrett’s first real trip with his brothers and nothing would stop them from achieving greatness.