Greetings from sunny Prague, where summer is officially underway. The same is true for me, having visited friends in Baltimore and Cleveland (the latter a quick little road trip with Judith) and now doing more of the same this side of the pond. It's turning into a travel-filled summer. A few days after this trip ends, Judith and I are off for another long weekend drive, this time to Massachusetts; the whole middle of July puts me back in Ohio; I got into KlezKanada, so there goes a week in late August; a summer camp reunion and a visit to the parental homestead may open-face sandwich that week. And somewhere amid all this, I have work to be doing, which is why I'm here: I'll be presenting my Google Summer of Code project — currently no more than a series of twinkles in my eye — at pkgsrcCon in Berlin next weekend. But first, some travel notes from the train to Prague.

South of Dresden the rails trace the path of the Elbe, squeezed in against the increasingly vertical left valley wall. Across the river there's enough perspective to see rolling hills of dense green, trees filling every possible tree-spot. Occasionally sheer rock faces poke out, or the odd crag. The river towns appear alternately charming and kitschy (Schöna in particular the latter) but there's no arguing with the fundament on which they sit. The signage at Bad Schandau station includes “východ” along with “Ausgang”; at Děčín, the first stop into Czechia, a field trip boards and the test begins: how well do I hear this language after 2.5 somewhat lackluster years of study and the last semester off? So far, a tiny bit well, which is more than expected. Maybe subjecting myself to a few minutes' strafing of first-year audio exercises before Dresden helped. When one of the youngsters asked the others “Máte tužku?” I wanted to reach into my bag and produce a pencil, just to prove the point. The land flattens out a ways into the Czech Republic, and thankfully so do my travels for the night. Off to Bratislava tomorrow.