I am generally pessimistic before each trip, expecting the worst; even so, some parts turn out worse than you expect. Item: The Hilton in Prague is insanely, criminally, stupidly overpriced for what it is. Among their many sins were the $4 local phone calls and the gold-plated Internet service, up and down like a yo-yo. Never again. Item: Taxi drivers in Prague are generally crooks it seems; take the train. Item: The food in Prague is wildly variable, I had the worst schnitzel I’ve ever encountered, at least you can wash it down with good beer. Item: Either we had bad luck or Slovenian red wine is Not Ready For Prime time; not just bad, but heroically bad. The people are nice and the beer is good so I’m sure they’ll do better. [Update: Andrew Brown writes to say there are excellent red wines from Western Slovenia.] Item: It makes me nervous when you’re checking out and you pull out your credit card and the hotel offers you a big discount for cash. Item: The Hotel Silvester, near Ljubljana airport, is decent enough and cheap but you might want to avoid Friday nights; there was a wedding or birthday or something in the bar underneath my room; the medley of Slovenian folk-songs and Deep Purple hits went on till 2AM. Then they all stomped in unison for a while—like, minutes—before they broke up and had loud beery conversations in the hallway outside my room. Mystified, I was going to go downstairs to investigate the stomping but then maybe it was a secret Slovenian fertility rite and foreigners who see it Must Be Killed. Item: WiFi in Frankfurt airport is exclusively by T-Mobil which should be OK because I have an account but they demand to know who your home provider is and then want $0.18/minute roaming, no that’s not a misprint; are they mad? Item: Frankfurt airport is less tolerable every time I go there. Its saving grace is decently idiosyncratic stores; but I gather they’re about to fix that by filling it up with The Body Shop, Starbucks, and friends, so it’ll be exactly like everywhere else, shopping-wise. It is full of smoke, everywhere, always. Earth to Germany: Pervasive public smoke is no longer considered acceptable among civilized people. There is nothing good to eat after you go through security. The washrooms are smoky, grubby and sized for midgets. I will take extreme measures to avoid going back. But that probably won’t do any good.