All right, I'm back. And I've gotten a bunch of complaints that I didn't write enough about my Euro-trip. Well, fine. Be careful what you wish for. 'Cause here comes...
THE BEST OF JACK'S TRIP
Best Big Cities
Rome. Just wander around. The whole city is a museum.
Paris. Crepes and accordion players.
Prague. Smaller, cheaper, good beer.
Athens. Home cooking! And great sights / walks (better with your own tour guide.)
Amsterdam. Freeeeeedom. Coffeeshops. Friendly women.
Berlin. Spriechen sie Kebab? Good beer, HUGE city.
Best Small(er) Cities
Cesky Krumlov. Ping pong, small, intellectual, awesome.
Nice. Beaches. Great weather.
Eze-sur-Mer. 45-minute hike to a tiny town that time forgot.
Zaanse Schaans. Cheesemaker with free samples. 'Nuff said.
1. Bring a lot of underwear and socks. The other clothes don't really matter.
2. Public parks are incredible, and the best. They're fun to walk around in, beautiful, and they have public restrooms. And dogs.
3. Youth hostels are great. If you're young and not obsessed with cleanliness, anyway. And they are a great way to meet people. Sometimes you meet TOO many people, though.
4. Travel by train, preferably during the day. It's quick, cheap, and the scenery is amazing.
5. Used bookstores rule. You can buy a few cheap ones, read them, and trade them in for 'new' used books at the next city.
Anyway, it was an awesome trip. I can't tell you guys EVERYTHING - gotta keep a little bit for myself.
Astros Finalize 25-man roster
Holy crap! The Astros did what I said they should do, optioning Brandon Backe (who had a good spring, and should be back) and Mike Gallo (who had a crappy spring) to AAA, and making Eric Bruntlett a last backup infielder. So here's our team
C Brad Ausmus, Raul Chavez
1B Jeff Bagwell
2B Jeff Kent
SS Adam Everett
3B Morgan Ensberg
IF Jose Vizcaino, Mike Lamb, Eric Bruntlett
LF Lance Berkman
CF Craig Biggio
RF Richard Hidalgo
OF Jason Lane, Orlando Palmeiro
SP Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Wade Miller, Tim Redding
RP Octavio Dotel, Brad Lidge, Dan Miceli, Ricky Stone, Brandon Duckworth, Jared Fernandez
I like it. Let's rumble.
Tomorrow: San Francisco Giants matchup.