Monday, October 26, 2009

A quick summary.

I’m back in Rome once again, have finished all of my midterms, and am finally going to update about my fall break! In general, fall break was a really great experience; I enjoyed each of the places we visited for very different reasons. We started off by flying to Krakow, then traveling to Vienna, Salzburg, and Prague before flying back to Rome.

To sum up the trip, I decided to write an “awards show” version of everything because it would be both quicker and more fun!

So, here we go:

Best train ride: Vienna to Salzburg – comfy train, absolutely beautiful scenery, and just the right length.

Other memorable train experiences: riding the night train for the first time (not bad at all) and riding in compartments like in the Harry Potter books on the way to Prague!

Best hot dog ever: At the Plac Nowy in Krakow. I ate two. Sooo good.

Best hostel: it’s a tie between the Balloon Hostel in Krakow (super cheap, really homey feeling, and fun people) and the YoHo Youth Hostel in Salzburg (fun people again, lots of Sound of Music greatness, and it basically had everything you’d ever want right there including a restaurant/bar).

Place that felt most like Disneyland: Prague. Between the Castle and the Clock, it just felt a like bit magical.

Best public transportation: Vienna, hands down. Clean, so frequent and reliable, and the trams were designed by Porsche!

Classiest moment: Going to the Opera at the Opera House in Vienna. Yeah, I wore jeans and paid 4 Euro for a standing room ticket, but I still felt really classy.

Favorite square: Krakow’s Old Town Square. So fun! And so huge!

Cheesiest experience: Going on The Sound of Music tour and taking pictures in the Mirabella gardens (where they filmed most of “Do Re Mi”) in Salzburg.

Best dessert: Apple strudel with vanilla sauce during the Sound of Music tour.

Fantastic surprise: our train to Prague from Salzburg went through Germany! So, I have now officially set foot on German soil (we had to switch trains at one point).

Most memorable (?) experience: visiting the concentration camps at Auschwitz. There are no words for the kind of horror and tragedy of seeing that with your own eyes.

Best weather: The first day of the trip, unfortunately enough. The rain started the next day, followed by more rain, snow, much colder weather, and wind.

Favorite castle: the one in Prague (I forget the name…).

Best airline: Wizz Air. Besides the name, the plane was also pink and purple. Need I say more?

Favorite country: Austria.

Minor disappointment: I technically went to four different countries, yet didn’t get a single new stamp in my passport!

There's so much more to say, but it's so hard to sum up a week in a quick and concise format, so for now this will have to do.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No, I did not get lost in Eastern Europe...

Sorry it's been so long since an update! I'm still alive, I promise, but life has been very busy since Fall Break. I've been in the middle of studying for midterms and trying to get tons of travel plans straightened out, as well as figuring out a bunch of things for when I go back to SLU (which feels a world away right now).

And after my class this afternoon, I'm leaving right away to head to airport again! I'm flying to London to spend the weekend with my Dad (Papa), who's been there this week. I'll be back Sunday night, just in time to studying for my Theology midterm on Monday. After that, hopefully I will get around to updating about Fall Break and everything else that has gone on!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

"It started feeling like October."

I can't believe we're already a week into October. I'm already almost to the halfway point of my time here. Ironically enough, I feel like I’ve just really started to get the hang of being here over the past couple weeks.
I’ve been staying pretty busy lately (which accounts for my lack of updates). My parents were here last week, and it was wonderful to see them! They were in Rome Sunday through Wednesday, so I spent a lot of time with them. Having them here and being able to show them around is one of the things that really made me feel at home here.
On Friday, I went on an adventure to Assisi with my friend Carly! We took and train there early in the morning, and came back the same night. I went to Assisi the first time when I was in Italy a few years ago, and I loved it so much that I desperately wanted to go back. Thankfully, Assisi did not disappoint on the second visit! We had a pretty relaxing day, just walking around and visiting some of the of the churches. Ironically enough, St. Francis's feast day was actually on Sunday, which we didn't even realize while we were there!
On Saturday, I went to the Catacombs, which I loved, naturally. They were just so interesting, but I am definitely glad that we had a guide to take us through them because I can understand how people would get lost in them! They were super confusing.
On Sunday, I went to nearby town with a few friends to a wine festival (sagra del vino). It was a lot of fun, but super crowded. The only thing I know how to compare it to is an Italian version of Octoberfest, except with wine instead of beer. They even had a fountain with wine flowing out of it instead of water!
This past week has been pretty busy with schoolwork and other activities. Calcio update: after losing our first match, and tying last week, the Pink Team prevailed for our first win last night! It was pretty epic with a final score of 5-1.
Now I am done with classes for the week, and fall break has officially started! I leave bright and early tomorrow morning to fly to Krakow and get started on my adventure in Eastern Europe! I will be gone for about 9 days (coming back next Saturday), and it should be a fantastic trip!
Wish me luck!