I promised you part 2 yesterday but I am just getting around to it now! Sorry! Tuesdays are my busiest days! We made THE BEST 3 courses in food & wine last night and I was in a food coma when I came home and had to just relax in bed. So the adventure continues…!
The next stop on our trip was Krakow, Poland. Let me just tell you I have never tried a perogie before and I’m not sure if it really matters because everyone said they aren’t even half as good in the USA but I will probably still go to the grocery store and buy them frozen as soon as I get back! I’m obsessed! The first night we got there was Tuesday and we had a pub crawl scheduled. So we quickly got changed and ready and went out to grab dinner before leaving for the night! The people at the hostel were really nice and recommended a traditional polish place. It was TINY, only 5 or 6 tables, and had all different kinds of perogies. We got 3 plates of the traditional (potato and cottage cheese) called “ruskie” and were served more than enough perogies. They also had sour cream to dip them in so you really can’t have a bad meal when sour cream is involved! We had so much extra that we brought some home for later that night (it was a late-night snack!). The next morning we woke up for our freezing cold tour! Our tour guide was really into his job and made it more bearable because of his enthusiasm. The city of Krakow didn’t have much to see (dare I say that?) and we spent most of our time up at the castle. There are many myths involving dragons and magic with the castle which were interesting. The tour ended in the city square that was beautiful! Probably my favorite city square based on just looks. We shopped at a little market afterwards, but like I said it was freezing so we stopped for lunch at a cute spot. All we wanted were perogies but THE PLACE WAS ALL OUT! Apparently they had a big group dinner the night before and hadn’t had time to make more. Devastating. We almost left but were too cold and hungry so Ashley and Erin got this traditional soup in bread bowls and me and Hannah split Kielbasa. So good! I already knew it was one of my favorites but Hannah had never tried it and fell in love (much like me and perogies!) so it was a good experience for her! Luckily the kielbasa tastes just about the same in America just maybe not cooked with as much love as the natives.
That night we were went on a group dinner to a Mexican place because everyone was kind of tired of the heavy eastern food (I wasn’t…) and our tour guide knew an owner. I got a chicken quesadilla that hit the spot so I’m not complaining. We were advised not to go out drinking that night because in the morning we were leaving for Aushwitz and you don’t want to be hungover/miserable for that…because it makes you pretty miserable anyways. So we left bright and early and drove about an hour to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkensau. Surprisingly we could take pictures but I think it might be rude to post them online so I’ll have to show people once I’m home. You can imagine the place was somber and chilling and for once I actually forgot about how cold I was…
Aushwitz I reminded me of the Phillips Exeter campus. Weird? It is just a bunch of brick buildings that look like dorms, and they’re now transformed into museums. Each room has these huge displays of things left behind. For example, there is a room of baby shoes, suitcases, hair, glasses etc. And it was piles on piles on piles of everything. I got really choked up at everything but especially the suitcases because they had names and addresses on them and we were told that the Nazi’s would tell the prisoners that they were going to go home after the camp and they would send their stuff back for them, but they would be sent to the gas chambers. We went in one of the gas chambers and I almost threw up. I’m going to stop here because it’s hard to think/write about.
From there we went to Prague and I’m glad because it really cheered everyone up! Prague IS AMAZING! Definitely my favorite place in the world! The only down side is that people smoke more than they breathe. The first night we went to a bar and you couldn’t even see clearly because of all the smoke and now, a week later, my clothes still reek after being washed! We stayed because it was the only close place serving food past midnight and we hadn’t eaten dinner!! In the morning we did the normal tour, saw so much beautiful architecture and then we dipped on the tour once we got to the market (which we found out was the best decision because it went on for 3 more hours and was boring!) The Old Town Square is what sold me on Prague. There are tons of vendors selling everything and they have amazing street food. I realized that is the one thing I don’t like about Florence – no street food! Yes, pizza, pasta, gelato are amazing but I want a sausage or fried dough on the go sometimes! I got cute trinkets/souvenirs and we loved the square so much we went back the next day! They had the same desserts as in Budapest but smaller and filled with Nutella..YES PLEASE! Prague is also home to the John Lennon wall, the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle. All beautiful! The John Lennon wall was a sight to see and it is really cool how basically every week it looks completely different because people are constantly spray painting new things. If you don’t know the history it is just a wall dedicated to Lennon/The Beatles and people just write Beatles quotes all over it. I really wanted to write my parent’s wedding song “Here, There and Everywhere” on the wall but we went to a couple stores around and none of them sold sharpies/markers! Annoying! But at least now they know I wanted to – love you mom & dad!
The bus ride home was 12 hours on Easter Sunday but there was nothing I could do about it. We watched a lot of movies and I read a whole book! (The new Emily Giffin). I got home that night and got to see my roommates for the first time in 11 days and we talked all about our trips! We had Monday off for observation of the national holiday Easter Monday (beats me) and I got to relax and adjust to being home! Albums of spring break to come soon!!
I AM TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP!!!! I just finished planning and booking trips for the majority of the semester! I know people who study abroad in Europe tend to travel a ton on the weekends because everything is so close and cheap, and I knew I wanted to, but the past two weeks me and my friends have kept saying, “oh we’ll do it tomorrow…” and then, “let’s plan trips this weekend…” and I was nervous I was never going to leave Italy (which wouldn’t be a bad thing, don’t get me wrong).
I have been constantly changing my mind for where I want to go on spring break and me and my friend Hannah finally decided we wanted to go EAST! We booked a trip with a program (they say that’s best to do for spring break so the planning is taken care of and you can just relax) to Budapest, Krakow, Prague and Ljubljana (I can’t even pronounce the last place is that bad?). All I know is that Budapest is the “Paris of the East” and Prague is somewhere everyone says you must see. The other two look amazing and I feel like my experience is going to be so unique! Activities during the trip include going to Auschwitz, the thermal baths in Budapest, pub crawls, cave diving and apparently the exchange rate is like 0.1 to the US dollar, or something insanely cheap like that. Ok I actually just googled it and got this:
I’m sold. IS THAT EVEN REAL? All my other friends are going island hopping in Greece to Athens, Santorini (sisterhood of the traveling pants AH!) and Corfu which all look absolutely amazing. That is where I would have gone if I didn’t go east, but I figured I’d mine as well get in as much as I can! OH and did I mention we booked our trips for 50% off because there was some valentine’s day special WOOHOO!! So it was sooo cheap! I am like giddy writing this!
Then, because we were in such a good mood after getting amazing deals and finally making decisions on spring break, we decided to find the cheapest flights anywhere in Europe for the few free weekends we have. At first we were all set to do Paris but then we realized we’d have to miss class and since we’re such good students (cough) we decided on Barcelona since the flight is leaving on Friday (no classes!). So in two weekends from now we’ll be getting our tan on in BARCA! We all have friends that are studying abroad there too so it should be an unreal time.
Oh and did I mention I’m going to ROME this weekend?! I’ll be sure to post TONS of pictures and try to chill with the Pope before he retires.
My semester timeline of traveling:
Feb 15-17: Rome, Italy*
Feb 21-24: Interlaken, Switzerland (tentatively, but so necessary)
March 1-3: Barcelona, Spain
March 9-10: Venice, Italy*
March 16: Bologna, Italy
March 21-31: SPRING BREAK > Budapest, Krakow, Prague, Ljubljana
April 4-14: Jill & Justin are here!
April 6: Lucca, Italy*
April 13-14: Cinque Terre
April 20-21: “Under the Tuscan Sun” Trip*
April 26-28: Amalfi Coast
*= with my abroad program