Prague…

Unfortunately, I got a bad stomach bug the day we left for Prague. For our first two days I was pretty much out of commission. Fortunately I’m back in the game now and got to see some of the city. In my opinion, Prague has the least amount of English speakers compared to the other countries I’ve visited. It is also quite touristy. There are just endless shops to buy things from.

We didn’t visit anything specifically, but we did walk around quite a bit. The architecture is very nice. I just wish I was in better condition to enjoy it more. At first, we were expecting the city to be fairly dangerous, since a guy in our hostel room said he got mugged. However, we didn’t see any signs of danger.

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Posted by on January 15th, 2011 No Comments

Baths

Today Chris and I spent the day like a married couple going on separate vacations. He went cave diving while I went to the hot baths. First I went on another free walking tour, where I met Olivia who had been studying in France. After getting a bite to eat, we decided to head to the baths. After some confusion with where to change and where to locate the baths, we got to submerge ourselves in the water. To our dismay, the water was very lukewarm and not very interesting.

Just as we were about to leave and head towards the saunas, we discover a different area with warmer baths. While this was exciting at first, they were not much better than the previous baths. However, once again as we were about to leave, we found the infamous outside baths. These were exceptional. You got to experience warm waters which were combating the frigid outside temperatures, creating a mist that was very fun to lurk through.

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Posted by on January 15th, 2011 1 Comment

A Good Day in Hungary

We got up early and got breakfast at a little café. I had a chocolate milkshake mmmm. After, we set off to the meeting spot where our walking tour would leave from. Nobody else showed up except for some Spaniards from Barcelona, who we told using our fine-tuned Spanish skills that the tour was only in English. It was a great little private tour. We saw the St. Stephen Basilica, the Parliament building, and heard some interesting stories along the way. In the Basilica they actually have the mummified hand of St. Stephen. Scientists have no idea why his hand has not deteriorated, so the Hungarians believe it to be a miracle.

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Posted by on January 15th, 2011 No Comments

1,250

Chris and I said our goodbyes to the others and set off by train to Budapest. I never imagined myself going to Hungary. It is especially neat because my great grandfather was Hungarian and resided in the county of Szabaocs-szatnac-bereg. Try saying that one 5 times fast.

After taking a few metro rides from the station, we needed to go up via escalator or stairs. The escalator line was long, so we thought the stairs would be fine. Little did we know that this would be the longest staircase of our lives. To top it off, we were each lugging our enormous backpacks. It is safe to say I worked off all the schnitzel from Vienna.

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Posted by on January 15th, 2011 No Comments

Opera

Today Nick and I got up early and had a good day of sightseeing. We started out at the Staadspor church, where we got to take a lift to the top for a view of Vienna. I would recommend others save their 5 Euros for something better… Then after some wandering we came across the Habsburg Palace. The museum was very interesting. There were many old swords, jewels, and robes from the Habsburg era. They really made clothes good back then if they are still in one piece today.

Later on we saw the Straddstor Summer Palace. The rooms were almost on par with Versailles. Fortunately this palace did not have any strange Japanese art included. Actually the reason we decided to go visit this place was because after the Habsburg Palace we ran into the man that sold us our tickets for the Vienna orchestra. We saw him the other day near a church where he said we should purchase them today because we will not see him again. It was quite humorous. Of all the people in Vienna we find that guy again.

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Posted by on January 15th, 2011 No Comments

Ciao Italy, Guten Tag Vienna

I got up bright and early on the third of January. After sitting in the Milan airport for about 6 hours, my flight with Air Berlin took me to Vienna. I managed to successfully get myself to the hostel despite the lack of daylight. It was nice meeting up with my friends Chris and Nick again.

Vienna is a nice city. We visited the Sigmund Freud museum, where I got to sit in his library and read a book on psychoanalysis. I did feel quite smart doing so, although I think I would have felt smarter if I had been smoking a pipe.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

New Years

We went shopping the other day. I got myself a cool European polo shirt. It has to be one of the snobbiest shirts I have ever purchased. I love it.

For new years, Samir and I decided to be the chefs. He cooked lentils and I cooked the traditional Budlong baked ziti dish. I went to the local market to find some ingredients and I must say my Italian was superb. I made an attempt to ask which cheese would work best for the dish and it went something like this: “Scuzzi… Pasta, Pomadoro, Fromaggio…Il Forno.” I then pointed to the cheese and made a shrugging gesture as to indicate I had no idea what I was doing. The lady knew what I was trying to convey and she helped me pick out an excellent cheese.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

Venice

Venice is gorgeous! I think it may be my favorite city in Italy. It’s almost like it’s out of a fairy tale book. The small alleys, the gondola boats, and the beautiful blown glass shops make the city something special. There is really no point in carrying a map around because it will not aid you. The trick is to follow a sign as far as you can and then ask for directions. Some of the signs were so discrete that you needed eyes like a hawk to spot them. Despite the city being a maze, it was overall very quaint and had some tasty cuisine. We found a (literally) hole in the wall pizza place that served slices as big as my head for 2 Euros.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

Buon Natale

Christmas in Italy! I never thought I would be able to say I spent the holidays in another country. The traditions are a little different. My friend Ingrid’s mother cooked us a mix of authentic Italian and Romanian dishes. The food was amazing. When she offers you seconds and you say there is enough on your plate, she will give you double what you want.

Christmas day was one of the first days we got to sleep in, which was quite a treat. I sure needed the break from waking up at the crack of dawn. We had another outstanding lunch and watched movies during the day. For dinner, we made brownies (or should I say Samir and I watched as the girls made brownies) and that was just enough to put ourselves in a food coma.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments

Delicious

I have been to many places, but I must say that Italy has some of the best food I have ever tasted. The pizza, the pasta, the gnocchi, and more are delectable. They also have very good sweets. Spain had good ice-cream, but Italy has gelato and excellent chocolate.

The gang went to Milan where we got to see the Duomo. The church’s architecture was gorgeous. We also had the rare opportunity to attend a concert at the famous Skala Concert House. Tickets often go for thousands of euros, but because it is a quiet period and we bought tickets to view the museum, we were able to sit in the booths for a great view. I always enjoy a good orchestra and choir performance. It is a nice taste of music for me while I am away from the jazz band and my saxophone.

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Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments