Hey all! I don’t know if anyone is out there still following this blog…I just recently revisited it and I have been doing a lot of reminiscing about travels..So I figure I’ll start posting again, and adding pictures and everything from last year. I think I’ll approach it as kind of a memory of what happened and..it will just be awesome. I’m excited.
More coming soon
I feel like I’ve been trying to play catch-up with myself for quite a long time now on this here blog. I have a funny feeling like I’m not going to be able to get everything written down unless I do it on a daily basis. I will, therefore, for the next few weeks, be sure to spend at least one hour every day writing and catching up with myself. This is a story that needs to be told. I intend to tell it.
Just realized this was a draft and it never actually got posted. Prague.
This morning, we departed the botel at 9:30 am to go to the Jewish Quarter of Prague, which is also the older part of town. Interestingly enough, the buildings there are actually a bit newer than other ones in Prague. Apparently, back in the day, there were a lot of people who didn’t like the Jews very much…go figure. Previously communist country, involved in Nazi programs…They’ve had quite a hard time here in Prague. The buildings there are a bit newer because that section of the city went up in flames at one point, I believe toward the end of the 19th century. This section of the city was then rebuild in the art-nouveau style. The buildings are quite beautiful, in all honesty. Here’s a look at a few.
That last photo is the most famous synagogue in Prague. Our tour guide told us why – apparently back in the day there was quite a massacre there, by some Nazis I believe, who did not respect the sanctity of the synagogue. Apparently for about 500 years they left the synagogue the way it was after the massacre, covered in blood. They left it there as a memorandum to what happened. And, apparently when they finally redecorated they didn’t do the best job. So, it’s beautiful on the outside but not so much on the inside. I suppose that’s an example of real life, though, sometimes.
Something that really moved me was another synagogue we visited today.
It was not the most beautiful building on the face of the planet, yet I have not been so moved by a place in quite a long time, if ever. On the inside, the walls were covered with the names of over 18,000 people who were removed from the jewish quarter of prague and sent to retainment camps, then concentration camps. Their names were accompanied by their birth and death dates. Tthere were so many children. all those people, innocent, killed for no reason. there was one section of the wall where the names had been smudged away over time. in all honesty, it brought me to tears. forgotten forever. upstairs, there were drawings done by children who were in these camps…it was so heartbreaking to know that they were taken for no reason in particular but the tyrrany of one man. but, the thing that i found the most striking was the graveyard. there were up to 12 people buried in each grave, and practically every inch of the ground was covered in tombstones. all those people…
it just breaks my heart. yet, it makes me happy that i have the blessing of being alive. cherishing your existence is very important, yet many people forget to do so on a daily basis. try to remember.
So, I’ve come to the decision that, on the nights I do have internet, I’m just going to write about that day, and some time in the future I’m going to go back and change all my writings in my diary onto the internet.
Today I arrived in Rome. Fell in love immediately. We ran around the old bits, I got to see the statues of the three Caesars tehehe, and while we were wandering around it started to rain, so we ended up going into the monument to vittori emmanuel. we went to this little cafe there and had a drink and a gander at the city, because it was raining cats and dogs. it was great, though. and we came back and had dinner and…everything is marvelous. i got here in the evening, so i havent had time to see everything, but i’m excited to spend time here for the next couple days and really get to know the city. I can’t wait to get lost here. It was impossible to get lost in Venice.
…from the Grocery. Seriously, guys. Go to the local grocery store when you’re traveling. If you’re trying to save some money, or if you’re on a budget, or if you hate spending all your spending money on food…whatever it may be. Just go to the grocery store. My dad and I found a local discount grocery store in this little town we’re in on the coast of the Adriatic sea in Italy. We got snacks and stuff for the night and everything cost 8 euros. I got a huge bottle of water (1L) for 20 cents!! GAH! Box of cookies for 1.45! BOTTLE OF WINE FOR 1.90!!
Go to the grocery store.
…I have so much to tell you all about my past week. I have been having a marvelous time with my Mom and Dad and my Dad’s friends all throughout Germany. It has been wonderful. Also, has been very busy. I have a lot of writing saved in random places, scribbled on receipts and backs of pieces of directions, corners of maps, that I need to get organized and formatted and posted on this wonderful blog that I have here. However, my Mom has to go back to the U.S.A. in a matter of hours, and seeing as I am supposed to accompany her there in less than 6 hours, and seeing as I have not fallen asleep yet, it seems fitting to me that I attempt to do so now, and configure all my random writings tomorrow. Just wanted to let everyone who follows this blog know, (whoever you may be,) that I am thinking of you and planning for you and have been doing so for quite some time and please don’t be discouraged by my lack of information as of late. It is extremely difficult to find internet in small towns in Germany. Who’d have thought?
Wednesday was definitely a very full day. I woke up bright and early with a pep in my step. I remember saying to my friend Caitlin that I was just in the best mood and wasn’t exactly sure why. I suppose it was because I was well-rested and ready to be in Berlin. YAY! We had a walking tour planned with a different tour guide, whose name was Torben. He was a fantastic guide, born in Germany, lived in New York for a bit, and has been living in Berlin for about 10 years now. The group of us walked around the center of the city and saw pretty much everything there is to see in Berlin. Here are some of the photos from that tour.
We then met back up with our original tour guide, who is also fantastic, by the way. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned him enough as of yet. However, he is really great. We’ve been so lucky with our tour guides. I have also noticed that I’m becoming more and more interested in the prospect of being a tour guide as a career, or at least for a few years after I graduate. It seems like such a fun thing to do! Getting paid to travel around and learn so much about so many different places, and sharing your passion for traveling and knowledge with so many different people. I’ll have to look into it a little bit more sometime soon. Anyway, a couple of my friends and I decided to follow James (our tour guide) to a certain district of Berlin that he usually enjoys going to. It was quite a nice place. Street shops and cafes and old buildings and, marvelous things. We strolled around for a bit to take some pictures (below) and then decided to stop in a café he’d recommended for a good ol’ cuppa. It is so surreal, sitting outside a café with a hot cup of coffee and a cool breeze blowing, just people-watching. It’s funny because, that’s one of the things I really enjoy doing with my spare time, but doing so in Berlin is so different. Maybe it just feels different. I’m not sure.
After our coffees we decided to do a bit of shopping . YAY! I hadn’t had the chance to go souvanier shopping yet, so I was really excited about this idea. We happened upon a beautiful shop with lots of Indian-inspired merchandise. I got a couple little things there to take back home to people. They were really great. Also, we stopped in a second-hand store. This, this right here is very important. Let me tell you the story.
At o dark thirty in the morning in Heathrow (after having stayed up all night to catch the bus at 3:38 am) I was going through security. I was in a bit of a bad mood considering I was exhausted, ready to be somewhere else already, but ready to be in bed at the same time, and the fact that I had made a bit of a mistake when packing my belongings for this trip. You see, I had to move all of my belongings out of my dorm room, because of the type of room in which I live and the housing agreement there. My dorm is closed for Easter break. I had, as is typical of me, waited until the last minute to pack. So, you can obviously understand why I might have been a bit flustered when I was packing. Well, long story short, I forgot that you’re not allowed to have liquids and whatnot in the cabin with you. I had put all of my toilitries in a bag in my carry-on, not my luggage. I thought a bit about checking my carry-on, just to save my shampoo and things, but I was told the cost of another piece of luggage is 35 pounds. I ended up throwing my toilitries away…which was really sad. I had splurged about a week beforehand and gotten John Freida shampoo and conditioner and some wonderful lemony body wash…nice things. I had to throw them all away. This also turned into a bit more of a problem later on because we wre so busy in Prague, I didn’t really have the time (or the presence of mind) to stop and get shampoo and whatnot during the day, and by the time I was thinking about it after having been roaming around Prague all day and ready for a shower, the stores that sold that kind of thing were closed. Either, they were all closed of I simply couldn’t find them because I don’t speak Czech.
That was a bit of an aside….Anyway. I was upset and tired and just…blah while standing in line to go through security. The line forming was a bit confusing, considering you get in line to get in another line to get in another line to go through. Well, when I got to the third line I found myself behind a very pleasant looking man with a FANTASTIC straw hat. It was shaped like a fedora, with a red ribbon around the headband bit (I don’t know the proper word for that bit of a hat…) and a very long green feater sticking out the side. The front of it was coming apart, it looked like he’d had the hat for a very long time and it’d been through a lot with him. Naturally, I told him that I loved his hat, and we ended up having a very pleasant, however brief, conversation in the line. He told me that he is from Sweden and was on his way back home from traveling, and that the hat I had complimented him on was his traveling hat. TRAVELING HAT! Why don’t I have a traveling hat?!?! Those were the thoughts going through my head during our conversation. It’s too bad that I got stopped in security to get patted down and screened for metal..but that happens to me every time I go through security. I haven’t the slightest idea why, but for some reason I always get stopped. Literally, every time I take a flight. So, me being stopped by security prevented any further conversation with this kindred spirit I encountered in line. He turned around and gave me a happy wave goodbye and was on his way, while it took me quite a while to get through and gather my things together again. But, for the rest of the morning, most of the flight, and many many different times throughout the past few days I have been thinking about that Traveling Hat, constantly looking for somewhere that would have just the right hat for me. And, while shopping on Wednesday I found just the hat in a wonderful second-hand shop in Berlin. I cannot even begin to tell you how absolutely ecstatic that hat made me. My life is now complete. For the next six weeks, I am a traveler. And now, I have the proper hat. What do you think of it??