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Monday, June 22, 2015

PraHa. PrAgue. PraGa

Eric planned a celebratory I-just-graduated-and-this-is-the-last-long-vacation-time-Ill-have-for-a-while European trip where he met up with two friends living abroad and me of course!  He organized three weeks, knowing he'd be going to Barcelona, Munich and Madrid but he wanted to pick a fourth city to visit.  He decided to choose Prague in the Czech Republic, as his friend Evan and I have not been there.  So we planned a trip!  I met them there (after a bit of a fiasco trying to find the Air BnB location).  Let it be known, that while traveling is an incredible experience, it does not come without its difficulties.  I have a lot of respect for people who traveled before the internet and my parents who did it with TWO babies!!!  
















Once I found them, we pretty much immediately went to bed to rest up for the next day.  On 
Saturday we toured the Castle and Cathedral there, walked around,and had some delicious food.  Lot's of meat and potatoes, how can you go wrong?  In the evening we bar hopped, which was a fun way to get around the city as well.  We would order one beer at a place, and the waiters kept asking us if we wanted another round we would say no, because we were about to go get another one somewhere else.  Each time they would look at us with a puzzled expression like What do you mean you only want ONE beer?” Beer is cheaper than water...














Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Forgotten Post

Wrote this is in April...Its been a while since then with lots more updates, more to come!


After a busy spring break week, first Budapest, then Valencia and Sara visiting for a week, I got to relax by going to a Real Madrid Basketball game Friday and a Color Run Sunday.  Im exhausted haha

But it's been such a fun past few weeks and today was easily one of the best days I've had in Madrid.  Several weeks ago my roommates and I signed up for a 5k run, which was good motivation for me to get out and run every other day.  However, today no one actuallllyyyy ran.  Last night we took the shirts that they gave us and cut them up into different designs which made us stand out a bit more.  

Everyone brought beer and and rolled around in the color pigments (which I found out used to be based on brightly colored spices like saffron and tumeric, now its commercial based water dyes or whatever).  Every runner was given a small package of colors to get the party started, and then you started running through color "stations."  Apparently the more color you have on yourself, the better luck you'll have the rest of the year.  

So we walked a 5k while people were throwing colors at us and having a great time!  At the end there was a 3 hour long dance party which was extremely fun...kind of ready to just have a relaxing week and weekend......







Sunday, April 12, 2015

Semana Santa; Budapest


This year for Spring break, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Budapest for 4 days with my roommate, Megan, and her brother and sister-in-law.  We stayed at an apartment near the river on the “Pest” side of “Budapest” and did loooootttsss of walking.  And also ate way too much good food!  







Hungarian dishes are quite heavy and have pasta noodles, or potatoes, lots or meat and lots of Paprika.  Also good beers!   Hungarian people are also very proud of their culture and language, as we discovered on our walking tour.  Both World Wars knocked Hungary down as a country and they were in political turmoil up until the 1950’s.  Their country has suffered lots of hardships, and they are getting back on their feet slowly but surely.  They are part of the European union, but they still use their own currency.  Which is extremelyyyyyy confusing.  The exchange was 300 forints to 1 euro, and we had to check and double check our math throughout the week.  Needless to say, I used more math those few days than I have since college…




 

The city is split into Buda and Pest, but the river Danube that runs between it.  Buda, is the older part of the city with a huge castle and cathedral nestled into the hills while Pest is the flat, newer area with Parliament and the new political powers.  It has a good mix of old Turkish influence and Eastern European buildings.  Turkish food and baths have remained, and we thoroughly enjoyed the food.  


We also got to go to one of the most famous Turkish Baths while we were there, which was a very relaxing and unique experience!  The old building had about 7 different pools with hot, cold and lukewarm temperatures, as well as a few saunas, wet and dry.  The weather was really cold while we were there, so it was crazy being in a heated pool outside with steam coming off of it!  We just changed into our bathing suits (thankfully everyone was wearing them!  Proper protocol...) and hopped around from pool to sauna, to pool to sauna and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  



Budapest had some of the coolest bars I've ever been to...very unique and a bit trippy as well....






Budapest offered such a unique experience, I would definitely recommend checking it out if you get the opportunity.....

Sunday, March 8, 2015

IAmsterdam


Catching up
I know I have taken a long hiatus from writing, and for this I apologize!  I have been taking some time to take advantage all the activities I can do in Madrid and have tried to stay busy these past few weeks :)  That being said here are the updates!  

Amsterdam

A few weekends ago, my roommate Megan and I went to the Netherlands to visit Amsterdam and a friend of hers who lives in Rotterdam.  We arrived to the train station and left our luggage in the lockers to pick up while we explored.  As we dropped off our stuff, we noticed a huge sign saying “TOURISTS!  Be cautious when buying cocaine off of people on the street.  There has been a problem with tourists accidentally buying WHITE HEROIN and misusing it, causing several tourist deaths and hospitalizations.”  Welcome to Amsterdam……






The first thing we did was eat some incredible Dutch pancakes which were huge, thick, crepes, that we chose to fill with savory items.  Delicious.  Next stop was the Anne Frank House.  Everyone knows her story, and most of us have had to read her diary at school.  It was extremely humbling to walk through her attic hide-away and try to imagine living in one space for 2 years.  It was left empty by request of Otto Frank, who was the only survivor out of the 8 people who hid in the attic.  If you get the chance to go to Amsterdam, I highly recommend going.



Afterwards we walked around a bit more, enjoyed a few Belgian beers, caught the train to Rotterdam, to stay with Marinte, a friend of Megan´s from college.  The next day Marinte took us around Rotterdam on bikes (of course!) and we got to see a Holland flea market and sample lots, and lots. of cheese!  The Netherlands have an interesting reputation, everyone knows about weed being legal and the Red Light district still being an active part of the city.  But what people don´t always say is how beautiful the landscape is and how quaint the streets and buildings are.  Or how much cheese there is!  Megan is from Wisconsin, so she was in heavennnn and we checked a bag on the way back to make sure we had enough room for all HER cheese.  They were delicious!










We spent one more day in Amsterdam before we caught our flight back home, and we just walked around the streets, enjoyed the beer and food.  We walked to the Rijksmuseum, but didn´t have time to go through it, we just marvelled at the beautiful scenery and were tourists! We also did get a chance to check out the Red Light District...it was odd, because it was actually in a beautiful area of town. But of course filled with sex shops, scantily clad women in windows, and many groups of tourists walking through the streets, trying to look interested in the history behind district.  

 
I enjoyed it more than I anticipated, and it was more beautiful than I expected as well.  If I get the opportunity to go back, I definitely will!  







Monday, January 12, 2015

Roma Vacaciones pt1

For Christmas this year, the family present was a trip to Rome!  My parents did not have the opportunity to go when they lived in Germany many years ago, so I know they were excited at the chance to see one of the world´s most Historically rich cities.  That being said, it takes a lot of time and energy to plan, and accomplish, a trip in Rome.  There are so many sites, museums, art galleries, and restaurants to go too, that it can be a bit overwhelming!  This planning for this trip started months in advance, and it was nice to enjoy the long awaited trip.  

It was also exciting for everyone to meet my boyfriend, Nate, who they had only ever seen through Skype before.  A big trip for all of us, and I loved having them with me in the same city.  While Nate was with us, we went on a bus tour, to the Colosseum, and Pantheon.  

After he left, we carried on with our grueling pace, going to…The Palatine, Roman Forum, Museum Borghese and the Vatican/Vatican Museums.  I was fortunate to be able to go to Rome for Spring Break in 2014, so I appreciated that I got to see everything twice, and be able to marvel at the wonders before me.





This goofball...


Monday, December 15, 2014

Espiritu de Navidad

Last year at Christmas I was able to have the best Christmas present ever, seeing my family!  This year, I get to have the same wonderful present, which I have been looking forward to anxiously since I left for Madrid again!  The only thing about last Christmas, is it didn´t feel like a proper Christmas, it felt like an awesome vacation.  

So this Christmas I wanted to make it feel a bit more like the Holidays by doing a few things to get in the Holiday spirit!


  • Listening to Christmas music
  • Wrapping Presents
  • Making cookies
  • having a Christmas fiesta

  • German pickle I bought in Munich! 
    The tradition is, one of your parents hides the pickle somewhere on the tree,
    The first child to find it gets a little extra present from Santa!
    (We never did this in my house, but it was the one ornament
    specially saved for my Dad to put on the tree!)



    The apartment came with a little tree and lights!!


    Christmas cookies!  They came out pretty tasty, 
    but nothing like making them at home
    or the ones my Nana used to make...