Well hello there internet. As I write this post, I am currently sitting in my hostel in Vienna, taking up entirely too much space, in a haze of 2 euro wine and vinegar chips (not quite the healthiest of dinners-I know). So much has happened in the last 9 days!
Firstly, Prague was wonderful. The city was pretty much what I expected. A lot of historic buildings, bright Christmas markets, and cozy lanes to get lost in. I was staying in a 20 room dorm in my hostel but it was surprisingly pleasant. The first night I met a lovely girl from Canada who took me to meet up with two other Americans that she had met on a city tour. Together we had some 19% porter beer, and I surprisingly liked it okay for the facts that a) it was beer, and b) it was a very DARK beer.
The next day I spent my time wandering around the castle, in and out of cafes, and on my laptop arguing with my bank to fix my screwy accounts. Figuring I would try to appear social I started to talk to an American from Jersey at our hostel bar who was there with his brother and a few long-time friends. From there I was soon invited along to go to “The Dancing House”- a famous building in Prague, modeled after the picture of Jack and Ginger Rogers dancing, with a cool rooftop bar.
From there we had some traditional Hungarian food consisting of meat, meat, meat, cheese, and bread. Oh and of course a big tank of beer for the each of us.
Afterwards we went to go play “Mindmaze”. If any of y’all were into addictinggames.com as I was, then this was basically like all of the “escape the room” games. Our particular challenge was to solve a bunch of riddles, discover clues, and find keys in order to unlock the “golden potato” (i.e. magic stone) in order to leave the room. And yes, we had under an hour to so so. We completed the task in 57 minutes and in turn fulfilled my childhood dreams.
My third day was spent finding the John Lennon wall, walking around the historic Jewish quarter, and dining with cats in cozy cat cafes. I met back up with my Jersey friends at night for a last drink and then proceeded to shuffle off to bed for an early train to Budapest the next morning.
Upon arrival to Budapest, I was greeted with dreary weather and miserable sleet. I started my night with a mediocre soup and went back to the hostel to finish up my final school projects. Funnily enough, one of the people I met on my first night in Prague was also staying in the same hostel in Budapest as I was; so later in the evening we wandered the streets in search of wine and stunning river views.
The next day, the weather was spectacular so I wandered across the bridge (leaving the city of Pest to enter Buda) and walked up hundreds of stairs to reach the castle and famous museums and churches. From there I got to see stunning sights of the city as well as explore the St. Mathis church.
Budapest was wonderfully cheap but had confusing currency. $1 equaled roughly $300 forints, so you had to carry over a thousand at a time to get a decent meal. That still usually only equated to 5 bucks, but my mind couldn’t easily wrap around the big numbers.
‘Wombats’ hostel in which I was staying had an awesome atmosphere. Everyone was super friendly and the place was crawling with Australians and Americans. It was nice to be around as I haven’t seen those two nationalities during my stay in England. Using my girlish charm (ha) I coerced I good group to go out on Wombats’ signature bar crawl. It was a blast. A friend from Las Vegas and I got lost on our way home. We’ll leave it at that.
The next day I went to the Széchenyi thermal baths which are said to have great healing powers. I did not bring a bathing suit on this trip as I figured I would have no need for it in the winter. But as I did, I bought an extremely overpriced suit from the baths (which I proceeded to forget in my room when I checked out in the early morning). The waters were lovely and warm and the steam constantly blew up and frosted the chilled air.
After my stunt in Budapest and spending so much time with so many wonderful new people (as well as a 6 1/2 hour train journey) I arrived to Vienna the next day utterly exhausted. As I could not remember the last time I had sat still and not done anything, I had a few hours to myself to shower and mindlessly play on my phone. It was much needed.
Later in the evening, I met up with a sorority sister from the Emory University chapter and we had a nice dinner on a boat that sat on Vienna’s main river. It was rather cool being able to meet up with a sister in a country so very far from my school in Georgia. Such a treat!
I went back to the hostel early and got distracted with wonderful conversation. *Here comes the spiritual, life-journey, quick, sappy speech*
It was there while I was talking to this one German guy and Chinese woman where I had a moment of of clarity. A few months back when I was leaving for my journey abroad, I was looking forward to being away from people. I wanted time to work on me, to reflect, and to not have to get involved with other’s stories; and on one hand this trip has allowed me that. But really, this trip has allowed me to learn to reconnect with others. To see that although we may be different, we have so much in common. You can connect with anyone if you greet them with an open heart. I have truly loved having the opportunity to fall in love with so many good souls.
ANYWAYS, the next day I slept in late and then wondered Vienna’s historic and museum quarter. I kinda felt like an overly-caffeinated squirrel because everywhere I looked held something so spectacular looking. I had to double back 50 times to peek around every corner to see all I wanted.
I overpaid for some chicken and fries, socialized, went to bed, woke up, repeated the wandering, dined with more cats, almost got caught not having bought a ticket for the metro, bought my wine from Aldi, and here I am. Settled in the hostel to write to you all. Vienna has been very low key, and I can’t say that I am complaining. I recently altered my plans from Italy to Slovenia because a) Slovenia is SO much cheaper and b) why not.
I head for the capitol of Ljubljana tomorrow. A 6 hour bus journey. See you there!