You know your life’s gettin’ a little too rowdy when your “reality check” is returning to your dorm room abroad in England—for the mere reason that it’s almost exam time and I do. not. want. to. study. Apologies for not blahgging in nearly 3 weeks, but my wifi has been super limited and that’s been the worst of my complaints during this time. Which basically amounts to no complaints. Cheers/ salud to the last 3 weeks. Probably the most exciting and memorable of my young yittle yife so far. I’ve been EVERYWHERE! YAY! I feel so cultured. Just don’t ask me the names of any buildings in my pictures. I can tell you what country they’re all in, and likely some cool, random fact about each, but names… no can do. Other than, “pretty building #1, #2, etc.” I’ve been contemplating so much over the best way to do this blahg without breaking it up too much and without jamming it into one LONG post, so I’ve compromised with myself with one blahg post consisting of super brief subsection descriptions of each place I’ve been. Yeah? We’re good? Cool. Feel the love.
Just to clarify, I haven’t had class for the past 4 weeks. I’m not just playing British hooky, OK? Breathe. So, you know I started in Ireland for St. Pat’s day. Came home (“home” ← HA.) for a couple of days to work on my helluva Coffee presentation, went to Edinburgh, Scotland, came home for another couple days mostly to get washed every last piece of my clothes, and then headed to LONDON!
And that’s where this all starts. London. We were there for 6 days. Seems like years ago now. I’m a boss at navigating the underground railroad (tube) nowadays. I usually wander like a lost puppy until I’m forced to find my way, but I killed it once I figured it out. I’ve learned the key is to never smile when you pass people, wear headphones, fake sleep on the train, and look hipster. And walk really fast as if not doing so will allow someone is to mug you. Which is possible. I can’t help but smile, but I did do the rest of those things. I even helped a mom with a stroller (push chair for my English peeps reading) down some stairs, which definitely made me look like a Mississippi girl. Gah, I love moms. And babies. London was lovely. I posted a picture of “London Bridge” with a caption that (if you know better) makes me look like such a dumbster. London Bridge apparently really did fall down. And the picture I posted is of the tower bridge. Seriously, self. Get your shiz straight before putting stuff all over the insta and fb. The weather was freezing (which believe it or not, really does affect your time in places I’ve come to learn) and Emily (my little Australian desert girl) hated feeling hypothermic—we all did—and thus, we spent as much time indoors as possible. We ate a TON (this trend continues throughout the next 3 weeks) and drank lots of tea. And the DEF highlight of London was the West End shows we saw. Singing in the Rain was my favorite and Matilda is a close follow up, but should potentially be bumped up to first place since we WORKED for those tickets. Waited in line for 3.5 hours at the crack of dawn for them. Freezing to death. Ya little twits.
Then we boarded a tour bus that seemed like the sketchiest thing we could have ever chosen to do at the moment (turned out to be SUPER AWESOME) early, early on the morning of April 4th. We made two new friends pretty much immediately (meet them below) and then we became the freaking fenomenal food-loving five. I just made that up.
First stop was in Brugge, Belgium where (ya better believe) I stocked up on some Belgian chocolate, and ate a Belgian waffle that nearly blew my clothes off. I don’t even remember chewing it. It was ridic.
Then we headed to Amsterdam, The Netherlands (← That looks super awkward typed out, so apologies if that’s not correct…), where everything’s legal. Look, ma, no rules! Drugs? Fine. Selling sex? Fine. Bikers that have their own road and run people over? Fine. Pushing cars into the canal? Fine. And guess what? I liked it. Because it was beautiful. There’s a central canal that looked so nice at night and I was more than anything SO intrigued by the red light district. Cameras are strictly prohibited and there are people who walk the street incognito who will throw your camera into the canal if you’re caught snapping a quick shot of a nearly-naked-chick. Who, by the way, stand there super scantily dressed, like, they might as well have been wearing nothing, TEXTING. They stand there in the windows of their bedrooms TEXTING. Can you believe that? Is that sexy now? I mean, it’s their job. I guess you can text on the job if ya wanna. And then the next day, we watched a man carve some wooden clogs and tasted lots of cheese. Nom. Foooood. FREE food.
And I’ll always remember my time here because it’s where I found out that I got into Dental Hygiene school! Hooray! I was just about to go to bed when I heard the news from my mailbox back in Louisiana via my mom. I made Chase put clothes on so we could go to the bar downstairs and have a celebratory drink, but then I quickly decided I didn’t feel like doing that so we instead jumped on the bed and then went to sleep. Wee! I have a future! Bed jumping!
Then we vroom vroomed on over to Germany, where again, it was freezing. BUT, I’m really good at doing a German accent, so that was a perk. Just get a lotta spit in your mouth and you’ve nailed it. A river cruise down the Rhine River and some wine tasting came first followed by a night of Karaoke with some people we met in our hotel (we stayed in HOTELS, not HOSTELS! Living the high life, I tell ya!). I sang “Chicken fried” with some other American gal. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Get off me. It was fun. Also, the exit signs on the interstate in Germany say, “Ausfahrt,” which as far as I’m concerned is pronounced [ass-fart]. There, I said it. I’m so mature. Germany was pretty and I wish we had had more time there.
Prague was next. It’s in the Czech Republic for you non-geographiers like myself. I wasn’t impressed. I hate to say it. 😦 The place was beautiful, but the people there were not nice. At all. I didn’t meet a single kind person except for our tour guide, Tijo, who I would have married on the spot had he not mentioned his girlfriend 600 times. While I was there, I was totes diggin’ it. But looking back over all, Prague is a blur, and I have mostly bad memories with a few really good ones. I’m thinking that should be the other way around. That’s not to say I wouldn’t go back and give the suga another shot, because I def would. Me and Sebastian got some cheap beer (that was a perk) at a cool place and then climbed (took an elevator up) a tower and looked out and then we went to a pub crawl. Also, the currency there makes you feel like you’re rich, when you’re really not. See pic below. ←GOOD memories! BAD memories → We got stranded at 2 a.m. on the side of the road when a train dropped us off where we “thought” our hotel was and it wasn’t. No one helped us. The taxi drivers were evil and we ended up paying them WAY more than we should have out of desperation. And I thought they were going to kill us. But then again, I think every creepy man is trying to kill me. So that’s neither here nor there.
We stopped in Bratislava, Slovakia for just a short time—pretty much just enough time to look around, eat a meal, buy a postcard and peace out. And the only pictures I have to document this part of the trip are as follows:
And then I got hungry for HUNGARY! I. loved. Budapest. As a bonus, our hotel was super nice and I blow-dried my hair with the window open to a really pretty view. And we had a bedet in the bathroom! I have never really understood those things, and they sorta freak me out a lot, but it’s the point of the matter that it was there if we wanted it. Sheesh. We spent the evening in the Hungarian medicinal baths and it was magical and life changing and I forgot what it was even like to be in a bathing suit. I filled it out nicely. (#food) After so much bus time, this hit the dang spot. We frolicked and splashed like we hadn’t seen water for years. It was outdoors and super cold, but the water was so hot. Getting out and running to my towel was a hellish experience, but sitting there with the steam in my face… mmm, mmm, good. I don’t have any pics to document the occasion on my camera, but my friends Brittany and Joe (they’re precious and from Chicago and may be reading this… hey!) do, so I’ll be sure to make that public stat. Okay, and it was just beautiful. Here’s some castle pics for ya.
In Vienna, Austria, we sang The dang Sound of Music THE- WHOLE- TIME. Mi-so-so-re-fa-fa-la-ti-ti-mi-so-so, when you know the notes to sing, you can sing most an-yyyy—thinggggg! We had a precious old man tour guide, Walter, who didn’t care if I listened to his facts or not and had been to New Orleans before! So we took a moment and talked about rowdy people during Mardi Gras and red beans and rice and it was great fun bonding. I had a hard time understanding him (I’m really REALLY bad at understanding anyone who doesn’t speak with a southern American accent. It’s becoming comical. When someone says something I don’t understand, I say, “We don’t have that where I’m from. When possibly, they’re saying, “water” or “grass” or “chicken.” Dang man. Gotta get my act togeth.) And we ate some Schnitzel, too. “Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles…” So stinkin’ good.
I sLOVED SLOVENIA. The town we stayed in was Ljubljana. To help ya out, they pronounce “j” like “y,” so it’s pronounced something like, “Loobiana.” This country was described to me as a “hidden gem” and I have to agree. It comes in fourth place (3rd place is Ireland, and 1st and 2nd place haven’t been revealed yet) of my favorites. It was really, really beautiful and it was there that the weather finally started to be nice. THANK YA, JESUS! Chase even held my coat for me for a bit. What a gent. They’re known for their mushrooms, so I obvi had to order some mushroom soup in a bread bowl that rocked my world. Between the five of us we could do some food damage, let me tell ya. We are a deadly group who live to eat. And worse yet, we said no to nothing edible for 3 weeks straight. Chase is a machine and cleans all plates at the end of every meal. And Holly’s as big as my pinky and was such a champ at randomly pulling secret sandwiches out of her bag. Sneaky.
My favorite. FAVORITE. FAVORITE. FAVORITE: VENICE, ITALY!!! No, really. I want to move there. I hope it doesn’t sink any time soon. I don’t think I could handle that. It was incredible. I’ve heard mixed reviews on it, but I honestly don’t see how anyone could not see it as a complete fairy tale. The weather was INCREDIBLE, the people were SO loving, the men were spicy, the food and drinks… I can’t even describe, the gondola ride felt like a movie scene, AND best yet, “CAMPO” was written on signs everywhere I turned. If you’re going to go anywhere in Europe, go there. And take me with you. I’ll buy you a gelato every time I buy myself one. Which is like every hour. Your trip will practically pay for itself.
By the time Florence, Italy came rolling around, we were feeling lazy and were loving all over the sun. So, we laid in it… like all day. We popped open a bottle of vino, people watched, and acted like total non-tourists. Being a tourist is exhausting. So we totally owned the “we’re locals” thing. I mean, everyone there looks like me and my dad and Grandma Josie, anyway, so I fooled no one. Until I opened my mouth, that is. (Sorry if this is confusing. I’m trying to say I fit right in. It’s been brought to my attention that my wording is unclear. But I don’t feel like thinking to fix it. Thanks Adam.)
We made a short pit stop (literally just to take a picture) in Pisa, Italy and here’s what came from that. Get it, Karodge. For anyone who doesn’t know, that’s my butt’s name. I didn’t name it. (Adam. Mere. Erika.) I honestly enjoyed watching other people pose more than posing myself. It’s a lot harder than it looks. And that thing is SERIOUSLY leaning. Someone needs to get that checked out.
The one place we got sunburnt? SWITZERLAND! Can you believe that? I wouldn’t’ve ever thunk it. But we were way up high (in the mountains… hence closer to the sun), there was snow everywhere, and the sun was shining so brightly and reflecting off the snow. It was AHHHHHMAZING! I’m going back there with my husb some day and we’re going to m/o in the mountains. It comes in 2nd place on my favorites list because of its obvious beauty, excellent weather, nice people, COZINESS, and ease of transportation. It was so relaxing. We sat in the sun and snow and ate pistachios, climbed some large, blocked-off rocks, swang in the park, and had the world’s most expensive lunch on top of a mountain. (Breathe, pop. I budgeted it in.) The hotel provided us two meals, the second of which is making me drool just thinking about it. We had cheese fondue with bread as an appetizer and me and my four-food-loving-fat-friends demolished ours before the other tables could even look at theirs. Dang. That was good stuff. Can I get an Amen, Holly? Emily? Anyone?
And as a grand finale, there was Paris, France! I’m so happy I got to go to Paris. Seeing the Eiffel Tower was definitely on my bucket list and I’m happy I got to scratch it off. Other than that, maybe I had my standards set too high for Paris. Or maybe I was just loving the slower pace of Italy and Switzerland that Paris came as a bit of a shock to me. I’m not saying I didn’t like it. But I def didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. Little Eiffely was awesome and the cruise down the Seine River was breath-taking at night seeing the whole city lit up. Parts of the day were warm and nice, but it also got a bit overcast and cold and there were lots of creepy, drunk men at night. And the subway was confusing. Probably because it was in French. That seems like a good reason. Oh, and I had some bad ass crème brulee and a banana and chocolate crepe.
Sooo, there ya have it! How to make it to 12 countries (15 cities) in 22 days. I feel like such a lucky gal. Wish you were all here to experience it with me. Honestly, that is the only thing I can think of that would make it better. Thanking Jesus every day for this opportunity and writing down as much as I can in my little brown journal so I never forget a thing. Coming back to America in 6 weeks. I don’t think I’m ready for this jelly.