Saturday, 27 November 2010

Taking a Break

I am now officially a terrible blogger.
I have so much to say about Prague, Krakow and Budapest and am starting to feel overwhelmed since I have so many things to write down. I think I want to just wait until i'm actually in the mood or inspired because i've tried a couple times and it felt like a chore.
I was doing so well for so long!
It will happen eventually... but for now i'm taking a break.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


I guess it's been a while since I've sat down to write anything.
Sometimes i just get in the mood to read instead of write and i guess that mood has been lasting for a while.

I didn't really talk about Vienna yet. It was very beautiful! I got lucky with the weather for a couple days so during my walking around i didn't even have to wear a coat! Yay! My hostel was about a 30-45 minute walk to get anywhere so i got my excercise in those few days. I went to the Hofburg Palace and walked all around the Museumquartier. It's basically just an area of town that has all the sights to see. My friend Alycia used to live there so she gave me alot of suggestions about things to do. One of them being to go to the Sacher Hotel and order a sacher torte. It's a kind of cake that Vienna is known for. After i tried it for the first time i bascially tried to eat it as many times as possible. When in Vienna? I think i succeeded about 4 times. Not bad! I also went to the Jewish Museum. It was much different than i expected... it was mostly just a bunch of Jewish religious items that were preserved throughout the war. The people who donated any of the items to the museum went to great lengths to hide their things and keep them until the end of the war.

Besides walking around and taking pictures of all the beautiful buildings and art work i decided to take a fun day and go shopping. Window shopping. It was tough... but i enjoyed going through all the good shops along the main street. I'm almost at the point where i want to throw every last piece of clothing that i have out of my suitcase and buy all new stuff. If i had the money i just might.

I was in Vienna on Sunday and sometimes I still forget that most of Europe still shuts down on Sundays. So i made this little trek to go see the food markets and when i got there everything was all borded up. I still decided to walk all the way through until the end although all i got to see was menus of food that i really wanted to eat. Poor planning on my part!

As i was exploring one day i saw the sign for an english cinema - no subtitles. I got really excited because there was a movie that just came out that i was wanting to see before i left home. So i decided that i was going to go to the movies... by myself. It really shouldn't seem strange to me by now since i do so many things on my own but going to the movies alone is one of those things that i never understood. I think i get it now. There was a movie that i wanted to see, no one else could go with me, so why not go? It was fun! Also, i counted... there was about 5 other people who were on their own as well. I like to assume that we were all in the same position.

Vienna was really nice and i had a great time apart from the bed bugs. Yes, i got bed bugs again. Really badly! So i actually spent half of my last day washing every last piece of my laundry. Again. I really really hope it's the last time that i have to mention bed bugs because i might go crazy if i get them again. Not fun at all!!

So now i'm in Prague and i've actually been here for a week. It's about one-third the price of anywhere that i've been so far and so beautiful. The hostel i'm at is really nice and everyone is so friendly. Also, i'm back with Virginia and it's so nice to have a travel buddy again. She ended up quitting her job in Venice because she said she would cry any chance she got while she was there. So right after she quit she came straight to Prague and we ended up booking the same hostel without even knowing it. We're also in the same room and it's been great to have her around again.

She's already hooked up a job at this hostel in December so she'll be staying here. In the meantime until December we're going to do Poland and Hungary together. It's kind of funny how i didn't even really plan on coming to Eastern Europe at all but now i'll be spending almost a month here. Plans change i guess and that's one of the good things about not planning too much in advance! So we're going to go to Krakow and Budapest. We just watched Schindler's List last night to prepare for Krakow and our trip to Schindler's factory and Auschwitz. It's going to be a hard trip but i think it will be worth it. I'm very lucky to be able to go to these places and see all these parts of history.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Snapshot of the scenery

The train ride from Switzerland to Austria may have been the prettiest scenery I've ever seen. Then again, i think about about everything pretty thing i see. The train drove right on the edge of this huge lake just outside of Zurich. I was on one side of the lake, so close that it looked like the train was gliding right over the water. On the other side of the lake was mountains with their jagged tops all covered in red, orange, yellow, brown, and green leaved trees. The odd white building would pop out from the side of the mountain and i would envy the people who got to live there. The sun was rising out of my window to the right over the mountains on the other side. Although i know it was cool outside it looked warm enough to want to swim in the water. As we drove on for a ways i couldn't stop staring out the window at the soft looking mountains. Then suddenly they just seemed to end and new mountains started. The new mountains looked dark and hard, covered with ice and snow. What looked like resort type buildings were all crowded together at the bottom of the moutains with the lake no longer anywhere in sight.

As many trains rides that i've now taken and as long as most of them usually are... I kind of like the time to just sit and see the non populated sides of each country. I find it a good time to write, or read, or just enjoy my own thoughts. I've noticed since being alone so often that i often tend to narrate my own life... telling myself stories or exaggerating to myself about what i'm actually experiencing. I find it kind of fun! It's good to exercise our imaginations - that's not all for little kids only! When the rides get too long i usually just sleep. I have an incredible ability to sleep during travel but i actually try really hard not to so that i can get as many mental pictures from outside my train windows as possible.

On the topic of being on my own... i've started to really enjoy going to cafes and writing. Finding my own little corner and bringing a pad of paper and pen. Or I'll even do that when i go to restaurants by myself. I started doing it only because i started to feel creepy only going out to eat so i could people watch. I like to see the other kinds of people that come to the same cafes. Mostly couples... as is the case with most of Europe. One of my pet peeves is seeing the couples who go out together and don't talk or barely look each other in the eye. I hated serving people like that and i still hate to see it. To me, that is one of the worst things... i never want to end up with someone who i don't even want to talk to. I sometimes get strange looks from tables. Most likely wondering why a girl who can't even speak Italian, German, fill in the blank is sitting in a restaurant all by herself. I don't mind because at least i look happier than the couples that hate each other!
I know i'm exaggerating... i'm sure they've just run out of things to talk about :)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Oh the joys of hostel living!

I'm not really sure if I've ever had such violent thoughts towards another person before.
There is a man in my hostel room that seriously has a problem. I didn't even know that it was physically possible to snore SO loud. He does more than snore. He scream snores. It's a whole new type... and apparently Indian men in their 50's have pretty much perfected it.

I met this really sweet Australian girl named Maggie. I actually met her at my hostel in Florence but as it turns out we're in the same room here in Zurich. Her and I both barely got any sleep the first night we were in our room because of this man's obnoxious snoring. It's not even like it has any sort of rhythm to it to give us any hope of falling alseep. He will snore, grunt, stop breathing, gasp for air, continue snoring, and never ever ever stop. It's exhausting! After the first night i was so tired during the day and Maggie and I decided to go take a nap to try and get a bit of rest before probably another terrible nights sleep. However, ten minutes after we layed down our least best friend walked in the room and decided to take a nap as well. Obviously snoring his little heart away. That's when my violent thoughts started.

Sometimes my imagination is sort of funny. I think up scenarios in my head and take my time playing them out. I imagined working up the guts to just sit up in bed and yell at him to read a book or something because the only reason we were having a nap while in beautiful Zurich was because we didn't get a wink of sleep the night before thanks to his scream snoring. (imagine that whole thing typed in capitals for effect.... also imagine me with my arms straight at my sides with my hands in little fists and my cheeks all red). I also imagined taking all the pillows in the entire room and placing them on his face while i sat on the pillows. Legs crossed, arms folded, and grinning slightly. (I'm scaring myself) I then imagined making a recording of myself... not snoring, not scream snoring, just plain screaming... and placing it in a very secret spot and turning it on the next night when he started to snore again. However, in that case i wouldn't get to sleep either. I just think it would be funny. My imagination went on for quite a while like this... then i gave up on my nap, shot him a couple if-looks-could-kill kind of looks, and left the room.

I am losing my mind.

Besides my horrible roommate... Zurich is great! The hostel is quite tiny and in a great location so i love it. I think i prefer smaller hostels because then it's much easier to meet people.

Maggie and I have hung out for the past 2 days and had a great time. We went to the supermarket and decided to buy some healthy food and eat for cheaper for a change. Our hostel has a kitchen as well which is a nice treat! Especially since being in Switzerland is a bit ridiculous as far as costs go. As i was leaving the train station i looked into a Burger King and saw that a burger alone was 15 franks. Franks are pretty well equal with the Canadian dollar which is kind of nice so i don't have to try and convert everything in my head but also annoying because everything is so expensive! So supermarkets are the perfect solution to still eat well and for a bit less money.

I did splurge one night! Maggie and I decided that while in Switzerland we might as well try fondue since they're pretty famous for it. A restaurant just 2 doors over from our hostel had a cheese fondue that we had be eyeing all day. We had to make a reservation and it was very well worth it. Expensive... but i figure that's ok if i don't do that all the time.

Zurich is a very charming place. I'm staying right by the river which is beautiful right now because all the leaves on the trees along the river are changing colour and falling. I was walking along the street and recognized the same smell of autumn that i smell at home. There's all sorts of unique shops and restaurants. I've mostly done alot of window shopping but i really enjoy walking down the street and people watching.

I went to a design museum which i expected to be much more impressive than it was. It was just a small display at the moment about make up. Not make up as in cosmetics but more or less about materials and design. It was probably really neat but i think it was a bit lost on me.

I found out that the Lindt chocolate factory is just a little bit out of Zurich and got so excited! So i looked online and found out that the factory wasn't open for tours at this time. That's the bad thing sometimes about travelling during non peak seasons. So i just went to the supermarket and bought a bunch of chocolate and decided to do my own sort of taste testing. When in Switzerland...

So i leave already for Austria tomorrow. Kind of hoping that i'll have the same kind of luck with weather that i've had since being here. It's not nearly as cold as i was expecting! Always good news for me.

Also, Maggie and I decided to meet around the 14th of November in Poland. We met so many people at the hostel here in Zurich who were absolutely raving about Poland so we decided that we should go together. It wasn't even on my list of places to go at all... but that's the nice thing about not being organized. I haven't planned my whole trip out so i have a lot of flexibility to change whatever vague plans i did make. I'm excited to meet up with her again and explore Poland. Also excited because it's supposed to be cheap for a change! My bank needs a bit of a break. The food is meant to be really good in Poland as well. While in Krakow i really want to make a trip to Auschwitz. It will be interesting to compare it to my experience in Germany when i went to Dachau.
Now... to pack my bags... again and prepare for another night with the dreaded roommate.