My last night in Prague, and I still haven't found "it," "it" being that thing that's makes people fall in love with this place. But I have had a good time. Went out for dinner tonight with these Americans, Brian & Sam (btw, Sam is basically Stephanie Katz reincarnate...freaks me out a bit), and now I'm doing some online stuff while they're at the Opera, then we're gonna go to some jazz club...
Shabbat was okay. Nice and relaxing, but that's it. Went for services this morning at the Old New Synagogue, the oldest synagagoue in Europe, of Golem fame. Gotta say, wasn't impressed. First of all, the women's section was basically like being in another building. Meaning the only connection to the men's section were these tiny openings in the wall...the wall was about 2 feet thick...and the openings were maybe a foot across and maybe 6 inches high...and there were only about 6 of them. Couldn't see, couldn't really hear... Besides the physical layout of the shul, I just wasn't so impressed by the friendliness of people. Granted I'm sure they get tons of tourists bothering them all the time, but it's still so weird to be in a shul and not have anyone really talk to me... I don't know, it's been like that all over Europe.
Leave for Berlin in the morning, so we'll see what unfolds there!
So originally I wasn't planning on coming here, and when I said I was going to Europe, everyone was like "You have to go to Prague!" Soooo, peer pressure won, and here I am. The night train was fine, wouldn't have been a bit sketchy/boring on my own, but with Andy & Chris it was fine.
Went to the boys' hostel, it seemed nice enough, so I joined them. Peter was already here, so he joined us last night. Did a walking tour so we saw the main places in the city, chilled, hit up a couple bars...you know, the usual...
Last night Chris, Andy & I attempted to go see Cats. Oh man
you cannot believe how horrible it was. It's funny thinking about it now, but at the time I was seriously contemplating the best way to rip my ears off my head... So the thing is, we didn't notice two small words on the ticket after "Cats." What we thought was "Cats," was really "Cats in Prague." Not
the same thing. A black light show, which meant white gloves that I'm pretty sure were meant to be cats meowing off key and singing about how cats like cheese in Prague. No joke, the worst thing I've ever seen... So when it ended we headed straight to "The Largest Irish Pub in Prague" to attempt to forget it...
I love how cheap it is here, but I don't know if I'd agree with everyone on the "you have
to go to Prague!"-ness... It's not bad, some cool things, some pretty buildings...but nothing so wow
. I don't know, maybe my opinion will change before I leave...
Peter left for Krakow this morning, the Kiwis just left for Amsterdam, and I'm gonna stay here for a couple more nights before I head to Berlin. Excited to spend Shabbat here, see what it's like...
So I know I've been horrible about posting lately, so here is the longest post ever, in an attempt to make up for that. And pictures (which, as usual, takes a lot of effort here, so appreciate them). So enjoy. :)Florence, November 6th-7th
Peter & I met back up with Andrew and went to Florence. Stayed at this fun hostel, the Archi Rossi (not as cute as Alessandro Legends in Rome, which is still my favorite hostel I've stayed at, but it was still nice). Met these awesome Canadian girls, Angie & Jay, that were staying in the boys room.
Waited in line for over two hours to get into the Accademia, the museum where the David is, and it was totally worth it. I know we've all seen a million pictures, but in person...wow. Michaelangelo's Slaves were also fabulous to see. Half-finished forms breaking out of the rock... The Uffizi was another fabulous museum, and we lucked out and didn't hit any line at all there.
The 5 of us (me, Andrew, Peter, Angie & Jay) joined up with these boys from New York & went to a bar that featured...wait for it...Beer Pong. That's right, beer pong in Florence. Way to travel all the way to Europe to go to a frat party...Pisa, November 8th
Our trip to Pisa lasted less than two hours. Got off the train, walked to the tower, took tons of pictures (got yelled at by the police for standing on the grass while taking said pictures), got rained on, then Andrew caught a train back to Rome & Peter & I continued on to Cinque Terre.Cinque Terre, November 8th-11th
Cinque Terre is absolutely incredible. Jake had recommended it to me, and I'm so glad he did. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip. It´s these five ("cinque") towns (or "lands," hence "terre"), right along the water. You can take the train between all five, or take the hiking trail.
As Peter & my train rolled in, my cell phone rang. Angie calling, seeing if we wanted to stay at the Bed & Breakfast her & Jay had found. Perfect.
They had done well--the place was adorable, and since it was the off season, we were the only ones there.
We did the hike, which was so beautiful I couldn't keep my camera off (except, of course, when I was struggling to breath climbing up all the mountains, wishing I was in better shape). A lot of chill time, just appreciated where I was.Interlaken, November 12th-15th
Night trained it to Switzerland, so I didn't have to waste a day on travel, and didn't have to pay for a place to stay that night. On my train I met these two girls from this school in Texas, Corrie & Miriam. They were also headed to Interlaken, to the same hostel I was going to, Balmer's. Awesome girls, ended up chilling with them (and some other kids from their school) most of the time in Interlaken.
Interlaken is surrounded by mountains, and breathtakingly beautiful. You look outside your window, and you really feel like you just stepped into a postcard. Switzerland was exactly how I pictured it, down to the cows complete with cowbells. Interlaken is known among backpackers as the
place to go for extreme sports (skydiving, paragliding, bungy jumping, etc.) but that wasn't why I went there. The natural beauty was definitely enough of a "thrill" for me, besides the fact that things were pretty much shutting down for the season when we got there. Met some awesome people, did some beautiful hikes, ate some great fondue, accompanied a few guys on their first visit to Hooters.... but my favorite part was for sure touring this chocolate factory. Oh my goodness
you do not understand the degree of deliciousness we're talking about here. wow
. Innsbruck, November 15th-17th
Austrians have been the nicest, most helpful, people I've met on this trip. Everyone was just so friendly, so despite the fact that most of the signage was only in German, it wasn't hard at all to get around. The plan for Innsbruck had been to do some hiking, see some museums...but then we saw an ad for snowboarding, and the idea stuck.
Snowboarding was awesome. Waiting for the bus to the mountain Peter & I met this great Canadian girl, Janine, then on the slopes we joined up with this American guy, Landon, so we all chilled together. It was ridiculously windy, and at times insanely icey, and I loved every moment. Totally gorgeous.Munich, November 17th-21st
Got to Munich right before Shabbat, said goodbye to Peter & Landon, then headed off to the family I was staying with, Rabbi & Rebetzin Langnas. Such a sweet couple, and amazingly generous of them to let me stay with them. Went to services at the brand new synagogue here, that's attached to their brand new community center. Great building, crazy security.
Saturday night I did some quick research online, then headed to The Arc, a sports bar started by some Aussies, to watch the Michigan/Ohio State game. I walked in, and the place was absolutely packed
, wall-to-wall people. One girl had brought a Michigan flag with her, so that was hanging up on the wall. Amazing to watch my Wolverines, in Munich, with other Michigan fans. Yes the ending of the game completely sucked
, but at least it was a good game. Met some great people, even though some were a little confused about what team they should have been cheering for...
Went to Dachau on Sunday. Still processing everything. Ran into John, this Aussie I had met in Interlaken, there, which was great. really nice to not be alone during the tour. And the kids he was with from his hostel were super nice too. Ended up moving to their hostel, Jaegers, that night.
Monday I did a free tour of Munich through this company called New Europe. Really awesome tour, learned a ton and saw tons. Peter ended up on the same tour, so that was fun, and met some cool people, including these Kiwis, brothers, Andy and Chris, who are on my train to Prague tonight. After the tour a group of us all grabbed a beer at the Hofbrauhaus. Ah Munich, the beer capital of the world.
For dinner I met up with James, this guy I met at The Arc. Great guy, except the whole OSU fan thing....jk... :) Went to this great Italian place, with awesome people watching, then this fun hookah bar... Got checked for a ticket on the train, first time ever. And of course I didn't have one, which is supposed to be a 40 Euro fine! Thank goodness
James speaks German, and fully talked me out of it...Amazing.
Today's just been a chill day, taking in Munich before I head off. Walked around, went to Starbucks (thanks Dad!), played with pictures on my poor iBook (it has seen better days, might not make it much longer)... And next is Prague!
In Cinque Terre, staying in the town of Montorosso, and it's abosultely amazing. Came here with Peter (after him, Andrew & I did a quick stop in Pisa to see the "Leaning Tower" and take pics) and these two Canadian girls we met in Florence, Angie & Jay. Been staying at this adorable B & B, the only ones there. This place must be sooo
different during tourist season, but right now it's empty. Amzingly peaceful, and beautiful. Tons of hiking. Angie left today, Jay & Peter are leaving in the morning, and I'm night training it to Interlaken tomorrow...
I'm at this laundromat/internet place, so I have a bit of time to post while I wash basically everything I have with me. Gotta love that it all fits in one load... Sunday, October 29th
The rest of Barcelona was awesome. Went up to Montjuic (literally "Hill of the Jews," supposedly there used to be a Jewish cemetery up there), saw some of the stadiums where the Olympics were, and this awesome castle. At the castle there were this kids "mountain" climbing up one of the walls. Tried talking to them for a bit, but they didn't really speak English, and I clearly don't speak Spanish. Asked one of them if they were allowed to be climbing there. His response? "Why not? It's been here many years. Why would they have it, if they didn't want us to climb?"
Love it. From there I went to Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia, totally amazing.Monday, October 30th
Day tripped to Montserrat. Awesome
. Did some crazy hiking up this mountain, incredible views, walked up hundreds of steps, totally cool.Tuesday, October 31st
Gaudi's Park Guell. Fully felt like I had stepped into a fairy tale, complete with children laughing & playing, thanks to the school in the park. Then stressed out a bit, since I had no idea where my ferry leaving from, but thanx to Dad's help, I figured it out. No joke, I called him in the States so he could help me figure it out. Lame, right? I was that stressed... October 31st-November 1st, "Somewhere in the Mediterranean"
The ferry was great. Met this awesome guys, Peter (Canadian) and Andrew (South African) and we chillled together the whole time. Amazing weather, sunny, hot, I was even tanning in my bathing suit on the deck...November 1st-5th, Rome
Rome has been awesome. Peter and I said goodbye to Andrew, got off the train, and used my Let's Go to try and find a hostel. On the way we ran into this Aussie kid, Julian, obviously another backpacker (the huge backpack he was wearing gave it away), so the three of us walked around together. Found this great place, Alessandro Legends.
Met some awesome people in Rome, had a blast. Shabbat there was super cool, mate these amazing Israeli women at services, Amira & Ayelet, who invited me to have dinner with them at this cute little hotel they were staying at.
Saw all the big typical places, the Colleseum, Trevi Fountain, loved them all... Like I said before, the people at Legends were all awesome....Julian, the Utah boys (Colton, Danie & Chris), the Canadian couple (Morgan & Mellissa)... I love how when you're travelling the way you think of the people you meet, how usually the last thing you find out about someone is their name, after you already know their life story and possibly already trusted them to watch your bag with your entire life in it while you quickly went to the bathroom... Amazing.
Okay, that's all about Rome I can think of right now (as I sit here in Prague trying to recreate it and pretend I didn't delete the original post)... But I'm sure at some point at the end of this post I had sais something about being excited to meet up with Andrew the next day so him, Peter, & I could hit up Florence...11/24 Update: So in my attempt to go back and add pictures, I accidently deleted half this post. Awesome. Soooo, some of it might be different than last time you read it....Especially the Rome part...
In Rome, having an amazing time. Funny moment of the day: I'm in some internet place, radio's on, and the Italian version of "Breaking Free" from High School Musical comes on. This was right after a Spice Girls song. Seriously? Cracks me up...
I know I have tons to update, and I will, but not right now. In the meantime I've been meeting some awesome people and all around just loving this trip. This whole world of backpacking and hosteling is just really incredible, everyone has such interesting stories and you get to hear pieces of all them, like channel surfing on a television...
Anyways, all for now. 'Later, kids!