Sunday, March 31, 2013

Travel/Rest Balance

As much as I love traveling, it can be painfully exhausting. Hostels are great, until your roommates start bustling around, talking loudly at 6am. We love walking the cities exploring all day, but we do not ever want to waste an afternoon by napping. Or miss a nice dinner and exploring the nigtlife to catch some extra zzzs. Don't get me wrong, this travel loop has been incredible and we've had quite the crew, but after a solid week on the go, we need some rest.
So, for our first relaxing activity, we spent a day in the thermal baths of Budapest. Farley summed it up well when he said "it was a relaxing experience punctuated with bouts of insanity..." It was a very neat experience though.

Another way we have slipped rest into our vigorous schedule is on travel days. You know it's a travel day when we are all sporting the comfy clothes...leggings, flannels, sweaters...basically anything you can nap in. We hop on the train, checking about 30 times to make sure it's the correct one, then just pass out til we arrive in our next city!

Hopefully we can sustain this busy but incredible travel lifestyle for one more week!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

The places we've been drinking...

Due to the beyond freezing weather we have experienced traveling Eastern Europe in March, we have been drinking a little more than I usually would to stay warm. In our defense, we have been making it a part of experiencing the different cultures and here are two of my favorites.

The Gondola Bar
Murren, Switzerland
This is a bar that our local friends took us to just above Gimmelwald. We sat an watched skiers, enjoyed the view of the alps, sipped warm gluwein, and relaxed on a snowboard couch.

Fogas Haz
Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is famous for its ruin pubs, and this place did not disappoint. It was a bar built out of an old ruin with a mix of vintage furniture, dance music, delicious drinks, and some great ping pong. We plan to stop by this place again before we have to leave Budapest.

If you ever get the chance, I'd highly reccommend either of these!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Snowy Mazes and Apple Strudel Lessons

Vienna has served us well, despite the fact that it's been snowy and beyond freezing. Alison joined us last night which was, of course, a wonderful addition to our team.

Today we visited yet another beautiful and delicious Easter market, before embarking on the Schoenberg Palace to learn about the Hampsburgs. Both of those were neat, but the best two parts of our day were the huge maze we navigated through and the apple strudel demonstration and tasting we attended after. The maze was fun especially because we were actually sprinting through to escape from the cold. We even learned that there's an Apple Strudel hotline that you can call 24/7 for assistance making it at home. All in all, it was a cold but fun day of adventuring. but tonight Alison heads to Bratislava and we depart for Budapest in the morning! I will try my best to keep the posts coming!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Overnight train to the imperial city...

After spending way too much money in the most expensive city in the Europe (see sad faces), Rita and I boarded an overnight train from Zurich to Vienna. It was more like an overnight closet. Our cabin mates, all four of us sleeping in a room that my go go gadget arms could reach all sides of at any given time, only spoke German so I conversed with them a bit before we hopped into our tiny tiny beds for a quick nap before we were awoken with a horrible train breakfast. 

The overnight train was a funny experience, but we arrived in Vienna to meet our friend Farley in a cold snowy town! We enjoyed a day of numb nosed exploring the beautiful imperial city, but loved catching up and had a delicious authentic Austrian dinner at a local place that Farley discovered. And we can't wait to explore the markets of Vienna tomorrow.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Sledding the Alps

I know I need to learn to ski (and it's on my 1001 list!) but I just didn't think that paying an arm and a leg to spend my day in the alps on the kiddie slopes with an instructor was worth it. So, our lovely new friends said they'd take Rita and I to sled the ski runs as they skied. And it was hilarious, entertaining, and a great way to take in the beautiful surroundings.
Our new friends, who are both working for the winter up here at resorts, stopped with us at a delicious local resturaunt (with an astounding view!) for lunch, then continued our sledding after a relaxing meal.
The only near mishap was when I missed a turn for the bob run and proceeded onto a serious ski slope. I was screamed for Rita and laughing and flalling my arms around, as skiers flew past me unamused and probably annoyed. I finally come to a stop at the chair lift and then spent the next twenty minutes wandering until Rita and I finally met back up! Needless to say, the day in Gimmelwald was full of adventure!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Adventures Ahead...

While this whole year abroad really is a huge adventure, these next few weeks are [hopefully] going to be some of the most exciting! 

This afternoon Rita and I depart for Gimmelwald, Switzerland (picture above that I captured in August) which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been! After a few days there, we meet friends for Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Krakow, and Prague. 
I literally can't wait! I will try my best to post as the adventures around eastern Europe unfold. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Faces that Brighten my Days...

I am happy to report that the snow is finally melting and spring seems to be approaching here in Wald-Michelbach. And having friends around makes life exponentially better, but I just thought I'd share a few faces from school that never cease to brighten my days.
Ellie Baby, my boss' precious rotweiler puppy that often comes to work with her!

Lina is a tiny little 7 year old who is absolutely hilarious and kind of a hippie. She even brought her crazy fluffy kitten to school to show me one morning.

Dario, aka "My bad little fish", is the youngest dragon and he is full of life. He comes to school in costume randomly, always wants to try on my glasses and boots, and has even been known to sneak up to my apartment and hide under my bed to scare me. Dario is quite the character.

Lucas is absolutely hilarious. As Rita said yesterday, "He is going to be a heartbreaker one day"...and he certainly will be.

Linn Sophie is quite sassy, but when she wants to be sweet, she is absolutely adorable.

Hope these photos brighten your day, as my students always brighten mine :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things...

...mouth-watering italian food, seeing Mumford and Sons live, the beautiful city of florence, three of my best friends reunited in europe, and authentic gelato. And on Friday, I got to experience all of those things in one amazing day!

And that isn't even mentioning flying over the snow covered alps, making a pit stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, sharing a bottle of wine as we watched the sun set over florence from Piazza de Michaelangelo, eating dinner at one of the best restaurants in Florence, and experiencing some of the Italian nightlife after the show.


The weekend could not have been more ideal. Emily, Bizzell, and I met Rita in Florence on Friday and did not stop laughing and adventuring until we said our sad goodbyes today. Emily and Bizzell are headed back to real reality (America) while Rita and I are headed back to "real life" (Wald-Michelbach). I actually cannot begin to communicate how amazing the weekend was, but I will leave you with a few pictures to give you an idea.
Enjoying the incredible Mumford show (above) and Emily and I reuniting with some fellow CPAers and a snap from the concert (below). 

 Although Friday was one of the days you could not dream up if you were fantasizing about your perfect day, the rest of the weekend followed suit and we enjoyed a Saturday full of laughter, shopping the leather market, climbing all 462 steps to the top of the duomo, and, of course, incredible italian cuisine. As usual, Florence did not disappoint us.