SO I know it’s been awhile since I’ve updated my blog, but the past 2 weekends I was just in Florence, relaxing and exploring. It has been very rainy, but I went shopping (for food what else?) and made a lot of lists of places I’ve been and want to go. I walked all over town, listened to a lot of music and podcasts and ate way too much. It is pretty incredible to actually just live in this city. Without traveling, just living and trying to blend in. However, this past weekend I made the trek to Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg! 3 cities, 1 weekend. It was a once in a lifetime experience but also extremely draining.
I arrived in Budapest at 9 am on Friday and headed out on a walking tour. We walked past a Synagogue that sheltered 10,000 Jewish people during World War II and then to the Budapest Opera house which houses the 3rd best acoustics in the world. We wandered to the Parliament building, which is so detailed and massive that Freddy Mercury (from Queen) wanted to buy it… didn’t work out in his favor though. I saw the changing of the guards and marveled at its sheer size before finding my way down to the river that runs between the old cities of Buda and Pest, which are now combined to be one city via the Chain bridge. Along the river there is a tribute to the men, women and children who lost their lives to war crimes during WWII. Bronze shoes line the riverbank to commemorate the atrocious commands by Nazis forcing the Jewish prisoners to remove their shoes and stand on the edge of the river where they were then shot, allowing the river to sweep their bodies away from their homes forever.
After a long while of reflection, we climbed to the castle grounds, a grueling, vertical hike, reaching the top with sweaty faces. I stripped off my coat and marveled at the cathedral, with its beautifully tiled roof and a wondrous panorama of the whole city. After walking back to our hostel, we ate delicious falafel at a hummus bar and then put on our swim suits and hopped the metro to the baths. The baths in Budapest are pretty much thermal pools, outside, with magic healing powers (okay not sure about the magic, but that’s how they came to be anyway). It was so nice to soak in hot water after a long day of walking. Later that evening I went to an all I could eat and drink dinner (let me tell you I can eat and drink a lot) then we checked out a traditional Ruin bar. The Ruin bars stem from when students in Budapest would find old, abandoned building and throw random couches, decorations together and open a bar/party for the night. The bar was crazy cool.
7 am wake up call for Vienna. I woke up as our bus pulled up to our hostel at 11 am, we departed and checked into our rooms. Across the street from our hostel was a flea market and some tasty sausages. We walked past the beautiful Opera house, inside another spectacular cathedral and I got to see the Spanish Riding School and its fantastic Lipizzaner’s! I ate Sacher torte (the famous chocolate cake of Vienna), walk past an ince skating village outside the parliament house, ate wiener schnitzel and went to popular DJ groups concert called the Chainsmokers! The concert was in a club inside an abandoned amusement park. As my friends and I entered the park we were immediately aware of clown statues, covered roller coasters and empty buildings with dim carnival lights glowing. Once we got into the club, the creepy atmosphere changed into fun and dance. After a short nights sleep, we woke up and boarded our bus to Salzburg.
Salzburg is a quaint city with such pretty views. I loved exploring it for the short time I had. It isn’t very touristy, which I liked. I found a shop that sold hand drained and then painted eggshells. The store stretched back impressively far and was stacked with tables of dainty eggshells sitting in cartons. It was amazing. I ate lunch at Café Mozart, right next to where Mozart was born. I wandered into a cathedral and found a crypt that had been recently rediscovered in the 1980s and turned into an art piece, with shadows cast by tiny iron skeletons and a recorded voice of the time being said every 10 seconds, a very uneasy, yet exquisite way to commemorate the original purpose of the crypt, hearing time said and visually represented. I didn’t see the Von Trapp family, but I’m sure they sent their warm regards (au dieu, au dieu to you and you and you). I breathed in the snow kissed air of Salzburg and re-boarded my bus back to Florence.
Also I took a cooking class and made lasagna, stuffed zucchini and pana cotta. I know, I know none of you believe me because I usually put tablespoons of vanilla into cookies instead of teaspoons and almost always gag while looking at raw meat, but I swear I did it and it was so good!! Im bringing home the recipe, although I don’t know if ill be able to make the fresh pasta… mom? 😉
The past 2 weeks have been special. Learning, seeing, doing, feeling I cant explain how wonderful it has been to have such a new world in my eyes at my finger tips. This week a very special human of mine is coming to stay with me in Florence for a week! Lauren will be arriving on Friday and I cannot wait to show one of my best friends and person I love so dearly this magical place and country that has been shaping my life for the better, forever! My heart is SO full and to excited for her to come GET HERE ALREADY SBF!!!
With alllllll that being said… I will update with mine and Lauren’s sweet adventures and the week after… MY GIVERS OF LIFE AKA MOM AND DAD WILL BE HERE!!!!! I walk by the hotel they will be staying in everyday on my way to school and keep thinking about when they arrive and how fast ill be able to book it to their hotel to squeeze them, although there are some comfy chairs in the lobby it looks like, so maybe ill just wait all day…
Until we talk again,
Ciao for now,