June 30 - Olomouc, Czech Republic
Like Prague, Olomouc’s windy, cobblestone roads are made for aimless wandering. I happened upon this quaint lane of buildings and neighbors greeting one another as they started their days.
Last night, I had Nepalese food and an English cider at an Irish pub in the Czech Republic.
June 29 - Olomouc, Czech Republic
Olomouc’s Upper Square is centered around this massive trinity column, itself a UNESCO world heritage site. You can actually go inside the structure into a teeny-tiny chapel, but mostly locals and tourists just sit around it, eating ice cream and laughing.
June 28 - Krakow, Poland
I spent the day in Kazimierz, where the Jewish community of Krakow was centered. I visited several old synagogues and the Old and New cemeteries, both of which sustained damage by the Nazis. Fragments of shattered tombstones that were later recovered were pieced together into mosaic walls around the cemeteries.
June 27 - Krakow/Oswiecim, Poland
It was in the back of my mind during the entire trip that I’d be going to Auschwitz toward the end. I was a little apprehensive about going alone, and it was definitely a very intense experience, but I took a lot from it. On a whim, I joined an English tour group because I wasn’t sure how well marked things would be, but ultimately I wished I hadn’t. I don’t like to...
June 26 - Krakow, Poland
I got into Poland at 5:30, and slept for a couple of hours in the common room at my hostel before walking around the town. That afternoon, after I had finally showered and eaten, I headed up to Wawel castle to look around. I saw some sarcophagi, looked out at the river, and sat in a corner of the castle couryard with all the other weirdos, working on my chakra at what’s supposed to be one...
June 25 - Eger, Hungary
I trekked out to the Valley of the Sirens, a popular winemaking area near Eger where Egri Bikaver (Bull’s Blood) is made. I was too shy to head into any of the wine caves for samples, but I had a yen for wine so I walked back into town and did a wine tasting at a recommended shop. I was presented with six generous glasses of wine and no spit bucket, so I drank as much as I could and...
June 24 - Eger, Hungary
I arrived in Eger and headed to the Lyceum, where I saw a neat old library and a really cool camera obscura. A Hungarian guide showed me around the town with the camera, all from the ninth floor of the Lyceum. I stepped out onto the terrace afterward to take some photos of Eger.
braving the baths
I did it. Throughout my life, I’ve been incredibly body-shy. I don’t like changing in public areas, and I don’t particularly like to see other people do so. I avert my eyes during romantic scenes in movies. I was always a little embarrassed while “changing out” for freshman PE class as I retreated to the privacy of a bathroom stall to don more athletic attire, as...
June 23 - Budapest, Hungary
I walked around the Castle Hill. My favorite spot was north of the main attractions, lined with neat old buildings and quaint vistas.
June 22 - Budapest, Hungary
I was super nervous about going to the baths, but definitely determined to experience the quintessential Budapest tradition. I went to the Szechenyi Baths, and had a really great time despite my apprehension.
June 21 - Budapest, Hungary
I did a Jewish history day, touring the massive and very ornate Dohany Synagogue and then visiting the city’s Holocaust Museum. It was a really great exhibit, and ended in a restored synagogue where this display of Hungarian Holocaust victims was set up.
June 20 - Budapest, Hungary
A pair of lions stands guard over Budapest’s iconic Chain Bridge. I don’t think he looks particularly intimidating.
The Time of My Life
There’s no need to bother cracking a joke for my sake any longer, readers, for I have surely experienced the most hilarious comic moment of my life this very evening. I day-tripped to Piran, a lovely coastal town on the Adriatic. I returned at about ten o’clock, or 22:00, and headed toward the city center to get a three euro falafel. The sound of music coming from Preseren Square...
June 19 - Piran, Slovenia
I loved all of my trip, but Slovenia in particular and especially Piran. Picking one photo for the day has been tough, especially for this day. Here’s Piran’s Tartini Square, named for the composer Guiseppe Tartini. The red building on the left is the Venetian House, built around 1450 by a Venetian merchant for his mistress in Piran. “Let them talk” is written on the...
June 18 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
There’s always something going on in Ljubljana. Hundreds of these little clay figurines were set up on a bed of sand across the city’s cobbler’s bridge. I took photos while watching a capoeira demonstration. Two bridges down, a stage was set up for a performance by the Amsterdam symphony. Best of all, everyone eats ice cream cones as they stroll, and there’s a rice cream...
June 17 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana’s architecture is quirky and fun. This building has probably taken over as my favorite in the world. Gorgeous!
dispatches from slovenia
In list form, because paying for internet makes words much more valuable: a. The whole Speedo thing is really disconcerting. b. I am just now getting the hang of the switched ´y´ and ´z´ on European keyboards. (And just figured out how to make an @ symbol. @@@.) c. Ljubljana, a city you may never have heard of and probably cannot pronounce (I am still not sure that I have it right) is absolutely...
June 16 - Lake Bled, Slovenia
Trekked up to the top of a mountain to look out over the lake. The trail wasn’t particularly well-marked, and I forgot how scary hiking alone can be, so I was a little rattled by the time I made it to the top. As soon as I saw the view, though, my fears were assuaged and I was delighted. The way down was another story.
June 15 - Lake Bled, Slovenia
Slovenia has my heart, and it took it pretty quickly once I set foot on the shore of Lake Bled. A pretty lake town with a picturesque island (otok) and plenty of baby swans and ducks, I spent three days here hiking and reading and relaxing. It was perfect.