The world is my oyster
Okay, so I know I promised that I wouldn’t cram a bunch into one post, so I’m just going to do my best to cram 3 weeks into a not so long post.
Last time I left you guys I was gearing up to go to the great city of Prague (week of 4/11-13)! I was so excited, I had always wanted to go to Prague and my friends were always talking about it, but I had never been. That Friday night in Prague I grabbed dinner and enjoyed the culture. Saturday I spent all day touring. I woke up early to go on a free walking tour with Sandman (the company I went with in Edinburgh). From the walking tour I went on their castle tour as well. Even though I’m not a big tour person, I knew from walking around on Friday night that I really wanted to get to know the city – hence the walking tour. I saw so much. I know I saw most of the city in only a few hours, but I definitely want to go back. The Jewish Ghetto was my favorite and I definitely want to go back sometime soon to see more. The Castle Tour was also really cool as well. I had a great tour guide who walked us around the Castle grounds telling us all the great stories and informing us about the history. Even though a lot of us had been on the walking tour in the morning too, he kept it interesting and engaging the entire time. Afterwards I ran off to get some souvenirs before grabbing dinner again for my last night in Prague. I ended up getting fast food in the form of a fried cheese burger. It was so delicious. Plus it was so cheap; it cost me 40 crowns, which is only a couple American dollars. I was blown away by how cheap most of the food was. On Sunday I headed back to Rome, it was a bittersweet farewell. I know I’ll be back and it was definitely nice being back in Rome, but I still would have loved to see more.
That week (4/14-18) in Rome we really got more involved with service learning. I got to see my kids only once that week since they had Easter break. But my preschoolers finally started warming up to me. They’d ask me to translate the numbers and colors from Italian to English. It was really nice to finally be making a connection with them. I was so thrilled and it was heart warming.
The next weekend (4/18-21) was Easter weekend. So we had no school on Monday. I had originally been thinking about traveling that weekend, but had been convinced to stay so that I could see the pope talk on Sunday, in reality I never actually saw him. On Saturday I went with some of the girls on my program to explore an area of Rome called Monti. It’s somewhere between Campo dei Fiori and Termini, but definitely closer to Termini. It’s a quaint little neighborhood and quite beautiful. Before we went to Monti we actually went to get a cappuccino and some sweets in Testachio, an area near Trastevere. It took us over half an hour to find the place because the GPS said it was located in one place when in reality it was several blocks away. The café was well worth the wait though. The sweets and coffee were quite delicious. Afterwards is when we headed to Monti to take pictures and just have a nice time walking around. While walking around I got to see my favorite dog in the entire world – a bernese mountain dog, I couldn’t help but take a picture. We eventually got some delicious dinner in one of the girl’s favorite restaurants. It was a great end to an amazing day. On Sunday I actually ended up spending Easter sleeping in, walking around and going to Villa Borghese. I fell in love with the park the last time I was here and knew I wanted to go back at least once while I am here in Roma. I walked to Villa Borghese retracting my steps from a year and a half ago. Once I got to the park I got to watch everyone riding around on rented bikes or segways, while I walked to the Bioparco (zoo). I love zoos and especially this one; I was so excited to be back. I spent several hours at the zoo, having a great time. Afterwards I headed home to have some dinner and a relaxing evening. On Monday my friends and I headed to a park that is closer to where we live in Trastevere. It was a gorgeous day and it was super nice to just hang out in the sun, listen to some music and read a book. It was a fantastic end to a great weekend.
The next week (4/21-25) we said good-bye to one of our professors and hello to a new one. It’s been quite an adjustment, but a good one at that. We had our last group dinner with her on Tuesday and our professor brought some of the teachers from our service learning so we were able to talk to them in a no pressure situation, which was really nice. We learned a lot from the principal and teachers about the behind the scenes stuff that goes into the school.
Which leads me to this past weekend (4/25-27). I headed off to one of my favorite places in the world – Croatia. I was so excited to be spending a weekend with some of my friends from my last study abroad program. I arrived in Zagreb late on Friday night after a short layover in Split (where I got to see a gorgeous sunset). My friend had remembered my favorite Croatian snack – bread and a local cheese. She bought some so we could sit around, catch up, eat and watch some TV before heading to bed. On Saturday we woke up mid morning and chilled in the apartment for a while. We bought my favorite breakfast/snack food in Croatia from the local bakery. It’s a called a burek, and is basically layers of pastry and soft cheese served hot. I also finally got jamnica (pronounced yam-ni-ca). It’s a type of sparkling mineral water you can only find in Croatia and I swear it’s the best I’ve ever had. After breakfast we headed out and I got my hair cut! I was surprised by how cheap it was. I paid 300 Kuna with the tip, which is about 50 American dollars for a cut and dye job. That’s like half what a typical woman pays in America, plus the woman did such a good job! Afterwards we went exploring around the old town of Zagreb, which I love. We took some great photos and just had an incredible time. Afterwards we got dinner at this great restaurant I had eaten at before. I got my first veggie burger since Dublin, which was quite amazing. Plus the food is so cheap in Croatia too! For a veggie burger, caprese salad and water I paid less than 10 American dollars. Can I just move there forever? After dinner my friend and I went to meet up with a third friend from my program. We walked around town and had a couple snacks. It was a great time. On Sunday I was sad to head home, but not before eating one more burek!
Now it’s Monday and I’m back in Roma. This quarter is going by so fast, I can’t believe it’s week 6.