So I haven’t updated in a LONG time. I’m sorry. I guess I’ll do a short recap of all of the places I’ve been and all of the things that I’ve seen:
Paris- What a wonderful first independent travel weekend. There was six of us traveling together, and we rented a SWANK apartment in the 4th district which was really very cool. We hit up all the major Paris sites (Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Versilles, Eiffel Tower) we also rode on the carousel in the gardens (twice), had the best food of my life, and did a lot of walking and exploring the city. We all got home safe, tired, but I know I felt pretty confident in my ability to travel.
Dublin- I liked Dubin, although it certainty was not my favorite city. It was a big group that I traveled in, nine, which was really silly. We stayed in a shit hole hostel. Really, the grossest place I have ever seen. We were in a 20 bed dorm, which also was very silly, but we survived which was nice. In Dublin we took a sight seeing bus tour which was good fun, we had photoshoots in St. Stephen’s Garden, toured the Guinness Storehouse, saw Trinity College, then Cherlynn and I went out dancing at this silly club called the Button Factory. The next day we wanted to get out of the city (because we didn’t get the chance to make our way out to Galway) so we went to Howth, a little fishing town about 30 min north of the city. Howth was so fun. We hiked along these gorgeous cliffs, ate fish and chips, walked around. It was wonderful. There were about three major photographers who came on the trip with me, so there are over 100 pictures of me from Dublin being stupid. After we got back from Howth Stella, Katie Jo, Cher and I went on a pub crawl, which was not the drunken debauchery that you would think, it was more of the three of us laughing at all of the silliness around us. Then it was an early flight home on Sunday.
Switzerland- By far, the most beautiful place that I have been thus far, maybe even in my entire life… also my favorite weekend trip. It’s going to be hard to top. We went to Interlaken. As far as Interlaken goes—the town was adorable, quaint, exactly what I would picture a town in the Swiss Alps to be. As far as the people though, it was a lot of young American college students (in fact there was a huge group of students from Penn State staying at our hostel) We also traveled in a group of nine that weekend, but we kind of split up into two, because four of the people we were with were skiing and snowboarding, and the other five, myself included went sky diving.
Now how did I come to skydive? Before leaving for Europe I never thought I would skydive. I knew that I was going to Switzerland, and I also was pretty confident that I was going to paraglide or do something of the sort (because if my grandmother could do it, I could too) but our first week at the Kasteel, Rosie and I were talking (Rosie wasn’t really a good friend of mine before the Castle, but has become one of my constant travel companions and close friends… just a side note) and we decided that we were going to skydive, and once I made the promise to do it, I had to. More and more people then tacked on the to trip, which was surprising because it was the weekend of Carnivale (which I will get to in the min) and we could have been dangerously close to missing the parade.
Skydiving was the best thing I have ever done. I was shitting my pants on he bus ride over to the site, but once we got into that plane I was feeling good. I had a wonderful British man named Dave strapped to my back who did back flips with me as we fell out of the plane. It’s hard to explain what it felt like… but I think that it changed me. I want to do it again and again.
The next day, the five of us who didn’t go skiing went to see the lakes. They were awe-inspiring. I can’t even begin to describe the beauty of them. It was just the perfect moment with wonderful company.
Carnivale (same weekend as Switzerland)- we left Interlaken on Saturday night and returned back to Well early Sunday morning, just in time for the craziness of Carnivale. Basically, Carnivale is three days of crazy drinking and partying in Well. The best part about Carnivale is how much the town of Well embraced the Kasteel kids. They love when we walk in the Parade, and they told us that our Kasteel group really turned it up. Our theme was “Netherlands, Emerson style” which really just gave the chance to dress up the silliest as we can. Over 60 of us walked in the parade, and we won third place because of it. We’re the best. Clearly.
Brussels: The next weekend was a 24 hour romp to Brussels. We were only there for a short time because it was the weekend before midterms and I wanted to study, and Rosie was on duty so she had to be back. There were a lot of Emerson students in Brussels that weekend and we all ran into each other at the same time in the main square. I loved Brussels, which was surprising because from what I have heard from people, reviews of the city seemed lack luster. It was very grungy, but not in a gross way. I also worked my French while we were there. It was rocking. Besides the awesome architecture, and interesting museums, by far the four best thing that Brussels had to offer was the Cherry Beer (which tasted like soda), the chocolate, French fries and the waffles. I’m about 95% sure that I saw every single person’s O face that I was with when we ate the waffles. No exaggeration. It was fun and low stress. The only time that was a little trying was when Rosie and I came back to the hostel a little earlier than everyone else (although it was still pretty late, about 1:30) and we thought we were locked out of the hostel. After about 20 min of searching for a way into the building… which included knocking on windows and ringing every buzzer on the street, we saw that there was a key slot to unlock the front door. STRUGGLE.
Then midterms happened. They weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be. I hope I did well. We’ll see this week.
Then we went on our school travel excursion to Prague.
Prague: What a cool city. So rich with history and a flavor that is truly unique. I had a really nice time there, and aesthetically, Prague is definitely my favorite city thus far. I spent a lot of time with my art history class during the day, which was fine by me. Besides the fact that I am gaining a rapid appreciation for Renaissance Art, I got to spend a lot of time with Rob and Dulcia. They know and care so much about what they are teaching us, and it continues to inspire me. They also always took the whole class out for drinks after a long day looking and churches and museums. Also the first night, I got to go with a bunch of other Emerson students to see the Cezch Philharmonic Orchestra perform the Rite of Spring and Alpine Symphony. It was wonderful. Alexis would have really liked it. It was nice to hear a piece of music from the Ballet Russe because we had just finished learning about it in World Drama. Hmm what are other high lights from Prague— We were all staying in apartments, and one night about 25 of us decided to have a pot luck dinner which was really nice. I really enjoy it when a whole bunch of the Kasteel kids are in a room together loving each other, because beyond this trip, I don’t think all of us will be in a room together again.
Our last day of the school excursion, which was Monday, we went to Terizen, one of the transfer ghettos from the Holocaust. It was tough. For a large part of the tour I was very angry. It’s hard for me to believe that people, who constantly bring life into the world can create so much hate. And why are certain people targeted? For as much as I learned about the Holocaust through out my life, nothing could have prepared me for that. That being said, I had the bus ride back into the city to decompress, which I needed, and then completely purged of all bad emotions Justin, Ashley, Rosie and I started off on the second half of our break, the independent travel break. We spent another night in Prague because our train didn’t leave until the next morning, so we went out, which proved to be pretty silly on a Monday night, but they took me to the infamous 5 story club, which I didn’t get to go to with the big group because I stayed in that night. What a silly weird place. There were a lot of British students, that were vulgar and weird. This one boy, who was a pre-med student in South Hampton that we were talking to a the beginning of the night started whipping his penis out as a joke on the dance floor. Crude crude crude. I yelled at him. No one is going to wave their penis in the general direction and get away with it.
The next morning began the 20 hour train journey to Croatia, which was not as painful as it sounds. When you’re in good company the train rides fly by. We also we on the train over night so we slept. Croatia was not exactly what we were expecting but that is not bad. It was colder then the forecast said it was going to be, and we were staying a little outside the city of Zadar, and because it wasn’t peek season it was a little more difficult to get around. We did A LOT of walking on streets that weren’t really meant for walking (including the interstate). We slept a lot which we all really needed. We also made friends with the woman who works at the local pizza grill. Her name is Valiaria and she really took a liking to us. I don’t know why exactly. Maybe it is because we asked her how to say thank you, or we smiled or she just thought we were silly American children, but either way she sat down and drank with us, and told us about her life in Croatia, and then gave us her address so we can write her letters and send her pictures of the Kasteel. I think meeting her was one of the highlights of the trip for sure. I also just had a really nice time with the people I was traveling with. I’m glad I went.
That would bring me to right now, seeing as I’m on the train home from Croatia (we’re about 18 hours in)
I guess there is one more thing that I should bring up:
The kasteel made a Single Ladies music video that we submitted to a contest with Beyonce. The winner gets their video shown every night of the tour. Our video is EPIC. Almost everyone in the Kasteel came together to learn the dance or work on production or whatnot. I’ll post the link once we know the outcome of the competition because I don’t want to jeopardize our chances of winning.
I’ll update better now. I promise.
I miss everyone from Boston and home though. If you took the time to read this whole think I probably miss you. Hope you all are doing well!!!