Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Eastside and Italy (a very small country)

We left Germany refreshed. A package had arrived from home with our new bank cards (lost is Laos, seems like forever ago), halloween candy, and some winter clothes- we asked for about 6 articles between the two of us and recieved 15. We had to buy another bag to carry it all. Oh well, our moms love us.

So off to the near east, Prague. Neither of us knew much about Prague before going there. We had heard that it was the true "old Europe" or where the "East meets the West." Whatever it was, "old" was definitely a good way to describe it. The architecture was unbelievable. There were times, especially at night, you felt that you had gone back in time- exploring the narrow streets of the old town. That is until you passed a shop selling pieces of "crystal" with your picture engraved in it and hearing the sounds of "I kissed a girl and I liked it." For me, Prague was a little bitter sweet becuase of all the touristy ridiculousness. They had a ton of those little egg-shaped dolls that have the exact same doll inside it- very Russian, pretty cool. But then the next shop had even more dolls but they had the faces of Ronaldinho and Pavel Nedved. (famous soccer players, for the uneducated). Escaping these saturated areas and finding yourself lost in narrow, ancient streets was a much better Prague experience for me.

Next stop, Vienna. Vienna was a lot like Prague but much more extravagant. It was like a really rich Prague. Prague had a castle, but Vienna had Palaces. Apparently Vienna was the center of one of the largest empires in history- the Hapsburgs? I don't know, you check the history yourself. The only part I remember from all the signs I read (yes Dad I read the signs) was that they made a huge deal out of the last empress, Sisi. They claimed she was so beautiful and so kind and it was such a tragedy that she died. I can't personally reflect on Sisi's character but I can say that judging by the pictures of her, she wasn't anything special. At least not the most beautiful empress ever. The Viennians (?) may not have beautiful women, but the city they built was absolutely amazing. And it wasn't swarming with tourists and t-shirt shops, another plus for me.

On our second day in Vienna I had what you could call a "quarter-life crises." That is all the details you need to know. But I decided I wanted to go skiing in the Alps and that I wanted to go alone. So we parted ways- I headed west and Nick went south towards Venice. We decided we would meet in Rome on the 10th.

So I skied on the Hintertuxer Glacier- Austria's one and only year-round ski facility. The skiing wasn't bad. Not that many trails were open, but I didn't expect much- I was skiing in October. The day I left I woke up to the first snowfall of the season. It was about 6 inches high and by the time I walked to the bus station it was about 8 inches. It was coming down fast. After a day of travelling, the next morning I arrived in Cinque Terre Italy. This is an amazing place on the west coast of Italy that consists of 5 small towns built right along the cliffs to the sea. Probably one of the most romantic places on Earth! Too bad I was alone- that would soon change though... There are hiking trails between each of the towns, and the trails have some amazing views as they cling to the cliffs as well. It was on one of these trails that some strange fate distrupted my loneliness. As I was coming down the trail to the third town I turned a narrow corner and stood face to face with Nick. It was really weird. Of all the places in Europe, in Italy! It was hilarious. Niether of us really knew how to react or whether or not we were dreaming. Anyway, we are back together again. Today we leave for Pisa and then to Rome.


Jessica said...

You and Nick are just destined to be together forever! :-P Glad you are still having fun!

Stephanie said...

that story was crazy!!!

ps-nick and erik both, if you want me to help you register to vote, i need your info ASAP, deadline is friday. i sent the info to nick via gmail. thanks!

Rebekah said...

Nick and Erik,
Glad to see that you are having a blast! Wish everyone could do this. WOW! Tell Angela that we hope she has fun!