Saturday, May 21, 2011
Good Beer. Good Friends. Good Food. Oh München you never disappoint!
During our traveling-to-France extravaganza, Matt and I spent a night in Munich. I was extremely excited to get to Munich because one of my close friends is studying medicine there. After a particularly hard day of travel, seeing Sabina was such a much needed and very special treat. With the high pressure atmosphere of school and life abroad having the opportunity to get away from it all and see a familiar face was delightful.
And trust me, nothing beats listening to Sabina attempting to learn Italian or me attempting to learn German. Can you say Unhöflich? Or better yet va beannnne?
Munich is such a fun city filled with great food and great sights. So much of the city is flooded opulent architecture that is just breathtaking.
It is a big city and a lot ton take in, but it is definitely worth walking around so you can enjoy the beautiful sights. (Or if you are Matt, get eaten by a giant fish statue.)
No visit to the city is complete without stopping by one of the city's many beer halls. If you want the quintessential Bavarian experience, go to the Hofbräuhaus. It may have its fair share of tourists, but it is also a lively joint where locals stop by to enjoy Ruß'n and Brez'n. Morning, noon or night you cannot help but get carried away with the fun.
Such a special trip to visit a very special and wonderful friend. It will not be soon forgotten!
Friday, May 20, 2011
You know when Matt told me that there was this amazing town in the Sloven mountains named Bled, I wasn't sure what to think. When I am traveling I try to stay away from places with names that seem to allude to gore or possible injury. Since I can be a bit of a klutz, I don't like to tempt fate too much especially when mountains are involved.
Nevertheless, Matt convinced me to make the trip out to see Bled. And I am glad he did.
Nestled in the Julian Alps, Bled is a tiny town surrounded by sweeping and romantic scenery. Forest covered mountains rise out of the mystical Lake Bled, whose waters are thought to contain healing powers. Within the lake is their is a small island which is the only natural island in Slovenia. Looking down upon this magnificent scene is the imposing Bled Castle.
Even with the snowy haze we encountered while there, you could not help but notice how unspoiled the place is. Even Tito, the leader of Yugoslav when it existed, loved it here so much that he had grand villa built on the waterfront for his own private use(gotta love those Commie leaders...they really believed in the workers plight eh?)
The best way I can describe bled is that it is truly an otherworldly wilderness. If you are ever in Slovenia or doing a grand tour of the former Yugoslavia, take some time out and come visit this mountain village.
PS: Remember, wear your hiking boots. Although my incredible knee high flat boots are great for almost all occasions, they do not mix with mountains and snow!
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I cannot help but feel like every time I head east, I somehow wandered into a fairytale. The capital city of this former Yugoslav state was no exception. Ljubljana, Slovenia was an absolutely picturesque small city.
I could not get over how much the city seemed to sparkle at night. Isn't it divine?
Ljubljana has all of the trappings for an absolutely delightful place: a gorgeous Old Town complete with colorful Austro-Hungarian architecture, a small river with unique bridges that make river walks an adventure and an imposing castle perched on a hilltop. Also if you are of Matt's persuasion, it has just the right amount of former communist flair...and by that I mean big gray cement blocks. Not very pretty if you ask me, but to each his or her own.
One monument that should not be missed is the statue to Sloven Romantic poet and national hero, France Prešeren. Situated in the appropriately named Prešeren Square, you see France Prešeren surveying the landscape of the country he loved so much.
However, what is particularly noteworthy is that across the square is a relief of Julija Primic, his muse and unrequited love. As it was in life, there is both a great distance and an immense closeness between the two.
Ljubljana is truly lovely. If you want to go to somewhere with beautiful sights, kind people, incredible food and even better wine then it is a must.
The castle has some AWESOME nooks and crannies :)
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Mosaic: composed of a combination of diverse elements.
Trieste is a mosaic of a city. A glittering city on the sea that has been cobbled together over hundred of years. I feel like my professor, Dr. Georgia Mavrodi, described the city best when I told her I was traveling there:
"Trieste is a very interesting and peculiar corner of this country. A piece of Italy, a piece (or many pieces) from the Austrian Empire, a piece of the neighboring Slovenia, all these pieces come together there..."
This is a spot on evaluation. Trieste truly takes elements from all of these places and makes them her own. It was not like any place I traveled to in Italy or in the East. It is a lovely city, especially when the sun is shining and you make it out to the Adriatic coast. Matt and I truly enjoyed our day trip there. It was an excellent change of pace from Tuscany and the rest of Italy.
A must to while if in Trieste is Castello di Miramare, the castle of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium (You may also know them as as the ill-fated Emperor and Empress of Mexico.) It was absolutely breathtaking. With a place like that I just don't get why you would leave to go rule Mexico but then again, I have never been to Mexico...so va bene.
If you want to see a very unique city that is unlike any place you will ever go to in Europe, then go to the shining mosaic that is Trieste.