Venice is Sinking

I have been in Italy for 3 weeks. I finally made it to Venice to visit a friend last weekend. Only took an hour bus ride and a 20ish minute boat ride to get there along with 40 euros for transportation for 2 days. Before visiting I was told that Venice was stinky, no one speaks English, there are floods, earthquakes and…. volcanoes? Luckily my visit went well and there were no disasters and it wasn’t that stinky. I’ve been in smellier cities.

Venice is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been in. Because it is an island and no car could ever drive through it, it is incredibly quiet and clean. The funniest thing I do have to say is that although there are no cars, at night there are people on their boats that ride through the canals with music bumping. Kind of like something you would see in a city where people ride up and down on a long strip of road on a Saturday night, except less crowded.

Just before arriving to the city, I learned that Venice was built on wooden stakes that are driven through the ground. On top of the stakes, they built several platforms to hold up any kind of building they were to construct on top of them. Pretty amazing.

So I ended up staying at a friends place which used to be an old palace that is now divided into apartments and near an old convent. She and her roommates were convinced it was haunted, so we left out food offerings to these ghosts and went to bed. While I was NOT bothered in my “Harry Potter closet” by any spirits, the others were, as they decided to eat off the offering plate which then caused the doors and windows to open and close on their own.

Anywho, my stay in Venice was a success. We went and saw Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, had wine and sandwiches on the canal, shopped around, ate hand made pasta, had some delicious gelato, fed some birds, bathed in so much holy water in so many churches, saw a saints old foot, lit some candles and ended my last day going to the famous St Mark’s Basilica for a mass and a Eucharistic procession for Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord. I am not religious at all, but it is an interesting experience to sit through long ceremonies spoken only in Italian, with incense being thrown around and large books and golden scepters. I ate some Christ and marched around with the procession and some nuns.

Ending note: EVERYTHING IN EUROPE IS GOLD! Especially if it holds religious value.


Fiesso d’Artico

My first full weekend in Italy and I spent it with the family I’m living with. They treated me and another au pair to a small restaurant outside of town that mainly consisted of seafood. We had plates upon plates of tapas style dishes. Fish croquettes, clams, squid, octopus, more fish, more clams and pasta of course as a main dish. Everything was beautifully presented and the restaurant was family owned, so the entire experience was amazing.

I’m living in a small town just outside of Venice called Fiesso d’Artico, only a few kilometers long and a 1 hour bus ride from the main city/island of Venice. On Sunday we took a family bike ride (along with the sons scout troop) to a park about an hour away. I was given an old rusty cruiser bike to ride on, where I was sure it would fall apart on the way there. Surprise! It didn’t! We rode through lush green fields, farmlands, onto old sandy trails, followed the canal, through a small town which was hosting a 5k run of some sort and into the woods to the park. When we got there, I was on the tip of being sun burnt. I was happy I bought a hat in Budapest (or was it Prague?) to protect me. Such a good $8 investment. The sun blared that day and it almost hurt to stop due to lack of wind.

When we got to the park, we watched the troop play a rugby like game and we all sat down for lunch. Once that was over, the kids played out in the woods and I laid on the ground and took a long nap. Traveling has definitely got me use to sleeping in whatever comfortable (or uncomfortable) spot that’s available. I woke up an hour or several hours later… not really sure, and it was time to go. By the time we left, the wind had picked up, the sun was still beaming, our legs were sore, and my ass hurt so bad from the bicycle seat. We got back, cleaned up and went to bed.

This has been a fantastic experience so far. It’s total immersion on top of it, no one speaks English here except for a select few. Some of it is easy to pick up if you understand Spanish.

Anywho, I have a few more weeks here and this weekend I’ll be heading to Venice proper. But for now, it’s late for me… so…… ciao!

The Pesty Buda

After finishing my TEFL certification, then traveling to Austria and Germany, I spent maybe I week back in Prague before heading to Budapest for a month. I have to say it was one of the best and weirdest experiences of my life.

Pro: Meeting people from all over the world, free breakfast, sight seeing, patio lunch/dinner seating, warm weather, thunder and lightening storms, everything within walking distance, castles, spas, ruin bars, Hungarian wine, rockabilly karaoke, a permanent food truck alley and a bit of a grimy city feel to the whole place.

Cons: Sharing a 6 bedroom dorm with stinky boys where the room smells like farts and sweat. Also, no good kebabs anywhere.

I spent about half my time sight seeing but the other half was spent laying around watching Netflix and chilling with other hostel employees or guests of the hostel. The hostel life sucks you in with being lazy and just hanging out. Which isn’t all bad, it just distracts from the time you could be doing touristy stuff. Then again, I was there for a month and had the time to spare.

I met a few people who offered to wine and dine me, which was amazing since I’m super broke. Had tasty tapas, hiked around, drank wine, went to fancy restaurants and danced. The time went by fast in Budapest and I miss it a bit.

On to the next adventure… Italy!

And then there were none…

Over the last several months I’ve been traveling. I haven’t been blogging as much as should have. My memory is bad, and this is basically my diary. I’ve had some good times, rough times and weird times.

In Europe, I have traveled to Prague, Czech Republic (where I spent the most time). Graz and Vienna, Austria. Berlin, Germany. Budapest, Hungary. And now I am in Fiesso d’Artico, Italy. While in Budapest I came to the realization that I do not belong here. I need to go back to the U.S.

This goes beyond homesickness. I miss my daughter terribly. She is my one and only love. I am nothing without her. Because of my decision to leave and have her stay with her dad, I have been called good, brave, fucked up, in denial and irresponsible. I don’t deny that my decision to leave her with her dad had it’s consequences for me and her. I felt what I did, needed to be done at the time. I wanted her to have a life in which I felt I could not provide, and it seemed that her dad has his shit more together than me. This has left her scarred and has effected more people in my life than I intended to.

I am trying. So hard. At this point, all I can do is show her my love, make sure she is well taken care of, and hope for the best. She has not lived with me in almost a year. I have not seen her in 6 months. I have only been traveling for 4 months and when I am done, it will be a full 5 months of traveling and over a year of not living with my little girl.

When I get back, I fully intend to get myself healthy. I am unwell with anxiety and depression. It’s hard to function as a normal person when these things make me a bit bipolar as well. I want to go to school again. I want to be a better mom. I want to be a better person. I feel I am trying so hard and I just get shit on for it.

I don’t want anyone’s pity for what I’m saying, and I shouldn’t be judged for what I have done. I want my daughters life to be great. That is all I care about and I hope that she will see that as she gets older.

Austrian Holy Water

This is an unfinished blog, and probably wont ever be finished. It’s been sitting in the queue for awhile…

Long story short in regards to the holy water, I basically bathed in it when I got to a church in Vienna.

We left on Monday from Prague and took 3 trains to Graz, Austria. Met up with a friend, drank some whiskey and did some night exploring around town. We spent a lot of time by the river, all talking and dipping our feet in. The night wasn’t too cold and it was worth a scraped hand on the rocks. I also happened to get a little too drunk and fall off of a statue/fountain about 3 feet up. I just wanted to lay there and die, but friends will be friends, and they made sure to get me off of the wet ground. We eventually wandered into a cool tavern before heading back to the flat for sleeps. It was a long day.

The next day we headed to Gösting, not too far out from the city center by bus. The day was cold, but it was bearable. We started hiking up and up and up towards the ruins of Gösting Castle. Halfway up it started to rain, snow and sleet. It felt good on my face. Kept my hung-over out of shape body cool. By the time we reached the top, the snow had stopped. We wandered around the ruins and found a pub at the very top with the most incredible view. We sat outside there, talked with the locals and chatted about life while admiring the castle cats that were leaping around on the trees. We watched the sky and could see the rain starting to come again, so we left back to Graz city center.

Once we got there, we had “kebobs”. Those things are freaking everywhere in Austria and Prague. They’re cheap, but delicious. We headed to the clock tower on Schlossberg hill afterwards to look at more views of the city. You can see from my featured picture on this post, that the staircase to it was quite intense. Actually it’s not as intimidating as it looks. The views are amazing, the clock tower has a great story, and there’s even a beautiful garden at the top.

Over the next few days, we had a party and a few nights of hibernating from the cold weather. On Friday morning we left Graz and headed to Vienna for the day. No plans except to the Wittgenstein House to view the architecture of Paul Engelmann with meticulous touches from philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Afterwards we wandered and wandered and wandered. Vienna is much bigger than I have ever imagined. Our first stop was Belvedere Palace which we just happen to stumble upon. It’s beautiful, big and has some crazy history to it.

It’s Such a Perfect Day….

When you arrive in Prague, the airport is very small. You get out of the main gate and find a small lobby with plenty of taxis and people waiting with signs. On your way to your destination, there are things that no one tells you about.

There is graffiti everywhere. Traffic sucks. There are dogs that don’t have leashes. The transportation system is still easy and still amazing. Service is bad everywhere. Czech’s do not give a shit about you or your problems. The only old timey part with castles and red roofs is when you’re in Old Town. It’s beautiful and expensive there. And by expensive, I mean by Czech standards. Sure coming here for a vacation from an expensive country like the United States, 85 crowns (or more) is no big deal for a beer. When living here, I think the standard outside of Old Town or even in the country, 45 crowns is standard price.

The weather has been off and on with sunshine and rainfall. We all bask in the rays of the sun when it’s out. We creep out of the classroom on our breaks and get lifted outside to grab something to eat from Marks&Spencer or a pastry from the shop by the metro. Life has been stressful and not what I have imagined. I’ve basically relocated into another part of the world, only to find myself in the same situation. The only difference is lack of communication. I can say hello. I can say goodbye. I can ask your name. I can say thank you. My brain is on a level where education has been so dormant that all the input from this course, has overloaded me so much, that I can’t even start to comprehend learning conversational Czech.

Enough complaining though…

I have a busy month ahead. I have just barely started working on my visa. I have a trip to Austria planned, then to Berlin for a night… maybe 2 if I can, then back to Prague and off to Croatia for a month!

If you haven’t noticed, my Instagram has been lacking because I can’t connect to it here. Oh wells….

P.S. The food here is amazing.


Superstition Rendezvous

3rd week in a TEFL course and my brain is broken. I should be working right now, but I needed a break. So… grapes are good and so are blog post updates.

I finally got out of the city with some friends last Sunday and had a chance to see Karlštejn Castle. It was built in the 1300’s and is one of the most famous and visited castles outside of Prague. We went for lunch in the village of Karlštejn and I spent a whopping 430 crowns on a nice lunch of steak, potato croquettes, a salad and a beer. It was a lovely day outside to eat and a perfect stroll through a small village.

However, coming back home on the train… I went straight back into reality. I had a grammar lesson due the next day and hadn’t even started on it. A friend had invited me over to her town of Úvaly, where she had offered to feed me and help me out on my lesson plan. So I hopped on a train and off I went.

On my way to Úvaly, which by the way isn’t so far outside of Prague, I saw some lush green fields and beautiful forests from my window. So next weekend, if I survive this week in TEFL, I think I’ll head outside of the city and take a nice hike through the woods and greenery and be alone. I need to recharge a bit.

But for now…. it’s back to work I go. I have a lesson to plan and so little time to do it in.