Thursday, August 13, 2015

Christmas Europe Trip 2012-2013: Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Poland

This is an old blog post I rediscovered about my disastrous trek through Eastern Europe in 2012-2013, that I can't believe it hasn't been published yet. I visited Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Poland and I felt it is now long overdue to finally compliment the random videos I shot on my vlog channel. It's a piece written entirely in the moment back when I was studying abroad:
January 8, 2013:
So, a far bit of warning- this was my first time ever planning a trip by myself, I don't speak or read any Italian aside from musical terms, and I hadn't gone on a tour or plan/prepare anything aside from transport/hostel beforehand. Thus- this was a poorly planned Italy and Eastern Europe trip and not a representation of what the real Italy is like.
Also, I started vlogging again sort of! I already had another channel, but now I finally began uploading videos on my new youtube channel - resavideos - and aside from this Christmas break Italy/Eastern Europe trip, I'm gonna continue original vlogs on that. I've already uploaded a few videos, including a funny parody of Krystal/Luna's failed parody of the famous Rose/Jack scene.

First off- Norwich to London to Milan!
For me, basically, the first two days were disaster after disaster. My friend had booked a coach from Norwich City Centre to our airport, Stansted, but I'd misread it to be UEA. Hence a mad rush down a hill, then a mad rush back up a hill. Then a phone call from my friend that I was at the wrong stop and the coach had already left, so we made plans for me to last-minute book a train and pray that I'll make it to the airport in time, resulting in another uphill run to the library, before another call saying that the coach has stopped at UEA and I should pray that they'll pick me up here. Fate played in our hands and all was good. This was going to be a night flight, so we had plans to sleep at the airport over night (along with a gazillion other pple, lol), and flew via plane. We arrived in Milan!

[Note from Resa, 2015: The rest of the blog was written in a series of lists and notes. I can only guess what I was trying to imply for some of these.]

Milan, Italy:
-Duomo di Milano
-Shopping and random suspicious “vendors”
-Closed museums on monday

Venice, Italy:
-Trenitalia! and frustrating canceling
-Water everywhere and extremely picturesque channels
-Gondolas great to watch and amazing to experience but be careful unless you speak the language and know how to negotiate
-Compared to the Las Vegas version of “Venice”, nothing is new and shiny. Everything has an amazing used and historically old atmosphere
-Surfing San Marco square Christmas market-- Chocolate pizza and other giant chocolate/nut/dessert slabs; Competing Christmas trees; Shopping district comparable to San Francisco downtown
-Definitely should have 2 days (instead of Milan) because I have to say there is literally no other city like this in all of Europe.

Rome: [vlog link]
-Beware of “gladiators”- these guys will try to rip you off (it was extremely entertaining, we were lucky we weren’t pick-pocketed)
-Train crisis from Venice to Rome
-Vatican/Sistine chapel/Colosseum are all very protected and structurally re-supported
-Hostels with other travelers and their stories- a great thing I'm beginning to notice about hostels
-Old vs new merged together (I'm noticing this is a pattern in Europe thus far)
-Even more and even larger Christmas markets, finally bought some souvenirs

Prague: [vlog link]
-A little bit of snow!

Cesky Krumlov: [vlog link]
Resa in 2015: Even now in 2015, I consider this as one of the days that stood out the most because of a disaster. I wish I could’ve said this day had been great because Cesky Krumlov is really gorgeously picturesque. My (expensive!) camera that I had used to take all my photos and videos from the start of studying abroad to this leg of the Christmas trip was stolen from the Prague hostel. I hadn’t notice it wasn’t inside my camera bag until we arrived in Cesky Krumlov. Rather than enjoying the tour, I ended up spending the entire first day calling and contacting the hostel and Prague police with our bus driver. The other fairly sad thing was that this day was my 20th birthday. Definitely not the best 20th birthday present. [Returns to 2012]

Vienna: [vlog link]
-On the capitalism side, Mozart merchandise was labeled and "promoted" everywhere
-Secret Santa with tour group- I gave an Italian tie and received Belgian chocolates

-Hungary less elegant than Austria
-Christmas markets were a tad bit more comedic
-Strudel rolls keep getting large and larger and are arm length by this point, finally tried one and it’s not very sweet
-Danube river is extremely GORGEOUS
-Fairly rickety boat
-Castle! Very medieval and gothic feeling
-I missed plenty of attractions, but this was something I found entertaining [link]

Bratislava, Slovakia:
-Passed by Bratislava for one day after Vienna and one after Budapest
-Extremely small/tiny
-A bad simile, but it (and Cesky Krumlov) looked like a real yet picturesque and sleepy version of Disneyland. 

-My first time experiencing real snow and falling snow! Should’ve recorded BTD here
-Other tour group members went skiing
-Later that night in free time went to a strip club with a bunch of others

-Easiest access square from our hostel compared to all others!
-Fancy "traditional" dinner
-Actually went to another Diva night club

-Medieval Banquet (, entertainment and course style seemed fairly accurate, but of course this medieval food wasn’t as bland and boring as it historically would’ve been
-Hitchhiked and stayed overnight at some guy’s house
-Train next day and back to Norwich

Shout out to some of the amazing people I met: Krista, Rachel, Kelly, Liz, Jodie, Greta, Tom, the professional nightclub performers (name private), Hazel, Keith, Alex, and Sam.
Shout out to all the leftover currency I have.

[Summary from Resa in 2015] 
It could be summarized as "pain heals with time". All in all, my current memory of this trip 3 years ago has definitely moved on from the dreaded stolen camera incident. My predominant memories now is how much thousands of years of history was crammed in and physically left behind in the cities they were in 2012. It definitely made me contrast about how modern-day U.S.A. is less than 300 years old, whereas all these locations in Europe (and almost every other continent as well) has thousands and thousands of years of history. Lastly, I have to indicate what I learned between writing this in 2013 and finishing it in 2015- really truly, you have to experience something in person in real life in order for it to feel real. And if you lose a camera- that makes you mentally cling onto your memories all the more richer.

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