Monday, November 14, 2011

well, it's been a month....

Friends....I know I haven't posted pictures since, well, my birthday. This is due to the fact that I have too many pictures on my computer and not enough memory left, I am in the process of deleting pictures to make room for the new ones, but it takes a while.

In the mean time, I've been out and about around Europe and am about to embark on my last journey. As you know, at the end of October, I made my way down to Italy alone to meet some of the fantastic girls I met in Iceland. First, I went to Milan to visit my sweet friend Priscilla who lives there. I was blessed to be able to stay with her family in their flat for one day and two nights! Here I experienced real Italy. Homecooking....we're talking about a three course Italian meal every night by Priscilla's oh so dear Italian mother who talks with more emotion, expression, and hand movements than anyone I have ever met. The meals were splendid with a pasta plate, a salad of some kind, a meat of some kind. Rome was as oh so romantic as they all make it look. I'm pretty sure it knows it too, because city's got appeal 24 hours a day. We spent three days there together and probably walked well over 15 miles, no joke. Every morning we woke up around 8 to be out by 9 to grab our cappuccino, brioche, and be on our merry way. We would then walk all day sightseeing only to return back to the hostel around 11 or 12 and ready to crawl into bed feet throbbing, barely able to move. It was that complete exhaustion one experiences after you walk around Disneyland all day, multiplied by three. But hey "when in Rome" right? I saw the most important things and took thousands of pictures (are you surprised?). The Vatican was a zoo, I'm talking a line around the entire wall and a 2 hour wait. Did I already mention Disneyland? You get the picture. The food though. Oh the food. Every night in a little alley way, inside or out (yes, it was that warm!) by candlelight and under an awning we enjoyed each other's company over dinner that lasted a few hours. A couple glasses of wine and a plate of pasta later, we would waddle back to the hostel to do it again the next day. It was definitely stressful (missed my flight in Milan to Rome, credit card didn't work, ect.) but well worth it. I can't believe I just met those girls 4 months before! It feels like we have always been old friends.

Next was Berlin. It was a lovely weekend trip with the best travel buddy this time (Avery). We were there a full Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and got to experience the sweet taste of life in a real home. Student corridors are great, but nothing compares to the warmth a family and dinner together around the table. Avery's family friends from home are living in Berlin from the year and graciously opened their beautiful flat to us for the weekend. We walked around town through parks with crunchy leaves and colors as if an artist took a paint brush and carefully painted each tree. The wind would blow and leaves would fall....autumn was in full bloom. We also cycled through the greater city to see its landmarks and enjoyed delicious Lebanese, Indian, and German cuisine. Nothing tugs at your heart like the strings of home, and after that weekend, I was reminded of how much I miss my family.

Lastly, this dynamic duo (Avery and I) traveled to Prague last weekend for a splendid 5 day vacation. We were actually surprised at how much it did infact feel like a real vacation. We were kindly picked up at the airport by my dad's elementary school friend (amazing really.....keeping in touch oversees without seeing each other for years!) with no hastle whatsoever! No missed flights, no traveling to the middle of no where airport (Stockholm Skavsta, where we flew to Berlin from), just a simple 20 minute train ride to the airport and we were ready to get on the plane!! It was early in the morning, and these days, with such limited sunlight in these parts, the sun didn't pop it's head up until just before we left 8:30 in the morning. Yes, daylight is short and dark nights are long. The afternoon simply doesn't exist anymore and the sunlight at noon looks like the sunlight around 4 on a normal day. That was a side note. Anywho, Czech airlines was fancy pancy for us because we got fed AND we got coffee. Happy travelers. Richard and Jana graciously hosted us for the entire week (Sat. morn-Wed. night) and kept us overly fed (let me reiterate...overly. Babi's familiar voice began to ring in my head "Linnea, ve have more, ve have more! Eat more!!") Good thing the food was DE licious! NOM do I love Czech food!! However, I must say, nothing compares to home made knedliky, the restaurant kind just didn't cut it! (p.s. pappa, that means we gotta make some when I come home!) Avery and I also didn't get to try our family's absolute favorite....Czech potato salad (hint hint again Dad) I got to see so many things I would dream about as a child. My dad's flat, our family's previous summer cottage, and PRAGUE! We have lots of Czech stuff around the house including many pictures of Prague, so as a child I would build the city and imagine myself walking through it's fairytale-esque cobble stoned streets. Oh boy did I soak it all in! Castles, cobblestones, mist....I mean, what part of that sentence doesn't scream your favorite fairytale? It was a vacation alright. Avery and I found some good eats...and GREAT pubs! (Yes, beer is actually cheaper than water. Let's just say that H2O you always order to be more cost friendly? Yeah, it's twice as much as beer. Took me a while to catch onto that).
Ok, anyway, enough for the talking, let's see some pictures!!! First will be Prague since I haven't uploaded the others yet.

(for SOME reason, now I can't upload my pictures at the moment, SO, check out Avery's blog for pics here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh home, let me go home....

I'm home in Sweden with delicious stories from Rome and LOTS of pictures, need I say more? I'm sure you all understand the present situation. Me+Italy+Camera=plenty and plenty of pictures. They are juicy and luscious and oh, I can't wait to show you. (But first I must delete photos on my computer to make room for the new ones, the main reason why photos haven't been posted lately). Rome was everything I dreamed of and more. It's beauty radiates both by night and by day 24 hours 7 days a week. Simply put, it is stunning. However, I am the world's worst traveler, I have come to this conclusion as traveling (especially a foreign country) is incredibly stressful for me. Put two and two together and you've got an ugly situation at hand which involves lots of running, bags flying, jackets falling, scarves unravelling, and worst of all, beads of sweat forming and dripping all over. It's bad when you arrive in the airplane (or train) huffing and puffing while you sweat and peal off three layers including scarves, hats, and gloves, or even worse, when you arrive and the vehicle has left.....early. I have found that international traveling alone for me involves lots of the above stated occurrences, along with crying and frantic outbursts. We're working on it and Mr. Journal really is a trooper I have to say, fellow takes on a heavy load through those pages and pages of text. But journal delivers and through those long winded writing bursts comes learning and tranquility for me. So for now, it's a work in progress, me and traveling. We've got a love hate relationship because traveling is really good at luring me in and we begin the aforementioned cycle that always has a magnificent ending for so many reasons; the most important being that I traveled, I did it, I made it, I'm alive, I saw something new, I experienced something new, and I did it "all by myself." There you go Mamma. Oh, the places you go indeed. I guess growing up has its way of making it into any situation, no matter how hard you try to stop it {sometimes}.

Anyway, been up since 4:30 this morning and I am happily enjoying being home with my snuggly bed, cozy room, and best of all, my clean {let me reiterate, VERY clean} shower. All anxiety left my body as I boarded the plane for Arlanda airport knowing I would be home soon and all the perils of traveling would soon be over. I landed in what I now call home and was welcomed by that looming blanket of darkness that is beginning to win the battle against the daylight for more hours on its side. 4:25 pm we landed and it was no different from 10:25. Sun sets tomorrow at 3:53 and rises at 7:12. With the start of November is the start of drinking up those diminishing hours of daylight and running with them. All Swedes seem to agree that November is the worst month. I guess this means more time for cozy sweats, sweaters, socks, scarves, blankets, tea, and candles. Christmas is creeping in everywhere, airport's already got the big wreaths with lights, and lights are making their way into the trees in town, am I excited? You bet chyah! I am home and it feels good....for all of 1 and a half days. Berlin is next. Pictures to come soon, I promise!!