Florence For Fun

Catch Me In Croatia

Holy moly, I’ve never seen water so clear! This weekend I spent roaming around the beautiful country of Croatia. Never before have I experienced a culture that was so laid-back, relaxed and beautiful! When I say these people were flawless, I mean I was begging them for their beauty secrets. Not only were they extremely kind and genuine but they had an incredible love for their country while appreciating the finer things in life. One of my favorite quotes from our tour guide was, “During the day, many people spend a couple hours drinking coffee and socializing. We know that work doesn’t go away and it will always be there when we come back.” How’s that for a great philosophy on work?? Don’t think I have ever heard that one in America!

West entrance to the Palace.

West entrance to the Palace.

After our long bus ride through the night, we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast on a terrace of a local restaurant Friday morning. The town of Split, Croatia is right on the coast and a main hub for cruise lines along with local ferries. We made our way to our nice Croatia apartment and then set out to catch the sun before it was hidden behind the clouds. After a short nap on the beach where we marveled at the clear water, we made our way to the other side of the town where we hiked along a trail to find an even more gorgeous setting. We watched the sunset on rocks just a few feet above the water and I basked in the fact that yes indeed, I was sitting on Croatian rocks in the middle of Europe. Oh the life I’m living!

The best sunset.

The best sunset.

The next day we woke up to pouring rain but we had a boat tour booked with the rest of our trip. So after a quick rain dance, we headed to the boat and island hopped for the whole day. Our stop for lunch ended with sunny skies so I sunbathed the day away on the deserted island and even jumped into the Adriatic Sea. That’s 2 foreign oceans that I’ve dipped my toes in! The water was chilly but so worth the dive. We ended our tour and docked in Trogir where we spent a little time exploring then headed back to Split. Our dinner that night was a family style buffet however the quality of buffet’s over here are completely incomparable to that in America. This food was incredible and the gnocchi was possibly the best pasta I’ve ever put in my mouth… Yum!

A view from our boat tour.

A view from our boat tour.

We awoke the next day to leave for Krka National Park, about 2 hours away from Split. All I knew about this national park was the famous waterfall that I had seen in so many previous study abroad photos. Little did I know this place was one of the most majestic places I have ever been. The waterfalls, the greenery, the nature… It was so incredibly serene. After a few hours and a sad goodbye, we left and headed back to Florence.

Krka National Park.

Krka National Park.

If you’re looking for the most beautiful beaches in the world and interested in meeting some incredibly nice locals, Croatia is the place to go! What a way to spend my weekend, Croatia will forever have a place in my heart.

In other news, we are at the one month countdown until I am back in the States! This weekend I will be traveling to the Amalfi Coast, followed by a week in Florence, a visit from my best friend from home then a few days in Paris and London. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown and how many places I’ve gotten to visit. Life is good!

Until next time…

Molly

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Czeching It Off My List

A few weeks ago one of my roommates mentioned she was dying to go to Prague and although I had thought about going to the country, I never really figured I would get there seeing as it wasn’t top on my European bucket list. However a few minutes of convincing later, I was sold and booked by trip with Florence For Fun to depart for Prague this weekend. Luckily, my spur of the moment decision did me no wrong!

Prague was definitely one of my most favorite places I’ve visited so far. Although originally weary of the people we would meet when we arrived, I found the town to be incredibly Americanized and full of lovely people with neat accents. After a 12 hour bus ride through the night (how fun does that sound??), I took off my sleeping mask to find the sunny city of Prague in all of its architectural wonders. After a quick stop by our hostel at Fusion Hotel, which was surprisingly wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a cheaper place to stay, we headed out on a guided tour of Prague. We made our way to their astronomical clock in time to see the time change at noon which entails a fun ceremonial ritual then headed to the Charles Bridge. We finished our tour in the old Jewish Ghetto of Josefev which was my favorite part. Ever since I learned about the Holocaust in 7th grade, I have been fascinated by it and although I won’t be able to get to Auschwitz on this trip, I plan to make it there sometime in my life. My roommates think I am creepy for my fascination, but the history behind it all truly interests me. After visiting a couple synagogues and exploring the streets, we headed to a favorite restaurant of students where I finally found a burrito and pretended I was in Mexico for a few short minutes.

Our free time on Friday included exploring the sights as well as climbing the clock tower to find some of the most amazing views of Prague. When we arrived back to our hotel that night, we got ready and headed out with our group to do a pub crawl. A couple watered-down sangrias later, my roommates and I danced until we were falling asleep on our feet then headed home to crash until morning. We awoke to a dreary day but were excited to see the John Lennon Wall. Although I’m not a huge Beatles fan and didn’t know much about the wall previously, it was an amazing sight so we took a ton of photos and then headed up to the Prague Castle. There was a Starbucks at the top with the most wonderful view, it was the perfect way to reunite with one of my favorite American beverages. Who knew Italy has outlawed Starbucks from entering its country?? With my vanilla latte in hand, we explored the Castle and its Cathedral then headed down the many flights of stairs to stop in a quaint restaurant for lunch. Keeping up with the local cuisine, I ordered beef goulash and apple streusel for dessert, both of which were WONDERFUL! I seriously haven’t met a food over here that I don’t like.

We ended our day with a little shopping in the local market and got ready for a late dinner at the most wonderful place. Kolkovna is known in Prague for its gourmet food at cheap prices so we sat down to a complimentary beer and because I was feeling adventurous, I ordered the leg of goose. Before you judge, it was actually wonderful and tasted like a moist turkey leg. However dessert is what really stole my heart. Warm chocolate soufflé atop a tantalizing vanilla sauce garnished with raspberries… In case my description didn’t do it enough justice, trust me when I say I fell in love. OMG. I walked out with a wonderful food coma and we headed to a 5-story club where the music was a little too loud and the smoke constricted my lungs. Good experience but never will I ever go back!

We finished our trip with a 12 hour bus ride back to Florence on Sunday and although I thought I may go crazy, the ride included a drive down the German autobahn and beautiful sights of the snowcapped mountain ranges in Austria. By the way, the highway rest stops here are phenomenal… Clean and full of great food and wonderful views. I made great memories and hope to one day come back to Prague!

Until next time, I will be studying for midterms and nursing a cold, while getting ready for spring break in Spain next week!

Molly