New Cities, New Friends

So much has happened this past week. I’ve probably made more friends in the last week than the first half of my trip combined. My week started in Prague. I walked around the city visiting all of the historical monuments and other must see attractions. Went up to the top of the tower that’s located at one end of the Charles Bridge and got a good little 360 view of the city. Walked across the bridge to see the John Lennon Wall. Ate some delicious gelato. All the good touristy things. At one point I was walking around and a few guys from the U.S. were behind me. I could tell they were from the U.S. obviously by the accent, but also because they were playing the penis game. A game I never played, but a bunch of guys would play when I was in middle school. It’s where you yell the word penis really loud in a public space. You’re supposed to say it fast so it’s not so blatantly clear what you’re saying. Honestly, I never got the point in the game. I was a middle schooler when it was a game, so most things we did at that age didn’t make sense. These kids saying it in the middle of Old Town Prague were probably between the ages of 18 and 21. Needless to say, I have never been more embarrassed to be an American traveler than at that point. I quickly got away from them.

Fast forward to that night, I decided to go hang out down stairs in my hostel to meet some people. Also, it was mac and cheese night, so you know I wasn’t passing that up. I was hanging out on the couches for about 15-20 minutes before people really started showing up. Once people came downstairs, we all started chatting; then started playing picolo. We got to know some personal details about one another during that game. 😳  A few of us decided to go out dancing later on that night. The place we went to for dancing had five levels and was supposed to be a different theme on each level. But, only two levels were actually open. Likely because it was a Monday night so there weren’t too many people wanting to go dancing that night. While there I witnessed a couple, who were old enough to be my parents, pretty much trying to have sex on the dance floor. It was a bit disturbing. Overall, a very entertaining night.

The next day a few of us walked to the castle which sat on top of a hill and overlooked the city. I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a castle. It was more a village with a huge church in the middle that was really old. I will say, it was a gorgeous church. Churches and castles built thousands of years ago are so cool to me. They have so much detail and are just way prettier than anything built today.

One of the guys also took us to a statue he had previously come across of two guys peeing. It was hidden in a little cove, but was quite comical. Their pelvises literally moved back and forth while water came out of their penises. And, if you really wanted, you could throw a coin into the small pond they were peeing into and make a wish. I decided to pass on making a wish to the peeing men.

Eventually, the four of us made our way to food and back to the hostel. Emilia (the other girl I spent the day with) and I were in the same room. We laid down and took about an hour nap before heading downstairs to mingle with the rest of the crew from the night before. We started to play the same game again, but gave up after a little while. Then tried a card game, but quit that to and eventually started up karaoke. By the time karaoke was started a big group of people from France had come downstairs, so they joined in. There were about 40 of us dancing and singing karaoke for the next couple of hours. Surprisingly I did not sing my typical Alanis Morissette song. I figured no one there would know the song so spared them the horror of having to hear me sing it.

I said my goodnights and goodbyes and headed to bed earlier than everyone else that night because I had an early train to catch the next morning. They were such a fun group of people. I haven’t been to a hostel where everyone hung out as a big group like that. It was really nice. The fact that we all got along with one another was impressive, too. That was one of my favorite hostels.

After Czech Republic, my next destination was Italy! Venice was my first stop. Little did I know, they were celebrating Mardi Gras in Venice while I was there. They don’t celebrate Mardi Gras the same was we do in the States. No boobs were shown or beads thrown. It was a carnival. Most were dressed up in costume with masks on. They were elaborate costumes, too. I have no clue what the costumes are called. I’m sure they have a name. I should probably look that up.

And, if you thought I got turned around or lost a lot in the other cities, Venice was another level up. Actually, more like two levels up compared to any other city. The first day, I literally walk in the same circle three times before getting to where I was trying to go. This time I really did get lost; not just turned around. All of the walk ways are pretty much a bunch of allies, so you can’t see anything in the distance to know where exactly you’re at. Half the time my phone didn’t even know where I was. Google wasn’t really my friend in Venice. However, I didn’t mind getting lost here because everything was so beautiful and there were so many little hidden squares I found.

The second day in venice, I woke up and went into the kitchen for my morning coffee. One of the guys staying there walked in not long after me, looked around, turned and walked back out. After I showered and had put a fresh coat of makeup on, the same guy walked into the common area, saw me and did a double take. He then made the comment, “very pretty lady.” I said thank you, but didn’t feel like it was a good compliment. I mean, did he not think I was just a pretty when I first woke up with yesterday’s makeup on and my hair in a nappy bun? Apparently he only finds showered women with clean clothes and fresh makeup on attractive.

That same day while walking around the carnival, I got pooped on by a bird. Luckily, it landed on the arm of my jacket and not my head. It was still quite disgusting. It sounded like two huge raindrops fell and hit my arm. Until I looked down and saw that it was white. I immediately went to find the closest bathroom, which wasn’t even close at all. I’m actually surprised I haven’t been pooped on sooner. Pigeons and seagulls are everywhere here so they are constantly swarming above my head.

After cleaning my jacket, I did continue to walk around for a little while. Nothing as exciting as getting shit on by a bird happened the rest of the night.

Day three in Venice, I ventured a little further away from my b&b. Rode down the grand canal taking pictures. It was a beautiful sunny day and very relaxing. Venice is just a cool place to wander around and get lost (which I did a lot) because you’re never going to find something you just hate. It’s a gorgeous city and every corner you turn has something different to offer. Venice was a dream for me. I’ll definitely go back to visit.

Next, I headed to Florence. I got there early enough to still have time to explore in the daylight. On my way to the city center I walked through a little market where they were selling all kinds of leather goods. I didn’t buy anything just browsed at it all as I walked by. It was a Saturday and sunny so there were quite a few people out shopping and exploring that day. Of course after making it through the leather market, I came out on a street with a lot of clothes shops and all of them were having sales. That’s when I saw a shoe store offering 70% off. I went inside. That was a mistake. I saw a pair of maroon suede knee high boots that were super cute and I definitely didn’t need. Normally stores never have my size shoe because my feet are so small. I asked the lady what sizes were available fully anticipating them not to have my size. When the lady checked, there were two sizes left. One of them was my size. 🤦🏼‍♀️ This is no coincidence. The universe wanted me to have those shoes. So I bought them. Literally can’t fit any more things in my backpack at this point, but I now have some cute damn boots.

I kept walking after I made an unnecessary purchase and reached the Duomo Plaza where there is a gorgeous cathedral, baptistry and dome. This cathedral was not like any other I have seen on my trip. It was white with green painted designs all over it. A very beautiful cathedral. I walked around it to see every angle. As I finished admiring the cathedral, I happened upon a Lindt store. And man, had I been craving some chocolate. I went in and made my own goodie bag of chocolates. Spending more unnecessary money. I hadn’t even been in Florence 24 hours and it had already taken so much from me. Definitely didn’t get any better the longer I stayed, but what are ya gonna do? 🤷🏼‍♀️

That night I met a girl from Australia, one from Germany and one from England. They were all staying in my room at the hostel. The girl from England, Lucy, immediately started chatting with me. About anything and everything. I ended up going dancing with her that night after she convinced me to go. While we were out, the most random thing happened to me. Lucy started talking to another girl from England. Turns out I had met her and her friend at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. They both live in Italy. But, how random is it to run into them here? The chances of that happening are pretty low. It was pretty cool though.

The second day in Florence I walked around with Lucy for a little while. We went to the Ponte Vecchio. It’s this old medieval stone closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge (as specified by Wikipedia). All of the segments of the bridge have shops built in. The shops were basically all jewelry stores.

Lucy went back to the hostel after that and I met up with Kirsten, the other roommate who’s from Germany. She and I went to the Uffizi Gallery together. This was the one place in Florence that was on my must see list and a few people had also told Kirsten that this was one place she needed to see. However, after making it through, we were both unimpressed. Not that some of the paintings and sculptures weren’t cool, it was just a bit underwhelming compared to what most people made it out to be. I’m sure others think it’s great; I’m not one of them.

With the Uffizi Gallery checked off the list, Kirsten and I stopped in for Gelato on our walk up to the Michelangelo Plaza. This plaza sit on top of a large hill and overlooks the city. We made it up there in time to see the sunset. There were a lot of steps to get there but the gelato helped distract us. And, the view was well worth it. Per usual. I don’t think I’ve climbed a set of stairs this trip where the view wasn’t worth it. And, oddly enough, most cities have some tower or hill to climb that overlooks the city and provides a great view.

Back at the bottom, Kirsten and I parted ways. She went to church and I went back to the hostel and hung out in the sauna for a bit. It was relaxing and a much needed way to end the night and my fifth week on this journey.

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