In March, I continued my whirlwind trip of 10 cities in six weeks, and accidentally added one more city to that list. March came in like a few days in magical, mythical Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, where I met a person whose profession is “fire eater”, and went out in the only Starbucks within a half hour in a drizzling, ghost-town-in-the-winter on the Jersey Shore. That makes it seem like I’m not happy to be home – this is not the case. It’s awesome sleeping in my own bed, having access to all of my possessions that are not packed away in my sister’s basement, and not having to pay for all of my meals. Well, and having phone service all of the time, being in the same time zone as most of my friends, and being able to catch up on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And, of course, being with my family and the pup, and reuniting with friends.
What I Wrote:
Posts on 10 Miles Behind Me in March:
- Paris, France | Meeting Mona Lisa with Walks of France
- Hotel Review | St. George Residence All Suite Hotel Deluxe in Budapest, Hungary
- South Africa | Local Nonprofit Experiences with Visit.org in Cape Town
- Accommodation Review | Ambiente Apartments in Bratislava, Slovakia
- Hotel Review | Hotel Ruze in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
As I mentioned in last month’s recap, I actually arrived in Cesky Krumlov in February, but the majority of my time there was in March and I make the rules here. The best word I can find to describe Cesky Krumlov is “charming,” and I’ve overused that word, but the shoe fits. The whole town had a medieval, renaissance feel – hence, the aforementioned “fire-eater” and a festival I happened upon with woodland creatures and Marie Antoinette, that I think was about the coming of spring. Since I don’t know Czech and haven’t been able to find the festival online, I may never know the truth. I somehow managed to explore the 800-year-old castle right between the morning and afternoon rushes of tour groups. The river wound about the whole town like it was Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, and there were cute little puppet and paint shops everywhere. I ate crepes and trdelníks, those churro-like cones that you can put ice cream in if you want, or skip if it’s too cold out.
Prague, Czech Republic
I fell in love with Prague and have been very open about my job and apartment search there since. Whenever people ask me why, though, I can’t come up with concrete reasons. It was more of a feeling I had – a smile on my face that I could feel the entire time. Was it because the city had beautiful buildings and bridges? Was it because of the gorgeous weather while I was there? Was it because I met up with a college friend and therefore, got to see a person I knew for the first time in weeks? Was it that I wasn’t drinking alone for the first time since Bratislava?
Whatever the reason, I know I’ll be back in Prague the next time I find myself in Eastern Europe, especially because I have a free two nights stay, if the offer from my Airbnb host was not empty.
I originally had planned to visit Munich from Prague before heading to Berlin, but then I looked at a map. It was too late to rearrange some plans I’d made so I switched to two nights in Dresden and didn’t look back. I first heard of Dresden in high school when we read Slaughterhouse Five and learned about the bombing of the town by the Americans and the Brits during WWII. It was fascinating and inspiring to hear about the leveling of the town and to see the gorgeous rebuilding of it today. If you didn’t know about the destruction of the town, you would never guess that it was rebuilt and not original.
The reason I added Berlin to my list was because of ITB, the world’s largest tourism conference. But, alas, ITB decided I wasn’t important enough to obtain a blogger’s pass and all the perks that came with it, so I was going to purchase tickets and attend as a consumer. I went to Travel Massive (my favorite event in NYC) for the first time in another city and reunited there with two of my friends from #escape2Goa. After talking to people about what ITB would be like if I didn’t have appointments scheduled, I decided to explore Berlin instead the next few days. I’m so glad I spent my time exploring the city and learning about the important history instead of inside in a conference hall trying to sell myself to travel companies and destinations.
I ended up in Cologne by accident when my flight to Paris from Berlin was cancelled thanks to air traffic control strikes. The journey to Cologne and the journey from there to Paris were both terrible days that I’ve complained about enough, but I was glad to have chosen Cologne for my unplanned overnight. I didn’t do much in Cologne as I was finishing a “project” for something I’ll tell you about in a few paragraphs. I’d only slept a few hours the night before because of said “project” and the alternative travel plans I had to finagle last minute. BUT I did get two scoops of quite possibly the best gelato I’ve ever had, ate one last heavy German meal with three last German beers, stepped inside the gorgeous Gothic cathedral to make a wish, and received some excellent news from New York City.
After the hardest two travel days of my life back-to-back, I arrived in Paris. I mentioned in last month’s recap that my expectations for Paris were too high, that I feared I’d be disappointed. But, at least during that gorgeous early-spring March week I was there, Paris was everything that everyone told me it was. I couldn’t have been happier and I felt that “can’t-get-it-off-my-face-if-I-tried” smile return from Prague. I took it easy, with just a tour of the Louvre with Walks of France planned.
I knew immediately that Paris is a city I’ll visit many times in my life. I didn’t wait in a three-hour-long line to go up the Eiffel Tower, but I did sit in front of it for hours with a Gertrude Stein’s Paris. I didn’t climb the towers of Notre Dame, but I did attend the Sunday mass there, though I don’t think I’ve ever done that while traveling. I didn’t take a cruise down the Seine, but I did wander the used book and music stands along the river for hours. While I didn’t necessarily have the experiences you’re “supposed to have” in Paris, my time there was absolutely perfect.
New Jersey & New York
I arrived in New York City on a Thursday and went straight to my sister’s house. We hung out with one of her friends and a baby and I fell asleep on the couch earlier than I have in a long time. The next day, I recovered from my jetlag by catching up on some writing and eating an entire box of cookies. Then we drove with Mom Mom to a St. Patrick’s Day party with some extended cousins, some of whom we will be in Ireland with this summer for a giant family reunion. My parents met us there and they took me the rest of the way home to the puppy and my bed.
I haven’t had a full day of rest since I’ve been home. I know I’m super lucky to be able to be doing this, but I’m also super exhausted. In the last two months, I’ve slept in 8 different Airbnbs, 7 different hotels, 1 serviced apartment, and since returning home, a guestroom in Ewing, a guestroom in Weehawken, and a couch in Gramercy. I’ve been on over a dozen buses, six flights, and a few trains.
I’ve been working on this computer all day, every day. Because. Well. I got a job! While I wasn’t exactly looking, an opportunity came up that I couldn’t deny. It’s for a new travel site that’s launching, and for right now, it’s flexible, remote, and temporary. So it’s perfect for my current lifestyle. I don’t know how I used to fit in a full-time job in finance while doing my blog and hosting trivia and having a social life. Because even without a social life, I’m finding it difficult to fit in my hours.
JK, I still have a social life, but now it involves me trying to fit as many friend visits as possible into the few days a month I’m back in New York. This last week and a half, I was up there twice. Once for a meeting for my new job and a Travel Massive at One World Trade Center’s Observation Deck. It was quite the evening. I hadn’t been upstairs yet and I found myself in the elevator alone, experiencing what every American, and especially every New Yorker, should. The event space was unreal and we were up there during sunset without hundreds of tourists around us. It was an incredible evening and so great to catch up with my friends to share our travel stories.
I was up a few days later for something unique. On Monday, I had a magazine shoot for a real-life print publication that will be on newstands in June. This was my second “modeling” shoot since I quit my job, so I’m basically a fulltime model at this point. JK JK although I *am* available if this is something you’re interested in.
The night before the shoot, I met up with my old roomie and her hubbie who are about to welcome a lil baby girl who I am SO EXCITED to meet. I then met up with my friends whose couch I am the most grateful for as they have already hosted me many times since my departure. We had a family dinner the next night with Jenna. I also met up with an old coworker in between my shoot and dinner. It’s nice to know things are fine without me because the amount of guilt I felt in the months before I left work was overwhelming. Before I hopped on my bus back home the next day, I met up with Kater to swap stories.
For the majority of April, I’ll be at home in South Jersey, but it will be a little more exciting than when I was home in December in January because it’s starting to get nicer out. It was so warm last Saturday, that we finally visited a local Alpaca farm that I’d heard about 9 months ago. There are some other things to do locally in the spring aside from visit Alpacas and I’m going to try to fit some of them in with my work hours and my blog hours and my sleep hours, but let’s see how it all goes.