Bailando

Sometimes I second guess myself.  Like maybe I’m taking the easy way out, instead of the terrifying adventure I should make of life.

This is the path I have chosen.  It’s going to be the best one, because I’ll make it the best one.  Gotta remind myself of that.

It’s pretty much going to be a terrifying adventure no matter what.
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I’m sure most of you have heard this song..They made a somewhat crappier “English” version because Americans aren’t allowed to have Spanish music on the radio apparently.  This is the original.  Although… there is a Portuguese version too, not sure in what order that came.

Italy

Italy was a whirlwind… we went through 6 or so cities… in just one week. This is a terrible way to travel.  I’d much rather stick to one place for a while.  Also we didn’t always know how to spend our time, so a lot of it was just wandering around (not a bad pastime either).

This country is one of the worst for getting around as an English-speaking foreigner.  They will pretend like they speak English but then give you directions in Italian.  I’ve never really had to experience this, but it’s nice to know the whole world doesn’t speak English.  Because that would be boring.

For some reason Italians have very intense dinner hours.. You can’t just pop into a restaurant at any time in the day.  Chances are it won’t be open before seven or eight in the evening.

Most pointless city:  Pisa.  We were supposed to be here three days but we wigged out early and went to Florence instead.

Most interesting city:  Bologna.  (Be sure to get someone to tell you about the seven secrets of Bologna!)

Most beautiful city: Firenze (or Florence).  Of course!

 The tower is on the right.. I did NOT want a picture of it, or even to go look at it (cliche to the max) but it’s almost the only memorable thing about Pisa. Watching other tourists take pictures of it is pretty hilarious though.

 The river looks pretty nasty in the day, but at night it’s a choice spot to sit with a bottle of wine and talk.

Fully packed! My bag didn’t really weigh that much, but I really wish I would have had one with good chest and waist straps.. Also I could have packed about half of what I ended up taking.  Next time…

 Italy is a network of alleys mostly.  This was taken in Florence.

 Florence, The Duomo.

About to roll out of Florence.

Wine Slow

Bought plane tickets, Minneapolis — Belgium, Belgium— India.

Should I just move out completely and teach somewhere in Asia?

I feel like I’ll just keep postponing it and next thing you know I’ll be married and unable to do anything..

Music for you:

Innsbruck, Austria.

I really like airbnb.com… basically you pay for it like a hotel, but you’re staying in someone’s house.

This can go one of two ways, either you are treated like a hotel guest, or you are treated like a couchsurfer, an honored friend-guest.

If you are using this website while traveling, I recommend you stay with a group of students, (actually with couchsurfing too).  Look for shared student housing.

Also, be sure if you are finding your way somewhere with screenshots, that you make them detailed enough so that EVERY street is labeled.  (or just use an actual map, printout or whatever, so you don’t have to worry about your battery running out).

Innsbruck is beautiful.  We were only there for a night on our way to Italy.

 Rose-gardened airbnb!

Our lovely hosts!

Life Lessons

1.  The Catholic Church has a lot of money.

2.  Western Europe is basically one huge art gallery (exhibit A: Vienna, exhibit B: Paris)

Vienna:  St. Stephens Church

More Vienna:

 If you see anyone dressed like this, it’s because they want to sell you concert tickets, they are not just a regularly-garbed Viennese citizen out and about.  Also a “fancy-dress party” means a costume party.  (Well why can’t they just say that? heh).

See? I’m telling ya, huge art gallery.

The dude I couchsurfed with in Vienna was really awesome.  I had to wait for him to finish at his work, first at Mcdonalds (got kicked out) and then in the Metro Station (got kicked out of there as well).  I was nearly in tears when he finally found me, at 2 in the morning or so (he wasn’t expecting me till the next night, turns out I requested the wrong day).  He had very limited accommodations so I slept on a mat next to his bed.  Slumber party with a perfect stranger, good thing he was very good at people skills.  When couchsurfing by yourself, you really really REALLY need to make sure your potential hosts have good reviews.  I can’t stress this enough.  If you do, then you should be fine.  Although… I only used couchsurfing a handful of times so what do I know?

Croatia

Lots of people like to go to Croatia, for waterfalls and whatnot (and beaches!).

I went to Rovinj, Croatia, for a Salsa Festival. The Croatian Summer Salsa Festival  is HUGE.  The dance parties have four different dance floors: Salsa Cubano, LA style, Salsa and Bachata, and Kizombo.  I went by myself.   This proved to be a huge mistake.    

This festival taught me that there are two types of dancers:

1.  Concerned with skill, technique, and perfection.

2.  Don’t think, just joyfully throw their bodies at the music.

Unfortunately I danced with far too many of the type 1 kind.  One dude actually stopped in the middle of the song, stiffly said “Thank You”, and walked off.

A good dancer should make you confident and happy, no matter what your skill level.  I got extremely frustrated because even when I found a really fun wild dancer, there were SO MANY people that chances were I’d never run into them again.  Thousands and thousands.  Overwhelming.  I think it might have been fun if I would have gone with friends, but solo I was just an anonymous face in a huge crowd.  I did learn a lot though, finally mastered the suzy-Q for instance, not sure why it took me so long.

Pictures:

 A crowd of dancers (although the ones actually dancing are sorta far in the back.)

 Coming home at six AM, (because I had to take a boat back to my hotel, and it didn’t start running till six)

Typical street in the town.