I’m Alive

I know it’s verging on a month since my last post, but I am alive- in both the blog world and…life. I managed to survive the 2 week roadtrip where Antoine and I traveled to East Europe and battled snow and the breakdown of the campervan. But oh what a fun experience it was- nine hour drive through surprise snow in Germany to get to the Czech Republic, adventures in Prague and Bohemian Paradise, gear stick breakdown, sunny days, thermal baths and Disneyesque castles in Budapest, large, overcompensating structures in Vienna, some more engine issues, and finishing with mystical Alpine scenery.

Snowy Czech Republic

Beautiful Prague

Bohemian Paradise

Disney in Budapest

Budapestian Baths (Thermal!)

Colossal Vienna

While travelling I learned a thing or two.

Here are Eight things I’ve Learned:

1. You will not (unlike in Texas) get shot or yelled at if you park a big green campervan in random spots for sleeping

2.Travel books are a godsend- especially if you’re lost, hungry, cold or just need a place to find a good drink

3. Don’t fall into tourist traps. Don’t let hunger win. It’s never worth it.

4. A little crown or forint (Czech and Hungarian currency) goes a long way- we feasted like kings

5. And speaking of kings, if you’re in search of castles, travel the countryside of Prague. There are castles aplenty  off of just about every exit

6. Campervans are great- unless you’re driving in the big European cities where the ancient streets are small and the parking is expensive, too tiny, or nonexistent

7. When roadtripping, always have snacks available. Lost + hungry= cranky captain, cranky copilot, cranky car

8. If a gear stick breaks, fear not! Welding tools? Don’t need em! Wrenches, metal bands, some screws and a bit of Macgyvering and you’re good to go!

And of course Eight things to Travel With:

1. Pocket knife- scissors, tweezers, cheese cutter- need I say more?

2. Maps, detailed maps- especially when travelling by car. City maps are good too

3. Layers. Always layers. Good thing I had training in New England to know that a sunny day can always turn to rain and snow likes to surprise you

4. Water- cuz you never know when it will cost more than a pint of beer

5. Tissues- great for the nose and napkins and even better for the occasional TP during those really gross rest stops

6. I-pod- music is essential for road trip sanity. Unfortunately we had to learn the hard way.  Random songs popping up when you don’t have music- Zombie (yes that 90s Cranberries song) and Call Me Maybe on repeat in your head. It’s a wonder we didn’t kill one another

7. Sunglasses- you never know when you’ll be blinded by the sun…or snow

8. A sense of humor- because nothing ever quite goes as planned when traveling

**And of course a good travel companion is always nice

Unfortunately I just spent the past half hour attempting to figure out how to import video into this blog only to discover that it’s not really possible and my internet is too slow for youtube.

BUT all in all it was an amazing trip filled with breath taking sights, a wonderful re-connection to nature, some battles of my neuroses and the campervan’s defiance, therapeutic thermals, lots of castles,  eye opening art exhibits about the Slavic ethic, an increased interest in Eastern European history and how it was shaped by WWI and WWII, much laughter and quite a bit of delirium and ultimately a  great beginning to my eastern exploration. One lofty goal I have is to one day keep going east. We’ll see what happens. But for now I’m happily back in France, finally finding my teaching rhythm and eating lots of cheese.

Winter wonderland. It’s not every day you see the fusion of winter and fall

One of our campsites

Antoine’s second Macgyver fix

At least I’m not claustrophobic

St. Vitus Cathedral in the Prague Castle- Fisheye style

Prague is pretty gorgeous

Is this real life?

Beautiful Budapest

Belly of the beast

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