Another Weekend, Another Destination

I had always heard the term “time is a precious thing” before I came abroad, but never fully comprehended its meaning until I had it working against me as I do here. It is hard to fathom that I only have just over three weeks remaining here and I actually ask myself, where exactly has the time gone? I ask myself this but I know exactly where all the time has gone though. It has gone to making precious, life-long memories with great people, and traveling to places some can only dream of week after week. I think that I have finally realized just how precious time is by utilizing it the very best I can, and because of this I have seen more places than I ever could have imagined.

The past month I have traveled every single weekend and three of those trips were to new countries. It started by going to Prague in the Czech Republic, then we went to the Amalfi Coast, and for spring break we went to Split, Croatia and Budapest, Hungary. I could write a blog about each place separately but instead of that I am going to highlight some of my most favorite parts of each trip.

Before going to Prague, I had heard nothing but great things. A good friend of mine studied there for a semester and said he could have easily stayed for another. After going there for a weekend I understood why. The trip started off pretty stressful after the girls and I underestimated Prague’s extensive tram system and took four of the wrong trams before we finally got the right one and stumbled upon our hostel. After we got ourselves checked in though we had ourselves an amazing weekend.

Our first day was filled with taking in the sheer beauty and history of the fairytale city. We climbed to the top of the hill and got to see the Prague Castle close up, and also look down on the city with an absolutely astonishing view. The view atop the hill was one of my favorite thus far and definitely one I will always remember. A short walk from the castle was the historic Lennon Wall. I did not know much about the Lennon Wall before I went to Prague but I was a little surprised when I saw it. I, like many others, was expecting a magnificent wall that would just blow me away with beauty but it was not that. The wall was quite small and had a vast array of different colors, words, phrases, and pictures. I think my favorite aspect of the wall is the fact that it is constantly changing. People always write and draw on it so essentially everyone that sees the wall is seeing a completely different one, and I think this is what makes it truly unique.

My favorite part of the Prague trip was the river boat cruise we did on our last evening there. The cruise lasted three hours and included an all you can eat buffet, a jazz band for entertainment, unlimited Kodak moments of the lit up city, and a relaxing environment with great people. This cruise was one my favorite memories of my time here and seeing Prague all lit up at night was just stunning. Prague was a very special place and I am so glad I made it a priority to go and see!

The following weekend API took us on an excursion to the beautiful Amalfi Coast of Italy. Our first stop was at the ever historic town of Pompeii. Pompeii is a place we have all heard of in one of our history classes growing up so seeing this first person was surreal. Walking through the streets that were once covered in volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius was astonishing and quite eerie at the same time. Not far from Pompeii is Sorrento and that is where we stayed. Although it was not exactly “beach weather”, we utilized the easy access to the Mediterranean and jumped into it while we were there. I am pretty sure the locals thought we were completely crazy but hey, I have never denied that I am not!

The final day on this trip was spent on the beautiful island of Capri. While we were there we got to take a boat tour around the island and the views were like anything I have ever seen. Of course I took pictures but like any other picture of any of the great places I have gone, it simply does not provide it justice. Atop the island was also an amazing view over the sea and provided me with yet another photo that could contribute to the postcard business that I should really consider starting. To really top the weekend off, we got nothing but sunshine in Capri and were given the opportunity to taste what the real Capri Sun tastes like!

Our spring break was spent in Croatia and Budapest. Of course when anyone thinks spring break, they think great weather and lots of sun! Well, the first half of our break in Croatia was nowhere near that. With that being said, we made the best of it and had a great time! I went white water rafting for the first time in my life, went for a cruise on the Adriatic Sea, indulged in fresh local trout, saw the glistening waterfalls of the Krka National Park, and even took a day trip to the bordering country of Bosnia! All of my roommates were on this trip with me and I think the great times I had with them during it is what I will remember most.

The awesome weather in Budapest made up for whatever inclement weather we may have encountered the prior weekend. In Budapest, we were given a professional guide of the city. It was very interesting to learn about all of its history all while taking in the beauty of the city. We also got to spend a few hours one of the days in one of their many natural thermal baths. Although it was a lot of fun and very relaxing, much like in Prague, the river boat cruise we did one evening stole the show. To me, it is just hard to beat an all you can eat buffet with local food, live music, and beautiful views of the lit up city. Everything Budapest had to offer was unbelievable and it was another trip I am so glad I took.

Being able to travel every weekend to new places in the world is a blessing that I will always cherish. Each place is so unique in their own way and being able to experience just that has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is no doubt that time has flown by, but it has been time very well spent in places I will never forget.

Zachary Dagneau is a student at University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and an official API Student Blogger. Zachary is studying abroad with API in Rome, Italy.

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