Unlike the squirm-inducing hilarity of the Griswalds European Vacation, my European vacation was like an amazing dream. Fate manifested a sign of things to come in the form of not one but two “good luck” bird dropping incidents on the date of my departure, August 9th. Lucky me! Seriously.
I shall have to plant myself under heavily bird-trafficked areas in the future, if I owe the loveliness of my vacation to these two “gifts.” I will not go into too much detail, except to say that I had a wonderful time with three of my best friends in some pretty awesome places – Budapest – where we danced with a caveman to the Bloody Beetroots, a show which did, as our new French acquaintances promised, “rip our faces off”; bathed in the largest medicinal bath in Europe (and got our mint sauna on); and joined the other young tourists to explore the city’s ruin bars – Vienna – where we walked off our significant sacher tort, coffee, dumpling and beer intake while enjoying the beautiful architecture and history of Austria’s capital – and, Prague – a city filled with interesting, ancient urban legends of a golem, a pagan fire that could not be extinguished, a princess prophet, statues coming life to catch those seeking to steal from the church (I am kicking myself for not buying a book highlighting these, plus 74 other fascinating tales, at the Strahov Monastery); and a city that is also home to the beautiful astronomical clock and is the capital of a country with one of the largest atheist populations in Europe (and perhaps the world, depending on your source).
These are three amazing cities, and I do them a disservice with my short descriptions. I hope that you will have the opportunity to visit them yourself, or that you have already had the chance to do so.
I also visited Italy to attend the wedding of my friend, Bridie, to her Italian fiancee (now husband), Francesco. They are a lovely couple, and the wedding could not have been more beautiful. I was fortunate to have chosen, rather randomly *ok, actually because the hotel was a bit cheaper than others and I have a small budget* to stay in Certaldo Alto, which is the ancient part of the city. It was well worth the extra walk or funicular ride, for the amazing view and ambiance. The ceremony was held in a church dating from the 12th century (imagine how many people have been married in it!) in the Tuscan countryside. The officiating priest was excellent and warm, and managed to maintain a perfect balance of seriousness with humor for the ceremony. I also loved the sprinkling of references to philosophy and Bruce Springsteen he added to his comments. I also had the opportunity to spend time with some of Bridie’s co-workers (old and new) and friends from Northside Social, one of my favorite coffee shops, which is also home / place of work for some very awesome people.
I also ran around Rome a bit on my own, picking up new friends as I went, and also getting my first Dottor Fish pedicure. Wow. What an amazing trip.