jump to navigation

Barcelona! August 27, 2012

Posted by crybka3 in Travel Log.
add a comment

Our first long weekend came and we headed down to Barcelona, Spain. I had a couchette on the way down and woke up to the Pyrenees on my right and the Mediterranean on my left.

Image

We rolled in to Barcelona and headed for our apartment right off of La Rambla. The air was warm and we could smell the beach air. Our first goal, get to the best sandwich shop in the city. Connor had this place and mind and it didn’t disappoint. The Iberian ham was incredible and bread baked with tomato and olive oil was the perfect compliment. We explored the open air market where I picked up some aged gouda cheese, just like dad used to bring home. For dinner, we went to the Attic. It was a little overpriced, but the atmosphere made up for it. The next day was touring day. We saw the Sagrada Familia, and apparent building designed by Gaudi, and his Park Guell. He definitely had some innovative ideas. My favorite part was definitely the park because you could see the whole city. That night, we went out for piaya, which was awesome. I finished the night with Sid, Maria, and Alina by being kicked out of a mall that was technically closed and singing Somebody that I Used to Know with random strangers. Oh yeah, the gelato was pretty good too. The last day, Allie, Maria and I slept in pretty late before heading up the mountain near our apartment. It was definitely an adventure, but it was completely worth it. That hill gave us the best view of the entire city. We finished Barcelona with a nice Tapas meal.

Image

Krakow! August 15, 2012

Posted by crybka3 in Travel Log.
add a comment

The second half of my five day break was spent in Krakow. I got off the train in the late afternoon and took a taxi to my grandfather’s ex-wife’s house. My family in Warsaw had lost touch with my grandfather, but they still talked to Wanda. I was welcomed into this beautiful home right outside the city that Wanda had built herself when she was younger.

There were gardens all around and what seemed like a museum’s worth of art inside.  Wanda already had dinner cooking, so we sat down for another traditional Polish meal. Then we went into Krakow to see what  it looked like at night. The main square, the biggest in Europe, was full of people eating and dancing in the street. We walked a long some of the roads through Old Town and saw just a few of the 120 churches in Krakow.

We finished the night at the river where we could see the Wawel, the castle on the hill. The second day was more of the same; we saw some churches and went in a couple of museums. That wasn’t what it was about though. I spent that day with an elderly lady who kept telling me the most important thing in life is family. She told me how both of her kids lived in the US  and quickly I realized that it didn’t matter what had happened between my grandfather and her, I was family. She called me her new grandson. I cannot explain what that felt like. We called it an early day and went back to watch a polish movie at home. The week could not have ended any better.

Warsaw! August 15, 2012

Posted by crybka3 in Travel Log.
add a comment

For half of my five my day break this summer, I took a 16 hour train trip to Warsaw. It was my first time traveling alone, but I knew what I had to look forward to on the other side. At the beginning of the summer, I tried to get in touch with my aunt and cousins that still live in Poland. It wasn’t until the week before my break that they responded. I sold my tickets to Italy and bought my new ones for Warsaw, excited to meet my family for the first time.

When I got off the train at 4pm, my cousin and his wonderful girlfriend were waiting to pick me up. That first hug was unlike any other I had ever had. We were two people that didn’t know anything about each other, but at the same time, felt like we had just separated for a while. He took me to his family’s apartment where I first met my aunt. She was fluent in Polish and Russian, two languages I knew nothing about, and the only words she could say in English were “Hello”, “Moment”, and “I love you”. Google translate became our best friend. The first night, I was treated to a traditional Polish dinner and then taken to the FanZone of Euro 2012.

 

Portugal defeated the Czech Republic pretty easily, but the best part wasn’t Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals, it was all of the fans from both countries that had traveled the miles just to watch their team play. I had never seen such excited people. The next day was another incredible one. My aunt took me to see a lot of places from my father’s childhood. We saw the apartment he grew up in, his elementary school, his daycare, and the cooking school where he learned to be a chef. I remembered a story about my dad being hit with a rock in the eye, so I asked her about it and she pointed to the exact tree he hung on when it happened. I can’t even describe how special that day was to me. On my last day in Warsaw, I did some nontouristy things with my cousins. We went to the mall and the movies where we saw “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” That movie was filled in Piedmont Park, so I got to show my cousins a little bit of where I lived. I would have traded my whole summer for another week there.