Rupa, Carol and I all scrambled to get ready in our tight quarters, and then made our way out of the madness of disembarking. As soon as we stepped outside, we noticed how distinctly cold it was compared to our previous destinations. As Rupa put it, it was cold as balls.
Well rested after naps and a good night's sleep, this morning we got to see Stockholm in a non-zombie state. We left shortly after 11:00 and walked 20 to the ferry in Old City to catch the 82 ferry to the island of Djurgården so we could experience the most highly rated thing to do in Stockholm: the Skansen.
I barely slept last night because the heat right now is so miserable. I'm from South Carolina, I'm used to extreme heat (albeit, with widely available air conditioning). But this is something else - this is Lucifer. It's particularly bad in my room, which has no ventilation and a window that lets in all the sun light, making it so much worse. So when my alarm went off this morning, it took every ounce of will power to force myself out of bed instead of trying to get a few more hours of sweaty sleep. But I did get up and made it into the city centre in time for the 11:00 Bratislava free walking tour.
After months of planning and anticipation, the time has finally come to begin my year of travel. And it didn't get off to the smoothest start, buy hey that's part of travel.
A few days ago Erin and I decided we wanted to do a day trip to Pisa from Florence. When we asked the staff at the hostel about it, they said we really only needed a half a day, as the train ride was just over an hour and there wasn’t much to see in Pisa aside from the tower and the other sites in that square. Taking his advice, we decided to do the Uffizi Gallery in the morning then head to Pisa with two and a half hours to spend there.
When I was in 7th grade I read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. If you aren’t familiar with the book, it’s basically about the Illuminati, Vatican City, CERN, and anti-matter. I loved the book so much that it briefly inspired my future career goals (nuclear physicist), though they have since changed dramatically. It also began a fascination with the Vatican City: the world’s smallest country and the heart of Catholicism. Today I finally got to see it first-hand.
I’m generally a fairly fast paced traveller and enjoy every second of it. But every once in a while, a leisurely day is necessary. Starting to feel worn down 5 days of intensive sightseeing and exploring (where I’ve been averaging 10+ miles of walking a day), and knowing that I’m running a half marathon tomorrow (remind me, why did I do that to myself?), Natalie and I took it pretty easy today. We took the tram up to Prague Castle and upon seeing the massive, winding, and unmoving queue to get inside, we decided enjoying the view and sitting in the sun of one of the gardens was good enough for us. It was particularly nice because there were hardly any tourists compared to the castle itself.
Let me start this post by bragging on my brilliant friend Natalie. They were basically my personal tour guide today and is essentially a walking history book on Czechia. It was a perfect balance of getting to see the typical touristy things in Prague but also a more local feel to the city. I also appreciated their love for Prague. It's truly amazing how much someone sharing their love of a place can make you fall in love with it too.