I am back! After a lot of traveling, sight-seeing, and trying new things, I am glad to be back in the familiarity of home for a bit. I am so thankful for such an incredible trip, filled with great memories of amazing friends and unique places and experiences. There are so many things about the past three weeks that I will never forget. A brief recap of my trip in numbers…
Number of countries visited: 5
Number of big cities visited: 7
Number of small towns visited: 6
Number of beds slept in: 8
I am so lucky to have such an international community of friends! In three weeks, I visited Bosnia, Croatia, Italy, Czech Republic, and Germany. I explored Sarajevo, Korčula, Dubrovnik, Split, Bologna, Prague and Dresden, as well as some smaller towns in Croatia and Italy. I stayed with friends and their families in each place that I visited, and really feel like I got to experience what makes each region unique. We of course saw the tourist highlights of each city as well, but also got to enjoy family dinners, days at the beach, and non-tourist sights as well. I even got to reconnect with a friend from college while in Prague, thanks to Facebook!
Number of modes of tranist: 9
Number of overnight trips: 2
Number of early morning departures: 4
Number of books read: 5 1/2
I spent a lot of hours traveling between places, but most of these hours were spent on buses or trains that offered gorgeous views of the countryside along the way. Sure, there were some late nights, early mornings, and days that sort of disappeared into each other, but taking a slow train through the countryside really gives you an idea of the landscape much more than connecting through a sterile airport each time! All that time left a lot of time for reading as well, giving me a long desired opportunity to read for fun. (If you are looking for a great read, the best book I read was The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a fictional work about maids and the Civil Rights movement in the South – definitely a must read!)
Number of runs: 4
Number of bike rides: 4
Number of swims: 2 (plus a lot of floating ;))
My roommate from college brought her running shoes, so we kept our goal of running at least once in every country! I also got to do a lot of biking in Italy. My friend’s parents are cyclists; her dad, excited about my biking enthusiasm, even took me on a 60km tour through the Italian countryside! I also got to swim in both the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas, but kept forgetting the goggles so they were shorter than I should be doing in training for my upcoming triathlon (in 2ish weeks – yikes!) Not to mention all that walking, and those stairs! Old cities are beautiful and historic, but those stairs are a killer!
Number of home cooked meals: 7
Favorite new fruit: fresh figs
Favorite simple indulgence: bread and cheese
Food themed souvenirs: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from Bologna, Trofie pasta from Vernazza, and homemade blackberry jam from my friend’s Dad!
My favorite way to experience another culture is through food, and I got to try so many new things! I ate a lot of great Italian home cooking, did a little of my own cooking in Croatia, and indulged in many new dishes from street vendors, cafes, and restaurants. I am so glad I decided to reincorporate meat into my diet before going on this trip, since all of the places I visited (except Italy) seemed to have a meat and potatoes cuisine. I am excited to be back to my normal ways of eating, though – I have some unsatisfied veggie cravings!
Number of unread blog posts: 557
Number of upcoming travel posts: 15+
I will never getting around to reading that many posts, but am excited to skim around for new recipe ideas and to hear a bit about what my friends and fellow bloggers have been up to! Good thing I received my first blogger give away – a batch of Sunflower Seed Protein Bites from Alexa… something yummy to nibble while catching up on reading and writing! I am also going to start writing some posts about my travels, but these will be spread out over the next month or so. Corny, yes, but I am going to have Travel Tuesdays and Thursdays for the upcoming weeks until I run out of pictures and stories to share! All of my posts will be centered around food, but email me or comment and let me know if you would like to hear more about the places I visited. I love to share stories!
Question: What is your favorite way to experience a new culture?