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Krakow is GORGEOUS.

Hey there, it’s Alexa again! Sorry we went M.I.A for a while, we really didn’t come upon another computer during the rest of our trip. So I’m writing to you from Margaux’s room in good ol’ Jersey.

We last left off searching for the John Lennon wall. Interestingly enough, Prague residents don’t know where the wall sits, some say it’s a myth, some say there never was such a wall, some simply don’t understand what we were asking. The wall is a great tribute to the Beatles, with quotes and song lyrics scribbled all over the wall. It also carries some political statements, love notes and personal drawings all dedicated to either John Lennon himself, the Beatles or another famous artist.

Our search proved to take the better half of our evening so instead of anything crazy, Margaux and I went straight to a movie theatre to see Harry Potter! We just couldn’t resist seeing our favorite wizards, especially in such a foreign place… it made it a little more magical knowing we’d walk outside into the “City of A Thousand Spires.”

We left Prague the next morning for another long train ride to Krakow, Poland. The train ride was…. a train ride. Luckily there weren’t any crazy drunk Germans or singing Czech men in our cabin this time. We arrived to a beautiful old city, which easily became our FAVORITE of the small cities we visited. Our hostel was unbelievably clean, modern and cozy, with dark wood floors and rich colored bedding. Even the owners were gracious and enjoyable, two young girls… maybe in their late 20s. They actually suggested two restaurants, one of which we ate at, the other of which was too crowded to get in to (obviously an indicator of their quality).

Our main purpose of visiting Krakow was to visit Auschwitz, about an hour outside of the central train station in Krakow. The experience was something not to be missed. It was a great learning experience and an emotionally draining day.

Though Krakow is mostly known for its convenient location to the concentration camp, the city is a gem of its own. The old city square is full of restaurants, hotels and street performers. Krakow seems to be a very young town, with couples and small groups of people who are all looking to have a good time. There are club promoters walking around the city, with free drink specials and guaranteed entry. The whole city is spotless, the cobble stones are all straightened out and easy to walk on, and the Zloty makes everything SUPER cheap! No really, Margaux and I had a three course meal for $20 each, including tax and tip. Seriously, GO TO KRAKOW!

Blague from Prague

Hello again! It’s Alexa this time, and we come to you from Hostel Tyn in Prague.

Firstly, if anyone is looking to stay in a hostel in Prague, this place is great! It’s literally one block from the Old Town Square, around the corner from an awesome popular bar, only a few blocks from the Jewish quarter, and located around some delicious and cheap restaurants (which is a priority for Margaux and I since we love to eat).

We arrived two nights ago by train, which took over SEVEN hours, and was only supposed to take six. The ride was peaceful though and somewhat hysterical when 8 Czech guys climbed onto the train at the border between the Czech Republic and Austria with enough beers to supply the entire train, and proceeded to whistle that famous work song (no idea what the name of it is, sorry) and Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold” for most of the train ride. Their harmonizing was impressive.

We woke up early the next morning and took our favorite Sandeman’s Free Tour around Prague, with a girl named “Stefi” who was so hyper that she sounded like she was running out of breath every time she formed a sentence.Well that was extremely distracting, but the tour was helpful, as always. We headed straight to the Jewish museum and cemetery after that. The museum was unbelievably moving and I highly recommend visiting it if anyone plans on traveling here. To give you an idea: the walls were covered in names of men, women and children who died in the concentration camp an hour outside of Prague. In another room off to the side, sketches made by children in the concentration camps hung on the walls. Each picture reflected on the child’s emotions or their dreams of returning back to their homes in Prague with t heir families. As for the cemetery, it was an incredible sight, with hundreds of tombstones basically stacked on top of each other.  It’s said that over 100,000 Jews are buried there, one body on top of the other.


Beerland, AKA Deutschland (und Osterreich)

Hello again!  Margaux here, writing to you from the rainy Salzburg Hauptbahnhof (central railway station) while we wait for our train to Prague.  Leaving Salzburg means we’re about to be in an area where neither Alexa nor I know ANY of the language.  In France, we both understood enough to get along since we have a lot of knowledge with the other romance languages.  In Italy, Alexa understood because she’s Italian and has grown up with the language around her.  In Spain, we were totally fine with our 12 or more years of Spanish from grade-school.  In Germany and Austria, I whipped out my 1 year of German that I got my sophomore year at Wellesley, and I was even complimented on my accent once in Munich!

Our last post left us in Dublin, so here’s an update on the cities we visited where my broken German got us around: Düsseldorf, Berlin, Munich and Salzburg.

The flight from Dublin to Düsseldorf is a bit hazy because of the spectacular evening we had in Dublin the night before.  Instead of a hostel in Düsseldorf, we stayed at a budget/1 star hotel.  The price would have been exactly the same for a hostel, and we got to live in LUXURY for 2 days.  By luxury I mean they made the beds and replaced the towels.  My mother wouldn’t have even walked into the room, but to us (after sleeping in a room with 2 random women in Dublin) it was The Ritz. (more…)

Milestones of the past four weeks

It’s Alexa now.  O.m.g. we don’t even know where to begin.

How about where we actually began? Paris!

We arrived in Paris on June 15th, and it was raining!! Great start to a trip but the weather cleared up and we were able to cover all the major sights: the Louvre, Notre Dame, Musee D’Orsay, Versailles, Luxembourg Gardens, the Marais, Sacre Coure, the Champs Elysees, Laduree and most importantly, La Tour Eiffel.

After four nights in our Craigslist rented apartment we still didn’t want to leave, but we had to anyway and took an overnight train (the French know luxury by the way, the train was sooo well maintained) to Nice. From there we visited Cannes (overrated unless you want to walk away feeling envious and poor by the massive yachts) and Montecarlo-Monaco, where Margaux won 12 Euro gambling like James Bond (hey, we’re on a budget, it’s all she was willing to give up.) (more…)

Bonjour! Bongiorno! Hola! Hello! Guten Tag!

Hi! Margaux here, writing to you from an internet cafe in Berlin!  Since June 15th I’ve been backpacking through Europe with my best friend Alexa and we are so excited to be able to share our trip with you this way!

First, a little bit about us.  We grew up together since age 3 in Northeastern New Jersey, but we usually just tell people we’re from Manhattan (Bad Habit? We think it’s fine).  After high-school we parted ways: Alexa ended up at U Miami in The Sunshine State (Florida) and I ended up at Wellesley in the exact OPPOSITE of the sunshine state (Massachussetts).  We both just graduated this year and this backpacking trip was inevitable…

Travel-wise, I’d say we’re both quite seasoned for your average college graduates.  Here’s some history:

Alexa: When I was 12 I first ventured into Lugano, Switzerland for a month long stay at an American University named TASIS. After that, I was hooked and travelled back to Italy three times (I’m Italian so obviously that’s my fav country… Margaux won’t stop making fun of me about it, apparently white Juicy pants are “SOOOO Italian.”) I’ve also travelled around Spain, Turkey and the islands of Greece. Outside of Europe I’ve been to Quebec, Montreal and your standard high-school spring break: the tropical islands. I’ve also hopped around the states, from coast to coast.  I’ve never backpacked until this trip… (more…)