Hello everyone! Well, the nice thing about not having a plan is being able to take it all one day at a time. I am still in my little village, but moving on tomorrow. I booked a hotel room this time, so I am really going :-)
I was all set to go on Friday, but was then invited to a birthday party and a goulash fistival. It would have been rude of me not to stay since I didn´t have a set itinerary. I am so glad I stayed. After being in a small village for a full week, I can´t even begin to tell you how much I have learned and experienced. The sincere hospitaltity of the people here is absolutely amazing. Being from a family of all girls, it has been so much fun staying in a home of all boys. I don´t even know how to begin to thank this wonderful family for letting me into their home and taking care of me for a week.
So Friday was the birthday party, where I got to meet all of the village bachelors. The older ladies would like to see me find a nice Slovak man to marry. It was quite funny to try to talk to all of these guys without speaking each other´s languages. One thing that doesn´t require communication...beer. I literally had 3 or 4 beers lined up on the bar at one time. I think every bachelor in town bought me a beer...and I think a few married men too. And since I have declared Slovak rum as my favorite, everyone in town offers me a shot when they see me. I have learned to say "No thank you " in Slovak quite well!
It´s not really all about drinking though. I lived a normal life all week full of errands, chores, and sightseeing. Friday and Saturday were like a weekend in the US, meeting up with friends and even a little foozball and dancing at the bar. No worries, I didn´t bust out any classic moves for them...but did teach everyone how to "bounce" (if you´ve ever been to the club with me, you know what I´m talking about). Anyway, it has been such a great experience and I have met so many wonderful people. It has helped having my host as a translator, I have learned so much about language and communication while here.
So, I now have to cut a little time out of Croatia, but I have no regrets. I will be heading to Budapest around noon tomorrow and will arrive there around 4pm. I have booked a hotel and will spend tomorrow and Tuesday sightseeing. Then Tuesday night I will take the night train to Krakow, Poland. I will do a day of sightseeing in Krakow, then a day trip to Auschwitz. I have a feeling Auschwitz is going to have a profound affect on me. When I mention I am going, most people remember back to a time they visited. I have watched grown men tear up as they recall their own experiences. So I can only imagine how much it will move me. After Krakow, I´m going to hop on over to Prague for two days. So, I´m hoping to be in Croatia by Sunday.
I am looking forward to traveling on my own again, which will allow me to do a little self relfection. It is amazing how much my perspective has changed. Actually, not so much that my perspective has changed, the experience has shown me that my perspective on life is shared by others. The European way of life suits me well :-)
A dear friend of mine who is also traveling the world right now, is just a couple of steps ahead of me in this trip. He is leaving a hidden treasure for me to find in Split, Croatia. It is the most fun scavenger hunt I´ve ever been on! Well, I am going to sign off and read my book before going to bed. To all of those who suggested I read The Razor´s Edge by W Somerset Maugham...excellent recommendation! I can´t imagine a better time to read it.
I think my next hotel has internet, so I will be in touch soon.