The Downpour

Today in Budapest was significant  because of the amount of rain that fell. Being from Colorado, my friend and I drastically underestimated the rain in Budapest.

We woke up around 9 that morning and headed across the river to the “Buda” side of Budapest. From there we hiked to the fisherman’s bastion and castle hill. Coming from an elevation of 9,000 feet actually makes life much easier. As we passed other tourists that seemed to be breathing heavily from the hike, we were rolling in the extra oxygen. We felt like super-humans. From the top of the funicular (a little train that takes you up to the top of the hill) the view seems surreal. You can see the entirety of the city on a clear day. After we soaked in the view properly, we headed on to go explore the contents within the castle walls.  Besides pretty buildings and a few nicely kept gardens, there wasn’t too much to see until we finally found a museum, which had been suggested to me by a friend who recently studied abroad here.

Called the “Hospital Museum” it was actually a 5-mile long nuclear-proof bunker the had been transformed throughout that ages by different political parties and governments within Budapest. During its time it served as a hospital for both Soviet troops, nationalists, and German solders as a red cross certified safe place for everyone. Because of its intentional certification, the place was respected and spared by raids. During the later part of ww2 through the end of the cold war, it served as a nuclear-safe bunker.  On the tour, we had the chance to see the old generators, water storage supply units, air circulation systems for the tunnel, and giant diesel fuel tanks that could run everything in case of power loss. Fun Fact: We learned on the tour that the Hungarian word for “radiation” is actually “sugar.” My mind immediately went to “sugar cookies” and I wondered about the confusion and worry this might bring to Hungarian tourists in America.

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This is the entrance to the Hospital Museum / Nuclear Bunker

By the end of the day we ended up outside the Hungarian Parliament. This giant building is actually a little intimidating. Despite the armed guards every couple feet, its gothic pillars and tours accurately represent its prestige. When we sat down to enjoy the view, it had started to sprinkle rain. But by the time my friend and I had made it back to our hotel, we were drenched. My jeans were soaked and I could feel water squish between my toes as I walked. My hair had begun to drip onto my face. It seemed everyone was carrying around umbrellas except for us.  When we made it into the hotel, the front desk assistant gave us a look that might have been a mix of sympathy and disgust at the mud we just tracked into his clean lobby.

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Me, enjoying a calm  drizzle before the downpour.

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48 hours in DC

Washington, DC is a city of hustle and bustle. Personally, that’s why I am so attracted to it. The people in a city that never sleeps is usually driven by ambition and a vision.  DC is a perfect example. There is always someone new to meet, places to see, and things to try. I have a deep love for DC because whenever I am there its like I’m on top of the world.

This time around in DC, I was actually there for originally an international fraternity conference called Phi Alpha Delta. This group is composed of undergraduate students, graduate students, and also those going through law school. We are collectively committed to the end goal of finding a career in the legal profession. I was still lucky enough to find time to explore the city in the short 48 hours my group and I were there.

We spent Saturday afternoon exploring a few key Smithsonian museums. The Air and Space museum was impressive because of the space and air history artifacts put on display. This had been my second time at the museum so perhaps it was less interesting to me. But, I had never been to the Botanical Gardens or the American History Museum before.

For anyone traveling to DC in the near future, I would highly suggest the American History Museum. When you walk in its not overly impressive, but by the time you finally get to the meat of the exhibits, the content and research that has gone into the exhibits have a profound effect. There is nothing like experiencing an overview of American History where many of the decisions about the outcomes have been made. The section on American war was perhaps my favorite. It starts out with the American Revolution and slowly transitions from war to war based on a linear timeline. But as you approach later wars and more controversial wars, like the Vietnam War, they are presented in a way that becomes very real for those visiting the exhibit. I don’t think ever been so moved by an exhibit, not emotionally but mentally. The American History of war Museum at the Smithsonian left me with a deep curiosity and new perspective on quite a few things. I suggest that if you can make the time, it would be worth spending an entire day or two at this museum alone.

The botanical museum was mostly just beautiful. The diversity of plants are astounding. The most interesting rooms were probably either the endangered species room or the room that featured various medicinal plants. I have always had an interest in botany so I found this museum more interesting them my counterparts but they still enjoyed themselves. This  botanical museum could comfortably be seen in an hour or two. But make sure not to miss it. I had no idea that it was even there until this trip. It is hidden in comparison to the rest of the mall. Instead of being directly off the National Mall, it sits directly to the right of the Capitol Building.

After the Smithsonian closed we made our way up to Capitol hill and toured the outsides of the buildings in this area. From the outside, the Supreme Court was by far the most impressive. It reminded me of  ancient buildings that I’ve seen  in citifies like Vienna or Rome. Its Roman pillars were larger then most redwoods. You had to stand a couple hundred feet back from the building just to get a complete picture bottom to top, but you were free to walk up on the steps outside of the building. Perhaps less impressive from the outside but still beautiful was the Library of Congress.  Although, if you do make your way up to Capitol Hill, make sure that you do it between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:30 PM. Unfortunately, we arrived about an hour late and the doors were closed to the pubic. I would have bet though that the interior would have made up for the unimpressive exterior.

The most majestic moment that I encountered in DC was walking through the memorials during sunset. I cannot stress the beauty of the Lincoln Memorial with a gorgeous sunset behind it. The colored light was bouncing over the reflection pool and the area glowed of purple and blue.12118679_492143454288692_78464703576351655_n

no such thing as coincidences

I don’t believe in coincidences. Given that fact, this weekend has been very confusing for me. Recently I have asked for a tiny sign from the universe to assist me with my college search. Usually my empty requests to the universe remain unanswered, but not this weekend.

I know this sounds trivial and silly, but choosing the right school has been a real struggle for me.  Nearly everyone I know has found their dream school and are fully committed.  Then there is me…. Unfortunately, I have found two dream schools. Both schools are complete opposites and both offer very enticing opportunities.

Let’s back up to Friday night. I don’t claim to be the most organized person, especially when it comes to my wardrobe. But I still know what cloths I own. I was getting ready for a chill night with friends and was looking for a comfortable shirt to put on. While rummaging through my drawer I pulled out an oversize  long sleeve CU Boulder tee-shirt. I still have no idea where this came from. I had never seen this shirt before in my life. Still, it happened to be exactly what I needed. It also happened to be my size.  This is literally the most comfortable shirt  I have ever owned. After confronting my parents, they both denied placing it in my drawer. No one else has been in my house within my knowledge. It is pretty obvious that the Admissions office at CU did not sneak into my house and leave random clothing as a bribe, but I am still curious how it got there.I thought I had found my sign from the universe….until breakfast Sunday.

My parents and I went to meet some family friends at a quaint little restaurant near downtown Denver. Jokingly in the parking lot, my dad pointed out a licence plate from my other dream school, Regis University. I thought nothing of it until walking into the restaurant and being seated directly at the table next to none other but Regis’s President Father Fitzgibbons. He proceeded to recognize me immediately as an admitted/ prospective student.

We began to talk and he and his colleagues asked me about how I felt about submitting my acceptance to the school.  When I finally admitted that I hadn’t decided yet, they were quick to offer answers to any questions or concerns I may have had about the school or community. I stood there awkwardly and had to explain that I didn’t have any specific questions to ask. They were so friendly and made me feel a little guilty for not yet accepting their generous invitation to become a part of the Regis University student body.

To be entirely honest I am not sure what is keeping me from making a final decision and it’s driving me crazy.

the start of a travel blog on Prague

As spring break nears, so does my anticipation for my trip abroad. Like I have stated in past posts, travel is an important aspect to my life. Nothing can quite match the exhilaration of it. Still, the week before a big trip I find that my mind is racing and I am starting to freak out about all the things I have to accomplish before my plane takes off.

Passport: Check

Travel scarf: Check

Foreign Currency: Check

Still, making sure I have everything packed is one of my least concerns. Final plans and reservations for not only plane tickets, but hotel reservations, train tickets, and schedule timing sit in the back of my mind.

I have recently made a contact/ friend in the Czech Republic.I have gotten to know her because of my father who has previous connections with the IPA, an international organization for retired law enforcement officers for various nations all over the world. The group provides a local representative to greet fellow members of the organization and their families traveling abroad.  Over the last week I have been coordinating with her about plans and possibilities about my trip.

Since I will be celebrating my 18th birthday in Prague, which is the legal drinking age, she invited me to go clubbing with her and her friends. Despite being in a foreign country, this is an experience which will be somewhat new to me.  I’ve had alcohol before, but it  still seems weird that I will finally be of age to partake in an open and public setting with friends. In fact, after the fall of the communist regime, clubbing in the Czech Republic has evidently been growing more and more popular and the nightlife in the city has exploded. It seems unreal that I will be there to experience it with my own eyes in less then a week.

According to my guide Hanka, Drum and Bass is a very popular type of music for local clubs. Since this genre isn’t very popular in America, I haven’t had much experience with it. But it pretty much just sounds like European Dub-Step. Shout out to YouTube for a quick education in the subject.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTFnisU752g

To thank her she actually asked me to bring her makeup…of all things! I did not realize this, but cosmetics about double the price in large European cities. For some reason they are a lot cheaper in the US. My guess it is might be because of currency change rates and transportation costs.

I have always dreamed  about becoming a travel blogger. Now, this is going to become a reality( at least for two weeks)  I promise to update you with my progress and share my encounters with the unknown.

adventures in the red light district

There are several words and phases to describe what I am feeling. It is something which is experienced around the world and has been since the beginning of humanity. For a few months now it has been creeping up in the back of my mind. It is something which slowly overtakes your consciousnesses and becomes your sole ambition in life. Although some may call it a disease, I prefer to consider it a blessing.

I have officially caught the travel bug. Ever since my early years of childhood when I first went to Mexico with my family, the feeling of discovery and exhilaration when exploring foreign places has become a central part of my personality. Barely a few months go by between trips before I start to become grumpy and unsettled. I could go on for years about my experiences across Europe and various parts of South America. But, I will save most of the details  for later posts.

One thing I will mention though is a thought which occurred to me while reading the Novel “The Goldfinch.” A few years back, my cousins and I found ourselves in a very precarious situation. After spending New Years Eve in Paris, we attempted to book a flight back to the US. Unfortunately all the seats were sold out and our chances were slim for about another week. We decided to take a train to Frankfurt, Germany.  Little did we know that Frankfurt happens to be one of the most dangerous cities in Europe. I’m not kidding when I say this city makes ghetto parts of New York look like Disneyland.

As we walked down the street, I recall hearing gunshots and seeing drug deals take place. In the windows red hearts glowed in the chilly late night air. (I later learned that the red hearts symbolized certified brothel) Turns out that prostitution is legal in parts of Germany…. We were literally in the heart of the red light district with no hotel reservations an no plan. To make things worse, I had developed a fever and had started to throw up. If it was not for the heart doctor from California we met on the train, I don’t now where we would have ended up. He caught us as we were lost and wandering down the street and offered to help us. He happened to have family in the city and was able to get us a safe place to sleep for the night.

I know it sounds funny, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience in Germany if given the chance. Because of a few full flights, I was able gain a new perspective on travel.  Because of a few full flights, I was able to experience a whole new country.

In “The Goldfinch” the main character describes the complexity of European train stations and the policies of international travel. He describes the customs and requirements of passports, even on a train.This part of the book would likely have been nothing more then a passing transition if I had not been able to relate to it.  After an international trip, there are so many more things you can relate to and so many more stories you have to tell. It broadens your perspective and raises many questions about the unknown. Although travel can be uncomfortable (as proven above) the overall experience is totally worth it. Even thinking about it makes me giddy to consider my next big adventure. Can we all take a second to consider the beauty of wanderlust?