Travel

An Eastward Exchange

In the Fall of 2017, I departed for Europe on an exchange program with Rotary International. I spent a year in the Tatra Mountains of northern Slovakia, learning about Slovak culture, teaching myself photography and blogging. Traveling the Europe, searching for things to document on my blog; that experience taught me the skills I am now putting to use as a journalist.

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Goodbye, Slovakia.

It is the 26th of June, 2018 as I write this post. It has been a day of many lasts for me. Last day in school, last visit to my favorite cafe, last time on the bus from my village to Poprad, last time seeing one of my dear friends, ...
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Once More in Bratislava

In the previous post, I wrote of the outing I took to Devin Castle with my Slovak friend, Milan. Those ruins were just one part of our larger trip to Bratislava. We toured much of the city and I learned a lot that I hadn't over my two previous visits ...
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Devin Castle

From the highest of Devin’s towers, Slovakia wraps behind and around you, Austria sits across the Danube River flowing at the castle’s base, Hungary rests over and past Bratislava to the south and on a clear day the hills of the Czech Republic can be seen way in the northern ...
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The Great Venetian Scavenger Hunt

Rotary ended our 2-week journey through Europe with a grand adventure. Our bus pulled up to a seaside hotel on the Italian coast outside of Venice. We unpacked, only one last full night of EuroTour ahead of us, and then went down for dinner. As we ate, the Rotarians made ...
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Florence

I'm a little ashamed to say I forgot… You see, the fact that the Duomo was in Florence wasn't exactly on my mind when I first turned down one of the streets leading towards the cathedral. It was our first evening in the city and I'd just escaped from some ...
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Nitra

Nitra is the oldest city in Slovakia and boasts some of the nation's most important events. Once seat of the Great Moravian Empire, it was in Nitra that the brother Saints Cyril and Methodius established their bishopric and brought Christianity to the Western Slavs. It was their belief that everyone ...
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Pompeii

(A preface: As I was cleaning my computer, I accidentally lost photos from Pompeii. Therefore, this post uses images from other photographers. Featured image credit: Paul Kelley from Merrimac, MA, United States, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons) How surreal it is to stand on the threshold of one ...
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Esztergom

The paddy cap rested haphazardly atop my face, failing to completely shield my eyes from the sun. I shifted into new positions in the uncomfortable passenger's seat, then moved the cap, then my body again. This restless effort to sleep was my failing attempt to make up for the rest ...
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The District Conference 2018

The biggest event in our Czech and Slovak Rotary Multi-district is the District Conference in May. There, hundreds of Rotarians from all corners of the Czech Republic and Slovakia gather to discuss their projects, catch up with distant colleagues, bestow awards for exceptional service and meet the year's exchange students ...
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More From Rome

Pantheon The Pantheon is a magical structure and to this day the largest concrete dome in the world. It's rotunda converges on a perfect circle, called an oculus, open to the sky above. From there, a shaft of light, seemingly from Heaven itself, pierces the space and illuminates the exquisite ...
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Rome of Antiquity

The sun had set on Rome by the time our bus pulled to a stop in front of the hotel. Orange tungsten bulbs and the occasional white flash of passing headlights lit the street, reflecting off pavestones slick from recent rain and casting a dim monochrome haze over the shadowed ...
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Other Adventures in Barcelona!

Joyce "What you are thinking I am...I am," the tour guide at the head of our bus introduced herself. She had large glasses, a long dull-colored dress and a mass of messy hair spiraling down from the top of her head. She looked something like a cross between Harry Potter's ...
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Barcelona and Guadí

Of all the cities we visited, Barcelona was one of the most touristy, yet the crowds were a cinch to escape. Swarms of these tourists and gimmicky vendors crowd the city's main promenade, La Rambla, and flow down the larger streets of the Gothic District, but a quick step off ...
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Skanzen Bardejovské Kúpele

I have discussed the villages of Vlkolinec and Pribylina in prior posts, but it is worthwhile to compare Bardejovské Kúpele to the city from which it gets its name (which I discussed in the previous post) and the historic divide that existed in Slovakia between urban lifestyles and demographics and ...
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Bardejov

"How far these city walls have come," I thought, gazing from the battlements of Bardejov, over sprawling development, towards the green pastures beyond. The fortifications of Bardejov's historic center were erected in 1300s to deter invaders after the city's great wealth—wealth accumulated from its lucrative trade position between Hungary and ...
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La Tour Eiffel

The iconic iron-wrought structure had been present for my entire stay in Paris, peeking over a building or down one of the many streets we explored over the previous two days. Yet, the Eiffel Tower only became our destination on the last morning we spent in the city—and what a ...
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Monmartre

Set on a hill outside of Paris' center, folk legend states the the location got its name when the bishop, Saint Denis, was executed by the Romans there for his christian faith (accordingly, "Mount of the Martyr"). Supposedly, after the executioner's blade fell, the man stood, picked up his decapitated ...
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The Palace of Versailles

The beauty of Versailles is not contained to the world-renowned palace, in fact, it begins long before you reach the chateau itself. After departing from the hotel on the second morning of EuroTour, our bus traversed over a chaotic highway towards the outskirts of Paris. Eventually, the many graffiti covered ...
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The Heart of Paris

After a twenty hour bus ride, we arrived in Paris just after dawn. The tour buses squeezed through the small roads of an outdated commercial district, pulling in front of a relatively attractive accommodation by the name of "Ibis Hotels". Unloading our things, we all expected to enter into cozy ...
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EuroTour Summary

What makes an adventure? To me, it is exciting and unfamiliar experiences, a little bit of hardship, and good companions to help you through it all. By that definition, EuroTour was certainly the biggest adventure of my exchange. We battled sleep deprivation and illness, getting by on food of sporadic ...
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