So it turned out that Michae and I were on the same flight to the Netherlands (go figure)!  I was super excited because I had thought I would be in the Netherlands by myself.  I was staying in a city called Eindhoven, which was small but really adorable.  We took some time to walk around Eindhoven the first day we got there.

The next day we went to Amsterdam! Again, it was pretty rainy and cold, but I still had a great time.  I got to see the flower market, the canals, the cheese shops (Oh the cheese shops… as far as the eye could see! I was so happy I almost cried a little on the inside), and the Van Gough Museum.  After the Van Gough Museum the cheese tasting was probably my favorite thing that we did there.  There were tons of different cheeses to taste from along with different types of mustard to try on them. Now, you may be thinking “Cheese and mustard? Really?”  Yes, really.  And it’s delicious.  There were spicy mustards, mild mustards, and sweeter mustards, and if you got the perfect combination of the right cheese and the right mustard it was like biting into a little piece of heaven.  (Along with fish and chips, angels probably also eat pesto cheese. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Bible somewhere.) The Van Gough Museum was absolutely fascinating. Even in the cold and the rain I still had to wait in a line that went down the block to get in, but it was way beyond worth it. 

I spent another night in Eindhoven, and the next day I went to go visit Michae where she was living! It was great to see the town where she lived and to meet her roommates and friends (who are all ridiculously nice and hysterical).  All in all I had an excellent time!

Ok next and final stop: Slovakia.  I honestly couldn’t believe I was actually going there.  It was just one of those things, like going to Budapest, that I never really thought I would be able to do.  I met up with some other people from Linz in Bratislava, and then we traveled to Zilina, where Veronika lives.  Her parents were sweet enough to not only let us stay for the night but also to cook the most delicious meal for us!

The next morning we left for the High Tatras, and it was quite a journey just to get there.  We had to take a bus, a train, then one or two trams (I can’t quite remember… this is what happens when you write about something a month after you did it).  So, we started our journey up the mountain.  Veronika had mentioned that there would probably still be some snow in the Tatras, but what I thought would be some snow turned out actually to be a ton of snow! It was simultaneously hysterical and frustrating to be walking along and then suddenly have the bottom half of your leg devoured by snow.  I had never seen so much snow in my life! 

Despite the fact that the hike was exhausting, it was also breathtakingly beautiful!  I was so relieved when we finally got to the cabin we were staying at though – I was ready to change into warm clothes and pass out!  We had dinner, and I pretty much just went to bed afterwards. 

Veronika told us an interesting fact (that actually makes complete sense when you think about it) about the cabins in the mountains.  If someone comes in after dark but hasn’t paid or made a reservation, the people running the cabin are not allowed to turn them away – they have to give them some place to stay during the night.  We were all in a room with about 6 bunk beds, but we could see that the room next to ours was just filled with mattresses laying on the floor.  She told us one story about a couple who had planned a romantic weekend in the mountains and had paid a substantial amount of money for the fabulous room in the cabin they were staying in.  During the night, some lost hikers had found the cabin and were brought in to stay.  There was apparently no room elsewhere, so they put mattresses on the floor in the couple’s room!

The next morning we were up bright and early for breakfast, and then we started heading back.  Let’s just say going down was a lot easier than going up had been the previous day!  We made our way back to Veronika’s house, and some of us stayed there while others caught a train to Vienna to stay the night there, and the next day we started our journey back to Linz. 

Getting back to Linz was a relief for me, actually.  I had a fantastic two weeks but it was nice to get back to my own room and bed.  I almost couldn’t believe that I had actually done all the traveling that I did!  I had a fantastic time, and I can’t wait to do some more traveling while I’m here. 
 





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