well as you probably noticed I am no longer abroad :(. I apologize for the lack of entries after finals ended. Once school was out I devoted all my time to traveling and even just exploring Ljubljana more and more. My family also made their way over in the last month that I was there. It was really nice to have them come over. My dad, my aunt, and my sister ventured over first and I had a good time showing them around Ljubljana. We did a lot of biking and took some nice long lunches--European style. We also took a little holiday to the island of Krk off the coast of Croatia. It took us a little effort to navigate our way there but it turned out to be a fun adventure and we made it to where we needed to go so everything was ok. We rented an apartment and spent a few days relaxing by the sea and doing a bit of exploring. It was really nice to have them come, I enjoyed planning things for them to do and places to go see.
My Dad, Aunt and sister enjoying dinner in Krk, CroatiaAfter a week or so my dad and aunt left to go back home to the states. My sister continued to stay with me in my dorm. My friends and I took her out to see the nightlife in Ljubljana quite a bit so hopefully she is prepared for her own upcoming college experience. We also took a weekend trip to Vienna, Austria. It was such a beautiful city! We spent the whole weekend just touring around and taking pictures of the amazing architecture in the city. I would have to say it is one of my favorite European cities I've seen. We couchsurfed there which turned out to be really interesting and fun. Our host had to fly to London last minute so we had the apartment to ourselves for one night which was pretty fun. We also met up with another person on couchsurfing to go out to a trance dance...techno beat with blacklights etc. It was cool to see some underground culture in the city!
Outside the palace in Vienna
Trace party in Vienna!After we returned from Vienna Lydia and I spent a lot of time with my roommate and hall mate Petra and Tamy. We went to Petra's hometown and had a swimming day and wine tasting too! It was really cool to visit her home because it was out in the country and we were able to see farming and nice landscapes!
Having fun with Petra, Tamy, and Lydia in PtujMy mother soon arrived after and we embarked on a week long trip to Italy and Croatia. We couchsurfed with her, she was pretty excited about that. she had a good time talking to our various hosts and traveling in a different style. We began in Novo Gorica which is on the Slovene and Italian border. Our host was a young film student originally from Italy. He accompanied us on the next few days as we traveled to Venice. What a crazy place that was, so many tourists! It was definitely cool to see though, being one of the most famous cities in the world.
Mom, Lydia and our host Antonio
VeniceFrom Venice we took a ferry boat over to Pula, Croatia. We saw the famous Roman style Colosseum and couchsurfed with an American who was living there. From Pula we rented a car and drove thru Croatia looking at the villages that my grandparents are from. It was really cool to see our family's origins, such a cool experience. After couchsurfing one last time in Delnice, Croatia we headed for the Plitvice lakes and saw really cool waterfalls! so beautiful!! I think that was one of the nicest places I've seen so far! After our travels were thru, we headed back to Ljubljana from Zagreb. My family left after that and so I had a little over a week left on my own to enjoy.
One of many goodbye parties
Tamy and I in Croatia
Petra and Tamy after a full day at Gardaland!soon it was my last day. I think that I had a great last day though. Everything was fun and memorable. I went to lunch with my friend Vladimir from Croatia and then we went to see the botanical gardens in Ljubljana. The weather was so hot but it was worth it to see a part of the city that we hadn't seen before.
Vladimir and I at the botanical gardensAfter going for a drink I headed back to my dorm to meet up with Petra, Tamy, and Damir to go for a dinner at my favorite restaurant in Ljubljana, "Don Philipe" a great Spanish restaurant, it was such a nice night in Ljubljana, we saw a few street performers and there was even salsa dancing in the streets! We left from the Spanish restaraunt and went to skyscraper for a drink. This is one of the coolest places to go for a drink because you can see all of Ljubljana from here. We had fun drinking fancy drinks and chatting about random things. I will really miss these girls because I spent so much time with them and we had a lot of fun no matter what we did.
street performer in the center
drinks at skyscraperFrom here I met up with Vladimir and a few other friends one last time to explore a "haunted hotel" I had stumbled upon earlier in the year. There was an old hotel up in the park that had burned down and was abandoned and we decided to go explore it at night and see what there was to see...it turned out to be quite scary and it was fun to go in each room and see what was left, mainly broken glass and old wood but nonetheless a thrill.
exploring the haunted hotel!With only a few hours left before my flight I wasted no time and promptly returned to the dorms to meet up with Petra and Tamy for one last night at Companeros, a popular club in Ljubljana. I surprised the girls with sambuca, a special drink you set on fire before you drink it! After a few shots of that, we headed to the club and had such a good time dancing like there was no tomorrow, we had a few drinks there too and thankfully the club was busy so it made it even funner! After a few hours on the dance floor we headed back to the dorms so I could get ready for the airport shuttle to pick me up....at 5 am the girls helped me drag my luggage to the curb of the dorms so the shuttle could pick me up. As the shuttle came, I tried my hardest not to cry but I ended up shedding a few tears as I said goodbye and left the home I had for the past 6 months.
taking me to the shuttle
The multiple flights back home were long and uncomfortable and after a full day of traveling I made it back to the states...it was really a shock when I entered the airport and heard only English being spoken...using dollars instead of Euros, and watching the American news on T.V. Its been almost a month since I've been home now and I'm basically back to normal but still everyday is a little different.
so this marks the end of my study abroad experience. Boy o boy did it go fast like everyone said it would. I'm really happy I kept this blog so I can look back at it whenever I'm in a nostalgic mood. In closing this experience all I can really say is how happy I am that I did this. I remember how nervous I was before I left and how I had no idea what to expect. Having no expectations was kind of a good thing, my travels turned out to be the best thing I've done in my life so far. I feel like a completely different person now. I think that studying abroad and traveling on your own in general makes you a stronger person. You learn that you can only rely on yourself, you learn more about yourself and what kind of people you can really enjoy being around. You also learn tolerance and the importance of keeping an open mind. I am so lucky to have been able to do this, I feel stronger and more independent, I feel like I know where I want to go in life and I've found my true passion is traveling. I've gotten a taste for it but there's so many more places to see in the world I won't stop here.
Beautiful LjubljanaI'm back in Kansas City now and ready to have a great senior year. I'm enjoying the last bit of summer before school and spending time with family and friends. It's nice to reconnect with everyone and tell them all about my travels. I'm hoping to go back to Europe after this year to meet up with some friends and go to the Majske Igre games in May! I'm starting to save now so lets hope I can get there next year! My friend Tom from the UK is also coming to visit in September and I can't wait to show him Kansas City and all its perks :) I hope others will also come visit, Petra and Tamy are planning a trip next summer so I'm looking forward to that too!
Anyway thats all folks, thanks so much for following me in my travels. I hope this blog could give you a look into studying abroad and all the wonderful things that come with it!
A true Slovene :PAdijo!!