I know it’s been a little over a week since I last posted. This past week was insanely busy, and it’s just now that I’ve had time to sit down and fill you all in on how incredible these last few days have been. So let’s get to it!
After leaving Poland, we headed towards Budapest. I was immediately captivated by the country’s beauty and lively people. During the days we were there, we visited the Central Bank, the Hungarian Parliament, and toured around Buda and Pest.
Our lectures with local professors and professionals on Hungary’s economy were extremely interesting as I saw a lot of similarities with what’s currently going on with Puerto Rico’s economy. I wonder if any other countries outside of the US have been asked to give economic opinions and suggestions on the island’s present state. If this has not been the case, the island should branch out to other countries that have gone through a deep economic crisis and have either overcome it or are presently taking measures to do so. There is so much to learn from other countries, and I wish the world as a whole would work in a more collaborative effort.
On Sunday afternoon, we visited the Széchenyi baths of Budapest, which in a nutshell, it’s an Imperial-looking building with lots of outdoor and indoor thermal pools.
I have to say I was extremely excited to have a fun day at the pool as I’ve been wanting to sunbathe and tan for a while now. To my luck, the amount of tanning oil I poured on myself did absolutely nothing for me as I barely got out looking darker than what I had been in the beginning. I guess my dark tan will have to wait until I go back to Puerto Rico. Nonetheless, I had an incredible time relaxing and cooling off along with friends.
During the night, some of my friends and I took a boat cruise along the river. I can’t put into words how remarkably beautiful Budapest was at night. Pictures definitely didn’t fully capture what my eyes did. As I gazed at the flawless sights, I started to think about how I would have loved to share such a purely magnificent moment with someone else. I know, I know it’s sappy, and corny, and stupid. Regardless, it would have been extra nice to have a special someone there with me to share such a spectacular scenery.
Vienna, Austria followed next on our country tour. We had a guided tour around the city upon our arrival and were left free for the rest of the day, which we took to grab a dinner and explore the city on our own. I do want to mention that I have been eating nothing but AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS food. I usually stick to very plain meals, but my palate has been feeling very bold here. I’ve eating swordfish, mussels, chicken in mushroom cream sauce with potato cakes filled with cheese, goulash, and seafood risotto among other very tasty foods. (I’m sure your stomach is growling intensely. Sorry!)
In Austria, we visited the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the Schonbrunn Palace. The visit to UNIDO was especially interesting as I saw myself fit into the requirements the organization asks of those who wish to work there. Some of the most notable positions included regular interns, translators, or better yet, delegates of ones own country. Perhaps, it will be me sitting at one of those seats representing Puerto Rico some day.
I have to say that I really didn’t think any other place could have been more beautiful than Budapest, but then I arrived to Prague, Czech Republic. There was no way I could take in such a marvelous place all at once. All the way from the center city, to the bridge, to the John Lennon wall, everything was just so picturesque and full of positive vibes. Again, I found myself falling in love with the city, the atmosphere, and the people.
And speaking about the people… On our way to the John Lennon Wall, my roommate and I came across a very cute and welcoming Spanish restaurant just along the road. After admiring the wall and taking several Instagram-worthy pictures, we headed back to the restaurant; sangrías after a long walk sounded very enticing.
In came our waiter with the menus after we sat down. He was a tall black-haired young guy with flirtatious eyes and a warm smile. My roommate, Melanie, and I kept going back and forth on how cute and charming he was. By the end of our dinner, I felt brave enough to ask him what was the nightlife like and what his plans were after he got off work. (I promise it was the sangría talking). He made some suggestions, and we agreed to try to meet up at one of the places the other people in the program were planning to go to that night. I highly doubted he would make it but hey, it was worth a shot.
Surprisingly enough, he made it and brought a Dominican friend along. It turns out his mom is from Guatemala and his dad, from Czech Republic. However, he considers himself to be more Latino than European/Czech. It honestly made me so happy to be able to share a night with Hispanics. I thought that was the last time I’d see him, but he joined our group again the following night where we went to a fun five story club and danced the night away.
My roommate and I really wanted to watch the sunrise, so we stayed out until 5 in the morning and made our way to the St. Charles bridge. Our new friends came along as well. The sunrise was jaw-dropping. The grace of it all made me appreciate how awesome it was to be at that place at that time and surrounded by the people I was with. I barely had any energy to stay awake, but nothing could ruin such a moment. It was truly perfect.
After gazing at the sunrise, the waiter and I said our goodbyes, and my roommate and I headed back to the hotel as we were leaving to go to Germany that morning. I’ll admit that night was one of the most spontaneous nights I’ve ever had, and I’m sure I’ll be telling my kids about it one day.
The study tour ended in Nuremburg, Germany. We went along the city and visited the Nazi rally grounds. During the night, we had our last “tour group” dinner and then went out to celebrate.
We had a free day after returning to Maastricht this past Sunday. Being the adventurous traveler that I am, I took the day to go to Bruges, Belgium with a few friends. Bruges is such a perfectly cozy and adorable town. I was also so happy to finally be in a place where I could speak French.
After walking around the town, we made our way to the Historium museum where they had an area where we could get drinks and cool off. The bartender was perhaps the most attractive male I’ve ever seen in my life. After ordering drinks, he charmingly kissed my hand and said he’d join our table in a few minutes.
I’m telling you… I don’t know what’s with me and waiters, but I’m definitely making a very good impression on them. He hung out with us for a bit and even gave me his number right before we left. Is it the “Puerto Ricanness” that attracts them? I honestly don’t know, but could one of them perhaps be my prince charming in disguise? Eh, who knows. All I know is that mami better watch out, cause I may or may not come back home with an European boyfriend 😉
That ends this past week. I know, it’s been very eventful. But why is this post titled “I Believe in Love”?
Well, as you may or may have not noticed, I’ve been captivated by each and every country I’ve visited so far. I also feel as though I’ve been truly living life to the fullest. You know, the way that you always hear people say to live it while in your 20s. Most importantly, I have found myself falling in love with life over and over again. I’ve been overflowing with happiness, and I hope to God it only keeps getting better.