Photo Fill in: Zagreb and Plitvice National Parks Croatia.

This Photo Fill In is going to be absurdly large. However, I am marginally hyperventilating about my impending departure from Salzburg and am seeking solace in how beautiful Croatia is.  Also, there are so many incredible photos from this trip I didn’t know what to cut out so I decided to just not bother.

My next few posts after this one may be laced with a degree of sadness, as I have only one week left in my beloved Salzburg. I am in denial about this small fact and have chosen to ignore it completely for the time being.
Also I do not want to pack. ever.

Zagreb. Zagrub? Grub Grub Grub Grub.

Pitching our tent and bonding with nature.
Pitching our tent and bonding with nature.
Hiking from our campsite to the National Park proved to be far longer than anticipated. However, we stayed jubilant.
Hiking from our campsite to the National Park proved to be far longer than anticipated. However, we stayed jubilant.
First group picture. Notice sunshine.
My bests. 

 

WATER.
WATER.
The water was so strong it washed out the paths in places.
The water was so strong it washed out the paths in places.

P1050184

P1050191

My beautiful bests.
My beautiful bests.

P1050226

P1050238

P1050334

P1050350

P1050358

P1050365

P1050370

P1050386

These pictures barely do it justice. My memory barely does it justice. It was unreal.
 

 

A long ride home and Smelly times.

I have just arrived back in Salzburg after a weekend in Croatia with my bests. We had the opportunity (BLESSED) to hike and camp in Plitvice National Parks over the weekend.

Sneak Peek:

If your eyes didn't just fall out of your head then you are insane.
If your eyes didn’t just fall out of your head then you are insane.

I am sunburnt and blissful. I will of course elaborate tomorrow monday at some point and fill you all in on the Park itself, our marginally illegal activities (we may have jumped in fallen), and our camping adventure.

It was an absolutely spectacular time. However, we are also extremely foolish. We were on such  level of bliss and high off nature that we didn’t consider that we hadn’t booked a hotel/hostel/anything to sleep on Saturday night while waiting for our train in Zagreb. We arrived realizing we didn’t leave till 6 am and did what any normal 20something travelers would do.

We slept in the park outside the train station. We hung out with the youngsters drinking till 4 am, the people rooting around in trash cans, and the couples that appeared to be using the park benches for some special activities.

We stunk. My sincere apologizes to every person that attempted to sit by us on the train. But hey, it was fun. It’s always fun.

These two are happy "campers" as we finally are homeward bound.
These two are happy “campers” as we finally are homeward bound.

It was one of the top 5 showers of my life. Really makes you appreciate the little things….like a bed.

It is Tuesday and my Philosophy paper is written.

It is Tuesday and I have finished my Philosophy Paper. Simone De Beauvoir is applauding me somewhere I know it. I have finished my critical (and somewhat philosophical) critique on The Second Sex and I am the happiest Cassie.

Gleeful!
Gleeful!

Now that this paper is finished I can go to Croatia this coming weekend with nothing but finals looming over my head. Which I choose to blissfully ignore!

In other news, I should study for my Theology final as it is tomorrow but I am a member of the ‘people choose to express their spirituality in their own way’ camp and therefore no answer on my Theology final can be incorrect. Infallible Logic.

Also Thursday is my LAST EVER german exam. Which may inspire me to “study” for it by going to the Augustiner and speaking German with some comrades.

Clearly I am hugely academic.

Visiting Auschwitz.

I have been putting off writing this post for the obvious reasons but mostly because it was just really hard. I didn’t really know what I wanted to say so I decided to sit on it for awhile. Also, I left my notebook with my notes from our tour at Auschwitz on accident. I take this a sign that all memories/thoughts that occur at Auschwitz are only able to be carried out in your mind. For this reason and 1,000,000,000 others, I was really struggling at what to say.

However, I am now either facing writing this post or writing my philosophy paper. You can probably guess which I chose to do (my apologizes that I cannot write a wholly serious anything).

Anyways, to begin for those interested in visiting Auschwitz stay in Krakow. The drive (via car, bus, or tour bus) is about an hour and Krakow as a city is a perfect supplement to your visit to Auschwitz. It will give you a far more dynamic picture of what Poland was like before, during, and after WWII. Nicole and I elected to take a tour out of Krakow. We started our day by going to Schindler’s Factory. I would highly suggest doing these two things together. If only because they truly supplement each other. The memories from the factory will still be fresh when you are walking through Auschwitz. The cost of the tour covered the bus ride, a guided tour of both Auschwitz and Dachau, and a scaring movie. If you have a car you should definitely drive yourself but my one piece of advice is to elect for a guide. The guides are all very blunt, have been trained and attended many meetings with survivors of Auschwitz, and have a deep history with Poland. They will absolutely enrich your experience.
I am going to limit my comments on the actual camp, mainly because I think that every person that visits experiences it very differently. My main thought about the camp is this:            the air is thick. In a way that I have never experienced before. Every breath feels for lack of a better description either labored or like it’s filled with ghosts. It’s thick with what happened and it’s thick with what the visitors are feeling.

You feel what happened here everywhere.

It was moving. It was revelatory and it was impossible to describe.

the plaque that at Dachau has been translated into 30+ languages
the plaque that at Dachau has been translated into 30+ languages

 

Famous Entrance Sign
Famous Entrance Sign
Outside Auschwitz.
Outside Auschwitz.
The train tracks going into Dachau camp. People familiar with Elie Wiesel may recognize this walk where Oprah interviewed him.
The train tracks going into Dachau camp. People familiar with Elie Wiesel may recognize this walk was where Oprah interviewed him and where Elie was a prisoner. 

 

Should you go?

You cannot visit Poland and not visit Auschwitz. It would be not only a true waste of a trip but it would not allow you to understand Poland. Polish history and the current issues facing the country are so intertwined with what occurred at these camps that you will have a very shallow impression of this country if you do not visit.
You may think it will be “to hard or to emotional” as I heard one person say while in Krakow. However, that is the point. It’s suppose to be hard and emotional. They have preserved it for a reason.

If you make this visit, I hope it enriches you, touches you, and really makes you think.
I know it did for me.

 

Confused Cassie: Salzburg Edition.

This week’s Confused Cassie involves a picture taken at O’Malley’s pub during my joyous night out.

uhh....whaaa.....
uhh….whaaa…..

It remains unclear what the hell happened to my hair in this 5 second snapshot. All pictures proceeding it and following it my hair is of normal volume. Was there a sudden gust of wind? Did I have someone suddenly ravish me? <<–(This did not happen…to my knowledge.) Did someone grab one side of my blond locks and just fluff?
So many questions. No answers.
When I asked my friend John if he had any potential reasons he responded with, “You always have crazy hair.” Thanks asshole.

I guess it will remain a mystery why it appears that I just went through a wind tunnel or had some very hot sex.  Whatever maybe my dream came true and Danny from O’Malley’s finally fell in love with me and I was so overwhelmed with happiness I blacked out for 5 seconds.
Let’s hope it was that.

A Joyous Week in Salzburg.

Some weeks I really am terrible at keeping up with this. BUT loyal readers it is purely because I have just been having one of those kinds of weeks. The kind that is so happy you don’t have time for anything extra except to revel in it.

My Salzburg family and I have gotten along unbelievably well, the sun has finally begun to shine, I have gone on some spectacular runs, was offered a position on my college newspaper for next year, and had one of the most fun nights out. Despite two term papers and finals approaching, I feel light. What a remarkable thing (unprecedented) and I am so thankful and blessed! This is the first week in nearly 4 weeks I will have not been traveling and I am having an incredible time with my Salzy family in the city that I love.

Needless to say, I am on a high off of life.

Notice my glee!
Notice my glee! (That smile is not just the alcohol talking)

What I really wanted to share with you are some of the pictures from my various runs this week. The sun has finally begun to shine in Salzburg and I have been focusing on my fitness. I ran up the Kapuzinerburg three times this week! Each time reduced me to some sort of heaving wildebeest but the view luckily was worth it.

stunning.
stunning. 
Running through the woods. Very Walden-esque
Running through the woods. Very Walden-esque
I have at this point managed to look human again.
I have at this point managed to look human again.

 

On Thursday, my Salzy family and I realized this may be the last opportunity for us to attend karaoke night at our beloved pub (because of finals and other other obligations.) so we hit the town with delightful results.

Shell and I before leaving. GLEEFUL.
Shell and I before leaving. GLEEFUL.

The real star of the night however, was my friend Kelsey who after watching this hysterical video:

Decided to replicate her own version with AWESOME results:

She is way to cool to hang out with me.
She is way to cool to hang out with me.
If this doesn't sell you on how much we had. I don't know what will.
If this doesn’t sell you on how much we had. I don’t know what will.

This week has been all amounts of magic. It’s weeks like this that you really realize just how blessed and lucky you are. I spent an enormous amount of time this week just reflecting on my new family, friends, and experiences in this past 8 months.

I have never felt so blessed before.

 

 

 

 

 

Krakow Photo Fill in.

My past weekend in Krakow was an absolutely wonderful and simultaneously haunting 3 days. Krakow is a city that bears its age and it’s history on the surface. It is both beautiful and ugly for multitudes of reasons. You can feel it’s history everywhere. 

For these reasons, and so many more, I had an incredible time here. It was incredibly reflective, possesses the greatest museum I have ever visited *Schindler’s Factory* (high praise), absurdly fun nightlife, the most beautiful pottery, and delicious food to put in said beautiful pottery.

Here’s my photo fill in of my (much to short!) stay in Krakow:

Our night train on the way to Krakow.
Our night train on the way to Krakow.
Wawel Royal Castle. The views of the city from here are beautiful.
Wawel Royal Castle. The views of the city from here are beautiful.
Historic Jewish Quarter.
Historic Jewish Quarter.
Lock bridge heading to the Jewish Quarter.
Lock bridge heading to the Jewish Quarter.
Haunting memorial of empty chairs at deportation site. Jewish Quarter.
Haunting memorial of empty chairs at deportation site. Jewish Quarter.
The famous Schindler's List
The famous Schindler’s List
Krakow nightlife at it's finest.
Krakow nightlife at it’s finest. Classiest.
White Brioche with sausage. YUM.
White Brioche with potato. YUM.
Pierogi stuffed with cabbage and mushrooms. YUM YUM YUM.
Pierogi stuffed with cabbage and mushrooms. YUM YUM YUM.

Still to come: Visiting Auschwitz. Stay tuned.

Excuse me while I go unpack, drink coffee out of my beautiful new mug!, and try to warm up Krakow is cold!