Most spring breaks consist of going some place warm and sitting on the beach so that you can debrief from school and work and just relax. Well that wasn’t the case for me this year, and it turned out to be one of the best spring breaks yet!
At the beginning of my semester here in Ireland, Andy Steevs came and talked to us at orientation about a company that he had developed called WSA (Weekend Student Adventures). WSA takes weekend trips throughout Europe, and they also offer two spring break trips. One spring break trip is to Italy, and the other is a tour of central Europe, which is the one I participated in.
We started our spring break with going to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day, then we flew to Budapest, Hungary St. Patty’s Day night, next we drove to Krakow, Poland, then onto Prague, Czech Republic, and finally Berlin, Germany. You’re probably like well that is five countries, but you were already in Ireland, so does that really count? No it doesn’t. In order to get from Budapest to Krakow, we needed to drive through Slovakia. So I mean although we didn’t spend the night, we still drove through another country for many hours, we even had two pit stops, so it definitely counts!
What a busy spring break it was, but it was so cool. Although sometimes it is nice to be able to debrief and just relax on the beach, this spring break was filled with history. Normally I would be like ehh whatever, but it ended up being really cool and I learned so much.
I absolutely loved Budapest! It was such a cool city with so much to do. One night that we were there, we got to go on a boat cruise down the river for a few hours which was super pretty and so fun! The next day we got to go caving on the “Pest” side of Budapest (it used to be two different cities separated by the Danube River). I would honestly go again in a heartbeat if I could. That was such an unreal experience and it was so much fun!
Krakow was a super cute city. I wish we would have had more time in the city, but what we did get to see was still super cool. On the full day that we were in Poland, we got the chance to take a bus ride to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps. I can’t even put into words the feels that place brought. It was very emotional seeing everything (since it’s all still basically in tact from when Hitler was using it) but very cool at the same time. We had a guided tour around the camps, so I was able to learn so much while walking around. I’ll never forget that experience, that’s forsure.
Next city was Prague, and I think this was my favorite place I’ve been to so far (I know I say that with every place I go to!). Prague was the city that we were in the longest, but I honestly could have stayed there and just walked around and explored for weeks on end. It was such a beautiful city with all of the buildings and the river and the panoramic views, absolutely amazing! There was so much to do in the city, but for the limited time that we were there, I think we were able to see and do a lot. In the main square, they have the largest astronomical clock, and we were able to climb to the top.
Once you got to the top the panoramic views of the city were breathtaking. It reminded me a lot of the views from the top of the clock tower in Florence, Italy. Our tour guide took us to the John Lennon wall and surprised us all with spray paint so that we were able to paint the legendary wall which was an experience in it’s own. Although the wall is just graffiti, it’s so beautiful and was super cool to see in person. They have this legend in Prague, where if you rub the gold dog on the Charles bridge, it means you’re going back to Prague, so I guess I’ll be back one day! ☺
Berlin, Germany was the last stop of our Central Europe tour. Berlin was a really cool city, just like the rest were, but it was also very different than I had expected it to be. I didn’t really think about how modern the city was going to be, but since it was basically flattened during the war, all of the buildings had to be rebuilt and are now reconstructions. The reconstructions of the city were of course gorgeous as well, it just wasn’t what I expected it to. We also didn’t have too much time in the city because our flight left early on Easter Sunday, so we weren’t able to explore that day, but we did get to see part of the Berlin wall which was still standing which was pretty cool as well.
All in all, although it wasn’t your typical spring break, it was still a really good break and I really enjoyed it. But, it is really nice to be back in Ireland, not living out of a suitcase anymore. It’s so crazy to think we only have seven weeks left here, the time is flying by and I know that the rest of the trip will fly by just as much!