Day 108: A blog about the Netherlands, Italy, Croatia, Prague and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude

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Wow, been some time since I last posted. There has been so much going on that I’ve neglected writing. But here we are again, and there’s so much to tell! As the title says, after Barcelona I’ve been to the Netherlands to visit Jussi, to Italy and Croatia with Sofia and to Prague with Andrea and Lucrezia.

Graz has started to really feel like home and the everyday life has kicked in. I really love living here in this amazing student town where it’s easy to travel to other countries. Uni is pretty chill, since I noticed that I can’t utilize half of my studies here in my Finnish degree. But then again I’ve almost done all of my courses already, so don’t have to worry about them too much anymore. So, there is gonna be lots of travelling in the future too!

To start from a month ago. I went to visit Jussi in the Netherlands for one week. He’s living in Nijmegen, so I got to know that great student city at the same time. Getting to Nijmegen was a bit of a project tho. I flew from Vienna to Düsseldorf and was supposed to take a train to Nijmegen from there. Just to warn others not to make the same mistake as me: the trains don’t leave from inside the airport, but u have to take a shuttle train to the airport train station that takes about 10min. So obviously I didn’t get that and missed my train..

Eventually I got to the Netherlands though and I fell in love with the country. Everyone is so polite and everyone speaks amazing English. I didn’t know the Dutch language was so close to English before!

IMG_0819I went to Holland on 6.4. which was a Friday. On that evening Jussi had booked a table at an amazing restaurant in Nijmegen and we went to have a nice dinner. Jussi ordered a fish, which came as a whole thing and the waiter was kind enough to show us how it’s to be eaten (properly. Jussi had bought us some whole-day-train-tickets in advance. They were á 12e in the offer and we could use them in the entire country. So Saturday and Sunday went exploring the different cities of the Netherlands.

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On Saturday we went to Utrecht and Amsterdam. Utrecht is a pretty city about an hour from Amsterdam. It had some beautiful old buildings and all in all was very similar to Amsterdam.

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That day was the first time I visited Amsterdam and it truly is a cool city. What I didn’t however like that much were the insane masses of tourists. Wow. The streets were packed! Luckily we went a little outside the centrum to De Pijp to meet with the girl who I’m renting my room from here in Graz – Katharina. We had a lovely lunch with her and her friend and headed to the park after that to have a beer and strawberries.

We went back to Nijmegen to sleep and on the next day we went to Rotterdam and Haag. And guys – I LOVE Rotterdam. It’s such a modern city with a nice vibe, beautiful new buildings and lots of good restaurants. And don’t let me even get started on the river. How cool is it that you can order a boat taxi to get from one place to another? It’s seriously a city where I could consider myself living in. Haag was very nice too, but it was maybe a bit more touristic. A nice beach holiday would work there since they have a massive beach (which I didn’t know about!).

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The Rotterdam market hall can be seen a little bit on the right side of the photo underneath. It had so many different options for an awesome lunch that I highly recommend going there! The day was also insanely warm so we got to just sit on the grass for a few hours. And have beer of course.

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IMG_1154On Tuesday Jussi’s father and his wife came to visit us in Holland. Was very nice to have our sponsors in town and have them take us to good restaurants and pubs. We also went to watch a couple of soccer games in the evenings! I have decided now that my favourite team is Bayern München, so it forces me to follow the sport even a little bit and I maybe won’t die of boredom when the two soccer maniacs wanna watch games (Jussi and his dad I mean).

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On Thursday we went to the Erasmus student gala and had some fun with the photo props. The night went on for a long time and it was a blast. On Friday it was then time to fly back to Austria, just in time to catch the train to Italy on the next morning.

On Saturday morning at 8 am I took the train from Graz to start my trip to Italy and my bestie Sofia! She had flown there from Finland and we were to meet in Bologna. Train ride went well and since I hadn’t been to Italy other than Trieste yet, I was anxious to see what it had to offer. I have to mention now also why I love taking the train here in Austria so much. The views are almost always completely breath taking. There are so many mountains, rivers and pretty little villages that you can’t get bored on a train ride here.

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And I most certainly wasn’t disappointed this time either. The nature in the northern Italy is so green I don’t believe I’ve ever seen something like that.

 

The trip with Sofia was unbelievable to say the least. We first stayed in Bologna for three days and experienced the city’s culture, food, views and vibe.

We had an awesome waiter in our first restaurant who made sure that we got enough prosecco and limoncello. And our pizzas at a fair price. In Italy we just had to eat out all the time since the food was simply to die for (as you can probably imagine). Bologna gave us beautiful weather and I really liked the city. And just be ready for all the food photos, because there are a lot of them.

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IMG_1470From Bologna we also did a day trip to RIccione, since Sofia had wanted to visit it sinceher summer exchange in Bologna in high school. We were slightly disappointed with Rimini and Riccione, because they were basically full of only tourists. There wasn’t that much authenticity to them and I would probably choose another place to have a beach holiday in Italy.

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On Tuesday we left Bologna to visit Venice. Oh Venice, you beautiful enchanting city. It really does have a completely special kind of charm with all the canals and boats. It was a bit of a cooler day, but we luckily found our cheap wines at the local cafes and spent the day well.

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In the afternoon we left Venice and headed to Trieste. The city had stolen my heart already before on an Erasmus trip and I had to bring Sofia there. It was such a shame that we only had one day in Trieste (and too little time in general). But it was still awesome.

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From Trieste we continued our way to the beautiful, beautiful Croatia. The next two nights would be spent on the coast in Pula and after that we would be heading to Opatija. The Croatian coast is probably the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I guess the photos will show you what I’m talking about.

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Pula is a fascinating historic city with a lot of interesting things to see. The main attraction is the Colosseum and I highly recommend going there to anyone who’s planning a trip to Pula!

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Our AirBnB was right at the sea and we could see the lights of some amazing sunsets there. On the first night we ate out in a restaurant near our house, but to be honest, Croatian foods is not really too special after having eaten Italian food for four days. We cooked on the second night. Good thing about Croatia is tho that it is a pretty cheap land.. So you won’t have to pay too much for a dinner 😉

 

And then came Opatija, the big surpriser of our trip. We were meant to stay there for only one night but as soon as we stepped into the city we knew we had to stay there for the whole weekend. I’m so glad we did, because this is a place where I will be coming back to.

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This was the view from our first apartment. Really. Look at that. That is paradise.

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Getting back from Croatia to Graz was much less fun than going there. The borders have very tight control because of the immigrant crisis and the buses are almost always late. We travelled for almost double the time to Graz that we were supposed to. I’m still glad that Sofia got to be here for a day and see our cute apartment and this great city.

Writing this a couple of weeks afterwards I really miss that trip, it’s been one of the most amazing in my life so far. And it’s just so great to be able to meet with your best friends when you otherwise wouldn’t see them for a half a year.

And since I love travelling so much, we went for an extempore Prague trip with some of my exchange girls on the next week. Because, WHY NOT?

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I may have slept through my wake up clock to the 5am bus to Prague and I may have had to book new tickets to get there on the same day. I don’t care though, Prague is one of my favourite cities and I always love visiting is! And it’s also a pretty darn cheap place so that’s one good reason too to go.

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This was at St. Martin, a highly recommended restaurant in Prague. The price range is awesome and the food is to die for.

This “appetizer soup” was 3 e. How good is that.

 

 

 

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The next weekend I just stayed at home and enjoyed Graz with my friends. It’s pretty cool to hang here, too. The castle of Eggenberg is a must see for a visitor, it’s such a beautiful place with the big garden, 500 year old castle and the peacocks walking around.

At the moment I’m just grateful for all the amazing people that I have around me and all the incredible experiences I get to have here. This is an exceptional time of my life. Next week Jussi is coming here for a visit and my roommate Michi is finally leaving to her internship in Berlin. The crappy thing about getting new friends is that you also have to say goodbye to them. Luckily we’re already planning the next time we’ll meet with Michi – probably in Finland.

Until next adventures! Have a great week xx

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