Sunday, July 13, 2008

this is it!

i am back in ostrava with my friend laura to hang out with her my last few days in europe. tomorrow i am taking the train to prague for my 6am flight tuesday morning... i cant believe how quickly these three months have gone and how fortunate i am for all these incredible experiences. as of this week my cell phone will be re-activated so you can be expecting to hear from me very very soon.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

hello again

sorry for such sporadic posts and terrible spelling. since i last wrote i spent some time in paris at a flat all to myself, a few days in switzerland and a week on a roadtrip/camping trip with some new friends i met in gryon. we went hiking and swimming and picnicing in the mountains, the black forest, and in some really beautiful parks. it was so much fun and exactly the kind of traveling i needed at this point in my trip. that said, i will be back in the states sooner than i can believe! i am anxious to see all of you and to hear how life has been in the states the past three months.

much love!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

a few pictures...



the cliffs! <3


granada & the alhambra

much love.

Monday, June 23, 2008


today i am leaving the lovely city of berlin.  i spent the past week with my friend dominique who i met while traveling in ireland.  we had such a great time and she showed me so many amazing places!  we rode her scooter around the graffiti-covered jasmine-scented post-communist streets of east berlin, where she grew up.  we checked out tons of great cafes, art bars, a club that used to be a nazi hide out, saw a few matches in the eurocup and went cycling a lot!  its been so great and i am so thankful to have met such a wonderful and generous friend!!  today i head to the netherlands to ride bikes some more and check it out for a few days before going to paris.  

hope you are all doing great, i miss you all!

much love.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

italy, canoe trip, berlin

since i last wrote about where i have been, a lot has happened... i spent an incredible week in italy and went on a really fun canoe trip in southern bohemia and then met up with my friend dominique in berlin!  i cant believe how quickly the time is going...  one month left!!

i found out the other day that i got accepted to the masters program at UW!

more later, much love!

xo, mary

Sunday, June 15, 2008

technical difficulties

my apologies for faking you out with the link that was apparently not functional. i stayed up until 4:30am on an italian computer trying to post them for you, so i hate to say it, but the chances of them being re-posted are slim to none. maybe later, or maybe you should just come to seattle next month and have coffee with me and i'll show you pictures then.

anyways, things have been lovely as usual and i am enjoying everything incredibly. there have been so many beautiful people, places and experiences the past two months that as i was sitting on top of a mountain looking over lago di como in italy, i was almost certain my heart was going to explode.

"your heart is the size of the ocean -
go find the gem hidden in your depths!
your open mouth cries like a seashell:
that heart is too small for me!
how could it be too small for you,
that heart contains the whole universe!"

it does.

Monday, June 9, 2008


here is a link to a few pictures from the past month. there is just one from (almost) every city, so i will just have to show the rest when its more possible. the one below is from budapest and now i owe you some from italy!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

barcelona & andorra

hey all... since i last wrote i spent about four days in barcelona and then the past week in andorra. barcelona was great, its really set up to keep tourists in certain areas and it completely works. i left there feeling like i didnt get a flavor of what barcelona is really like at all. but thats not to say that i didnt love all the museums and architecture and parks there! i went to a lot of amazing museums of some of my favorite artists and saw some incredible work by gaudi throughout the city. after i left there i went to andorra to meet up with my friend belen. i´ve spent the past week here cooking, hiking, dancing and relaxing. its been really nice!! but its kind of a little vortex here in the mountains and i´ve spent way longer here than i thought i would. anyways next up is italy -- and i should get moving to figure out some train times.

looking forward to seeing you all again next month!

lots of love.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


my top three favorite places i´ve been so far include granada, kilkenny and krakow. granada was absolutely amazing... i settled into the pace of life, the language, the music, the city so easily... i was staying at a gooney hostel but in the coolest neighborhood in the city. it was incredibly difficult to find but very worth it. each morning i would get up and walk around the corner to the cafe for a coffee, then stop in the bakery and by the fruit market to get breakfast on my way to the mirador de san nicolas. this is a look-out point over the city facing the alhambra... lots of musicians and kids and dogs running around. so while i was in granada i ran into a couple that i met in madrid and we spent quite a bit of time hanging out. one day we went hiking out in the hills to explore some caves that are there... people live in them and have their own little village, it was really cool. beautiful views and nice to have a hike. that night we went to the other side and went to see some flamenco performed in the caves. it was incredible. i felt so lucky to be there.. afterwards we were convinced to come back into the cave-bar where we had tapas earlier and i am so glad we went in! we were with about 20 other people being seranaded by local flamenco legends.... i´m not doing this justice at all, but i´m paying dearly for these moments online so i will have to leave it at that. i´m in barcelona now soaking in the art scene and thursday i head to andorra to visit my friend belen. more from me then!

much love!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


since i left madrid i spent a few days in cordoba y sevilla. my spanish thankfully came rushing back to me around day two in spain so things have been much easier than they would have been normally. i dont really know how tourists get around here without speaking spanish. not many people speak english and i know i´ve run into some really complicated scenarios with my rail pass and using the trains here in general. anyways it has been great weather and beautiful things to see... as usual i´ve met some really interesting people too. now i´m in granada and i am staying in a ´hostel´in with a few other people at the top of one of the hills here in the city. it has an incredible view but it was insane to find since its in the labyrinth quarter -- the oldest part of granada. since i´ve been in spain i´ve had paella, chocolate y churros and listened to traditional guitar music... lots to see and do still!

lots of love

Friday, May 16, 2008


this city is crushingly beautiful. i didnt walk around much after my flight yesterday because i was so exhausted and needed to take it easy for a bit. so when i went out this morning i seriously had to stop and sit down a few times because everything is so overwhelmingly gorgeous. this happened to me many times throughout the day since i spent most of it at the prado. it was really amazing to be there! i found a lovely vegetarian cafe, a huge amazing park and some nice little coffee shop later on too. my spanish is crap though and its so frusterating. i really hope it gets better...!

pictures soon, i promise.

much love,

Thursday, May 15, 2008

fancy some tea, love?

ireland is so beautiful!! i have loved the time i spent here and have met tons of absolutely incredible people. i became great friends with a pop singer from berlin and had plenty of pints with local people all over the country. i've been listening to live music most every night, drinking bulmers, eating fish and chips, going to the cliffs of moher, exploring tiny little towns, appreciating colorful doors and playing guitar with an australian who helped take care of me when i was feeling sick. i'm catching a flight to madrid today and i am so excited to be done with flying until i come back to the states. which reminds me, happy anniversary to me!!! i left one month ago today, and for all of you who are just dying for me to come back, that means you´ve only got two more months! :)


Thursday, May 8, 2008


i took the train from budapest to wurzburg which originally was nowhere in the plans... it was a very last minute decision while trying to juggle other arrangements and not get stranded in the process... i'll spare you the details but everything ended up working out amazingly! i had a really nice time in wurzburg, its a small town along the famous romantic road; to me it felt like the midwest with castles. all day i rode around on a rented bike, wearing a dress, carrying some fresh bread from a tiny bakery tied to the back. i spent hours along the river main, it was so nice! then the next morning i took an early train to munich. it worked out so well, i got to meet up with my friend marita for coffee and then explored with her and some people she met in the city. thankfully she just moved into her new apartment so i had a place to stay that night! so then this morning i took the train to catch my plane to dublin! which is where i'll leave you until next time...

love, mary

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


i went to hungary with laura to hang out with her boyfriend david and visit the city;  two of their friends were there for the long weekend too.  we had a lot of fun but i felt like i barely scratched the surface of that huge and beautiful city.  we went to the baths, where there's about 10 different types of minerals and fountains and swirling whirl pools to soak in... we also went on a boat ride along the danube, to great cafes, listened in on some gipsy music, walked on margaret island, went to some major sightseeing spots and went to memento park where there is a collection of communist statues that were removed from the city.  i tried to post a few pictures but i'm using a german keyboard right now 
and somehow erased them all.  maybe next time...

much love.

Friday, May 2, 2008

poland pictures

as requested by a polish person i met, i am supposed to tell everybody i know that polar bears do NOT come from poland... here are a few photos from krakow:

my favorite accordian player

at wawel cathedral

at my nice hostel

the beautiful bookstore

the old cemetary in the jewish quarter

next door to jp2's childhood house

some street

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


i took the night train from vienna to krakow after a slightly unexpected delay. it turned out to be a really great one though because i finally got a chance to talk to my mom and dad on the phone... after i hung up with them i waited for a bit before heading out to my platform to figure the train out. its one of those that splits and goes in all different directions like in the cartoons, but i ended up in krakow safe and sound the next morning.

there's something really amazing about krakow and i immediately loved the city. it just draws you in with its markets and accordian players and beautiful architecture.... i really didnt want to leave. i spent my first day there jumping around between bakeries and parks and doing minimal sightseeing. i got a free coffee from a guy at a little cafe since the bills i had were too large for him to break, and when i came back later to pay for it we went for a walk on his break. i didnt even get his name but it was really nice talking with him. the next day i was staying at a different, beautiful little flower hostel and decided that since i was going to be coming home there that night instead of to a roomful of snoring greek guys, i could handle my plan for the day.... visiting auschwitz.

at first i was a little apprehensive about going since i'm freakishly sensitive but it ended up being a really incredible experience. i stopped into the train station to ask for directions and talked to a lady who got me signed up to be part of a tour group for not much more than i would have paid to go independently. i'd never been part of a tour before but i felt like this would be a place where i'd be happy to have a guide... i got picked up in this crazy little tourist bus and we set off to go pick up other people, but there was nobody at any of the hotels so it ended up being just me! so i got a private tour through auschwitz with a really great guide. i of course was crying from the get-go but eric, my guide was really sensitive in allowing me a bit of space, helping me move along and giving me a few shoulder squeezes here and there. after we were leaving one part of the museum i asked him what it was like for him to work there and he told me how its made him more optimistic... he used to be full of anger and now he's full of love... we sat out in the fields overlooking the camp and talked for a long time about the survivors he has met, the former nazi officer he talked with, about hope and the human spirit and resistance. i left there feeling more positive than i could have possibly imagined...

that evening i spent in the most amazing bookstore/cafe in the world! you know how when you have to go to the dentist or sit through something completely horrible and people annoyingly tell you to just "picture your happy place"?? well, for me, this place is it... its this fantastic flat with the walls entirely covered in books and you can just drink coffee and read for the rest of your life there... it was lovely. so my last day i saw some more of the sights around krakow, hung around by the river and had some gelato since i was missing my friend lynn, then took the train to meet up with laura. we headed to budapest together (on another crazy night train adventure) where i am now.

more from me later! take care of yourselves and each other.
love, mary

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

so full inside

since i last wrote a ton has happened, and honestly its as much for my benefit as yours to post these, so i'm going to get us caught up as much as i can for now...

vienna was absolutely amazing. there is something so decadent about it... i really loved it there, everything was so beautiful. i took the train from ostrava and checked into a really great hostel. as i was heading upstairs the girl at the desk asked if i would like to go to the belvedere because she had a free ticket i could take! so of course i did and i ran off to the museum and in to see the gorgeous klimt paintings, which you should really know, absolutely glow in person. i was pretty much the only person there and got to wander the gorgeous palace and its gardens... :)

after i got back to the hostel i met a girl who was in my room and we went to get a drink in the bar/kitchen in the lower level... i met a lot of cool people, a few of my favorites include the italian guy, paolo, who cooked an incredible pasta dinner... paolo insists that i come to italy and get married to him and that we live in his parents house and that it would be perfect. it took a lot of charades, guessing and enl-itali-anish just to figure those sentiments out! ha.. then i met a girl named belen from buenos aires and we had the most fun adventures the next day! she's so great and it felt like we'd always known each other. hopefully we will be meeting up in spain!

the day after that i had the loveliest time... i went to this amazing museum called the kunst haus wien. its this quirky, pretty, odd ball of a museum that houses the work of hundertwasser... i absolutely loved it! i will have to post pictures of it because i cant adequately explain the uneven sloping floors, the plants growing everywhere and the overall vibe the place has. after spending a few hours there i headed to a park, went to a great cafe with american-sized lattes (just as bill told me!) and then went to the opera. for two euros you get a spot in the standing room of the staatsoper but its worth a whole lot more than that. it was absolutely amazing... i saw la traviata, by one of my mom's favorites (giuseppe verdi) and it was so great -- i wish she could have been there.

my last day in vienna i went to see the vienna boys choir with a girl named marita. they were amazing of course but it was a really strange experience for me to be a tourist during a mass... afterwards we got some coffee and lunch and i helped her get across town with a years worth of luggage to meet her ride to munich... we got there and had either missed them or just couldnt find them (much more likely) so i helped her haul it all back into town to figure out a train to get her to munich on time... so then we went to the station and i ran to catch the train right as the cars were closing, but she made it! and then began my trip to krakow..... which, let me just tell you was quite the adventure... but i made it too, after spending the rest of the afternoon sleeping in the sun by a pond...

pictures from me later when i can upload them... write me an email if you can, i miss everybody!!

much love!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

a few pictures from prague

the charles bridge tower

laura and me in old town

walking by the river my first day in prague

a jazz group playing on the bridge (wish you were here christianna!!)

me, laura and amy in front of the scary limestone creature wall

prague castle

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


sunday i took the train to ostrava where my friend laura lives. i am glad to be returning to prague later on in my trip because it is such an amazing city and there is so much i still want to see (jason & mary: we have to go to kutna hora together!!). anyways, laura's town is really cute and i'm so happy to be here to see where she's been living and working.

today i had tea with a czech student named honza in an adorable little cajovna. he is going to be living in minnesota next year and wanted to hear all about it and what its like there. it was really sweet, i had a nice time talking to him. he wanted to know if he would see lots of wolves and bear in minny-sotta. it was so cute!

i've been hanging around lots of cajovnas and kavarnas (tea and coffee houses) here, just like i do in the states. overall i feel like my experience thus far has been thoroughly american and pretty restricted to the tourist tracks. thankfully i am getting more of a taste of the czech republic outside of prague and in mid-june will get to see more of southern bohemia on a canoe trip.

i'm staying in ostrava until thursday and then the next couple weeks for me include trips to krakow, vienna and salzburg. then exploring the black forest in germany and catching a flight to dublin! more from me later, and i promise pictures soon!

much love,

Friday, April 18, 2008

stow away

today i slept in... i was going to go to kutna hora but ended up missing my train. so i went to old town again and was going to find this cafe that was recommended to me yesterday. but i got incredibly lost and ended up tagging along secretly as a french tour group passed by the fountain i was sitting at. they didnt notice me really and i learned quite a bit! i understand french infinitely more than czech so that was kind of nice. i jumped off the tour at a landmark i recognized to get myself reoriented but then i heard the symphony rehearsing for their performance that evening so i sat in for a while and listened. afterwards i wandered through what i think might be my favorite part of the city, mala strana. its just south of the charles bridge and it is full of absolutely gorgeous old buildings, beautiful gardens and winding cobblestone streets along the river. looking forward to seeing my amazing friend laura tomorrow and to taking pictures of the herb look-a-likes i've seen (all the italian tourists wear big designer sunglasses, button down shirts, plaid pants, and fancy leather shoes...) since the people i'm staying with have internet i'll try to post some pictures this weekend before i leave their flat.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

dobry den!!

hello from prague! i arrived safely yesterday morning after flights that were all on time and making friends with a woman from nuremberg. i successfully dodged major jet lag, but am still feeling a bit tired. i have already seen a lot of the city and spent tons of time walking around soaking in the sounds and sights. its absolutely beautiful here! czech is a cool language and i've been trying it out but find myself speaking spanish... going to the grocery store this morning was a small accomplishment for sure :)

much love,

Monday, April 14, 2008

the beginning

i had my interview for the masters in teaching program at uw today. it went amazingly well and i'm so happy to have had a chance to meet with them before my trip...

...which starts tomorrow!! oh my gosh!!!!

more from me when i get to the czech republic, take care everybody!

much love,