Right now, I am snug and cozy in my bed at the Hilton Madrid by the airport. In less than twelve hours, I’ll be taking off yet again — only this time I’m coming home.
Time must have sped up these past two weeks. Wasn’t it like yesterday that we met up in a Paris train station and started our European adventure?
It’s weird — Cannes was two weeks long as well and by the end of it, I felt like I had been there for months. Same amount of time and I feel like I’ve just barely begun. Funny how that works.
Our last few days honestly couldn’t have been better. We took an early train from Budapest arriving in Salzburg around 1 in the afternoon. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was. We were barely staying 24 hours — just long enough to do The Original Sound of Music Tour and basically recreate the entire movie ourselves.
The Sound of Music is one of my all-time favorite films. Probably tied for first place with Dead Poets Society, honestly. It holds such a special place in my heart and visiting all the locations where Julie Andrews herself stood half a century ago was indescribable.
The tour was awesome. It started at 2pm and lasted four hours and took us around to most of the major locations. The tour guide was full of fun facts and trivia, but not to brag or anything, there was nothing I didn’t already know (chances of moving to Salzburg and spending the rest of my life giving Sound of Music tours: 100%). They even played the soundtrack as we chugged along through the Austrian countryside, watching those famous hills roll by our window.
And yes of course I was singing at the top of my lungs. No shame.
We got to see the lake where the famous boat scene was filmed. And take pictures by the gazebo from “16 Going on 17” (moved to a different location from where it was filmed). Charlotte and I even went over to the little road with the yellow wall and recreated “I Have Confidence In Me” scene. We went all the way to Mondsee to see the church where the wedding scene was filmed. And ended it all with paying tribute to all four scenes filmed in the Mirabell Garden: the Do Re Mi fountain, the high note stairs, the dwarf statue, and the archway.
The tour gave us a great overview of where everything was located in the city so from the gardens, we walked back into Old Town. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we went over to see the Do Re Mi bridge and then walked all the way up to Nonnberg Abbey. I even got a picture by the gates where the children go to see Maria after she leaves.
The views from the Abbey were stunning and definitely worth going up to see. It was late evening by then so we couldn’t take the cable car further up, which I hear has even more amazing views but hey, that just gives me a reason to come back.
We spent the last hour of daylight wandering around Old Town, eating Mozart Balls (MUST TRY!) and taking in the beautiful buildings and the rich cultural history this tiny little city holds.
We finally made it back to our hotel past 9pm with plans to wake up early and wander through Old Town a bit more. Like all our plans to wake up early and do things, it fell through as soon as we hit the snooze button. Luckily we had seen most everything the night before and since our train wasn’t leaving until 2pm, we took advantage of the afternoon and grabbed some food to go and sat by the river to eat and relax.
The train to Prague was exhausting, or maybe I was just getting tired of trains in general. There were some massive thunderstorms causing delays and we finally rolled in past 9pm. My dad had a ton of extra points and hooked us up at the Hilton Prague which was unreal. Literally just what we needed at the tail end of our trip. To be pampered and spoiled by warm beds and fluffy bathrobes and a hot shower and A+ hospitality.
We went down to the 24-hour Cafe Bistro and enjoyed a late dinner before collapsing in our beds.
That was yesterday. Today I had a flight from Prague back to Madrid at 3:30pm so we actually did wake up early and after enjoying the most incredible complimentary breakfast, we headed out to “Czech” Prague off our list (badam tshhh thanks ladies and gentlemen I’ll be here all night).
I had been to Prague already two years ago when I was living in London but it was nice to revisit the city for a few hours, especially in the summertime which makes such a huge difference. I was surprised at how well I remembered my way around. Our first stop was the Clock Plaza to see the Astronomical Clock and from there we walked through Old Town to the Charles Bridge. Just as beautiful as I remembered.
The only thing I hadn’t gotten to see on my last visit was the John Lennon Wall so we did that next before taking the hike up to the Castle. To no one’s surprise, Prague is even more beautiful in the summer. This time there were leaves on the trees and flowers were in full bloom and everything was even more vibrant and gorgeous than before. I led Charlotte on an abridged version of the Castle since we were pressed for time, taking us through to see the Cathedral and ending with the vineyards on the way down.
That’s Prague in a nutshell, though there is certainly so much more to see. I wish I could have stayed a bit longer.
We walked all the way back to our hotel where I finished packing everything off and after a sad goodbye to my wonderful travel buddy set off solo to catch a shuttle to the airport.
Before I knew it, I was landing in Madrid and checking in to the hotel and pampering myself with a hot shower and comfy bathrobe and checking in to my flight to Miami tomorrow. Just like that, it’s all over.
I feel so beyond lucky to have had this opportunity. There is nothing like jumping out of your comfort zone and diving into new cultures to completely alter your perspective on the world.
Life is really uncertain at the moment what with the job search and trying to relocate to NYC. This weird limbo that I’ve been in from the past few months is only going to hit me harder when I return home. But now I have this tremendous experience at Cannes behind me and so many contacts to reach out to and meet and so many connections yet to be made. I know I’m coming back stronger and more experienced and it’s only uphill from here.
And when the climb takes you through a few weeks at home in beautiful Miami surrounded by family, well… That’s not a bad view at all.
Keep your eyes and hearts open friends. Until next time!