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Time in Germany Exceeding Expectations for Restuccia

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I feel like I say this every time I write a blog but holy eff, it’s the middle of November already? I have been in Germany for a little over two months now and things are starting to normalize ever since I had surgery on my wrist about 8 weeks ago. After many trips to the hospital and physical therapy, I am finally cleared to use my wrist in all activities although the doctor recommended that I stay away from sports with physical contact. Strug. I will be skating for the first time tonight since the incident. I’m really excited to get back on the ice with the girls so hopefully all goes well!

Ok so enough of the boring stuff. Since my last blog in early October, I have gone on three amazing trips! I traveled to Southern France, Salzburg, and Croatia. All of these places definitely exceeded my expectations. 

In the beginning of October, Jess and I flew into Nice, France where we resided for 5 days. In these 5 days, we made day trips to nearby cities. Upon our arrival, we explored the city of Nice. It was gorgeous so the first day we decided to chill at a beach bar along the Mediterranean and enjoy the warm weather along with a few cocktails. Out of all the Oceans, Seas, lakes, etc, the Mediterranean is by far the prettiest body of water I’ve witnessed yet. The color of the water is an indescribable blue-ish green that is impossible to take your eyes off of. After the beach bar, Jess and I went to a wine tasting class. I don’t know if it was the best idea to get drinks before this, but whatever. Life is more fun when you are tipsy. Fortunately, we were the only two who had signed up for this class so we were the all star students of the day regardless of our form. We learned how to properly drink/taste the wine. It’s an interesting process. So first, the wine is poured and then you swirl and sniff. One would think the next step is to sip and swallow. No. Wrong. You then sip the wine but you do not swallow. You do this weird sucking in of air while the wine is in your mouth and it makes this awful noise. The purpose of this is to expose the wine to as much air as possible and to get the wine to all areas of your palate so you can taste all aspects of the wine. Personally, I think the wine tastes worse when you do this. But anyway, after you swirl, sniff, sip, and suck in, and then you are then free to either swallow or spit the wine out in a bowl. We sampled one champagne, one rose, one white wine, and three red wines. Our instructor told us all about the best regions for growing grapes and how the weather affects the taste of the wines. Even when grapes are grown year after year in the same location, the wine tastes different than years past. All and all, the class was awesome and well worth the $50. We learned a lot and our instructor gave us the three bottles of red wine we had opened during the tasting!

From Nice, we made day trips to Antibes, Monaco, Cannes, Grasse, and Eze. In Antibes, we went to the Picasso museum and an absinth museum. Both were really cool but the absinth tasted like black licorice which I think is nasty. In Monaco, we each lost 10 euros in the slots at Monte Carlo. So worth it! Monte Carlo is one of the ritziest places I have been to. There are yachts aligning the whole coast, people wear high-end clothing, and the pricey cars you see driving the streets are out of this world. Cannes had a sandy beach so Jess and I decided to catch some rays along the coast on our visit. Grasse was a very interesting city. Interesting in a bad way and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. We went there because all the brochures talked up its perfumery. Long story short, it was a sketchy area and the perfumes weren’t anything special. Last but not least, we went to Eze Village which is a village built into the rock of a mountain nearly touching the clouds. Apparently in the 1400’s, people would go to this village to escape the plague since it was high up and secluded. All these cities were great… except Grasse. Jess and I had a fantastic trip all around.

Towards the end of October, Jess and I made a weekend trip to visit our old Boston College teammate Kristina Brown, aka Brownie, who plays for a team in Salzburg, Austria. The first day there, Brownie toured us around the city and took us to a castle that started being built in the year 180. Salzburg is a really small, clean city. It is beautifully built along a river and easy to navigate so I can see why Brownie loves it so much. After a long day of touring, she cooked us an amazing chicken dinner! Brownie is an awesome cook and is working as a chef in a restaurant a few miles from her apartment. She aspires to open her own restaurant one day so hopefully when I’ washed up and unemployed chillin with my college degree, she will hire me as a dish girl or maybe even a waitress! On our second day in Austria, we took a day trip to a city by the name of Hallstatt. Hallstatt is a cute little city built alongside the alps and a huge lake. While in Hallstatt, we took a group tour through one of the oldest salt mines in history. It was a really different but fun experience. We had to put on these goofy red jumpsuit onesies that the salt miners wore to keep warm because you go deep inside the mountain where it’s dark and the temperature drops about 20 degrees. A lot of work was put into fetching salt back in the day but things are a lot easier today due to better technology. After the salt mine tour, we rented a small motorboat to take on the lake. The boat looked like it would go really fast but I think we hit top speed at 2 mph. You win some and you lose some. On our third day, we took a cable car up to the top of Untersberg Mountain. Since we were about 1800 meters above sea level, you could see all of Salzburg and we had a great panoramic view of the area. Also, we were pretty much touching the clouds!

Last but not least, this past weekend I went to Split, Croatia with Jess, Brownie, Brooke Ammerman, and Jordan Brickner. Since it’s November, it is considered the off-season for Croatia, which actually worked out in our favor. It was sunny with temperatures ranging from 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, which made for good outdoors weather. On our first day, we rented bicycles and biked along the coastline and up to the top of hill/mountain. Around each bend, there were beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea and islands off the coast. It was so warm that we went into the ocean and caught some rays on one of the beaches! On our second day, we took a sailboat out to see for 4 hours. We had a skipper and everything! He let us all steer the boat while he was manning the sails. Brownie was by far the best skipper. She was at the wheel for a good twenty minutes and when the skipper came back, he told her she was on autopilot the whole time. On our third and final day, we saved the best for last and went white water rafting down the Cetina River. We had two rafts that were each made for three people. The one raft had two madels (the word for ladies in German) and our raft guide while the other was manned by three of the madels. The hardest part about rafting is being the rudder who is the person sitting in the back that is in charge of the steering. We all took turns in different spots and switched boats. While I was steering, I ran us straight into a rock and our raft capsized! First Jordan fell out (I’m convinced she jumped out on her own because she likes being dramatic), then Jess, and then me. Jordan got stuck in between the rock and the raft, Jess was under the raft, and luckily I was unharmed although my paddle started floating down the river. Thank god we were wearing wetsuits because the water was pretty chilly. Whenever we got cold, we tried to pee in them to warm us up! Jess was by far the best at that. It took us a little over two hours to get to our end point. White water rafting was one of my favorite things I have ever done on a trip! Throughout our time in Split, we ate a lot of traditional Croatian food. Our favorite was the Pasticada, which was gnocchi with beef and sauce. Some of the madels ordered this every night while others were adventurous and ordered different kinds of seafood. All the restaurants we went to were so cheap and the servers were so friendly! One night we all had a main dish, desert, ordered a liter of red wine, a half liter of white wine, and beer and then our server gave us three varieties of complimentary bottles of grappa (a popular liquor in Croatia) and about four bottles of beer. When we got the check, we all paid the equivalent to 12 US dollars including tip. It was outrageous. I think we were our server’s entertainment because he drank with us and let us plug our ipod into the speakers. We had a great shuffle of late 90’s music blasting. All in all, I absolutely loved Croatia and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to travel in Europe. So amazing. 

Going on three trips in a month and a half was fabulous. I am having the time of my life and I’m continuing to live the dream! My next big trip is to the USA!! I’m going home to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving since I have at least three more weeks of not being able to play in games because of my wrist. I’m really excited to see my family and friends and feast on some turkey and sweet potato casserole. 

Sorry this was super long! I’ll try to do boring things this next month to keep my blog shorter.

Ciao Ciao for now!

Mary =)

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