Category Archives: Experiences

the LIST

I was challenged by my AP English teacher in my senior year of high school to create a life-list.  Challenge easily accepted. She encouraged us to not create a ‘bucket’ list as seeing as although we are currently nearing death continuously, we should not be in the mind-set that we need to rush through them because of our fate, but rather as because we want to live our life to the fullest.  Hence the Life List.

I am beyond proud of my list, and I WILL finish it.  So I present Kaitlyn Beth Clifford’s Life List circa 2011:


DO

  1. Herd Goats in Cambodia
  2. Attend Miss America Pageant
  3. ‘Clean the Sink’ by myself
  4. Attend the Oscars
  5. Class at Slimmons
  6. Make a Citizen’s Arrest
  7. See/Touch Queen Victoria’s Wedding Dress
  8. Read Little Women  {12/26/12}
  9. Read Gone With the Wind
  10. Read all the classics
  11. Learn words to ‘Imma Bee’
  12. Fake proposal in Disneyland
  13. Win a Contest (Radio, TV)
  14. Appear on a Talk Show
  15. Participate in a Game on Ellen
  16. Dance with Ellen
  17. Go on a Game Show
  18. Donate Blood
  19. Donate Plasma
  20. Ride a Helicopter (somewhere cool)
  21. Stalk Friends on Missions (doorbell  ditch)
  22. Join the Paparazzi
  23. Join a Nudist Colony
  24. Make a perfect chocolate covered strawberry
  25. Read all of Oprah’s Book Club Books
  26. Watch Every Disney Movie Made (in order)
  27. Win a trip off of Regis and Kelly
  28. Win a Trip off the Radio
  29. Harry Potter Marathon
  30. Pull a Pocahontas
  31. Pet a deer in the wild
  32. Stalk Bono/U2
  33. Get a Certificate to Marry people
  34. Swim with Stingrays
  35. Run Half-Marathon
  36. Attend Kentucky Derby
  37. Raise Butterflies
  38. Have butterfly land on nose
  39. Feed elephant
  40. Live in a Foreign country**
  41. Join Peace Corps
  42. Get my face on a Band-Aid
  43. Design own Rainboots
  44. Graduate from FIDM/Equivalent of
  45. Sleep in a Castle
  46. Stay in the Cinderella Suite
  47. Private Concert
  48. Actually finish a project
  49. Live on a farm
  50. Start a jogging group
  51. Reed a lamb (I have no idea where this came from.  I am almost positive that one of my guy friends added it on there as a joke when I wasn’t looking.)
  52. Key someone’s car
  53. Punch someone in the face
  54. Speed Date
  55. Frolic in a meadow at sunset {05/30/12}
  56. Be the first all Ginger team to win the Amazing Race with Madison Krauss Sheridan
  57. Become a Youtube sensation**
  58. Go Blonde
  59. Go Brunette
  60. See a Witch Doctor
  61. Spearhead a Protest
  62. Protest Wendy’s
  63. Get a Henna Tattoo
  64. Achieve the perfect beach waves
  65. Interrogate someone
  66. Snowshoe to a cabin
  67. Complete my Life List

VISIT

  1. Gilmore Girls Pilot Town
  2. Verona on Valentines
  3. India at Holi Krishna
  4. Jerusalem at Easter
  5. Bethlehem at Christmas
  6. NYC at Christmas
  7. Argentina/Patagonia/Antarctica
  8. Mongolia
  9. Uganda
  10. Go on a Camel Expedition in Morocco
  11. Barbados
  12. Belize
  13. Costa Rica
  14. Dominican Republic
  15. Brazil/Chile
  16. Peru/ Machu Picchu
  17. Ride around Greece in Sundresses on Scooters with friends {06/10/11}
  18. Pancake Tour of America
  19. North/South Poles
  20. Harry Potter Study Abroad
  21. Hershey, PA
  22. Nicolson’s Café in Edinburgh
  23. Climb Ayers Rock
  24. Swim in Mediterranean {06/09/12}
  25. Chinese New Year in China
  26. Attend a Royal Wedding
  27. Canoe across Jenny Lake
  28. Sleep on a bench in Paris
  29. Circumnavigate the Glove
  30. Watch Dakar Race
  31. Watch Baja 1000
  32. Mardi Gras (from afar)
  33. Humanitarian Trip to Africa** (does a mission count?)
  34. Finish line of Tour de France
  35. Kamille’s Tour of Utah
  36. Study Abroad in London
  37. Study Abroad in Italy** (I went to Italy after doing a Study Abroad.  Close enough?)
  38. Internship in DC/NYC/LA/London
  39. Strait of Magellan
  40. Spend a weekend at a Spa
  41. Live in California
  42. Live in New York
  43. Cherry Blossoms in DC
  44. Sundance Film Festival {01/22/12}
  45. Go to Opera in: London, Sydney, Vienna, Paris
  46. Paraglide off Victoria Falls
  47. Lavender Fields in France
  48. Salem, MA during Halloween

LEARN

  1. Self Defense
  2. Jujitsu
  3. Ballroom Dance
  4. To read palms
  5. Interpret Dreams
  6. Tai Chi
  7. Hedge Sculpting
  8. How to raise Butterflies
  9. Cut Hair
  10. Floral Design
  11. Knitting
  12. Crocheting
  13. Sew
  14. “Piano Man” on the Harmonica
  15. ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me” on the Ukulele
  16. Play Hearts
  17. At least 20 different HP spells
  18. Play Canasta
  19. Fashion Design {12/15/12}


WORK IN

  1. Harry Potter World
  2. Disneyland/Disneyworld
  3. Anthropology
  4. J-Crew
  5. Gap
  6. Work in the Theater
  7. Work in Hollywood
  8. Behind the Scenes of a Movie
  9. Build-a-Bear
  10. Government Office (preferably the Capitol)
  11. Museum {8/12/12}

RIDE IN/ON

  1. Camel
  2. Elephant
  3. Helicopter
  4. Segway
  5. Hot Air Balloon
  6. Side Car
  7. Water-Plane
  8. The ‘Duck’
  9. Hippie Van
  10. Tin Trailer

OWN

  1. Peacock
  2. Cloak of Invisibility
  3. Button making machine
  4. A prop from Harry Potter
  5. A signed copy of HP
  6. Bunny suit
  7. 14 Pairs of Rainboots** (I’m on 2…)
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A Call of my Own

Beginning this May, it will be two years since some of my best friends’ started to receive their calls to serve LDS Missions before we had even graduated High School.  At that point in time there was plenty exciting going on in my life, with graduation, a senior trip to Greece, becoming a USU Ambassador, and just the general transition from little to big.  Although I had so much going for me I always felt jealous of all my friends who got to go through the process of doing their mission papers, receiving their call, and just even the thought of taking off two years of real life for an adventure.  You could also say that I have just always hated being left behind.

Through several adventures and experiences over the last year (including spending a month by myself in Europe) I had already made the decision that I had wanted to serve a mission for the LDS church; it was just a matter of when I wanted to fit it into my life plans. Then October Conference happened, and it was an answer to so many different prayers on so many different levels.  I knew that my time to serve was immediately.  My goal was to receive my call before my older sister entered the Missionary Training Center (serving in the Finland Helsinki Mission) on Nov. 14th, and after several glitches that were put in my path I submitted my papers on Nov. 4th.  By Nov. 9th I had a call assigned, which was shocking that it happened that quickly with the increase of papers being submitted- we thought my call would miss my sister by one week.  Instead, we had it pulled from the Church Headquarters mailroom and picked it up after our last family dinner.

My mother was in denial, and immediately began freaking out that she didn’t have any paper to make a banner like we did for Kamille’s to surprise all our friends and family with when they came over to say goodbye to Kamille.  My Dad was anxious.  Kamille was beyond excited.  Maddy was feeling left out.  And me?  I was completely calm.

Last Family Dinner at the one and only China Platter.  Any major event in our life has been marked by this restaurant.

Last Family Dinner at the one and only China Platter. Any major event in our life has been marked by this restaurant.

Unbelievable.  IT'S HERE!

Unbelievable. IT’S HERE!


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In the car after picking up my call.

In the car after picking up my call.

I couldn’t believe that it was HERE!  It was my time to find out what the next two years of my life held before me.  And it even made it here before we shipped Kamille off to Finland!  And I was 19 years old, and not 21.  So many Tender Mercies.  Because I wasn’t really expecting to open my call I hadn’t come up with what I wanted.  Instead of waiting for all of my friends and family to come over we decided we couldn’t stand it any longer so we opened it as soon as we walked through the door.

This is how it went down:

Was I expecting any of that?

NOT. AT. ALL.

Africa?  They send Sister’s there?  That moment of surprise is a moment that I will never forget.  Such a strong confirmation of what I was doing was the right plan for me.  After further investigations, I found out that due to safety Sisters’ only serve in the country of Botswana.

In disbelief.

In disbelief.

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Thanks Roommate Brooke.

Thanks Roommate Brooke.

Half of the Roommate's reactions.

Half of the Roommate’s reactions.

Botswana!

My Mission Area- Northern South Africa & Botswana!

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A banner of my own!

A banner of my own!

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She was upset she didn't buy enough paper to spell Johannesburg.  Or South Africa.

She was upset she didn’t buy enough paper to spell Johannesburg. Or South Africa.

Hailee having a heart attack after I snapchat-ed her a photo of the envelope.  Sorry Hai.  It just had to be that way.

Hailee having a heart attack after I snapchat-ed her a photo of the envelope. Sorry Hai. It just had to be that way.

Both wishing it was Paris.

Shout out to this girl Hailee.  Serving in the France Paris Mission!

Cheers to the next 2 years of my life.. IN BOTSWANA!

 

(This is what pulls up when you Google Botswana.  Probably not the most accurate thing.)

I am so excited that I have this opportunity to preach the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the incredible people of Botswana, and for a time in Johannesburg.  I hope that I’ll be able to give them the gift of happiness that this gospel has given me throughout my life, and to bring them unto Christ and his teachings.

Cheers to the next 2 years of my life.. IN BOTSWANA!

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I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Kaitlyn Beth Clifford
South Africa, Johannesburg Mission
Reporting to the South Africa MTC April 4th, 2013
 

If you are interested in what I’ll be preaching check out this website: http://mormon.org/

If you are interested in how the LDS Church assigns these “Mission Calls” go to this link:

 http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/the-divine-call-of-a-missionary?lang=eng&query=missionary+call+(name%3a%22Ronald+A.+Rasband%22)

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the PEEVES

  1. Just blow your nose.  Don’t sit there and make disgusting sniffing noises
  2. Kick laziness in the buttox- Take the extra two seconds and close the microwave/cupboard/door.
  3. Dear stranger, plaid shorts and striped polos do NOT MATCH.
  4. The ‘g’ in going, saying, doing, etc. is there for a reason.  Use it.
  5. Milk has no e.  Let’s keep it that way.
  6. Pillow has no e either.  Let’s also keep it that way.
  7. Never ending, high pitched, squealing alarm clocks.
  8. I have no patience with those with no patience.  The irony.
  9. ‘Um’ and ‘Like’ should be banned in the english language.
  10. Weird lip noises.  Just don’t.
  11. The excessive use of ‘so’ and ‘basically’ in a sentence.
  12. Unnecessary panting.  Way to liken yourself unto a dog.

… to be continued.  Or ongoing.

Day 6- Doing as the Viennese do

We began our day with a visit to the largest (and most expensive) Grocery Store in Austria- Julius Meinel.  By the end of the trip it was a name I knew well.  Everything had the COOLEST labels and was organized up the wazoo.  Just like the rest of Austria.  I tried my first ever Almdudler, a traditional Austrian soda drink; it’s a lot like a sparkling apple cider.  It wasn’t half bad- but the can was beyond adorable!

From there we continued on to the Museum Quarters.  The Museum Quarters- where the ‘coolest’ of ‘cool’ in Vienna hang out.  And we were hanging with the best of them. The MQ is the hippest and most artsy place in all of Vienna.  Everything is extremely modern and hip.  Needless to say that I was in design HEAVEN.  It took all of us awhile to look through the shops and re-congregate; and by the time we all found each other chilling in the courtyard we were all tired and ended up just observing and sketching for close to two hours.  Eventually we decided to go hit up the photobooth, which was one of the smartest ideas we had yet- trying to fit all 7 of us in there was quite the challenge.  we then decided that lunch would be a good idea, so the lovely Thain family treated us to a nice lunch at a delicious MQ cafe.  

After we had had a good eat, we thought that it might be a good idea to actually go do what we came to do- enter into the museums.  Because of time restraints, we voted that we should only go into the Mumok, or the modern art exhibit, and come back another day to see the Leopold.  I did not understand anything at the Mumok.  But I got to see my first ever ANDY WARHOL.   For some reason he has been one of my favorite artists since I was child, I even wrote a poem about one of his paintings in my AP English class.  Totally worth seeing the giant cardboard toilet and outlet plugs.

Lori and I had arranged to meet up with our slacklining buddies Fabian, Fabian, and Flo after our MQ experience.  I was determined to make it across the entire line.  This time around they brought a buddy they had just met- Dominque.  He was beautiful.  And I will track him down, make him fall in love with me, and marry me.  That may or may not be a threat.  They are such great boys and were so interesting to talk to!  They don’t drink or party and are all in medical and law school.  I wish we had longer in Vienna to get to know them better!  We had some great conversations about music, American life, religion, our Universities, and so much more.  We found out that not only were they pro slackliners, but that they also were on the gymnastic team at the Uni’s, and were professional parkour-ist’s and were about to go to Salzburg to film a video.  Kinda legit.

The typical scene of Slacklining in Stadt Park.

Yup. I got the tongue going.

FWe had decided to make it a goal to attend church while we were there, but weren’t able to make it. Once we found out there was a running institute, we knew that we had to go check it out.  We had Fabian help us call the Institute building for help on directions, and to let them know we were coming.  They were THRILLED!  The building was somewhere we had yet to ventured, but we felt confident enough in our skills that we could find it.  We did with nothing but a little hitch.  Upon our entrance, we were flooded with warm welcomes and handshakes.  I had never felt so loved and comforted!  I love that the church is the same around the world- I had never felt so at home in another country.  Brother and Sister Zagg (they once lived in North Salt Lake.. and were AGGIES!) had even prepared wait for it.. sloppy joes.  Oh to eat American Food again.  We spent dinner talking with about 15 other Young Single Adults from all over the world.  After dinner there was an English lesson, with the subject focus of Faith, then we played signs (which I failed at miserably).  I came to the conclusion that Vienna has the most beautiful members.  Especially when they were brawny policemen.

So comforting- how could you not love coming to Institute?

Once again- I found these snails on the institute board. It’s like I belong in Austria or something.

Brother and Sister Zagg.

A drawing of the Bountiful temple.. in Vienna. The world doesn’t get smaller than that!

Mind Mashup

37 days ago I left to what I thought would just be a blissful month of studying  galavanting around Europe.

30 days later I returned home with something close to 27 hours of traveling behind me, and a changed life.

I know how cliche that sounds- “It was a life-changing trip”.  But seriously. Besides my traveling outfit (as proved by the photos above), much of my entire being was changed.  I discovered things about myself that I would have never had anywhere else or in any other situation.

I’ve been dreaming of a Study Abroad since I first saw a globe, and it’s been part of my ‘plan’ for the past 17 years.  However, I NEVER expected it to happen how and when it did.  And now after returning home, I can’t believe that I did it.  I went on a Study Abroad.  Looking back it seems like it was such a spur-of-the-moment and virtually thoughtless decision, but I know 789% that it was exactly what I meant to do this summer.  I am in complete awe in what has transpired over the past month in myself and in my life.  I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity!  I am so glad I racked up 20 years worth of spontaneity to spend it all on the decision to accept the offer to represent Utah State University (only the most blessed place on this planet) in Europe!

One of the biggest realizations I’ve had since returning home is the immense amount of love and support I received while abroad, and how much I’ve received home as well. I had absolutely NO idea how many people were reading my blog, checking up on me with my parents, facebook stalking, and keeping tabs on me while away.  I couldn’t be more blessed with those surrounding me!  So THANK YOU!

Now obviously, after such an excursion such as this one, the most commonly heard phrase in your daily life is something similar but not limited to: “So tell me about your trip…” followed by the awkward pause while I try to decipher if they want the ‘Gone With the Wind’ version, the ‘Reader’s Digest’ version, the simplified ‘Great!’ response, or the thought process of ‘Do they really want to know, or are they just being nice?’.  But how do you tell people that by looking at a piece of marble in the ruins of the Roman Forum left you speechless by the history it once saw?  Or that learning how to slackline from Viennese locals opened your mind to what the college experience is like internationally?  Or that by saying ‘Grace’ with a family from Tampa in Rome and attending a mass in the Duomo in Florence could thrill you in the fact that you’re trying something totally new, but makes you completely in love with what you were given before?  Or by watching a 72 year, old non-english speaking, Italian couple prepare their house for a family dinner could be so overwhelmingly humbling?  Exactly- you just can’t.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of myself.  My mother didn’t even get to Disneyland when she was 19.  Here I am, at the same age, and I successfully got myself around Europe for a month, and independently planned, scheduled, navigated, and lead myself and two other girls around Italy for 10 days.  Unfortunately though, it only planted what my family likes to call the ‘traveling bug’ deeper within me.

Some of the biggest lessons I learned are the ones I least expected to learn through this experience.  Getting to know each and everyone one of these girls (and Alan and his family) taught me more than a degree ever could.  Mostly, I really learnt what USU has done for each of them and to see that it truly has a place for everyone and is here to change lives.  I’ve never been such a proud Aggie!  I really learned that wherever the gospel is, home is there too.  I realized that my family is the best support group, and I especially learnt to cherish the memories I have had with them through all our travels.  I learnt that people are by far the most fascinating thing in this solar system- I literally spent days talking to people. And I absolutely adored every single second of it.  The stories I heard, the lessons they taught me, the lives they had lived, and the experiences they had awed me each step of the way.

This world is so large, but so small; and there is still so much I have to learn from it!

Peace out Europe!  Until we meet again!

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Day 25- Awkward laughter… lots…

All I have to say is…
“Uhhhh…” (quickly glance to Lori for backup)

And that is how Day 25 was spent.

Not only did we wake up in Florence, and have a good old scavenger hunt to check out; but we hit up Pisa on our way to La Spezia.

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We saw lots of this:

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And heard lots of:
“Closer, Closer, now back, lean forward… stop! Now left hand down a little.. perfect! Cheese!”

We started out with the simple poses.

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And eventually mastered the art and challenged our skills.

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I had lots of “Am I seriously here right now?” moments, where you couldn’t even understand how a building could possibly end up like that.

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However, I did learn that it was built in 1173. Did you know that in 5 centuries 4 architects tried to complete it? I didn’t. But in 1990 they finally figured out a solution, and think they have reversed the clock back to what the tower would have looked like to the time of Galileo. NEAT.

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The Tower of Pisa: Leaning with a purpose since 1173.

From there we got on train #2 for the day and chatted it up with a lovely British couple on Holiday who were very concerned about the bears in America.

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Beautiful train ride! Tuscany= amazing! We then found ourselves a bit out of tourist land and immersed into the true Italian life.

Lori’s family has an exchange sister, Catherina from La Spezia, staying with them in Vegas.

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(So I creeped a little.) Lori is going to stay here for the next few weeks with them and arranged it for Katelyn and I to stay for a few days as well. SO LEGIT. We quickly found out, however, that the language barrier is a bigger issue that we had expected. The mother (Sonya) and the Grandmother (Maria) were awaiting our arrival, with coke and ice (so not European) ready for us!

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From there we tried to awkwardly communicate with each other with lots of pauses and nervous giggles. The grandmother just rambles like she is the president of a debate team and thinks we understand every word she says. They are the most adorable family though!

Soon the sister Martina got home from work.

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(So maybe I creeped a lot. Still working on a family photo though)
You could say she’s the most gorgeous Police Officer you’ve ever seen. She knows a good amount of English and we soaked it up as if it was the first time we’d seen water after being lost in the Sahara. She showed us the grocery store (that deserves an entire blogpost) and the town of La Spezia. Once we got back we met the rest of the family, Augustina the father, and Lorenzo the son, and had dinner.

Dinner- what an experience. Here in Italy they typically have a Primo (first course) of pasta, and a Secondo (second course) of an entree. We had this incredible pasta with oysters. You heard right- I ate oysters last night. All of it. I think I might have even liked it too. For an entree we had this pork with a paste of spinach and something orange (the debate is still out on what it was) on it with delicious rosemary roasted potatoes. Either way it was one of the best meals of my life! Finished off with frozen lemon ice too. Even with the language barrier you can tell how hilarious this family is. Their sense of humor is so quirky, and it is easy to tell how much they value each other.

Throughout dinner we had several awkward pauses of trying to translate and explain words. My favorite one? Lori trying to explain ‘bull shit’ to them after accidentally saying it when trying to learn a new word. After minutes of crying because we were laughing so hard at their blank faces while trying to explain ‘swear word’, we looked to the handy dandy ipad translator app. We haven’t had any issues at all with the wifi here, but it chose that minute to freeze up. The whole family was waiting on us to hear this translation and we just could not get it to work. I loved it.

This is the real deal folks- this is the true Italia.

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Days 18/19- Climbed Every Mountain, Crossed Every Stream

Never quite thought I’d pull an all-nighter writing postcards. It happened. I lost count at twenty. Some lucky people have some loves coming their way- be on the lookout!

Leaving at 5:40 to catch a train from Prague to Salzburg is much easier said than done. But alas, we did, and close to 8 hours later after a most awe-inspiring vie we called St. Gilgen our newest and final home.

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We are staying in a hostel about an hour out of Salzburg on the shores of the lake Wolfgansee, and it is exactly as I had picture, but better. It was overcast and slightly rainy upon our arrival- which produced some nice clouds for us to come through as we spotted the town for the first time. As we drove in the clouds parted, and below us was this gorgeous lake and adorable town… it was a serious movie moment.

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After finding some food, we were all exhausted from a long day’s travel and hit the sacks early in preparation for the big day ahead of us.

THE NEXT DAY
After being tacky American tourists and going to breakfast in our pj’s, Lori and I had decided (well, it was taken more as a challenge of defiance) to do what we were told as one of the steepest hikes in the area. They weren’t lying. As the rest of the group took off to spend the day on a ferry hopping from city-to-city, Lori, Stevie, and I were literally climbing every mountain and crossing every stream.

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That red line across the green hills (route 28) was only part of our route. Please also note the ‘Parkour’ routes.

Turns out that this trail is a pilgrimage. Along the trail they have crosses with pictures of the crucifixion at each step, a cave church towards the top, and other relics along the way.

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In the cave church (literally built into a cave), you sign a book and ring a bell for good luck. If you get the bell to ring three times in one pull you get an extra wish. At the next relic, you wash your eyes with the holy water to improve your eyesight. There are things like this all along the trail.

This was some of the steepest mountains I’ve ever hiked, and the humidity was miserable. The views however, were totally and completely worth it. Take a look:

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Sorry for the overload of photos- but if you saw what I saw, you would think that an overload was necessary too.

The end of the hike was a dream though, I’ve never felt more Austrian.

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To end the hike, we walked through the outskirts of St.Wolfgang to catch the ferry (and maybe to find a WC). It was picturesque, to say the least!

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Check “Hike through the Alps” off my bucketlist!

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Day 17- All You Need it Love

Today was a simple enough day in Prague.
The weather was warm and partly cloudy, with a very slight wind from the East.

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We went to a lovely little museum of Alphonse Mucha, who was basically the founder of graphic design. What I loved about him was how normal his story was. He was a simple man, who started with little and worked hard to make his dreams come true. Although he is most famous for his posters, he designed buildings, furniture, postage stamps, bank notes, frescos, ad’s, medals, and many other things.

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My favorite that I saw today is a poster he created for the Parisian actress Sarah Bernhardt. In this ‘Mede’ poster notice how his composition leads you from the ‘D’ down, through the crown, along her arm, and ends at the dagger. Sick. Sarah loved this design so much, that she had her whole costume changed to match this poster.

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For the whole later of his life, he focused on his heritage in the Czech Republic, and worked to free the Slav’s from bondage. He helped to remind them who they are, where they came from, and what their culture truly is. After they were given their independence thanks to WWI, Mucha offered his services in whatever way possible, and literally designed the current Czech Republic. He’s so cool!

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Lori and I had a mission today: to find the John Lennon wall. It took us a bit, had a few detours along the way, but I wouldn’t have changed anything about it.

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Doing the Charlie Steadman on the Charles Bridge.
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Lori touched the statue to find her true soulmate. I however, just stuck with the one that promises me that I'll come back to Prague.
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I asked myself that same question when I learned that Kellog's had stopped making Chocolate Frosted Flakes.
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Found some local slackliners..
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And figured out what the yellow glowing things were on the river at night.

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Turns out they were penguins.
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Eventually we found the wall, and soon found out that John Lennon had been painted over. MAJOR bummer. But we still had a great time taking pictures!

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All you need is love.
Prague Love.

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Day 16- Prague by Day

Boy Howdy, do I love Prague!

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This city is so unique because it is so well preserved. It has suffered no damage from any wars, and doesn’t have as much pollution gunk either.

Prague was the third largest city in the 1400’s (with Rome in the lead and Istanbul/Constantinople in second), and the city shows it. In the Old Town square there is over 10 centuries of architecture displayed. And let’s not forget that the real Prague is buried 6 meters below where it is now due to flooding.

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See what I mean? History is gushing from this city!

We took a free walking tour around the city and learned some quirky legends and such.

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This is called the Astronomical Clock. It is a clock- that is astronomically functioned (obviously) and tells the positioning of the planets as well as what zodiac it currently is, the time (an hour off because there was no Daylight Savings), and what Nameday it is. At each hour there is a show with the clock with figures that dance around it. The most interesting story about this clock is the maker. After completing and installing the clock, they blinded him to ensure that he would make this the only beautiful clock in the world. Unfortunately, he became so depressed he went to the clock, stuck his arm in the gears, and bled to death. Prague is a cheerful place.

We had an interesting group of people with us on our tour today. We met a couple from Munich who are originally from Provo. The wife and her sisters are the founders/creators of Moochie bags- the purses with the magnetic interchangeable covers, and she has been here running the business for about a year now. We also met some young backpackers, who always have the most interesting stories. One reason I love to travel so much is because you always meet the most fascinating people. A girl from Australia just finished at the ‘Uni’ and is traveling Europe and Asia for a year- she really enjoyed our chaco’s and didn’t know what Tom’s were. One student from London was traveling around for only 24 days, and there was another Australian who was about to start is PhD in Biochemistry and decided he’d travel from Beijing to Vienna first; with a pitstop in Salzburg for his cousin’s wedding. He’d be gone a total of 5 months. People are awesome!

We walked all over, and the tour lasted more than 3 hours. It is such a quirky place! There is so many things to say about this wonderful city, but I’ll just show you in pictures. Make sure to keep an eye out for the mummified hand (hung in a church to warn against theft- duh), and the crazy old lady that decided to come poke every man in our group in the middle of our tour. Hilarious to say the least.

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Day 13- Buda to the Pest

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As of 11:20 AM we officially arrived in Budapest, Hungary. First impression “What the heck, I’m in HUNGARY?” After a beautiful 7:56 train from Wein Westbanhof lasting three hours, the adventure began by figuring out the money. It is approximately 250 Florins to $1. It’s a great way to keep the wallet fat- too much math to buy anything! We eventually exchanged our money, figured out how to use it, got our train tickets, and headed off to our hotel.
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Our hotel are Studio Apartments in a very nice area- next to Gucci, Armani, and the Opera House. Turns out that Budapest is really two cities, separated by the Danube. One side is Buda and the other side is Pest– we are staying on the Pest (pronounced ‘pesht’). The Buda side is the old city, and the Pest is the ‘hip’ side.

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Alan (our Professor, with a fresh haircut) found a great free walking tour that we wanted to go on to discover what lies in this great city of Budapest. We were taught the history of Budapest, Hungarian culture, and walked 2 1/2 miles to the major sites of Budapest. It was incredible! The city is beautiful and so unique. I really enjoyed this walking tour from United Europe Free Tours. If you’re going to Europe anytime soon check them out at http://www.triptobudapest.hu
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My favorite fact that I learned is that the Parliament building is the exact same floor plan as England’s, just 2 meters wider to claim they had the largest Parliament Building in the world. But then, in 1987, Romania got the same floor plan and added another 2 feet. Hungary has been Hungary for only 21 years after the Communists left- so everything is still in transition.

So far everything we’ve eaten here has been AWESOME. They sure don’t go hungry in Hungary. One of the my favorite finds is a Lagos. It is a scone with a creme/cottage cheese/sour cream spread with shredded cheese and garlic dip spread on top. Delicious. For dinner we found a great restaurant that was cheap in comparison to Vienna and the menu looked good. It turned out to be one of my favorite places I’ve ever eaten. The menu was so different- I had lemon pepper chicken with risotto. You have a great dining experience of live classic jazz piano music in the background and beautiful men as your servers. We’re planning on heading back before we leave. 🙂

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It's not Vienna- but it's getting close. I think by one more day I should be quite convinced that this is the European city that is meant for me.

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