It’s about that time where we reluctantly take down our holiday decorations and remind ourselves what going back to real life is like.
In the southwest of the United States, it was always easy for me to get back into the swing of things after the holidays. Mainly because the idea of “the holiday spirit” is created from scratch, as the desert environment doesn’t really scream “winter wonderland.” At last, when family members all go back to work or travel to their respective homes and you say “goodbye” to your christmas tree and sweep up the dead pine needles, it’s like the holidays never even happened. On the flip-side, Europe reminds us, with its cold weather and leftover bûche de Noël in the pastry shop windows, of everything you loved and enjoyed during those last couple of December days.
Now that it is the first Monday of 2017, I figured I would productively write, shaking myself out of the holiday laziness I had adorned myself with for the past two weeks.
Instead of being tremendously lonely this season, my lovely boyfriend flew out from America to spend the holidays with me and do a bit of traveling himself. I went up to Ireland to meet him for a weekend where we stayed in Derry, also known as Londonderry (but we’re not going to call it that).
The town has so much history, a lot of it being pretty brutal and many years with extreme religious segregation. One of the biggest take aways was learning about the city’s murals that depict much of this history. Would highly recommend a tour guide.
Led by our Irish pals, we drove and hiked along green hills and the Irish coast where we made a stop at the Giant’s Causeway. Legend has it that a giant from Scotland had a stone-throwing fight with a giant in Ireland and created the most out-of-this-world rock formation. I didn’t expect it to be so unreal, but I’m now a firm believer in aliens//folktales.
Our next destination was the Czech Republic, where we took up residence in Prague. Prague had all the characteristics that I love in a city, making it perfectly home worthy, except for the fact that I don’t speak Czech.
It was clean, had a walkable city center, gorgeous on every street corner and relatively cheap for being a seemingly popular tourist destination. Was just super into the fact that at the typical park concession stand you can get your hotdog (sausage), lemonade and absinthe. You know, why not grab a little wormwood spirit after a game of hopscotch?
After four days, a bus was caught and we headed for Vienna, Austria, where the first thing we did was eat wiener schnitzel.
We then spent Christmas day eating sachertorte (a traditional chocolate cake first made by Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich) and listening to classical music played by Vienna’s Barock and Classic Orchestra at Palais Schönborn. It was a lot of eating.
I will miss the Christmas markets and the smell of hot spiced wine. I will miss the lights that are strung along my Parisian streets. I will miss staying in bed until ungodly hours and roaming around cobbled streets late at night.
Yet, here’s to hoping that the best is yet to come and knowing that 2017 has plenty in store for me.