A few months have passed, and my gap year adventure continues. After traveling with my family in the summer, I have settled in Prague.
From the little town in Oregon, the amount of culture in this city is almost overwhelming. In the beginning, I visited a different museum or theatre almost every day. The most breathtaking paintings I saw were the Slavic Epic by Alphonse Mucha, a series depicting the history of the Czech people. While their huge size first draws attention, it is the mixture of raw emotion on the canvas that fascinates me. I also enjoyed the Prague Autumn Music festival, which attracts the best classical musicians from all over the world. I also spent a lot of time roaming the old town, admiring the historical architecture.
I also got out of the country when I couldn’t resist a dirt cheap ticket to Istanbul. It turned out to be the best decision I made here. When I was not on a rooftop cafe watching locals haggle and freight ships pass, I was studying the intricate designs. Many famous mosques are advertised to tourists and tend to be crowded, but the smaller mosques in other parts of town were quiet with locals only.
The bazaars were bustling with life, full of vibrant colors and smells of spices, with Turkish tea and coffee being served at every corner. I will always remember my first trip to Asia - it took me about 10 minutes by subway!
After being back in Prague for a few weeks, I saw another deal and my next big adventure was a trip to Paris. The most memorable moments of any trip for me are those on top of tall things. In Paris there were a lot of these moments. The top of the Arc the Triomphe, just after dusk; the Eiffel Tower standing tall in all its glory; and the top of the Sacré-Cœur church in the morning, taking in the whole city. In Pompidou, the modern art museum, I found my love for Thomas Demand and for a furry looking color blue (which was quite possibly hyperintelligent) that drew my attention more than any Picasso. The Louvre and Musée d'Orsay had so many exhibits I probably walked at least 10 miles there.
Back in Czech, the most fun I had was celebrating Thanksgiving with my Czech friends in Brno. We spent the day watching football, Thanksgiving specials, and cooking a turkey. I was very nervous planning and preparing my first Thanksgiving dinner by myself, but in the end everybody had large smiles and stuffed stomachs.
Now I am spending Christmas with my grandmothers for the first time, and then New Years with my friends. I am looking forward to being super busy at Olin next fall and beyond, but right now I am glad I got the chance to take the gap year and explore on my own.
Enjoy your holidays and stay tuned for more adventures next year.