Tuesday, November 22, 2011

8 Days in Eastern Europe

I recently took an 8 day trip through a lot of countries in Eastern Europe. We started in Ukraine and loaded up on a huge double decker bus with a bunch of other Ukrainians who were going on the tour as well. The bus itself—for 8 days, pretty miserable but we tried to make the best of it. We left on Saturday morning and traveled on the bus for 30 hours. Eww.

Anyways, Sunday we arrived in Budapest, Hungary and after 30 hours of traveling we were ecstatic to touch ground. First we went to amazing hot pools and saunas powered by natural hot springs. The Hungarians believe it has natural powers to heal you. Anyways, going in those amazing saunas and swimming in the hot pools felt perfect after being on that bus for so long. Then we went and took a tour around Budapest which was really, really cool. It has amazingly rich history and the castles are absolutely breathtaking! We toured the city most of the day and then spent the night in a hotel which was great—a bed, a hot shower, some uninterrupted sleep...fabulous.

My girls--Jenessa, Brooke, and Brittany

We got up pretty early in the morning, had some breakfast, and loaded back up on the bus with the rest of the group to head to Vienna, Austria. We were able to stop at a giant supermarket on our way out of Hungary and it was so cool. It was like a Costco/Wal-mart all in one. We were able to stock up on fruits, granola bars, and other food that is actually real and not gas station junk. The border crossing was surprisingly easy compared to all the rest and we were able to get to Vienna earlier than planned—around 1pm. We took a tour of the city and then shopped around and made friends in the city. Vienna was absolutely amazing! It is so beautiful and the buildings were built with such attention to detail and with a really interesting architectural style. The history of Austria is also pretty overwhelming overall but I loved it a ton.

That night we got back on the bus and arrived in Prague, Czech Republic late that night or early morning…whichever you’d like to call it—it was 1am. Haha, but we all were feeling suffocated on that bus and even though we were dead tired when we arrived all of our energy instantly picked up when we realized that we were finally at a hotel. In the morning those who wanted to go to Dresden, Germany loaded back up on the bus for a 3 hour ride into Germany. The ride was beautiful! The countryside of Germany is fabulous and so amazing! I would LOVE to live in Germany!! We spent the whole day in Germany—the first part was a tour and then we had time to walk around the city ourselves and do some souvenir shopping and nay extra sightseeing we wanted to do. I spent a ton of money there…haha not too proud of that but Germany is seriously my favorite place so far. I would love to go back and visit more cities in Germany someday. That evening we got back on the bus and went back to our hotel in Prague.

That night, when we got back to the hotel I got on the computer and looked up the directions to the Mission Home in Prague. My cousin and I both left to our respective countries on the same day and he has been serving in Prague! So in the morning I found a map of the city and a metro map and I took some of my friends with me and I got us straight to the Mission Home! We ran into some sister missionaries who called my cousin, Gariet, to see where he was and when he would be back at the Mission home.  So, he said he wouldn’t be back until later that night so we went out to the old town square of Prague and did some sightseeing and shopping and exploring! It was seriously so much fun. I bought tons of great souvenirs, ate some delicious Czech food, and then made our way back to the mission home. We waited for about a half an hour and then we saw Gariet and his companion approaching so I hid behind some doors. My friends started chatting them up and I came out…haha it was sufficiently awkward because Gariet is a strict rule follower so we shook hands, and talked about our lives. He then invited us to stay for Institute that night which was so fun. It was nice to see a familiar face and feel at home even though I was so far away from home.

The next two days we spent touring the city and hanging out as friends.  The sights were amazing, the food delicious, and the people were extremely friendly. Prague has some way cool castles and buildings. I never got bored! Our last night there we went on a cruise down the main river in Prague and we got to see the whole entire city from the boat—amazing!
After so much traveling and tourism, we were all exhausted by the last day of our tours and when the bus pulled up to start our journey home, we were all actually really happy to see it. We loaded up and I fell asleep for a good 10 hours which is hard to do on a bus if you ask me. The best sleep I got the entire time was sprawled out on the floor and aisle of the bus! After enduring another 30 hours bus ride we finally arrived in Kiev around 9pm at night. I had never been so happy to be ‘home’.

To see all the pictures go here:

Overall, it was an amazing trip and I still cannot believe that I am this lucky.


  1. Jill...thanks for shring your adventures. Enjoy your last month of Christmas Markets <3

  2. These pictures are amazing.. loved the butt shot/statue and my favorite is the one with the castle in the background. What a trip! What great memories and pictures to savor forever.