Just watch.

Thanks to everyone who made my last half a year perfect, full of wonderful adventures. Thanks for all these splendid moments full of happiness in Spain. 

Please remember these moments of joy as a time of your youth, as a time when you made other people happy as well as yourself. And even if I had (and so did a lot of my friends) a hard time coming back to my country, coming back to my ordinary life, remember that everything was worth it! Because you, hopefully, enjoyed your stay there and even if it wasn't always sunny and not everything was certainly so shiny as it seemed, it was definitely a unique experience.

In these few months I learnt to love myself a little bit more and I've learned not to judge people too harshly. I've learned that french fries are from belgium, that not every mexican rides a donkey, wears a sombrero and listens to regeton and that people from netherlands are not cold at all; I also learned that even when people come from totally different countries and backgrounds they can be true friends when they are honest and when they let others inside their hearts.

Its amazing that in such a short time I made that fantastic friends and I will never forget these amazing moments together, the memories we created, all problems and challenges we went thhrough together, all pictures and videos, all spontaneous crazy things we did, but also the beauty of the just ordinary coffee or walk. Now, when we are all safe back in our pre-Erasmus lives, it's only up to us if we stay in touch and this is my profound wish. AND everyone is welcome to visit me in here Brno, Prague or Slovakia :) 

But, most importantly, I will remember the friendships we created together because the search for happiness and the questions of life may be complicated but in reality it is very simple: to be happy. And I was happy.

----- September 2015 edit -------

Nostalgia overdose!

Thanks again to everyone who made this video possible! It took me such a long time to edit, but I honestly think it was time well spent and I know it was definitely worth it because so many friends keep writing to me that they are watching it again and again and that makes me so happy! Thanks for all the positive and enthusiastic feedback about the video and I hope to see you soon. :) 

My dear little diary, a while ago I went to Holi festival of colours in Barcelona and now I would like to reflect on my awesome time there. It was also my first time in this wonderful city and even though I only spent limited amount of time there, it was definitely love at first sight and it has stayed my favourite Spanish city ever since.

Holi festivals are now gaining popularity in Europe too, but they originate in Hindu religious tradition which signifies "the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships" (wiki). People are throwing colours at each other and simply enjoy the festival full of music, dance and, most importantly, colours. Simply put, total paradise for every portrait-photographer! However, you shouldn't take your camera to such dusty environment without any preparation/protection and as I didn't have time to do so, I decided better not to risk it. I had some hard times in doing so (as you can read below), but later I was luckily ok and didn't succumb to my camera-dilemma.

As I have never experienced anything like that before, for me, the festival was super cool. People were relaxed, the sun was shining splendidly... It didn't matter who you are, everyone could participate and simply have fun. People dress in white clothes but don't you worry! It won't stay white for long because as soon as you walk into the crowd, people start throwing colours on you! We could choose from yellow, blue, purple, green and some more. The thing I liked the most was the beautiful metaphor I constructed for myself: 'Everyone can have fun with everyone, we are the same colour after all':). And believe me, at the end of the day nobody will recognise herself/himself in the mirror... As soon as we left the festival, people (including some Asian tourists and ladies in metro) were taking pictures with us on a street because we quite obviously didn't fit in the pattern of normal population. Funnily, all colours washed quite easily off afterwards in the shower where I've made my new personal record of the longest shower ever!

Now, let me introduce you to my little inner dialogue with myself during this trip:
01:30 (at Louise's birthday party) oh, I love these people here and I'm so lucky I've met them:) 
01:47 well, goodnight chica:D You should really go to sleep now...
06:00 wake up
06:10 seriously, wake up
06:12 wake up.
06:40 no, for Christ's sake, you're not taking your camera with you! I thought that you already made a resolution about this topic yesterday! You can't protect it from the miniature colour-dust particles, so NO, you are not bringing it along! 
07:30 (running to the bus station)
07:35 ufff... ok...I did it: I'm in the right bus on the right time! Good job, girl :D!
07:45 (repeatedly contemplating absence of my camera) hmmm... It's the first time in years I'm travelling somewhere without my precious camera. Yeah, it's been years indeed... hmm... feels weird... feels handless... feels powerless...
11:20 (arrival to Barcelona) hell yeah, such a wonderful city!
12:30 (while waiting in a huge overcrowded queue to get inside the metro) hmm... there will probably be a lot of people there :D... hmmm... I have never seen so many people in a metro.
12:52 so this is the way it feels to be different (completely white t-shirts among colourful people)! But I am sure it won't be like that for too long! 
13:12 fuck, so much colours... explosion of colours... where is my fucking camera?!?
13:14 this is amazing! but my camera is not here :(
13:16 where is my camera with all these beautiful colours and smiley faces around? CALM DOWN GIRL and enjoy! You can still take pictures on your phone!
13:17 attack, attack!
13:22 "put some yellow on my face please!" :D
14:10 let's have some beer...
14:12 this sunny weather is simply wonderful :)
14:14 ok, these pictures from phone look quite good too;)! Yes, I'm fully enjoying it now :) 

To boost up your imagination, here are some pictures:

Conclusion: a pleasant day full of colourful people! Next time hopefully I'm going as a photographer!:)

(P.S. all times are reconstructed, not necessarily true :P)
... or "stone monastery" was one of the first places I wanted to visit here in Aragón. Being listed on TripAdvisor as No.2 recommendation of Zaragoza region, I couldn't wait to go. But, I was patient and waited for the good weather to come :). So we finally went at the beginning of May!

We took a bus from Delicias station in Zaragoza and spent a pleasant journey talking to a group of friends also travelling there. We talked about a lot of topics ranging from traditions, languages and education to never-ending discussion of Catalunya's independence. It's always nice to get to know random people and find out something new. Because that's what travelling is also about: about opinions, discussions, views and, most crucially, learning about the importance of tolerance.

Monasterio itself was quite nice but nature around was more impressive. Moreover, as it was the middle of spring here in Spain, trees and flowers were blooming and landscape had the most beautiful shades of newly-born green. Place is criss-crossed with running creeks and splendid waterfalls are scattered over the whole area, so there's much to see. Small, big, broad, narrow, various shapes: every category you can imagine :) Pictures perhaps best speak for themselves: 

On the other hand, I'm sad to admit that there were also things I wasn't particularly happy about... For example, I was really disappointed with the high number of people there. After over three months of living in the city with more than 700,000 people, I was literally desperate to get away from the urban area to let off a bit of steam and relax in nature. (Of course this was also owing to my origins from my beautiful and ever-precious High Tatras mountains in Slovakia and consequent close-relationship with nature, so I was really eager to get out.) However, we literally had to wait for the tickets to enter the park as well as in the park itself to pass through some paths. Also, the waiting period to enter the cave was more than one hour with looong queue of impatient visitors attached. I have never been there before, so I don't know if this can be considered a common situation or not: necessary to add that this may have been caused by the fact that the day before was a national holiday, so due to a long weekend a lot of people probably headed for a trip to nature...

During our walking many interesting topics came up. For example, I tried to explain multicoloured political history of Slovakia and some of the present political attitudes and moods in my country. Though challenge! However, one of the topics people here frequently confront me with is definitely worth sharing. It's the one thing that keeps me amazed every time I think about it: Isn't it impressive that Slovak people understand Czech people even though they are two different nations and speak two distinct languages? I only fully realised this once I'm 'longer-term-abroad' because so far I had considered it normal. OK, now it's true that younger generations are loosing this ability and so on, but still. My personal experience is that majority of students here cannot comprehend that people from two independent countries understand each other. I get this question often here: "But, do you speak Czech?" "Well, yes, I do, but I don't need to," I reply. How cool is that? :) 

Thanks guys for a nice day full of interesting conversation way beyond polite 'how do you do'. :)

Place: Monasterio de Piedra, Aragón, Spain 
Date: May 2, 2015
Cost: 22€ return ticket for bus, 15€ entrance to the park and monastery
Overall opinion: It's definitely worth it, but it could be little less expensive and less crowded.

... AND I did my first proper unexpected photobomb! On our way back we stopped at Calatayud bus station where these magnificent pictures were taken by Clotilde's camera:

Each day a new map needed. Hostel sleeping. Sunburnt nose. Museum Reina Sofia. First blabla car. 100 montaditos. Travelling joy. Don Quijote everywhere. "It's snowing in my country now." Picnics in parks. Prado. Unforgettable moments. History. Football stadium. "McDonald's in a history building, wtf?" Blooming magnolia. Funny videos. HOT HOT HOT for March. Puerta del Sol. Walking, a lot of walking. Astonishing views. Swing dancing. Rafael Nadal posters. Maja Desnuda. Easter. Mystery of Spanish bedsheets revealed. Skyscrapers. Spilled juice. Jumping! Bullfights stadium. Crazy photoshooting. Unexpected luck. Speaking Spanish. Pleasant memories. Metro. Romantic narrow streets. Library mistaken for Prado :D. Fountains. Spring. Landscape architecture wonders. Sweets from nuns. Picasso. Exploring. Best friend. Puerta de Alcala. We-have-everything mercados. Lizard in Toledo. Oso y el madroño. Street art. Ice-cream in March. Goya. Real Madrid fan shop. Plaza Mayor. Girl talk. Minions. Torrijas. "My feet hurt like hell but it's worth it". Sliding. Fuente de La Cibeles. Having breakfast together. Coke machine in a church. Getting closer with friends. Guernica. Crazy dances for the camera. Patatas bravas. Navigating. Sunset in front of the Palacio Real. Don Quijote everywhere, I mean everywhere. Same Tshirts bought. Happiness.

To cut things short: "Our awesome trip to Madrid and Toledo" and its wonderful moments:

As my stay in Zaragoza progresses, it's a high time to explore Spanish cuisine as well! With Isabella and Clotilde everything seems fun to do, so we decided to discover the charms of Spanish dishes as well. First of all, we challenged ourselves to make "paella".

Paella is a typical Spanish dish made of rice, vegetable and meat (or seafood). There're number of ways to prepare it and each region or family has its own recipe. I guess that the most famous one comes from Valencia and I tried it last year.

To put it simply, we first cooked rice, sliced veggies and meat and mixed everything together. Surprisingly, everything turned out well and we had a wonderful tasty paella! Of course, we made a couple of pictures as well (Thanks Clo for making them!). 

Next evening we met to prepare sangría - delicious Spanish beverage made of wine and fruits. During my stay in Spain I drink it most often, because, honestly, I dislike Spanish beer (yes, I'm still loyal to the Czech beer and I miss it so much!). It also turned out very well and we had a wonderful evening. Thanks Clara for sharing your recipe! 

We had so much fun making this sangria so I made a video about it to always remember these wonderful moments. Enjoy!