Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Days 19-22: Blood, Vertigo and Dragons

It's been FAR too long. 
I know. 
I'm sorry. 

But - allow me to fill you in on the last few days!

Sunday (day 19) was OFFICIALLY the last day of tour, though I touted Saturday as being so. We got up, checked out of our wee CabINN hotel and hopped on the bus to church. We sat thru the 1st hour with the entire congregation but were able to have a small meeting on our own for the last 2 hours. It was an incredible meeting. Our director, Ray Smith, began by speaking of how much we had accomplished on the tour an dhow far we've all come. He then proceeded to name each member of the band one by one to explain to the group why he felt it was rucial for them t be there, what he felt they contributed, and why he was grateful to have them in the band. So cool! Then he opened up the time for everyone else to share their thoughts and feelings.

Mine were, summed up, that of the 3 BYU tours I've been on, this one was the most special. There was something different about this group. We are all SO close now and it was really amazing to be a part of it. So grateful! 

The rest of the day was spent driving back to Copenagen to stay in our same hostel one more night. We fended for ourselves for dinner, sent last minute post cards and went to bed. 

I shall miss Johnny, our sweet, Swedish bus driver!!

Monday (day 20) the band had a call time at 4:45 AM. I got up with them to say goodbye, but sine I was staying beyond the tour here in Europe, I was able to go back to SLEEEP. There were 3 other members of the band staying, too, so we planned to all meet around 10 (check out time) in the lobby. 

I did just that. I got all ready and was downstairs around 10 to check out. Then i went to grab a quick breakfast (roll with butter, jam, cheese, etc.) to be portable for my last day of Copenhagen sightseeing. 

Well this is where it gets interesting. (Cue "Psycho" screetchy violins here)

While slicing my thick, crusty roll with the uber sharp bread knife, I also sliced thru my left index finger.

Blood everywhere.

I grabbed napkins and a nice chef from behind the counter came out with a wet paper towel for me. He led me to the front reception where they had a first aid kit.  After taking off the napkins to put on gauze, I saw just how deep it was. I began to shake a little, but the pressure of the gauze helped to distract me.

Feeling REALLY STUPID, and quite sheepish, I approached my friends and told them what I had done. They kicked into "damsel in distress" mode. One got our tour advisor on Skype (he had luckily just landed in London) to ask about tour insurance and one spoke immediately with the front desk people about directions to the nearest medical station. I am so grateful for them. 

I was opposed, at first, to going to the hospital but I caved because I notice, about 45 minutes after the initial cuttage that the tip of my finger was black-ish (that, my friends, is what we call TOO MUCH pressure) so after unraveling the gauze to relieve that, i noticed it was STILL bleeding.

So off we went to the hospital. One of my comrades had to leave to catch a train, but the other 2 stayed  faithfully with me. And, long story short, we got to the hospital, the nice nurse checked me out, said "it's just a scratch, gave me a TETANUS shot (and believe me, I DEFINITELY tried to talk her out of it - but it didn't hurt at all!) and then she asked me to wait for the doctor.

After some light-hearted conversation and seriously sarcastic, dry, Danish humor, he cleaned me up and wrapped up my finger and I'm not allowed to change the bandage or get it wet for 5-7 days. Which, of course, means 5 days.

From cutting myself to walking onto the bus after being at the hospital, the whole ordeal took only about 2 hours! Not bad! Thanks socialist healthcare!

The rest of the day was spent touring and climbing the "Wizard of Oz" church (which is actually called the "Our Saviors Church") and Christiania - the designated "free" zone in Copenhagen established by hippies. You're not allowed to take pictures there because everything is legal. Like selling marijuana plants out in the open and everything else like that. Shady shady....but neat to visit.

THEN SPENCER CAME!! (And the angels sang!!!)

I met up with him at the Copenhagen airport and we checked into the EXQUISITELY convenient Hilton right next to it. Soon after we caught a train back into Copenhagen and met up with Kevin and Charles and spent the evening in the city. Tah Dah!!!

Day 21:

Spence and I slept in. In the "deluxe king" room that we had - WHO WOULDN'T?!

We trained ourselves to Malmo, stashed our luggage in lockers at the station and spent the day in the city. It was a very slow, easy day (and sort of had to be because, despite my already crippled finger, my foot decided to bum out on me too. Seriously lame.) But it was a wonderful day. We took a boat tour, walked around the castle, thru the city and park and ate outside at TGI Fridays (FREE REFILS). We then made our way back to the station, caught a bus to Malmo airport, watched the 1st episode of LOST season 5 and landed in Katowice where we made camp.


Day 22:

It is not comfortable to sleep in airports.

We woke up at 1. Moved camp. Then at 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and then i was lucky enough to stay out till about 9. Then we ate muffins and juice for breakfast for only about $6.50 total. I love Poland already.

With some magical non-verbal communication skills, we bought bus tickets to the Katowice central bus station. Then with an even sweeter set of skills (and a pocket sized Polish-English travel dictionary), we found the train to Krakow. As we walked thru the train station I noted how run down it was, and also the smell that is similar to an indoor penguin house at the zoo. Stale, damp, and EEEVER so slightly foul.

The train from Katowice to Krakow was a little too long (2 hours or so....) and very rickety. Methinks the train is very, very old. But it was okay and thanks to Spencer's sweet phone that does GPS independently of wi-fi, we got off at Krakow central - where it was BLAZING HOT.

You see, we hauled our luggage from the train station to the Main, Old Square. This is only about a 10 minute walk. But by the time we got to our hostel (up 3 flights of stairs) we were both sopping wet and exhausted.

So it was after a couple quick showers that we ventured out into Krakow. Which, despite the cold showers, was still blazing hot. Must be a Europe thing.

After stopping at one of the plethora of bagel carts outside for authentic Polish baked goods (only 50 cents a piece, mind you. SCORE!!) we visited Wawel Castle and Cathedral (where Chopin was or is buried...not sure which...) and the "dragon's cave." I really wanted to know what the REAL purpose of the cave was what, with all it's mysterious brick support and staircases, but all the signs were in Polish. Go figure. We also saw the "State Rooms" but couldn't take pictures. Lets just say they were pretty great - I'm talking tapestries galore and walls covered with leather. 500 year old leather.

We then headed to St. Mary's Basilica. AMAZING. I have seen many an old Cathedral - but I have NEVER seen one as ornate as this. Not in England or Denmark or anywhere. It. Was. Incredible.

So was dinner. We shared a delicious appetizer - a mix between bruschetta and capresi - each had a large, individual pizza, and shared a dessert. Sorry Dad, it wasn't Polish. That's for the next few nights. We were so tired and hungry we just didn't have the gumption to find an authentic Polish restaurant (A) and tackle a menu in Polish (B.) Tomorrow. Promise.

WELL! Now I'm all caught up. Tomorrow is off to Auschwitz and then we've left the afternoon and evening fairly open!


  1. Sounds awesome!! Sorry about your hand -- I hope it gets better soon. I'm glad Spence got there safely. I'm really looking forward to hearing about and seeing pictures of (if you're allowed) Auschwitz.

  2. Wonderful blog Lizzy, though I was distressed seeing your finger and no mom there to kiss the boo boo..after it was all bandaged of course!! Glad Spencer was there later in the day to take good care of you. I am sure you are having the best time now!! Love you! Mom

  3. THIS IS SOOOOOOOO COOL! What a wonderful blog! Well -- the bloody part wasn't so cool :-( but the rest was really wonderful. We're so glad that Spencer got there OK. Great pix of the Wawel! And cool that you saw the dragon! I have a similar photo from 34 years ago! Everything is just so neat! I hope you get some good Polish grub -- just don't try the hunter's sausage... Spend lots of time in the cloth hall (Sukinice, I think...) in the main square! Can't wait to see your nect blog! I love youse!

  4. Uh. Your FINGER??!?!?!?!?!?!??! Nice bandage. Not noticeable at all.

    I think Chopin's heart is just buried in that Cathedral. I saw where the rest of him is at the Cemitere du Pere-Lachaise in Paris. He only pretended to be French but his heart was always Polish.