July 14, 2019 – Castle on the Hill (OOTD #532)

Blog title courtesy of this Ed Sheeran song. 

With the exception of the fact that this castle in these photos was on more of a mountain than a castle, that is a rather fitting song to go with this blog. For full effect, have it playing in the background while you read this.

I’m kidding — don’t do that, that’s corny. Or maybe do, if you like sappy songs and sappy blogs about nostalgia.

Why reference an Ed Sheeran song that I only kind-of sort-of like? Because this is the second-to-last blog covering my two-month summer 2019 adventure in Europe that, thus far in the chronology of this blog, has spanned four countries and nine cities (soon to be five countries — but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s blog for that story), and I’m feeling nostalgic. It was a fun summer. I didn’t want it to end. Now I don’t want to finish writing about, because that means it’s done for good.

On my final day in Croatia, my friend, her cousin and I all hiked up the side of a mountain to where the ruins of Samobor Old Town castle were located. This was somewhere that my friend’s cousin had been trying to get us to go to for the entire week, but for one reason or another — exhaustion, illness, weather — we hadn’t yet made it.

I was actually afraid we might not get to go at all. I like to think of myself as pretty receptive and flexible when it comes to travel experiences, but I don’t know if everyone else is the same way. Someone had mentioned that there might be snakes in the area, and I think my friend was a little nervous to go. I kept mentioning that I was interested in going though, and eventually, she relented.

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hvala, sljedeći.

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And I’m sure glad I pushed for it. Maybe castle ruins aren’t a big deal if you’re from Europe and there are ancient castles everywhere you turn, but as an American from Kentucky who hadn’t seen a castle up until this summer, it’s still very cool.

Croatia is one of the filming locations of Game of Thones, and Samobor Old Town made it obvious why. Where else in the world can you find castle ruins that are just ruined enough to be whimsical but not so ruined to be unattractive? And in the picturesque mountains of a small countryside town?

On the last night in Croatia, we went to dinner with my friend’s family. I was happy to have been invited along, but I’ll admit I felt a little out of place. The whole week, I was afraid I was somehow overstepping my boundaries as a guest and the only non-family person there, even though there was no indication from my friend’s family that they felt that way. If anything, they were too friendly and accommodating — I know I’ll never be able to return the favor in full, so there’s nothing I can do but be grateful that they allowed me to stay with them in Samobor for a week.

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🌻 🌻 🌻

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That night, when I went to bed, I was full of conflicted feelings. In one sense, I was sad to be leaving Europe after I’d had so much fun and become thoroughly enchanted with their public transportation infrastructure; in another, I was glad to finally be heading home after two months away (which had almost immediately followed another two months away at school). In a third sense, I was nervous to have to fly out again the following day for a three flight, 42 hour travel sequence back to the US.

Yes, you read that right — three flights and 42 hours. Tune in next time for the rest of that story.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Top: Vintage (thrift, Budapest Ecseri Bazaar)

Jacket: Thrift (ClothesMentor)

Jeans: American Eagle

July 13, 2019 – Eastern Kentucky or Croatia? (OOTD #531)

I think my favorite part of Croatia was just driving through the countryside.

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croatia or eastern kentucky?

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For some potentially explanatory context, I was hardly in a car at all for the entirety for my time in Europe. In Rome, I drove with some friends to a club once and once to the airport shuttle stop when I was about to leave. In Copenhagen and Budapest, I never even had the chance to get in a car if I’d wanted to. In comparison, back in the US, I’m in a car almost everyday, especially when I’m at home with my parents in Kentucky. It’s a little different when I’m on campus at Notre Dame, but for most parts of the US, you need a car to go anywhere, so you tend to spend a lot of time driving around places.

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over the castle on the hill

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So when I got to Croatia and I got to live with my friend’s cousin’s family, that was pretty much the first time I got to drive anywhere in over a month. And since they didn’t really live in the city (but rather, a small town called Samobor outside of Zagreb), we ended up driving a lot.

One day, we drove out about an hour outside of Samobor to a museum in the mountains where they’d found some Neanderthal remains. Being honest, the museum — or the restaurant we went to afterwards — wasn’t the most interesting part of the day. It was the drive through the Croatian countryside.

The Croatian countryside reminds me in a way of Eastern Kentucky. Lots of rolling hills and mountains with houses dotted along the road. It’s quiet and picturesque, though if you ask me, Croatia beats out Eastern Kentucky in the picturesque category. The people of the Croatian countryside are quite different from the people of the Kentuckian countryside, who very often seem to fit their stereotype of being “hillbillies.” It can be a bit hard to categorize Kentucky as picturesque when, among the rolling hills and green mountains, there are people who look like Colonel Sanders was their father.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Top: Thrift

Jacket: H&M

Trousers: The LOFT

 

July 10, 2019 – What Rhymes with Zagreb? (OOTD #529)

All I could potentially think of was “Maghreb” but I don’t know how I’d be able to utilize that for a blog title.

My trip to Croatia did not turn out quite as planned: for one, my school friend whom I was visiting with got sick the day before I arrived, meaning we were unable to visit any of the other cities we’d been planning to go to. Instead, we spent the week in Somobor with a day trip to Zagreb and to Brezîce, Slovenia.

IMG_2352

At first, I was disappointed: everyone goes to Croatia to see the beaches, which was a part of our original plan that ended up getting scrapped. Instead, I mostly saw a small town outside of the capital. However, as the week went on, I realized I didn’t mind spending the majority of my time in one place — it helped me to get to know the people I was staying with better. I did feel a little badly about potentially overstaying their hospitality’s welcome, though. I’ve never met more kind and generous people than this Croatian family; I wish there was some way I could repay them.

And I did get in little day trip to Zagreb itself. My friend needed to go to the hospital, and so her cousin, her cousin’s sister, and I tagged along for the drive into the city. My friend and her cousin went to the hospital and left her cousin’s sister, Nina, and I to hang out for a few hours in the city.

Zagreb I think wins the cutest European city award for me. It’s tiny compared to larger cities like Rome or London, but it is its size that makes it special: it feels like something out of a storybook. With its color palette that relies heavily on pastel pinks, blues, and yellows and its location nestled into the lush Croatian countryside, it could easily pass as a water color background in a Disney fairy tale.

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it’s all croatian to me

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Would I ever move here? Maybe not — it’s a little too quiet, kind of like Copenhagen was. But unlike Copenhagen, which seemed almost eerily happy, Zagreb had a more somber, melancholy air that I appreciated. It felt more authentic, less tourist-driven. Maybe it’s the recent memories of the Yugoslav Wars that haven’t quite healed, but I got the sense that behind the picturesque imagery, Zagreb had more of a story to tell.

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once upon a time

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Unfortunately, though, I was only there for part of a day, and so I did not get to uncover it. Maybe I’ll get to go back one day and try, though.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Coat: Vintage (thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar in Budapest)

Top: H&M

Skirt: Pull&Bear

July 8, 2019 – Bok! (OOTD #528)

Unfortunately, I was not gifted the ability to learn languages quickly.

I have a friend who picks them up so quickly, and really loves doing it, but I can barely stumble through a conversation in French despite having studied it on-and-off for seven years (wow, that’s embarrassing to have to admit). I feel guilty about that — I have this great privilege of having English as basically my first language, and so there’s less of a need for me to learn other languages, unlike other people in other parts of the world, for whom learning English is essentially a requirement if they want to get ahead at all.

I tried to learn some Italian before I went to Rome — and to be fair, I did learn a little — but I didn’t learn much more than to say grazie and ciao and scusi. In Budapest, I learned szia, which is hello, and that’s about all. In Copenhagen, I literally didn’t learn anything.

In Croatia, however, compared to the other places I visited, I had more of an opportunity to learn the language because I actually stayed with a Croatian family. I still probably didn’t take as great of an advantage of that opportunity as I should have, but you can’t say I didn’t take advantage of it at all.

Off the top of my head, I can tell you a few phrases that I remember in Croatian — bok, which is “hello;” hvala, which is “thanks;”

If only I could put that level of effort into my French, then maybe I’d be somewhere with it by now.

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m o o d

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That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Top: Zara

Jeans: American Eagle