A Travellerspoint blog

In Opava, I...

ate raw meat and climbed a volcano to see Poland!

sunny 81 °F

Backin' up again.

Tuesday, the 22nd.. another class field trip! Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as upbeat as the former, but just as informational and eye-opening, to say the least. We went to a city called Terezin, a place of deportation for Jews and other criminals before they were sent to concentration camps. First we were dropped off at the Jewish museum, which really struck home. There were hand-drawn pictures from Jewish children stuck in Terezin that really illustrated how they pictured their lives and how it looked in the concentration camps. Regular prisoners would have bunk beds and sinks in their rooms, while the Jews would have TINY rooms with neither, up to 16 men squeezed in together. Ridiculous.

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Skip some unimportant, not too eventful days to Friday! My friend, Garth and I headed over 3.5 hours east to Opava, Czech Republic to visit his family farm. My first legit train trip! Woo hoo! This place is NOTHING like Prague. Its all fields and hills and meadows.. as far as the eye can see. We arrived well before anyone could pick us up, so we wandered around the town center for a while, found a nice pizzeria and hung out for a while. Dan, Garth's cousin Susie's fiancé, picked us up from the train station and we headed on to the villa. I took it upon myself to adventure about.. you know me, taking pictures of anything and everything. I'd never seen such openness, even at home. By the time we made it back to the house, freshly made goulash awaited! Garth's aunt and him chit chatted in Czech while I sat and smiled and nodded haha. It was such a cool experience to hear constant Czech all weekend! I might have even picked up on a few things!.. or maybe not so much. But success Goulash, then.. you've got it.. beer garden! Just a small one, we got there by walking through the woods on the farm property, the moon the only light along the way. Awesome. It was a nice chance to get to know his cousins, Susie and Klara, the latter who actually speaks pretty much fluent English. Thank GOODNESS.

The next day we all slept in and had a VERY plentiful Czech breakfast of mounds of bread and meats. I'm totally taking this back to the states with me! Me, Garth and Klara (and her dog, Freya) took a round-about the farm property and through some growing land.. we think beets?.. and caught up on life in general. Back at the house, Klara made us some baller spinach and beef pasta with.. get this, TOMATO and cheese salad.. and I LIKED it. Haha. Then what best follows but FOOTBALL! Soccer, that is. USA game vs Ghana. Place of choice is an Irish pub in the center of Opava. At this particular place, they serve a special type of beer food.. RAW MEAT. I'm talkin.. straight out of the package!.. with even a freshly cracked raw egg to top it off! Now you'd ask.. "how the heck is this safe?!" and I'd answer, "who really knows!?". In other words, FDA would never let this bad boy in the states! They serve it with toast, pieces of garlic, ketchup, mustard, onions, chili powder and other various ingredients so you can make it to your liking. Get this. I TRIED it. ME!.. miss non-adventurous. I have to admit, it wasn't the WORST thing I've ever eaten. Granted, I don't need to try it.. ever again. Haha. Entertainment for the night not only consists of the game, but Garth's reaction to the game. Never seen a kid get so into it! Then again, I was up in the TVs face during the overtime, pounding my fist on the bar. Ugh, freakin A, US. Now on to cheer for Brazil.

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Now on to the fun stuff. Sunday.. we climbed a VOLCANO. Now, probably not the kind of volcano ya'll are picturing. It was more of a mountain, but whatever. The point is that is was a mountain with NO PATH that pretty much went STRAIGHT UP! Work out, much? I swear my 20 years of athleticism was meant for this very day! Once we finally made it to the top there was a tower (stairs to get up, of course) so that you could overlook the scenery. It was worth it, I'd say. Apparently we were looking at Poland from our view, which was a pretty cool thought. So yeah, I saw Poland! Haha.

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After making our way down the mountain, we came to a river. Stopped by to eat some snacks and of course take zillions of pictures. Reminds me of home a bit.. hm. I also tried the best chocolate to ever touch my LIPS.. Milka with caramel and some kind of nuts.. oh my gosh, its God sent. I just know it. And what is a day trip without a visit to a castle! I just know of it as the Castle of Opava.. not really sure what the actual name of it is. But it was perty!

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Back to the villa for more grub. Sausages and large amounts of salad, bread and pivo! Beautiful weather, wonderful company. Lots of Czech that I obviously don't understand, so more smiling and nodding! I love it when people who aren't that good at English try to talk to me.. makes me feel not so out of the loop lol.

All in all, VERY successful weekend. It was so nice to be in a family environment. Its been so long since I've had that feeling. Fresh bed, home cooked meals.. it was a nice chance from the grungy apartment. But good things are ahead! I'm officially going to Rome to visit my dad and Fleur on Thursday for a week because we have a long weekend off from school! That should be a lot of fun! My time abroad is running out quickly.. gotta take advantage of everything I can!

Class time.

Adios, mis amigos!
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 23:31 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged train_travel Comments (1)

München!

Walking Tour, Beer Challenge, Neuschwanstein & Hofbrauhaus.

rain 60 °F

And so the travelling begins. We’re going to back this up to about a week and a half ago. If you’ve kept tabs on the pictures, you have a general idea of what’s been going on.

But let’s see.. the 17th. My Jewish experience class took our first field trip! We took a REALLY nice bus to Plzen (Pilsen), which is about an hour west of Prague. There is the 2nd largest Jewish synagogue in Europe, behind the one in Budapest. It was gorgeous. Very elaborate decorations and pictures on the walls. Its not actually used for prayer because of the low number of Jews in Plzen ever since, obviously, the Holocaust. Afterwards, we walked around for a bit before we ran into the "Thank you, America!" monument dedicated to the US Army for liberating Plzen. One of my many proud moments to be an American.

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My class left Plzen except for four of us, who decided to stay for a few more hours to see the Pilsner Urquell brewery. It was quite the hike there from where we started but we eventually found it! We went to Na Splice, one of the biggest restaurants in Plzen and had some straight from the barrel Pilsner with our Czech pork! Good stuff! Then we took the tour around the brewery, which was awesome. What a long process, good lord! We got to go down into the cellars to see the HUGEEEEE barrels were its about 12 degrees Celsius. Crazy.

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Met the embassy crowd at U Pinkasu (my dad has been pushing for me to try this restaurant ever since I got here!) and it turned out to be a success! The cuisines were all legit Czech… of course I had to get the schnitzel, even though it’s German  Dinner pretty much consisted of bagging on Chris’s German friends, Robin, Sebastian, Lana and Yana and building coaster houses. They were such a fantastic crowd! Just a hoot to learn from! After dinner we headed down the street to this club called the Beer Factory. Always a plus when a place plays American music! Old school even, like Backstreet Boys and Cher and what not. So of course we dance and cut up… Chris even came across a bachelorette party and told them it was Simon’s (a marine) birthday so they would go out and dance with him! Never fails to be a great time with those kids.

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So we'll skip a few days to Friday at 11:00pm. By this time, I had had my farewell dinner with Chris and the Germans, because all of us were leaving for a while. I'm packed up and ready to head over to MUNICH, GERMANY! Yes, I was ballsy, I went by myself. I took the 11:55pm bus out of Prague to arrive in Munich around 5:30am. I already had my hostel, Easy Palace City Hostel, lined up for when I arrived at that ungodly early time. The bus ride wasn't too bad. We took 2 breaks, not including the ridiculous long stop at 3am at the German border to check passports. I sat beside of a fellow from Nigeria who was in the area on business. When we had to show our passports, he asked to see mine and was in awe by it. He looked at every page and kept saying "this is the first time I have seen an American passport up close..." yada yada. Yet another time I was exceptionally proud to be an American.

So here I am at a major bus stop in Munich, 13 metro stops away from my hostel at 6am. Rough. I buy a two-stop ticket and hop on towards my stop. MUCH more complicated than the Prague public transportation system, thats for sure! As opposed to Prague's 3 lines, Munich has about 12. Thankfully I'm so bright! Haha! I eventually make it to my hostel and put my luggage into a locker until check-in at 2pm. Thank the Lord for continental breakfast and comfy lounge couches! The guys at the reception desk (drinking beer at 6am, how European of them) kindly let me crash on a couch. Evidently a huge tour group from Texas that was staying there checked out while I was sleeping and started taking pictures of me because they thought I was a drunkie passed out on the couch haha, one hour in Munich and I'm already famous!

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After my wonderful nap, its free walking tour time! Bottom line, even in the rain, Munich is awesome. Lots of history, especially regarding the Third Reich.. I mean, I walked the streets that the Nazis marched and Hitler made speeches. So amazing. I met some cool people on my tour.. Josh, graduate from Purdue who lives in Stuttgart, Germany, Mike from Montreal and Jess from NY State. Sadly Jess had to leave that evening, so me and the guys decided to meet up that night for this shindig called the Beer Challenge. Now no worries Mema, its not really a challenge. It was basically a tour around the beer museum and 3 different beer halls/gardens. I sadly don't remember what the places were called, but the second place we went to was fantastic. It was probably about 4 stories underground and it was PACKED! Munich is famous for its liter beers.. I still can't believe a few of those things fit in my stomach! But all in all, it was a very fun night with some amazing people from around the world!

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The next day was phenomenal. I went to the Neuschwanstein Castle about 2 hours by train outside of Munich. This castle was the inspiration for Walt Disney for the Sleeping Beauty castle. Gorgeous site. I literally felt like I was just staring at a picture as I stood on Mary's Bridge. If you ever get a chance, read up on King Ludwig II's life and his relationship with the castle. Its such a sad yet very interesting story. Lordy I love Germany. But at the meeting point before the tour, I ran into 3 people from the beer challenge the night before, 2 girls from Australia and a marine from Texas who was on 2 weeks leave from Iraq.

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After a verrrrrry long day, we caught dinner together at Hofbrahaus, one of the most popular beer halls in Europe. Its also the beer hall where many Nazi functions were held. Had a traditional German meal of a pork knuckle and potatoes, never fails. The place was packed full of people with bands playing the German cheers song and crazy people standing on the tables dancing and singing along. We were there for about 5 hours before they were finally ready to close up lol. Awesome. I got hit on by a fellow from South Wales, whose pick up line was "OH MY GOSH. YOU HAVE THE MOST MAGNIFICENT SHOULDER I HAVE EVER SEEN!" Hm, never heard that one before, but nice try buddy! Haha. By the time I wander my way back to the hostel, I'm ready to crash. Until a group of about ten British people hanging out in the lounge area holler at me to chill with them for a while. Love friendly, non-creepy new friends!

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So this concludes my first out-of-Czech Republic adventure. Seriously, one of the best experiences I have ever had. I wish I could record everything that I did, everything that I saw. Its really hard to describe my feelings seeing these magnificent things in such a historic environment.

Sadly, this blog was from almost 2 weeks ago, so not everything is very fresh in my mind. Lucky for ya'll, 1: I have a bajillion pictures from it, and 2: this past weekend was just as fantastic and everything IS fresh, so if you are reading this now, I'm about to blog about the recent shenanigans! Stay tuned!

Posted by Courtster 08:47 Archived in Germany Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Standing out as an American can be a good thing!

semi-overcast 75 °F

The past two days, I have constantly gone about my day thinking "oh yeah, I have to put this in my blog" or "oh man! that sure would be interesting to put in my blog." Fail, because I only remember the main events. I'll do my best though. Just go with my random sidebars. They should be worth it though.

Alright, backing it up to Monday. For class, we went to the Reuters office. For all you non-journalistic folk, Reuters is a business and financial network that reels out the big boy job news, domestic and internationally. This office was awesome, hidden behind an H&M, you'd never guess! Our host, Jan (pronounced 'Yen') cracked jokes the whole time, because, well, lets face it, business can be a bust. But it was actually a very enlightening experience! Each person had 2-3 computers in front of them, constantly watching all the numbers change on the screens while their peripherals were glued to CNN. This is not a job for non-multi-taskers!

Went for my usual run. Always a fun time. I must say though, starring is NOT rude in Prague. Holy heavens, I can't run down the street without feeling glares of death from everyone! It kills me too, because it is nowhere near discrete either. A group of people will be sitting at an outdoor restaurant and one catches my eye.. he says something to the others then the whole crowd turns around to stare. Someone please tell me if I look this stupid while I run. Evidently its a really big problem! Later, I had a skype date with A. Ryals and my mema and papow.. kinda, haha. Its a work in progress though!

Courtney and I headed over to the Muzeum area to find a potential dinner spot. We settled on this restaurant called Sphinx. Very cool atmosphere, awesome lamps, not horrible food. I had some baller grilled chicken slices covered in oriental spices. Look at me trying new things! Woo hoo!.. oh wait.. I had a cup of ketchup next to me. Scratch that.

So no plans to go out tonight. The rest of the CEA folks come tomorrow so, we figured we'd save the party hearty-ness for then. As we're walking home, we're once again pin pointed immediately as Americans. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing, especially in this particular scenario. So we have Amanda from Canada and Chris from Texas (FORT WORTH, WOO HOO!) who holler at us to see if we'd like to go to the so-called Red Room with them. As we're walking around the block, getting to know each other and what not, we can't seem to find the place. Apparently its a hot spot, but still nowhere to be found. We take a nice large loop around while Amanda and Chris bicker at each other for embaressing themselves in front of "The Courtneys" (as we were nicknamed from then on out). Just cracking us up! What a duo. We find the place, turn out its closed on Mondays. Bummer. So we head over to this little bar on the corner of Karlovo Namesti. I don't remember what its called, but I know we did sit on the roof! Awesome little hut with a bunch of tables and chairs over top. The first addition to our party of four is Mr. Garth, a soccer player for the FK Slavoj Vysehrad, 5th division team. We hang out there for a while before I realize a girl is sitting off to the side by herself. Of course I would notice the gorgeous Vineyard Vines Delta Zeta tote in her hand though! So I ask where shes from, what shes doing there.. her name was Rachel from USC, just graduated and travelling Europe on her own visiting old friends. So she pulls up a chair and joins our little crowd! The more, the merrier! So at a certain point, everyone feels the need to take our little shindig elsewhere. We walked down, way down, to a place they like to call the "Nail Bar". I'll have to get another rundown on the reason behind that. [This would be one of those moments I thought of before yet can't remember now for the life of me]. Anyways, fun times at the Nail Bar! Laid back atmosphere, interesting people. Another way too late of a night.. thank you Tram, I love you.

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And thank you metro for being so efficient. Headed on the yellow line (mine, thank goodness) to Cerny Most, where a mosque is housed. You would never guess though. This place is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by walls so you can't even tell its there. What a fascinating experience! I didn't know very much about the Islamic culture. Before they walk into the mosque, they have to take off their shoes. Then, if they hadn't cleaned before going, they must wash their hands and feet in a community wash room (ie my picture). The women also have their own side of the mosque for their own prayer purposes (way cooler than the mens side, I must say.. they have a kitchen and couches!) All in all, enticing experience. Nooooooot so much to make me convert or anything though, no worries.

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So I started this post about 5 days ago and I'm really disappointed in myself that I haven't been more on top of it. A lot has been going on! And since its so much, and I actually already typed this half of the blog and just refreshed the page and lost EVERYTHING I just wrote, it will not be that in depth, because my patience was just shot and it just sucks really bad.

So here we go! Thursday.. last class of International Reporting. And it took place at a baller Mexican restaurant called Last Adelitas. Amazing food, and actually authentic! My quesadillas were almost deep fried, which was very strange, but it was sooo good. Doesn't beat El Cerro though with my DZ ladies. Heckkk no! But I'm really going to miss that class.. I love my new friends! Afterwards, I met up with Garth and we went to the botanical gardens. Very nice and relaxing atmosphere. Good company, as usual. Hot as heck though! Was I not just complaining about it being freezing here?! Jeez, make up your mind, Prague!

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The new CEA kids came later that day. Pretty cool folks! Had a real good time, starting at Red Room, which I'm also becoming a local at.. then went to an old underground bomb shelter type bar. Very neat! Made a late night run to McDonalds and one of the guys ordered a McCountry.. a pork burger.. only in the Czech!

Friday.. I played tourist. Its been a while! I just love this city. No matter if you make a wrong turn or hop on a random tram, you're always likely to run into a park or fountain you've never seen before. Everyones laying on a blanket, reading a book or eating some baller gelato. Its unreal. The other beautiful thing about that day was.. WORLD CUP! Not that I would really care that much if I were back at home, but being in Europe for it.. totally different vibe. Went to the Golden Star to watch the France v Uruguay game.. sadly it wasn't that interesting of a game. Then of course, hit up the nail bar with my first Polish friend, Remmy. Cool chap. But then theres the nail game. Theres a stump with nails in it, and you have to use the flat side of the hammer to hit them in. The one who doesn't get their nail in the stump loses and has to buy a round. I will never play that stupid game again..

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Saturday.. this guy Mike, a law student at AAU and works in the computer lab on campus, asked me if I played softball and if I wanted to join the AAU team for a charity tournament. Shoot yeah, I love softball! Its been a while though. So Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early and hopped on a metro then a bus to the middle of NOWHERE. Got slightly lost of course, then missed my stop and had to wait 20 mins for another bus. Story of my life, right? But it was worth it! Although we lost miserably, it was so fun to play with new friends! And who woulda guessed.. our game was against the US Embassy, so my dear friend Chris was there! Good times.

Rushed back to civilization for the CEA reception. Get back to the apartment.. no hot water. AWESOME. Bout an hour late so I missed a lot of people.. but the remainder of us hung out for quite a long time before wandering across town to a beer garden around 4. The USA v England game wasn't until 8:30. So we were there for.. 6 hours. Woo. What a match! Lots of British folks there, which kept things very interesting! Gotta love Europe football! However, you can't love Europe bathrooms that either are nowhere in site, no tp, or you have to pay to use. Never thought I would say this, but I am thankful for the trees.. bushes to be exact. Haha. Yay me!

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Sunday. Woke up super early to meet Chris at the end of the green line because him, Tyler and Glen were playing with us on the AAU team for day two of the tourny. It was so weird being in a car for the first time in 3 weeks! Haha. Kinda missed travelling sitting down lol. But anyways, won our first game. Pretty rusty, but good times nonetheless. Our team rocked it though! Our teammates were so cool and chill about everything, which made the game so much more enjoyable.

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So that night. Gone to watch a game in the Red Room. I borrowed one of Garth's jackets because I didn't bring one. Bless that poor kid. We're there with Texas Chris and two Scottish guys. I set my purse and his NORTHFACE jacket on the table. So we're all just chit chattin and what not when one of the guys says "HOLY HELL!" in his thick accent. Turn around.. flames. There were little candles on the tables and his jacket was toasted. Oh my gosh. I felt so freakin bad! I would be so pissed if that were mine! SORRY GARTHHHHHHHH!!!!

Yesterday, me and the roomies went to Petrin to see the Prague Eiffel Tower. We rode a funicular to the top of the hill that its on, which was pretty sweet. A bazillion stairs, but what a view from the top. Wow. Absolutely in love. However, my legs and butt are KILLING ME today!! Haha.

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Hung out with Chris and Stephanie and co. last night at the Hard Rock. A Czech band played which was really neat. It was 70s night too, which I kind of failed at sadly, but it was still really fun! Always a good time with that crowd.

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Today I had my first day of my six-week class, Jewish Experience in Central Europe. I am so syked for this class! We're going to Pilsen on Thursday to see a synagogue, then to a concentration camp on Tuesday. The professor seems really nice and knowledgeable, which could be a good and bad thing haha. Went to lunch with some other chicks from CEA. Woo hoo for new friends!

So now I'm finally concluding this ultimate novel. Heading out to play volleyball at the marine house then hopefully pub crawl with some girls! Fun times in Prague. I'll try to update more often than not. This was intense. The people in this cafe must think I'm writing a book.. or have no life. One of the two. So ok, good stuff..Keep in touch, everyone!

Caio,
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 08:59 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (2)

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather!

sunny 78 °F

I'm trying not to let too many days get in between my posts because I feel like I lose the initial feelings I have when I actually experience them.. but successful weekend!

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So let me bounce back a couple days. Ahh, Friday. Finally a pretty day outside! We woke up relatively early and put on some serious walking shoes. Not literally, unfortunately. Because that is what we did.. ALL DAY.. was walk. But we sure did see some pretty amazing things throughout our journey. You don't realize how close everything is until you take it by foot! We would be taking pictures of one thing.. then 20 minutes later, we're taking pictures of it from really REALLY far away! But we ventured more on our neck of the woods and came across the Church of the Sacred Heart and another gorgeous chuch. We had lunch at a cutie restaurant outside. I had some ballin bruschetta and pizza bread (that really wasn't pizza at all). Good stuff! I've been wanting to see what this Prague Television Tower. It was built during the communist era and had been used to block foreign broadcasts from the West. You might notice the alien-like babies crawling up the tower.. yeah, it freaks me out too.

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We stopped by Mahlerovy sady (Mahler Park) and I found me a nice spot to take some skyline pictures.. and a nice, long and steep fountain to soak my pained feet in. Glorious!

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The main place we were looking for was Letna Park on the other side of the river. Evidently this place was where the nearest beer garden was.. or was supposed to be. We couldn't find the dang thing, so we just walked around anyways. The park was phenomenally gorgeous.. if we hadn't have been walking around for 5 hours already, I would have been game for checking out the place, because it is HUGE. But thats ok, it what we did the next day! It was laid out in the 19th century. Beautiful.

So Friday night.. of course we went out. Went back to Chapeau Rouge and did our thing (aka, sit at the bar and wait for someone to come talk to us) ..success! Some Scottish fellows were out for a buddy's bachelor outing. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures from that night just yet because I left my memory card in my computer so they're all on my camera's memory. Sad, sad day. Anyways, we hung out there for a bit, made a few of the guys go downstairs to the club part to see if it was any good (admission fee soo we didn't want to risk it) and thankfully we are so smooth like that because they said it blew so we moved on. Outside of the club there were some people from New Zealand who had AWESOME accents. I didn't want to leave them, I just cracked up listening to them talk! But they were a cool crowd, also in the pictures I don't have readily available at the moment. We wandered through the streets of Old Town until we found a highly recommended place called Club Roxy. Sadly, it sucked really bad. The guy was trying to sing a techno song while doing some fast paced robot moves. It was weird. Oh those Czechs. Hopefully we just went on a bad night. But anyways, we moved on again to a restaurant and just hung out for a bit because heading home. Yay new friends, sadly the places blew.

Yesterday, we went back to the beer gardens, which we actually found! It wasn't much more than a stand that sold beer, drinks, snacks and sausages (duh.. but it was served with neither a bun or a fork.. so that was kinda interesting). Of course, I had to get one for the experience. It was pretty delightful! The park was packed though.. not very surprised given that the last week and a half's weather was dreary. But we took a seat in the grass, read our books and I took a little snooze. It was lovely. Finally made it to dinner at a pizzeria down the street. I was dying of thirst by this point so I just asked for the biggest bottle of water they had. What do I find out? A liter of water is more expensive than my dang pizza! What the heck, Prague? Jippin me, here! Feeling pretty icky at this point, so I went for a nice long run across the bridges. Ah, I haven't felt that good in forever. The weather was perfect and the view was unbelievable.. until I ran into a flock of tourist the entire stretch of the Charles Bridge.. haha, not a smart move on my part! But it was great, nonetheless.

This morning I woke up to do homework. Fail. Talk to Patrick, who sounded like he wanted to die of tiredness, so I went off and ventured on my own. It was actually really hot today! Probably close to 80! Bout time! I passed by the Czech Parliament building, which was really neat. Later in the afternoon I met up with Gabriela and her mom for the Klasicismus a biedermeier exhibition. What a fun experience! There were paintings, marble sculptures and wooden carvings from the 17 and 1800s, mostly from Vienna. Now I can understand this kind of art! It was great to hang out with Gabriela.. it was so funny that she'll talk to me in English and her mom in Czech, or translate for both of us. We walked to a far away metro station, stopped on the way for some ice cream, then said good-byes. I love her!

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Did some grocery shopping (thank you lady who saw me struggling to buy cheese with the Czech associate). Always an adventure that is! Went for another run this evening, which was glorious as usual. Came home to find a burnt to a crisp Courtney, who spent 7 hours in the beer gardens with no sun screen (doof) and no hot water. Awesome! So just imagine me sitting in my bed all smelly and what not. Cause thats probably how I am.. just not THAT bad.. sheesh!

So class in the a.m.. yay. Four more days and I'll have 3 credit hours under my belt! Woo hoo! I think we're going to a mosque on Tuesday, so that should be an exciting post!

Dobry noc,
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 13:04 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Radio Praha, Brazilians, & Pilsner

You're never too old for Field Trips!

overcast 50 °F

Still freezing. Its June 3rd. Somethings very VERY wrong with this picture.

But anyways, my International Reporting class went to the Radio Praha station near the National Muzeum. It as a really great experience! Rob Cameron, a British free lance writer for BBC out of Prague, bought all of us coffee and just basically told us all about himself being a free lance writer and what not. He said the main reason he came to Prague almost 17 years ago was because he was bored with England and basically wanted some change in his life. Now, 17 years and a new language later, he lives here more permanently, while still working for a British news source. I'd imagine its rather tough writing for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.. there's not too much action around these parts. CZ had elections this past weekend and SL has them in 2 weeks, but.. everyone has elections. "Now finding out what makes it unique? Thats tough." Direct quote straight from the source, with of course a sexy British twang!

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That evening, after eating some good ol leftover pizza, Courtney and I got dolled up and went to Old Town Square. Well, first we got lost trying to find it and of course it starts raining, so we just dipped into a pub nearby. Oddly enough, it was the club that I was looking for the other night and never found! Haha. It was called Chapeau Rouge. Unfortunately we never made it to the club level downstairs but we hung out at the bar for a little bit and had some bonding time, which was nice. Well on my way back from the bathroom, these two guys stopped me to ask my name. So I called Courtney over so we chit chatted with them for a long while. Ironically, they were also Raphael and Raphael! Who would've thunk?! They were best friends and co-workers from Brazil on holiday from the job, just touring Europe. Spending five days in Vienna, now Prague, next Berlin, London, then home. Ugh, I envy them. So like usual, we got ourselves a few free drinks and the company wasn't half bad either. Before we leave, they invite us to dinner the next night. Free food? .. sounds good to me!

Our actual plans for that night came after. We were a little late meeting Chris and the marines in Wenceslas square because he was going home for a week (yesterday afternoon), so we had to walk up and down the ridiculous long shopping strip to find them. Of course I have to pee and there just happens to be no pubs on this strip... just shops that are of course closed at midnight.. so I find myself a hotel like usual haha this has become a signature move of mine I guess! Well Chris is rather unhelpful, hearing that he must be slightly intoxicated.. so while I'm on the phone with him, I hear in both the receiver and the air "COURTNEYYYYYYYY!!!!!" at about 12:30am.. crazy boy, people do not yell in Prague! Well we eventually found googly-eyed Chris and went to a club called New Nebe. This place was hoppin! Everyone seemed to find their match for the night so I did some dancing and hung out at the bar and met some other fellas just to shoot the bull. Then before I knew it, they were closing the club, which means it had to be at least 3am by this point. Very, very unlike me. We say adios to all the crowd and head out to find a late night tram. All the 50-something trams run between midnight and fiveish, so we had to book it. Surprisingly, the tram was rather packed for it being 4am.. even some old people were on it.. weird.. lots of people out walking their dogs and what not.. Prague doesn't sleep! Ahh but Courtney (me) does.

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Next morning, head out to my tram stop, and its in shackles! Their doing lots of construction on the road over perpendicular to us so I guess they were redoing the tram stop. Good to know, as I'm already on my way to class, running on 3 hours of sleep, no food in my belly, and no espresso in hand. So stupid tram makes me 30 minutes late for class. But of course, three other people walk in behind me, so I'm all good! We watched a documentary on James Nachtway, a war photographer.. very interesting and depressing video. But hes absolutely amazing! I could never do that sort of work. Way too up close and personal with the sad stuff. But cool, nonetheless. Then a Czech dude, and former AAU student, with piercings in every possible place on his face gave us a presentation on something I thankfully did not have to write about, because ya know, the whole 3 hours of sleep thing. Doesn't work for me. So I go back to the FLAT (haha, that is what I'm calling it from now on.. no one says apartment around here) and took an hour nap, which was simply glorious. Thankfully it was pouring down rain so I didn't feel too bad. Once I got up, Courtney made it home so we headed over to Cafe Louvre for a snack and some homework time outside of this god forsaken place. It was a fun atmosphere again.. had a successful study session with some fabulous hummus and the most baller hot chocolate ever. Its not like our hot chocolate where its very liquid-like.. this is more like warm pudding but not AS thick. Sounds gross, but it was SO good. Ah, I should have taken a picture! Its ok though, there will be a next time.

We then came back here to shower for our Courtney and Raphael date. I finally threw my jean attires in the washing machine, which sounded like an airplane about to take off.. that little booger is intense! So woo hoo clean jeans! Anyways, hopped on the metro, two, then a tram, three stops, and finally made it to the sketchiest part of Prague I have seen so far. Then what comes? The RAIN, of course! So here we are, two white girls that speak no Czech on a dark, rainy part of town looking for this hostel. Great. Haha, we walked past some shop that had a manican that was in the window wearing a face mask. We both screamed bloody murder, but it was hilarious! Once we finally found this actually very nice hostel, they were waiting in the lobby even after us being an hour late. Poor guys, probably thought we bailed! We walked across the street to this Mexican restaurant. Had some fabulous mini chips and bean pasta (which wasn't really pasta at all..) and a good ol chicken quesadilla. Very cute place! Partially underground, there were benches by the tables with mats and pillows covering them with lights everywhere and a tiny candle on the table. Cutie and very comfy! Successful (free) dinner, so we headed back on into the rain over to the hostel bar to hang out for a bit. What a good time! Its so interesting to me to talk to someone whom you have no idea their culture or anything. Although their English was a little shaky (and of course, we know not a thing in Portuguese) it was a real fun gathering! We sang and talked movies and travel and places we want to go and see.. very, very good. It was later obvious how anxious and nervous they were for us to come because what sounded like an American girl came up to our table and said "I am so glad you two showed up. These two were so nervous about where to take ya'll to dinner and were worried if you were even going to show. They've been talking about this all day." Aw, flattering! Around one, we head out to the tram stop, still singing, when this very drunk (and gay, so he made it known) fellow that started singing too, then started bagging on the English language? I don't know, he was a strange guy, who happened to be getting on our tram, so the fun didn't stop there! He just rambled about being gay and going out and partying. Oh those Czech men, we earlier realized. So finally, home, safe and sound, with a full belly and more fond memories.

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So class again this morning. I'm running off not so much sleep, so even now as I write this, I am slightly struggling to keep my eyes open. Nothing a good ol Czech espresso can't fix! We had another guest speaker today, Mr. Gene Deitch. For those that do not know who this man is, he is an illustrator, director and producer of animations and cartoons. He made things like Tom and Jerry, Where the Wild Things Are.. this guy is legit. He's lived in Prague since the 50s, married a Czech woman, has seen the ways of communism and democracy here. Very, VERY awesome opportunity to be able to talk with this man. Hes in his later 80s now, so it was probably a once in a lifetime event.

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After class, I walked to a tram stop with Gabriela, the Czech girl from my class. Its so great talking to her about the culture side of her lifestyle as opposed to mine. Going to wine tasting with her parents, just spending quality time by herself to read a book.. just simple things, family time.. its so much more low key than anything I've ever known. Later, I hopped on a metro to.. I don't really know, some stop I had never been to before and found myself a nice cafe to mesh at. Very cozy, not too much smoke, which says a lot around here. Had me another necessary espresso and a very interesting apple strudel type thing. It had raisins and nuts in it as well, but it was quite good! Had a lovely Skype date with the love of my life, which is always a good time. Headed back to the flat before going to Palace Cinemas to see Sex and the City 2 with Courtney, Radka, Sandra and Linka! I don't care what anyone says, I thought it was cute! Of course not as good as the first, but still very good. Put me in a good mood and really inspired me to take on the city!.. like I need to do that anymore! Haha.

I really need to try to update thing sucker more often so I don't leave ya'll with a novel to read every time. I'm working on it though! Also, a week before the rest of the CEA students arrive!!! I'm so excited!!! Then the real fun begins.

Love and all,
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 15:43 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

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