A Travellerspoint blog

Broke out the Mizunos today!

semi-overcast 57 °F

I finally broke out the good ol worn running shoes and took a jog down the Vltava River. I went the direction away from the Charles Bridge to dodge the tourist traffic and I'm so glad I did. The sidewalk was endless and there were several places to escape down to a cobblestone sidewalk RIGHT NEXT to the river. Needless to say, I was on it. If it wasn't so cold at night, I would run then. I bet the view is a beaut.

With that being said, is it JUNE or JANUARY?! It was so cold today!! I can't even remember the last time I was in jeans, socks, a long sleeve AND my fleece and STILL shivering!

Anyways, my new roommate, Courtney (ironic, eh?) got into town yesterday morning. I took her on the tram to see the school and surrounding area. We walked across the Charles Bridge which was a mad house (imagine that!) then of course, it started to rain a bit. The day is not complete without a little sprinkle here and there in Prague. At three, Radka (Reminder: student coordinator of CEA) came to walk us over to the Cafe Louvre on Narodni Divadlo, which was baller. We met Will there (the Academic Dean of CEA... an AMERICAN from Carolina! Woo hoo!). Radka said they have the best chocolate cake in all of Prague. Well, given that its the ONLY cake I've had in Prague, I'd have to agree! It was pretty fantastic! I also had my first cup of Cappuccino, which was also very yummy. It was nice for the 4 of us to just kinda relax on a big red couch and chit chat for a while. Evidently those kinds of cafes are everywhere, so I'm going to have to venture out and try new ones to find my favorite, hunker down and it be my little alone time place.

By the time we got got back to the apartment, it was almost dinner time. So we hit up Google and tried to venture out and find some authentic Czech cuisine restaurants! We eventually found the Hybernia near Namnesty Republicky. It was a cute, quaint place. Some of the tables had beer taps on them, which was pretty awesome. Courtney eventually decided on the roasted duck and bacon dumplings (YAY to the duck, double nay to the dumplings) and I got the pork ribs with a special Czech sauce and garlic baguette (HECK YES TO BOTH!) each with a side of Pilsner Urquell, never fails. Overall, it was a pretty successful Czech dinner, I'd say!

DSCN3108.jpg

Once we ventured back out in search of a pub (and by later, a bathroom) we got a little lost in a creepy part of town. So we just shimmied into the first legit pub we saw and it was the coolest little place! There was a table full of Americans sitting behind us and the staff was really nice. We gave the Staropramen beer a try. Yet another success. After a sitting at the table for a while, a very intoxicated 35 year old Czech fellow comes up to our table. He asks repeatedly if we need another beer and of course we wouldn't say no to a freebie! So after we get them, he sips on his and feels the need to tell us how beautiful we are and how much he loves us. Flattering..? Maybe..? Eh, no, not so much, haha. He is so persistent at this point (Don't worry, LeAnne, I had Chris on the speed dial in case anything happened!) So eventually, I nod over a waitress to get this guy out of here. So he leaves.. the first time.. then comes back in. Makes his way to the bathroom and is in there quite some time. Gross, I know. Come on dude.. you're a grown man, and its a Sunday night for heavens sake! When he finally makes it out, of course, he heads back over our way. His friend is pretty much having to drag him out of the pub, and by this point, we are just cracking up. He leaves the place then comes up to the window where we are sitting, bangs on the window and blows us kisses.. several times this entire scenario happens! Haha. Ridiculous. During the course of all this, the staff is feeling a little bad about us having to go through that rather interesting experience. So two yodka and fig shots (Vodka tasted like fig, fig like vodka, UGH!) and some melon drink on the house. Sweet! So not a bad night after all! Haha. Metro home, good night sleep.

DSCN3118.jpg

Woke up early for class. Woo hoo. Got me an overpriced, ridiculously small coffee from a nearby bagel house before heading in. We read about Milan Kundera, a well-known writer in CZ who was involved in a scandal in the 50s. Seemed like a rather pointless exercise, but whatever. Then we had a speaker from the Globalpost.com, who was a total douche. He is from Jersey (strike one), bagged on Republicans (strike two) and make fun of the Southern drawl (STRIKE 3, 4, 5678...) You get it. Wasn't a fan of this guy. I was very relieved to find out our assignment wasn't to write about this guy, because after about the first 30 seconds, my mind wandered far, far away from his nonsense.

So after class, as I already mentioned, I went on my lovely run. Then did my homework like a good girl, showered, then headed out to dinner with Courtney to a restaurant right on our street. Had some Hawaiian pizza haha. Way to branch out from the tree, right? Then accidentally ordered sparkling water instead of still. GROSSSSSSSS!!! Never, EVER again. Then more fun times grocery shopping, because thats always an adventure in itself, haha.

OH! And I finally got to see Miss Amanda Ryals's faceeee! :) Gotta love skype.

Radka sent us several emails with athletic and pub/club information, so the next couple days might just be experimental. We have a "CEA event" to go see Sex and the City 2 on Thursday FO FREE! Woo hoo! Good times ahead.

Well I didn't have as much exciting stuff to update on now that schoolwork and all that jazz is taking up most of my day =/ But I will keep things as interesting as possible for you folks! I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my novels.. I love the feedback! Hope everyone is having a fabulous summer so far.. enjoy the sunshine, and PLEASE STOP HOGGING IT ALL!.. send some my way. Thanks!

Cau,
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 12:20 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (3)

Skinny legs and a beer gut

sunny 67 °F

I would like to start by mentioning my great appreciation for mother nature not raining on Prague today. It was lovely!

DSCN2948.jpg

Last night had to have been the most risky and adventurous thing I have ever done. LeAnne might kill me after I admit this, but I went to a hoppin' area towards Old Town by myself. I just couldn't stand to be in this apartment anymore! So I got dolled up and put a hearty 200 Kc in my purse and hopped on the metro to Můstek. I had one pub in mind so I headed in there. It was ok, had a drink at the non-existent bar, which turned me off, me being a loner and all. Lots of Americans in there though, which also turned me off. So I asked the bouncer where "singles" would go, not trying to make it sound like single, like, ALONE. Well he told me some place in English, a place I eventually never found anyways. I saw these two fellas, Jan and Michal sitting on a bench outside of a pub. Looked about my age or whatever, so I asked them if they knew where this mysterious place was I was looking for. Never heard of it of course, because I suck and know no Czech. Nonetheless, one of them spoke good English and the other hardly any. They knew the owner of the pub they were outside of so they asked if I wanted to join them for a drink. Naturally, free beer, duh I agreed. Watched the girl fill it from the tap, so I wouldn't get roofied haha. Success there, obviously! So we hung out for a bit before Michal decided he must have KFC. Oddly, it was midnight and of course KFC is still open. Weird. After they twisted my arm a bit about going to a club they thought I'd like, once again, friends of theirs so free drinks, I openly complied. Most of the clubs here are underground, so pretty much you can be as loud as you want. I loved hearing Lady Gaga and Jason DeRulo blowing through the speakers. Flashback to home. I boogied away, needless to say. Czech people dance very different and listen to very different clubbing music. I found this out at the last club we ended up at. LOTS of techno. Everyone cheers really loud for the song playing, and I'm thinking to myself.. "it sounds like the song before this.. and before that.. and before that.." Of course by this time I have to use the bathroom really bad, which was flooded. So like most people around here, after these two Czech girls realized I was American, which doesn't take long, they helped me maneuver towards the toilet. Such nice folks! We ended up walking back to our homes, which seemed to be so freakin long. I feared this drinking would put quite the gut on me in two months.. but note the walking EVERYWHERE, theres no way thats possible.. well, at least for my stubs. Anyway, it was a really great time, I'm glad I got ballsy for once, because luckily, everything turned out ok. And I'm facebook friends with the guys now, so its official! Haha. I'm very thankful to know some Czechs now, it may come in handy.

DSCN2914.jpg

I slept in a little this morning. I know Tina (my gbig) told me never to do that, but I definitely needed it. Still got a lot accomplished today! Had an early morning skype date with Patrick (well, early for him lol) then hopped on the metro! The main thing I wanted to do today was see Charles University, which is the oldest university in central Europe. During the course of my adventure, I saw a lot more interesting things other than the school. Like a SEX MACHINE museum and a museum of TORTURE. What the heck, right? Haha. There are also hundreds of Bohemian Art and Glass stores.. I wasn't aware of how precious they are. I'll have to find out more about that. I eventually wandered into Old Town Square where tourists were FLOODING the place. Took more pictures of the Astronomical Clock and the Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem, or Church of our Lady before Tyn, the Gothic church that hovers over the square, dating back from the 14th century. Absolutely stunning. I'm not quite sure yet what the show in the square was, but there was a reenactment of authentic Czech dancing and music. It was really neat!

DSCN2981.jpg

Best part of the day right here.. finally went to the Prague Castle. Literally took my breath away. The Royal Gardens were nice too, haven't seen that much grass in a while since I live smack dab in the middle of the city lol. But I've never seen anything as majestic and magnificent as the castle. I can't wait for my mema to get here so she can see all these things too. I've got a long to-do list for us once she gets here!

DSCN3025.jpg

By this time, my feet are KILLING ME. But.. a girls gotta eat. Thats been quite the challenge being here.. grocery shopping. Basically, if theres no picture on the carton, I'm SOL. None of the workers knew English. I had to ask someone if I had butter or not. How sad, huh? lol. I have already started a list of food I must have immediately when I get back to the states. To top off my grocery experience, I had to pay 1 Kc for a bag.. wahh?! Woman, I have to WALK home, no crap I want a bag! I've also started a list of why I love the U.S.

Happy news though! One of my roommates comes tomorrow afternoon! Woo hoo! Then cake and coffee at Cafe Louvre with Radka and the other fabulous CEA folks. Should be a good time! But I need to get to cleaning the apartment for the newbie.. til next time!

Dobrý den,
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 10:51 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (1)

Finally getting the hang of things!

sunny 62 °F

Greetings!

I figure I should update now since a lot has happened in the past 2 days, so this might be pretty long!

DSCN2777.jpg

Basically, I am falling in love with this city.. at least now that I've got the transportation system almost down, which is VERY helpful. Its so nice to hop on a tram or metro and be all over the place in a quick minute. Well, unless you always walk up to the tram as its pulling away haha. Story of my life.

FIRST DAY OF CLASS WAS YESTERDAY. I am taking International Reporting from 9-12:45.. I am one of three haha. We're all girls, one's name is Celyna, who is originally from Mexico. Her dad works at the Mexican embassy so she's been in Prague for 2 years. The other is Gabriela, who is a native Czech. Both girls are sweet as anything, I think they will be great friends! My professor is a Canadian who is a reporter for a newspaper in Montreal. We all get along great, I'm very excited for this class! Yesterday we went over the basics of good writing and what not. Nothing too drastic.

I had a hefty errand list to work on yesterday so Gabriela helped me get to Andel, which is where a huge indoor mall is. I got my phone in working order (00420 776 462 843) Bought myself some actual food (thank goodness for knock-off ramen and spaghetti) and a blow-dryer! That was the most complicated thing to find around here! No one in the Tesco (kind of like a Walmart in 5 stories) could speak English.. so I'm looking like an idiot making motions like I'm blow drying my hair haha. Ah, they'd just laugh and I'm sure were thinking "stupid American". When I eventually made it to lunch, I found out the most horrible thing ever.. YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR PACKETS OF KETCHUP!!! Devastated. 6 Kc a packet.. only like 25 cents.. but still! If you know me, you know I LOVE KETCHUP. I'll have to buy a bottle to keep in my purse.

Anyways, took the metro by myself for the first time and came back to the apartment to shower. Then I ran into one of those instances where I missed the tram.. or both trams I had to get on, but I eventually met up with Chris and two other marines, Sam and Tyler, and Chris's friends that go to OU, Pat and Bryce at Starbucks. So we hopped on a metro and went to Letnany, quite a ways out on the red line to go to the Beer Festival. There were three huge tents, each full of tables, music, food and of course, zillion different types of BEER. For 200 Kc, you get 5 tokens. One beer is a token, but you could use several to buy food and what not. I had my first Czech sausage and my first dark beer EVER! I have no idea what it was, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.. just very very intimidating! Haha. They also had this wooden carrier called "The Meter".. it holds 11 beers for 10 tokens. So we chipped in for a couple of those throughout the night. Needless to say, it was a very fun night!

DSCN2834.jpg

This morning I met Gabriela and Celyna at Starbucks to walk over to the US Embassy's American Center. There are several festivals going on in Prague, one being the Roma Festival. Romians are like gypsies and are all over the world, especially in Europe. We attended a conference that had speakers from various parts of the world talking about the Roma's identity and place in society and who they really are, despite stereotypes. Afterwards we interviewed a man named Ian Hancock, a Brit who teaches at University of Texas in Austin. So this weekend I have to write a piece on.. something having to do with him and the Romas. Yay first assignment. So after all that fun stuff, I went down the street to the American Embassy to check out the place. Chris and Sam took me to the top of a building behind the actual embassy... what a view! Several pictures on my facebook you must check out!

DSCN2883.jpg

Well thats all I feel like typing for now. I'm going to wander around while the sun is still out! Enjoy the pictures!

Mucho love,
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 07:38 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (1)

Hopefully my computer doesn't explode on me

..but at least I'm in Praha!

overcast 50 °F

Hola ladies and gents!

The title of this blog merely demonstrates sarcasm towards my stupid converter that feels like making weird noises which sykes me out about my computer being shot. Lets hope that doesn't happen.

Anyways, I've finally made it! Throughout my journey the last 24 hours, I kept a written memento of things I wanted to share with ya'll in my blog. So we'll start from the get-go.

Mema, Papow, Madison and Patrick all took me to RDU in the pouring down rain yesterday. What an exciting, and at the same time depressing, time. But my plane left on time, the food wasn't SO terribly awful and I slept about half the flight, even though I know I could have done better! We finally get to London, where I feel like I have to go through security four more times before they finally let us to the terminal. Sadly there was no wireless, so there will be a small fee tacked on to my cell phone bill. Haha, I was just thinking of ya'll! Anyways, let me just say, that there is no one like the Brits. I mean, I've never met a kind of person so particular and brute and blunt. It cracks me up! Their mannerism doesn't respond with a simple "oh, you're welcome!".. its more of a "its fine, its ok, move on". On the back of British Airway's seats, and I don't know if they're on any American flights, but they have coat hooks! How classy! Haha. Also, big surprise.. they have airplane bottles of wine! Call me sheltered, but I have never seen those before! Actually they're more of a two airplane bottles in one, but still! Cracked me up a bit. And I'm pretty sure I was the only one that asked for a soda on the plane. For everyone else it was orange juice, wine or tea. They also served a chicken salad sandwich for a "snack" and it had an instant sized thing of milk packaged with it. Strange. Ok, sorry, that was my rant on that. Slight culture shock for me, I guess.

Well, then I made it to Prague. Thankfully, the weather was beautiful. Sunny with a little bit of a breeze. The housing coordinator for the CEA, George, picked me up from the airport. We drove through the heart of Prague, past the castle, the Charles Bridge, the embassies.. til we finally made it to my.. uh, humble abode, I guess. Here we met Radka, our student service coordinator, who sat down with me and we went over everything I need to know pretty much. Lots of papers and booklets and my school email address and ID card, which is baller. Thanks to that card, I'll get free tram, metro and bus rides! Whoop whoop! Well, with the roommates, I'm by myself until Sunday, when only one of the 3 are coming. The other two won't be here until the 2nd week of June because they're only doing the 6 week program. But my apartment is cute, very tiny. No tv, not that its really necessary.. well, as long as my converter holds up. I have to go grocery shopping tomorrow though. Although gorgeous, Prague is a madhouse. Drivers here are merciless and crazy.. I would NEVER want to drive here.

Dinner tonight was totally baller. My new dear friend Chris, his friend Stephanie, his sister and her bf, and 4 of the marines went to a restaurant called Ambiente. Its a Brazilian BBQ place so waiters basically walk around with huge sticks full of meat. They'll come up to your table and cut a sliver of it onto your plate until you signal to stop. There had to have been about 20 different kinds of meat from beef, pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, lamb.. even pineapple at the end!.. all this alongside a buffet of sushi, fries, plantains and bread. Just awesome. It was a great time with great company! Afterwards Chris showed me the ropes of the metro and tram systems, which I will most definitely have to learn the ropes of.

Tomorrow I'm off to my orientation of the campus and a legit city tour, so hopefully tomorrow I'll have a ton of pictures to post. I'm not really sure if I start lectures tomorrow or Thursday, but I plan on tomorrow being my big tourist day!

Thats all for now.. I am in desperate need of a shower and a bed to sleep in. First full day tomorrow!

For those of ya'll that wanted to know.. this is my mailing address:

CEA <-------- don't forget this part!!!
Courtney O'Sullivan
Gorazdova 9
Praha 2
120 00
Czech Republic

Or if you would rather have the APO address to the embassy, holler.

Hopefully I'll be getting a phone tomorrow with free incoming calls.. if so, let me know if you want the number and I'll message it to you! I'm off to bed!

Adios my friends.
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 13:54 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (1)

One more week..

..and my packing is a fail!

semi-overcast 75 °F

Ahoy friends!

I'm back home from a wonderful past 4 days. As I said in my last post, how I would spend my time before leaving would be visits to the beach, shopping and just hanging out. Thats about all I've done.. ya know, life is tough. We had beautiful weather on Topsail Beach Thursday and Friday, squeezed 11 people in my grandparents' camper and had an absolute ball. There were the crazies who felt the need to take a dip in the ocean at 11:30pm.. power to them!.. and just hung out on the beach all day and got FRIED! Hopefully some gorgeous, bronze skin awaits us.

The girls of the group

The girls of the group

Saturday was bliss seeing as how I spent it with my very best friends. Allyson and I hit up the movies and saw Letters to Juliet, which was AWESOME.. and made me so excited to go to Europe.. then Miss Amanda met us in Mayfaire and we did a little shopping around. I had a first experience and was able to knock something off of my to-do list, which is to be disclosed... err, just know that it was a good day, fo real :)

Now yesterday was one of the most amazing dates I have ever had. Patrick and I drove down to Southport to catch a ferry over to Bald Head Island. I'm pretty sure the little green space right beside the lighthouse is inching its way to the top of places I'd like to get married. It was GORGEOUS and we had fabulous weather, thank goodness. We took our bikes down there and if I had to guess, we rode about 12 or so miles (there aren't any cars on BHI, only bikes and golf carts, which is SO COOL, they have garages just big enough for a cart :) ) We took a long walk on the beach and had dinner at an awesome restaurant right by the marina. Nothing like the man you love, beautiful sunshine and a basket of fried seafood to make a girl happy!

Bald Head Island, NC

Bald Head Island, NC

So here I am, back in my temporary room. One more week until I roll outta here! Its crazy to think that the time is finally coming up.. after all the preparations, the stress, the money.. this time next Monday I'll be on my way to RDU! HOPEFULLY the dang volcano holds up.. its only adding to my anxiety. Thankfully Heathrow is departing some flights, so its looking alright so far. Plus, theres still a few things on my packing list, so the frantic shopping hasn't ended either. My room is a DISASTER filled with piles and piles of clothes. Funny how I still figure I never have enough! But one good thing came out of this nasty weather we're having today and thats doing away with my procrastination!

Well, I suppose I'll get off here and get some work done. My stinky laundry basket and empty suitcase is hollerin' at me!

Ciao peeps,
Courtney

Posted by Courtster 10:01 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

(Entries 21 - 25 of 26) « Page 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 »