Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Much Needed Catch Up

So it has been way to long since I have last posted on here. I have been so busy and I have only been carrying my paper journal around to document my trips.
Two weeks ago I went to Paris to visit Paul and Jenny which was a great time. We packing in so much stuff in such a short amount of time, which was great! I was exhausted however when I returned to Prague, but it was worth it.
The first full day I was in Paris we wandered around the city during the day and at night Jenny and I climbed the Eiffel tower to watch the sunset. What a surreal feeling to be in such a beautiful city, watching an amazing sunset from one of the most famous monuments in the world.
The next day we went to the Pantheon and wondered through gardens and of course ate MANY pastries. The consumption of bread in europe is disgusting. I think when I return to the states I will not touch a carb till October.
The rest of the weekend I spent doing more walking and lots of stair climbing. We went up the Arc d'Trium and the Notre Dame cathedral, both having their own unique beautiful view of the city.
I returned to Prague late Monday night, which was not on purpose my flight was delayed 2 hours on the runway because of air traffic communication problems.
Last week I just spent enjoying Prague and trying to enjoy my classed. On Friday I went to Krakow for the weekend with one of the girls in my group Kirstie. The fact the I survived that weekend is a miracle. It was one of my most stressful trips I have been on by far. This trip was also the first and last time I will ever stay in a hostel. I am not a huge fan of the community potion of the hostels and they just scare me in general. Luckily I was tired so I was able to fall asleep right away, but I dont think I could have stayed there for more then one night.
The first day in Krakow I took a train to Auschwitz. I can't even put Auschwitz into words. The feeling I got as I walked through the camp was the feeling like someone had punched me in the stomach. It is so sickening to see a community made just to mass murder. I was however so glad I went it was such an experience that I will never forget, as well as a huge learning experience about the holocaust.
The next day Kirstie and I got out of the rain and went to lower grounds to stay dry; in the Krakow salt mines. We went down a total of 130 meters and walked stairs the entire way. It was a beautiful mine and I learned a lot about the kinds of salt and how it is mined. Which was really fascinating.
The rest of the day was spent strolling around Krakow and then we took another over night train into Prague.

Jenny and I watching the sunset from the eiffel tower

eiffel tower at night

wine cheese and baguette in Paris

sleeper car to Krakow

entrance to Auschwitz "work is freedom"

the hostel

Stairs down to the salt mine

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ballet Mania

Music from swan lake, followed by Nelly and then men dancing in skirts was not what I expected when I purchased my tickets to Ballet Mania. The performance was held at the Estates theater which is an old roman style theater right off of Prague's old town square. Its setup is like no theater I have ever seen in the states. Old tapestries still hang on the walls from the time of one of the King Louis', and the seating is set up in boxes rather then rows.
The seats I purchased were definitely where the commoners would have sat in the time when this theater was first opened. I was eye level with the chandelier, and it was hot. Hundreds of years later and they still have yet to put in air conditioning.
The ballet was a fun time. It was a modern ballet with short skits in between dance performances, but it was hard for only english speakers to understand the story line because only half was ever translated. So I didn't get any of the jokes but I knew when there was one because the crowd would roar with laughter. It was like being left out on an inside joke; its not fun.
Now I am an hour and a half away from leaving for the airport and fly to Paris. I am so excited to be going there for the weekend, and leave central Europe for a couple days. I am sure I will update a couple times while I am there.
au revior!
Britt

Kirstie, Carolyn and I at the ballet

Eye level with the chandelier

The Estates Theater

Monday, June 7, 2010

class cancelled! TO THE ZOO!

So class was cancelled today. Always amazing news, especially when the day is young and the weather is beautiful. Which is exactly what happened to me today. My teacher is still sick with what she believes to be a virus. Right after hearing this wonderful news I made the immediate plan to visit the Prague zoo. Prague's zoo was flooded in 2003(I believe) and had to be completely torn down and reconstructed, it is now the 7th best zoo in the world, and I believe it after my visit today. The zoo is never ending and the exhibits are huge.
I am not sure how many differents kinds of animals are inhabited at this zoo, but I would guess thousands. From reptiles, to birds, to rain forrest animals, Safari animals, North american animals, it went on and on. Although I am not a huge fan of the concept of zoos because the fact that these wild animals are caged for my enjoyment makes me sad, but I do enjoy being educated by seeing and reading about all the animals. This zoo actually had a lot of open air exhibits and huge spaces for each animal, which I found more comforting. However it was still sad to see some in rooms and cages.
Al in all It was a great day off from school.

lions

monkey. It looked like he had a black eye though.

Safari Zone

View of Prague from the zoo.

Cesky Krumlov

This weekend we took an overnight to Cezky Krumlov, I never thought I would visit such a surreal place. Cesky is a small medieval town tucked away in the hills of southern Czech Republic. It is an well known tourist destination in the Czech Republic, and is definitely tourist friendly. The town has not changed much since its once residence of well known royalty in the Republic, which is why I believe it is so beautiful.
I stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast which was literally a hole in the wall, but had such a homey feel. The breakfast in the morning was to die for. It was by far the best breakfast I have eaten since I have been in the Czech Republic.
On Saturday(the first day I was there) we went to the Cesky Krumlov castle and took a tour around the gardens and through the building. Two interesting facts I learned while in the castle is:
1) Women slept in tiny beds because the slept sitting up in fear of ruining their expensive hair and of looking dead and
2) Children were always painted with old faces because they feared if they painted them with children's faces they would never get old.
The castle was beautiful but by far not the most amazing I have seen. However it did have one intriguing feature which was live grizzy bears that lived in the moat even to this day to fend off intruders. The rest of the day I spent wandering and went to bed early because my group and I had a long hike ahead of us.
On Sunday we woke up and our teacher who was supposed to be our tour guide was sick. So the group and I decided to try and walk the 7 miles on our own. We should have known it wasn't as simple as it sounded. We ended up finding all the places in which we were supposed to see on the hike, just not exactly how it was planned. We may have even walked more then expected 7 miles, however a lot of it was in circles. It was a very long and hot day, but I saw some of the most beautiful country side, castle ruins and old monasteries.
In the beginning I didn't think it would turn out that way. We had to take a train to where we were starting our hike and when we reached our stop we all went to the door of the train where we struggled to open it to get off. When we finally opened the door I was the only one unfortunately to get off and the doors slammed behind me. The train with everyone else in my group started leaving. Luckily one of the station workers realized my dilemma when she saw me holding a ticket for 5 people and the 4 others on the train and she flagged down the conductor and let the rest of my group off. Had she not understood I may not be writing this to you now, because I would be stuck in the middle of nowhere in the countryside of central europe.
The day was filled with many incidents such as these however every time we luckily got out of them. We even missed our bus home for example but were able to take a train home 40 minutes later. Although it was a day full of "incidents" it was definitely one of the most memorable and most fun days I have had so far on this trip. It was a great vacation from my vacation and definitely a trip I wont forget!

Carolyn, Kirstie and I upon our arrival at Cesky Krumlov

Cinnamon Twist with nutella center. Amazing dessert!

My bed at the bed and breakfast. So cute!

Castle ruins

Thursday, June 3, 2010

2

So Sam and I celebrated our two year anniversary today, thousands of miles away of course. We had a skype date although nothing via computer is as good as the real thing it was nice to feel together today. Thank god for technology. I am just amazed at how fast time flies. I mean wasn't it only a couple of months ago I went to my senior prom and started college? because that is how it feels. This year has felt nonstop and even this summer I am constantly on the move. It makes me wonder is life always this fast pace from here on out?
I think for me it may be. I have to many things on my life to do list and I plan to accomplish them all. I set high goals and pray to one day reach them, even if they don't turn out to be the way I expected. Lucille Ball once said, " I'd rather regret things I've done than regret things I haven't done."

Rain Rain go away come again another day...

So classes have officially started. It was truly a reality check when I actually sat in that classroom chair on Tuesday; I really am taking classes in the summer. The only good side is I do not feel like I am missing out on much because the weather here is far from great. It is cloudy, wet and everything seems gray. It reminds me somewhat of June last year when it rained for a month straight.
So today in hopes of brightening my mood from the grim appearance outside I went to the movie theater with Carolyn and saw Sex in the City 2. It was my first time seeing a movie in a foreign theater. The movie was in english and had czech subtitles. You could always tell when a joke was coming because the audience would finish reading the subtitle before the joke was said and start laughing before anything funny happened.
This weekend the group and I are taking a trip to Cresky Krumlov(I believe that is how you spell it.) We will be visiting castles and doing lots of hiking which I am excited about because it is supposed to warm up and I want to be outside as much as possible.
I cant believe I am already almost half way through this trip wow how time flies.
Can not wait to see Paul and Jenny next weekend in Paris!