Monday, December 22, 2008

alone with my change.....

well this is my last night here in prague. i am the last one here for the most part.. well, the last american at least.. the only other people still here are a couple Canadian guys.

i have most of my stuff packed up, so i am pretty much just waiting for tomorrow morning to come..

i have so much change on my desk.. only little change though, nothing of much value... just the change that i never deemed worthy to be carried around...
i dont really know what to do with it... maybe i'll buy a candy bar.... or 7....

i am leaving some of my jeans here... i am very sad about this.. i dont have very much room though, and they have had a good run.. so i think they will understand..

my mom is supposed to bring me chilli to the airport.. and cinnamon rolls... i hope she remembers...

i am going to miss it here a lot more than i ever thought i would.. not necessarily the city, although i do love prague.. but i am mainly going to miss all the people that i have spent my time with since i've been here.. i hope i'll get to see them again..

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

well this kinda sucks....

as it turns out, studying in a foreign country is equally as not fun as it is back home.. in fact i think i could argue that it is even worse to study here than it is back home..

i would rather be spending my last few days outside seeing the city for the last time, but instead i am sitting here with 14 tabs open, all of which are different wikipedia pages....

12 days left... happy and sad...

ok its 2 am... i dont know why i'm still awake..

Friday, December 5, 2008

rain rain go away.. come again another day..

Well i already told you about my first afternoon in Rome. Pretty much I just had that afternoon, all of tuesday, and then wednesday morning to see everything in Rome. If you know much about Rome, then you know that i was going to be packed if I wanted to See everything.

After I got some food the first night i was there I decided to go out and see the Trevi Fountain by night. This little trip also served as a short navigation course and helped me to figure out the easiest combination of metro & walking for the next day!

The next morning I woke up early and walked over to Vatican city. I went to St. Peter's Basilica first which was awesome! it was definitely a pretty good way to start out the day. It was so huge, i literally just walked through it and it took me like 45 minutes! After that I walked over to the Vatican Museum, which is where the Sistine Chapel is, and got rained on while i waited in line. It was definitely worth it though, the Vatican Museum is amazing. I could have spent the entire day in there easily. I read that if you looked at every piece of art in the museum for 2 minutes it would take you 12 years to get through the museum! Its pretty big. The Sistine Chapel was really cool, but it was really dark in there so I wasnt able to get any good pictures. Here is another room that was painted really cool though.

It was about noon by the time i left the Vatican, so i headed back to my hostel to make some lunch. I also wanted to change my clothes because I was soaked from getting rained on all mornning (eventually i broke down and got an umbrella). After lunch i went over to the Coliseum to check it out. I was really pumped about going there because i watched the Gladiator the night before with some people at the hostel. It was awesome! Everyone always says that it isn't as big as they expected, so I wasn't expecting to be impressed, but i was! I loved it there, I just walked around inside for over an hour.

After the Coliseum I just kinda wandered around in the old Rome part of town. I walked through the old Roman Forum, and then headed over to check out the Pantheon. It was really cool also (big surprise)! It is amazing because they still have never had to reinforce the dome at all, even though it is ridiculously old.

I just kinda wandered around for the rest of that day. The next morning I decided to just kinda walk around and see some of the piazzas that i hadn't seen the day before. I walked over to the spanish steps also, which was pretty cool. It was kinda weird though, because there was like nobody there at all! Usually I have heard that the spanish steps are really crowded and people are always hanging out there, but not that day!
After that I headed for the airport and caught my plane back to Prague!

I have 18 days left over here so i am hoping to make the most of them! I am going to hangout here in Prague for this weekend, then I am going to go skiing somewhere here in the Czech Republic next weekend, so i am really looking forward to that! I am leaving here in just a few minutes to go with a guy to a second hand shop here in prague, we saw some sweet one-piece snow jumpsuits the last time we were there, so we are hoping to snag them!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

why is everyone wearing spandex but me?

After Venice i took a train to Florence and spent a couple nights there. It was raining there too, but i was ready for it this time! i bought an umbrella!

The first day i didn't get there till pretty late in the afternoon so i decided to just walk over to the galeria academia which is where Michelangelo's statue of David is. I have heard really mixed reviews when it comes to the statue because some people think that its really overrated while others completely love it. Well i loved it! it was one of my favorite things that i've seen so far! After that i just kinda wandered around for awhile and walked down to the Duomo, which was really cool also.

The next morning I just kinda decided to wander around all day. I just kinda meandered my way through the city, seeing all the sights on the way. It was really awesome, Florence is a great city to just kinda wander around in.
Early in the morning i couldn't figure out what was going on because it seemed like everyone i saw was wearing running tights. At first i just thought that florence must be a really active city, but soon it just got ridiculous. Like everyone i saw was wearing spandex! Fairly soon i figured out that the Florence marathon was that day. It was cool to see the race wherever i went in the city.

The next morning I had a pleasant surprise when I got ready to leave for Rome. I found out that I didn't have any money! Normally it isn't a problem at all because i can just get online and move some more money into my account, but for some reason my online pin number wasn't working. My second plan of attack, which is to call home, also failed since it was 9:30 in the morning there, which would make it 2:30 in the morning back home. Luckily my hostel had free internet so i was able to send an email to my sister and ask her to do as soon as she woke up.
Knowing that i would have money that night gave me a little peace but i still didn't know if i had enough to get to Rome or not, so i went to the train station. After it was all said and done, I got to rome with a wopping 2 euros to my name! Then, after i got the metro pass, i got to my hostel with 1 euro.
The only issue that still hadn't been resolved was that it was about 5:00 p.m. and i still hadn't been able to eat anything all day! so i was starving!
Luckily i got some money after a few more hours and was able to make a trip to the grocery store for some food!

umm... is water supposed to be there?

So this last weekend I took a trip to Italy! I skipped my classes on monday so that way I could stay there till Wednesday. I flew into Venice on friday afternoon, took a train to florence, then flew back from Rome on wednesday afternoon. It was an awesome trip!

When i got to Venice I quickly realized that the google map directions to my hostel were going to more of a hindrance than helpful resource. My hostel was 1 km from the bus station, and the google map directions had 37 different steps! Luckily I happened to ask a guy that new right where i needed to go and gave me good directions. Even with his directions though, it still took me half an hour to find my way there.

It was pretty cold and raining there that afternoon so i didn't really want to go walk around, but since i was only there for the one day i toughed it out and hit the streets anyways. I pretty much just kinda wandered around the city, went over the famous Rialto bridge, then went to St. Mark's square. It is a really cool city, but everything kinda starts to look the same after awhile.. haha

That night I decided to walk around a little more and was a little surprised to find that a lot of the streets and squares and stuff were all flooded! Apparantly the combination of high tide and the rain makes it flood a ton there. All of St. Mark's square was under about a foot of water so they had these little platform things that they put all over the place to pretty much create a raised sidewalk. It was really cool.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

i'm cold...

Well I officially froze my butt off this last weekend! We went to Berlin, and it was cold! We still had an awesome time though.

There is so much history in Berlin, so it was really cool to see and experience some of the sights and stuff. The city isn't nearly as picturesque as most of the cities I have been too, but the stuff that has happened there made it really cool. For example, we stood right over the exact same spot that Hitler killed himself. Although you would think that would be some sort of preserved place, it is actually a small grassy area where locals bring their dogs to do their duties. We all found that kinda funny...

We also saw part of the Berlin wall which was pretty cool, but again, if it wasn't for the history behind it, it would just look like an ugly concrete wall.

They have free city tours in most bigger cities here, so we did it there and it was awesome! The only bad part about it was that it was freezing. At one point in the tour we couldn't even barely see because the snow was blowing so hard in our faces.

This is the square where the famous book burnings were held. The building at the far end is Humboldt University, and it's library is on the left side of the picture. For the book burnings they had people in the library just throwing the books out all the windows, then they gathered them into big piles and lit them up. Sounds like a pretty good time right..?! That school has had a few pretty famous people come through. Albert Einstein taught there for awhile before he fled to the states and Karl Marx studied there.. There were more, but those are the only two i can remember...

On sunday we went outside of Berlin to an area called Potsdam. I dont really understand it exactly, but basically it is just this little town outside Berlin where a bunch of really rich people built a bunch of huge palaces. It was pretty crazy because there were just all these massive palaces right next to each other. It would have been quite the neighborhood, talk about keeping up with the Jones'!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

holy parlimant

This last weekend Brian, Anna and I decided to make to swing through Bratislava and head down to Budapest! It was really awesome, Budapest is one of my favorite cities so far and Bratislava was much better the second time.

We planned on going to Bratislava for this wine festival thing that was supposed to be going on, but when we got there we found out that you had to buy tickets in advance and it was really expensive. So instead we just walked around the city and kinda hung out for the afternoon. I kinda played guide for the afternoon since I had been there before so we had a lot of fun!

The next day we went to Budapest and got there early in the afternoon. Since it is getting darker so much earlier now it really limits what you can do in a day. So since we didn't have a ton of daylight left we just went down the river (the danube runs right through the city), and walked along it for awhile. You can see pretty much all of the really huge old buildings and stuff since they were all built right on the river, so that was really cool!

The next day we decided to do this free walking tour that started around 10:30. It was probably a really good tour, but it was moving a little too slow for me so we bailed after a little while and went our own direction. We stopped and got some coffee first because it was pretty cold that day, and I dont need much of an excuse to get coffee.. Then we just kinda started walking around and seeing the sights. There is tons of really awesome old buildings in Budapest, so we didn't really slow down until we couldn't walk anymore.

That night we decided to hit up the Baths that are there in the city. They are really famous and everyone says that a trip to Budapest isn't complete without a trip to the Baths, so we had to check it out. If we had anything like that back home, I would probably live there! It was pretty much just a huge oval shaped building with 3 big pools in the open air area inside the building. In the actual building there as just a bunch of rooms with a bunch of hot tubs that were varying sizes and temperatures. It was pretty cool, especially because of all the old guys flaunting their stuff in tiny speedos everywhere!

The next day before we came back to Prague we went to this huge indoor Market thing that is also really famous there. It just had tons of different booths and vendors selling pretty much anything you could need. Upstairs there was a bunch of food vendors selling pretty interesting foods, so we had a lot of fun trying different things and even more fun trying to figure out what they were! haha
Unfortunately the weekend had to come to an end though, so we came back to Prague that afternoon.

I have a math test on thursday, so I have been trying to look over that stuff a little. This coming weekend I think we are going to go to Berlin, so I am really looking forward to that too!

South Moravia Pictures

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

South Moravia!

So this last weekend i went on a trip to southern moravia, which is in southeast czech republic. It was a blast! The trip was organized by some of the awesome people in the international student club at my school, so it was already planned out and everything. It was so nice!

We left friday morning and went to a little town called Znojmo. There we climbed up in a tower, saw the city, and toured these underground tunnels that run underneath the city. They used to just be basements, but during the war they linked them all together so that they could hide down there. It was really cool!

After that we moved on to a different town called Mikulov. This entire region is known for their wine, and Mikulov definitely holds up its end of the deal. We went friday night to like a wine cellar place where we ate dinner and tasted a bunch of different kinds of wine. It was unlimited, so I am sure you can imagine that some people got their money's worth! It was pretty entertaining though. They even had an accordian player there for us (which was cool, until someone threw up on him).

As I am sure you can imagine, the next morning most people were a little slow getting out of bed. Luckily for them though, they had a good excuse to stay in bed. It was pouring outside all morning, and since we had planned on walking around Mikulov all morning we just decided to hang out in the hostel till around noon. We all just kinda hung out and played card games and stuff.
When we left Mikulov we headed towards the area in between Lednice and Valtice where there is an awesome Chateau that is surrounded by a bunch of lakes and stuff. We spent a couple hours walking around there even though it was still raining. Then we headed for Breclav!
That night in breclav we went to a mexican restaraunt/pub and all hung out there for most of the evening. When we all left there a few of us decided to try out this local dance club that we saw on the way back. It was kinda weird, but we all still had a good time!
On Sunday we went out the this placed called Punkev where there is an awesome cave and an underground river! We hiked around a little, then got a tour of the cave which was awesome! On part of the tour we got into these little boats and went through this underground river that ran through the cave. It was really awesome, and we all had a blast with it!
On our way back to Prague we stopped in Brno, which is the second biggest city in the Czech Republic, to grab something to eat. Then we came back to Prague!
It was such a fun trip, I am really glad I went on it!

(I dont have my pictures on my computer yet, but i will post some when i do)

Monday, November 10, 2008


Ok, so i know that i have been incredibly lazy about updating on here. I will update tomorrow to let you all know whats been going on.

But today is my little niece's birthday! So whoever reads this, I want you to sing happy birthday to her in your head (or out loud preferably).. I think that she will be able to feel the love!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

my cool niece and nephew!

I just wanted everyone to know that I have the coolest niece and nephew around! My sister-in-law posted a video on her blog of them singing happy birthday to me last week and i am pretty sure that it is impossible for anyone to watch it without smiling!
So if anyone reading this is ever having a bad day, just let me know and i will send you that video... believe me, it will help!

welcome to bratislava... get ready to walk...

So on sunday our plan was to wake up early, head to bratislava, then catch a train back to prague that evening. Since bratislava is only about 1 hour from vienna it was going to be pretty easy.

However, when we were getting ready to go to bed we realized that none of us had an alarm clock at all. We had been using my roommates cell phone, but it died.. Finally we realized that my ipod has an alarm so we all crashed..
I thought everything was good until my roommate woke me up at 7:00 in the morning saying that we needed to hurry up and get ready to go. He told me it was a little after 8 and we needed to get going, but my ipod said that it was only 7. None of us could figure out what was going on, and of course the idea of daylight savings never even crossed our minds. We didn't have any idea what time it was until we walked to the metro station and looked there (i would like to point out that my ipod was correct!).

When we got to Bratislava we were presented with yet another problem. We had no idea where we were in the city and there was no information stands anywhere around. We spent about 45 minutes trying to figure out where we were on the map and then another 20 trying to figure out where we wanted to go. When we finally figured it out, we headed for the castle.
It didn't take us long to figure out that there really wasn't too much there besides the castle though, so once we had seen that we decided to try to catch a train back.

By the time we got to the train station, which was about 2 miles away, we were all so exhausted that we just sat there like zombies waiting for the next train. When we finally got on our train, it was so packed that there was people sitting in the hallways and stuff throughout the whole thing. Luckily for us we had reserved seats!
The only problem with our seats was that we were in the same room with some lady who decided to bring her dog on the train. Nobody really paid it any mind until it became apparant that she didn't care what it did at all! It was climbing all around the car smelling us and trying to crawl up into our seats with us. It was amazingly awkward!

But as you probably guessed, we made it back! here is a few pictures from Bratislava:

hold on a sec.. we dont even know what time it is!

Well this last weekend we went to Vienna and to Bratislava. We left friday morning to head to vienna and stayed there till sunday morning.
When we first got there we quickly realized that we had written the directions to our hostel down from the wrong train station. So instead of a short 5 minute walk like the hostel website told us, it ended up being a 2 hour navigation exercise that consisted mainly of us walking randomly down side streets trying to find one that we could find on our map. Luckily we found it and were able to check in and leave our bags there so that we could go explore the city a little.

We decided to just walk around that afternoon and so we headed towards this amusement park that wasn't too far away on our map. This place is supposed to be pretty cool, and everything we read said that it is usually packed. But not while we were there! No joke, this might have been one of the creepiest places i have ever been.. It really seemed almost as if it were completely deserted, but there was still the creepy music playing from all the rides. We saw 2 rides in action, and each of them only had 1 person on it. After we got over the creepiness, we all found it pretty hilarious actually and so we walked around in there for a little while. We were a little suprised to find not one, but several Casinos in the amusement park as well. They seemed a little out of place to us.

After the park we went to the big soccer stadium in vienna and to this big horse track that was across the street. My roommate here loves horse racing so we hung out there for a little while and he explained to us the basics about the different kinds of horse racing.
After that we went and ate and then decided to call it a night. Although it was only like 9:30 we were all exhausted for some reason, so we just crashed.

On Saturday we just walked around Vienna all day and saw the sights and stuff. It is a beautiful city, there was tons to see. We also found some big military festival thing going on there that was pretty cool. They had a zip line going over the big square and had a bunch of tanks and helicopters and stuff, it was pretty fun.
We also went to the gardens and saw this amazing palace. It was really awesome, probably one of my favorite places I have seen so far!

i will do another post about our trip to bratislava.. but here are some more pictures of Vienna:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Interesting choice of decorations.....

Yesterday a few of us took a day trip out to this little town called Kutna Hora. It is home to this pretty famous church which is known as the bone church.

As you can guess there is somewhat of a bone theme. Apparently this church had a pretty large cemetery, but then the plague hit and they didn't have room for all the bodies. So instead of taking them somewhere else, they gave all the bones to this half blind monk who lived in the church and told him to use them somehow.Now this guy must have had some pretty serious time on his hands because he was able to decorate the entire church with around 30,000 dead people's bones. In case you didn't guess already, it was a little creepy...

After we left the bone church we decided to walk to town, which was probably about 1.5 miles away, to get something to eat. The town was beautiful, we ended up walking around for like 5 hours just looking at all the buildings and everything.
When we were finally ready to leave we realized that we had about an hour and a half to kill before he next train left for prague. So we decided to check out this bobsled thing that we had seen flyers for which was right on the edge of town. It was pretty cool, it only cost us like $2 to go down this thing. It was pretty much like a big water slide but there was no water and we were on these little cart/sled things. We made it into a pretty good time and it was much better than cuddling with some old, frowning, czech lady on a bench at the train station.

The only problem with those things was that when we went to leave we realized that we didn't really know where we were. We had an idea, or at least we thought we did. When we finally realized where we were, I found out that my bearings were about 180 degrees off from reality. Luckily Brian and Anna had a better coordination system than me and we were able to get back to the train station on time. This picture shows you where we were walking, this was our clue that maybe we were not in the right area:
I should point out that we barely caught both trains that day. That morning we had to run through the station to get to our train before it left, and in the afternoon we got there about 3 minutes before it left (which was cutting it pretty close since we weren't even really sure where the station was for awhile). But we made it!

Here is some more pictures of Kutna Hora: