Sunday, April 17, 2011

Buda+Pest = Budapest

So, it has been about two weeks since this trip. Sorry about the lateness :)
Anyway, March 31st to April 3rd I was on a trip to Budapest that some from friends and I organized. We booked a bus for something like three in the afternoon and it took six hours to get there. The ride to our hostel was not bad at all. We slept and played cards, watched a movie and talked with each other. When we got there it was pretty late and the guy who was waiting to check us in was a bit of a creeper and kept asking a girl in our group really personal questions (it now has become a running joke to ask each other these same questions) the room was a bit cramped and the beds kinda sucked, but it was cheap and worked for why we needed it, so w/e. After we settled in, myself and a friend tried to find Internet access so that we could skype with people, after no success...I was walking around the streets with my laptop and he with his iPod touch...we joined the group at a club called Sempla (or something like that). The clubs in the area were really cool, I guess it is cheaper to buy an entire building rather than to rent one floor so these clubs had multiple floors and bars, it was pretty dope!
Friday we got up around 10:00 and had breakfast consisting of cappuccinos and cheese croissants...then we saw a beautiful synagogue. The inside was so incredible with truly amazing colors! Then we walked along the city and went to a flea market that sold lots of food and other things, all inside of this old building. We got some lunch and left. It started to rain a little bit but we met some other friends for dinner and drinks. We went and saw a concert and danced at this interesting club with a cool ceiling that reacted to the lights in the club in some crazy ways. The first guy we saw sucked. He was a rapper with some accompanying music that was just bad. Then there were two female artists and they were much better. Afterward we all went back to the hostel and went to bed.
Saturday I felt like crap. I woke up and new that I was sick, i had had a scratchy throat before but chose to ignore it, but Saturday it was bad. Not to mention my stomach hated me! But I hauled my ass out of bed, had some breakfast and went with everyone to a park called Hero's park that hosted an outdoor flea market. I didn't end up buying anything but it was still cool. Before that we had visited a camera store that had incredibly cheap old cameras, again I didn't buy anything but they were so cheap and cool that everyone bought more than one. After the flea market I went back to the hostel, I was just feeling to sick. Of course when I got there I had a key to the apartment, but not our actual I waited in the "lobby" with the owner who was on the phone. I fell asleep, nut he woke me up and let my inside so I could sleep on the bed. For dinner I met everyone and we went to some really awful place that didn't clean their tables, took forever with the food, screwed up our order, was probably owned by the Hungarian mafia, and had this ridiculous live jazz band that was as awful as the food. They walked around the restaurant and awkwardly sang to people, I told our group not to make eye contact with them...
Sunday we were catching our bus back to Prague when my friend realized that half of our group had the wrong return date on their tickets! It was crazy. There were no open seats so they had to stay behind and hope to get on a later one, which luckily they did! The bus ride back was terrible. I felt so sick and it seemed to drag on for ages, but thankfully we got back before the metro stopped running. And so I got home and fell into bed!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Namesti Miru Flea Market

Today I went with two friends to a flea market located just off of the Metro stop Namesti Miru. It was full of really cool things. It looked like museums had emptied out their basements onto the ground. There were clothes, watches, authentic miniatures beautiful relics, weird dolls, retro neon roller skates...I mean they had everything. I ended up buying two shirts and a hat, pretty mundane stuff, but thankfully the flea market opens the last saturday of every month. this being the first time it opened since before winter I thought It was okay that I didn't blow all of the money I had the first time I went. I think I will be getting my presents for people there. I was able to do a bit of haggling and got the price down, my first time doing it...definitely NOT my last!

I was just so Impressed by the stuff that was being sold I mean there were some serious treasures there. I am sad because I know that I do not have enough room in my trunk to take much home with me but I wish I did, because I wanted to purchase everything I saw. If you ever visit Prague, I would really recommend you go, it was just awesome! I mean old cameras and lenses, sunglasses, beer steins, metal plates and cups and silverware, jewelry (artisan made), scarves, books, clocks, vintage hunters would have a heart attack and I know most of my friends back home would flip cow pies if they saw what was up.

Tonight I am going to see a movie that is part of an international film festival taking place in Prague. I think the movie itself is in Italian, but there will be English subtitles (hooray!). can't wait!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kostnice Sedlec

Saturday was a day full of adventure. I woke up early to meet friends at the Hlavní nádraží train station where we purchased tickets to go to a town called Kutná Hora about an hour away from Prague. The trains are really cool looking in the Czech Republic. They are very old looking but seem like they could withstand a significant bomb blast! In each train car there are separate compartments, like the one in Harry potter....(I know i'm going to get flak for that). When we got onto the platform and boarded the train there were no empty compartments except for in first class, so a bunch of us just said "what the hell" and took them. of course about 45min into the train ride we got kicked out of first class and had to stand up. This really wasn't so bad. The Czech country side is beautiful. I felt so calm and listened to music while staring out the open window at the scenery. Besides getting harassed every so often by an attendant that we were standing in the wrong place the train was super pleasant!

Upon arriving at our destination we debarked the train and Made for a church called the Kostnice Sedlec (Sedlec Ossuary). The basement of the church is full of bones. The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people!! The cemetary upon which the church is situated i guess was overflowing with bones and the church employed some guy to arrange them in the basement. what came out of it was a creepy shrine like design which included a bone chandelier and many other interesting arrangements...
The church itself is small so it didn't take much time to see all that there was to see inside so we left (but not before I tried to pry a tooth from one of the skull's mouth) we grabbed lunch a rather long walk from the Ossuary but the place at which we stopped was completely in Czech and the Prices were super cheap, the food was good too.

We lounged in a nearby park for a while then caught a train back to Prague. Overall an awesome day!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nail Bar

Friday night I was feelin' right and went out with some friends to a bar near the I.P. Pavlova stop on Metro C line. It was a small/long bar cozy and buzzing with patrons, but that wasn't the cool part. There was a gigantic tree trunk on which a game was played. The game was this: Each player starts with a nail and hammers it in to the tree trunk to the same hight, then you each take turns trying to hit your nail deeper into the wood with the SHARP end of the hammer (not the blunt). Whoever gets their nail all the way into the wood first wins...the last one to get their's all the way buys the next round of drinks. It was really fun and we ended up playing three or four times (I lost twice)
I am not sure of the actual name of the bar but we call it "the Nail Bar" because of that game. it is a lot trickier hitting the head of a nail with the pick end rather than the blunt, harder than you would think.

Fat Tuesday

Tuesday after a drawing class in the morning I met some friends back in Zizkov for a meat festival. It was not as exciting as I had hoped, but there were a few stands that were giving out sausages, pastries and beer for FREE! That part was really cool. There was also some music and a parade.
I got some free pastries but the lines for the free sausage and beer was a little too long, so I ended up buying sausage and beer from another stand that was selling it. The sausage was really big and I couldn't finish the whole thing!...partly because it was so huge and partly because it was a bit gross. The beer was good though :) The weather for it was really nice, mostly. It got a bit dark and dreary towards the end. The costumes that people where wearing were great. There was a half man and half cow, some herders, large and small bicycle riders, guys on stilts. The music wasnt half bad, but it was mostly directed towards kids, so a little boring.
The day ended when the Parade reached its final destination and there was some more music and free food...and beer. Ha.

Monday, March 7, 2011


It was a fairly good weekend. Didnt do much on Saturday, but Sunday was great! Woke up and made myself some breakfast, a kind of scrambled french toast dish, that was an experiment but actually turned out really tasty. relaxed for a while and in the afternoon went for a hike/walk up a large hill located in Zizkov. The view was really nice and expansive. If the weather hadn't been so damn cold I probably could have stayed all day.
The spot on the Hill (the very top) is also home to the largest horse-riding military statue in europe...of course it was covered up, I guess it was being cleaned or something. I definitely want to go back there on a clearer day, it was so pretty!

After that I wondered down around the train tracks of Haladni Nadrazi and that was cool too. they still use really old trains here, kinda like the ones in The Darjeeling Limited. they have compartments within each train car for four people to sit with the sliding doors, so cool! You can take a train to Berlin for fairly cheap...I might try and do it :)

Anyway it was really freakin cold, so just went back home after I felt like I couldnt be any more frozen.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Czech it

Sorry for the late post, but lots have been happening. nothing too exciting but since a few days ago I have become severely addicted to cappuccinos. They just taste so darn good and are served everywhere. I mean you can get 'em anywhere you can buy beer pretty much. I have gotten lost in Prague (mostly on purpose) and discovered a little coffee shop in a side street, it was a little pricey but well worth it, and found an art supply store that had everything I needed. It was a good week, but I have slowly begun to run out of food. The bad thing about grabbing a drink with a friend in the afternoon is that it soon turns into two drinks and then I feel hungry. So I go home and eat almost everything that I have just bought! ha its kinda funny....but really kinda not. Something that I have been asked a lot is "what's the food like in the Czech Republic?" well it is very much like food you would find anywhere else. Not that it has been Americanized but, it is just normal. They have a lot of different Baguettes, my favorite being Tuňák a sýr with tomatoes, sliced bell peppers and this mystery sauce. I guess if I would name something specifically it would be Guláš. They do have carts that sell gigantic sausages...but I mean you would really just compare that to a hotdog stand.

I do have a story, I was trying to meet some friends for a drink and to listen to music on thursday of last week and I somehow got on the wrong tram. I ended up about 30 min away from where I wanted to be! Ha ha ha I still haven't figured out how to read the signs for the trams, but I think I am a bit better now heh. When I finally did end up meeting everyone it wasnt the music we had all anticipated, it was supposed to be jazz (or that is what the flyer said) but ended up being salsa kind of music. that was fine, we all ended up sitting and talking to each other which was really nice :). I have now been to three clubs in Prague in one week. The first I cannot remember the name, the second Akropolis, and the third Chapeau Rouge!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Czech in the Nude

Today was a good day! it started out very well, I woke up in a good mood, listened to some Harry Potter on tape, and took off for drawing class. when I got there I was a bit late and so there was not a easel left for me to use. I pretty much got in everyone's way for a min. before settling down on a spot on the ground. As soon as I sat down this old woman who was one of the models for class started to speak very loudly at me and I couldn't understand a thing she was saying! It was very funny, I started looking for help from the other students but they just looked at me and I couldnt help myself from laughing because here this naked model was getting in a fuss over something I didn't even understand! oh man, I feel like that is a classic experience :) eventually I got a spot and did a full size drawing (In this class, by the end of the period you have to have attempted to finish a large drawing). For lunch a few of us went for pizza. It is hard to find cheap food in Prague 1. It is so touristy, so some things are pricey. Beer flows like water though, ha! you can get a glass of beer for as much as water from a vending machine, it's crazy. The last class of the day was a book making class. very simple, I think they dummed it down for the foreigners...but still interesting. I made myself a egg and ham sandwich for dinner, and a banana :).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Weekend

OK. It's monday now, but lets talk about the weekend! Saturday morning was fine I got up made a list of stuff I had to do, did some of them, walked around Prague and discovered some streets that had very helpful shops on them. Then around 9pm (CET) I headed out to a housewarming party I had been invited to by a fellow exchange student. It was a few tram stops away and I ended up bumping into a student I had met the day before headed to the same place. The party was fun, it was much like a MICA party (if you have ever been to one) except everyone smokes their cigarettes indoors instead of moving to the balcony (did I mention that you can smoke in pubs too?). At first I hung out on the couch with the few people that I did know, but then a girl approached me and started asking about Baltimore. So by the end of the party at the house I had a group of friends from the Czech Republic and was persuaded to go to two different clubs and didnt get home until around was pretty sweet.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Home Sweet Holešovice

So the apartment that I live in is located in Prague 7. not to far from the place where most people visit (prague 1) it is twenty min. by subway, but hard to navigate. Day 1 (Friday) I was trying to get to my new school but got lost after I left the subway station because I didn't understand the street signs. found it eventually and got to meet some other exchange students on a tour of the city that the school gave us. I also ate at this great little pub and ordered a tuna and cheese baguette...when they gave it to me it was HUGE!!! I could only finish half of think a five dollar foot long is a good deal? well this sandwich was definitely a bit bigger and only about four fifty, and coke was like a buck! After hoofing it around the city for a while with new friends, went back home to Holesovice but not before picking up some food for dinner and three banana's from the corner which no one speaks english...I still have so much to do, but I keep getting can imagine how distracting a foreign country can be...

Getting There

Tuesday Morning. day after Valentine's day. Finally got the F***ING VISA! Dad bought the plane ticket for Wednesday. The next morning went to New York and picked up the visa, almost didn't get it; apparently the Czech Embassy is "Closed" Wed., because they work SO hard the rest of the week..., went to the airport and got on the flight.

Wednesday Evening/Thursday Morn. On the plane. I knew I was going to be sitting behind wining, screaming kids whose parents no ENTIRE family thinks they are entitled to all of the room they could possibly take up. w/e I used the knitting doll I got as a going away present from Sheila :)...for ten hours :( arrived in vienna somehow, went through customs and onto my next flight to Prague.

Thursday Afternoon. First thing I did when i got my luggage was visit the ladies' room. An Older woman walks in on me and is surprised...but takes about ten min. to close the door again all the while saying something to me in what I think was Czech (probably: "lock the door you idiot!") oh, how embarrassing! I wait another fifteen minutes after she leaves the bathroom to get out of the stall for fear of running into her again, ha, then gather my belongings and yet again go through the authorities and I am in Prague!!!
The first thing I notice when I get outside: Holy S**t it's cold. tttthhen I catch a cab and the driver starts shaking his head vigorously in some kind of anger or disappointment, im not sure which, at the weight of my bag (mind you, I have only one bag of luggage and one backpack...I thought I was quite the Girl Scout) but he was obviously not happy with me. So, me not speaking all...and he not speaking too much english, I showed him the address I needed to go to on a piece of paper. The cab was fast, but I feel like most european drivers are, and I got to the location of the flat that I am in. it is small, and not what I expected, but it has everything that I need...just not everything I want :)