“Three weeks in Prague”

We had our last day of travel photography on Monday. It went really well, all we had to do was present our final PDF with all our assignments on it. This was mine:

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I then ate a lunch that I had packed the night before in the quick break between classes. Some of my other classmates got the Crocodille sandwiches and I’m pleased to report that I’m not the only one that doesn’t like them.

For our class we went to see a few buildings in Wenceslas Square before Professor Raimanová took us to the Municipal House. There was a little confusion with what exhibit we were seeing because she wanted to go to a certain exhibit but the security guard was arguing with her (in Czech of course so we had no clue what was happening). In the end, it was a funny error: she wanted to go to an exhibit that wasn’t yet open to the public.

Instead we went to a Blanka Matragi exhibit. She’s a Czech fashion designer and her dresses were interesting. Many were quite breathtaking but quite a few more were dated and very overdone.

After class we went back to K17 for a break before going souvenir shopping which is a chore in itself. I didn’t end up getting anything because I didn’t know what I wanted to get for everyone, but we did do some sightseeing and gelato eating.

We went to the public library which has a unique art installation before hitting up Creme de la Creme again.

On the way home we picked up some vegetables and spices from Billa because Jackie and I were craving vegetables/something healthy.

Okay, so maybe just Jackie was craving veggies but it kind of sounded good to me.

Anyway, I, for the first time in my life, successfully made a dinner of steamed veggies. It was delicious, for sure it’s something I’ll be making back home.

Due to the fact that I now know how to steam carrots and add packaged spice to a pot, I’d call today pretty successful.

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Hey, Hey, Hey It’s our last weekend (in Prague)

So it’s getting to the end of my time in Prague. It’s actually a bit confusing because half of us continue on with the field tour while others do not (Emileigh and Jackie). Thus, some of us are getting the sad feeling of it being our last few days traveling when we still have over a week. Thus, we are trying to do as much as we can.

After our late night at Lucerna, we spent Saturday morning sleeping in before heading to Letná Beer Garden (which I hadn’t yet been to and everyone else had). It had absolutely amazing views and I think the terms “best beer garden in Prague” were being thrown around. Well, I only got this picture while I was there:

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Whoops.

It was still a nice (and yummy; shout out to Kingswood and fried cheese) time.

Then we went to The Globe which is an English bookstore Emileigh loves here. It was karaoke night, and that’s what we specifically went for. They served some rockin’ American food that will tide me over until I get back home (aka they put a massive bottle of ketchup on the table with our fires). I also tried another type of beer, a Kozel Černý which was decent.

We sat around with some of Emileigh’s students and sang for a few hours before heading home.

Also, you better bet I slayed that ABBA.

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Sunday was spent doing homework and stuff around the apartment. Going into the last week of class means we have term papers and finals due.I also went to Vyšehrad and the Podskalí Custom House by myself. Vyšehrad is a big park with a church and graveyard. It is really pretty, I just made a mistake by going at mid-day. THe Custom House is a museum about the history of the Vltava River. It was interesting, but really heavy in terms of reading. There were a lot of pictures which I looked at, but I didn’t see/read the whole exhibit. Once I went back to K17, I did manage to finish my photography paper early though and treated my self to Trdelnik and ice cream with Emileigh.

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We went to Wenceslas Square to get them and saw a film crew setting up. Being highly interested in what was going on, we stood around for probably thirty minutes. Eventually, two British girls came up and asked us what was happening. We got to chatting with them and learned they had just arrived in Prague and were looking for somewhere to eat so we took them to Old Town Square. It was hilarious because we were all so interested in each other’s political happenings, cultures, studies, and accents.

As Emileigh said, “it was just a wholesome and pure interaction.”

See the photos from Sunday here.

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This Friday was the first Friday this whole trip where we didn’t have a field tour. Of course, we couldn’t sit in K17 like we always do. So we (meaning me, Megan, Brooke, and Emileigh) paired of into teams and we made a scavenger hunt for the other team. Emileigh and I were on the same team (Team Viper (I think… it was some type of snake).

Here’s the list we made for Team Hawk:

  1. Take pictures of either letters on signs or objects that resemble letters to spell out everyone’s favorite word: covfefe. 3 points.
  2. Visit the Riegrovy Sady beer garden (opens at 12 but if for some reason it is not open, go to a restaurant nearby instead) and get something to drink (here’s an opportunity to get lunch if you want…). Make sure you take a photo of the closed store if it is closed. 3 points.
  3. Visit the swan pond (in Mala Strana near Charles Bridge) and record Megan imitating the photography teacher (Megan will know what to say 😉 5 points. 2 Bonus Points if you feed the birds.
  4. Find the grave of Dvorak at Vysherad. 5 points. 2 Bonus points if you also take a picture of the weirdest name on a gravestone.
  5. You must ride the yellow line from terminating end to terminating end. It officially starts at Zlicin (you can of course take the metro to get there, but it doesn’t start until you begin coming from zlicin). You must ride it all the way to Cerny Most. However, when you reach Namesti Republiky, you must get off and walk to Florenc and continue to ride the metro all the way to cerny most. Take a picture at Cerny Most and Zlicin. 5 points.
  6. At Troja chateau, copy three different statue poses and take a picture at each (you each need to choose 3 for a total of six photos (and no repeating statues!)). Here’s a hint: go to the zoo. 5 points. 3 Bonus points if you get a stranger to pose as a statue in one of your photos (limit is one photo, so you can only get 3 points).
  7. Visit the Second Street Boutique (Jugoslavska 651/25) and you each pick out a crazy outfit for the other to try on. Take photos. If it is not open for some reason, go to Textile House behind Narodni Trida (by Kafka statue). Make sure you take a photo of the closed store if it is closed. 5 points.
  8. Sing America the Beautiful outside of the American Embassy. Make sure to film it. ‘Murica. 5 points.
  9. Have Brooke pretend to be a street performer in Old Town Square and Megan needs to record it. Don’t forget to set something out to collect tips in! 7 points. 2 Bonus points if you get some change.

There was also a number 10 but I have decided to leave that off to preserve the mystery (it was inappropriate).

Emileigh and I got our own list and off we went. I’ll be the first to admit, there was no fire lit below our butts. We were quite slow and made about four stops for food.

Naturally, the rules of the scavenger hunt dictated that you had to take pictures of everything. So we did.

Sadly, I will not post the videos of me Nae Nae-ing in front of three horse statues because I do not want that on my YouTube. What. A. Shame.

It was very, very hot so after doing as much of the list as we could, we headed back to K17, hoping to beat Brooke and Megan and to win the extra point.

We beat them by about an hour!

After the points were tallied up we came out victorious! By one point: 45-44!

That meant we didn’t have to dance first at Lucerna that night. Yes, Brooke and Megan had to get out on the semi-empty floor at Lucerna and liven the place up.

Between Brooke and Megan twriling each other on the dance floor to how many ABBA songs they played, the drinks, and this dude dressed as a fox(?) the night was pretty great.

I think I’m supposed to write about Thursday now…?

So, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m not that great at keeping up on my blog posts. I was especially not great this week. Without further ado:

We started off going to class Thursday. Professor Raimanová took us to a gallery and pallace near the Charles Bridge. Funnily enough, it was called the Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace. The palace was under renovations, but Raimanová managed to talk the curator into letting us in. Afterwards, we saw the gallery which was full of very politically charged art which was nonetheless thought provoking. It wasn’t all political though, some of it was in response to how routine and everyday life has become and how we are even immune to the absolutely awful things (like terrorist attacks).

After spending an afternoon in K17, Megan, Brooke, Emileigh and I went to U Kroka. They, the meat eaters they are, all had delicious meals. Mine was eh, but I guess that’s what I get for ordering risotto. The dessert on the other hand was phenomenal.

It was Buttermilk cream with rhubarb, passion fruit and cinnamon crumble.

Brooke then left to go back to the apartment while the other three of us just wanted to walk around (we had heard live music playing and were following it). This ended up being a nice walk along the Vltava River which morphed into a spontaneous paddle boating adventure. We didn’t plan this (hence “spontaneous”) but we were out right at the perfect time to see sunset over the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.

It was even better because Megan and Emileigh sat in the front while I sat in the back. If you don’t know the basic layout of a paddle boat, there are only peddles in the front. I essentially got a free ride so overall it was a pretty good day.

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See the pictures from today here.

Krocodille and Caraoke

For a change of pace I actually studied on Wednesday. Crazy how studying abroad actually involves school work sometimes. We had a paper due in Art and Architecture on Thursday so I had to finish it. We had to write an analysis on a building in Prague– of course I chose Troja.

Later we once again got ice cream sandwiches for dinner. Parlor, the ice cream sandwich place, is too close to K17 to be healthy for us.

In my defense, I did go to the grocery store on the way back. Except the problem is that I still do not know how to shop here. Between there being different foods and an absence of the foods I’m familiar with (Albert’s frozen section only has vegetables and ice cream) everything is in Czech (frankly, I’ve gotten tired of holding my phone up to google-translate everything).

I got a crocodille sandwich for dinner: a sub that is sold in many convenience stores in Prague. The intriguing part is that they are sold in vending machines in the USAC building. Naturally, I had to try one.

Well, it will be the last one I will eat because it was gross.

After eating, my roommates and I had an impromptu karaoke/lip-sync night. It was mainly supposed to be lip-sync, but do you know how hard it is to not sing “Love is an Open Door” into your empty cider bottle/microphone?

Hella hard.

 

Rain Czech

What comes first, the rain or the rainy-day-attitude?

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Tuesday morning I slept in and took a long time to get up and moving. I spent most of the day in the apartment working on homework or trying to catch up on my blogging. I also made these dessert dumplings I bought (except the directions were in Czech so that was an adventure). They were really weird and I still don’t know if I liked them or not. It was the perfect rainy day!

Except there was no rain until mid-afternoon.

Eh, what can I say? Sometimes it’s nice to lay around.

I did go out at six though! Miranda, Emileigh and I met Kristina and Pavla (the girls we met last Tuesday through Miranda’s local friend). They took us to Crème de la Crème which they claimed was the best gelato shop (and I believe them!).

I got Lavender and chocolate gelato:

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It had also started to sprinkle rain on our way to the gelato shop. By the time we left it was pouring. The streets were flooding and I didn’t have an umbrella so I shared with Kristina while she tried to do navigation. Kristina took Miranda and I to a cute and kind of hidden cafe where the girl scouts she’s a part of (the Czech version of girl scouts which doesn’t involve selling cookies and seems overall to be way cooler) were doing a monthly guitar concert.

It was a great experience seeing this local cafe and how everyone interacts. The best part though was getting to hear traditional Czech songs. They played some English songs as well. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door… anyone?

Also, I’ve now sent this text so I feel like I’ve turned into my mom.


Mom, sorry for all the times I was impatient at dinner and rushed you to finish your wine.

Photo & Thoughts Dump from Arrival and Day 1

 

It’s been a helluva day, let me tell you that first. And I’m jet-lagged and oh-so-tired.

After a pretty uneventful (but uncomfortable) two flights the USAC people picked us (kids from the group flight who so far are amazing and nice people) and dropped us off at our apartments where we then lugged our bags up four or five flights of winding stairs.

I was thanking God I had repacked into a smaller bag.

The apartment is so cute. It’s a bit odd in some ways (my room used to be a living room so there’s no closet, just a ton of book shelves (9 to be exact) and the shower is in a room with only a sink and washer).

The other thing is that the keys are weirdly (and embarassingly) hard to work. There’s a gate, two doors and then the front door. We timed it yesterday and my roommate Jackie said it took 10 minutes to get from the gate to our room.

After unpacking we went to Wenceslas Square and then the bar downstairs where I had my first ever beer.

It was disgusting. Looking back, maybe I shouldn’t have chosen the bitter one.

So far the language barrier isn’t bad at all! I for sure need to learn a few things (“excuse me” and “I’m sorry” to start). The only incident I’ve come across was a cashier at a store who seemed very impatient with me and my new credit card (understandable) it was just scary to not know what he was angrily saying.

We ended yesterday by meeting the entire USAC group, having dinner (here they just automatically give you a beer when you sit down), and walking around Old Town.

Then my day started at 7:30 this morning when I got up for class. I’m taking travel photography for one-credit and a art and architecture class for three credits. Travel photography came first, and I struggled so hard to stay awake.

We then had a general orientation before having lunch and then going back to class.

Spoiler alert: I could barely stay awake for that class either. But it’s okay because everyone else was falling asleep also.

The USAC people took groups to TESCO but I passed on that so I could return and nap, because boy do I need it.

Jet-lag is a bitch.