Prague & Amsterdam: Part Two

Prague was incredible. After taking the tube, train, plane, bus, metro, tram, and a steep walk uphill, we finally arrived at our hostel. We stayed in Old Prague in a great hostel ten minutes away from the Charles Bridge. Everywhere we looked, we were surrounded by age-old buildings covered with abundant ornamentation. Although later they harassed our feet, the ubiquitous cobblestones paved ways to feelings of wonder and awe. For much of our time in Prague, it felt like we were in a fairytale village (albeit one overrun with tacky souvenir shops and Thai massage joints.)

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view down a street near our hostel

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p r a g u e !

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this city was such eye candy to gaze at all day long

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We saw a restaurant overlooking the city near Petrin Hill and without thinking, I dashed past the bushes to this point and just went to town (taking pictures, not literally! P-unintended!). This was probably trespassing but you can tell it was worth it!

We saw many of the touristy sights while on a 2.5 hour walking tour and on our own: Astronomical clock (previous post), Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Jewish Quarter, Kafka’s stomping grounds, Old Town Square… The tour really helped skyrocket our opinions of Prague,  compared with Amsterdam, where we ended up taking a tour on our last full day there (were only there for 2 full days though) because of some confusion. Understanding the city through a mixture of history, landmarks, and modern customs is essential to appreciating a city and to everyone planning trips during their times abroad, I stress the significance of walking tours soon after you arrive.

Food: Mmmmmmmm. Tried curly, sugared bread cooked on rotating sticks called trdelnik (thanks to the suggestion of a fellow blogger studying abroad in Prague!) Hot wine is also common, and we jumped on that bandwagon quickly. It was so bitter that even with a generous honeying, it was still too dry for my taste. Goulash was delectable, the bread dumplings hearty, onion soup scrumptious. My only negative food experience was the lack of vegetables (common in far too many places, I know. 😥 ) When presented red cabbage, I sorrowfully strove to collect every measly vitamin K molecule available.

One night, we got all dolled up, fetched our Chilean hostelmate, got a cab for 300 Kr (was about $3 per person for 20 min! So cheap!) and went to an amazing nightclub that played 80’s and 90’s music all night. The music videos plastered the walls and created an atmosphere I’d never previously experienced: many “older” people (late 20s to early 40s) dotted the large dancefloor, shamelessly grooving to the cheesy songs. As a young adult whose majority of “going out” experiences have been disappointing and full of desensitizing, uninspiring music, this felt like an epiphany. Finally, I’d found a club that seemed FUN and full of people I could actually relate to! In short, it was a great time and we danced for hours. I don’t have any pics of this night but Erica and Beth do, so if you want to see pics, I’ll show them whenever they share them with me.

blackswan

This is dedicated to my DAD: Look, a black swan! (for everyone else reading this, the bird refers to how commonplace coincidences actually are, e.g. a black swan. It’s also the title of a book he loves)

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Couldn’t resist snapping a pic of this funny kid decked out in blue. (Elior I gotchu)

The Prague Castle was a joy to meander around. The highlight was the St. Vitus Cathedral, an edifice so massive that I barely tried photographing it before surrendering my camera in order to absorb its formidable presence.

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My favorite stained glass of the cathedral


We also found the John Lennon wall, a memorial to the legend who never actually visited the city but remained a symbol of peace and resistance for the youth during a time of particular political turmoil. We were surprised when we learned that Prague has only been opened up as a major tourist destination in the past 25ish years, owing to the government changing at that time (don’t ask me any more about political history than that! Not my forte.) Read about the wall here.

I’ve loved JL for a long time. I even dressed up like him, memorized his life story, and donned a costume for a sixth grade biography project! I bought a wonderful book of his artwork a while ago too. So this excursion was especially fun.

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Strawberry Fields Forever

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the wall (notice 3 JL heads up top)

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3 Johns

Whoooh, this is a long post! Grab a swig of gatorade and a granola bar to replenish those electrolytes cuz we ain’t finished yet! Nearing the end, though. I applaud your tenacity.

good job, you reader you!


One of the best parts of Prague was going to a monastery whose resident monks produced, wait for it, beer! Some proclaim it to be the best beer in Europe. Not long after hearing of this, you can imagine how, in my head, the puns flowed: How the monks turned water into beer, brewing happiness, etc.

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Love that monk!

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It was a gas. Each table lit by candles, a restaurant underground where Charles IV used to hang out…

Inside the restaurant

Inside the restaurant

We had a great time. The food was incredible as well! None of us were/are beer people, so it tasted like almost any other beer to us. Maybe the magic wasn’t in the taste, but the effects/benefits? Should’ve asked the monks!

On our way out, we stumbled upon a cute Czech cat and Erica was smitten. The first picture really says it all.

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TRUE. LOVE. Look at those faces!!!

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I gotta say, what an adorable cat.

The day we left, we explored the Jewish Quarter’s museum and cemetery area. Really interesting and worth it.

As I said in the previous post, we indulged in massages. Our bodies thanked us by staying able enough to take on much of Amsterdam’s sights in two full days. STAY TUNED: More of that in the next post!

Seen at Prague Castle. Reminds me of my wonderful sister Emily (brown hair on left) and me on right! <3

Seen at Prague Castle. Reminded me of my wonderful sister Emily (brown hair on left) and me on right! ❤

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Fast Times in Mammals & Evolution

It’s 12:38. We’re all developing a thin glaze over our eyes from nearly two hours of lecture about marsupials and mammals. But then, out of nowhere, my pony-tailed professor pulls out a

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HUMAN PLACENTA

caught between shock, disgust and intense curiosity

He’s got the sterile gloves on to prove its authenticity and deep amusement sparkles in his eyes. This guy is almost nuts, but not quite. An immortal soundbite: “Sadly it’s lost a bit of its colour…”

There’s a marked difference in the humor over here. I really like it. It’s cheekier, sassier, and enhanced by the contrasting reservation of stereotypical Brits.

Some of my favorite funnies since I’ve been here:

(On an ad for a humor festival with a picture of supermarket chickens):
Now is the winter of our discount hens.

This ad for Las Vegas: DSC01050

On a greeting card: How do you approach an angry Welsh cheese? Caerphilly.


Darwin Day is a celebration of all things evolution. It’s held on his birthday, February 12th, and places all over the world offer up lectures and activities to spread the joy of this phenomenon. This year, Richard Dawkins is speaking at the London event and I would LOVELOVELOVE to go but have concert tickets for that night. On that note, if you like music characterized by harmonies, folk, Bon Iver prodigies, and sisters (<3 hey Em!), check them out here!)


Also, since it seems that many still aren’t sure how to contact me, here’s a list of HOT OR NOT to let you know how I can be reached. Trust me, you don’t want to land on the latter list.

Hot:

-Wes email

-QM email (ask if you want it but it just forwards to my Wes one anyway)

-this blog

-texting (I have a UK number)

-calling (UK number)

-skype

-letter!

What’s not:

-Texting/calling my US phone

-any app (snapchat included)

Facebook


And finally, yesterday I used some pink water leftover from boiling my beets to make pink pancakes! They didn’t taste like beets but lovely little scarlet cloud puffs. Here there’s a tradition right before Lent (Shrove Tuesday) of using up your sweets or indulgent foods to make pancakes. It’s occurring the day before my birthday this year and there’s all kinds of celebrations. My flatmates are planning on pancaking all day and I might check out a pancake race!

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