For any of you that don't know, I love postcards.
I've decided that this is probably the best way to document my time in Prague: a blog based on photographs and postcards.
I'll post more often this way (hopefully), and there will just be a small amount of text--a postcard's worth. And this way I'll be able to send "postcards" to everyone.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Prague Zoo

Nick & I went to the zoo yesterday. I'd heard good things about the Prague Zoo, that when you go there, you are a part of the exhibit. It was pretty true. All the fences were low, seemingly not there. (pretty sure there were a lot of electric fences hidden among them). The hippo exhibit was crazily accessible. There was a worker that hopped over a low wall and fed the hippo a banana. Just like it was nothing big to do so. (!)
Then there was one exhibit where we entered into a darker room, a "twilight zone" and there were definitely BATS flying around us as we walked through. I DID NOT like that. But other than that experience, it was fun.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2 weeks!

Two weeks til I'll be home & I am pumped! I am trying to get everything done, trying to take advantage of the good weather and my last weeks here. Also starting to list all of the things I'm excited to do at home.
Expect a barrage of blog posts as I try to soak up as much Prague & Europe as possible. One last trip to look forward to, too!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Vacation: London

The first evening in London we rode a double-decker bus through Oxford St. & other parts of town. There were so many people, so much traffic, more than I have ever seen anywhere in my life. It was overwhelming, even more overwhelming to have purely English ads & signs all around, since I haven't had that in months.
We had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant. I had some eggplant fries (wonderful) and a "cheese bake". Despite the name, it was good. I think everyone really enjoyed their food at that place.
The second day we went to Buckingham Palace, went by Westminster Abbey & Parliament, and 10 Downing St, but didn't go in to any of them since it was a Sunday of a Bank Holiday weekend, it was pretty tough to get in places.
We did, however go to the Natural History Museum. And that was a good trip. Over in that area we found a lot of restaurants & ate some really good crepes for dinner.
We all flew out early that next day. So glad my family came to visit & traveled with me, but sad to see them go. On my flight, I got to see a perfect view of miniature Prague, absolutely perfect view. So that made me happier. Only a couple more flights before I'm flying home!

Summer Vacation: Paris

We ended up taking the train to Paris from Berlin. It was a long trip, but it was good to see more of the country, and to ride the high speed train from Frankfurt to Paris. Luckily we had some chocolate covered cornflakes (my new favorite "German" snack).
The first night in Paris we went up to Sacred Heart, had crepedillas, and saw the Eiffel tower at night. Paris was rainy, foggy and quite confusing at first, but we were all glad to be in Paris at last.
The second day, we saw Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, a market we happened to run across, and the Opera. That afternoon we had the world's best falafel and then went to the Louvre. That day the weather was spectacular, and that night at the Louvre there were concerts going on in some of the courtyards. It was a pretty remarkable experience.
We took several "stick photos" with the monopod that my dad has. So all of us together, holding the camera out in front of us & taking a picture. It brings joy to lots of people throughout our vacations, and it did at the Louvre. I think people were taking just as many pictures of us as of the building. : )
The next morning we had enough time to see the Eiffel tower, to stand in line and go up to the top,which was incredible. Then we had to catch the train (via the Chunnel!) to London. Most border security I've yet experienced in Europe!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Vacation: Berlin

After my studio presentation, we traveled (by bus!) to Berlin. It was a lot easier navigating Berlin this second time, but it’s still a lot more confusing than Prague. We started the first day by going to the Brandenburg Gate & the Bundestag, and our hotel was right by checkpoint Charlie. But we also went to things that I hadn’t seen before. The memorial to the murdered European Jews has a museum underneath it. I hadn’t been there, so we visited that the first day.
The next day we went to the Olympic Stadium… my History of Architecture course made it seem much more menacing than it actually was. In fact, it looks really clean, modern & monumental. It was different than I thought it would be. The lack of Nazi paraphernalia that is in all the historical photos probably made all the difference. Right by the Stadium I saw one of the Unite d’Habitacion buildings by Le Corbusier. So I walked a few blocks more to go see it. I knew it was near the Stadium, but I didn’t know I’d be able to see it from there. Made it that much easier to find.
The last day we went to the Bundestag & then in the early afternoon we headed for the southern airport. Only to find out that our flight was cancelled. Then mom stayed up all night trying to figure out a way for us to get from Berlin to Paris.

Prague with the Fam: Weekend

The next day the big sight we saw was Petrin hill; we rode the funicular up to the top & then walked back down through the park. This is one of my favorite spots… you can see a lot of Prague & there are generally a lot of people out enjoying the weather if it’s nice.
For lunch we had fried cheese. Apparently, everyone was expecting it to be on a stick. Even though I have already posted about it on here (with photos!). For clarification: it’s a patty of eidam cheese, fried, and put on a bun. Like a hamburger bun. I think the consensus was that a little fried cheese goes a long way. For dinner we went out to the Czech Beer festival. John’s parents were visiting, so it was a few of my friends & then family members. I think Emily liked the desserts there better than any food she’d had in Prague. Sweet dumplings stuffed with apricots or nutella & the famous Czech apple pie.
Sunday we went to Mass & had a Czech lunch. Although Emily had pasta, and Mom & I had side dishes, so Dad had a Czech lunch. Then I went to go finish my studio project, and they were on their own. Off to see the zoo, the natural history museum, and more.

Prague with the Fam: Arrival

Mom, Dad & Emily flew into Prague late on a Thursday night. I was pretty excited, so I went out to where the airport bus drops people off at the metro (about 2 blocks from my dorm), and waited for them to come through. They seemed TIRED. But I think anyone would after flying across the Atlantic & then driving around Ireland for a few days.

The next day I hung out with them after my morning classes. They took advantage of that & slept in. Then we hit some of the major highlights: Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square (including the Astronomical clock—big hit!), Charles Bridge & the Castle, in that order, so that means they got to walk all… the… way… up to the castle. I still think it’s better that way.

We had dinner at the best pizza place I’ve found—right near my dorm. & with that they had another wonderful Prague experience: SMOKEY restaurants. They had no tables in non-smoking. : (

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Prague Beer Festival

The last of the K-State visitors have come through Prague in the past week. The Italian programs ended a week or so ago. One of the best things we took them to was the Beer Festival that's going on the entire second half of this month. They have typical Czech food and beers, so I tried apple pie (?!) and I had two amazing dark beers... something that I haven't found in the Czech Republic so much. Maybe I just haven't been looking in the right places? Mom, Dad and Emily are set to arrive soon... maybe they'll want to see the beer festival. : )

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Letna Park & Prague Marathon

This weekend we went to see the metronome sculpture in Letna Park. It replaced the largest sculpture of Stalin in the world. (Stalin was Czech). From that point you can see out over Prague. We heard music & saw crowds from the marathon that was going on just across the river. We walked down to Old Town Square. On the way we saw the eventual winner of the marathon pass us, he was ~5min from his finish at that point.
It is amazing to me how Old Town Square can completely change for all of these events. It is a completely different space depending on the day you see it.

Liberation Day

This last Saturday was V-Day, and it is one of the few national holidays we'll be here for. I tried to find events or parades online, and there was nothing. Pilsen, a town to the West, has big events--but I think they're celebration is a lot more Americanized (they were liberated by Patton). I couldn't find anything.
So that morning I went out & looked. Headed towards the castle, since the government stuff is all around there. Ran into a military memorial ceremony a few blocks from my dorm. Later I came across an even bigger ceremony. Everything they said was in Czech, I could just catch a few names, the years, it seemed like they were reading the sequence of major events from before & during the war.
The tone was really somber, very official, but somehow low key-- pretty small events. I saw buses for military personnel going toward Letna park, but wasn't able to get up there in time to see anything. That must have been bigger. I have tried to find photos, and will continue to try to find photos, because I once again didn't have my camera...

Sunday, May 9, 2010


We went to Orvieto, a hill town a little over an hour outside of Rome where a lot of K-State kids are studying this semester. I don't have many pictures from here at all. I felt like I didn't want to repeat all the pictures that they've been taking all semester, but now I see where they could come in handy! Lesson learned.
The pictures I took are looking out from the top & then on the Rupe (cliff) route that Chuck took me on. The rocks are incredible... it's obvious why the town was developed. They didn't even need to build fortification, it was already there. The town has Etruscan ruins everywhere... that's older than the Romans. Unbelievable to think about.


We went to Siena on St. Catherine's day--the feast day for their patron saint. It is one of their biggest festivals/events of the year. Siena is a really unique city that is "split" into 17 neighborhoods or more like families called contradas. They maintain a lot of the traditions and have an obvious pride in their individual contrada. The festivities for St. Catherine's day included Mass celebrated by a Cardinal where a lot of the Siennese wore traditional costumes from their contradas. It was the most impressive thing we saw with respect to the festival, I think the rain may have caused there to be less celebration/costume-wearing.
Also dampened by the rain: the Campo! : (
oh well, there were people taking wedding pictures on the Campo in the rain, so my day seemed a lot less dreary then.