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Archive for September, 2009

Hello!

Things lately can only be described as AWESOME. I can only pinch myself and feel truly lucky that I am able to have this amazing experience this semester….and things just keep getting better. While I miss my family and friends (and my dogs) back home, I am really loving my life here in Prague. Let me tell you about my past couple of weekends..

Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany – BEST TIME EVER!!! I was a little unsure what awaited us behind the pearly gates that are Oktoberfest. Imagine 2000 people crammed like sardines into a huge beer hall. Everyone is singing, dancing, cheerings, and having a good time. Australians, Canadians, Germans, Americans, French, Spanish you name it are all together and friends through our mutual love of beer. I cannot help but wonder if the whole world could be at Oktoberfest, world peace would be possible. Its a giant fair as well…with rides and games. The picture was taken from the top of the ferris wheel looking over Oktoberfest at night. Also, the food was soooo good. I could eat there everyday. It was the best time of my young life and something I will never forget.  But other than just Oktoberfest I did see a good chunk of the city of Munich, which was beautiful. We went to the Olympic Park, where Munich hosted the Olympics in 1972, which was the games where my favorite American distance runner, Steve Prefountaine, ran in. The 1972 Olympics were also when the Munich Massacre happened when terrorists killed 11 Israel athletes. Another place we spent a lot of time at was the Marienplatz, which is the center square in Munich. There are a lot of cool things to see and do there, like St. Peter’s Church and the New City Hall building. All in all Munich was a great time and a great city with lots of friendly people. Just this last weekend we went on a school trip to the wine region of Moravia, Czech Republic. It was a lot of sightseeing and wine drinking crammed into two fun filled days. We started off in town of Moravsky to see the Slavic Epic by Mucha. These are enormous paintings done by the artist Mucha and are very important works of art for Czech history and culture. Next we went to the little town of Mikulov which is on the Austrian-Czech border for lunch. We climbed up this huge hill and got an amazing view of the city and the Czech country side. Then if was off to Lednice, CZ which is home to a UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. It was sparling trees, flowers, shrubs, lakes, etc and is just stunning. There are also a palace which was designed by the guy, who get this…invited the pencil. It was nice to walk around and be in a place so naturally beautiful. Then we went to our final destination of the night, Velke Bilovice, a small village where our wine vineyard was located, and where we stayed the night. We arrived to this tiny vineyard and of course wanted to freshen up after our long day. Well guess what. The guy gave our reservation away and there were only 10 beds left…for 24 of us. Not a problem though…we resourceful college kids. After a dinner of unlimited goulash and broucek, it was time for the wine tasting. Then, we got to pick our favorite wine to drink unlimited throughout the rest of the night.  It was a lot of fun but I was glad to get back to Prague and back to my own bed.I cannot believe I was already been here for over a month! Living in Prague is awesome and since I am graduating in May, living and working abroad is something I am highly considering doing. I can safely say my heart belongs to Prague. Tomorrow we are doing a 2.5K fun run uphill to celebrate all those who helped end Communism in the Czech Republic. Then this Friday is the start to our 5 day, 4 country field trip through Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. Can’t wait!

Nessie

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Hello!

Another week has come and gone on my time here in Prague. And things just keep getting better and better. I am settling into life here and getting use to the people and how things work. I do not feel like a tourist anymore. This week was our first official week of classes for school. I think it is going to be an easy semester school wise but I will be learning so much than I ever could in a classroom. I go to school Monday to Wednesday and am taking four classes…4 day weekends rough i know : ) for class we talk and lecture for about an hour or so and then we walk around Prague and look at cool stuff. Makes sense though. why just talk about it when you can go experience it.  A few things i saw this week…

The Prague Jewish Quarter – For my Jewish Studies class our teacher took us to the Jewish Quarter of town, including the cemetery. During WWII, Hitler kept the Jewish synagogue and cemetery so that he could eventually turn it into a museum for the extinct Jewish race in Prague. Makes you sick to your stomach. In one of the synagogue, they wrote the names of all 800,000 Czech Jews who were killed during the Holocaust. It was very moving. I am excited to learn more about Jewish cultural and history since I do not know much about it. For class we are going to a lot of great places this fall. This part of town is very beautiful and full of history and I would strongly recommend checking it out if your ever in Prague. Of course you can come visit me if you want!

For my other classes we also went and saw many cool things around Prague I haven’t seen yet, including the Astronomical Clock, the beautiful Wallenstein Garden and the Lennon Wall. The Astronomical Clock is super old and tons of people flock to it each hour to watch it ring. There is usually at least 1000 people gathered around it every hour. The Wallenstein garden is a hidden gem I think. Its really quite and away from the hustle of the city. There is this crazy wall in it that i cannot even try to begin to explain. You walk along and there is a whole flock of peacocks just walking around. The Lennon Wall is one of my favorite places I’ve seen so far. In the 1980’s right before the fall of Communism, young people would meet at the wall to protest and promote peace. Now of days it is just a wall but Beatles fan and alike come. It is constantly repainted and you can write your name on the wall! I can’t believe I live here! The same day we went to the wall some Buddhist monks were dancing in the street, so we joined in! They were just so happy and we danced with them and their drums for a bit near the Charles Bridge! Groovy! Click on the links above to czech them out..ha get it?

This past weekend I ran in the Prague Grand Prix 5K (3.1 miles) there were 1170 people in my race alone! It was a lot of fun. I placed 543rd…you know no big deal lol (notice the medal haha) Jess and I had one fan! Thanks Dan! There is tons of cool stuff, like that race, to do it Prague and I can’t wait for all the exciting stuff to come!

Nessie

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Prague..I live here!

Jak se ma’ta!

Prague…is…AMAZING! I still cannot get over the fact that I am living here in Prague…its slowly starting to hit me. I almost feel like I have been here forever but I only left good ol’ ND two weeks ago. Its beautiful walking around the cobblestone streets and looking up at these buildings that look straight out of a fairytale. The city of Prague was not hit hard during WWII like other European cities, so many historic places still look like they did back in the day. The pictures are from a walking tour our program director Jan took us on. Prague has such a great history and it seems around every corner there is another story, another important event that happened right where you are standing. Unbelievable. We are lucky to be studying in Prague this fall during the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which was the fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia. We went to the square where they denounced the Communist government and the new government took over. The history buff in me couldn’t be happier!

This week was very fun and busy at the same time. I am so happy our Intensive Czech Language class is finally over! I can now confidently order food and ask for directions in Czech. Some things that I did this week…

Prague Zoo
– After class one day we hoped on the tram and headed out to the Zoo. The animal lover in me was very happy. They have this room where you enter in through a dark curtain and real, live, blood sucking bats swoop over your head…no cage or anything. O and it is pitch black. I screamed like a little girl when the first one rushed over my head. Also, we got about two feet away from a baby elephant!

Vltava River Cruise – On Thursday our program took us all for a lovely river boat cruise down the Vltava River, which runs through Prague. We received an email the day before saying that we would be swimming…ok. Well just by looking at the river its not what you call “clean” but I brought my suit anyways. So after dinner, drinks and such we docked and it was time for swimming. I figured “swimming” meant splashing around for a bit and coming back abroad. No, no…we swam about 700M’s upstream. I literally thought I was going to have to stay in that river forever, because I was going to drown. The worst part is one of our teachers, a sweet 60 year old man with an old man belly, who probably smoked at least 4-5 cigarettes before hand, somehow beat me up and down the river. Maybe the Czech’s know something we don’t. All in all a very lovely evening!

Also, i burned a huge chunk of my hair off….in Europe they have different outlets than we do so you need adapters and converters to use things you bring from home (computer, camera charger, etc.) Well I went to use my three barrel crimper and forgot to use the wattage converter…in turn it became so hot that when I put it in my hair, smoke erupted and it singed a complete piece off. The burnt hair smell filled our entire apartment building. Lol definitively a good thing to know before coming abroad.

Last night we finished booking our plans to attend Oktoberfest next weekend!!! Its probably going to be the craziest experience of my young life. Can’t wait!!!

Tonight I am running in the Prague Grand Prix 5K through Old Town Square! Should be a good run! Wish me luck!
Nessie

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