Thursday, June 2, 2011

Week 2!!

I have successfully completed my second week in Prague! I still love it just as much as ever. The city is just so beautiful and we never run out of things to do.

On Saturday, some of the people from our trip participated in a 4 or 5K run to support the gorillas at the Prague zoo. They all got gorilla masks and ran from the Prague castle to the old town square in them. At all the rest stops they got bananas! The rest of waited for them so we could get photographs

Waiting bananas

This guy won the race...he came in like four minutes before everyone else and he was still wearing his mask..impressive.

This man had an entire gorilla costume..even more impressive.

Many walking the run with his son.

Allyson and Shannon completing the run.

The sweet band at the finish line.

There was lots of food and face painting.

Meaghan and Ian after the run in their masks.

I just thought this was funny. I don't know these people.

There was a big stage set up in old town square to support the run.

That afternoon, we decided to explore Karlova Namesti which is a square in Prague we had not yet visited. It had really beautiful gardens and flowers and was surrounded by a lot of neat looking churches. However, we want to stop by again and go through some of the churches since a lot of them were closed due to the hour we arrived.

Beautiful Square.

Churches and statues around the square.

Statue in the square

There are such cool doors here sometimes I just want to photograph them.

St. Ignatius Church: this incredible old Baroque style church off of the square

The inside of the beautiful

This is the wall outside of another church where there are bullet holes and a memorial. This is because it was at this church that the assassins of Heydrich hid out and eventually died.

Another beautiful old church in the square.

The dancing building created by Frank Gehry and Vlado Milinuc. It is also nicknamed the Fred and Ginger House.

Saturday night we went to a bar called Chapeau Rouge. It is interesting to here the different kinds of music people like here and to see what American songs they pick up on as being good.

Sunday, we all had a lot of work so we mostly stayed in except for going out to dinner by Karlova Namesti again. They had very good pasta.

Monday, we again had a lot of class. After class we took the Metro to pick up our bus tickets for Berlin! We are going there next weekend and we are all excited. We are currently working out an itinerary of what we want to do while we are there. Later that night we went to the Barber's house (the William and Mary teacher that traveled with us, his wife and 2 year old daughter Lucy). They invited the whole group over for Memorial Day. They are such a lovely kind family and their daughter is adorable so it was a good night. They also worked hard to get us the most American food they could find so we had pizza, gummy bears, pretzals and popcorn. It was a great night especially after having to go to school on Memorial Day.

Tuesday morning was an adventure for Laura and I. We both had to do laundry, but we had absolutely no idea what buttons to press. I thought they would likely just say dark and light or warm and cold in Czech but they just had a million symbols we couldnt follow. We tried to follow the sketchy directions as much as possible, but it still did not turn out well for Laura. She ended up just forcing her washer to stop after an hour and a half and taking her clothes out sopping wet. Both of us did not want to take the time to use the drier (IT TAKES 2 HOURS MINIMUM!!) so we had to makeshift hang our clothes everywhere.

After class we went to the grocery store and then home to do work for a while. Allyson and I were planning on going to a restaurant called Crazy Cow Steakhouse. However, Laura and Eileen called to tell us they had just walked by Crazy Cow and it was one fire! Thus, we had to look for a new restaurant. We walked around Mala Strana and ended up eating at this place called Joe's and getting burgers. It was pretty good, but not the same as Green Leafe. Miss burger night.

Tuesday night we all stayed up late watching Schindler's list which was really depressing. Thus we were all very sleepy on Wednesday morning. Class was kind of long. I had a presentation in Czech Politics that was tricky. That class feels a big over my head sometimes because I have basically no background in governments other than the US and so many of the other people here are government or politics majors. My presentation was on a fifty page article we had read about the different types of Post-Totalitarian regimes in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Hungary and how they led to different transitions out of Communism...yeah it was really complicated.

After classes, Allyson and I met our new Czech friend Sarka! For our one Czech project we have to interview a peer from here. We were having trouble finding someone we felt comfortable asking to sit down with us for an hour so we ended up finding our interview subjects from a list of people that want practice speaking English. She turned out to be really cool and nice though! We ate at a cafe for awhile. She was telling us about how she had found a part time job working at a Birds of Prey exhibit near the castle. Thus, when she asked us if we wanted to be shown anywhere in Prague we asked her to take us to her work! She let us hold her favorite bird which was this cute little owl named Chico! He was so funny! He hated the guards that were walking by a lot and would just stare at them until they left. Sarka was really nice and interesting.

For dinner Wednesday we just went to the pizza place near our house that we have already been to, I think at least three times. The waiter is starting to know us, its a bit embarassing, but its really cheap and good.

This morning, Thursday, was nice because I got to sleep in! Laura and I stopped by this little cafe called Cukrkavalimonada. They had the most amazing hot chocolate I have ever had in my life. I think it was called Hot Chocolate Supreme in English.

Classes were short today because we went on a field trip to Radio Free Europe. This is a media station that broadcasts through print, radio, tv, etc. to countries that do not have open democracy. They used to broadcast here during the times of Communism, but now they broadcast in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. They had the most intense security ever. like literally ever. It took us almost forty five minutes to all get completely cleared. I guess they are a big terrorist target considering who their audience is. The tour and information session was fascinating.

Outside Radio Free Europe (Liberty sign). There were no pictures allowed inside.

Tonight we went to see a show called Prague's Magic Legends at the National Theatre after eating dinner at Bar Bar again (best nachos ever). It was a black light show which is unique to this city. I didn't really know what to think about the show. It was insane. There were just such strange costumes and movements and music and colors. I would get frustrated whenever I tried to figure out what was going on, but once I gave up it was just very amusing to view. It was really neat to see a show though since they are all so cheap here. We are going to the ballet and opera later in the month.

Now we are getting on a bus to go to Poland. We are driving through the night to get to Auschwitz and then after that tour spending the rest of the weekend in Krakow. It is going to be a long night.


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