Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Big Lebowski

Today was a nice Sunday in Prague. Not many people get to say that...I am a lucky girl. I spent the whole day with Carolyn and Kurt. We explored a lot- some of the memorable places we saw: a peacock park, (yes, this is real, Mom, we took pictures just for you) a wonderful museum, tourist-y and non-tourist-y places, a vegan restaurant, baby statues climbing the huge TV tower of Prague, (I'm more than slightly creeped out by this) a wall of chalk statements filled with what people want to do before they die, (for all my Doctor Who loving friends, "Bad Wolf" was stamped on this huge chalkboard and I was stoked) and we ended our night with a leisurely walk and a stop at the famous Big Lebowski bar where the drink to order is a White Russian. I must say it was a day filled with food, family, and fun so I am a happy (and very tired) girl. All of this intense traveling is slowly catching up with me as I have more and more free time around Prague, during which I am tempted to take multiple naps during the day. School officially starts tomorrow; my class is canceled, however, so Carolyn, Kurt, Julia, and I have some really exciting plans in the making. I am missing everyone at home, so I'm sending my love to all! As always, contact me via email, Facebook, Skype, or whatever floats your boat- I love the love. Until next time! (Some random pictures are included in this- at the moment I cannot download the photos exactly relevant to this post, so I've got some other ones for you.)
I'm just so happy to be here...

Another photo of us at the castle outside of Bratislave- Claire, Sara, Este, me, and Julia

(Almost) all of the USAC girls on this trip, standing just off of Charles Bridge.

At the castle again...a happy Janna.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Magical and Wonderful...

Just so everyone knows...this is a tradinkle. (My made up word for a dessert that has stolen my heart). And yes, it does deserve its very own post. My sister Carolyn and her husband Kurt come in in just a few
minutes!! So excited to spend the weekend exploring Prague with them. I'll most likely be back with more adventures tomorrow. Until then!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Making a Vase?!

Happy Friday! Today was just so incredible...I'm not entirely sure my ramblings will do it justice but I shall try. We all woke up very early and headed off to a very small city in the Czech Republic, one that is known for its glass making. The bus ride was about two hours, during which my head rolled around and my eyes fluttered (Im afraid that nasty jet lag is catching up). Upon arrival, the whole bus load of us jumped out and walked into a hot building where many men were working over insanely hot fires blowing glass! It was incredible for so many reasons; the glass they were making was so beautiful andddddd they were all smoking, drinking, eating, and not wearing gloves. They were having a blast! Here comes the good part: after our tour, I was the second one to be able to blow my own glass piece!! I chose the color smoke, and before I knew it, I was making a vase! Ohhhh it was amazing. I then watched my friends for a while and I got to make a second piece, this time a big mug! On this one, I was allowed to create the handle. It was the neatest experience, I could not have asked for anything better. We then went to see one more castle, (171 steps involved in that one) came home, and I
I was stoked about this whole glass making thing...

This is a bone chapel under the castle! There were thousands of bones here...I was fascinated (and slightly creeped out.)

Beautiful view from the castle tower (the stairs were worth it.)

A dessert I bought today...very marshmallow-y.
got my final moving arrangement all figured out! I will be living with Julia. Believe it or not, after all the stairs at the castle, I then moved from the 6th floor to the 3rd floor. Let's just say my legs will be sore in the morning. I am now all unpacked and we are all going out tonight! That's it for now, until next time!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The First Shopping Trip

Another day spent in beautiful Prague! Today was quite the adventure. First off, we got to sleep in, a rarity around here, and everyone took advantage of it. Once many of us were ready, we headed off for our first jaunt around town! It began by taking the bus, something we had not done here before. One quick stop away from our apartment, we found the underground subway system thing...unsure of what to call Florenc, a different part of town. A hop skip and a jump later, we found ourselves at the mall! It is really big- 4 stories with all kinds of stores, a few American and all playing American music which is oddly found everywhere around Europe! I bought a few little things (spoilers, can't share on here!) and spent most of the time staring with my mouth open. I plan on going back. A few of us from the big group then set off on our own back to Florenc in search of Billa, the grocery chain around here that was widely suggested by past students. It was really nice. One interesting thing you must do is weigh your fruit/vegetables on a machine, tell it what it is weighing, and a sticker is printed out that you put on your bag so the checker can quickly scan it. Neat! I bought about $12.50 worth of food, (which got me a lot) bought a bag to put it all in, and checked out (with a rather impatient checker...My ignorance in their system and my lack of Czech language knowledge was a bit embarrassing though). We then headed home, I made a delicious sandwich, and later in the night we had our orientation dinner. Everyone is now officially here and we go on a glass works field trip tomorrow! That is all I've got for now. Love to all, and until next time!

One thing I did do today: paid 5 crowns ($0.25) to use a bathroom while being completely oblivious to the fact that there was a free one not far away...couldn't believe it.

Also, these pictures pictures are from the 5 day trip and were just uploaded by a friend, so here they are! All of them are thanks to Leah Kelley.
Here I am at the spa in Budapest

All of the girls at the spa!

Who even knows. The faces I make...

Julia and me on the trip! (Bratislava)

I decided it was appropriate to hug the creepy dolls in Bratislava.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Home Again Home Again

I am now back in Prague! It has been an amazing (and long) 5 days. I have been in
4 countries and am quite tired. We finished off the trip with a visit to Bratislava, Slovakia today. It was quite interesting. The town is a mix of very old and very modern, with a huge freeway connecting the two. Very strange. I will not be going out tonight, so I have stocked up on food and will have peanut butter sandwiches, a banana, yogurt, and snacks with Julia for dinner. I am very excited for a relaxing night in. School starts Tuesday (Monday is a day off) and my sister Carolyn and her husband are coming to Prague this weekend! So very excited. Here are a few pictures and I am off again!
A beautiful castle in Bratislava

View from up high in Bratislava

Mmm...lunch in Bratislava

Julia and me at the ruins of a castle on the outskirts of Bratislava

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Budapest II

Day two in Budapest! Today was pretty amazing, as 3 hours of it was spent in the Budapest baths (the same ones used hundreds of years ago.) I was warm, cleansed and softened in this amazing place. I also got to become even closer to the wonderful people on this trip. Afterward, we took a tour of the city which included looking at the Jewish part of town, going to a beautiful farmers' market (where I ate a Hungarian hotdog...delicious) and going to a golden cafe. Free time came next- my friends and I decided our time would be well spent at a...wait for café. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like and we walked for it! With cats purring around us, we ordered hot chocolates and cakes. Yes, Allison Watson, this really happened. We then began winding our way home, which included searching for the metro, getting semi lost, finding an amazing pizza shop and eating the pizza outside on the curb, getting thr
Here we all are at the baths (post swimming). Este, Sara, Julia, me!

The ceiling of the golden café!

The cats of the cat café

Sitting on the curb eating pizza outside the pizza place!
ough town, FINDING AND SHARING TRADINKLES, and eventually finding our hotel. And here I am now! Quite the day. Tomorrow ends this amazing traveling (after visting Slovakia) and we will be back in Prague around 7:30 PM. I will update you all then.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Budapest, Hungary

Hello from Budapest, Hungary! I don't know if any of you are counting, but I have been in 3 countries in the past 3 amazing is that? And tiring and overwhelming and fast-paced but soooo worth it!! Today we started off the day in Vienna, during which my friends and I walked around the Belvedere Museum, drank hot chocolate in a cafe, and then proceeded to sprint across the city trying to catch our bus (the last part was not fun at all in the moment but it will make quite the story. I did, however, become quite sufficient in the art of map and underground subway reading.) We then went and visited the oldest monastery in the world where a really funny monk gave us a wonderful tour. I have lots of pictures from that that I can not share yet but I will just say this: Beauty and the Beast style library. I fell in love, got goosebumps, wanted to jump for joy, and cry all at the same time. Breathtakingly beautiful. We then travelled to Budapest, checked in to our hotel, ate a delicious dinner, and went on a short tour of the city. That's it for now!  Tomorrow we will stay in Budapest for one more night so I am looking forward to quite the day. Love to all as always. Until next time.

Note for the day: sleeping on a bus is still as difficult as always.
All of my friends and me in the restaurant here! Going from left to right: Sara,  Este, me, Julia, and Mark. Photo credit: Este

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Vienna, Austria

Hello again, this time from Vienna, Austria! These last two days have been absolutely incredible. Also, due to the fact that we have not stopped going once, my jet lag (which comes in strong waves at inconvenient times) must be ignored and pushed through because of the amazing things around me. So that's a plus in my book. Yesterday, we all spent the day traveling, hiking, and then ended up in a beautiful city called Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Even though it was the first day, I knew from the beginning that it would be one of my favorite cities. It was small, beautiful, and we showed up during the Five-Petalled Rose festival, an annual event similar to a renaissance fair in which all the locals dressed up as royalty or peasants and marched  in a parade. There were all kinds of amazing food  and merchandise for sale. I bought myself a pretty purple scarf along with a hotdog-like food wrapped in a tortilla, corn on the cob, and dessert that has become quite famous in my group of friends, something we call a Tradinkle, (this being a completely made up word for an amazing French dessert that we can't pronounce) fried dough in a curly cue with cinnamon sugar on the outside and warm chocolate on the inside. I will come back to the States missing them. Today was spent in Vienna and it was quite lovely. We visited a palace, ate schnitzel for lunch, had a tour of the city, and then had free time. Julia, Mark, and I spent it at a music festival. Yes...a music festival in Vienna. So amazing. Okay I'm out for now. So sleepy. Love to all. Pictures to come soon. until next time.

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Sightings

Hello from Prague!! I am officially wiped, but I thought I would put up a few pics before I crashed. Tomorrow we all wake up for the trip to Vienna/Budapest at 7:30 AM...I have a feeling that's not going to be so fun. Prague is just wonderful. I still have soooo much to see and soooo much to do, but just being in the city and meeting so many wonderful people has been amazing. I'll be back on here later to keep you all updated. Lots of love from Prague!
 My delicious soup before the main course! Mushroomy, sweet, creamy yumminess
 The main course...delicious meat, potatoes, and gravy with a sweet cranberry/lemon sauce (Goulash)
 Mmmm my dessert! Ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Yep, as yummy as it sounds.
 Julia and me by our favorite bins! (They recycle here in Prague...yay for saving the environment!)
Just a small snapshot of the beautiful buildings right down the street from my apartment


Hello from London! I have made it safely this far...just one flight left! After 15 hours of traveling, I am exhausted. It has been quite the trip so far. People watching has commenced here in the London is as great as I hoped it would be. First thing I did when I got here? Brushed my teeth. Of course. Nothing is free, by the way, and EVERYONE wants to sell you something. I am currently using a limited amount of WiFi so I'll keep this short and sweet. Thank you for all the support I have received so far! I have some amazing friends. I'll miss home but I'm ready for the adventure of a lifetime. First of many great things I'll mention throughout this month: I watched the sun set and then watched it rise about 5 hours later. Pretty neat...except for the jet lag. Okay, I'm off! Love to all, and I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Beginning

Hello everyone! I officially have 7 days left in Reno and will be on a plane to Prague before I know it. I am so has been a long time coming and I have dreamed of going to Europe since I was a little girl. There is a lot to do before this coming Thursday, though. (Like pack!) I will update this blog as often as possible and fill it with my oh so wonderful ramblings and any thoughts I may have for that specific day. I will leave June 20th and start out my trip in Prague. The last week I am abroad will be spent with my sister and her husband in Basel, Switzerland. By the end, I hope this blog will be jam packed with stories of adventures, photos, and faces of new friends. This will be the experience of a life time and I am ready to embrace it with everything I have. Look out, Prague, here I come!