Friday, June 5, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
We woke up and went to the Eiffel Tower. We just went outside of it because the line was ridiculously long and the entrance was not included in our Paris Pass and since it is a two day pass we wanted to do the things that were included first. So we walked over to the Musee d'Orsay and saw a lot of Paris along the way, it is really beautiful. The Eiffel Tower is a little different than I thought it would be, it looked lighter than it does in pictures. It was really cool though and I was not disappointed. The Musee d'Orsay was also awesome and I really liked all the paintings there, especially the impressionist ones. After that we went to the Louvre. The Louvre was huge and beautiful and overwhelming. We walked through some of it and saw the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. The Venus de Milo was wicked cool and looked just like she does in pictures and was really impressive. The Mona Lisa was cool too, but people have all been telling me I would be disappointed, so my expectations were very low. I really liked the painting though. One great thing about the Paris Pass was we got to cut the lines at a lot of places. After the Louvre we picked up sandwiches for lunch and went to Notre Dame. At Notre Dame we went into the cathedral which was beautiful and then waited in line to go up to the towers. This was a long line that we were not allowed to cut but it was completely worth it. There were two places we could go up to and they both had beautiful views. We also go to see one of the bells. There were so many stairs, when we got down we were so tired. But then we went over to the Arc d'Triomph and climbed more stairs! It was worth it again though. After the arc we walked around that area for a while, which seemed to be really expensive shopping streets and found a place to have crepes for dinner.
Today we woke up and went to Versailles. This was quite the journey because we got on three wrong trains before finding the right one that would take us there. When we finally got there we walked around the palace and saw the apartments and the outside. It was huge and gorgeous. Then we went out to the gardens. The gardens were also huge and beautiful. I really liked them and they were cool because you would just walk around then there would be a sort of courtyard with statues or decorative plants. There was also a man made pond where you could rent boats to paddle around but we did not do this. We hung out in the gardens for a while and then we headed back into the city. Once we were back we went to the Conciergie which used to be a prison and was where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned. There was a recreation of her cell and a normal prisoners cell. Hers had two guards, a bed and a desk while a normal cell was straw on the floor. It was actually a really pretty prison. After the Conciergie we came back to the hotel and relaxed for a little while. Then we walked around the area our hotel is in, at first it seemed like a residential area but then we found this cool street with tons of restaurants. Our hotel is actually in the Latin Quarter so we went to a Cuban restaurant! It was not as good as in Miami, but that is not surprising. Then we walked around that area for a while and headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow we are doing some stuff around Paris then taking the overnight train to Venice!
We arrived in Amsterdam on Monday morning and once we got there we took the tram to our hotel. Luckily our room was ready even though we were early, so we took a shower since we felt gross from the train and then we went to see the city. We walked around for a while and saw the Dam which is the main center square, some of the shopping streets and a few of the museums. Then we decided to buy the Holland Pass which gives you free entry to five museums and a bunch of other discounts. We decided to do this instead of the I Amsterdam card because it was cheaper, it wasn’t limited to 24 hours and what we wanted to do was included. After we did the tour we walked around a little more and then we did the Canal Tour. The Canal Tour was really cool because it took us down the main canals and showed and explained the history behind the major sights of the city. It was lucky that we did that tour on Monday because it rained all day on Tuesday and was pretty cold on Wednesday. We seem to be bringing bad weather with us. After the canal tour we walked around the Red Light District a little bit and then headed toward the area where our hotel was and found this square with a bunch of restaurants. We had dinner and just hung out there for a while because it was a nice night.
On Tuesday it was Amy’s birthday! We got up and went to Madame Tussaud’s first thing in the morning. We got to cut the line there and at the Rijksmuseum because of the Holland Pass. This was very fun and we took pictures with all the celebrities. Then we went to the Rijksmuseum and saw the paintings. This museum was a lot smaller than I expected and not as impressive as I thought it would be. It was still a good thing to go and see though. After the Rijksmuseum we had lunch. Every day for lunch I just had a sandwich with Dutch cheese which is delicious. Once we were done eating we went to the Museum of Bags and Purses. As we all know, this is my kind of museum. We saw bags that were used all through history and there were some really gross ones with actual lizards, crocodiles and other animals on them. They also had samples of all the different skins and leathers bags are made of which was kind of disgusting. But I actually loved this museum and seeing all the designs and different types of bags. It was like shopping at a really expensive store I couldn’t afford, only better because no one else could buy anything either. Then we went to Gassan Diamonds, which is a diamond factory that has a free tour. When we got there we went and got the ticket and then got to have free coffee and tea in the café. Then we did the tour and they told us about how diamonds are cut and polished for jewelry and how they are judged for their worth (cut, clarity, color and carat). Then the guide took us to see some diamonds and just put them on the table for us to see. The most popular cut is the princess cut which has 57 facets and is used all over the world, but Gassan invented a new one which has 121 facets and it’s the only company that makes it, so we got to see the difference between these. After this the guide took out boxes of rings for us to look at and TRY ON! Each one had the description of the diamond and the price on it and there was over 100000 euros worth of diamonds just sitting on the table for us to try on. It was wicked cool. I think a few people actually bought stuff. Then we didn’t know what to do so we had some more free tea and then went to the hotel and changed my shoes because my feet were cold. Then we had some time to kill so we went to the Vodka Museum. This was kind of cool, basically Russia dominates vodka and during World War II the Russian government could not afford to pay their soldiers so they paid them in vodka. We did get a free drink with the tour though. After this we did the tour of the Red Light District. This was cool because the guide showed us a lot of interesting stuff that we would never have noticed just walking around by ourselves. We also learned some stuff like only 25% of the prostitutes are Dutch, they make about 50 euro for 50 minutes, but the girls on the “African” street only make 35 euro for 50 minutes, it costs 150 euro to rent a window for a day and all the girls have panic buttons in their rooms so that they police can be there if they need them. In the middle of the Red Light District there is also a day care center and a church. The streets surrounding it are also very wealthy and it’s an expensive area to live in. A prostitute was murdered two months ago in the Red Light District but before that the last murder was in 2001, so its actually a pretty safe area to walk around in, you just have to watch out for pick pockets. At the end of the tour we got another free drink and then we went to dinner for Amy’s birthday. We actually had trouble finding a place that was serving food since it was past 10 PM and things close pretty early, but we ended up going to a place in the same square we went the night before and it was really good.
Today we checked out of the hotel and went to the Anne Frank Huis. I had been there before but Amy wanted to go. It is a very interesting place to go but also very sad. After that we went to the Houseboat Museum which was a houseboat turned into a museum where you could see what its like to live on a houseboat. Then we walked around for a little while and I bought a pair of shoes. Then we went to the dam and met up with my friend Nadine for lunch and hung out with her for a little while. After that we went back to the hotel, picked up our luggage and went to the train station to go to Brussels. We are actually on the train to Brussels right now and should be there around 6PM.
On Saturday we started out by going to the National Museum. This was pretty interesting because it had a lot of modern and cultural things but it also started with ancient history. After the museum we walked around Christiansborg Palace. This palace was actually burned down twice and rebuilt several times because of the fires and being out of date compared to other palaces. Underneath the castle are the ruins from the first two that were destroyed. This was also really cool to see because the ground used to be so much lower. After the ruins we went to the Round Tower. This is literally a round tower with an observatory on the top where you can see the whole city. Then we walked around for a while and decided to walk over to Christiana which used to be a commune and is now the alternative part of Copenhagen. But we couldn’t find anything interesting so we just sat by a lake for a little while.
Sunday we were going to go to Tivoli Gardens but it was raining. So then we had no idea what to do but we knew that an amusement park wouldn’t be fun in the rain. It was also wicked expensive because you had to pay to get in and pay to go on rides. So we decided to go to Glypotek which is an art museum. It was free for those of us who are under 18…and maybe other people because I didn’t actually see anyone else buying tickets but it was listed as free under 18. After the museum we went to Christiansborg to do the tour of the Danish Parliament. We picked up the tickets and then still had some time so we saw the Palace Chapel. This church was really pretty and was not like a normal church, it did not have lots of stained glass or anything, it was really light and had columns in it. The tour of Parliament was interesting because we got to hear about how the voting works and see where everything happens. We also saw the Danish Constitution and heard a lot about the history. After the tour of Parliament we had lunch. Then there was not much to do so we walked around for a while and then went back to the hotel, picked up our bags and went to the train station to get the overnight train to Amsterdam. As I write this, it is 9AM and we are about an hour away. I was very surprised I actually kind of slept last night on the train and once the people who were in our compartment left we were both able to spread out and actually sleep. When we get off the train we are going to drop our stuff off at the hotel and go see Amsterdam!
Friday, May 22, 2009
The flight to Copenhagen was only about an hour and ten minutes so we got in at 11:40. Then we took a train to the main station and then walked to the hotel. We got to check in early and then we went out and had lunch. Lunch was very expensive but good, everything in this city is expensive. After lunch we walked basically from one end of the city to the other to see the Little Mermaid Statue, which is Copenhagen's most visited spot. On the way there we saw the Amalienborg Palace which was really pretty. After the statue we walked around for a while and went to the Guinness World Records Museum, which was really cool and had tons of exhibits about strange records. Then we walked up and down one of the shopping streets. It was raining on and off throughout the day which was unfortunate because I forgot to take my umbrella with me. It is also colder here than I expected, I knew it would be colder but everyone here is still wearing jackets and scarves (which seems a little unnecessary but it is chilly). After the museum we continued our walk back and we got ice cream. I got soft serve on Belgian waffle which was wicked good. Then we walked the rest of the way back and we are just hanging out because we are exhausted and walked a lot today.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Thursday: We left for the airport around 3:30 and our flight was supposed to be at 6:25 but it was delayed until 8, which was boring because we had to sit in the airport for longer. The flight was only about two hours and there was an hour time change. As the plane landed I could see the Blue Mosque and some other mosques from the sky. The city was really built up and it was really cool to see everything as I was coming in. When we landed one of our tour guide, Eva's, friends met us at the airport with his bus and took us to the hotel. The hotel was small but very cute and a nice place to stay, especially since it had free breakfast. We got there around midnight and went on a short walk to see the Aya Sofiya and the Blue Mosque at night, when there was no one around and they were beautiful.
Friday: Friday was our big tourist day. Very early in the morning I was awoken by the call to prayer and very confused but went back to sleep. Hearing the call to prayer throughout the city multiple times a day was really cool and at one point I actually saw people lined up outside a mosque praying on the sidewalk. After breakfast we started at the Aya Sofiya (Hagia Sophia) which was gorgeous and huge. We went inside and had a tour guide and also got to walk around by ourselves to see everything. It used to be a Christian church so there were actually crosses all around it. The Aya Sofiya is now a museum and there are no longer services there. Then we went to the Blue Mosque which we had to go through pretty quickly because Friday is when there are longer services but we had some time to sit on the floor and our tour guide told us about it. The floor was very comfortable because the idea is that people should be comfortable and enjoy praying. I also saw where the men were praying but the women's area was on the second floor and we did not have time to go up there. Inside of the mosque it was really beautiful and decorated in tiles with blue designs on them, which is how it got the name. Inside we had to wear head scarves and have our knees and elbows covered. My dress was an inch shorter than my knees and I was wearing tights and the man at the entrance originally let me through but then called me back and gave me and ankle length "skirt" to wrap around my waist. I think that the Blue Mosque was one of my favorite sights because it was really beautiful outside andd gorgeous on the inside. After we went there, we had a break for lunch. We ate at a little cafe and had kebaps for lunch which were very good. Then we went to the Sultan's Palace and walked around the gardens and went to the harem and the treasury. I do not really know how to describe it, but I will put up pictures. After the palace we walked around for a while then relaxed a little and we went to a show that night. We saw whirling derwishes which are some sort of religious figures who whirl. It was a pretty cool show but I was tired and spaced out a lot of it because the music was really relaxing. The performance was at the train station which was really nice and was the final stop on the Orient Express. Once the show was over we went to dinner at a Turkish restaurant where we sat on cushions/ a little couch on the floor. This was where I discovered apple tea which is a Turkish drink and is basically hot apple juice but really good. It is also where I had the best hummus I ever had. Before we went to dinner we actually bought some candy to eat after. This was an experience in itself. We bought lokum, which is Turkish delight and is just different sorts of chewy candy, in different flavors and some have nuts and then some baklava. As we were waiting in line, we were just talking and laughing and I was laughing about something and turned my head and there was a Turkish man. He started laughing at me and then decided he should pet me. For some reason he really liked my hair. Needless to say I went back to the hotel and took a shower.
Saturday: Saturday we went to the Grand Bazaar, which is the biggest shopping place ever and has over 4000 shops. We were there for a few hours and did lots of souvenir shopping and then got very overwhelmed and went to lunch. To shop there you had to bargain with the people and I don't think I was very good at this and probably spent more than I should have but whatever. As we were walking around there were three girls and one guy so we got many comments such as "Its Charlie and his angels!" "Hey Spice Girls!" "You're short, but you're pretty" "Why is he mean to you, you are so prettty!" They seemed to think that this would make us want to shop there. Whenever we were asked where we were from we said Prague so that they would not know we were American. When we were done with the bazaar we wanted to go to the oceanso we just walked downhill until we reached it. We had fish on a roll for lunch and then just walked around and sat by the sea sporadically. It was while we were sitting that my friend Tim thought it would be funny to try to sell us to some Turkish teenagers, because human trafficking is a big thing there. I don't think they spoke English so we were fine. Saturday night we walked to the European side of town. Everywhere we were was actually Europe and we did not go to the Asian part but this part was considered European because it is across from the very conservative religious side and is where the academics and intellectuals would hang out. We had dinner at a fish restaurant there and they gave us free tea and french fries. Once you are in a restaurant and off the street Turkish people are extremely friendly and nice and do not heckle you. After dinner we walked to the end of the street, to Taksim square and took the tram back to our hotel. We could not walk back because Eva told us that the area we had gone through to get there beecame kind of dangerous at night. Then when we were back in our part of the city we stopped at a hookah bar where business men apparently go after work. One of the men started talking to us and they were all very friendly. He also said that he had onlyy learned English from working in a hotel and he spoke very well. This was when we especialy realized that only men were out and no women except tourists were around. This was fine because we were in the conservative part of the city so I still felt safe but it was very strange and I was just wondering what they could have been doing. While we were there a girl walking down the street fell and people from every table got up to help her. This also showed us how helpful the Turks are because if that was Prague (ormany other cities) most people would have just walked around her. We actually saw one of the guys we met the next day outside his hotel and he said hello and we just ignored him because we thought he was just another person from a restaurant or just in the street harassing us. Then we realized it was Ottoman the Friendly Turk and felt bad and said hello.
Sunday: We woke up early on Sunday morning to go to the Basilica Cistern. This was built hundreds of years ago to hold water for the city and protect it from being poisoned by enemies. The walls were actually several feet thick to protect it and it was huge. The columns inside were gorgeous and they reflected perfectly off the water so it looked almost exactly the same. There were also two columns of Medusa's face, one tilted to the side and one upside down. It was really cool. After the cistern we did a little shopping to get postcards and little things and then packed up our stuff to go home. Then we went and had lunch in between the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sofiya. I had a bagel, it was different than a bagel at home because it wasn't as thick. After lunch we went back to the hotel and we left for the airport. We again took a little bus and it was really kind of scary because the streets are wicked narrow and hilly, but once we reached the highway it was fine. The flight back was on time and they gave us dinner again which was ok. I had to check my bag this time because I bought so much stuff. Then we came back to Prague!
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Then after our hike we went to the Czech garnet factory and we saw people looking for garnets in piles of rocks, creating jewellery molds, putting jewellery together and the final pieces. It was really cool to see how they do this.
After the garnet factory we went into the little town to have lunch. Apparently the electricity was out in the restaurant we went to so we could only get certain foods. Joanna ordered spaghetti with sauce and I ordered tortellini. So the waiter brought us both spaghetti with cream sauce and ham. This created a few problems for us, including kosher, vegetarian and lactose intolerant. Luckily this lunch was very cheap and so we found cafe and got coffee and I got a cookie after. After lunch we went to a bead workshop and we saw a woman making beads and we were able to look at all the ones that had been made there and buy some jewellery.
After the bead workshop we went to a castle. The drive up to it was really steep and windy and narrow and scary to do on a bus. There were a few points where I saw myself falling to my death trapped in a bus. Luckily I survived but on the way down we had a few near misses with other busses and some pedestrians. The castle ended up actually being closed so we could only walk around it but it was made out of sandstone and parts of it were in ruins. There were a ton of rocks around it that we walked on and had a great view of the little town. Then we headed back to Prague.
Last night I went to this bar/club with some of my friends and it was a lot of fun. Some guy told me that I was a good dancer and I laughed at him because that is one of the most untrue statements I have ever heard. Today Joanna and I are going to go to a park and do some work outside if it gets warm enough because it is nice and sunny. Tomorrow we are going to Lidice.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Thursday: My flight got into the Amsterdam Airport around 2PM. Nadine met me at the airport and then we took the bus to her house which was about 4 minutes from the bus stop. When we got to her house I just put my stuff down and then she showed me around her town. I had to ride a bike which was quite the experience considering I haven't ridden one in years. Once I was on it was fine but it was higher than I was used to so I had to reteach myself how to get on and off. It was also even more embarrassing since Nadine was going with no hands, texting, putting on her coat and turning around and I was staring straight ahead praying I wouldn't fall. But anway, we walked around the town for a little while and then just hung out and walked around near her house for a while.
Friday: After being locked out of the house for a little while and Nadine's mom coming home with the key we went into Amsterdam. The firsts thing we did was go to the Anne Frank House. The line looked really long but it actually went pretty quickly. The house was very interesting because we could see wheere they lived, hid and guess at what it felt like to be there. Her diary was also there and it made it very real to see that and to also see interviews with Miep Gees and Otto Frank. After the Anne Frank House we had lunch and then went to to Van Gogh Museum. This was really cool because the Colors of the Night Exhibition was there and we saw the Starry Starry Night Painting, which was very impressive to see in person. Then we walked around the city for a while and saw the Red Light District and just the city in general. The Red Light District was very strange and we just walked fast because we were some of the only girls there (besides the prostitutes). On the way back to Nadine's house we had this really good ice cream that was ice cream mixed with whipped cream.
Saturday: In the morning we drove to the Madurdam which is a park with models of the entire Netherlands in miniature. As we were driving there we drove through the Hague and I got to see a ton of the country, which is reallyy beautiful. Madurodam was really cool and I saw the couple places I was in and then the models of a ton of other places. You could also put money in or press a button to make some of the models move, so of course we did this at the candy factory model and it gave us a little Mars bar. After Madurodam we went to Scheveningen (?). This was a town right on the North Sea with a bunch of restaurants. We went to one of them for lunch and then we walked around the beach and I got a picture with my feet in the water which was wicked cool. We also walked on the pier and saw a man bungee jumping. Then we got ice cream and drove back to Nadine's house. That night I went to a volleyball tournament with Nadine's family. It was really fun but I suck at volleyball so I felt kind of bad for my team.
Sunday: We slept in and did a little homework in the morning. Then we got back on the bikes to see all the flowers. The biking went much better this time, I only had one near death experience. Well, maybe two. Nadine lives in Lisserbroek which is right next to Lisse which is famous for the flower gardens and fields. The huge famous garden is there but we didn't go there because it was wicked crowded. Instead we rode around the town and around the fields which were wicked pretty. Then we sat at an outdoor cafe and I tried bittenballen which is a typical Dutch food that has meat in it. There was only a really tiny bit in it though so it doesn't count as me eating meat. Then we went back to her house and hung out for a while until my flight which was supposed to be at 7:30 but was delayed until 8.
This weekend was really fun. It was great weather most of the time which was really lucky.
For Howard: For breakfast we had these chocolate sprinkle things that actually tasted like chocolate and not just sugar on bread which were really good. I also had cookies that were like thing crunchy waffles with some sort of caramel in the middle. Then I tried the bittenballen and Nadine's mom made a strawberry rhubarb thing that was also really good.
Monday, April 13, 2009
The next day my dad and I went running in the morning and then I went back to my room to shower and have kolej breakfast. Unfortunately when I went to shower there was no hot water! Luckily I was able to just walk up to the apartment and shower there. Then we went to the Lubkowic Museum and walked around Prague for a while and eventually had a lunch of fried street food in Old Town Square. After that we met up with Katarina for our tour. She took us to the Jewish Quarter but everything was closed because it was Passover so we could only look at everything from the outside. Then we went around Old Town Square and she told us the history of everything. This all took four hours and was very tiring. It was very informative though.
On Friday we went to Terezin. Terezin was a fortress originally built for military battles. It was then turned into a work camp where people would go during World War II and the Holocaust before being shipped off the concentration camps. It was an extremely disturbing place and Jan's mother actually died there. We saw rooms where prisoners were kept and hundreds of people would live in places meant to hold maybe 20. There were also cells where people would be forced to sit in the dark and others that did not provide enough oxygen. These places would be freezing in the winter and hot in the summer and it these were obviously terrible conditions for people to live in. People in this camp were forced to lay the railroad tracks that would be taken to the extermination camps. Terezin was also used as the show camp for the Red Cross to show them that prisoners were being treated well and had a show bathroom that was never used and did not actually function. It was also where people were involved in the arts and the Nazis took advantage of this to show that it was a place where Jews could live separate from others and with their own kind. It was very disturbing. What was even more disgusting was the fact that the officers had a swimming pool and nice apartments for themselves to use and prisoners would only discover this before they were about to be executed. Going to Terezin was a very strange and sad experience. Another thing that I found very strange is that people still live in the town. We saw kids playing in the park and people just walking around. They were also riding their bikes and walking on the train tracks.
On Saturday we did something a little more upbeat for their last day in Prague. We went to Karlstejn Castle. It was less than an hour away and was at the top of a giant hill. We walked up there and the views were spectacular. We did a tour of the castle and were also able to walk around the outside and see the beautiful views. After the castle we headed back to Prague where Mom and I went shopping at Wenceslas Square since I did not realize that the weather would get this warm in Prague and I did not actually bring any spring clothes. Then we went back and relaxed and wanted to go to dinner at the other monk restuarant but for some reason it was closed. So we went to another place that ended up being very good and we sat inside but had a great view of all of Prague. After dinner we just went to the Hanging Coffee Pot for a drink because they wanted to see it and then we just hung out in the kolej for a few minutes because my parents had to wake up early for their flight home.
On Sunday my friends and I went to Radost for Easter brunch. It was really good and we had a lot of fun. Then Joanna and I went to the grocery store and walked there since it was such a nice day.
Today we did not have classes since it is Easter monday. On Easter Monday in the Czech Republic the boys whip the girls. It is a very strange tradition. While I was running I ran past some young teenage boys with a whip and one start to run behind me. This would have been extremely scary if I did not know that it was just a tradition so I turned around and just stared at them so they stopped. They looked about 14 so they probably thought I was their age. Then later we all went to a really nice park and just hung out and read for a while.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Thursday: Joanna and I flew in to Budapest and then took a cab to the hotel. Our plane was tiny and had propellers. When the pilot started the plane one of the propellers didn't start spinning so I got really nervous that the pilot wouldn't notice. Luckily it started spinning and we took off fine. When we were landing though it was really bumpy and at one point I thought we were going to do a barrel role. But we ended up making it out alive. We stayed at the Sofitel Budapest and it was beautiful! We were so excited to have a not rock hard kolej bed. When we got there they let us check into the room even though my parents flight was delayed. Then Joanna and I walked around the city for a little while and had lunch. We were shocked by how warm it was when we got there! The weather was beautiful all weekend. While we were walking around we sat in front a beautiful building but had no idea what it was. We later found out that it was Parliament. After our walk we went back to the hotel, sat in the cafe for a little while and had a drink and waited for Howitzer and LL to arrive. Once they were there we went to dinner, walked around for a little while to see the city at night and then went to bed.
Friday: On Friday we did the Hop On Hop Off bus tour. This bus goes to all the main tourist spots and you can get on and get off wherever you want. We got to see a ton of sights this way. While we were seeing the city we had a really bad lunch. So then we walked around for a little and went to a cafe for cake. Mom's chocolate cake was ok, Howard's apple strudel was good, Joanna's gelato was good and my cake was pretty good but it had marzipan in it that was really good. Then later in the afternoon Joanna, Mom and I went to the baths. We got to take a luxurious Sofitel taxi on the way there but we took the subway back since it was faster. Luckily everyone at the baths wore bathing suits. We went into a warm pool, a hot pool and a sauna and it was a lot of fun to be able to be outside and relax. Then when we were done with the baths we went to the Easter market to look around and have dinner. We all tried different stuff from the stands for dinner and some of it was pretty good, like the turkey kebab I got but then other stuff was bad like the stuffed cabbage.
Saturday: Saturday morning we went to the Terror Museum. This museum was really creepy because it showed what the secret police in Hungary did and it was in the same building where people were jailed, beaten and tortured. No one was executed there but many died in the basement. Part of the museum was actually in the basement and showed the different cells where people were kept. It was horrifying. After we went to the Terror Museum we had lunch at an Italian place that was cool and right on the river. Joanna and I got salad with shrimp and they gave us 2 lettuce leaves and 3 shrimp so my dad shared some of his pizza with us. Then we went over to the castle area and walked around and saw everything. We were going to go to the Marzipan Museum but did not want to spend the money. After we walked up there we decidedd to get gelato. It was pretty good, not as good as Loser's, but still good. Howitzer actually went back to get a second cone. But he said since they were small it only counted as one. Then we walked all the way back to our hotel. By this time we were really tired and our feet all hurt so Joanna, Howitzer and I used the pool and the sauna at the hotel. After that we sat in a room that had weird blue light and talked about Jewish summer camps. Then we relaxed for a while in the room and watched CNN. After that we went to dinner at a Japanese restaurant that was right near the Four Seasons so we knew it would be good. It ended up being the best food we had in Hungary. Then we all walked along the river at night and went back to the hotel.
Sunday: My mom and dad left Budapest around 10 and so Joanna and I had the rest of the day before our flight back to Prague. We went to breakfast and got really good scrambled eggs. It was a little difficult to relay the message of no bacon and sausage in them and it took two tries but the waiters were really nice and the food ended up being really good. Then we went walked to the zoo and had to walk on the shady side of the street because of my delicate skin. The zoo ended up being pretty small and only took us a little while to go through so we sat in a park in the sun for a while. Then we took the subway back toward the river and walked around for a while then we sat and had lunch in a cafe. I just had a tuna sandwich and Joanna had Greek salad. Then we walked around for a little while and sat in the grass by our hotel until we picked up our bags and took a taxi back to the airport. The Budapest airport was small and the terminal was wicked crowded and hot so it wasn't a very pleasant experience. The lady at the special lounge wouldn't let Joanna use her priority pass either because she seemed to just be confused and too lazy to understand what she was saying. Then our plane was delayed because of Obama. Luckily I like Obama so I didn't mind too much and we ended up getting in around the same time we would have anyway. The plane was also a lot bigger than the one we took to get to Budapest so the ride was a lot less bumpy.
Overall Budapest was a great trip. The city was beautiful and a really interesting place to be, so I think it is one of the best places I have visited so far. The weather was also gorgeous and way warmer than we expected it to be.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Last night we went to the John Lennon wall and spray painted on it. The Lennon wall is a wall near the Charles Bridge that is covered in paintings and graffiti in memory of John Lennon and for peace. It is huge and completely covered and one of the main paintings on it is a huge peace sign with the word imagine through it. Some of the other Miami students have to do a school project and they decided to make a video of people painting the wall and interviews of what they think about it. The design was to paint the symbols for peace, love and anarchy. I helped paint the peace and love symbols, but not the anarchy one because I don't know how I feel about anarchy. We all then painted other symbols that we wanted to at other parts of the wall. I painted a letter G and then her initials with a heart.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Saturday: On Saturday morning we woke up and just walked around the city. We also got Starbucks! This was expensive but exciting. The weather was really nice and we just sat on a bench for a little while before we had to meet up with the group. Then we went on a tour of Vienna and saw the Town Hall, Parliament and other government buildings. As we were walking we came across an Easter market that was selling tons of crafts and food. So of course once our tour was over we went back there for lunch. I just got a pretzel and then Joanna and I wanted to buy a little piece of cheese but the woman basically gave us a buge wedge, so for the rest of the day we were trying to get people to eat it. Then we passed a candy store and I bought a marzipan strawberry. After lunch we went to the Schonbrunn palace which was the Hapsburgs summer home. It was absolutely huge and was gorgeous. We did a tour of the inside and got audio guides which were cool to listen to and hear the rooms described. There was also a huge garden which was beautiful but things weren't blooming yet so it will be even prettier in the spring and summer. There was a huge hill in the back that we all sat on in the grass and a man on a bicycle yelled at everyone to get off. So we went to the Easter market that was at the castle, had some gelato and went back to the hostel. Then we relaxed for a little while and went to dinner. The place we went for dinner was a really cool Italian place that was kind of like a cafeteria but nice. You would go up to little sections for salad, pasta, pizza etc. and order and they would give you a buzzer to pick it up. The food was really good though and the place was actually pretty nice and not too expensive.
Sunday: Sunday we did a walk through the city and then went to two museums. This would have been really cool but it was really rainy and cold and I was soaking wet a lot of the day so I was kind of grumpy. The first museum was the Belvedere and had the painting "The Kiss" by Klimt which was really pretty. It also had tons of other artists. The second was the Kunst something and had tons of art and then had a huge ancient Egypt exhibit with mummies. The museums were really nice though and the second one the building itself could have been a museum it was so beautiful. After the museums we had an early dinner of more falafel and hummus before going to the train station to head back to Prague.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Saturday: First thing on Saturday morning we had breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast was great, there different kinds of bread, rolls, cheeses, yogurt, cereal, waffles, toppings, tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Then we went to Potsdam. Potsdam is where the big three, Truman, Stalin and Churchill met to decide what to do with Germany after World War II. We did a tour of where the conference was. The palace it was in was gorgeous and based off an English country mansion. Outside of it there is a soviet star made of red flowers. After this tour we headed back to Berlin and Joanna and I split a nutella crepe for lunch. There is a ton of street food in Berlin, so Howard and Joe would love it. There are sausages everywhere and their specialty is curry wurst which is sausage in some sort of curry tomato suace. There are also crepes, Asian food, pretzels and other snacks everywhere. Then we walked around for a little while and went to the Story of Berlin Museum. This museum had the entire history of Berlin in all sorts of exhibits. It was sa really interesting museum but the best part was that in the basement of its parking garage there is a nuclear fallout shelter that was built during the Cold War. We did a tour of it and it was really interesting. It was completely full of beds, but there were only a few bathrooms, then there was a kitchen. If it was full then people would get less air than they were used to and would most likely be very tired and sleep most of the time. It was also not stocked with food because the belief was that if the Russians were sending a bomb then there would be time to prepare. The shelter has a steel wall that cuts it in two parts and cannot be opened because if one side is contaminated or people are sick they did not want people on the other side to get hurt as well. People could survive in the shelter for two weeks but after that the air and water would not filter and it would be no different from being outside. After we did the museum we walked around the city for a while and then went to dinner. Berlin has the third largest Turkish population outside of Turkey so we went to Middle Eastern food. We had falafel, hummus and pita bread for dinner and it was the best meal I think I've had since being in Europe. It was this little hole in the wall place by our hotel. Our hotel waws not in a tourist area so everyone in the restaurant was speaking German or another language. The table was in the ground and we sat on cushions around it. After dinner we went to the German Parliament, the Reichstag, which is the most visited parliament in the world. The entire top is glass and mirrors and you climb up and around in a circle with views of the entire city. The idea is for transparency because since the goverment has been corrupt in the past they want the people to be able to see everything that is going on so it won't happen again. The Reichstag is a beautiful building, from the outside and the inside.
Sunday: Sunday morning we were dropped off in the center of town, by the Museum Island. Some of us decided to go to the DDR museum, which is not about dance dance revolution but is about what life was like in East Germany. It was really interesting and had a recreation of what a house looked like. The bathroom looked exactly like the bathroom here at the kolej. After the museum we were going to go to another but the line was too long and we did not want to wait in the cold so we decided to walk around an outdoor market for a little while. Then we went to...Dunkin Donuts! We were soo excited to see Dunkin Donuts all over Berlin that we had to go a couple of times. Seeing as how America runs on dunkin we were surprised to see it in Germany. After lunch we got on the bus and headed to Dresden. Dresden was bombed heavily during World War II and much of the city was destroyed and rebuilt. It is actually very pretty, with a castle and churches but it was freezing and windy so we did our tour kind of quickly and then had dinner. Luckily the city is pretty small so we got to see a lot in a short time. Then we got on the bus to go the rest of the way to Prague. On the way back we were stopped by the German police at the border. Apparently they stop people often but it was still kind of scary because we had to show our passports to the German police. But we passed whatever test it was and made it the rest of the way back to Prague.
Fun facts about Berlin:
It is the third gayest city in the world, after San Franciso and Sydney, Australia.
It is also the third Bridgeiest city.
Germans like to give their buildings funny and inappropriate nicknames.
Maurer means bricklayer in German. I discovered this at the DDR Museum
- ► May (7)
- Lidice Pictures
- Ccesky Raj Pictures
- Cesky Raj
- Pictures from the Netherlands!
- Vienna Pictures
- This weekend I went to visit my friend from camp, ...
- This week my parents came to Prague. They stayed ...
- Something I forgot to write after Budapest.
- This weekend I met Howard and Lorraine in Budapest...
- Lennon Wall
- ► March (12)