28 February 2005

Old Bohemian Spit

Monday_decided not to check out any of the classes today. Went to pastry shop and coffee shop again. Went out for beer with the Scots and some of the KSU boys. Found an amazing restaurant and had delectable pasta dish. They had a traditional Czech menu item called "Old Bohemian Spit." Why would I order that when I could get it at home? All I would have to do is call Grandpa. Ha! Also had a few beers with the friends. Don and Tanner ran off somewhere. Might go to a class tomorrow. It is possible that my classes might only be on Wed and Thurs. Don't know how that works. I guess it's a Czech thing. Maybe I'll teach an English language class. Who knows.

Sunday_Went to see the "Dancing House," a building by architect Frank Gehry [Guggenheim in Bilbao, Walt Disney Concert Hall]. Very cold out! Rode metro to IKEA and bought more stuff! Don and I both ate in their cafe for $6. And it was delicious! Ate at restaurant close to dorm with Tiffany. Had chocolate mousse for desert. Also very delicious.

26 February 2005

Don hearts Prague!

Don convinced me that we should walk around the city to see things today, instead of using the Metro. Great idea. We found the greatest buildings and places. We explored a residential neighborhood close to my dorm and found an awesome apartment building. Ate an apricot kolac from the neighborhood bakery. Very good! Found good coffee shop as well. Walked to Prague castle [was closer than I thought]. Don loved St. Vitus Cathedral! And the castle, and everything we saw! Crossed the Charles Bridge, walked around Old Town and City Center. Got lost in upscale shopping district. Found way back. Hung out with Scots for a little while.

25 February 2005

Semply wonderful

Went to party last night with Tiffany, Molly, Abby, Paul, and Garnet. The party was for a girl from Australia who is leaving. Paul knew her, we didn't. He seems to know everybody. Party was at the flat of some international students. Drank Staropramen and Sangria. Talked to some Norwegians, told them my boyfriend was studying in Finland. They proceeded to tell me why Norway is so much better than Finland. I guess there are those kinds of guys everywhere you go. [As if I hadn't heard THAT ONE before!] One guy was telling Abby she was the first American girl he'd ever met. She didn't fall for that line either. Ran to meet tram just in time. By the way, Tiff, Molly and Abby are all from KSU, and Garnet is from New Orleans. Paul is the Scottish friend. Ate smazeny syr [fried cheese] on the way home. Called Mom when we got back at 2:45 am [7:45 pm at home].

Best of all, Don is coming today to visit for 8 days! Hopefully I don't get lost on the way to the airport. And, I hope I know enough about Prague that we'll have some places to visit!

24 February 2005

Scottish invasion

Tiffany brought home some friends last night, or rather this morning at 3. Scottish guy named Paul. Really hilarious. He was excited to learn that Tiffany knits, and asked if she could knit him a pair of "paenk trousars" [pink trousers]. Molly, Abby, John, and Garnet also came to visit. Had short slumber party, and everyone, excluding me went to a 24 hour pub. Was a fun visit. The Scots are partiers!

Svihov Castle
Originally uploaded by holacola.


fermenting barrel
Originally uploaded by holacola.

23 February 2005

Today we salute you, Mr. beer barrel diver

Today was a busy, cold, and interesting day. I went to the Pilner Urquell Brewery in Plzen [pronounced pil-zen]. The tour began with one of the funniest beer commercials I've ever seen. I don't think it was supposed to be funny, I think they were serious, but it ranked up there with the "Real Men of Genius" commercials. The video was about the story of Pilsner Urquell, but it was pretty cheesy. The most interesting part was the underground cellars where the beer ferments. We got to taste beer out of one of the wooden barrels. [Quite the keg!] It was pretty good. Ate lunch at the brewery restaurant and sat with some of the Scottish students. They're really similar to my K-State friends, and also alot of fun. It's crazy because they speak English, but not really. I ate pork, sauerkraut and dumplings for lunch. They were excellent.

After lunch we boarded the bus and drove to Svihov to see the 15th century castle there. Only a portion of it remains, but it was pretty amazing. Also extremely cold! The walls and floors absolutely retain cold, and our toes were nearly frozen by the time the tour was over from walking on the cold floors. The countryside was covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. The snow in Prague just turns ugly, but in the countryside it was quite pretty. On the way back to Prague, our rickety bus [perhaps the oldest on the road] seemed to have a problem. A horribly harsh alarm would blare ever so often, and jolt most of us from our naps. We stopped at a truck stop for most people to use the restroom and buy a snack. I stayed on the bus and found out that the alarm kept sounding because we were losing oil. Great. We made it back safely, however.

Since I'm almost out of allowable blog pictures for the month, that promised website will be coming soon where I can post as many pictures as I like. Tomorrow should be less busy, and maybe allow some time for some more fun. Until then......

22 February 2005

Red Prague


DSCF0087
Originally uploaded by holacola.

For best results, read aloud with Slavic accent!
Woke up, waited for shower. Constant and heavy snow ALL day. Sat in dark room to learn about classes and enrollment procedure. Don't have to decide until 18 March. Hopefully class Tues, Wed, Thurs. Bought minutes for cell phone. Ordered sandwich from cute old lady at deli_"Shank you velly much." Mayonnaise weird with stuff in it_onions, capers, boiled eggs. Red peppers on everything_cheap flavor. Gross. Non-restaurant meals might cause weight loss! Rode streetcar to International Police office. Stood in line in completely unorganized government office. Harrassed and pushed by foreign, sometimes smelly strangers. Leave with stamped passport. Get onto streetcar again. Streetcar stops_all streetcars stop. There's been a wreck. Get off streetcar and walk to nearest metro station. Retrieve Tiffany's lost cell phone. Rest.
Go to Tesco to purchase blow-dryer, hangers, baskets, non-feather pillow. Rude cashier doesn't like my signature_doesn't exactly match the card. Shoves receipt at me and makes me sign again. I guess the second time was good enough, but she was MAD. First rude Czech. [That I'm not related to, anyway] Tiffany buys adaptor to plug in her computer. The picture is of the FIVE outlets she had to use in order to plug it all in and not blow up her laptop. There's a buzzing noise eminating from them. I'm sure it's safe!
International Student Meeting. Really informative_don't pee out of dorm windows like American guys in picture. Classy. Sign up to visit Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzen, Czech Republic tomorrow! Will drink beer out of wooden barrel! And visit nearby castle. Pictures to follow.
Ate at cafeteria in dorm. Accidentally order weird stir-fry chicken and rice dish. [International student dorm menu not in english_please explain this to me!] However, did realize that I could order a kolac(e). Tried first kolac here. It had a dollop of cream cheese filling, one of poppy seed [mom's fav!] and one of cherry or some kind of berry. I think I will try one at a real bakery to see how they are there. It was good, but the ones at home are tastier. Will share results. Also looking forward to alleged chocolate croissants at local bakery! Chocolate + croissant = 2 major weaknesses! Maybe = large Nicole.

Today's revelations_
Czech is a worthless language, even in the Czech Republic. When you use words in the phrase book, they still don't know what you're talking about because they can't even understand each other. Better off pointing and nodding and using limited phrases.

Even though CR hasn't been communist for 10 or so years, it acts like a communist country_lines for everything, no organization, no consistency. Lots of cheap food and cheap seasoning. Not that flavorful. TONS of potatoes. Nobody seems to know anything about everything.

[i think you call this culture shock, but whatever]

21 February 2005

IKEA

Sunday_In bed most of day with migraine. Sleep schedule so screwy. Tiffany brought home some food and water. Always good. Also, cleaning supplies. Our room was filthy! Clean now!

Monday [today] _ Orientation meeting in morning. Joined International Student club. Made journey to international police station, as we are supposed to register with them soon after arriving. Was extremely crowed, I imagine like Ellis Island must have been at the height of immigration. Not very pleasant. Some people didn't have all necessary documents, and we were hungry, so decided to go back tomorrow. Rode train to south west edge of Prague to go to IKEA! It was all that I expected it to be, and more! [IKEA is a Scandinavian company that sells well-designed furniture and housewares at uncomparably cheap prices!] It's wonderful. www.ikea.com Tiffany and I decided to outfit our rather sparse dorm room with some non-fluorescent lights, a rug, blanket, and some other trinkets. Will have hard time not buying things, especially large pieces that I can't transport home! 30 minute ride on Metro back to dorm. International student party and dinner. Talked to some guys we met from Slovenia the other night, a couple girls from Greece, some more Americans from Wisconsin, and some Scottish guys! I think the Scottish have the best accents, by far! You can say anything and it sounds cool! Tiffany and I rode the Metro to Tesco, Czechs equivalent to Walmart. Spent $9 and bought following items_bottle of Reisling wine [Hungarian], 3 L of water, small water bottle, 5 yogurts, 5 breakfast bars, 2 bags chips, pudding, a chocolate egg, butter, and jam. That would be at least $30 at home, probably more! Excellent! On the way there, some drunk Czech guy started mumbling in Czech to Tiffany. She tried to explain that she didn't speak Czech, "nemluvim cesky" but he didn't get it. All in all, the Metro is pretty safe, I would say much safer than the EL in Chicago, but there's always a few characters.

Bonus_I determined I made an excellent decision with the laptop/messenger bag that I purchased. A bottle of wine fits in one of the side pockets! Infact, I could carry 2 bottles at once. That's what I call smart shopping!

To view my photos [for now anyway] visit www.flickr.com/photos/nickle


DSCF0086
Originally uploaded by holacola.

19 February 2005

Prague & Czech Pivo!

Here and finally having a good time! Flights were crummy, especially to Detroit. Forced to check a carry-on in KC. Didn't sleep at all. Arrived in Prague and my small bag was not there. Baggage claim said it would arrive at 4pm and asked if I wanted to wait at the airport or have it delivered. I opted for delivery. Tiffany and I met our Czech buddies who took us on the bus to our dorm from the airport. Checked into our dorm, toured campus, ate our first Czech meal_breaded chicken breast with fried potatoe balls and fresh veggies. Czech carrots are very good [i don't usually like raw carrots]. Took a nap. Woke up, went down to front desk to ask if my bag had arrived. He said the man was just here 5 minutes ago, but he had no record of me in the computer, so he told him I didn't live there. Crap. Tiffany and I ordered our first Czech meal by ourselves_I had pork medallions with mushrooms in cream sauce. If you want water without bubbles, be sure to specify voda bez bublinek. Otherwise, it will be carbonated! Front desk called room and said that my bag had arrived. Ran downstairs, but wasn't my bag. Double crap. Called company and they said they could deliver it in the morning. Bedtime.

Slept 12 hours, no bag yet at 12 pm. Bag arrives hour later. [Not morning!] Showered!!!!!!!! Czech buddies Michael and Michael took us to pub across from dorm. Ate beef goulash and dumplings_nothing like "goulash" I had at home [no pasta, no tomatoes, just beef brisket in brown sauce]. Also, still water! No bubbles. Very good! Very heavy! I hope my affinity for traditional Czech food doesn't get the better of me! I think the hills and stairs will help combat that! Rode subway and streetcar to Prague Castle. Saw first authentic gothic cathedral_St. Vitus Cathedral! SO BEAUTIFUL! Could see all of Prague from outside of castle! So beautiful. Crossed Charles Bridge as night was falling. Turned around and saw Prague castle lit up. Amazing. Went to mall. Felt very at home! Bought cell phone. Returned to dorm and went with group to a discotheque_Lucerna Music Bar. It was 80's night and I don't think I've ever heard so many bad American songs in one night. Requirements for dancing in Czech disco_rhythm and "dancing skills" or talent not required! Very funny. Drank Pilsner Urquell beer for first time in Prague! [Thanks Randi Sue!] Came home on subway and bought snacks at convenience store.

12 February 2005

flowers? for me?

Came home from work. Long box says proflowers.com, addressed to me. No one ever sent me flowers in the mail before. Open it_pink tulips and purple calla lillies. Happy Valentine's from Don. All I did was send him peanut butter and underpants. Guess he liked it. Miss you boyfriend. Took picture of flowers, will post in morning when I feel like retrieving some batteries. Great day!

11 February 2005

7 days

One week until I depart for the Czech Republic! I decided to make a page where I can post a sort of journal and photos for friends and family to see. Thank you very much, Alexis, for the great suggestion of this free blog! I will post goodies and random thoughts as often as possible. I'm really into the web thing now, so maybe you'll see a full page from me in the future. More later.