A Travellerspoint blog

Prague and the Czech Republic

Czech mate indeed.

semi-overcast

Lothar Tiff and I went on a four day trip to Prague. A 6 hour train ride there and a 6 hour train ride back. On my last day in Prague my digital camera was stolen on the subway!! GRR! I had my camera bag clipped to my purse since it wouldnt fit into my purse. I was wearing a long chain purse that you wear across your torso. Bit more difficult to steal. Anyways on the crowded loud subway they managed to open my camera case, which has an old velcro closure. And take the camera. I was back at the hostel when I realised my camera case was empty. Everything else is in tact, thank God. I have all my cash, credit cards, IDs,cell phone, passport and other documentation. I dont know how much that camera would be worth on the black market. I had glue all over it. But Im depressed and pissed off that my camera was stolen. Now I have no pictures of Germany or Prague. BASTARDS. I think i'm going to file my travel insurance claim now.

Prague was a bit strange. The food and the booze was cheap, as well as the clothes. Maybe its because they dont use the euro, or they only joined the EU in 2005. The rest of the Czech republic outside of Prague looked a bit dilapidated.

Prague is quite pretty from atop. It definately is the City of a Hundred Spires. You can tell it is a very old city. It looks gorgeous at night. From the ground, the buildings are deteriorating a little. And the city is a strange mix of restaurants, stores and sex shops. The first shop I saw was an internet cafe sex shop. dont you think prostitutes would distract you from your emails?

The public transportation in the city is fabulous.......well except for the theft of my camera. We were easily able to visit all the sites within our trip. I went to the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, the Senate (which included in the dripping wall), the Jewish Quarter, Old Town, Wenceslas Square, The Lennon Wall (basically a wall completely covered in graffiti again and again. It occasionally has the likeness of John Lennon with a couple Beatles quotes), the Fred and Ginger building (which looks like it is dancing), the Prague market (I found all the locals and the Asians here, it was like the swap meet, so many Dolce and Gabbanna reproductions), passed by the Franz Kafka museum, and the park (which was exceptionally creepy because it had a running carnival, with carnies, but no other people. SCARY SCARY MUSIC).

I enjoyed the Goulash, but since we were there during public holidays many of the Czech restaurants were closed. Tiff wanted to get mexican food which really wasnt too my liking. I try to avoid mexican food outside of the American continents. But Czech Mexican food wasnt that bad. They had all the right ingredients, cooked in the wrong proportions.

On the way back from Prague, on we had to get off the train because they had to repair the train tracks. So we followed this old Czech woman, who spoke no english or German (Most Czechs were very friendly and extremely helpful, even if we didnt even ask for help). Boarded a bus to our next train station. We would've been totally lost without her. The train rides in Europe had me longing to watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

When we finally got back to Lothars place, this required switching trains four times, boarding a bus and a taxi, Lothar's new flatmate had moved in. She's fluent in Spanish and German, and her English isnt too shabby. Her and her friends made brilliant mexican food.

I cant seem to escape mexican food in Europe.

Tomorrow we fly to Johannesburg to see my brother. Which is good because I desperately need to do laundry and I cant seem to find my tweezers. My eyebrows are bushier than ever.

Posted by strinh 05:35 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Bavaria and Lederhosen

sunny

The last few days has been a fun filled Bavarian trip.

One day in Bamberg, enjoying the churches, the river and the icecream.

Then down south to the Southern Alps. We visited Neuschwanstein, the castle that was the inspiration for the castle at disneyland. It's quite a strange site. It's built up on a hill on a rock. And the mad King Ludwig II really must've been mad. Because I have no idea how they got all that rock on that hill (about a 20 min walk up). It was quite a beautiful site from the nearby bridge, just above a waterfall. You could see much of the town below, and the lakes as well.

We stayed at a cute little B&B, where the owners werent on site. I had a taste of currywurst for dinner. It's sausage in ketchup with curry powder. I wasnt the biggest fan, but maybe I'll try it again in Berlin.

We hiked for a little while in the Alps, overlooking the castle and the city.

Scoffing at fat americans taking their horse drawn carriages/buggy. Or the lift. BOO! Im much too cheap for that.

Munich/München
I found Munich to be very unfriendly at first. No one would help us with directions, even with the German asking for them. The streets werent clearly marked so we spent ages driving around in circles. Finally found Lothar's mate's place. We took the tram and subway to Oktoberfest. There's no check to see if you paid for your ticket when you get on, so we just rode for free. Apparently random checks happen on occasion.

Oktoberfest
When I first arrived at Oktoberfest, it was like a big carnival. It smelt of sausages and sugar. People from all around the world were dressed in lederhosen. I suppose this is especially convenient since it's very difficult to ruin lederhosen. Doesnt matter how much beer you spill on it. There were kids everywhere,and girls walking around with giant chocolate hearts around their necks. Rollercoasters and other carnival rides. Workers lowering fake bats into the crowd off fishing line. We went with Lothar's former flatmate, Ben and his girlfriend Anne. They were both so tall and wearing red and orange...so I never worried of getting lost. (Lothar describes Ben's shoes as canoes...so big they can carry people across the river). Then they met up with their former flatties. It was kind of neat to see beer stands in the middle of the carnival. But that was just the start of it. Around 6pm we moseyed over to a tent. Supposedly the oldest tent at Oktoberfest. Thousands of drunk people in lederhosen singing on top of benches. For some reason you're not allowed to dance on tables, but you're allowed to dance on the seats. The songs were horrible. Some where American oldies translated into German...like Angel in the Centerfold. We drank our liter steins til the tents closed. My hand is still slightly bruised from holding beer. But now I can properly sing German drinking songs, as well as order a round of beer in German. The germans were impressed with my pronunciation of Gemütlischkait.

Getting back to Ben's flat was an absolute mess. But we made it, since the kindness of the Munich people finally kicked in. We managed our way through the subway and the tram somehow.

Posted by strinh 22:29 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

The Nazi Fairgrounds

sponsored by Coca Cola

sunny 20 °C

Spent yesterday wandering around Bayreuth. Looking at Wagner's opera house. Hitler's favorite balcony at Wagner's opera house and so forth.

Had dinner at a French restaurant. Which was quite nice since I could actually order for myself. The fries were so delicious. Cooked belgian style. We kept ordering more and more wine waiting for happy hour. And somehow we just missed it. Talked and drank wine til 1.

Lothar, Tiff, Lothar's flattie, Christian, and I went to Nürnberg today.

Started off at the Nazi fairgrounds, well the actual more PC title is something like, the Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds. The museum was quite cool. Had alot of info about the history. Nürnberg trials, etc. But it also showed the plans that Hitler and Speer had if the Nazis had one the war. We visited a half completed Congress building that resembled a coliseum. A Zeppelin field, where Hitler made speeches besides great big swastika banners.

Naziland was actually quite pretty. With an artificial lake filled with geese. and even a Great Road (Große Straße)for parades. I saw a sponsored by Coca Cola sign over the Great Road. A little creepy. There were also rides sittin on trucks, so not in use. People were happily roller blading around the grounds. And there were kids playing on a giant trampoline/jolly jumper. The lake even had pretty paddles boats you could rent out.

After Naziland, we went back into the city heart of Nürnberg. Had lunch, Drei em Weggla. Sausages are nice. Plus Nürnberg was alot more ethnically diverse than i expected. Coca Cola ads had Latin looking models because that's what is considered attractive here right now. The language barrier is a little annoying.

After lunch we headed to the Medieval dungeons. Which was actually freakier than I thought. Just dark, stuffy, lacking toilets, and full of torture devices. Of course, no matter how badly I felt. I still had to take goofy pictures amongst the shackles. I think my wrists were to small for them though.

Visited St. Sebald's church. They had this display of religions that detracted from jesus. Such as Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and then lastly football. The church had gorgeous gothic architecture, with high pointed arches and detailed stained glass windows. Churches are quite beautiful, yet I always feel that Catholic churches are so morbid. Too many displays of Jesus's death rather than life.

Rode back to Bayreuth on the train after a little Gelato
We got a bit lazy for dinner, and just ordered hawaiian pizza, which was actually quite good. italian thin crust. Then watched the episode of Family Guy where Peter traces back his family line to Peter Hitler, Hitler's annoying brother. Constantly interrupting Hitler's speeches and calling him motherfuhrer
I then fell asleep while everyone watched the Big Lebowski in my room. Damn jet lag.

Posted by strinh 15:26 Archived in Germany Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

fun with the german keyboard

Now I will type on the keys that don't exist on an American keyboard

sunny 16 °C

€ Ö Ä Ü § µ ß

Posted by strinh 03:30 Archived in Germany Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Arrival

Starting off my world tour in Germany

sunny 16 °C

First off, I must say that Im typing on a German keyboard. OOO! I've just figured out how to use an apostrophe ' Oh! look at that!
Plus the z and the y are switched, so if I accidentally write zear instead of year or yebra instead of zebra. You'll know why.

Tiff and I left LAX at 7am. Our flights were good. 4 hours to Toronto and 7 hours to Frankfurt Germany. On the flight to Frankfurt they played Mission Impossible III and Whale Rider. I'm not sure why they would show whale rider now, but it's definately gotten me even more excited about my return to New Zealand.

We arrived in Frankfurt at 7am German time. My old flattie, Lothar, was there to pick us up. The sweetheart drove three hours to pick us up. So nice since managing the public transport system to his flat would've been quite confusing. Had burger king for lunch. Was strange ordering at burger king. Since the menu was in English.

Finally arrived in Bayreuth, where Lothar's flat is, since he attends uni here. The town is quite cute. I absolutely love the architecture. There are flowers sitting in window boxes all over the city. It's also Wagner's home town. I'm definately not a fan of Wagner but it's made for an interesting dynamic. It's essentially an old person's destination. We kept seeing old Germans in their tour buses while we were driving on the Autobahn. Student life at this uni is dismal. But there are heaps of breweries in the area. Apparently the most per capita. Been trying all the local brews and Schnapps. And enjoyed it greatly. Lothar hates his flattie's homemade schnapps. But I found it quite tasty cherry, white cherry and pear flavor. Maybe my american palette is much too unrefined. All those years of filtering popov in a brita filter to make it taste decent. Yes, the stereotype of german's drinking quite a bit is true. He even said that drinking a shot of schnapps after our meal would aid in my digestion.

The jetlag hasnt been too bad. I essentially stayed awake 40 hours straight to try and avoid it. I wake up at semi normal times, but my body never has a clue what time it is. I honestly dont know what time it is in LA. Dont really want to bother with the math either. It's about noon in Germany right now.

Today we'll explore Bayreuth a bit more and then maybe nuremberg or nurnberg.

on another note. I keep checking the department of state website. Our trip planned a 3 day layover in Bangkok. But now I'm not really sure we should keep that plan, with recent political news. We already booked our hotel there, so I guess I'll have to keep checking the news to see.

Lothar has been taking such good care of us. I adore the guy. Driving hours, buying us so many beers, setting up our beds, making dinner and breakfast. It's just so nice. Today I woke up early from jetlag, and did the dishes. When he got up and saw them clean, gave me this look, and said I didn't need to do that. But he's done so much for us! He even bought me a German sim card in case I needed to call him for emergencies.

Lothar's flat is huge. Each room is about twice the siye i mean size of a UCLA dorm room. And they pay heaps less. Plus German's make higher wages. No fair! He's even got a balcony and the cutest garden in the back. The city has real clock bells too! Not the UCLA speakers. His flattie is quite nice and funny. When he first met Tiffany he wasn't sure of her name, so he whispered to me "like Breafast at ...?". I said yes and he knodded in recognition.

Germans also seem to know very little about Jews. Lothar asked me if Jews wrote alot of books. At which point, Tiffany and I fell over laughing. Since he just fulfilled a German stereotype. He obviously didn't see why it was so funny. Of course there are alot of Jewish writers. hehe.

Tiffany is currently perusing the bookshelf in the flat. Edgar Allen Poe no longer rhymes once it has been translated into German. Quite disappointing. Plus the humor of American tv and film doesn't really carry over once translated. Lothar said the Big Lebowski was bad in German, but hilarious in English. He even asked me if I wanted to play the Big Lebowski drinking game with White Russians.

Anyways I hope I can keep this blog properly updated with all my adventures.

Posted by strinh 03:03 Archived in Germany Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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