Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break

     We had our spring break the second week in March.  I was able to go to Germany and the Czech Republic.
Kathy and I at the game
     The first weekend of break I traveled to  Rodgau-Niederroden, Germany which is about 45 minutes outside of Frankfurt to visit a friend.  Kathy had studied at Monticello my senior year of high school, and I haven't seen her since. I took a train which left Arnhem around 5:30 Thursday night and arrived around 10:30.  On Friday I went to a football game with Kathy, her brother and a few of his friends, and her dad.  We saw the OFC Kickers play Rot-Weiss Erfurt. Her brother let us wear some of his Kickers cloths.  It was really fun and the Kickers won, which is the team that my friend likes.  It was interesting though that they serve beer at the game but it basically had no alcohol in it because they don't want people to start fights.  It was really cool being apart of the atmosphere; people had some really big flags for their team and they sang a lot of songs.  I really enjoyed my first football game and I hope to go to one here in Arnhem.
     On Saturday we spent a few hours walking around Frankfurt, which is another beautiful city.  That night we went to a Karneval party, since the weekend I was there was the offical holiday weekend.  This time we dressed up as devils.  First we went over to her cousins house to play a few games and then went to the party.  The party was fun, but it made me feel old because at 16 you can drink so I actually felt like one of the older people their.  (the 16 olds though had to leave at midnight).
Our homemade Kreppel
     On Sunday morning we made our own bread with a Toffifee (Toffifee is a chocolate candy) spread for breakfast which was really good.  Then we went and walked around her town for the afternoon.  When we came back we made our own Kreppel which is a pastry popular for Karneval.  Typically they have a jelly filling in them; ours did not but they were still good. That night we had a movie night with a few of her friends and watched the Hangover. (they were really nice and allowed us to watch it in English)

People in the parade
     On Monday, was the Karneval parade. Kathy and I dressed as football players.  It was interesting that we had to pay to get into the parade, though not much.  The parade was really cool and the people were dressed in really colorful costumes.  They are allowed to drink alcohol in public so it was interesting to see people drinking on the streets and people were even drinking who were in the parade.  
     Tuesday morning I left Germany and headed to Prague.  I took at train from Frankfurt to Nurnberg and from their I took at bus to Prague.  In Nurnberg I was able to exchange currency because even though the Czech Republic is in the European Union, they do not use the euro but instead they have the Czech crown.  Traveling took up almost the whole day and then I meet my friend Emily (from Whitewater) in Prague.  We stayed in hostel in a 4 person room; the first two nights we had the room to ourselves, the next night we had one other guy, then the next night was two guys, then the last night was just one guy again.  Luckily the guys were nice so it wasn't too weird.  Our hostel was in a great location, was really clean and included breakfast.
Astronomical Clock
     Wednesday morning we just walked around on our own checking out all the souvenir shops.  That afternoon we were planning on doing a guided tour around the city. We went and got our tickets but we were the only two that showed up and they said they wouldn't do the tour with only two people so we could come back the next day.  So we just walked around some more on our own that afternoon.  We went to a traditional Czech restaurant for dinner. It wasn't anything too different; I just had some baked fish and mashed potatoes with a sponge cake for dessert.  Afterwards we went to a small bar to have a beer and watch a soccer game on TV. 
Charles Bridge at night
    Thursday morning we did a free, 3 hour guided tour through the city.  We started in Old Town then went to the Jewish Quarter, crossed Charles Bridge into Lesser Town and then up to the Prague Castle.  After, Emily and I went to a small cafe for lunch and then went and saw the Lennon Wall.  That night we had a dinner cruise.  The boat cruise included live music and a dinner buffet. Then we just sat on the upper deck and got to see Prague at night.
In front of the Lennon Wall
      Friday, we walked along the river and then down to the Dancing House.  Then we stopped at a cafe for some coffee and dessert and walked back through new town.  That night we did a pub crawl where we went to 3 bars and then the last one was the largest bar in Europe; it is five stories.  I thought the pub crawl was a great way to meet some more people I meet some people who were studying in Budapest and also ironically, some people studying in Arnhem!  Saturday we walked around and bought some souvenirs. Then we did an hour underground tour.  When Prague was originally built it was about 15 feet lower than it is today.  Prague had problems with flooding so the people buried their homes and built new ones on top.  This tour took us underground where we were able to see some of the old homes. 
    Sunday was our last day.  We walked down Paris street where all the expensive shops are and did some window shopping.  We also did a small tour of a chocolate shop and saw a demo and taste testing of pralines.  We were able to take a shuttle directly to the airport; we flew into Amsterdam and then took a train back to Arnhem.
   It was a really nice trip.  We had enough time to see everything but were not rushed.  It was really hard to get concentrate on school that next day! 

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