Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Travel Tips: Prague, Czech Republic

We recently got back from a two night trip to Prague, Czech Republic, a 5.5 hour drive from Trier. There is a TON to do and see in Prague, no matter the season. We went during "high season" which I would not recommend, seeing as there are lots of tourists. We did our fair share of shoulder rubbing.

Hotel: I recommend staying in "old town," for there is lots to do, all within walking distance! Hotel Cloister Inn is inexpensive, cheap parking, breakfast provided (nothing fancy), and has spacious rooms. The location is perfect, right in the middle of Old Town (close to Bethlehem Chapel) with restaurants and shopping right around the corner. The hotel itself is nothing fancy, but again, good location (fabulous little restaurant right around the corner - Restaurant U Plebana).

Must-Sees: Charles Bridge (both during the day and night), the Prague Castle and (only some) of it's entities, a live jazz show (we went to one at Grand Hotel Praha and USP Jazz Lounge - food was AMAZINGGGGGG at Grand Hotel Praha, atmosphere was better at USP), Jewish Ghetto (including the cemetery), view the river and castle at night, walk in every church you see throughout the city.

Restaurants/Foods: The Czech are known for their Goulash soup.. I, being vegetarian, did NOT have any. Czech meals seems pretty hearty - meat and potato kind of people... again, not me, but the area offers a wide variety of foods. Also, taste the Original Budweiser and other Czech beer and wine while you're there (A enjoyed Kozel Dunkel).

Prague Must-Knows:
* Prague is a big city, expect to walk, or use the city's public transportation which is reliable and inexpensive.
* Cheap, cheap, cheap! Food, drinks, etc, all inexpensive.
* When driving, be sure to stop at the border and pay for their vignette - $15 for 10 days.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Travel Busy

This month has been a fun-filled travel month for both of us, but not necessarily with trips we've made together.

After nasty Polish weather, F-16 'incidents,' and a volcano that just didn't want anyone to go anywhere, Alexander has finally made it back from Poland. While there was supposed to be many many flights over the course of two and a half weeks, only one took place and he was not in it. Bummer. But hey, he got to see Poland and have some man time with a bunch of his F-16 buddies.

While he was gone, I took two different girls trips - one to Burgundy, France (as you already know) and the other to Sardegna, Italy (AGAIN!). Both were fabulous. I was unsure about going to Sardegna again, but turns out, I made the right decision. This trip we did completely different things than last trip. Instead of renting a car and driving up the coast (as suggested by National Geographic), we laid on the beach all day/everyday. Fabulous (minus the RIDICULOUS sunburn I got on my stomach, which had not seen the sunlight in 9+ months). I got back on Wednesday, just in time for my cousin Andrew and his friend to arrive. Trier was a mere layover on their extended vacation to Paris/Germany/Switzerland/Italy/Greece (lucky dogs!). I showed them around the city, introduced them to Belgian beer, had dinner at my favorite restaurant, etc. A quick trip, but very nice.

Morgen (tomorrow) Alex and I head to Prague until Monday! Finally, a trip together to a city neither of us have been before! Should be a good time. In the mean time, expect a Sardinian travel recommendation and pictures!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Book Recommendation

With school being over, I have a lot more time for pleasure reading. Grandaddy Martin sent me a big box of books and today I read, "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield. Great book - would recommend it to anyone/everyone looking for a new read.

The Ascension Day

I woke up this morning to complete silence. Kasel is almost always silent, but recently with the workers being here finishing the outside area, we've had consistent construction noise.

EVERYONE in Kasel is home (minus Alex of course), rouladens still pulled, still sleeping I presume, and the town is dead.

I had big plans to book my cousin's ticket over here, go to the market for dinner stuff, go to Hela (Home Depot-esqe) for plants, go to my German pilates class, get gas, go to the gym, etc. All that came to a halt when I realized, hm, it's silent outside, where are the workers?

The Germans take their holidays serious and with today being "The Ascension Day," EVERYTHING in Germany will be closed all weekend - no groceries open, no gyms, no travel agents, no workers here, no nothing. Kind of a nice thought, no one doing anything on holidays minus spending time with family (except for the fact that I put errands off until TODAY and now it is physically impossible for me to do them! WHOOPS! Also, not so sure what I can make for dinner, seeing as I haven't gone to the store in a week). Nevertheless, a very nice idea. Again, America should take some pointers.

Assuming there are no interruptions because of the volcanic ash cloud, Alex should be (fingers crossed) home tomorrow. I leave for Sardegna on Sunday, and my cousin Andrew will be here on Wednesday/Thursday! Good stuff.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Miss Popular...

Riva, that is.

Key phrase: Mein Hund ist Laufig (pronounced: loy-fush). Meaning? My dog is in heat. Maybe I also should've learned, my dog is the neighborhood ho.

After her first heat cycle, we said, "Lord have mercy this is a pain. Never ever again." Well, 4-6 monaten goes by faster than you would think. We forgot to make an appointment to get her fixed and now I'm back to fending off random hunde from Kasel, but also the two neighboring towns. A whining Sky (our neighbor's dog) is a constant fixture on our deck steps, just begging for Riva to come out and play, and by play, I mean hump. This morning, 6am, some random dog (picture below - although not a good one, you can imagine how low my patience was at 6am with some random, horny dog), barking and pacing on MY deck. And on our walk, she was attacked (although she liked it) by two other random dogs who followed us ALL the way home! After 5 minutes of telling them NO, GO, I realized, oh, they speak German. I started saying, NEIN, but they were just too infatuated with Ms. Popular.

Believe me when I say, Never, Ever Again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nipah Know-it-All

Well, the semester is finally over! I turned in my massive PPT and paper on the Nipah virus last night! If ever you think you have/need to know anything about the Nipah virus (not likely since i know no one living in South East Asia - what a useful project!), I'm your go-to man! I'm now filled with even more useless knowledge!

What shall I do with my time now?!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Outdoor Update

When we first decided to move into our house, it was still being finished on the inside. The outside was a real disaster. FINALLY, the outside is being completely redone and it is looking awesome! The workers couldn't start until Spring because of the rain. They started about a month ago and it is coming along surprisingly quick - hard to believe? Yes, since you would assume they're German. But that's the kicker - they're Greek! Here are some pictures of the progress. When they're finally finished, we may just have to vacation here :)

Artsy Ali

If you didn't know, my sister Ali is the artsy one in the family. Very artistic, great writer, etc. She wrote this poem for school and sent it to me. I want to keep it AND share it, so why not put it on-line where it lasts... forever?

Earth is only a speck of dust in the space under my bed
The other planets are like unread books just waiting to be read
The people here are like a single hair on top of a harry head
But people here and there are waiting to meet, the living and the dead.

- Ali Palmer

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Travel Tips: Burgundy, France

As you know, I went on a girls weekend trip to Burgundy, France. Well, we had a GREAT time, just great. Everything worked out perfectly. And since Micael and Sarah work all the time, I wound up planning and picking everything out before we went.. which made me think, man, I did a good job :) So from now on, after a trip, I'm going to post some travel tips for the area. Who knows when they may come in handy! (Burgundy, France is one trip I would recommend to just about anyone - and it's an easy, only 4 hour trip from our house!)

Hotel: Le Montrachet - outside of the city, but in a VERY cute town of it's own. Only stay here if you have a car

Must See Places in the Area via Car: La Rochepot (cute town with a castle - should be the first stop from le Montrachet), Orches (cute town on the cliffs, great view), St. Romain, Chateau visit (either Pommard, Mersault, or both!), the 'big' city of Beaune (the big city of the area with shopping, restaurants, and different wine tasting venues), finally, Clos de Vougeout (castle - cute picturesque town).

Chateaus: Mersault or Pommard. Mersault is a do-it-yourself wine tour. The hotel of Le Montrachet gives their visitors a free pass and tasting at this chateau (yeaaa!!!). At the end of the self-led tour, you taste 15 wines (AND pour them yourself!). Pommard is a guide-led tour. It costs to get in (only about 15euro). This is better if you want to ask questions about the wine.

Restaurants/Foods: the restaurant at Le Montrachet hotel is AMAZING. Yes, very pricey, but I HIGHLY recommend ordering the 10 or 12 course meal and some local wine. Must have french foods include: formaggi plate (cheese plate) with random local cheeses (my favorite was a local ashe covered cheese - sounds gross, tastes fabulous), coffee, quiche, ham/cheese baguette (this comes on an ENTIRE baguette - be hungry!), croissants

France Must Know: bathrooms are free! people are NOT mean like everyone says! very nice, very helpful, ask for suggestions. Tolls on the Autobahn are RIDICULOUSLY expensive - keep cash on you! Credit cards MUCH more widely accepted than Germany.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Burgundy, France

Dijon, France

Nothing there but mustard. Wouldn't recommend it. Good thing we were only there long enough for a coffee.