March 26, 2014

Well, it’s been a while. As I was titling my post, I about had a heart attack. MARCH 26TH?!? My semester in Prague is already halfway over? Yes, yes it is. I’ve already had to think about life after Prague, and I am really, really not ready for that day to come.

I decided to finally sit down and write this due to a slightly unfortunate event. I am sick. I’m not dying, but I have been fighting off different illnesses for about three weeks now. It’s been real fun, and I hope it stays forever!! In all seriousness, when I first got really sick two weeks ago, all I wanted was my mom…AND SHE CAME! Yes, Ann, Gary, and Eric have come and gone. I’d like to say that they all enjoyed it thoroughly, but Eric continuously reminded me that he’d rather be watching One Tree Hill on Netflix. They arrived on the morning of Friday, March 14th, and I ran to meet them at the hotel. Oh yeah, about their hotel. It was a small little inn, approximately one minute away from my dorm. My family is so predictable it’s unreal. We spent the first night just talking and eating while I showed off my impressive knowledge of the Prague transportation system. Seriously, I’m pretty good. Saturday morning, we took a train to Vienna, Austria! For some reason, I had this idea that Vienna would be similar to Prague. So. not. true. First of all, Vienna is basically an entire palace. It houses huge buildings everywhere and in my opinion, it’s been way more westernized than Prague. The weekend basically consisted of visiting museums, and then stopping for a sweet treat every five seconds. The weather was not great either, which kept us inside a lot. My family was fighting jet lag and I was fighting sickness, so in retrospect it probably wasn’t the best idea anyway.

We returned home (to Prague, cause it’s my home), on Sunday night. I spent the rest of the week catching up with my family in between classes and seeing them whenever I could. From Cafe Louve, to a river cruise, I spent the week eating like a queen and alongside the best possible company. Even writing about my week with my family makes me tear up. You think you finally appreciate your parents when you leave for college, but studying abroad makes the fondness grow even stronger.

On Friday morning, the CNMJ program (myself included) left for a weekend trip to Brno, Czech Republic. Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, and known for its’ wine and “student culture”. We first stopped at Radio R which is a student-run radio station in Brno. We talked to students about their radio station, and then were interviewed for a segment. I may or may not have taken part in a rendition of “Candy Shop” by 50 cent and it may or may not have been the most uncomfortable and awkward decision I’ve made while being in the Czech Republic. Seriously, why do I do these things? We spent the rest of the day lounging around, and in the evening we went to see “The Great Night” at the One World film festival.

On Saturday, we spent the day eating well and drinking even better. CIEE took us to the Velke Bilovice vineyard in Moravia. Moravia is known for its fabulous white wine, and after sampling around 15 wines in less than 40 minutes, I’d have to say the same. In fact, I even bought a bottle to commemorate the event. Naturally, I thought I would bring it home with me…think again Lizzie, think again. Our little group spent the rest of the afternoon chillin’ in a park together and learning some tai chi (spelling?) from strangers. Obviously, I was the worst.

On Sunday, the group got up a little earlier to make a trip to the Moravsky Kras caves! Being from Missouri (Meramac Caverns s/o holllaaa), I’ve seen a fair share of caves in my day, but this was hands down the coolest cave visit ever. Best part? Part of the tour was on a boat. In the cave. I mean yeah, it was pretty cool.

Finally, this week is midterms week!! It also marks the week where my sickness changed from the flu to some cold/throat issues, so hooray! In all seriousness though, midterms here haven’t been that bad. This may be due to the fact that I only have to muster a C out of my classes but…ya never know… My roommate Becca has also been constantly reminding me that this is our last weekend in Prague together. This is mostly due to the fact that Becca is going on 5 trips during the second portion of our stay. So obviously, we already have plans to spend the whole weekend together!

I have a lot more I wish I could say, but since this is my first blog post in a while…I’ll leave it at this. Also, serious s/o to the people who are writing these study abroad blogs in an inspirational manner. I could never be you.

 

Na Shledanou!

xo Lizzie

P.S. Pictures below…obviously

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^One of the only pictures we took in Vienna, Austria. Oh well, I promise we were there.

 

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^Mom and I on our Vltava River Cruise. So, so thankful for everything this woman does for me.

 

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^Zeeee fam in Old Town Square. I should note that I was the only member of the family not wearing any SLU basketball apparel that day. Are we from St. Louis yet?

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^This was taken at our lunch spot on the first day in Brno (don’t remember the name, whoops). A train brought us our drinks straight from the kitchen!

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^A view from the vineyard. The Czech Republic countryside ain’t bad y’all.

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^Most of our small but mighty CNMJ program! S/o to Grace B. for the photo.

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^This was taken on the boat inside the cave!! Photo cred to Maya B.

 

 

March 6, 2014

Well hey y’all. For those of you still with me, I’d like to discuss my AMAZING weekend in Budapest, Hungary. This was my first trip outside of the Czech Republic, so I was slightly nervous to leave. I also traveled to Budapest without my program, so my friends and I had to plan every part of the trip. Paige, Becca, and I left our dorm room at 6:15 a.m, on Friday morning in order to meet our friend Maddie at the bus stop at 6:45. Of course, Maddie didn’t meet us, so we began our trip thinking we would have to leave our friend behind. Of course as I find my seat on the bus, Maddie is just chillin’ on the bus waiting for us…what a relief.

When we arrived in Budapest, we were starving after having skipped getting breakfast in order to search for Maddie. That being said, please forgive me for letting McDonalds be my first meal in Budapest. It was just so close, easy, cheap, and tempting. Don’t hate me. The rest of Friday was spent walking around, napping, eating a great traditional Czech meal, and exploring some of the famous ruin bars in Budapest.

Saturday morning came a little too quickly, but I was uncharacteristically motivated to get out of bed. We met for a FREE TOUR at the St. Stephens Basilica at 10:30 a.m. The next three hours were spent with our tour guide Rudy as he told us fun stories and showed us the “must visit” touristy spots in Budapest. These were places such as Elizabeth Square, Chain Bridge, Fisherman’s Bastion, etc. I know for a fact that I would have never found half of these places on my own, so it was worth it. After the tour, we hurried to the Central Market Hall and bought food from the vendors. When I say “food”, I mean goulash because that’s the only thing I ate all three days…..I might be obsessed…Anyway, my friends and I spent the rest of the day walking around and taking in the sights of Budapest. It was nice to not really have a plan or destination, but just to take in the sights with some great company.

After a quick dinner, we ventured to a famous touristy party called the “Magic” bath party which is held at the Lucas Baths. To any twenty something looking to visit Budapest:

A) GO TO THE LUCAS BATH PARTY.

That’s pretty much all I’ll say regarding that.

Sunday morning, we woke up and payed 1000 huffs ($4.40) for breakfast at our hostel. After, we walked around different parts of Budapest to see all we could. I noticed that Budapest and Prague share a lot of the same food, so of course I ended up having sausage and beer. We splashed around in the Széchenyi thermal baths for way longer than we should have, and I looked like a raisin for the rest of the day. The Széchenyi thermal bath is the largest one of its kind in Europe and is basically a huge hot tub surrounded by incredible Noe-Baroque architecture.
We then took a nap at our hostel in preparation for our 11 p.m – 7 a.m bus ride home. While the bus ride was a bit creepy and slightly terrifying, I wouldn’t have wished for any other way.

My heart hurts this week because all I want to do is return to Budapest. I keep reminding myself, however, HELLLOOO YOU’RE IN PRAGUE.

I’ve attached a few of my favorite photos from the weekend, enjoy and na schledanou!

-Lizzie

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^The four of us in front of St. Stephens Basilica.

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^A view of the Pest side from the Buda side.

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^Fisherman’s Bastion. An incredible view.

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^ The love of my life aka Hungarian Goulash.

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^The four of us at the Széchenyi bath. (Photo credit to Becca)Image

^ Selfie with my love, Budapest. Thanks for an amazing weekend!