Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vinohrady - my Prague neighborhood

As my last week of teaching in the Czech Republic draws to an end, I am finding myself feeling nostalgic about a lot of my favorite spots in Prague.  I'm grateful to live in a great neighborhood called Vinohrady, where I have found many of my favorite things in Prague.  This neighborhood is fantastic as it's close to the center (just 10 minutes by public transport or 20 by walking) but far enough away that we're not overrun with tourists.  I will absolutely miss living here!  The pictures truly speak to why I have loved living in Prague for the past 2 years!

On Monday, I start a 3-week trip to Croatia, Bosnia, Austria, England, and Ireland.  I'm sure I'll be taking tons of pictures, but may not be able to post much until I return.  I'll have 5 more days in Prague before moving to Peru!  An exciting month is ahead!

Home sweet Home - Moravska street

Looking the other way

My building

The park around the corner I walk through at least twice a day and often go to sit and read or soak up some sun

The park - and view of the lovely, creepy, baby tower

View of Namesti Miru church down Korunni street 

Park by the metro - I also pass through here at least twice a day

The church at  Jiřího z Poděbrad
Creepy baby tower (ok, actually called the Zizkov TV tower, but I like creepy baby tower better)

The babies are so weird, they required several pictures

U Sadu - one of my favorite restaurants

Cool tulips - my favorite flower

Not only an amazing name, but smoke free (rare in Prague) and you name your price!

Gorgeous buildings

Beautiful Riegrovy Sady park

Not bad to catch a glimpse of the castle while running or wandering

"the hill" - common hang out spot with amazing views and close proximity to the beer garden

View from the hill

I call this our neighborhood's backyard

This is actually a shopping center

Korunni - where I often go to catch a tram 

Tram stop

Namesti Miru church at sunset

My favorite fruit and vegetable shop by my house - these shops are literally everywhere in the city and have the best produce selection.  This is literally 2 blocks from my house.

Great pizza place 

The BEST coffee in Prague (and conveniently located by the fruit and vegetable shop)

Moravska street

Metro escalator - it's crazy steep!

Home sweet home

Monday, June 11, 2012

You only turn 35 once!

I always enjoy celebrating birthdays, and not just my own.  So, when a "big" one comes along, I'm all about a celebration - or in this case - several!  Since my birthday was on a Monday, my two good friends Amy and Becca and I went to Germany to visit the Harle brewery in Leutkirch the weekend before my birthday.  It was absolutely amazing!  On my birthday, I had dinner with good friends at a fun pub with good food and 20 beers on tap (rare in Prague).  Then the following weekend I had a party with friends in Prague at my house tasting Harle beer and hanging out at the beer garden.  All were simply wonderful!  I am so lucky to have made such amazing friends while living here!

Walking along the river in Regensburg, Germany where we stopped for dinner

Regensburg - oldest city on the Danube River



Breakfast in Füssen, which our GPS couldn't pronounce, so kept spelling: F-U-S-S-E-N.
We got really good at spelling on this trip.




The sign reads "Born to Be Free"  - I always enjoy a good USA shout out.


Becca preparing to try the "snowball" - think crispy pie crust covered in chocolate!

Um, not so sure how to eat this...






Amy's happy as long as she has coffee and her camera



Fountain in Füssen

Becca and Amy - fantastic travel partners

Our awesome "free upgrade" Bertrand the BMW.  The irony of driving a BMW and then staying at our hostel (left) was entertaining.  

Neuschwanstein Castle - the castle Disney modeled their castle after.  Sadly, it's under construction...

How it should look

Horse drawn carriage up to the castle


Beautiful area near the castle

Happines = Haribo gummi bears

Post castle apple juice and beer

Amazing hats

Love it

Had to pinch myself - it was so gorgeous it didn't seem real!

Our surreal picnic location

We just had to go for a drive on this gorgeous afternoon in the mountains with our BMW

Amy pointing out horses along the way

Cousin Julia showing the menu at the Härle brewery guesthouse - YUM!

My favorite wheat beer ever

Nothing like good friends and awesome cousins enjoying  Härle beer on a warm afternoon

Cousin Anne

Brewery tour

Interesting decoration made out of parachute material

Anne, Mario, and Felix

Härle  Brewery

Becca, Julia, Amy, and Gottfried

Where beer begins

Love seeing my last name everywhere

My favorite beer - an organic unflitered beer sold only in these 5 liter mini barrels and on tap in local restaurants and pubs.

Clemens Spezial beer toppers

Gottfried showing us how hops are grown

This was taken last August - so you can see how big they get!
Hops ready to be harvested (also from August)

Mario and Anne inspecting the beer

Best birthday present - a case of Härle beer!

The crew hanging out at the Mohren (guesthouse on brewery grounds)

Cheese spaetzle (noodles) with pork tenderloin and Landzungle beer - delicious!

A few varieties 

Mario gets sneaking in his photography skills

Julia prefers wine to beer - but of course we only drink beer here!  She started with a mini beer and ended the night with a half liter!  :)

Cheese spaetzle - YUM!

Always end the night with a schnapps - for my dad!

Flowers from my fantastic cousins who made a surprise visit!

Love the painted beds in the guest rooms

Cousins: Felix, Julia, and Anne

Anne and Mario


Family fun

Bringing home a case of beer on public transportation?  This is the place to do it - no one gave us any strange looks (for once)

Post-gorilla run before the birthday bash in Prague - free gift: gorilla mask!

Amazing blueberry and strawberry tart made by my awesome roommie, Jimmie

Enjoying the wonderful food and starting to taste the great beers

Katrina and me

Getting excited for blueberry crumble

You know you have good friends when you say its your birthday wish to have them try on the gorilla mask...and they do!
Jimmie the gorilla


Katrina and Petr

Charles - one of my cool roomies





Mary Beth


Ben - another awesome roommate


And then there was the beer garden - one of my favorite hang out spots near our house

Jimmie and me

Me, Katrina, and Casey

Marissa, Me, and Amy

Na zdravi!

Me and Amy

And when it was all over -  a surprise guest in my bed.  ;)