London – Day 59 – Spring Break – Day 10

Monday – Last day of Spring Break.

We ate breakfast at the hotel and headed off to the airport to fly back to London. We went through Heathrow which is the easiest to get to the city because you just hop on the Tube. But the Tube does take a solid hour to get from the airport to my stop. We arrived home by 2:30, to rain and dreary London! Of course.

I had to run to the Wallace Collection before it closed at 5pm to look at my two objects one final time for my comparative essay due on Thursday.  I also had to take detail pictures of my pieces and got the attention of a curious ‘security guard’. Aka an old man that sits on the chair in the galleries and tells people not to stand too close to the furniture. I started telling him about my paper and asking him about the piece. Since he is there all the time of course he knew everything about it! And he said, I’m real glad you talked to me. Which made me feel bad for him! I’m sure people walk around all day long and ignore him, and he must like the museum if that is what he is choosing to spend his time volunteering at. When I left to go upstairs to look at my second piece I waved goodbye and he waved back. When I left the museum half an hour later he was near the front so I said goodbye and he said, good luck with that paper I know it will be great. New friend!

It was pouring down so Ian and I decided to go to the store and cook. He made me dinner! There is Uncle Ben’s sauce in Europe that is not sold in the states that he loves. So he made me sweet and sour chicken with rice. A warm meal was just what we needed after the busy week and cold welcome home. That, and a really good nights sleep.

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London – Day 58 – Spring Break – Day 9

Sunday. The last full day in Prague.

The hotel we stayed at had a free breakfast every morning that was actually really good. Each day I ate eggs, bacon, some of their delicious rye bread, sometimes with Nutella, sometimes some cereal and always some fruit juice. It was great.

We went to the Jewish Quarter and went inside the different buildings including the Pinkas Synagogue – which is now a memorial to the Holocaust victims. It is quite a sight to see, the entire inside of the building, every wall is written names in tiny writing. After we walked through the Old Jewish Cemetery, which the Jewish were only allowed a small area to bury their dead so it is overcrowded. It has tombstones stacked upon tombstones and they buried on top of each other. We walked over to the Spanish synagogue also which had a museum inside it.

Afterwards we walked through town, up Wenceslas square to the spot where Jan Palach burned himself in protest. Then we went to dinner at – yet another Anthony Bourdain recommended spot. This was U Medvidku, a brewery and the biggest beer hall in Prague. Since it was St Patricks Day this only seemed fitting! We had some of their beer and delicious dinner. I treated myself to the steak and potatoes and Ian had…what else? The Duck. We ended up getting back to the hotel in time to watch…what else? More Hockey!!! Great way to spend a final night in Prague.

Names inside the Pinkas Synagogue

Names inside the Pinkas Synagogue

Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery

Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square

Jan Palach Site Burning

Jan Palach Site Burning

Jan Palach

Jan Palach

Velvet Curtain comes down here

Velvet Curtain comes down here

St Patricks Day Celebration with Czech Beer!

St Patricks Day Celebration with Czech Beer!

London – Day 57 – Spring Break – Day 8

Saturday in Prague.

Ian and I took the metro out to the zoo! While it was cold and not all the animals were out, we still saw a lot. My favorites were the goats the ran up the rocky hill, the three polar bears, the penguins, the turtles and the flamingos!  And mostly this baby ocelot that had just three paws! But he didn’t seem to mind, he was running around climbing on tree branches. It was cute. Ian pet one of the goats making the animals hes interactive with on this week at two total. (First the falcon!). I was not a fan of the reptile and bug section. Why do I need to see a bunch of cockroaches? Gross.

Afterwards, we walked through old town square because all of the booths they were setting up and finally opened up and it was an Easter market! There were booths of food, painted Easter eggs, other trinkets. We walked around it until the Church of Our Lady in front of Týn opened up! Ian had always wanted to go there but it is only open for a few hours like once a week and we timed it out right. It was a really beautiful church, but of course allowed no photos. I snuck one for Ian anyway because Tycho Brahe is buried there.

After that we took the metro up to Vysehrad Castle and walked around the grounds, saw the church and went into their cemetery. Which is always one of my nightmares but was actually very beautiful. We started to watch the sunset there and then decided to race time down to the Charles Bridge to see the end of it because Ian said it set behind Prague Castle. Well when we got there it was setting….but definitely not behind the castle. So, a little anti-climatic but still beautiful! We really liked watching the hockey game the next before, so we picked up food again and headed back to the hotel! I almost got use to watching hockey in another language….almost.

Turtle at the Zoo!

Turtle at the Zoo!

Polar Bears!

Polar Bears!

Ian and his Billy Goat

Ian and his Billy Goat

Old Town Square Easter Market

Old Town Square Easter Market

Ian and the oldest part of Charles University

Ian and the oldest part of Charles University

London – Day 56 – Spring Break – Day 7

Anna, Jo and Lizzie left in the morning to head to Berlin and Ian and I moved to our hotel. We agreed to have a lazy day and act like locals. We walked through the city, and had lunch at Cafe Savoy. This is where Anthony Bourdain went on his trip to Prague. It was a great space, bright and high ceilings. I had the Savoy Plate which included Prague ham, several sausages and potatoes! Ian had a schnitzel and some of the best potato salad I’ve ever tasted. We walked down to the Fred and Ginger building – the architecture actually makes the two buildings look like they are dancing! After that we shopped, grabbed dinner and took it back to the apartment to eat in front of the TV watching…what else, but hockey! It is the playoffs in the CR and so interesting to watch hockey there and how it differs from the NHL. Definitely not as fast paced, but once you pick a team…still exciting! I went with blue, and they won. Obviously a wise choice.

Beautiful Sunny Day!

Beautiful Sunny Day!

My Savoy Plate at the Cafe Savoy

My Savoy Plate at the Cafe Savoy

Ian's Lunch at Cafe Savoy

Ian’s Lunch at Cafe Savoy

Hot Chocolate. Different in every country

Hot Chocolate. Different in every country

Cafe Savoy

Cafe Savoy

London – Day 54 – Spring Break – Day 5

Wednesday – our first full day in Prague

There is so much to see in Prague! We were escorted through the city by our tour guide, Ian. We went to Charles University, where he studied. Then we saw the Rudolfinum, walked across Charles Bridge and ended up for breakfast at bohemian bagel. Ian had heard of the spot from friends but had never been. It was really delicious. I had a bacon, egg and cheese bagel and a hot chocolate! We then walked down to the John Lennon Wall, St Nicholas Church, went to the Strahov Monastery (which I had to pay to take pictures in, but had the coolest looking library so I had to do it) then walked up to Prague Castle but everything was closing for the day. We ate dinner at Ian’s favorite spot -the Cafe Savoy which is a famous spot for the intellectual of Prague back in the day. I had a beef dish that was so delicious and Ian had…what else? Duck.

Ian and another Jan

Ian and another Jan

Tour Guide Ian!

Tour Guide Ian!

Amazing Architecture

Amazing Architecture

At his University! Charles University

At his University! Charles University

Statue by Charles Bridge

Statue by Charles Bridge

The Snow

The Snow

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

Walking Across the Bridge

Walking Across the Bridge

Rub this sculpture on the bridge and you are guaranteed to come back to Prague!

Rub this sculpture on the bridge and you are guaranteed to come back to Prague!

You obviously have to pet the dog too

You obviously have to pet the dog too

More Statues

More Statues

Baroque Statues along the Charles Bridge

Baroque Statues along the Charles Bridge

Ian with Prague Castle

Ian with Prague Castle

Kafka Museum

Kafka Museum

Ian on the Charles Bridge

Ian on the Charles Bridge

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

Length of the John Lennon Wall

Length of the John Lennon Wall

Dove

Dove

Lennon

Lennon

Spiderman made it onto the wall

Spiderman made it onto the wall

Give Peace a Change?

Give Peace a Change?

Ian at the John Lennon Wall

Ian at the John Lennon Wall

Dreamer

Dreamer

Ian at the wall

Ian at the wall

Love and Hope

Love and Hope

Ian the Photographer

Ian the Photographer

Lennon

Lennon

The Wall

The Wall

Lennon

Lennon

Love

Love

St Nicholas Church

St Nicholas Church

Painted ceiling - fusion of the arts...where does the architecture end and the painting begin?

Painted ceiling – fusion of the arts…where does the architecture end and the painting begin?

Best example of Baroque...ever

Best example of Baroque…ever

Solomonic columns

Solomonic columns

Crown Top

Crown Top

Baroque movement

Baroque movement

Curves everywhere

Curves everywhere

Baroque Imagery

Baroque Imagery

Drama and Movement

Drama and Movement

Just some scratching graffiti from the 1800s.

Just some scratching graffiti from the 1800s.

Strahov monastery

Strahov monastery

Library inside Strahov Monastery, a Cabinet of Curiosities

Library inside Strahov Monastery, a Cabinet of Curiosities

Butterflies

Butterflies

Library Ceiling

Library Ceiling

Baroque Library

Baroque Library

Walls of the library

Walls of the library

Ian..again!

Ian..again!

Medieval armor

Medieval armor

Books

Books

Amazing furniture

Amazing furniture

Beautiful Marquetry

Beautiful Marquetry

Second Library

Second Library

Czech President

Czech President

Castle

Castle

Leading up to the Castle

Leading up to the Castle

A real welcome to the Castle

A real welcome to the Castle

Ian and a Guard

Ian and a Guard

First Courtyard in the castle

First Courtyard in the castle

Saint Vitus' Cathedral

Saint Vitus’ Cathedral

St George's Basilica

St George’s Basilica

IMG_2448

St George’s

View of Prague

View of Prague

Ian and Prague

Ian and Prague

Ian and the scuploture!

Ian and the sculpture!

Strange contemporary sculpture in Prague - looks like an alien baby

Strange contemporary sculpture in Prague – looks like an alien baby

 

 

London – Day 53 – Spring Break – Day 4

Budapest to Prague.

We took a bus from Budapest to Prague that was around 7 hours long. It actually wasn’t bad at all. They had movies playing…in English. I watched Harry Potter, Jane Eyre and that one with the woman from My Big Fat Greek Wedding leading a tour bus around Greece. I also read my Sherlock Holmes book that Anthony bought me before he left, and there was wifi! We drove through Slovenia and the bus stopped there…so in a way I have been to another country! Which is cool.

We arrived to our Air BnB where Anna’s two friends Lizzie and Jo were waiting. We settled into our really beautiful apartment quite nicely after a long bus ride. Anna, Ian and I went out to see the city and met up with Elizabeth and her parents at their hotel for a quick hello. It was nice to see them all – they had been in Prague for the past few days and were leaving in the morning. They gave us tips on sights to see, though of course Ian knew it all since he lived in Prague for a semester. I immediately loved the city. It feels like walking down a movie set. Each building is beautiful, everyone seems happy, places are bright and clean and friendly. Love at first sight!  We walked around the old town square, saw the astronomical clock and I bought a Trdelnik – which they sell in booths on the street. It is dough that is wrapped around a stick and spins over the top of hot coals. When its done they roll it in sugar, vanilla, toffee and almonds and it is delicious. Like the predecessor to the churro! I happily ate that all the way home.

Oh also, Prague was freezing the entire time. It snowed the first night we were there which left it looking like a winter wonderland for awhile!

Ian has always wanted to come here! Where it was we were...

Ian has always wanted to come here! Where it was we were… (update – it was Brno)

Somewhere along the way in the Czech Republic

Somewhere along the way in the Czech Republic

Ian and his City!

Ian and his City!

Ian

Ian

Clock

Clock

Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Clock

IMG_2332

Me and the clock!

Trdelnik

Trdelnik

Delicious evening treat!

Delicious evening treat!

London – Day 52 – Spring Break – Day 3

Monday – Third day in Budapest.

We walked over to Heroes Square, which has a great monument in the center and museums around the sides. From there we took the train over to the Central Market which was incredible. The entire first floor was all food stands, and the second floor was the clothing, touristy items. I could have spent hours in there. Afterwards we walked over to Restaurant Street and chose a cafe to have a drink and dessert in. I had some of the best hot chocolate, but then also the worst dessert! I chose a pancakes flambe and before I even brought it to my mouth I could smell the alcohol on it. I ate as much as I could without being too rude…hopefully. With it being a Monday, and all the museums being closed we slowly made our way home walking through the city. We rested up and went out for dinner to find Paprika Chicken! Which Ian had been talking about for days. We found a strip of restaurants and walked along each one and looked at the menu until we found it. It was worth the wait, and a great last meal in Budapest.

Heroes Square

Heroes Square

Kunsthalle Budapest

Kunsthalle Budapest

Caught Ian in Action

Caught Ian in Action

Self Portraits

Self Portraits

Heroes Square

Heroes Square

Ian at the monument

Ian at the monument

The tomb of the unknown soldier

The tomb of the unknown soldier

Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine Arts

Vajdahunyad Castle near Heroes Square

Vajdahunyad Castle near Heroes Square

Vajdahunyad Castle near Heroes Square

Vajdahunyad Castle near Heroes Square

Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle near Heroes Square

Vajdahunyad Castle near Heroes Square

Me and Ian - sunny day!

Me and Ian – sunny day!

Me and Ian

Me and Ian

Lake near Heroes Square

Lake near Heroes Square

Parliament

Parliament

The Little Princess Sculpture

The Little Princess Sculpture

Sculpture on the river

Sculpture on the river

Central Market

Central Market

Central Market

Central Market

Meat Stand

Meat Stand

Hungarian treats

Hungarian treats

Food in...tubes?

Food in…tubes?

Market Finds

Market Finds

Stuffed Ducks at the Market

Stuffed Ducks at the Market

IMG_2324

Goose Liver

Burger King - Mexican food is now everywhere in Europe

Burger King – Mexican food is now everywhere in Europe

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Pancakes Flambe

Pancakes Flambe

 

London – Day 51 – Spring Break – Day 2

Sunday – our second day in Budapest.

We went to breakfast at the NY Cafe, which Anna had found in her book which focused on architecture. And inside was insanely beautiful. It originally opened in 1894, and was completely renovated in 2001-2006 to take it back to its original state. I had french toast, and when it came out it was three neat little squares and no syrup. I asked the waiter for some and he said, “oh no no no…this is hungarian french toast, it is the best in the world, no need for syrup, it is salty not sweet.” It did come with a side salad so I trusted his word. Well it was light, and fluffy and eggy tasting….but I would have preferred it with syrup.

After that we walked across the river to Buda, all around the castle area. Including the National Gallery of Art, which contained all Hungarian artists. I have not heard of a single one, so it was very interesting to see the styles and time periods I have studied and how those movements reached Hungary. They had their own Caravaggio type paintings, their own Baroque and the collection even included a Grand Tour Portrait! Overall the museum was very different than other national museums I have been to. It was very empty, and I felt like the paintings could all use a little TLC. A lot looked cracked, and sometimes dirty. I’d be interested to know what their conservation techniques are…or if they conserve at all. I did really enjoy going, it is always a learning experience!

We walked up to Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion. They had those guys standing outside dressed up, with falcons or hawks with a little chain attached to their foot. Some girls were partaking in having their pictures taken with the small one. Well Ian was contemplating doing it, and decided he felt bad enough for the big falcon that wasn’t getting enough attention, so he did it! All the pictures I took are on his camera so I’ll have to upload those later. But the guy had the bird on his arm, on his shoulder with his wing spanned over Ian’s head. He had him on top of his head at one point, and looked really happy to be hanging out with a giant falcon. He is braver than I am.

From the castle area we decided to go to a Hungarian Bath! Anna had found one that was nearby. It was actually a really great way to spend a few hours. The bath area had one huge bath then smaller ones in the corners. Each had a different temperature. They also had a sauna area that had consecutive rooms that got hotter as you went along. Anna and I walked all the way to the last room, to spend two seconds inside and turn around quickly and run away. That is the hottest I have every felt. It was between 50 and 55 degrees celsius – so almost 131 degrees farenheit! No thank you. Overall I’m really happy we went to the baths. It was super relaxing and great after a long day of walking up the hilly Buda side of town.

From there we went to dinner at a restaurant we found on the way home. It was pretty great inside, they had posters from different bands that have come through Budapest from the Rolling Stones to Jethro tull. We decided to have a dinner of Goulash, which was pretty delicious. Also Anna and I had a glass of wine because converting it to dollars it was .70 cents. Quite a deal!

We headed home after that wonderful and full day!

The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood

View form Breakfast at the NY Cafe

View form Breakfast at the NY Cafe

NY Cafe Interior

NY Cafe Interior

NY Cafe Interior

NY Cafe Interior

"French Toast"

“French Toast”

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

 

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Hungarian National Gallery

Hungarian National Gallery

Hungarian National Gallery

Hungarian National Gallery

I've never seen a sculpture crouch like that!

I’ve never seen a sculpture crouch like that!

Anna and Art

Anna and Art

Pal Szinyei Merse

Pal Szinyei Merse

Pal Szinyei Merse

Pal Szinyei Merse

Ian contemplating

Ian contemplating

 

Outside the National Gallery

Outside the National Gallery

Buda Castle Grotto

Buda Castle Grotto

View from Buda

View from Buda

Craft Market

Craft Market

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

President of Hungary Residence

President of Hungary Residence

Hungarian Food

Hungarian Food

Hungarian Food!

Hungarian Food!

Pickled

Pickled

View of Pest

View of Pest

Ian!

Ian!

Square outside of St Matthias

Square outside of St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

View from the Fisherman's Bastion

View from the Fisherman’s Bastion

Inside St Matthias

Inside St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias details

St Matthias details

St Matthias

St Matthias

St Matthias Church

St Matthias Church

St Matthias

St Matthias

Dinner!

Dinner!

Me and Anna with our dinner

Me and Anna with our dinner

 

Parliament at night

Parliament at night

 

 

London – Day 50 – Spring Break – Day 1

Saturday – Travel day to Budapest.

Anna, Ian and I woke up early, walked to Baker Street Station and took a bus to Standsted airport. It isn’t a bad airport, but out there. We flew into Budapest and picked up a taxi there to take us to our Air BnB. I had read that you needed to prebook a taxi, and it was super easy to do so. The taxi booth preprinted the address of your destination and the price, that way there is no hassle with a driver making up a price. Our Air BnB was fine, it was a studio in a good location. We decided to take a walk around the city, and see the sights at night. We were staying right by the House of Terror museum, which was the description “It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.” Heavy. We also saw Parliament, views of the Buda Castle, the Danube (which Ian made me walk down some stairs that led to the water to touch it so I could say that I’ve touched the Danube), St Stephen’s, the Four Season’s in what use to be Gresham Palace, and the Dohany Street Synagogue. We ate dinner, Ian had duck which was his meal of choice the whole trip. Afterwards we went to a “ruin bar” which is very popular in Budapest. The one we went to is I think the most popular one, definitely the oldest one, called Szimpla. Basically, a ruin bar is set up in an abandoned building, un-renovated and kitschy decorated. Szimpla was huge and had many rooms which we roamed around. The back area was a patio with a movie projector, other rooms had couches, some tables and chairs. It seemed also like there wasn’t really a roof in most areas – but a glass roof like a green house added later. If you have some time look them up online, it is pretty cool!

Overall the city is cool, but obviously still growing and figuring out how to be post communism! I have a feeling if I were to go back in 20 years, the city would change a lot.

Money!

Money!

House of Terror Museum

House of Terror Museum

Iron Curtain outside the House of Terror

Iron Curtain outside the House of Terror

Memorial on the Museum

Memorial on the Museum

Outside wall lined with images of the victims

Outside wall lined with images of the victims

Budapest Train Station

Budapest Train Station

Interior of the Train Station

Interior of the Train Station

Anna the photographer

Anna the photographer

Shoes Along the Danube - It honors the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank.

Shoes Along the Danube – It honors the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank.

Night Shot

Night Shot

Beautiful

Beautiful

View of Buda across the Danube

View of Buda across the Danube

Buda Castle

Buda Castle

Best View of the City

Best View of the City

Kossuth Lájos Statue

Kossuth Lájos Statue

Parliament

Parliament

Marks of bullet holes

Marks of bullet holes

Imre Nagy looking towards Parliament

Imre Nagy looking towards Parliament

Statue of Imre Nagy

Statue of Imre Nagy

St Stephen's

St Stephen’s

St Stephen's

St Stephen’s

So many sculptures

So many sculptures

No longer Roosevelt Sts

No longer Roosevelt Street

Gresham Palace - Four Seasons

Gresham Palace – Four Seasons

Four Seasons

Four Seasons

Four Seasons

Four Seasons

Budapest!

Budapest!

Dohány Street Synagogue

Dohány Street Synagogue

Dohány Street Synagogue

Dohány Street Synagogue