Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wine Country

The weekend before this last one, we took a trip east. The south-east chunk of the Czech Republic is about as famous for its wine as the western tidbit is for beer. At least, for Czech people! We stayed at a wine cellar and tasted the goods. Müller-Thurgau is really good :D The next day, we went to Lednice, a UNESCO site and gorgeous castle and garden-park-pretty spot.

We saw more wonderful things this weekend, but my camera was dead. Therefore, those will be stolen in the near future from my host mum :D
The vines
May be a plum, apple or cherry tree. Botany is not my forte. But isn't it pretty???
My little sister, Marjanka :D
More vines
The "square." Those are all different wine cellars.
That is the coolest thingamažig ever!
Patron saint of wine?
Where the magic happens
Tasting glass
I can't take straight pictures. Deal with it.
That's a lot of crests
The gardens were lovely. I think there were at least 3 weddings the day we were there.
Gorgeous day, eh?
Forsythia was absolutely everywhere here. Pretty much all green by now, but it was loverly.
The.... Minaret? Yep! The castle had like an "epcot" vibe. Roman aquaducts, minarets, Greekish ampitheatres.
That was quite the view :D

We finished the day going to 2 more castles near Mikulov, which is near Dolní Věstoníce. Anyone know why DV is famous? I thought it was from Africa or something...
But my camera was dead :D


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Don't step on the grass

Because Czech kids pee everywhere. I would gander a guess that this is due to the fact that using the bathroom in a bathroom here runs you a pretty steep charge. As you may remember, like 50 cents steep. So, little chickies go to the loo where the doggies do. If you see a little boy standing really near a tree or a little girl squatting in the grass in front of a store, they aren't examining nature. They're answering her call.

Veselé Velikonoce!!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011


The Czech Republic is a different place. In the fabled words of AFS, not good, not bad, just different. Here's my list of differences, in no order whatsoever, trying to stick to things that can be measured and that I hear from other people about their lives as well as my own.
  • Czech beds don't use sheets. Just one big duvet.
  • There are toilets, and bath rooms. Not just one room with everything. Perfect when your little sister (or American parasite) is in the bath and you have to pee.
  • Sandwiches= snack. I bring at least 2 everyday as snacks. Instead of apples, kids walk around with subs.
  • Chocolate is a treat, but one you can have everyday. My waistline lovehates this difference.
  • Young people drink a lot more here. The top three topics we talk about with friends at school: our absolute tyrant of a math teacher, weather, and alcohol. Oh, and the Czech equivalent of American Idol. I haven't seen it, but it sounds exciting :p
  • Everyone takes the bus. I can count the number of times I have been in a car since moving to Brno on my digits. I love peoplewatching.
  • There's a sink in every classroom, but no soap or anything to dry your hands with.
  • You don't move during lessons. At all.
  • We sit in the same spots, based on which classroom we're in. Like my French class, just for every single subject.
  • Way less tests, and they are shorter than... well...
  • Essays are out of vogue here. It's all about presentations. But we have almost no homework.
  • The one you always hear about: Changing shoes. Czech people are all about slippers. Not only at home and at school, but in hotels and at rehearsals.
  • No ice. Or free water.
  • No napkins. Use your hands.
  • Fork in left, Knife in right. No knifeless finaggling here.
  • Racism is rampant
  • You have to pay to pee. Normally about 50 cents. Good thing I'm a camel.
  • You bag your own groceries. If you're too slow, get ready for the stinkeye.
  • Plastic bags, like everything here, come with a price. I like this.
  • Nutritious food isn't the top priority. My diet is beige, though getting more colorful.
  • Cursive > print. I can now write like an adult.
  • Such old history. Churches that have been sitting there for 500 years. No biggie. I go nuts over it.
  • Everyone is the same color. Still a bit scary to me.
  • Czech people all seem to have these awesome windows that depending on how you turn the handle can open different ways. Like those magic cellphones.
  • Learning is about stuffing as much in as you can and spitting it back. No stewing and adding your own spices.
  • Even the smallest stores have probably twenty kinds of sausages and salamis. Yum.
  • Soviet bloc buildings. They are hideous.
  • People are cold. Physical contact is a no-go.
  • Au contraire, Czech people are extremely helpful. Getting directions from a stranger is way better than any map.
  • No automatic garage doors
  • No suburbs. Villages, and little cities.
  • People here eat a whole different spectrum of food. It's normal to eat a whole apple. Like stem, core, everything. But just serving peas with a bit of butter next to your mashed potatoes can seem weird. Oh, and I eat liver like all the time.
So, I know these are mostly just my opinions. But I like to think there's a kernel of truth in here somewhere. Oh, and here are some oldish pictures.

The tip of that is the highest point in the whole Czech Republic. Bylo tam zkurvená zima.
Guess what it is. Once I asked, I no longer needed an answer.
The last few days in October of 1808, Beethoven LIVED HERE (in Opava)! A whole week or so. They named the street after him.
Opava is really gorgeous.
Again from Opava. It was really heavily bombed during WWII, leaving these ugly chunks. The whole soviet and historical beauty clash is a strong theme throughout the country.

This kid is going places. When he wins a grammy, I can say I knew him. Yes.
AFS ball :D
Me and our Prom king and queen, if we were to do such silly things.
I have a thing for Germans.

Wawel, in Kraków
Auschwitz. So many emotions.
Somethings you have to see once in your life.

But life here continues to be lalalalalala wonderful. Letters would make me smile, chicos. I can't believe how little time I have here. The plane ride home will be so miserable, leaving all these people who light up my life and understand me better than I understand myself. At least I have all of you to look forward to! Went to a jazz concert wednesday, and heard a lovely New York accent. It was heaven. Cool concert by the way. Part of the Brno Jazzfest. And the ballet yetserday. Guys should wear skirts a lot more. Very attractive. hahaha
LOVELOVELOVE all of y'all. Take care! Traveling again with my family for the weekend. Not sure where to, but it's an adventure! Hugs!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Who let the dogs out? in? onto?

So, I have a few utterly spectacular friends here who love to complain almost as much as I do. One common "cultural difference" that comes up pretty often is the attitude towards dogs here. They do whatever they bloody well please, most of the time. This means dogs in the metro, dogs on the šalina, dogs in restaurants. The restaurant thing gets to me, but my story:
Yesterday, I saw "The King's Speech" at the cinema with Marina and Erika. A really fantastic film, by the way. Then, I took šalina 4 back form the city center to my bus stop on Mendlovo Náměstí, and got on the bus. Then, a dog hopped on behind me. Everyone on the bus was puzzled. He was wearing a leash, but no one was coming running "FIDO FIDO! GET BACK HERE!". We waited about a minute and looked around, laughing at what was happening, until the bus was supposed to leave. This caused the bus driver to de-attach himself from the seat, which I didn't know they could do, to escort him off. The little boy next to me was crying at the sight of that lonely dog, so unjustly kicked off the bus because he's too short to validate his ticket. Or something.

Well, it was funny when it happened! Rabbit rabbit, though I'm a bit late.