Thursday, June 29, 2006

And finally...

The much anticipated picture of Pope Benedict XVI in Krakow, Poland.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

Tiber River in Rome.

And even more...

Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome.

The Colosseum in Rome.

The Pantheon in Rome.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome.

The Roman Forum.

And more...

Lemons in Positano, Italy.

Positano on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

The beach in Positano, Italy.

Natural Viagra in Amalfi, Italy.

View out bus window on drive along Amalfi Coast in Italy.

And some more...

The Belvedere in Vienna.

View of Karlovy Vary from the mountains.

The Rose Garden in Vienna.

The Vienna Opera House.

Karlovy Vary.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More pics

The 18th century mansion "hotel" where Rachel and I stayed our last two nights in Prague. It's a part of the International Baptist Theological Seminary now. I needed to find some religion by the end of the trip. Dr. Wise's friend directs the seminary and the hotel.

St. Vitus' Cathedral in Prague.

Jewish Cemetery in Prague.

Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), the famous hot springs town in the Czech Republic.

Window at St. Vitus' Cathedral in Prague.

Okay, the jet lag is beginning to hit, and I'm about to fall asleep. I'm not gonig to be able to finish posting these pictures or uploading them to Shutterfly. I'll work on it some more tomorrow and post when they are all uploaded.!

Okay, we've got some catching-up to do with some pictures. I've uploaded about 300 to, but here are a few pictures of things I've mentioned in my last few posts. Here we go...

The view from the window of our classroom.

New Town Hall in Prague (the tower is where the Defenestration of 1419 occurred).

Grand Hotel Europa in Prague. You probably recognize if from a few movies.

Prague Castle and St. Vitus' Cathedral.

St. Vitus' Cathedral in Prague.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Coming home!

I had a GREAT time in Italy! It was a good way to end this trip, and as ready as I am to get back to Texas, I was still sad to leave Italy. I got to spend some time with some really fun people, and it was very much appreciated after the past five weeks here in Prague. Sorrento was fantastic, just like I remember. I enjoyed actually spending time on the Amalfi Coast in Positano and Amalfi rather than just taking the scary drive around the cliffs (which is also beautiful). I also went out to Capri and Anacapri, which was a new experience. It, too, was gorgeous. The southern Italians are so friendly and happy. Prague is a beautiful city, but I enjoy the culture and people of Italy and Western Europe much more.

I then spent four days in Rome, which was great. Rome is one of my favorite cities, and it was nice to have enough time to see it at a leisurely pace and to just enjoy being in the city.

It was seven straight days without my "roommate" and a few other study-abroaders from whom I needed a break, and I enjoyed it very much. That one great week made the five hellish weeks worth it. I got back to Prague last night and am staying in a hotel on the grounds of the International Baptist Theological Seminary with another girl from the program. It's out in the woods in an 18th century mansion. I'm in the city today to do some last minute shopping, use the internet, and pick up my luggage from my professor's house this evening, then I'll go repack tonight and catch a flight to Paris then Houston tomorrow morning!!!!!!!!!!! I'll be back in LBK at about 1 pm on Wednesday. I can't believe it. I remember having this feeling when I was in Grenoble (and even in NYC). It's so close, but it still doesn't feel real. Of course, Grenoble turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life...I now miss it greatly, and my Grenoble study-abroaders were much cooler people than the Prague study-abroaders. But these five weeks have been so stressful and maddening that I can't wait to be home.

I should close this Prague journal by saying that I greatly enjoyed my classes, my professor, seeing Prague, Krakow, the Pope, Vienna, and Italy. Those things have all been fun and have made this experience worth putting up with the bad times. And because I took two classes, I now have a two-month long break of which I will enjoy every minute.

OHHHHH. I have tons of great pictures of Vienna, Prague, Karlovy Vary, Southern Italy, and Rome to share with all of you. I will put them on Shutterfly on Wednesday. Check back here because I will post when they are up. Thanks for being patient and allowing me to avoid certain people by not borrowing their laptops to transfer my pictures.

See you all in Texas!

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Sorry. I realize I still haven't fixed the pictures. I thought I'd get a chance in Vienna, but Shutterfly wasn't cooperating. And to fix them here in Prague would involve interacting with people with whom I don't care to interact. But I'm heading off for Italy tomorrow for 8 days, and I will try (once again) to get some Pope pictures on here, as well as some from Vienna and whatever I take in Italy. If it doesn't happen, though, just be patient because I'll be back in Texas in 10 days and will get it all straightened out there.

So most everyone has a general idea of what I've put up with this past month here in Prague. If not, ask my mom for a quick summary or ask me when I return. I don't feel like typing it all out. In summary, though, it's stupid students and a horrible roommate. Because of this horrible roommate (who was also my original travel companion), all of my travel plans were ruined. We've scrambled over the past few weeks to make alternate arrangements, and luckily, everything has worked out quite well. Better than we could have expected. It's a good thing we know people living and traveling in Europe. And it's a good thing that they are my type of people.

So here's the plan from here on out: I head to Rome tomorrow, where I will meet up with two girls from Texas (one of them will be renting our apartment in the fall). Monday morning, I am going to go with them to Sorrento where we will spend three days and see Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Positano, and the Amalfi Coast. I visited Sorrento, Pompeii, and saw the Amalfi Coast a few years ago and am really looking forward to going back and seeing a few new places in the region as well. Then, on Thursday, I will go back to Rome where I will spend some time with some other friends from Texas (a girl who is studying in Rome and her mother) as well as our tour manager friend who has proven in the past week that she is a tourism genius and the greatest Italian ever (other than Christopher Columbus, obviously, because, well, he discovered my country so I think I kind of owe him a small shout out...even if it was by accident). Then I'll come back to Prague on Sunday evening, spend Monday here picking up my suitcase from Dr. Masselli's and repacking before I finally return to good ole Texas on Tuesday. I'll spend Tuesday night with a friend in Houston and my favorite kid in world, and then I'll fly HOME on Wednesday morning. Home. I can't wait. It's unfortunate that the study abroad friends that I loved from Grenoble live so far away and I'll probably never see them again, yet, I'll probably run into some of these idiots in the B.A. several times next semester. At least it's only a semester, and then I'm out of Tech forever.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pictures and the weekend

Apparently the pictures didn't post, so I'll try to work on that in the next few days. I've got to find access to a better computer, and I'm trying to avoid the alcoholics who have the laptops in my apartment as much as possible. I've got several pictures to add to Shutterfly, and I still need to get the Pope's picture up here on my journal, so I'll definitely try to figure something out.

My dad and I were talking about how it's strange that I've had two pretty recent, big Catholic experiences: 1) being in Krakow and getting blessed by the Pope as he drove by, and 2) receiving that phone call from Mel Gibson. I don't know what to expect next.

So I've mentioned the alcoholics "study buddies" with whom I'm trapped here in Prague. Two nights ago, one of them spend 6700 crowns on alcohol. That's like $306!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know what he did or what he bought (I just heard the vague details about it in class the next day), but WOW! Just thought that might give you a better picture of the people I'm dealing with here.

I'm going to Vienna this weekend. That was my plan for this break all along, but now I'm alone because I don't want to travel with the drinking team. I actually want to see Vienna. Some friends of my mom have kindly offered to show me around and give me a much needed break from all of this. They're even going to let me stay with them! That's so nice!

I think it's strange that the culture shock I'm experiencing is a result of the Tech students rather than a result of being in Prague and around the Czechs. I haven't even had time to think about being cultured shocked by Prague. I should say that I've found several people that I like just fine to talk with in class or hang out with in the apartment. This is the "cool when they're sober" club. There are others who are in the "never cool" club.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I went to the Tesco this morning. That's the German supermarket/Monoprix-type store that's in the Czech Republic. I've been buying things so I can eat dinner at the apartment some nights because I don't get out of class until
8 pm, and I usually have reading or HW to do. I've been to the Tesco twice before. Once just as I was passing by the day after I arrived here (I stopped in to look around--in the afternoon), and then one day at about 11 am. Today, I went at 9:30 am, things are crazy at the Tesco at 9:30 am. First, the place is packed. I got in line behind about fifteen people to check out, and there are about twelve checkout lines. The people were slow and unfriendly. And the lines would stretch back through the aisles, so when you have to cut through people to get across the aisle, they give you mean looks and things that I don't imagine are very nice in Czech. They actually won't move for you. You have to push through them yourself.

But, they craziest part was the deli section. I was trying to get some sandwich meat, and there were about thirty little old Czech men and women with their baskets crowded around this one section of the aisle. They'd shove their way to the front, get what they wanted, get stuck, and then curse and shove their way back out. If you've seen the movie "Mean Girls," it was a lot like when Lindsey Lohan imagines all of the school kids as wild animals attacking each other. Little old women would yell at each other and shove the others' carts away. They'd dig their elbows and baskets into the backs of the people at the front to get them to move, only the people at the front couldn't move because there wasn't a square inch of space available anywhere. I attempted to get to the front a couple of times--standing there, waiting for a hole to open up, not pushing anyone, but definitely getting pushed back. After about three minutes of that, I stepped back, observed the situation, found an area that appeared to be populated with some more "sturdy" older women with fewer sharp-edged carts, and plowed my way through. I'm not sure what kind of sandwich meat I ended up with because I only had time to grab the first thing I could reach. I wasn't sure what it was, but I knew if I tried to put it back and get something else, I'd get swallowed even more into the black hole of angry, Czech sandwich-makers, and I wasn't prepared for that. I think it's normal sandwich meat, though. I hope. Next time I go (if) I attempt it again, I'm going to take my camera and video it.

I'm still having trouble with those pictures, by the way. You can see all of them on my Shutterfly page, but I'll try to get them put up here eventually.

Oh! I found Leno and Conan on our TV at 11 pm! Other than that, all we get is one CNN program that plays over and over sick of CNN. I was talking to another kid in the group about how I was getting tired of watching CNN. He asked me what I would rather watch, and I told him my family was a Fox News family, and he gave me this strange look and said, "I figured you would really be into CNN." ????? Okay. Nothing against those who like CNN, but I just can't figure out what I've said or done that would make him think I are really "into" CNN. We then started talking about traveling, and he said that he doesn't really get into culture or history or seeing the sights. He's over here more for the nightlife. Yep, that pretty much sums up what's going on over here. Obviously I'm an idiot for thinking there would be others coming on this trip to see and experience the culture and history of one of Europe's great cities. Strangely, I'm not seeing any "study" in this study abroad program except for the studying I'm doing. Actually, it's wrong to say that. There are a few others who are studying some, too. But, overall, the rest of the group acts like Prague is going to run out of beer so they've got to drink it all as quickly as they can. It's Prague. The beer's gonna be here for a while. The beer will be in LBK, too. The castle and museums won't, however.