Sunday, July 3, 2016

Final Post

Last day: we had pancakes (more similar to crepes) with jam, grapes, cherries, and peaches inside and yogurt on top for breakfast. I packed up my last things and we headed out. I admired the green countryside for the last time on our drive to the airport. When we arrived, we got our boarding passes and got in line to pass to the other side into the terminal. I said my goodbyes to Wendy (who I will definately miss!! but will see in 6 days) and her mom ("my second mom"). Thank you so much again for everything :) and then we were off. We went to the gate and waited. We nearly missed our flight. If not for the intercom calling out last boarding for JFK we would have missed it. But then we were on the plane and watched movies and got complimentary foods. Now we are at the JFK airport and ready to be home in just several hours. 

Anyway, now I must answer the last question. If I was to tell someone one thing about Prague, I would tell them that Prague is the perfect combination of history and natural beauty. Although Czech Republic is a small country, these things come together to make a culture rich enough for 10 countries. 

And what should people reconsider about Prague? Well, people know about Prague for the sightseeing and tourism, but Czech Republic is not just that. I think when someone travels to Prague to tour, they don't really get to see the Czech lifestyle. But there is more to Prague than just beautiful buildings- namely, the people and the culture behind these people. Wendy and her family have been so welcoming and kind and I am so happy to have seen Prague through them.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


For breakfast we had yummy cherry cake made by Wendy's mom using the cherries from their garden. Today we went to Terezin, originally a military fortress, then jail, then concentration camp during World War 2. We toured a museum showing the history of the place. We brought Wendy's great-grandma along who worked there after the war and was familiar with the history. We then went into the area of the town called the Small Fortress. This was where many prisoners were kept. It was of course very sad. Then we drove back and had the leftover Christmas dinner along with some cheesecake which Wendy's great-grandma had made. Wendy and I then went to meet Wendy's father's family at their garden. Although all of them but 2 didn't speak English, they were all so nice. They gave us cake (I had this chocolate mousse cake and it was sooo good and some typical Czech bread items that are reminiscent of open-faced tea sandwiches). Wendy's little cousin was there and she was probably 3 and was such a cute little girl. Wendy's five year old sister was there too and she was also adorable. We ate cherries off their cherry tree and talked to Wendy's 18 year old cousin who was so kind. They were all so sweet and welcoming. Then we returned home and I packed up my stuff and now I am posting my second to last post. I still have to answer the last Sister Cities question. I would like to say thank you to all four of my viewers.


What is my most memorable experience from my time abroad? There are so many I don't know which one to choose, but I really loved meeting the US Ambassador and exploring the embassy.

My best day? I thought a lot about this and I guess it would be our day in Vienna. It was so much fun to just look at a map and be able to decide for ourselves where we want to go and what we want to see rather than have a parent tell us where we were going. On top of that, the surprise of finding a whole amusement park and going on that amazing ride was a great way for Wendy and I to get to know each other better because we both love rollercoasters!

My worst day? There were good and bad things about everyday so it is hard to say that any one day was bad, but I guess I'd say the very first day. For no good reason except that I didn't get to spend the whole day there, and it was a very long flight with not much sleep.

Do I feel as though I grew as an individual? Definitely. I thought for sure I'd be homesick but I haven't missed my home at all, sorry parents. Being away from my family for so long was a great way for me to learn how to be more independent. I'm not saying that if Wendy left me in Prague I could find my way to anywhere, but I learned so much about public transportation and how to navigate. I got to see how people in a different country live, and now my perspective has shifted and I can see how some things, like laughter, are universal forms of communication. This has been such an amazing trip!


I am most excited to share with Wendy several different things in Phoenix. She's never had birthday cake ice cream or snow cones here so that is exciting. And lasertag. I'm also excited to show her my house with my dogs which she does not have.

Traveling abroad has changed my pre-departure expectations because now I know that everyone has different ways of doing things, but that doesn't make one way better than another. So the Czech lifestyle may be different from mine but it's just as great. At the same time, I thought Wendy and I would be totally different because we live on different continents and speak different native languages, but we are similar in many ways. So now I think that Wendy will really love Phoenix because she can appreciate all the things I love doing.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Karlštejn and Amerika

Wendy and I woke up bright and early as always and took the tram to Prague Castle. We stopped for "breakfast" at the place where Wendy promised was "the best ice cream in Prague." It was swirled strawberry-banana frozen yogurt. Although it may not have been the best in Prague, it was really delicious. Next we arrived at Prague Castle to explore the areas that we hadn't the day before. We went in a very old chapel located behind the giant cathedral.

Then we went to Golden Lane, which was a narrow street with a rich history. 

Now it has shops and small exhibits on it, but originally, alchemists lived there and people would get there fortunes told there and such. I would also add that the entrances to the shops and exhibits are small stone entryways and it is very difficult to see how small the entrance is when you are wearing a hat described by Vidal as "I saw your hat before I saw you." Anyway I hit my head twice on the doorway. Wendy took a nice picture of me in pain.

They also had an old jail that we got to go into. Then we headed off to meet Wendy's mom at the mall so she could drive us to Karlštejn. On our way though, there was a stand selling trdelnik with ice cream, strawberries, and bananas and Wendy told me this would be the last time that we'd be able to get trdelnik and thereby convinced me to get some. So before 10 am, I found myself having eaten some vanilla ice cream, strawberries, bananas, and an ice cream cone with these flavors, not to mention the actual trdelnik. So back to Karlštejn. This is the 2nd most important castle in Czech Republic after Prague Castle. Although it was surrounded by touristy shops, the castle was really impressive from outside.

I went on a tour of the castle and although the insides were not nearly as lavish as the castle we went to with Erica and Vidal, this castle was much older (14th century) and was built by Charles the 4th who is very important in European history and therefore the tour was centered on history rather than the actual sites to see within the castle. I saw a writing room, two rooms filled with paintings of the castle, a chapel whose wall paintings were nearly all gone, a smaller chapel whose walls were covered with jasper and thereby preserved, some rooms containing items from the times the castle has been attacked or remodeled, and finally one grand chapel. The wall of this chapel were covered in paintings of saints and stones. The ceilings were gold and Venetian and Czech glass. This room was very pretty. But alas there were no pictures allowed on this tour. 

Afterwards we had lunch near the castle and I had chicken risotto which was incredibly tasty, with mushrooms, white and green onions, spices, and more. Then we went on to Amerika. Amerika is sometimes called "the Grand Canyon of the Czech Republic, " but Wendy says that only people who have never been to the real Grand Canyon say that because this is so much smaller. We got to look over a cliff and view the canyon from above. At the bottom there was a lake which looked a lot like some oasis. It was an amazing shade of blue-green and it was very clear. the surface dazzled in the sun and although it wasn't very big, it was impressive.

Then we went back to Louny. We met Wendy's grandparents at a garden which they own. They grew cherries, blueberries, apples, strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers, and more. We were treated to some freshly picked blueberries and cherries which were delicious. Today they decided that we'd have traditional Czech food eaten on Christmas, so we went back to Wendy's home and had chicken schnitzel and potato salad made by Wendy's mom and it was amazing. I have not been hungry since like last week but I just keep eating because everything is so good.