Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Brazells are coming!


Every town, has its ups and downs.
And sometimes the ups, outnumber the downs.
- The Minstrel, Disney's Robin Hood

Every place has its good times and its sad times. For Prague, the change from sad to glad is the change from winter to spring. Months of sub freezing temperatures and dark days give way to bright sunshine and balmy breezes.


Today I took full advantage of this by visiting the lake and park near our apartment. I went out there, laid down and took a nap in the warm sun. Then I walked around, enjoyed the eden-like atmosphere and even did a little reading under the trees while I listened to a little classical music (appropriately from Czech composer Antonin Dvorak).

And it seems the rich get richer because not only are the days becoming lovelier by the week but my parents arrive for a two week vacation on saturday afternoon. This is definitely the visit i've been the most excited about for two reasons. One, they're my parents and I love em! And two, because of the itinerary while they're here.

*please note: do not read the next few sentences if you become jealous easily
Their visit begins with 4 days in Prague so i can show them my home and all the wonderful adventures it has to offer. From there, we fly down to Athens for a day and a half in the city before setting off on 3 day cruise through the Greek Islands.

After returning from the cruise, we catch a quick flight to Rome. We spend two days there which isn't a lot of time but fortunately our hotel is near the Parthenon, so getting around shouldn't be tough. After that we fly to Paris for the remaining 3 and a half days.

And because my parents leave saturday morning early, i actually decided to take the train under the English Channel and spend the rest of the weekend in London on my own.
*Please note: it is now safe to begin reading again

So obviously I'm incredibly excited. Winter was pretty depressing at times but right now the ups CLEARLY outnumber the downs :)

PS. If you want a few more pictures of our fair city right now, click here

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More Pictures + a video

More pictures of the past two weeks traveling and fun can be found here


As a bonus, here is a video shot from the fortress in Salzburg.

video

PS. You have to click the link here to my actual blog to see the video.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lost in Germany (and other parts of Bavaria)

Just got back from an interesting and fun weekend. We caught three separate trains only by running to them, missed another one entirely, had to find impromptu accommodations in the middle of the night in Salzburg, lost some souvenirs and still managed to have a good time.

My three day holiday began with Tim and I racing to catch an early train to Salzburg. Thanks to good public transportation and quick walking, we arrived just in time. The journey was pleasantly uneventful except for the fact that the train tracks were out of order for one stretch in Austria and we had to take a bus through some villages to reach the next train station. Several absurdly picturesque towns later, we arrived.

We managed to meet up with Daniel and Amanda around 10:30pm and promptly took the wrong bus. This left us in the rough part of town. To be fair, the rough part of Salzburg is a lot like the rough part of Beverly Hills but it still necessitated us getting a cab to finally reach our bed and breakfast. As you can see from the picture below, it was well worth the trouble.

Our view from the B&B

We spent the next day exploring all over Salzburg including the fortress overlooking the city, several lovely cathedrals and the beautiful Mirabell Gardens. I’d personally like to go back for about a week and explore more of the city and the lake country surrounding it.

The Fortress and the Salzburg Dom from the Mirabell Gardens

However I did get to spend more time there this time than I expected to. Thanks to a late visit to the Augustiner Restaurant and Brewery, and some drinking by my friends, we missed the final train to Munich by 5 minutes (AARRGGGHH). Fortunately the B&B we stayed at the night before had one room (and only one room) available. However since it had only one double-bed, Tim and I had to sleep on the floor. But at least it was inside!

Salzburg from the Fortress

Saturday we got up and were heading for the train station when Amanda realized they had lost their souvenir bag. This caused great distress for the Schlieters. After much frantic looking we finally found … that it was really lost. The good news was, we made our train and managed to reach Munich by 12:25. This gave us just enough time to store our suitcases in lockers, get food, meet my friend Jen and catch the 12:50 train to Neuschwanstein Castle.

From the left: Me, Amanda, Daniel, Jen, Tim, gorgeous castle

After the frantic morning, the ride out was relaxing and the Castle was again awe-inspiring. The hike up was invigorating. Basically, this part of the trip was nearly perfect for me.

A n evening train back to Munich and a stopover for food and drinks on the way had us arriving at our hostel around 12:30am. This was not a problem.

After a happily uneventful night’s sleep, we arose and spent Sunday exploring München (Munich’s German name). This consisted of a cold but pretty tour of the Old Town and lunch with a couple of my friends from there. And to bring the trip full circle, despite arriving at the train station over an hour early, we STILL had to run to catch the train to Prague. This was somewhere between frustrating to infuriating for me but it faded once we were safely rolling towards home.

New city gates of Munich

Overall, a very good weekend and definitely one I won’t forget anytime soon. I had a couple great traveling rules strongly reinforced. 1) ALWAYS know when the last train leaves 2) Always remember your towel … when visiting a hostel 3) If your friends are slower than you, leave em at home (or tell them that things begin earlier than they do) and finally 4) Remember that a tough day traveling is still better than a good day at work, so SMILE! :D

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Visitors


It's been a good week. Daniel and Amanda arrived thursday night. They were very excited. Especially Amanda since this is her first visit to Europe. Tim and I spent the next three days guiding them all over the city, showing them sites, history, architecture and culture. On sunday night I escorted them to the train station and left them in a 1st class cabin on the overnight train bound for Vienna.


While they spend 3 days celebrating their anniversary there, i've managed to do a full weeks work from tuesday to thursday here. The reward for this dedication is meeting up with them in Salzburg and Munich for a 3 day weekend before returning to work monday.

Overall its been nearly perfect. I submit the photographs below as proof.

Out exploring the city

Having a few laughs at Vyšehrad Castle

The gang near Prague Castle

View of the city from Prague Castle

Panorama of Old Town

The Cathedral of St. Vitus

And from outside the castle

My favorite statue in all of Prague. You'd never even see it unless you happened to turn down the right alley and look up.