Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Greece Part 2 - Athens


Days two and three of our vacation were spent in Athens. On the second day we got up early, had breakfast at our hostel, and went up to see the top of the Acropolis. That was definitely one of my favorite parts of the entire vacation. The view of the city from up there is just incredible and seeing the Parthenon is almost unreal. On our way down the stairs I slipped and completely fell down - just keeping it cool! After that, we went to the Acropolis Museum which was extremely nice and new.



Then we had lunch outside and then shopped some more (you'll notice shopping is a reoccurring event). After shopping for a while we hopped on a bus to the The Cape of Sunion. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Athens, make sure you hop on that bus and experience the Temple of Poseidon at sunset. It's about an hour and a half ride out there, but it is totally worth it. The bus drove us all along the coast so we had an amazing view the entire way there. Once we arrived, we walked up to the Temple of Poseidon and awaited the sunset. The view from up there was absolutely gorgeous. Not many places can beat a west Texas sunset, but man that one sure came close. Once the sun went down, we headed back into Athens and ate another amazing meal. This time I got veal and eggplant (if you know me, I'm sure your jaw just dropped lol) - it was excellent!


On day three we saw changing of the guards at the Parliament building,

toured the Olympic Stadium,



shopped (When in Greece, buy sandals... right??),


and saw an opera at the Acropolis.

The opera was a very interesting experience to say the least. It was all in Greek which made it hard to follow, but luckily there were English subtitles. The story was the Flying Dutchman. It is very neat that we got to experience a play in that coliseum! 

The next day, we got up and started our cruise around the Greek isles! I am about to go eat lunch with some friends, so I'll post about that a little later. :)

Amy

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Greece Part 1

Yasas!

I realize that I haven't updated this in so long and I'm terribly sorry, but I didn't have my laptop in Greece and I had a paper due today... so I've been busy! Get your reading glasses ready though, because I am about to write A LOT and tell you all about my wonderful trip to Greece! I'm gonna try and break it up into several parts in case it just gets way too long to read.

I guess I'll start off my saying that Greece was the most beautiful, wonderful place I have ever been. The only thing that was disappointing was the fact that my family wasn't there enjoying it with me. I've already decided that I'm determined to get a great job and take my family and anyone else who wants to go someday! That might take me a while to build up lol, but I'm dead set on going back!


The best and most surprising part of the entire trip was the people. Every single person we encountered while in Greece was so genuine and friendly! I made little notes in my phone each day so that I could remember what we did and the great little memories we made.

The first day of our vacation was an adventure to say the least - I'm pretty sure I had about 4 heart attacks along the way, but hey I'm alive and well! We were set up to take the midnight train from Prague to Vienna and then fly to Athens from there. Well, because of all the rain and flooding our train was 3 hours late! We spent so much time in the awful Prague train station - there weren't even benches for us to sit and wait on! Once the train arrived it was an adventure trying to find our car because there was no staff working since it was 3 am. We finally got on the train which took 6 and a half hours meaning we would arrive in Vienna at 9:30 am - our flight out of Vienna was at 10:50! We were all so stressed and trying to figure out how we were going to get off the train, find a way to the airport, get over to the airport, get our tickets, check our bags, navigate the airport, and get on our plane all in less than 2 hours. Like I said, it was an adventure lol. We got there just as they were boarding and somehow made it to Athens!

Our hostel in Athens was wonderful. It was very inexpensive and of course nothing luxurious, but it was perfect for us. The workers were all so nice and helpful. After we checked in and got all settled, we walked around and shopped. Shopping in Athens is crazy. I could've spent SO much time and money shopping and maybe I did spend a little too much of both lol. They just have wonderful things and all the shopkeepers are so nice and welcoming! After walking around for a while, we found a nice place to sit and eat outside. I ordered a Greek variety plate that included musaka, pastitsio, fried zucchini, and spinach pie - it was AWESOME! After dinner we walked up to the top of the Hill of Muses and saw an amazing view of the Acropolis and the city of Athens. It was truly and amazing moment to be up there and see everything. Then, we went to a restaurant by our hotel and got a chocolate crepe. I got it all over my dress of course lol but it sure was good!


I know that the people need our money so they were trying to sell their stuff, but they were seriously all genuinely so sweet. Even if we told them we weren't going to buy anything or whatever it was, they still wanted to help us find our way around, have a great time, and even learn a little Greek! Here's what I learned in my time there:
Yasas = hello
Yamas = cheers
Efcharisto = thank you
Parakalo = you're welcome

The weather was absolutely perfect also. It was 80 and breezy just about every day we were there. All the restaurant seating is outside because it's just so perfect there's no need to go inside!

I told you I was gonna write a lot... that was just day 1!! I will write more about Greece hopefully tomorrow, and if not then on my way home. Tomorrow is my last day in Prague! I absolutely can’t believe my time is already up. I have had such an amazing experience and I’m so sad it’s over. I am, however, SO ready to see my family, wear boots, and eat Mexican food lol. Now that there is warm weather in Prague I’m wishing we could have some of that cold back because there’s no AC in our apartment and it is HOT! Anyways, I’m going to try to sleep so that I can enjoy my last day in the city!

Amy

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Czech Republic

We finally had a beautiful day here in Prague! I already loved this city through the cold and rain, but man it is AMAZING with some nice weather! The sun was out all day, and it was about 70 degrees - just perfect :)



We got up early this morning and went to Vysehrad (the other castle), and it was very pretty. There's a neat cemetery on the grounds that was really neat also. The best part about the castle was the view of the city from some of the look outs.




After we went and saw the castle, I went on a nice little run by the river. The weather was so nice that I just wanted to be outside! My idea of running outside involves running down a caliche road or just a street, so this was a whole new experience. The only bad part is that I inhaled so much second hand smoke that I'm not sure I actually received any kind of health benefit lol. Nevertheless, it was nice to just be outside! I stopped a few times to take some pictures and mostly just catch my breath! In this picture you can kind of see how high the water got on the river.



After my run and class, we met up with our professors and went to a small production that was put on by some former Tech students. It was very entertaining and insightful! We all went to eat together afterwards at a really nice French restaurant that was delicious.

In less than 24 hours I will be on my way to GREECE!!!! At midnight tomorrow Nicole, 2 other girls, 2 boys, and I will take a train from Prague to Vienna. From there, we will fly to Athens! We will be there until Sunday morning when our cruise heads out at 11. Over the duration of the cruise we will be visiting Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete, and Santorini! We will be back in Prague on June 15th. I am not planning on taking my laptop, so I probably won't post again here until I am back in Prague. I will have my phone though, so I will still be able to check Facebook and my email. Please say a prayer for safe travels! 

If you need anything or just want to talk to me, feel free to imessage, fb message, or email me any time! dobrou noc from Praha! :) 

Amy


Sunday, June 2, 2013

An update from Prague

I cannot believe it's June!!! Time has absolutely flown by! I'm sorry I haven't posted all week - I've just been busy having fun and seeing new things. Although I am really loving everything I'm seeing and doing, I can tell you three things - I miss the sun, my family, and mexican food (especially Kourt and Ang's enchiladas and rice!).

It has been raining constantly for several days now, and I'm so tired of it. I need some heat and sun in my life! It's nothing to be alarmed about, but the city of Prague has declared a state of emergency because of the flooding likely to occur as a result of the level of the Vltava River. My school and apartment areas are in no danger, but I'm just letting you know how much it has rained! I only brought one sweater which I've warn every single day we've been here lol so I'm sure all of these kids think it's the only thing I own! I am very thankful for that sweater, my rain jacket from my granny, the $5 umbrella, and 3 scarves that I brought! They are definitely all being used. Every single one of the spokes on my umbrella is broken, but the dang thing still works lol.


This weekend we took a trip as a class to Cezky Krumlov which is a city in the very southern part of the Czech Republic. It was beautiful of course. We got to tour the Boudvar brewery and see an awesome castle. The castle had a bear pit at the front (that has been there for hundreds of years) and of course it made me think of my awesome Baylor Bear brother! The weather of course wasn't great, but we still had an awesome time together! Even when it's pouring rain on us, we're all still just laughing and having so much fun together - I've really been blessed with a great group! We got back early this afternoon and went to eat at our favorite place here in Prague, Lemon Leaf (a thai restaurant lol), and then just came back to our apartment to catch up on some stuff before starting a new week!


We only have two real days of class this week! Tomorrow we have a regular day, Tuesday we're touring the Jewish quarter as a class (which I'm really excited about), Wednesday is a regular class day, Thursday we have our first test, and Friday morning (at 12am) we catch the night train to Vienna to connect to our flight to Athens!!! Yes, Athens, Greece! :D That means sunshine, swimsuits, oh and SUNSHINE! (I'm a little excited if you can't tell) - We are going on a five day cruise through the Greek Isles!

It's really awesome to see how much I have already learned through this experience. I have gained SO much knowledge about myself, the people around me, and just the world in general. I think this experience has really opened my eyes to what and who I want to be in the future and right now. It's weird that it took me being half way across the country to realize how much of a redneck hillbilly I am lol - but I'm proud of it! I am far from a city girl and VERY far from a European girl lol but hey the country girl can hang! I am honestly enjoying every experience I have gone through with every single one of these people. I hope you are having a wonderful day and a wonderful weekend. Remember to make the most of EVERY situation you're in. Live for the now, not for the future. I love everyone in my life so much!!!



Amy


Monday, May 27, 2013

Praha!


So far,  Prague is wonderful. We have already seen and experienced so much! We have even gone on a "field trip" to a nearby smaller city as a class. I am really enjoying all of my classmates and professors! We arrived on Wednesday, explored the city and moved in to our apartment on Thursday, took a walking tour on Friday, had orientation Saturday, took a day trip to Kutna Hora yesterday, and had our first class today!

Prague day ^ and night views


I am living in a 3 bedroom 2 bath apartment with 5 other girls and we all get along really well. The place is nice and really big. There's no heating or air conditioning so we're a bit cold right now lol but it's been fine. We have a full living room and kitchen also in the apartment. We went to buy groceries yesterday so that we could eat a few meals in and save a little money, and it was an adventure to say the least! Getting groceries in the city is NOTHING like getting groceries where we're from lol - I learned that very quickly. Also, it's not easy to buy food when you have absolutely no idea what the label says. I got some sandwich stuff which I'm assuming is turkey (lol not too sure, but it tastes pretty good), some cereal, fruit, and some other snacks. The only good thing about the whole experience was how cheap it was! We got our groceries - which was a few bags full each (oh and you had to buy your bags!) and walked out to try and catch the trolly back to our apartment. We realized very quickly that the trolley wasn't gonna come soon enough, so we started just walking back and our bags started ripping! All in all we got back to the apartment with our groceries and I had a sandwich for lunch today. Needless to say, I will now forever appreciate buying groceries in bulk, loading 'em up in the back of the vehicle, and driving them home!

Prague is an extremely old city and one of the neatest things about it is it's history. It's been really fun(and interesting) to experience such a different culture. The people here are very to the point and keep to themselves. We've met a few sweet ones though! I've tried many new Czech dishes and my favorite was this goulash soup in a bread bowl! Y'all don't be surprised if I come home weighing in at 500 lol.




Yesterday we spent the day in Kutna Hora. It was a really beautiful little city. We went and saw the bone church there (if you have some time you should look it up) - it was really neat! It was a peaceful day just because it was kind of away from the hustle and bustle of the city.




Our School is the University of New York in Prague. It is a very nice building in a great location. There are two Tech professors who came on this trip and they are both WONDERFUL. My professor is Dr. McDonald (pictured below). His wife Lois is on the trip and she is awesome also. I have really enjoyed getting to know them! Our first class today was actually pretty interesting we just went over the basics of marketing and got everyone refreshed on the subject.



Just a few random things - I am reading the perks of being a wallflower (Bo gave it to me for Christmas) and it is wonderful! I watched the movie on the plane and I really liked it a lot too. I am REALLY missing the sun - I need some warmth! I miss all of my friends and family so much, but I am SO happy to be here! I am surrounded by wonderful people and a wonderful city :)



Amy


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Paris

Paris was absolutely incredible. The food, people, sites, culture, and atmosphere were all just wonderful. I wish I could've had more time there, but I know I definitely want to go back someday! Although it wasn't as clean, nice, or comfortable as London, it had it's own attributes that made it unique and awesome!

I'll start out by telling you about the most important part - THE FOOD! Every single thing I ate in Paris was absolutely delicious. On the first day we checked in to our hotel then immediately went out to walk around and see the beautiful city. About 5 minutes into our walk we found a little crepe stand where of course we had to stop and get one! We got nutella and banana crepes and they were so amazing! Next, we ate at a little hole in the wall restaurant that was so cute - it was my favorite meal! I had delicious bread, vegetable soup, steak, potatoes, green beans, and creme brule for desert. The next day I had the best tiramisu with a macaroon(my FAVORITE things!) and then a wonderful dinner. I know I probably just gave you too many details about my meals, but dang they were all so so so good - I had to! Here's a picture of the guy making our crepes, Nicole and I eating our crepes, my favorite meal, and tiramisu with a macaroon!




We met some really amazing people in Paris. I know that the French have a bad rep and we all think of them as snotty, rude people, but either we just got extremely lucky or that stereotype is absolutely wrong. Our first person to encounter was the receptionist at our hotel. He was so nice and helpful! He answered a million of our questions and gave us tons of advice. Honestly almost every person we encountered was like that - very kind and helpful. At our last dinner we sat by the nicest French man who was eating with his niece and her husband. We chatted with him about Texas (he has been to Houston once), Paris, our lives, his life, just everything, and he was SO sweet! On the other side of us were 3 men from Ireland who were hilarious. They asked us where we were from and when we told them Texas they replied in a very Irish accent "hey y'all!" To say the least, don't ever be skeptical about traveling to Paris because of the people 'cause they were all wonderful.

Although we were only in Paris for a short time, we got to see almost everything we wanted to see! We went to the Pantheon, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles(which my mom would LOVE and made me think of Hilie especially), and Arc de Triomphe. They were all incredible. I know this is expected, but my favorite was the Eiffel Tower. It was just so big and beautiful - especially at night!!





I have to compain a little bit just so y'all aren't getting too jealous. ;) The weather was not wonderful. It was cold and rainy the entire time. I love a cold, rainy day just as much as the next person, but not when I'm trying to run around and see Paris in a day! I am missing that Texas sun so much!

There were SO many cute places to shop, but unfortunately we didn't have much time for that! Every single shop though was adorable. I really just loved the atmosphere and beauty of the city. It really is very romantic! Being in Paris is like being in another world. It's interesting because I never would've thought this before going, but I really think my dad would love it. My mom too! There are just tons of wonderful places to sit and eat outside which he loves and lots of great shopping areas and things to see. I vote that my family makes a trip to Paris soon! :) If only it were that easy lol. In the restaurant where we had my favorite mea,l they were playing American disco music; it was hilarious! "The Hustle" came on, and I immediate thought of my Aunt Donna because we always listen and laugh to that song together. I wish she could've been there with me - I just absolutely loved that moment! Here's a picture of that little restaurant and my favorite picture I took of the Love Lock Fence.



To sum it all up, Paris was absolutely delightful. If you haven't gone, you need to plan a trip. Like NOW lol what are you waiting for?!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Short Update

I don't have time to give you all the details on Paris; I'll do that tomorrow. I just wanted to give a little update to let you know a few things.

First of all, I'm in undeniable love with Paris. It's everything and more than I imagined it would be!

Secondly, we fly out of Paris at 2:50pm tomorrow and will arrive in Prague at 4:25pm. Our classmates and professors will arrive the next day, and we will move in to our apartment that we'll be in for the month.

Lastly, I am oh so happy :) and thankful to be doing and seeing all that I am. I am EXTREMELY blessed!

I will give you a big update tomorrow and tell you all about my love for Paris... (like probably too much lol). Good night from France y'all!

Amy


It's my momma's birthday; so if you haven't already, go tell her happy birthday and that you and I love her!!!