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"I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things." --Antoine de St-Exupery

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Homeland-->The End

Summer vacation has officially started! In reality, this whole semester has pretty much felt like a vacation with a little bit of schoolwork, which has suited me just fine. I didn't study even a fourth of what I normally do for Madison classes, but I still think I'll come out of this with similar grades. One of the reasons I didn't study as much as I should have for my final exams (which were yesterday and Wednesday) was because I was in Prague until Sunday night. I decided that since I'm Czech, learning about my history trumps studying for finals. And I am sooo glad I made that choice.

My friend Vanessa (I went to London with her as well) and I flew out on Thursday morning and were able to spend the majority of the afternoon meandering around the city. I could walk that city for days. The buildings are gorgeous. All of them. Their gymnasium even looks like the buildings in the picture.

 We got dinner at a nice pizzeria which was really good and very cheap, a college students dream. Walking back to our hostel, we saw a beautiful sunset which made me so excited for the next few nights. I have a slight obsession with sunsets and in Sevilla it's kind of hard to see them because of the buildings.

The next day we got a free tour where we saw pretty much all the main attractions of the Old Town and the New Town. The tour ended at Charles Bridge, aka where I spent the majority of my money. It is a pedestrian bridge only so, fittingly, it is were all the unique jewelry and art is sold. We probably spent a total of 2 or 3 hours on that bridge throughout the weekend. Specifically at one jewelry kiosk.

Astronomical Clock

Charles Bridge
The bridge leads to the side where the Prague Castle is along with Petrin Hill so we decided to go to the Castle first. My favorite part of that was the Cathedral which held one of my other obsessions: stain glass. It was amazing. I don't think I'll ever get sick of walking into churches throughout Europe since they're all so different and unique and have so much history. That night was another gorgeous sunset. Let's just say that by the end of the day I had filled my camera's memory card. We also stopped at the John Lennon wall which was really neat. The graffiti is all about the Beatles, loving life, etc. No one seems to have the guts to put anything bad on that wall.

View of the city walking up to the Castle

Inside the Cathedral

Part of the John Lennon Wall

Love love love

The next morning we went back to the Old Town Square and actually went inside all the buildings that we had seen on the tour, which consisted mostly of more beautiful churches. That afternoon we decided we wanted to go to the top of Petrin Hill which is the highest point in the city. We knew we would obviously have to walk up the hill, but we weren't expecting it to be quite the hike. We definitely weren't dressed properly (it was actually really really warm when we were there) and had bags full of souvenirs and gifts dragging us down. But, it was so worth it. The view of the city from the top of the mini Eiffel Tower was amazing. And there is a garden up there that apparently has thousands of different varieties of roses. Unfortunately they hadn't started blooming yet, so my next trip there will have to be when the are :)

St. James Cathedral

St. Nicholas Church, which houses one of the largest chandeliers in Prague

The start of our surprise hike

Loving being in nature again

View from the top of the tower :)

Part of the gardens which are probably starting to bloom now
Our last morning we spent just walking around the city. There was another marathon going on (we seem to find those in every city) which is always fun and exciting to see. Although I was in no way ready for the exams coming my way, I felt so content and happy leaving Prague. When we left Paris, I was sort of sad about it thinking things like "What if I never get to go back" etc. and although I love Prague just as much as Paris, I didn't feel or thing like that. The phrase "Don't be sad it's over. Be happy it happened" (which I have heard many many times from my mom) has never really set in with me. I've always enjoyed my experiences to different places and would never have chosen to not go, but I've always been a little down after big trips or even just stages in life. But leaving Prague, I was so happy and I think that mentality has finally set in without my forcing it which is really good seeing as though I go home soon.

I'm very excited to come home. Last night, we had a goodbye dinner and drinks event on a rooftop patio of a hotel where we had the Giralda as the backdrop of our pictures. It was a very fun night, but definitely bittersweet. I am glad that I'm staying extra time to go around the city, see my favorite places for a final time, and just relax instead of being all stressed about having to pack right now. Definitely a good choice.

Emily, myself, and Lydia with the Giralda in the background :)
My mom and sister come on Monday!!! In about 60 hours!!! I am ecstatic for everything that brings with it: them meeting my family, showing them the city, eating the food, and Italy! We're leaving on Tuesday for Cinque Terre, Florence, and Rome and then will be back for one final day in Sevilla before heading home on the 24th. Time really flies.  

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