Saturday, August 26, 2006

Little Plastic Castle

Day one in Prague felt more like week one. Honestly, I didn't even really get to see any of Prague, but I feel like I packed more in than I could have imagined. Aside from playing the stay-awake-all-day-to-get-over-jet-lag-as-soon-as-possible game, my delirium from traveling to a place eight hours out of my time zone subsided as the adventures unfolded. The highlights? Well, since you asked...

Pavel met me at the airport this morning. He had a cool little sign that he decorated himself touting my name as I came out of customs. I've always wanted to be one of those people whose name is on the sign. And today I was. We took a bus into town, then the underground and when we came out of the station, I was in love. Every facade is just so elegant and delicate and distinctly gothic or baroque or neo-gothic or rococo something else that I can't quite place. Regardless of my inability to verbally describe the coolness and beauty of this place, suffice it to say its got it's charms. Lots of 'em.

After Pavel bought me breakfast and a beautiful gladiola -- I love those flowers! -- he took me to the flat I'm staying in. It's a sixth floor walk-up on a cobblestone street (they are all cobblestone) with lots of charm. Wood floors, skeleton key locks, double-paned ten foot windows. You know, adorable.

As if that were not enough, before I knew it Pavel was looking through the CD's and putting one in the stereo. "Oh you're going to dance for me?" Pavel clarified, "We dance."
Soon I was being led and spun around Jenne's flat. Even though I've never tangoed, I must admit it was pretty fun. It helps that Pavel is an expert and great at leading.

So, this is Pavel.And this is me.And this is Prague.So after a mini-tango session, Pavel left me to get situated and I opted to make plans with my flat mates here. One of them is named Hubert, who is a very talented contemporary classical composer from Berkeley. He is here in Prague as a Fulbright scholar and invited me to a little village called Trebesice to listen to one of his pieces being performed by a quartet. I had no idea I was in for such a treat.

We took a train to the countryside and ended up in Trebesice, about an hour and a half outside of the city. The summer party (even though it was only about 60 degrees -- I've been freezing) was held at a castle owned by an Italian man named Alberto. He hosts artists in residence every summer. The party was both a celebration of their artwork and his 50th birthday. It was just a very surreal day. My favorite moment was unfortunately uncapturable. It consists of a father, a mother and a young boy walking through the sudden rain storm with the brightest of sunshine refracting the rays in a thousand ways; providing an almost blinding reflection from the glistening cobblestone and a silhouette of the three figures. Father and mother with umbrellas upright. Son with umbrella parallel to his back only protected by the slightest curve at the top of it. The three walked in time to music they couldn't hear from where they were: some sort of post-modern electronica classical contemporary. It was incoyable. As for the things I did capture, here are some favorite shots from the day.
The bridge into the castle.
Me and Hubert in the castle. One artist created a black and white room.The cobblestones just sparkled in the rainy sunlight.One artist did an installation of wall paintings -- tidbits that he believes all people experience.I love this shot. I love flowers. Especially wild flowers. One artist sculpted hundred of skulls out of bread.I love gardens.This was the program for the day.The castle bridge.Another cool flower.Ahhh, the simple things in life.So, we had this incredible castle, beautiful gardens, free food, and we spent the day looking at cool art, mingling with four talented artists, musicians, and feeling like we were a part of this high-class elite function. To top it all off, they sent off 50 balloons in Alberto's honor, had a belly-dancer, and set off fireworks. I don't think the day could have been better.

-Ani Difranco-

In The Morning of the Magicians

"So, you're living in your dream."

Yeah, pretty much. I've only been outside long enough to get from the train station to my flat, but I'm already in love with this city. It is so beautiful. I have a view of Prague Castle from my window.

My friend of a friend of a friend, Pavel, met me at the airport this morning. He really is one of the dearest people as friend of a friend Jenne confirmed. He carried/pulled my luggage, got me some great czech pastry for breakfast, bought me a flower and taught me to tango. And I've only been here for about five hours.

I'll post pictures and video later.

-The Flaming Lips-

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Light Enough to Travel

For how much I hate packing, it's a wonder that I do it so often.-The Be Good Tanyas-

Monday, August 21, 2006

If I Fall

This is my nephew Josh. He's absolutely adorable. He was so excited about the New York t-shirt that I brought him, that he wanted to be all tucked inside of it. That wasn't much of a problem until he tried to go downstairs...

He's great at laughing at himself, too. He loves to watch this video!


Saturday, August 19, 2006


On Friday night Amanda and I went to the Winter Quarters Trail Center. I had been to the site once before, but it was too early to be able to see anything except for a brief walk around the temple. This time we were delighted to have Sister Andrus as our tour guide, who explained many of the sacrifices that were made in order to establish the church in a place where it could flourish. So many sacrifices have been made for us.
-Depeche Mode-

One Step Closer

I have a place to stay in Prague! It's so close I can almost taste it. Uvidíme se brzy.-U2-

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Can't Get There From Here

If only I could just be there without actually having to get there...Who knew that finding a hotel in Prague would be such an arduous activity. It is not that hotels in Prague are difficult to find, nor are they booked... I simply am a little more researchy on this one than I ever have been about any place I've stayed, and for those who know me and how I love to plan and research and know what I'm getting into before making any decisions, that says a lot. If I had just one travel companion I'd feel a little more comfortable doing this. We could stay in a dive or eat dirt or get mugged and still laugh about it. But when you're alone, it's kind of a different scenario. I guess what I'm trying to say is, come to Prague with me!



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Smiley Faces

I got to spend an entire week with my two sisters and all of their kids -- six little love chunks in total. Of course I had to capture the cuteness. Of course I did. Some of my favorite photos from the week, for all sorts of different reasons:
Finding a Lucky RockEmmaHarrisonNoah and EmmaDavidRachelNoahEmmaJoshHarrison

-Gnarls Barkley-

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Other Side of the World

As I flew into Nebraskaand then drove into Utah, I once again realized something I'm pretty sure already knew… that life in New York is nothing like life in any other part of this country. I also realized that all Wyoming has to offer are some cool clouds and big sky - but Montana claimed it first. But really, outside of New York not only can you see forever, but you can also go to a restaurant, grocery store, or bakery without getting yelled at to “step down!” Actually, I have yet to go to a bakery, café or deli outside of New York. Do they exist? I don’t think that one experience is necessarily better than the other, but I love to observe the differences in the way people live.

It seems that regardless of where I go, I come back to my family to find that it seems I’ve been on another planet. In my attempts to focus on the good and beautiful in the world, I succeed in blocking out a lot of what is actually happening: terrorist attacks, wars, movie stars making anti-Semitic statements and possibly ending their careers in acting…. I’m sure there are more. While I consider it important to be up-to-date on current events, I am currently wrapped up in my pursuit to regain my fluency (well, almost) in French, finish The History of Love, determine where I should look for work come January, and maintain my standing as favorite aunt.-KT Tunstall

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Leaving New York (Never Easy)

Sometimes a city becomes so enjoyable you have to stay up all night the day before you leave in order to soak in every ounce of goodness it has to offer. To me and my dear friends that meant a final night discovering what could easily be my favorite New York restaurant; a place I would frequent often if I were to stay. Great food. Great fun. Karaoke. Need I say more?

It's quiet now
And what it brings
Is everything

Comes calling back
A brilliant night
I'm still awake

I looked ahead
I'm sure I saw you there

You don't need me to tell you now
That nothing can compare

You might have laughed if I told you
You might have hidden the frown
You might have succeeded in changing me
I might have been turned around
It's easier to leave than to be left behind
Leaving was never my proud
Leaving New York, never easy
I saw the light fading out


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Left Behind

I realize that I have not been my blogging self lately. Maybe I'm in denial about leaving New York. Maybe I've been really busy. Maybe I've been sleeping more at night instead of staying up late to update. Maybe the heat is getting to me. Whatever it is, I fully intend to catch up. But not right now. Right now the only thing that sounds really good is sleeping diagonally in my queen-size bed with no covers in my air-conditioned room that can never get cool enough. Goodnight.

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