Friday, September 30, 2011

2 of 3: Prague's Old Town

My friends,

We made it to Prague and MY GOODNESS, it's a beautiful place.

Kristin and I woke up again at 5 a.m. For the life of us, we can't get used to the time change! Our internal clocks are confused and mad at us.

Breakfast in Vienna and Prague have been amazing. Every morning we wake up and can't wait to eat cheeses and meats and fresh fruit for breakfast.

Here we are at 7 a.m. after being up for two hours eating breakfast at our adorable hotel in Prague.

We decided to try a guided tour and walked all the way to the Old Town area from our hotel. Here we are a little lost and turned around.

After finally making it to Old Town, we met up with our tour guide, Camilla, and our tour group, which included two Russian old men and a really old grandpa from Munich. We all spoke different languages! It was amazing how many languages Camilla could speak- Russian, English, German and Czech! I'm sure she knew more.

She started off the tour by explaining that Prague is split up into 4 different little towns: Old Town, New Town, Lesser Town and the Castle Town. Not sure if it's really called Castle Town, but it sounds good.

We started our three hour tour in Old Town.

Kristin and I spotted a ton of marionette shops and all day long we were singing the Sound of Music marionette song.

Nerds, I know.

All of the horses on the horse-drawn carriages were wearing funny hats that covered their ears. I loved them.

This was one of my favorite sights on our tour. This cathedral in Old Town looked like it had lots of homes built around it, but Camilla explained that the cathedral was actually build after the homes were already there. It connected to the King's house when he came to stay in Old town. He even had a little passageway that connected to the church so he didn't have to leave his house to go to church.

One of the famous sights in Prague is the astronomical clock. There are four different times on the clock, but Kristin and I still can't read the time to save our lives.

All of the homes were named. This house was named after the saint of hunting or something along those lines.

Right next door to the hunting house was the smiling rabbit house. Camilla explained that the neighbor must have been coy when naming his house because the rabbit is smiling at the hunter who can never catch him.

That tiny green building is the smallest hotel in Prague- three stories tall with a room per floor.


After checking out Old Town and New Town, Camilla took us across the Charles Bridge.

It was absolutely breathtaking.

(We were looking forward to walking over the Charles Bridge all day!)

The Prague castle is in the background. It's the highest building on top of the hill.

This little monument on the Charles Bridge was dedicated to a secret-keeper in the Queen's entourage. This guy knew a lot of the Queen's secrets and when the King wanted to know what those secrets were, he didn't tell the King. The King tortured him to make him tell the secrets, but he stood strong and never told.

So the King threw him off the Charles Bridge.


Now, when passerbys touch the cross in front of the monument, it's supposed to bring them the same kind of strength to hold true to their promises.

Hopefully we don't get thrown off the Charles Bridge...!

After our tour ended in Lesser Town, Kristin and I headed back to Old Town for some shopping at a market and to grab a glass of wine.

We found this adorable little restaurant with beautiful, beaded gourds as hanging, decorative lights.

I totally want to make one of those gourds. They're fantastic.

Exhausted after a full 12-hour day!

Kristin and I agreed that we loved taking the guided tour and want to do some more!

Looking forward to more exploring in Prague today!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

1 of 3: Vienna

Dear friends,

One city down, two to go!

After a 12+ hour plane ride to Vienna, Kristin and I got to our hotel around 10 and slept until about 5 a.m. We couldn't wait to get our day started.

We got an early start and headed out by 7. The morning light was absolutely gorgeous on all of the buildings.

Walked down Graben Street before all of the tourists took over.

Made friends.

We toured the Schonbrunn Palace.

Saw a LOT of gold.
*There's Kristin listening to the audio tour.

One tradition that I really liked about the royal place settings were the green wine glasses. They stood out against all of the fine china and golden platters.

Part of our tour included the Sisi Museum. Kristin and I agreed that it was pretty creepy. The story goes that Sisi, Empress of Austria, was this depressed little girl who longed for freedom outside of her royal duties. She was a really dark character who wore black all the time and spoke about morbid things.

A little creepy.

Lunch right off of Graben Street. Can you believe we ate Italian food in Austria?! Horrible tourists.

Since we woke up so dang early, we passed out at 3 for a nap. I guess that's what jet lag will do to you!

At night, we got dressed up...

walked around and enjoyed the crowds...

watched the opera outside with the rest of the commoners...

and got some late night ice cream! My ice cream was so delicious- vanilla with nutella mixed in there.


This was at breakfast this morning. We got a voucher from the front desk guy to go down the street for our breakfast buffet. My goodness, it was delicious: scrambled eggs, cheeses, meats, fresh fruit, orange juice, croissants with nutella... HEAVENLY.

Next up... Prague!


Sunday, September 25, 2011


Dear friends,

Kristin arrived!!

In honor of our travels, we painted our nails and watched the premiere of "Pan Am."

It was fantastic and we'll definitely be Hulu-ing the next episode when we get back from traveling!

Painted our nails with some fancy nail polish Page left for us.

We leave tomorrow!!



Saturday, September 24, 2011

First stop: SF

My friends,

I arrived in San Francisco for the first leg of my trip to a empty house full of thoughtful notes and surprises!

(Page and Ryan are on honeymoon number two to Maui and were kind enough to let me stay at their home until I fly out with Kristin to Europe.)

As soon as I walked in, there was a nice little welcome sign with a lavender chocolate (delish) and a stack of magazines...

an adorable nail kit that Kristin and I will be using tomorrow night...

and a nice reminder that I can borrow some samples from the birchbox Page received a couple weeks ago.

Best of all, Ryan stocked up on toaster strudel for me! My favorite.

I even had some for dessert tonight.

You guys are the best!!

Looking forward to Kristin coming over tomorrow!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Coundown OVER (almost)

My friends!

Tomorrow is the day! I'm finally packing up to go on my long-awaited Europe trip with my dear friend, Kristin.

Though I was against the idea at first, I'm bringing along my computer on the trip. I didn't want to lug the thing around, but Robbie, my dad and Kristin's parents convinced me it would be a handy thing to have while we're over there. I'm guessing that they mostly just wanted us to bring a computer so we could Skype them!

Having my computer, though, means I'll be blogging while I'm there!! Look for photo posts of our adventures. I can't wait to share the bazillion photos I'll be taking while we're there.

Tomorrow, I'm heading up to San Fran to stay at Page and Ryan's place until I fly out with Kristin on Monday.

Which means tonight is PACKING NIGHT!

A couple of things that are going in my bag:

This is one of the two purses I'm bringing. This one's smaller and for going out at night. I love the across-the-body trend that's going on right now with purses, so I'm trying it out.

After going out to a birthday dinner for the lovely and talented Carizza and seeing one of her close friends wearing this top, I had to get it. She pulled it off so well! I LOVE all things lace.

My sister, Page, was TOO thoughtful. She went on an Amazon rampage and bought a ton of things for me to take to Europe (including five converters for my electronics...!). One super cute thing she bought for me was a pair of little ballet flats that fold up and fit in my purse! EXCELLENT for a night out on the town.

(Thanks, Page!!)

Also wanted to give a BIG thank you to Miss Ashley Sacknoff. She lent me the backpack she used when she studied abroad in London last summer.

(Thanks, Ashley!)

Another cool thing Page got for me: travel-sized laundry detergent, body wash and hand soap! I LOVE the idea of being able to wash a shirt I've worn twice in my hotel with this tiny little laundry detergent. I never knew doing laundry could be so cute!

(Thanks, Page!!)

A must-have for any trip I go on: travel journal. I got this at Borders a while ago. Aren't the little buildings adorable?

My kindle!!! My dad bought this for me as a graduation gift and it's been a beautiful gift thus far. I have a LOT of travel time on this trip, so I'm happy to have access to millions upon millions of books.
(Thanks, Dad!)

Travel documents... itinerary, flight schedules, hotel reservations, maps, passport, etc. Marilyn, Robbie's mom, always makes Robbie a folder with his travel info in it. I got the idea from her!

(Thanks, Marilyn!)

Also got this lovely Izod pouch from Marilyn! On my visit with the Moens a few weeks ago, she gave me this little guy to take to Europe with me! I'm using it to store all of my electronic stuff and as a passport holder during the day.
(Thanks, Marilyn!)

THANK YOU to everyone who has made this trip extremely easy to look forward to. I even got an email from an Electrical Engineering student, Allan, from Cal Poly giving me all sorts of travel advice! So thoughtful!

Look for more posts this week of travel bliss.