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11 posts categorized "Food and Drink"

02/27/2018

SPRING 2018 Issue I

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Getting to know the Czech Republic

During the first weeks of Spring 2018 students' stay in the Czech Republic, CIEE Prague staff organized various different activities which enabled students to familiarize themselves with Czech culture, as it is crucial for students to learn about their host country so that they feel and can adapt better in terms of the culture shock.

Students had the opportunity to learn more about the Czech Republic in two lectures delivered by CIEE professors which were held during the on-site Orientation - Czech History Intro and Czech Republic Inside Out. Both of these lectures provided our students with the necessary background information in terms of Czech history and culture. For many students it was actually their very first time hearing about the creation of our country and our unique traditions and customs.

CIEE Prague staff also prepared an exceptional interactive competition for its students, as part of which they had the chance to test their knowledge related to the Czech Republic. An online orientation quiz was published at the end of the first week and students could compete against each other in terms of the facts covered during the Orientation. The winners received unique goodie bags full of Czech sweets and souvenirs.

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1st place – Klea Kalia (Barnard College)

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2nd place – Mary Koontz (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

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3rd place – Sam Rosenthal (Ursinus College)

Another way of introducing students to the Czech Republic was through an active exploration. At the end of the second week of the on-site Orientation day excursions outside Prague, as part of which students visited other regions of the country, were organized. The Czech Republic is often called the "land of castles" since it has the most castles and chateaus per square mile in the world. It is something that Czechs are very proud of and they enjoy spending their free time visiting these spectacular buildings. On the other hand, breweries and beer industry in general are key constituents of the Czech economy and beer itself plays an important part in Czech culture as well. During the day excursions students thus visited one of our beautiful castles and also had a tour of a local brewery. During the castle tours, they learned how the aristocrats lived in the past and also discovered how beer is made and what role it plays in the Czech economy. There were two different destinations students could choose from - the Sychrov Castle and the Svijany Brewery or the Křivoklát Castle and the Krušovice Brewery.

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A lot more activities enabling students to learn more about the Czech Republic will be organized during the semester and CIEE Prague truly believes that students will consider the Czech Republic to be their second home by the end of their study abroad adventure.

 

12/15/2017

FALL 2017 ISSUE III

CIEE Christmas Party

On the evening of December 11, CIEE Prague hosted its annual Christmas Party for all its students, professors, buddies, homestay families and CIEE Prague staff.

With Czech Christmas carols being played in the background and the delicious smell of some of the most traditional Czech Christmas dishes lingering in the air, the event started with the arrival of St. Nicholas, the patron of children and magical bringer of gifts, who was accompanied by Krampus, the Christmas Devil, and the Christmas Angel as one of the oldest Czech Christmas traditions dictates.
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After having been gifted small gifts from them, our students were invited to taste the Czech Christmas menu – fried carp, schnitzels, potato salad, mushroom-groats risotto dish called "Kuba", Christmas cookies and the Christmas bread (including gluten-free and vegan options).

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Students could also give a go to various Czech Christmas traditions and customs, as there were 4 Czech Christmas DIY stations. The 4 activities were ginger bread decorating, making of paper snowflakes and paper chains and floating walnut shells, an activity that Czechs do to tell each others' fortune.

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Students from all our 4 programs (Central European Studies Program, Communication, New Media & Journalism Program, Film Studies Program as well as the Global Architecture & Design Program) attended the event and had a jolly good time with all the other guests!

11/02/2017

FALL 2017 ISSUE II

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Excursion to the Morava Region

CES, CNMJ, FS and GAD program students, along with Eva and Zuzana, all had a unique opportunity to participate in extraordinary extracurricular excursions at the beginning of the semester. CIEE Prague staff came up with two brand new destinations for the Fall'17 semester.

The first excursion was an overnight one focused on the Moravia region. The objective of this trip was to explore the Moravian culture and to learn about its traditions and customs by visiting multiple interesting places.

The first stop on this trip was the magnificent and largest karst area in Central Europe – the Moravian Karst. The group walked through the caves leading to the famous Macocha Abyss, some 452ft deep gorge surrounded by eerie myths and legends. The tour then continued to the Punkva Caves, where the group sailed along the subterranean river Punkva. The Moravian Karst is, without any doubt, one of the Czech Republic's natural wonders which will wow every visitor. Many students mentioned the Moravian Karst as the highlight of the trip in the excursion feedbacks. Later on, after having tasted local dishes, the group of students and trip leaders were transported to Mikulov, one of the most beautiful towns in the Moravia region.

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The historical town of Mikulov is located in the south of Moravia, just a few kilometers away from Brno near the Czech-Austrian border. Located on the Palava hills and surrounded by vineyards, it is well-known for wine tasting. Since wine-growing and wine-making are essential elements of Czech culture, the group was introduced to different types of wine and nibbles that go with wine-tasting by a professional wine connoisseur in the evening.

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Fall in the Czech Republic is a very colorful and beautiful season (if it isn’t raining, of course). Although it rained during our second day in Mikulov, the students still enjoyed the Mikulov guided tour very much.

The group then visited one of Europe's most remarkable – the Lednice chateau, built in the English Neo-Gothic style. The chateau tour was a great experience, especially thanks to the guide. The Lednice chateau is not only about the splendid interiors and architecture, but the French-style garden with its palm tree greenhouse, the Masonic wall and the chateau grounds freely blending into the open countryside are also worth a look.

Excursion to Bohemian Switzerland

The other brand new excursion was a hike to the Pravčická Brána. This excursion was the most successful one out of all Fall'17 excursions – a waitlist for students who did not manage to sign up on time actually had to be created due to the immense interest. Despite the bad weather at the departure from Prague, everyone was full of hope that it would be sunny in the Bohemian Switzerland region, which it was when the group arrived at the destination.

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Since the excursion was actually a hike, it allowed us to explore more than just the Pravčická Brána, since the region offers a lot more landmarks and beautiful views. Having put on our hiking shoes, we set off on the marked trails to explore more of the region's beauty. We passed the romantic Hřensko gorges and the Gabriela's Trail, where you can see unusual sandstone rock formations.

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The Pravčická Brána indeed has a fairytale atmosphere, which is evidenced by the fact that the famous Danish fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen wrote part of his “Snow Queen” fairytale here. The landmark has also charmed Holywood filmmakers, as several scenes of the Narnia Chronicles were shot here.

04/03/2017

Spring 2017, Issue II

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Faculty-led and Custom programs are becoming increasingly popular and Prague has become one of the top travel destinations. In 2014, CIEE Study Centre in Prague hosted its first and only faculty let program of that year. The number of these short term programs has rapidly grown over the past two years and twelve programs are scheduled to take place in the capital of the Czech Republic in 2017.

The Faculty-led programs season of 2017 kicked off at the beginning of March with a one week program called “Macroeconomics and the legacy of Communism in the Czech Republic” for Marymount University. 18 students and 2 faculty members participated in the program.

As the group had only one week in Prague, the agenda was carefully planned to ensure they could see, learn and experience as much as possible. The entire group had the opportunity to visit unique organizations as well as to meet interesting members of the Czech society.  Among the organizations our group visited was Libri Prohibiti, a library which has a unique collection of samizdat literature. During this site visit the group also met Jiří Guntorád, who is the founding member of this organization and who used to publish books that were forbidden by communist authorities and supported local writers during communism in the Czech Republic.

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A big part of the program were guest lectures with local professors and scholars. The topics of these lectures mainly concentrated on political, historical and economical aspects of the Czechoslovakia during the communist era. Nonetheless, the guest lectures also included current topics, such as the Brexit.

The group also travelled outside of Prague to the small town of Příbram, where they visited the Vojna Lešetice Memorial – a former labor camp. They learned about the dark side of Czech history, when political prisoners were forced to work in uranium mines during the communist era. At the end of the trip the group also visited Svatá Hora, a beautiful Baroque monastery where pilgrims from all around the Czech Republic travel to as it is believed to have magical healing powers.

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CIEE team also planned various extracurricular activities for Marymount students. One of them was a high culture event at the National Theatre. Students dressed up for the cultural evening and attended an opera performance, Die Kluge/Der Mond, which was based on the fairy tales of the Grimm brothers.

Another extracurricular activity which proved to be a great success was a cooking lesson. The event took place in the Study Center and all students, who were divided into smaller groups, learned to cook some of the traditional Czech meals. On the menu were delicious potato pancakes, potato salad, rum balls and open sandwiches. The group was joined by a local student from the Charles University who taught them to cook like a local. Students could not only learn to cook Czech specialties, but they also had the opportunity to interact with locals of their age.

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The first faculty let program of 2017 has proven to be a great success and the Prague team is now preparing for a busy summer, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next group of students.

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09/24/2015

Prague Brunch Guide

written by Pauline Wizig (Emory University)

If traditional Czech gulas and dumplings do not sound like your ideal meal while in Prague, have no fear because Prague is home to many tasty brunch options. Each of these restaurants has been taste tested and is sure to be photogenic enough to rack up the likes on your social media outlets of choice. Happy brunching!

 Radost FX

While Radost is known for its club,  insiders know the club’s hidden gem is definitely its fabulous vegetarian weekend brunch.  Radost has a wide selection of omelets, waffles, egg sandwiches French toast and homemade muesli.  If you are a tea drinker, make sure to order either the Moroccan or ginger tea. Both come served in a large glass teacup filled with fresh ingredients. While you are at Radost, head downstairs to get a peak at the club where Rhianna filmed her music video for “Please Don’t Stop the Music”.

 Bakeshop

There are two bakeshop locations, one across the River in new town and one in Prague 1 near Old Town Square and the Jewish Quarter. Both offer fabulous breakfast and brunch every day until three p.m. Their pastries are absolutely incredible and they have everything from cakes and brownies to croissants and Danishes. The coffee is excellent and they have soy milk which is a rarity not found in many Czech coffee shops. This is not the place to take a large group because seating is limited, but you could always take your food to go and eat outside if the weather permits.

 Café Savoy

If you can only have one brunch in Prague this is the place to go. Make a reservation if you are coming on the weekend with a large group because they get very busy. Their apple strudel is light and flaky. Pair it with a hot chocolate for a sweet brunch or split it with your whole table as an appetizer. If you really have a sweet tooth, you must try the French toast, which is said to be one of the best in Europe. If you are looking for a protein based brunch, check out any of their omelets or poached eggs. All of their breakfasts come with a bread basket, which is a great way to sample the bakery’s creations without committing to one choice.

Globe

If you are traveling to Prague and feel the need for a traditional American brunch, this is the restaurant for you. Globe was opened by three NYU alumni and they brought all of their American brunch staples with them to Prague. Popular menu items include omelets, pancakes, and iced coffee. They even serve egg whites. While this is definitely not the most authentic Czech meal, it is a nice taste of home in Europe.

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10/22/2012

Bake Shop Praha

By Sara Shaughnessy, Hamilton College

 

Grasp the handle and turn; it’s made of sturdy gold, worn with the touch of those seeking a place of comfort away from the crowds of the Old Towne streets. When you step inside, you are greeted by a flow of warming air and an impressive display of freshly baked goods, spread out, on varying levels, on a counter in the shape of a “U” that curves around the café. Your eyes, your heart, and your hunger cannot handle the aroma of the display, or the variety of miniature cupcakes, cookies, rugelach, croissants, macaroons, brownies, and slices of seasonal breads.

 

            You remember that is it 1 pm and you came here for lunch. Walk to the left, around the bend, and gaze at the colorful salads of varying texture and flavor and sprinkled with herbs. Even the salad of shredded carrots, carrots, a seemingly mundane vegetable, has been transformed into a masterpiece tossed with garlic vinaigrette and reflecting the light that streams from the chandelier on the ceiling. A large oven behind the counter emotes heat that wades over towards the high tables near the grand glass windows, and you watch the oven as a warm loaf of multigrain bread emerges in a perfect oval form. Thirsty? The woman dressed in tasteful clothing and high black boots sips espresso from a white glass mug engraved with black letters that read “BAKESHOP.”

Bez názvu

            The above description does not do justice to the brilliance and simply unrivaled ambiance of one of my favorite cafes in Prague, Bakeshop. What started as an innocent trip to a café that was recommended to me by my friend Sophie who studied abroad in Italy (yes, she wasn’t even in Prague for more than a week but knew about this place) quickly became a ritual that I found necessary to fit into my weekly schedule. Perhaps the reason I find myself so emotionally attached to Bakeshop has to do with the fact that it reminds me of Café Opus, the vegetarian café at Hamilton that I frequent, which serves lunch specialties like sweet potato feta pizza, thai butternut soup, and curried veggie dahl over rice. Bakeshop provides me with a taste of Hamilton in Prague.

 

            My favorite time to go is around 2 pm for lunch on the later side, when the rush is over and I am free to roam freely, taking my time to evaluate each unique ingredient the chefs have used to create these gourmet salads and baked goods. If you consider yourself a foodie, defined by the dictionary as “a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment,” please treat yourself to the happiness that will follow a long, relaxing, enjoyable stay at this café.  A recommendation: the miniature carrot cake cupcake, moist and decorated with fluffy cream cheese frosting, is the perfect bite-sized way to satisfy a sweet tooth.

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10/11/2012

Winetoberfest in Znojmo

By Sarah Russell, Indiana University

While the majority of the program was in Munich celebrating Oktoberfest, my friend Molly and I decided to celebrate our own ‘Winetoberfest’ in Moravia.  Moravia is the southern part of the Czech Republic, famous for its many vineyards and excellent wine. 

Znojmo vines

We took a day trip to Znojmo, a town south of Brno and close to the Austrian border.  We took a bus early in the morning, travelling through rolling hills and small farm towns.  We knew we wanted to go to a winery in Znojmo, but neither of us had actually planned out anything going into this trip.  It turned out to be quite the adventure.

Once we were dropped off at the main train station in Znojmo, we went immediately to find lunch.  We wandered into a small café and grabbed lunch.  We were able to get English menus, which made us think that someone in the restaurant would be able to point us to the nearest vineyard.  However, after saying ‘vino’ over and over, we realized that our minimal amount of Czech may not be useful at all.  As we began to wander down the street, the waitress ran after us and gave us a business card of Znovin, a local winery.  We headed back to the train station and after speaking broken Czech with a worker, I attempted to call a taxi.  My Czech was definitely not good enough and the guy hung up on me.  The Czech worker was nice enough to call us a taxi, and we jumped in giving him the Znovin business card.. 

Znojmo cellar

Once we were at the winery we were surprised to walk right into a Burcak (young wine) festival.  There were large, metal vats that held different types of Burcak.  They had food stands and even a band playing. The winery’s cellars and vineyard’s were completely open to the public.  While absolutely no one spoke English, we were able to tour the deep cellars and see the art gallery that featured modern art with a wine theme.  We wandered around the area, met a wandering goat, and relaxed in the sun. 

About 45 minutes before our bus left for Prague, we decided we could easily walk back to the train station without relying on a taxi.  We walked in the direction that people were coming from, finding a gorgeous viewpoint overlooking the town and river.  However, we were totally lost.  Luckily, we found the train tracks and knew which direction led into town, and decided to walk on the tracks to find the station.  With about 15 minutes until the bus left, we were starting to look for hostels or hotels to stay in for the night, thinking we were nowhere near the station.  We stopped in an inn and found a man who spoke English (thank goodness!) and found out that we were right behind the station and just had to take a bridge across the train tracks to find the bus.  With only a couple of minutes to spare we made it on the bus and slept the whole way home.

Znojmo Overlook

Znojmo was a true local Czech experience.  The fact that hardly anyone spoke English really made the trip an adventure and made me appreciate Prague as a large, international city. 

 

 

03/15/2012

A Všechno Nejlepší (Happy Birthday) Surprise for Sarah!!!

By Elizabeth Weinstein, Emory University

Last Thursday was Sarah’s 21st birthday, which meant that we needed to celebrate and she needed a cake.  Jessi and I had thought about baking her a cake for her birthday and maybe making a box mix/typical birthday cake. But Jana, who loves to cook and has many great Czech recipes, decided that if Sarah was having a birthday in Prague then she needed a Czech cake. Jana suggested that we bake her a honey cake and surprise her. So, as Sarah left to go to her birthday dinner Thursday night, Jessi, Jana and I got busy in the kitchen.

Earlier in the day, Jana had actually already started the cake by making the dough (it takes a few hours on the stove) beforehand. Luckily, Jana always has some sort of interesting dish cooking on the stove and Sarah had no idea that the brown mush was actually her birthday cake. While the stuff on the stove cooled down, we made the cream that would go in between the layers of the cake. Once the cream was ready and the dough was cooled. Jana gave us each an empty wine bottle and a slab of dough. The wine bottle was to be our rolling pin and the dough was to be made into a circle.

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Jessi rolling out the dough

(For some reason I was really bad at this part. So, for each circle I made, Jana had to fix it to make it the right size and shape).

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Jana and Jessi hard at work - I was busy capturing the moments on camera

Once, we had rolled all the dough into these flat circles. We had to bake each one for about 5 minutes.

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Jana taking the cooked dough out of the oven

Now that all the pats of the honey cake were ready, it was time to assemble and decorate!

On a plate, we first put a layer of the cake, poured a few drops of rum on it, put on some of the cream, sprinkled some broken pecan pieces, and then did it again until it looked like this…

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It was at about this point in the baking process that Sarah got home from dinner. We sat in the kitchen and debated whether to just invite her in and surprise her and let her help us or help she doesn’t notice the smell of honey and cake and all of us in the kitchen. We decided with the former, since Sarah went straight to her room to get ready for the night. Now and then she would come out to talk to us or ask us about her outfit, so I made sure to go to the entrance of the kitchen or walk out in the hallway to talk to her when I heard her coming so that she would not actually go into the kitchen.

The cake was almost ready…we just needed to grate some of the leftover cooked dough on top of the cake…

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Add some candles and a 21…

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And now it was time to turn off the lights and invite the birthday girl in!!!! (but first, we made sure to ask Jana how to say the happy birthday song in Czech…if she was going to have a Czech birthday cake she needed us to sing happy birthday to her in Czech. Well, after we struggled to say just “happy birthday” (“všechno nejlepší”) we decided to ditch the song and just go with that.

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všechno nejlepší!!!!

 

And it worked! Sarah was surprised and amazed by both the cake and Jessi and me saying “happy birthday” in Czech.

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After a picture with our masterpiece, we finally got to taste it and it was delicious!!!                                  

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Dobre Chut! (bon appétit in Czech)

10/13/2011

Concerts, Kutna Hora and Burčak

By Lesia Witkowsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

That title basically wraps up my entire weekend: I went to my first two concerts in Prague, visited the mining town of Kutna Hora, and stopped by the Troja Wine Festival where I got an opportunity to sample different kinds of burčak.

 

On Thursday I saw the Bloody Beetroots at Lucerna Music Bar.  The venue itself it very cool.  However, I noticed that many of the people at the concert were either American or Canadian.  I almost forgot I’m across the ocean.  I guess Bloody Beetroots maybe more of an American/Canadian thing?  It was still very cool hearing the band shout out to Prague. 

 

Caption: I managed to get pretty close  :)

 

The second concert I went to was Austra at Meet Factory on Saturday.  I forgot my camera at home that night so I don’t have any pictures to show you, but trust me the venue was amazing.  It is a little further away from Prague’s city center near a bunch of railroad tracks: very warehouse/industrial like.    The concert was a great time but unfortunately was wayyyy too short.  I guess I’ll have to hit up another concert very soon to get my full fix. 

 

Saturday during the day, CIEE took all the students on a trip to Kutna Hora, a mining town about an hour away from Prague.    For those of you that don’t know Kutna Hora, it is home to the famous Sedlec Osuary.  Better known as the “bone church.”  It is estimated to be made of 40,000- 70,000 human skeletons put together by a half-blind monk. 

 

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Caption: So many skeletons!

 

Also, Kutna Hora is home to a famous silver mine.  We got the chance to go 35 meters underground into it.  It wasn’t as cold as I had expected it to be down there, but it was definitely an experience.  Some parts of the mine were so narrow only one person could barely fit at a time.  Going into a mine really made me realize how terrible the life of a miner is.  They work in such tough conditions and even sometimes had to walk 2 hours down flights of stairs just to get into the mine because it was so deep.  Our tour guide told us they could lose up to 5 miners on a regular day. 

 

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Caption: It was pretty dark down there.

 

And, after a jam-packed weekend, my friends and I decided to go to Praha 7 for the Troja Wine Festival on Sunday.  You’re probably wondering, what’s Czech wine like?  Well, the wine itself is just all right in my opinion.  The white definitely better than the red.  However, Czechs have this amazing different type of wine called Burčak.  My Czech buddy described it to me as a delicious “young wine.”  I guess it’s the same as regular wine except you drink it before the wine in fully matured.  I don’t know if they have it in other countries, but if you ever are lucky enough to visit Prague during wine season (which is at the end of summer/early fall… perfect timing for me) I highly recommend trying it.  I ended up having a beautiful, relaxing day sitting in the sun in the Troja castle gardens sampling wine and burčak.  It was a great way to end my busy weekend.

 

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 Some Czech men selling their wine


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The cup at the bottom left is bile burčak (white burčak)


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The mansion in Troja. 

Tomorrow I take my final exam in Intensive Czech, which the language ended up being easier than I thought it would be.  And right after the test, I better be prepared for another busy weekend ahead of me.  I just got back from the train station where I managed to score a round trip ticket to Munich for the opening weekend of Oktoberfest for only $36!  Apparently, if you get a group of 5 people and do enough research, travel can become very cheap.  I’ll have to stay in tents at a campsite since all the hostels and hotels are full (which I think sounds more fun anyway, not to mention I’ll be saving money).  I can’t believe I’ll actually be at Oktoberfest in two days.  I’ve waited too long for this.

 

Na Shledanou,

Uvidíme se na Oktoberfest,

Lesia

Ein Prosit! and the official end of summer

By Lesia Witkowsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

All right, I’m going to make this post short because I just found out I might be going to Berlin tonight by bus.  The plans aren’t 100% yet, but you’ll definitely know if they work out. J

 

Ok.  So here’s my Oktoberfest recap: a lot of people in lederhosen and dirndl, a lot of Australians (don’t ask me why), a lot of German drinking songs, a lot of giant pretzels, a lot of rides (although I didn’t get the chance to ride one and still am a little upset about it), and of course, a lot of delicious German beer. Since I was there for opening weekend I got the chance to hear the mayor’s speech and watch him tap the very first keg.  As soon as he did everyone cheered and all the beer maids (all the Austrians called them beer wenches but I don’t know how PC that is) carried about 10 1L beers in their arms to tables of eager beer drinkers.  They were actually pretty impressive to watch. There was also a big parade and people literally everywhere.  There were so many beer tents it’d be impossible to visit them all.  I did find my favorite beer at Oktoberfest, though: Paulaner.  I think they have it in the US but it’s probably very rare and expensive.  All in all, to be honest, Oktoberfest really is something any beer lover has to experience in his/her life.  I met great people and had a great time.  And the campsite was an awesome place to stay.  Just remember to bring your own blankets! 

 

Also, this week was my first week of real classes.  I’m taking 5 total: Czech language, Modern Czech Art, Art and Architecture of Prague, Contemporary Czech Culture: Alternative Art, Music and Lifestyle, and Art Photography.  All of my classes are at the CIEE study center in Vyserad except for Art Photography which is at Charles University.   I really enjoy all my classes and they all apply to my major.  On Wednesday, my Modern Czech Art class took a little field trip to a contemporary art gallery called The Golden Ring to see the After the Velvet exhibit.  I really enjoyed it a lot.  Makes me want to be more of an artist.  After the exhibit, my Art and Architecture class also had a little field trip inside the Clock Tower where our teacher told us all about the different architecture.  After the tour was over, we went underground underneath the clock to where Czech people used to live and keep prisoners long ago.  It got a little hard to breath down there after a while due to my allergies, but it was still worth it. 

 

Now that class has begun, it’s weird to think my summer has officially ended.  The traditional last day of summer is September 23 so technically summer should always be this long.  It’s been the most interesting summer I’ve ever had in my life, but I’m actually very excited to have to semester started. 

 

Abschied (I picked up a little German at Oktoberfest),

Lesia